Why Do Magicians Use Cards- 13 Reasons

I never leave home without a deck of cards. My passion is card tricks so I am speaking from first-hand experience. Here are the reasons why magicians use cards.

  • Playing cards are associated with magicians.
  • Playing cards are very recognizable and relatable.
  • Playing cards are easy to find.
  • Playing cards are inexpensive.
  • Card tricks are extremely entertaining.
  • Playing cards can be used in all genres of magic. 
  • Card tricks play big and carry small.
  • A deck of cards is easy to transport and practice.
  • Practicing playing cards is fun and addictive.
  • There are many amazing card tricks that are easy to do.
  • Sleight of hand card tricks are challenging to master.
  • There are a ton of available learning resources. 
  • There are endless possibilities with a deck of cards.


Playing cards have been around for over 1,000 years. They are synonymous with magic and magicians. Whenever someone hears that I am a magician they ask to see a card trick. In fact, when someone finds out I’m a magician they usually ask if I have a deck of cards on me. My answer is always the same, “yes of course.” Perfect time to do a card trick!

Everyone in the world recognizes playing cards. Playing cards are widely known and everybody at some point has toyed with a deck. Therefore cards are accepted as normal props. Compare this to when a magician takes out a small wooden box or a colorful tube that no one has ever seen. The key to good magic is performing with ordinary objects.

Playing cards are everywhere. Most people have a deck of cards laying around somewhere at home. You can generally find a deck at most restaurants, hotels, bars, etc. When I travel, usually someone on the plane or train will be playing with cards. Most of the time cards are used for card games. I have fond memories as a kid playing Gin with my grandmother.

A deck of cards is inexpensive, usually only a few bucks, and you can get them anywhere. Many people buy a deck of cards as a souvenir when on vacation and throw them in their drawer. A lot of casinos sell used decks of cards for a dollar. The cards are perfectly fine yet once they are used for 12 hours a casino must bring in a new deck. They go through a ton cards so they resell them for next to nothing.

Watch me perform this card trick that took me 2 years to learn.


The reason magicians use bicycle cards is because they are the most recognizable playing cards in the world, they are of the highest quality, they are inexpensive, they handle beautifully, they are available everywhere, they are made to last, and most gimmicked playing cards magicians use match the back design of Bicycle Playing Cards.


I love bicycle playing cards. I have a ton of different decks in my closet yet the only ones I perform with are the red-backed bicycle playing cards. I think the design is well crafted and easy on the eyes. I feel comfortable performing advanced sleight of hand with bicycle playing cards and that is the most important thing for me.


Everybody loves a good card trick. I have based my whole career on this. I still remember seeing my first card trick when I was a kid in camp. It was amazing. Since we all have played with a deck of cards we all believe we know what is possible. So we think! When a magician does a card trick and there is no explanation, it blows our minds. Since a deck of cards appears fairly simple, card tricks seem impossible.

Check out this Free Video and learn my favorite 4 Ace Trick. It is easy to do and guaranteed to amaze. I perform it all the time at my paid events.

I have seen many bad card tricks get good reactions. So when a magician performs a great card trick it is extremely powerful. There is something special about playing cards. They are colorful, compact, and appealing to the eye. Card tricks are very cool and appropriate for kids and adults.


Playing cards can be used in all areas of magic. Card tricks are perfect for close up magic, stand up magic, stage magic, mind reading and mentalism, kids magic, card manipulation, and cardistry. The fact that a magician can entertain a whole audience with a single pack of playing cards is unbelievable.

Close up magic is the perfect forum for card tricks, in fact spectators expect to see card magic from a magician. Close up magic is usually for small groups and your audience is right in front of you. You can put cards on the table and in your spectator’s hands. To learn more about close up magic check out How to Do Close Up Magic- The Complete Guide.

Stand up magic is generally performed in front of the room for 25-75 guests. The card tricks have to be more visible and up in the air, you cannot place cards down on the table. There are many wonderful stand up card tricks. Cards across is one of my favorites.

Stage magic is when a magician performs up on stage. Two of my favorite stage card magic tricks are the tossed out deck and Cardiographic. Both play big enough for a large crowd, up to about 200 people.

Card manipulation is another form of card magic performed on stage. The magician produces cards from nowhere. It is pretty amazing. The audience cannot be that close, there needs to be some distance to cover some of the sleight of hand. I never got into card manipulation yet love watching it. It takes a huge amount of practice.

There are many great mind reading and mentalism card tricks. Check out my all time favorite mind reading card trick below.

Click to watch me perform my favorite mind reading/ mentalism card trick

When doing a card trick for kids (under 5 years old) it has to be visual and simple. I have seen kid’s show magicians use a deck of cards with cartoon characters on them. This is a great idea.

The last genre of card magic is called cardistry. It is incredible! Cardistry is sort of like juggling, it is visual manipulation of the cards. It is based on unbelievable flourishes, creativity, and skill. First time I ever saw cardistry was at a convention where I met the Buck twins. They were 12 years old and performed stuff never seen before. The Bucks are the pioneers of this art form. I do some flourishes yet I have never gotten into cardistry.


A deck of cards is small and easy to carry. I always have a deck in my pocket and practice constantly. If I am in line at the bank or watching a movie, I don’t waste any time. The deck comes out and I work on a card sleight. Compare this to somebody who plays the piano, it is much harder for them to practice.

I absolutely love practicing and thoroughly enjoy playing with a deck of cards. Perhaps it is hard to understand if you haven’t tried. I like working on a card move and over time mastering it. I am results driven and also like the process. There are certain card techniques I have been working on for years. I would compare my “addiction” to people who are into the Rubiks Cube.


There are many amazing card tricks that don’t require any sleight of hand. This is great for a beginner, actually great for anyone. Check out How to Do Amazing Card Tricks That Are Easy. These tricks will make your spectators believe you are a card expert. Most other types of magic tricks are harder and require at least some sleight of hand for the trick to be any good. A great example is coin tricks. They are much more difficult than card tricks.

Mastering card sleight of hand is not easy, it is extremely difficult. It takes time, energy, practice, failing, thinking about, and constantly working on card moves. Though this might deter many people, it actually is one of the things I like most. I love hard work and I always welcome a challenge. Plus this weeds out magicians who aren’t willing to put in the time. Personally I think a magician can be judged by his ability with a deck of cards.

I have found that the better I get at card magic, the easier it is to improve. Initially it takes a long time to get good with a deck of cards. The great news is once you get good, learning card magic becomes much easier.


In the old days magicians had to secretly meet with other magicians and trade ideas. This is no longer the case. There are endless resources teaching card magic. From online, to magic shops, to YouTube, there is no lack of material out there. Check out Where Do Magicians Learn Their Tricks. Many magicians publish card routines and technique. It is best to learn someone’s trick and adapt it to your own style.

The possibilities with a deck of cards are endless. Cards change, transport, are torn, restored, disappear, multiply, levitate, can be folded, can be written on, etc. I have been learning and practicing card tricks for over 20 years and constantly see new card magic. Card tricks are very exciting and bring much joy to those who practice.


Hi, I'm Matt Furman. I've been a full-time professional magician for over 20 years, ever since I left medical school to pursue my passion.

I have a ton of real world experience and I am constantly practicing and performing new mind blowing magic.