There are more books on card magic than anything else in the industry. I work at Tannen’s Magic Shop, recommending books every day, and it’s hard to sort the signal from the noise. If you’re wondering which card book you should pick up, here are some great options, organized in the order you should read them:
Card College Volume 1 by Roberto Giobi
You want to start card magic, but you don’t know where. Might I recommend Card College Volume 1, perhaps the best instructional book on card magic ever written. While most magic books function as a collection of someone’s material, Card College Volume 1, and the rest of the books in the series, are written as a series of lessons. It’s also structured by teaching you sleights first, and then tricks with those sleights second. For example, immediately following “False Cut Techniques, Part 1,” is “Tricks With False Cuts,” teaching you to apply exactly what you learned. There’s no better place to start in card magic than Card College.
Royal Road to Card Magic By Jean Hugard and Frederick Braue
This Card College-esque book is also written as a series of lessons, and is one of the most recommended beginner’s magic books of all time. Reading Royal Road and Card College ensures you’ll have a basic understanding of modern card magic. Likewise, while Card College typically runs $40, Royal Road is available in ebook format for only $10 at the link above. You can start learning today.
The Expert at The Card Table by S.W. Erdnase
This is the bible of gambling and sleight-of-hand technique, and we’d be remiss to leave it off the list. A compendium of techniques over 100 years old (the book was originally published in 1902), it’s still one of the most applicable books on the subject. Likewise, while we know that S.W. Erdnase is a pseudonym, his exact identity is still unknown. It’s fitting that one of the greatest books ever written on magic contains such a mystery.
Expert Card Technique by Jean Hugard and Frederick Braue
Like The Expert at the Card Table, this is one of the most comprehensive books on card magic ever written (and it’s more advanced than the aforementioned Royal Road. While the content may appear simple (the palm, pass, and glimpse are all detailed here), it’s important to remember that many of these moves appeared in print for the first time in this book. If you’re looking for one of the sources of modern card magic, you’d be smart to add this to your reading list.
Mnemonica by Juan Tamariz
We can’t not mention the GOAT. The bible on memorized deck magic by the greatest living magician, Mnemonica is a 400+ page collection of everything you need to know on the subject. Simply learning the stack and then Mnemonicosis puts you well on your way to successful memorized deck work. It’s a must-have for any serious magician.
Repertoire by Asi Wind
While not exclusively card magic, Asi is a student of Tamariz, and it shows in Repertoire. Asi has some of the smartest, most impactful card magic in modern times, and simply reading his thinking is enough to make you a better magician. Asi’s absolute obsession with small details makes his magic consistently strong–quite simply, there aren’t weak effects in this book.