reading minds

So, last night at a bar I started doing magic for friends of friends.  As we all do when we have too much to drink, but something interesting happened in the set.

I started doing more mind reading and risky magic.  If you guys haven’t seen my lecture on TMC, you should check it out.  I always end up doing this mind reading effect that is super easy but packs strong.  It’s basically a simple riffle force of a card and reveal it in a special way.  So after I did that, the natural thing the spectators wanted was me to do it again.  So I did.  I instant stooged one of his friends and had him read the person’s mind.  They wanted more.

I was in a risky mood, since failure now would not be a nice way to end.  I had the person think of a card and fanned the cards in front of his friends.  I literally made them guess what card he was holding.  Although now I was thinking that a 1 in 52 chance was basically 100% for some reason, the trick failed.  I looked puzzled and started to think what the hell I can do as an out but still keep it in the mind reading context.  I palmed out the card and asked one of their friends to see if his card was in the deck.  Acting confused why they couldn’t guess the card.  I kept asking what the card was (10 of clubs) and kept saying that I didn’t see it in the deck as the 2 were pulling out the card.  The friends agreed.  Having the named card palmed out, I just decided to put it into my wallet since I had a Card to Wallet in my back pocket.  So the problem was to reveal it not in the context of magic.  For example your card transported into my wallet.

So I kept acting confused and then in a moment of clarity, I told them that I think it’s not in the deck because I used it for a trick yesterday.  Then realizing it, I tell them I left it in my wallet!  Being excited (acting) I slowly pulled the wallet out and took the card out of the zippered compartment.

They freaked.

When we use “outs” or trying to come up with a good ending from something that went wrong, we always go to tried and true methods.  This is totally fine, but sometimes they can be out of context.  If I just pulled the card out of the wallet without the acting bit, it would seem as a magic trick.  Where the card transported to the wallet.  But in this case, they didn’t even think I used sleight of hand because in the context it seemed to make sense that I left a card in the wallet before.  The acting sells the fact that it was a coincidence.  It was also a great bit that the friends confirmed with my story of not seeing the 10 of clubs in the deck before.

It’s amazing what jazzing can end up.


Posted: May 18th, 2011
Comments: 10 Comments.

The Quest

My current obsession is the cover pass.  I am torn about doing a “diary” type of video updates on my attempts to clean up and make the actions of the cover pass better.  Maybe a count of hands from the readers will give me a better understanding of who actually wants this.

Note, while I will talk about techniques of the pass, I will not teach the pass in full.  I feel that giving you guys my train of thought as to how I go about learning a sleight would be beneficial.

Or we can make fun of shitty Youtube magicians.

Or we can do both…  Eggcellent….

Posted: May 12th, 2011
Comments: 12 Comments.

It’s too hard

There is a perception that hard sleights are just hard for no reason. You always hear from magicians, “That’s too hard. I’ll just do a double undercut.” or “That’s too hard, I am not a man so therefore I will do only girl stuff.” Okay, maybe not the first quote. While this kind of thinking is wrong in many ways, I do understand where they are coming from.

I would agree that the current trend of creating “original” sleights are becoming to the point where one creates something harder for the sake of variation.
In the old days, sleights were created to accomplish things.  To make things efficient. Now?  We see many kids making sleights different and “harder” so they can claim it as their own while they don’t add improvements.  Either its a lateral movement or even a step down.

From the above thinking,  hard sleight of hand makes you a “move monkey” or that you are “masturbating” for the audience now.


Sleight of hand is all about making a certain effect come across clearer and more direct. The method being hard or not doesn’t matter. If you use a easy sleight that takes many steps to get to the same place as a hard sleight in less, then it’s a no reason not to learn the harder sleight.

Saying that a move is too hard is saying you are fucking lazy.  Magic is a Craft.

I always try to make sleights that are more efficient.  Usually they do come across as hard moves.  But if you take a look at the sandwiches I just recently put out, I personally feel that the moves in the trick are justified.  They aren’t just in there to make it harder for my own personal satisfaction.

We need to stop thinking in terms of a move being hard or easy, but instead think in terms of does this sleight make my effect come better?  Cleaner?  Less Suspicious?  If so, it doesn’t matter how fucking hard or easy it is.

Posted: May 10th, 2011
Comments: 4 Comments.


the more and more you perform magic, the less and less you are in reality. You become trapped.

Posted: May 7th, 2011
Comments: 2 Comments.

Collection of Facebook chats. #1

So this will be my updates on all the wonderful Facebook chat messages I get from magicians. The magicians are in red, and I’m normal.  PUN.

