How to Pluck Cards From Thin Air

By Phillip Chang ; Updated September 15, 2017

One age-old magic trick that requires no special tools or gimmicks is plucking cards from thin air. The practitioner will begin with an empty hand facing the audience, and in one quick motion will produce a card, seemingly out of no where.

Stack the playing cards together so that they all face the same way (for example, suits facing up). There should be at least two, but not so many the stack cannot easily be bent at a slight curve.

Place your hand of preference, either left or right, palm facing down. Place the stack of cards on top of the fingers of that hand so that the long side of the cards is parallel with the fingers of the hand. The stack should rest primarily on the middle and ring fingers, and should be facing up, so that the back of the cards faces your fingers.

Take the index finger and pinky finger of the hand with the cards on top and grip the edges of the card. The stack of card will have to bend in curve in order to do this. One of the long edges of the stack should now be wedged between the index and middle fingers, and the other long edge of thes tack should be wedged between the ring and pinky fingers.

Bring the hand with the cards up so that the palm is facing the audience. For practice, look at a mirror with your palm facing the mirror. Make sure the cards cannot be seen when looking at the palm side of the hand, or at least that very little of the cards can be seen.

Reach your index finger away from the palm side of your hand and move your middle, ring and pinky fingers slightly towards your thumb. Next, use your thumb to pull the card from the top of the stack, sliding it off of the stack towards your palm. Make sure the stack of cards cannot be seen, only the single card being pulled by your thumb.

Return your index finger and middle, ring, and pinky fingers together while your thumb continues to grip the card from the top of the stack. If steps 5 and 6 are performed quickly, the card will appear to have been plucked out of thin air. Repeat steps 5 and 6 for all remaining cards in the stack except for the last card.

The last card does not have a card below it to slide from, so the method for producing this card is different. For the last card, curl all four fingers towards the palm. Let go of the grip between the pinky and ring fingers and firm up the grip between the index and middle fingers. The card should now be gripped only by the index and middle fingers. Straighten all four fingers to produce the effect that the card has suddenly appeared at the tips of your fingers.

Tip

Practice in front of a mirror first. This trick will take some time to perform correctly Do not use cards whose back has a white edge, as this is harder to hide when gripped between your fingers

About the Author

Phillip Chang is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and currently resides in Arlington, Virginia. He has been writing with Demand Studios since 2009. Phillip is also an avid practitioner, student and teacher of urban/hip hop dance styles.