Recently, there was a discussion over at the Genii Forum which impromptu trick you would do if you were handed a deck of cards and were to perform only one thing. This reminded me of three older favorites of mine:
(1) “Gemini Twins” by Karl Fulves – always a stunner! And as a “psychic experiment” great for couples, when both “intuitively” find the mate of their partner’s card. You will find it in his book More Self-Working Card Tricks.
(2) “The Waikiki Shuffle,” a fun card location invented by Bill Murata, to be found in Roberto Giobbi‘s Card College Light.
(3) Francis Carlyle‘s “Upside-Down Deck” from Scarne on Card Tricks. It’s easy, quick, and visual, and you can make the spectator the star, which is almost always a good idea and usually better than the “Look what I can do!” braggadocio approach. Just hand him a magic wand (a worn pencil stub gets a laugh), let him tap the mixed-up deck three times and then reveal 1) his chosen card, 2) your own chosen card in the 3) “triumphed” deck!
Bonus idea: If you hand out as a wand the rod with the gems on opposite ends (from Ken Allen‘s “Jumping Gems”), you can go with the flow right into this routine…
To be more precise, here’s what you could do: Show the rod as a regular mini wand, with gems on both ends on both sides. Proudly point out that over the years you have ascended through the ranks to the status of a full-fledged four-star magic wand holder. A beginner, however, would start with a blank rod (demonstrate it). But as your spectator friend has just accomplished a freakin’ miracle, you promote him to honorary two-star status immediately (demonstrate). So he only needs two more stars on the back of the wand to catch up with you (show four again). End with the warning to always handle such a wand with great care, otherwise some stars may loosen and drop to the other end of the wand (demonstrate and “repair”). Tap your fist and make a palmed coin or sponge ball appear. Put the wand away and continue with your flow.
Performed like this, I feel there is no need to bring out the second or even third rod from “Jumping Gems.”