Chat 1:

how will i know if the jason brumbalow that emailed me was the true vp of E?
how the hell would I know
im doubting because he said that hes going to produce a video tutorial about my *CENSORED* change
stop for a second
why do you think I would know anything about this
or can help you?

Chat 2: (Mind you, he is 14 years old)
I am creating my own DVD project, just don’t know exactly, how to sell it

well… if its good you can just contact magic websites
and see if they buy it. that’s basically it
I am making sure it is very good, quality, DVD, teaching
I compare it to really good videos
but is the content good? is it original? is it worthy of publishing?
honestly it’s a flourishing project
but what do I do, like send the menus to them or what?
the same but different content

Chat 3:

sup Tony! thanx for the add
by the way im lazy when it comes to research..who invented the doble lift?
ive always wondered

old as the hills
There isn’t a direct person they can attach the credit to.
someday ill invent an awesome move like that !! im gonna name it with my name so im not forgotten like the doble lift guy

Posted: May 5th, 2011
Comments: 3 Comments.

I’m back mother fuckers

Is it true? Maybe. I’m going to start posting again. Let’s make a goal here. 2 posts a week. Starting next week.

1 post will be serious and the other will be fun. Something about murdering ducks or something. Because everyone knows ducks are expendable. Right guys?

Stay tuned ladies.


Posted: May 5th, 2011
Comments: 3 Comments.

Thumb Tip

Let’s get brain storming guys. I feel that the Thumb Tip is poorly used, if ever used. I think it’s the most versatile item for a magician. Let’s hear some crazy ideas with them.

Here is some off my head.

1.) Grab some snow and pack it into your hand, and when you open your hand, its a mini-snowman.

2.) At the bar, you grab a napkin. Put it into your hand and squeeze, you open to find out it is a origami object.

If you guys want to get your mind open to all the amazing things you can do with the Thumb Tip, check out a DVD called “Examining the thumb tip”. It will blow your mind.


Posted: January 31st, 2011
Comments: 9 Comments.

Lecture tomorrow. Oct 7th at 8pm EST

Having a online lecture at the magic session. Join up.

Posted: October 6th, 2010
Comments: 2 Comments.

What are the best tricks?

Many magicians ask me what are the best tricks. I just show them sponge ball rabbits with the black rabbit baby ending. Because you know… that’s just not really PC.

But if we take that trick out of the equation, I would have to say that my friend Eric Hu yesterday told me something very enlightening. Here is his quote in all the “quote” glory.

The best tricks you are do are the ones you can’t practice.

Very bizarre thing to say about magic. Think about, tell me why this sentence makes sense. Tell me why it doesn’t. I’ll tell you the answer to why I feel this statement is very strong.

-Tony C.

Posted: September 20th, 2010
Comments: 11 Comments.


Trying to kick the blog back up again.  Here is a trick I’m working on.  Enjoy.

Inversion from Tony Chang on Vimeo.

Password: wonder

Posted: September 5th, 2010
Comments: 14 Comments.

Designing Miracles

Everyone should get this book.  Ironically I am just starting to read it now, but it is a great book to ponder on.

-Tony C.

P.S.   I’ll update more soon.

Posted: June 8th, 2010
Comments: 7 Comments.

Going for a ride

Noel goes for a ride. from Tony Chang on Vimeo.

Posted: May 23rd, 2010
Comments: 3 Comments.

Brick Pass

Why do they have to pick a card again?

What is the point of someone picking a card again?  I took it for granted probably like every other magician, but lately I have been thinking what is the reason.  I mean it is a great effect when a spectator selects a card and returns it to be shuffled and to find it again, but I think that we as magicians might be taking it too far…

An example.  Triumph.  what is the trick?  It is making a shuffled mixed up face up/face down deck magically right itself into a normal state.  Now where the fuck does having a card selected come into that equation?  Do we dilute the trick because of the selection?  Isn’t it clearer if triumph is done without a card being selected?

Imagine handing a spectator the deck and having them throw it on the table and shuffle face up/face down.  you have them square the deck on the table.  You then do your magical move and then spread the deck.  The deck magically rights itself into all face down.  that is impressive, clear, direct.  Now add a selection into that trick….  it makes me wonder why.  Its like we want magic to happen “around” the selection.  The selection really takes a back seat.

“Look, I turned all the cards face down!… and found your card.”

Think about it this way.  If you did a set of card tricks but never had a card selected, do you think it would stronger or weaker than a set of card tricks where every time it had to have a selection?

