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The Pass, also known as a Shift or a Hop, is a card sleight that permits to bring a chosen card from the middle of the pack to the top or bottom (or vise versa), usually by secretly transposing the upper and lower sections of the deck. Most Passes can also be used to perform a Color Change.

Possibly first published (in a book of magic[1]) by the French writer Gilles-Edme Guyot in 1769 in his book Nouvelles Récréations mathématiques et physiques under the title Faire sauter la coupe. There is also the explanation of a One-Handed Pass (which IS NOT the Charlier Cut) under the title Faire sauter la coupe d'une main.

A difficult sleight to master, it was once thought to be an indispensable sleight for card conjurers, easier sleights have since been developed over the years accomplishing the same objective. Many modern close up magicians still consider it a valuable tool.


  • Erdnase (1902): "The shift has yet to be invented that can be executed by a movement appearing as coincident with card table routine."
  • Jean Hugard: "When the two words, the pass, are used in the description of an experiment with cards, the classical two-handed pass is indicated. All of the early writers on magic from Decremps and Robert-Houdin to Hoffmann and Sachs, laid down the law that without the pass card conjuring was not possible. The sleight being a difficult one to master, this insistence upon its being indispensable undoubtedly put the art of card conjuring in a straight jacket for a number of years. It was not until towards the end of last century that card conjurers freed themselves from it. Literally hundreds of so-called substitutes for the pass have been devised in recent years. However, the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction and many card men now boast that they never use the pass at all. The rebound has gone too far. While the classical pass is no longer essential it is still very useful and a clean, smooth method of doing it should be acquired by every card conjurer, for it is still the best way of attaining certain results."
  • Jean Hugard: "The practice necessary is not great and it affords excellent exercise for the fingers. But to spend hours, day weeks and months, in the vain attempt to make the pass invisibly is sheer foolishness and waste of time. No matter how swiftly the pass is made, with the hands at rest, some motion is visible. The spectator will see that something has been done, he may not know just what but for him all illusion is spoiled."
  • Stanley Collins: "Why do amateurs and alas (!) professionals also, some of whom should know better, still talk and write glibly about controlling a selected card by means of the old-fashioned and out-moded double handed pass? The Pass, as a means of card control is like the gearbox on a motor engine-a barbarous device working reasonably well used in very expert hands."



  1. Because it was first described in a book about Card Sharpers written by Gabriel Mailhol, entitled Le philosophe négre, et les secrets des Grecs (1764).

Pages in category "Passes"

The following 10 pages are in this category, out of 10 total.