In this post, we will delve into the essential card trick books tailored to your expertise. Whether you’re at the starting line of card magic, ready to step up your game with some advanced material, or are looking to master the nuanced art of the memorised deck, I’ve got you covered.
What are the best card magic books?
There’s a better question.
What are the best card magic books for my current needs?
Here’s what we’ll cover…
- The best card magic books for beginner magicians.
- The best card magic books for intermediate and advanced magicians.
- The best card magic book for memorised deck magic.
8 Card Magic Books That Will Slap You Out Of Noobiness
Card College (1-5): The Best Beginner Card Magic Series (EVER)
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again…”Card college is a life ring in the ocean of magic junk.”
In the grand library of magic, these volumes sit with the dignity of ancient grimoires, yet their pages resonate with the vibrancy of a modern-day card magic.
Many regard The Card College books as the modern cornerstone of all of card magic and it is the ultimate resource for beginner magicians as it features engaging, detailed writing with clear drawings for gaining mastery over a deck as well as countless effects.
Together, the “Card College” series is not just a set of books; it’s a transformational journey. Through Giobbi’s scholarly prose and illustrative guidance, you’ll not only learn the mechanics of card magic, but you’ll also absorb the soul and spirited passion that makes the art so captivating.
It’s truly incredible and I cannot recommend it highly enough!
Joshua Jays Amazing Book of Cards: The Best Card Magic Book for Kids
This is the best beginner book on the list if you’re picking a book to get your kids started with.
This book breaks the stereotype of magic books being old and boring (Royal Road To Card Magic cough cough), and Joshua Jay’s book is anything but. It’s a fun, and entertaining book which teaches some cool magic tricks.
Written by a young, top-notch magician who has burst onto the scene, Joshua Jay’s Amazing Book of Cards is considered to be one of the best and most effective books for learning card magic. Learn flourishes, shuffles, moves, and tricks, to become an expert card magician.
This book comes with an instructional DVD so you can have Joshua Jaywalk you through everything that he teaches in his book. The DVD is a great support to the book, ensuring that you’re truly able to learn everything that you read.
Royal Road To Card Magic: Every Magician’s Rite of Passage
The Royal Road To Card Magic is one of the most popular card trick books for beginners; and that’s for a reason. It is an easy to understand book that walks you through classic tricks and sleights.
The great thing about this book is that it doesn’t just teach you moves, but how to actually use these moves in tricks. So you’ll receive training on the different shuffles, controls and all kinds of sleights PLUS how to use them in over a HUNDRED different tricks.
This book was published originally in 1949! It has been updated since then but if you’re intimidated by the old-fashioned writing style feel free to go for a more ‘modern’ book on this list.
The important thing is that the actual card tricks and techniques taught are JUST as relevant and useful now as back in 1949. If anything, it’s a testimonial to the book that it has managed to remain a classic over the years.
I know this is what many magicians recommend to people starting out in card magic, so it is definitely a safe bet. You might not be blown away but you will 100% find some tricks you can learn and enjoy.
The Best Card Magic Books for the ‘Elite’
(Intermediate & Advanced)
1: Expert At The Card Table
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“The Expert at the Card Table is the most famous, the most carefully studied book ever published on the art of manipulating cards at gaming tables.” —from the Foreword by Martin Gardner. For years this book has been entirely indispensable to anybody looking to master the world of card manipulation, another one to add to your growing free library.
This little book is one of the greatest magic books ever written. Almost every professional card magician I know has studied this book inside and out MANY times, discovering new ideas and powerful secrets each time. It’s essential reading for anyone that really wants to understand and hone their craft, and unlock the same techniques used by masters around the world.
Advanced Card Trick Book N2. Revolutionary Card Technique (by Ed Marlo)
Whenever we think we’ve created a new effect or technique, we like to remind ourselves…
“…that’s nice, but Marlo probably already invented it.”
This is mostly a joke.
(Although according to Magicpedia, Marlo DID create an incredible 2000+ routines, and you’d be surprised how often the inspiration for ‘new’ ideas can be found tucked away in some notebook of his.)
That raises an important question:
What’s his best book?
Ed Marlo’s “Revolutionary Card Technique” is a pivotal work that has shaped the landscape of modern card magic. As the title suggests, the content within this book is nothing short of revolutionary.
Marlo, often referred to as a “magician’s magician,” compiled a series of writings that encapsulate his relentless pursuit of innovation in card handling and mechanics.
In this collection, readers will find a treasure trove of Marlo’s groundbreaking techniques, including intricate shuffles, deceptive deals, precise lapping methods, and his famously undetectable false cuts.
Each chapter is a deep dive into concepts that have since become fundamental in the card magic community, such as the Action Palm, the Tilt, and the Side Steal, all testament to Marlo’s ingenuity.