Do you just cut to the fucking meat of an effect because you don’t have a card selected?  How many times had you have a layman say “like it really matters where I put the card… you know where it is anyways.”

Here is some homework.  How many effects do you know that doesn’t involve a selection?

Posted: March 14th, 2010
Comments: 25 Comments.

A Secret I have been holding out on.

So I have been keeping this one for myself for a while and only been telling a few friends. Its a “kicker” effect to end ANY card trick. There’s so many out there but never one that can fit into any card trick.

Here it is under this line.  Highlight it to see it.


Posted: February 6th, 2010
Comments: 7 Comments.


Alex is an up and coming magician. Don’t believe me? Here is a video of him doing a move that is very difficult and doesn’t have any applications. My kind of stuff.


Posted: January 31st, 2010
Comments: 4 Comments.

Cover Pass

Cover Pass WIP from Tony Chang on Vimeo.

Posted: January 18th, 2010
Comments: 11 Comments.

Ponta the Smith

Long time since i blogged. Sorry about that. I started getting into coin magic. I actually started out basically in coin magic before I got really heavy into card magic. It’s time to go back and re-learn it again.

Now the topic is about this Japanese coin magician, Ponta the Smith. I’m sure you seen his videos on youtube before, but if not here is his youtube channel.  Amazing hands, amazing coin work, and best of all… no gimmicks.

One big reason I got out of coin magic was because of the trend of where it was going.  It got so god-damn gimmicked that it sickened me.  What happened to the good old days of just using one shell.  Now its all about the triple threat gimmicks and flipper coins and crap.  Now I for one am not all against using gimmicks but like in my previous posts I feel many people use gimmicks because either they don’t have the skill to pull it off or they are just lazy.

If you disagree, check out the work of Ponta and Kainoa Harbottle.  They do things that are so magical and visual without the use of gimmicks.  That is the difference between good magic and bad magic.  Many forget that magic is a craft.  You can’t be a good painter if you have a machine do the painting for you.  You have to hone your skills.

Anyways, just a little rant.  If you want to learn some good coin magic wait until Ponta comes out with his DVD over here in the states.  Also pick up anything by Kainoa, expically Coins on Edge.

Happy Holidays.

Posted: December 30th, 2009
Comments: 10 Comments.

The War of 1812 Trick

War of 1812 from Tony Chang on Vimeo.

password : booya

Posted: December 1st, 2009
Comments: 11 Comments.

Be Kind Sandwich

Sandwich routine that uses the BeKind Vanish. Hope you guys like it.

Password : Who invented the trick “The Visitor”? Larry ________

BeKind Sandwich from Tony Chang on Vimeo.

Posted: October 6th, 2009
Comments: 11 Comments.

Thoughts on magic.

Warning : I tend to talk in stream of consciousness.

I don’t know why I rather see something as simple as a coin vanish performed well. If you ever seen Alex Gieser do any of his coin magic you will know what I am talking about. No patter, No misdirection, just pure magic. I guess I have to define what I mean as magic. Many consider that presentation and patter is above the sleight of hand. The old saying of “The magician is an actor playing the part of the magician.” has always rubbed me in the wrong way. What is a magician? How does the actor know what he is suppose to represent. Its like telling an actor to act like an alien from outerspace. Does this mean that the actor is trying to act out what he “thinks” a alien is suppose to be? I somehow think that’s why they want to put more thought in presentation and patter since that’s what they know. But what if you are presenting to a person from another country? What if you can’t use the power of language? I can’t stand when magicians say that magic is a sub-set of theater. If anything magic is its own art. Magic can use theater to help create a better illusion (sometimes), but magic isn’t some bitch to theater.

I feel a reason that many people need to use patter or presentation is that magic at its core is illogical. Logic tells us that in order to get from A to C, you have to go through B. But magic creates something that can make it “seem” like A can get to C without B. this is the sense of magic for me. You create a situation that can’t be possible logically unless you know the method. With the method it does not defy logic at all. Think about it. Magic is the only thing on this damn planet that creates this. It is such an amazing thing. Now back to why people want to use presentation… Magic creates a blank spot in your mind. Paul Harris describes this as feeling like a baby. Your mind doesn’t know how to categorize what just happened. It doesn’t last for long though, the mind HAS to do something about it, thus it will creates one of the two emotions, amazement or frustration. That’s is why you get people who are just amazed or hate you. I had women cry before by just doing some card tricks. Its a card trick for fuck sake, but yet it hits them hard.

