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Packet tricks

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Packet tricks are card tricks done with a small group of cards either removed from the deck in performance or introduced independently. Many packet tricks require specially printed or prepared cards sold by Magic Dealers.

The rise of the modern packet trick may coincide with the spread of the Buckle Count, and really took off after Dai Vernon popularized the Elmsley Count with his Twisting the Aces routine.

Some of the earliest packet tricks were George Sands' "Super Optical Illusion" (published in Hugard's Magic Monthly December, 1946) and the marketed trick based on it called "Gamble Amble." Another early example was Max Katz's "The M. K. Turning Aces," published in Hugard's Magic Monthly (September, 1957).

Magicians, though, have been performing small packet card magic since Hofzinser's day with such tricks as Six-Card Repeat, Cards to Pocket, and Cards Across. These effects all used some kind of false count or display.

Packet tricks rose to their height of popularity, achieving a kind of "golden age," from the mid 1970s to mid 1980s, with the innovative work of Larry West Phil Goldstein, Nick Trost, and Magic Ronnay, among others. Emerson & West, a company formed by Arthur Emerson and Larry West, spearheaded the movement by specializing in producing packet tricks almost exclusively.

Notable Packet-Trick Plots

  • Twisting The Aces, created by Dai Vernon. First introduced in Dai Vernon's Inner Secrets of Card Magic, by Lewis Ganson. The magician shows four face-down Aces. With a simple twist of the cards, one Ace is found to have turned over. When the magician twists the cards again, the face-up Ace turns face down, and another Ace is now face up. This is repeated two more times so in the end, all four Aces have turned face up. Has likely prompted more variations than any other packet trick.

List of Marketed Packet Tricks



















References and Further reading