The double-lift — taking two cards off the top of a deck while pretending you're just removing one — is a fundamental card sleight that is the basis for hundreds of card tricks.
Step 1: Separate the top two cards Rifle through a deck of cards in your left hand as you chat with your audience. Separate the top two cards from the deck and hold the break with your pinky.
Step 2: Square the deck in your hand Square the deck and cup it between your thumb and your remaining three fingers. Your first finger should curl around the top -- this ensures that the two cards will remain squared and look like one.
Step 3: Lift the top two cards as one Put your right forefinger into the break and your right thumb firmly on the middle of the top card. Slide them to your right, keeping the left-hand side of the cards resting on the deck. Quickly flip them over.
TIP: Sliding the edge of the cards on top of the deck ensures that they stay flush.
Step 4: Show the audience the false top card Display the two cards as one and then reverse the steps above to flip them back over.
TIP: Misdirection is as important as sleight-of-hand skills. Look directly at audience members and keep chatting so they will focus on your face, not your hands.
Step 5: Practice Practice until you can do this fast and flawlessly, because it is the foundation of many card tricks.
FACT: One of the earliest recorded descriptions of a card trick was written in the 15th century by Luca Pacioli, Leonardo da Vinci's best friend and teacher.