The 7 Best Card Tricks Using A Card Stack Explained


A card stack is a really genius concept in magic and it’s formidable when performed with skill.

A stacked deck in magic is simply a deck of cards that appears to be random and shuffled to the audience, but in reality, it is carefully arranged in a specific order! This pre-arrangement can be utilised in two primary ways:

1: Sequential Sequence – In this method, the cards are arranged in a particular sequence that the is super easy to remember.

E.g. in the Si Stebbins stack it’s as followed…

  • Clubs, Hearts, Spades, Diamonds (suit sequence)
  • Each card is three values higher than the previous one (value sequence)

2: Memory-based – Here, the magician relies on pure memorization. Each card’s position in the deck is memorized. For example, they would know the 10th card is the 2 of Hearts, the 25th card is the Ace of Spades, and so on.

The memorised deck is definitely the superior type of stack as every card is essentially a key card (a reference card to locate a spectator’s chosen card easily), which allows for a much more complex and varied amount of tricks, but it can takes a lot longer to master!

In this guide I’ll be going over the seven best card tricks that can be done with a card stack. There are a lot of variations and applications of each of these moves but here are the fundamental one’s I would recommend…

  1. Card Prediction
  2. Finding a Chosen Card
  3. Spelling to Cards
  4. Telling a Story
  5. Four Aces Trick
  6. Any Card at Any Number
  7. Impossible Co-incidence

Let’s take a closer look at each effect…


1. Card Prediction

Type of stack suited for: Both. Memorized decks offer precise predictions, while sequential decks allow for easy sequential calculations.

This is a classic trick where the magician predicts a card that the audience will select. With a stacked deck, the magician can easily know which card will be at any given position! Once you know the method, it doesn’t seem really that big of a deal but from an audiences it fools the absolute crap out of you!

What you watched was possibly the greatest magic performance I’v ever seen on video.

The Polish guy was actually a magician named Chan Canasta, the aptly named ‘remarkable man’, and the video was a 3-part BBC series where he performed several effects with cards, the one we’re looking at is ‘An Experiment in Memory.’

(I highly encourage you watch ALL of it, but if you’re pressed for time you’re looking for the effect he performs from about 4 minutes in.)


2. Finding a Chosen Card

Type of stack suited for: Both. Memorized decks provide exact card locations, while sequential decks allow for quick deductions based on known sequences.

Effect (using mem deck): A spectator selects a card at random. They memorize it and return it to the deck, which is then shuffled in a manner that preserves the stack order. The magician, through patter and misdirection, subtly determines the position where the card was returned. Knowing the stack, the magician can quickly identify the chosen card based on its position.

Effect (using sequential deck): The spectator picks a card and then replaces it. The magician either glimpses the card directly above or below the chosen card, or uses a key card to mark its position. Based on the known sequence, the magician can then deduce the identity of the chosen card.


3. Spelling to Cards

Type of stack suited for: Memorized Deck. This trick often requires knowing the exact position of each card, something memorized decks are perfect for.

REMEMBER: In this stack, the magician uses a deck where the position of every card is memorized. The deck appears to be shuffled, but its order is actually preserved.

Effect: The magician asks a spectator to name any card in the deck. The magician then starts spelling the name of the card, one letter at a time, dealing one card for each letter onto the table. For example, if the card is the “Seven of Diamonds,” the magician would deal S-E-V-E-N-O-F-D-I-A-M-O-N-D-S.

This trick relies on the magician’s ability to quickly calculate and adjust the position from where to start dealing the cards. This is where the memorized deck is crucial – the magician knows exactly where each card is and can start dealing from the right point in the deck to ensure the last letter of the card’s name corresponds to the named card itself!


4. Telling a Story

Type of stack suited for: Memorized Deck. Memorized decks are ideal for this narrative-driven trick due to the precise knowledge of each card’s position.

Effect: The magician begins to tell a story, often improvised or prepared in advance. This story can be about virtually anything – a journey, a series of events, encounters, etc.

As the story progresses, the magician turns over cards from the top of the deck one by one. Each card coincidentally ‘matches’ an element of the story at the exact moment it is mentioned. For example, the magician might say, “And then I met a queen,” while turning over a Queen from the deck. The timing and relevance of each card to the story seem uncannily perfect!

The success of the trick lies in the magician’s ability to seamlessly integrate the known order of the cards into the narrative, making it appear as though the story is dictating the cards when, in fact, it’s the other way around.


5. Four Aces Trick

Type of stack suited for: Both. Sequential stacks can quickly locate aces in sequence, while memorized decks offer specific control over each ace’s location.

Effect: The magician locates and reveals all four aces from a shuffled deck in a surprising and seemingly impossible manner.

The trick goes as follows…

The magician allows the spectator to shuffle the deck, maintaining the memorized order. After the shuffle, the magician takes back the deck and begins dealing cards face down, seemingly at random. As they deal, they use their knowledge of the deck’s order to locate the positions of the aces. The magician stops dealing at four specific points, each time confidently stating they have dealt an ace. When they turn over these cards, each one is revealed to be an ace, much to the astonishment of the spectators.


6. Any Card at Any Number

Type of stack suited for: Memorized Deck. Knowing the exact position of each card in a memorized deck makes this trick more feasible and impressive.

Effect: A spectator names any number, and the magician is able to produce the card that would be at that exact position in the deck.

That clip is one of the most satisfying of all the magic videos I’ve seen. It’s also a wonderful example of improvisation using a memorized deck, 

7. Impossible Co-Incidence


Type of stack suited for: Both, but leans towards Memorized Deck. Memorized decks allow for exact matching between two decks, though creative methods can adapt this trick to sequential stacks as well.

Effect: Two decks are used, one of which is stacked. A spectator chooses a card from the normal deck, and the magician finds the matching card in the stacked deck, seemingly by coincidence.

The effect is a perfect example of what I call ‘coincidental’ magic. Where two things line up that the magician surely had no control over—such as a playing card and a freely named number. 

Where to learn these card tricks?

I’d recommend checking out our memorised deck starter pack, it goes over how to learn the memorised deck and explains how you can perform the all the tricks in this list!

Over the course of this powerful and extremely detailed training video—exactly 2 hours and 51 minutes in runtime—you’ll learn…

  • Our complete training on how to memorize the deck—including 3 hours of video training and 6000+ words.
  • The ‘holy grail’ of card magic e.g. ‘Any Card at Any Number’
  • A 3-part masterclass in the Weighing the Cards routine—including how to perform this effect after the spectator’s have genuinely shuffled the deck
  • Our take on Juan Tamariz’s ‘Neither Blind Nor Stupid’
  • One of the most powerful effects in card magic—an effect that uses famous T.V family The Simpsons as a ‘failsafe’

Click here to check it out: Memorised Deck Starter Pack


Thank you for reading the 7 Best Card Tricks Using A Card Stack Explained. I hope you enjoyed it!

We’ve been trying to make a little bit of a theme with the seven best card tricks for all the different types of card magic. Click the links below to check out the rest…

Or you could simply get the cheat sheet, with our full guide to card tricks!

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