The Magic Queens

30 January 2017

Is magic art or science? I’d say it’s a bit of both, especially when you’re talking about card trick magic. I came across this fascinating video a couple of days ago. The magician is so good that I can’t spot how he’s doing it, not even on video. You might also want to watch his channel, Lessons in Magic. Learning these kinds of card shuffling tricks and skills is sure to be a show stopper at any ordinary gathering. Of course, they might also serve you well in learning to play at cards in general and specific games such as Texas Hold’em and its variants.

There is science in almost anything that appears magical or effortless. Techniques have to be learned, sometimes slowly and painstakingly. As someone who has tried a few magic tricks I can tell you that dropping coins and fumbling cards is far easier to do than smoothly flipping and twisting them. And simply knowing the moves isn’t enough, either. Sleight of hand takes time, time, and more time. As well as a healthy dose of patience.

Art is a direct result of practicing enough to master the techniques. For real magic you add in a personal flair and keep things moving. Notice how theatrical the trick is?

SNAP! His fingers pop, and the queen vanishes. His science is perfect, the card vanishes from one pile, and appears in the other. His voice provides an almost soothing backdrop until…SNAP! His fingers pop again and the magic happens, right under your eyes. You will also see this trick being performed by shaking the queens’ out of the blue stacks, although in my opinion the snap is a bit more dramatic.
The color changing queens is really a fascinating trick, if you think about it. After all, most magic depends upon misdirection and illusion to cover the real trick. But the queens are changed four times, giving the audience time to learn the trick. In order to successfully perform this trick the magician must keep a smooth, even pace. He must never fumble, hesitate, or miscount. The magician never loses his cool, and never drops a card. In fact, if you pay close attention, you will see that he is in complete control of each card at all times. Slippery cards can either stick together or fall apart, and it takes careful practice to make sure they all stay exactly where you want, adding to the illusion.

As the magician unfolds the story of each color changing queen he speaks easily, and moves his hands fluidly. And as each queen vanishes he manages to sound surprised, and pleased, as though equally amazed by the magic. If you watch this magician’s version of Gemini Twins you will see that he uses storytelling a lot, and his entertaining narrative helps to distract from the smooth and constant movement of the cards.

How do the queens actually change color? Well, it involves six red cards, not four. It also involves the four blue queens. It involves controlling exactly which cards are in each deck. Most importantly, it requires enough skill to produce the illusion of shuffling one card when you are handling two, of using four cards when you are actually handling six or seven. If you really want to know how to do it, you can watch a step-by-step tutorial.

However it’s done, magic is loved wherever it goes. More elaborate versions of the color changing queens and others have made it onto television, including spots on shows like America’s Got Talent.

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