If You Can See It, So Can They

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By Erik Casey

When practicing magic, do you ever notice that some of your moves don’t look totally convincing in the mirror? But since other magicians do them, they have to be effective, right?

I am looking at you slip cut force! Why is this so-called sleight being done? I say so-called because a sleight is supposed to be invisible and look natural and the slip-cut force is far from that. I do not know the creator of the force, but I like to optimistically believe he created it sarcastically.

This is the first move that everyone learns on Youtube as well, if not first at least second after the double lift. When done for a lay audience there is a higher chance that someone in the crowd knows the move, thus making the effect worthless. I know an argument could be made for the double lift, and if you’re making that argument you should probably practice your double more. That is a true sleight. When done correctly, it will look natural and invisible. Something I am convinced the Slip Cut Force will never be.


The move has you force the card that is on top of the deck. Your thumb will run down the side of the deck and when the spectator calls stop, it is supposed to look like, the card where they called stop is the card they take. The only advantage this “sleight” has is that you literally stop at the spot the spectator calls stop. That is nice. But then you ruin that with your fingers on the top of the deck gripping the top card as you remove the rest of the pack above the cut. Slip cutting the force card to the middle.

For starters, your deck grip is most likely changing to do this trick.

If you do it fast to hide the discrepancy, it makes a noise. A very obvious noise. Sleights are supposed to look natural, but if you are quickly removing the pack, that alone will look suspicious. Why not just pick the pack up at a regular speed? Plus, what are they going to think after you remove it very fast and they hear that noise? Very unnatural. Not a good sleight.

We’ll slow it down and make it natural and get rid of that noise. Unfortunately, that card is now absolutely visible when being slip cut to the middle. That move isn’t designed to be invisible. It is supposed to be done on the off-beat, but when doing a force all the attention is on the hands. You can’t force on an off beat. If they see the card slipping to the middle, why would they be fooled? They can see it.

How about we tilt the hand and shift the deck a bit to hide these moves? Unless you hold the deck like that throughout the performance, then it is going to stand out. A lot.

I encourage you all, when practicing in front of a mirror or for a camera, to take the time to know your angles, if something looks wrong, work on it! The second your audience sees you visibly force a card, every card trick from that point is ruined, as you have just shown off that you can force cards.

Really work on making every move natural and fluid. Make sure your hands aren’t randomly contorting to perform a move. If they are, maybe find an alternative for that move. If you’re looking for an alternative to this force, the riffle cut force is your friend. It is deceptive and fools laypeople. And even more so for laymen who know the slipcut force, which is a large number (thanks youtube).

So please, for the sake of magic, I beg you: don’t perform something just because others are doing it. If it feels wrong for you, it is wrong for you.




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