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[Card Magic] Card Forcing

category: Miscellaneous | course: Card Tricks | difficulty:

Card forcing is the act of letting the spectator think they are choosing their card at random, but you are forcing your card on them. There are two methods here: sleight of hand ones, and psychological ones. The sleight of hand are basically clever tricks to give the spectator the card that you want, while (s)he thinks it was the one she chose. Psychological ones require you to say and do things in a certain wayso that the spectator starts to think of a certain card and eventually picks the one you've been forcing. However, keep in mind that most of these forces are tricky, and you need to be able to perform them smoothly or the trick is immediately done with.

Riffle Force

This one is the simplest to perform, yet is very effective.

  • Before doing this, quickly spot the bottom card of the deck and memorize it. You're going to force this one.
  • Take the deck into your hand, vertically, normal (dealer's) grip
  • Then with your other hand, spread out the cards of the deck vertically, so the top cards are closer to you than the bottom card. This allows you to riffle.
  • But, what the audience doesn't know, is that you don't move the bottom card, so basically that stays about as close to you as the top card. Or, you could use the thumb from your other hand to glide it back.
  • Then, as you riffle through the deck (with the thumb, top to bottom), you ask a spectator to say stop.
  • When he says stop, you take the portion you've riffled through off the top of the deck AND the bottom card you slided backwards. Because you've prepared for it, it's easy and unnoticable to take that bottom card with you.
  • Then you quickly square this package up, and reveal the bottom card to be the spectator's chosen card.

Simple, but with a bit of practice, nobody can see the bottom card is in your hand during the riffle and is included with the package when you're squaring it up. This was the first force I learned, and I stuck with it for a long time because it was so effective.


If performed quickly, this one is just as simple but unnoticable.

  • Before you start, spot the bottom card of the deck, that's the one you'll force.
  • Take the deck between the thumb and middle finger of your right hand, with your hand above the deck (palm facing away from you).
  • Then with the thumb and middle finger of the left hand, hand underneath the cards (palm facing you), take a small portion of the deck from the top. Let them fall into your left hand like you would normally hold cards (dealer's grip).
  • Repeat this action, transporting a few cards from the right hand to the left every time, until the spectator says 'stop!'
  • Then, you show them the bottom card from your right hand. This is still the same, because you've only been moving cards from the top of the deck. However, this is hidden by your left hand, so the audience doesn't suspect anything. And if you do it quickly, it even looks impressive.

Double Flip Force

The double flip forcemay seemsomewhat strange to your audience, but works everytime. If you just talk smoothly while doing it, it should be alright.

  • Spot the top card, that's the one you'll force.
  • Hold the deck vertically in your right hand, thumb on top, and the other fingers supporting the bottom.
  • Then use your left hand's thumb to riffle through the side of the deck from top to bottom.
  • When the spectator says 'stop!' you turn the top portion you've gone through so far upside down (face up).
  • Then you continue riffling with the cards underneath the portion you just turned around.
  • When the spectator says 'stop!' you again turn around everything above the left thumb and take that portion off of the deck.
  • Now you have a group of cards with the first half of them facing up, andthe restfacing down. Go through the face-up cards until you meet the first face-down card. That's the one you pick, and give to the spectator.

Cross-Cut/False Cut Force

The false cut force depends more on how well you can present your tricks than real sleight of hand. What you basically do, is cut the deck and mark a certain location as the chosen card, while in fact it's just the top card of the deck you've memorized.

  • Show the audience it's a normal deck, while at the same time spotting the top card.
  • Then go through the deck in any way you like. Perhaps let the spectator cut the deck in two, as long as you have two halves in your hands after this move.
  • Then, place the half with the card you memorized on the table. Now place the other half on it, but perpendicular to it, to 'mark' the card the spectator chose.
  • Now, you need to cover up that you actually just marked the top card by some smooth talk. 'Okay, you can all confirm that I gave the spectator a regular deck, and he cut it completely at random, and I now marked the card he chose?' It does well, because everything is the truth except for the last statement.
  • Then, simply take the top card of the bottom half, which previously was the top card of the deck, and give it to your spectator.

