How to Do the Catch the Dollar Bill Bar Trick

Learn how to do the catch the dollar bill bar trick from professional illusionist Ben Nemzer in this Howcast magic tricks video.

"My name is Ben Nemzer, and I’m a magician. One of my specialties is close up magic, which is magic with ordinary objects. Decks of cards, ropes, rubber bands. And I do that all over New York City. I’m gonna teach you some of the basics of magic that you guys can start performing right away. This is the catching the dollar bill trick. Let me show you what happens. Darlene, come on over here. I’ll make a deal with you. I have $100. All you have to do is catch it. You put your hand out like this. I drop it, you catch it. I drop it, you catch it. It’s that easy. Then I get to keep it? You get to keep it, I’ll give you 3 tries. Okay. If you lose, you give me $5. How does that sound? I don’t like how that sounds, but I’m willing, I’m willing to try it out. We’ll give it a shot anyway. I’m willing to try it out for you. Alright, hold you hand like you’re holding a glass of water. The only rule is, you can’t close your hand until you see the dollar bill drop, and you can’t move your hand down to catch it. Okay. Alright? Do your best. There’s 1 try. There’s your second try. Okay, okay, this is my last time. I can do it. Uh! And there’s your third try. And that’s how you trick your friends to not catch a dollar bill.

Here is the secret. Basically, it’s one of those things that looks a lot easier than it is. You start off by demonstrating how easy is is. And the reason it’s easy for you to do it, is because you know exactly when you’re going to drop the dollar, so you know exactly when to catch it. But here’s what’s happening. You’re holding the dollar, they don’t know when you’re gonna drop it. They see your hand drop the dollar bill. Their eyes tell the brain, I need to close my hands. The brain sends the message all the way to the fingertips. And by the time the fingertips get the message, gravity has happened, and the reaction time takes about 3/4 of a second, which is longer than it takes the dollar bill to slip through their fingers. So it’s one of those things that looks really easy, but you should win every time. Just a little side note. Make sure the dollar bill isn’t touching their fingers. Because it’s much easier for them to close their hand based on the sense of touch, than it is for them to do just by looking. So hold it here, their hand should be like a glass, like they’re holding a glass of water. You drop it, and they won’t be able to catch it. And that’s how you trick your friends to not catch a dollar bill. "