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Real Life or Real Magic?


Buck: “Would you like to see real life or real magic?”

Spectator: “Real life.”

Buck: “OK. Name any playing card out loud!”

Spectator: “8 of Diamonds.”

*Buck: “Um… uh… ok, you know what? I can’t do this… here… (spreads cards) just take anyone of these cards but don’t look at it.”

Spectator: (takes out a card, leaving it facedown in front of them)

Buck: “Ladies and gentlemen. A moment ago I asked this spectator to name a playing card. They named the 8 of Diamonds."

"Then this spectator freely chose any card from the deck. I asked them if they’d like to see real life or real magic."

"They said ‘real magic’. Well… (slowly lifts up card to build drama… sees that it’s the 6 of Spades, then drops it face up saying…) “Yeah see that’s real life you don’t always get what you want!” (quickly puts card back in deck and moves on)."

The above performance is the most common scenario. But it always gets a good chuckle.

And since hitting their card is so infrequent, I will only do this as a throwaway opener when the energy and expectations are low.

I love the random nature of this trick/gag, which is why I don’t want a method for hitting every time, but I do increase my odds a little by doing two things:

First, right before asking them to name a card, I will look at and remember the top and bottom card.

This way, if they name either of those cards. I can snap my fingers and bam, it’s “on top” (if they name the bottom card, I just turn over the whole deck showing that the bottom card “is on top”).

Secondly, once I remember the top and bottom card, I’ll hold the deck in biddle grip.

If the card they name isn’t the top or bottom card, I’ll quickly swing cut, peaking at the new top and bottom card.

*If the card they named is neither of these two new top and bottom cards, that’s when I say “I can’t do it”, spread the cards, then have them select whichever card they want.

In total, I give myself 5 chances to get their card right. And that's enough for me to feel like I've got a chance, not "control".


I once performed this to a packed room down in the Hat & Hare at The Magic Castle.

A close friend and creator, The Magic James, who’s seen me perform this gag numerous times, was sitting off to the side.

The performance played out like it normally does, except that when I went to slowly turn over the card, I could see that it was in fact their selection.

The room exploded in amazement, with me and Magic James having crapped ourselves knowing how lucky I got!

It was really, really fun.

Here is your code for 17% off, good until Sunday night! Just enter: LADYBUG17

I recommend Lucky Ladybug if you don’t have it already!


/ Buck Bowen

Deuce Gala Magic

PS - If you want to cheat, you can start this gag with the Queen of Hearts on top and Ace of Spades on bottom since they are two of the most common cards named when asked.

PSS - If someone says they’d like to see “real life”, just continue the same or ask someone else.


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