Now to my point. Many times presentation and patter is to “soften” the blow of magic. How many times do you see magicians make jokes after the magical moment. They don’t like that tension that it creates. A main reason that I stopped perusing magic as a job was that I felt both of the emotions, amazement and frustration, were equally valid. You can’t leave your customers frustrated as they leave the restaurant if you were doing magic there. That isn’t your JOB. You are suppose to entertain them. But magic at it’s core is not to entertain. You can USE magic to entertain, but at it’s core its something different. I remember reading on the magic cafe about someone asking how many phases for an ACR. Someone said “as long as they are entertained”. That’s fucking bullshit. Just because they are entertained doesn’t mean its good magic. Its like saying a comedian that plays the guitar is a good guitarist. That’s stupid.

But the problem is that you can’t get paid for just doing magic as it is. People want drama, people want stories. Its how we are built. That is why I do magic on my own terms. When your life and well-being isn’t dependent on magic as a job it will open magic as an art to a bigger arena. For me it is to simplify my magic. My dream card trick is to show a joker to the audience and say that it can change to any card they name. They do and I wave the joker and it changes to the card, and then back. That’s it.

Alright, enough ranting. Here is a color change I have been working on for quite sometime. It is called the “Be Kind Change”. Anyone who can actually read through this whole thing should deserve a little treat. ;)

Password : The Boldest change or switch that is executed with a card in one hand for the card on top. Its the “_ _ _ change”

Be Kind Change from Tony Chang on Vimeo.

Posted: September 16th, 2009
Comments: 13 Comments.


Magic Live, people. Who is coming? Look me up.


Posted: August 16th, 2009
Comments: 2 Comments.

Diagonal Palm Shift Tutorial

Just want to remind you to read the actual handling of the DPS in Expert at the card table. I show you what adjustments I have made to make the DPS fit what I want, but I am not going through the sleight’s nuts and bolts. Thanks to Ricky Smith and Gary Au for helping me through this. I am by no means a master of the move but the reason I want to teach this move is that I want more magicians to read the classics. The DPS has many applications.

Oh by the way. Don’t just watch the video to know how its done. Learn it. Use it. Otherwise there is no point.

Password: What does Erdnase call the section in his book about magic effects.

Untitled from Tony Chang on Vimeo.

Posted: August 4th, 2009
Comments: 16 Comments.

Diagonal Palm Shift #2

Here are two tricks I have been working on using the DPS as the main sleight.  A variation of the Hofzinser’s Ace Problem and Bureau d’Echange by Ernest Erick. Enjoy.  Next week I will go further in detail on how the move is done.

Password : Ricky Jay and his __ assistants.  (number)

Two tricks using the DPS from Tony Chang on Vimeo.

Posted: July 19th, 2009
Comments: 10 Comments.

Central Park

Posted: July 15th, 2009
Comments: 1 Comment.


Posted: July 15th, 2009
Comments: No Comments.

Diagonal Palm Shift #1

If anyone was wondering what I have been doing magic-wise in the many months of not updating this blog, the topic explains it all.  The DPS is explained in “Expert at the Card Table”.  Rarely done by magicians, but if seen in the hands of an expert, its a thing of beauty.  The mechanics of the move is something all sleight of hand should achieve.

Now, I do not claim to be an expert of the move.  I have only been doing it for 4 months but I do feel I am qualified to show students of the move some tips and pointers that will help them along.   I won’t teach the move in full detail since I strongly feel that this move is something only learned completely if one goes though the trails and errors to make it perfect.

The learning process of the diagonal palm shift will perfectly demonstrate what YOU, as the magician should go through with every sleight of hand.  The DPS is not forgiving to the lay men’s eyes.  You can get away with a poor double lift, but the DPS is not as forgiving.  That is the main reason that only seasoned magicians perform the move in public.

So here is a video of me doing the move and a few pointers on the sleight.  Throughout the coming weeks, I will be adding more pointers on the move.  If anyone wants to upload their DPS and show it on the blog, I’ll be more than glad to do so.  If you don’t think the DPS has any applications, trust me when I say this…  I have came up with some amazing tricks that use the DPS exclusively.  It has more applications than just stealing a card out of the middle.

Password : What year was “Expert at the Card Table” published?  *Hint* last name of author “.com”

DPS1 from Tony Chang on Vimeo.

Posted: July 12th, 2009
Comments: 18 Comments.

can’t spring cards well.

Posted: July 7th, 2009
Comments: 3 Comments.

Contax t2 test

Posted: July 7th, 2009
Comments: 1 Comment.


Posted: July 7th, 2009
Comments: No Comments.