“Revolutionary Card Technique” isn’t merely a descriptive guide; it embodies Marlo’s philosophy of continual improvement and perfectionism. His teachings encourage magicians to not only practice the mechanics but to understand the underlying principles that make a card trick truly magical.
Ed Marlo’s influence through this book is profound, as it continues to inspire and challenge magicians to push the boundaries of what is possible with a deck of cards.
For those devoted to mastering the art, “Revolutionary Card Technique” is more than a manual—it’s a source of endless exploration and a monument to one of the great minds of card magic.
Advanced Card Trick Book N3. Expert Card Technique
Expert Card Technique was written by two authors, Frederick Braue and Jean Hugard, a little later down the line in 1940, so it is also pretty old. However, the techniques are still employed by many working magicians today.
Expert Card Technique and Expert At The Card Table are often called the ‘Bibles’ of card magicians.
They contain almost ALL of the techniques and sleights possible with a deck of cards. This might not sound like much but it is an incredible resource; it’s like a dictionary for magicians.
When they’re stuck on a move, they open up the book at find what it has to say about it.
For example, stuck on your pass?
There’s a full chapter dedicated to that move!
And even better, these books aren’t just dedicated to sleights but also include some of the highest level tricks and routines.
Surely, with all this information, these books must be expensive?
That’s what I expected too but you can actually find this for an absolute steal on Amazon. If you’re happy to buy used, you can go as low as a few dollars.
Imagine that! All of card magic’s secrets, for only a few dollars. Crazy.
Best Memorised Deck Book: Mnemonica
Some will argue, but pretty much all top magicians agree that a ‘Stack’ is the most powerful tool in all of card magic.
If you already have a stack down, PLEASE keep reading, this release is as much for you as anyone else.
So what’s the stack?
Many of you will know already but essentially it can be summarised in two simple sentences.
Here they are:
- For any CARD in the deck, you instantly know the POSITION of it.
- For any POSITION in the deck, you instantly know the CARD there.
For example, if someone were to ask you where the Jack of Hearts is in the deck, you’d be able to instantly answer them by saying ‘20’.
Likewise, if someone were to ask you what card was at position 44, you’d be able to tell them ‘The 9 of Clubs.’
Don’t let the simplicity of this fool you, there are infinite possibilities that are unlocked by this simple concept.
The Mnemonica Stack is one of the most famous stacks in all of card magic.
It was invented by the legendary Spanish magician Juan Tamariz.
While it’s not particularly easy to learn, the Mnemonica Stack has many benefits that allow you to perform a wide variety of routines, many designed by Tamariz himself.
So why learn the Mnemonica Stack?
The Mnemonica Stack is great for learning the location of every card in the deck.
This means that you will know the EXACT location of any card that is named and placed back and shuffled a certain way. You can know where a card is without even having it be seen or glimpsed. AND you can know how far down a card is in a deck for tricks such as ACAAN.
How do you learn it?
Mnemonica by Juan Tamariz
This phenomenal book reveals concepts and routines that you wouldn’t have realised existed using the Mnemonica stack.
I myself just finished re-reading it last week as ‘prep work’ for a special project I’ve been putting together, and boy did it blow my mind (again.)
But here’s the surprising part:
The stuff that REALLY impressed me wasn’t the ingenious techniques, combinations of sleights, or routines (although all of that was incredible.)
What really stood out was Juan’s commitment to the importance of psychological ‘subtleties.’
Here’s what you’ll get from this book…
* An idea used by the legendary Polish mentalist Chan Canasta to astonish TV audiences across the nation (this effect alone is worth the ‘cost of admission’). Found on page 79.
* ‘Mnemonics’, found on Page 97 (and used by pros like David Blaine on unsuspecting audiences and celebrities around the world)
* Juan’s A.C.A.A.N (this is about as close to the Holy Grail of card magic as you can get) found on page 82
* Juan’s bizarre but effective method to master the stack in one day (rather than the weeks or months it takes most people) found on page 21-27
* A little-known principle of mathematics that, when applied to the stack, will allow you to perform 8 of Mnemonica’s most stunning effects in a row (even though you’re genuinely shuffling the deck the whole time!) found on pages 169-171.
* A variation on Vernon’s ‘Triumph’ found on page 264 (if you recently picked up Stars of Magic as per my recommendation, first learn Vernon’s Triumph and then take a look at this for an easy way to make the whole effect ten times more fooling)
* A complete method to open a fresh deck of cards and be in stack in mere minutes. Used correctly, this will absolutely fry other magicians (and best of all, you do all the ‘dirty work’ in front of them). Found on page 14.
* And more than 400 pages of Juan’s 40 years experience creating memorised deck magic and effects of every kind.
Thank you for reading our complete guide to card trick books in 2023. Hope you got something from it!
P.S. If you liked this collection you may enjoy this post on the best 100 magic books.