Pick a card....any card. What is it about finding one card from a deck of 52 so amazing? Any layman can do it with time through a simple matter of process and elimination; if the first card isn't theirs, try the next one. Finding a card on the first try might be kindof impressive, but all in all, the hunt itself is simply not very impressive.
On the other end of the spectrum, there is extreme complexity. Fancy cuts, cards flying in every which way, fast and furious card magic which draws a lot of attention to the magician. The problem with this high octane form of magic, while visually stunning and difficult to perform, is that it confuses the audience to a point where the magic is no longer fair. The magic looses its luster because the magician has an edge on the audience, and everyone watching is aware of it.
So, when is magic REAL magic? A great magician by the name of Tyler Erickson taught me, "Magic is about being fair. If I were a real magician, I should be able to tell a random person, 'Hey, pick up that coin.' Then I should be able to snap and the coin will vanish. I want the audience to think that I am no doing anything at all."
With this knowledge, where does one amp up his or her card magic without falling to either end of the card spectrum? Simplicity. For years, I have been doing a simple transposition routine that, for some reason, seems to get one of the biggest reactions out of all of my card magic. Using three simple sleights, I have found that the following impromptu card effect to be incredibly devastating.
EFFECT: A card is freely select. The card is placed back into the middle of the deck(Shuffling is optional at this point). The magicians points out that the card is not on the bottom, nor is it on the top. Placing the top card inbetween the spectators hands, the magician then asks that a second card be selected. After the second card is selected, the magician asks, "Would that be crazy if this was the card that was initially chosen?" He then states, "Would it be crazier if I switched it with the card between the spectator's hands?" Tapping the card to the spectators hands, the magician reveals that the card he is holding is the card that was placed into the spectators hands initially, and the spectator now holds their selected card.
This effect is one of the most devestating effects I do, and it is also, coincidentally, one of the simplest effects to do. Why is the effect so devestating? Because:
1. It happens in the spectators hands
2. Everything is completly fair to the spectator
3. The card was not only discovered, but it transposed through THEIR hands.
With no fancy cuts, no peeks or key cards, no funky looking switches or other crazy demonstrations with your hands, then sleight of hand, in the spectators mind, is out of question, leaving the simple explanation of pure magic.
Pure magic should be the goal of every magician. If someone is a true magician, than it should be very simple for them to do the impossible. They shouldn't have to do fancy cuts and flourishes to find a card. Tricks shouldn't need visible set up...decks shouldn't have to be gimicked....the best magic I have ever done is magic done with a shuffled and borrowed deck. Why? Because the spectators all know that the deck is ordinary, every motion I am doing looks fair and ordinary, but for some reason, I am able to do amazing things without actually doing anything. The only explanation left in the spectators mind is that I am a real magician, and my magic is 100% legitimate.