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How to Do the Mental Photo Card Trick

Learn to engage audiences through the artful maneuvering of card choices while participants make mental pictures of cards.


  • Step 1: Shuffle the cards Glimpse at the bottom card, and then shuffle the deck several times, keeping the same card at the bottom. Remember the bottom card – this is your pick, but don’t tell the audience.
  • Step 2: Ask participant to name two suits Ask the participant to name two of the four suits, and eliminate suits until the suit of the bottom card is chosen.
  • TIP: Make the participant believe they are in control while you lead them to their choices. If they say Spades and your card is Clubs, eliminate Spades and continue until your suit is selected.
  • Step 3: Ask the participant to select a low, middle, or high card Have the participant select a low, middle, or high card. Eliminate groups and numbers until the bottom card’s rank is arrived at, giving the participant no choice but to select it.
  • Step 4: Divide cards into six piles Tell the participant to remember their card, which is the bottom card. Arrange the cards into six piles on the table. Remember where your card is, and eliminate all of the other piles.
  • Step 5: Have the participant select two piles Have the participant select two card piles, and begin the elimination process – eliminate piles that do not contain the selected card. If that pile is selected, eliminate the others.
  • TIP: Continue to remind the participant to picture their card.
  • Step 6: Remind the participant that you did not manipulate the cards Turn over the last card after the rest of the deck has been eliminated and remind them that this was their choice with no card manipulation or interference from you.
  • FACT: Almost half of American adults believe in the existence of ESP.

You Will Need

  • A deck of cards
  • A table
  • A participant

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