How to Do the Key Card Trick

With this simple technique, you'll always be able to find the right card and look like a mind reader.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Shuffle the cards Have the volunteer shuffle the cards, and then choose one.
  • Step 2: Have them pick one Ask them to return the deck, and turn your back so you won't see their card. Tell them to remember what it is.
  • Step 3: Look at the bottom card While your back is turned, look at the card on the bottom of the deck and remember it. This is the "key card." Turn back around and have them put their card on top of the deck.
  • Step 4: Cut the deck Ask them to cut the deck, so that their card is now in the middle. The key card will be the one to the right of their card in the face up deck.
  • TIP: Tell them to cut – not shuffle – the deck as many times as they like. The key card will remain next to their card.
  • Step 5: Go through the deck one by one Place each card face up one by one. Stop when you get to the key card and bet the person that the next card you flip will be theirs. Swear it's because you've read their mind.
  • FACT: Yale University’s rare book library includes engraved German playing cards from the fifteenth century.

You Will Need

  • A volunteer
  • A deck of playing cards

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