Glide Force

The glide force only requires you to be smooth with theglide, the rest is easy yet very convincing.

  • Spot the bottom card of the deck.
  • Hold the deck in dealer's grip, face down.
  • Ask the spectator to think of any number between 1 and 52. However, to make things a bit easier and faster, you can narrow it down to say 1 up to and including 15.
  • While he's thinking, subtly glide the lower card a bit back.
  • Now the spectator has said a number, e.g. 10.
  • Then you tell them you're going to take 10 cards from the bottom of the deck, and the tenth card will be theirs.
  • The first 9 cards you pick though, are actually the second to bottom card. Because you did a glide on the bottom card, it's easier to pick the second to bottom card and make it appear to be the bottom one.
  • Then, for the last card, you pick the actual bottom card. Do this as quickly and swiftly as with the others, to not raise suspicion. Put it down on the cards you previously laid on the table, and then raise it and show/give it to the spectator. If you give it to the spectator directly from your hand, they'll be focused on your hand, and might spot the difference.

Elimination Force

This one depends a lot on quick thinking and your showman skills. It's used more often than you think, in a lot of different ways, but it's also easy to get caught on. I'll try to show you a very abstract way to do it

  • Say you have 6 groups of cards laying on the table, face down. You know that the spectator's card is on top of the 2nd group.
  • Now you ask the spectator to select one group.
  • If it's the correct group, simply say 'alright, let's magically turn the top card into your card!' You do some magical movements, and turn the top card over and reveal the spectator's card.
  • If it's not the correct one, say 'alright, let's remove this one from the equation! So, select another one' (or something like that). And repeat.
  • The reason it works is because people don't know what is done with the selected group. They just select one, and for all they know you're going to eat those cards.
  • The reason it's tricky, is because if the audience first picks two wrong groups and then the correct one, how do you explain you now suddenly don't remove the group? Therefore, often either a small number of groups is chosen or an explanation is already thought of, just say something like 'this is the third one you've chosen, and third time is the charm, so let's make it appear on this one!'

Gravity/Cull Force

This one requires a little more skill than the others, but looks much more like the normal way of letting someone choose a card. You slightly fan the cards, going through them until a spectator says stop. Then you show them the card, but you've actually forced the bottom card.

  • Spot the bottom card.
  • Take the deck in your right hand. Let it lie on your palm, with thumb on the right and the rest of the fingers on the left.
  • Now, with the left hand, take the top AND bottom card and slide them a bit to the left and towards you (to conceil the bottom card).
  • At the same time, turn the deck over so it's bottom now lies on the fingers of your right hand. Your right thumb should be able to go through the cards, and your left thumb should be able to catch them.
  • Perform this motion, quite quickly, until someone says 'stop!'. You shouldn't do it too slow, because then you'll still be somewhere around the top of the deck, and the bottom card becomes too obvious.
  • Now, take out the portion you've just gone through + the bottom card, in one swift motion. Square it up to conceil the secret even more, and then simply show the spectator the bottom card of those cards, and give it to him to inspect it (always takes the attention off of what you're actually doing).

Dribble Force

This one is the hardest of them all to do, but again looks more natural and convincing. What you do isdribblethrough the deck, until someone tells you to stop, and then you show them the card you've stopped at, which is exactly the card yu wanted them to pick.Dribblingthrough a deck of cards, means slowly dropping cards from your left hand down into your right hand.Like letting cards fall into your right hand, but in a more controlled way.

  • Get a thumb break with your left hand somewhere around the middle of the deck.
  • While you're still talking, spot the card you've cut at by subtly rotating the deck so it faces towards you.
  • Now, dribble the cards from left to right. Keep your hands close together to not reveal too much (and make no mistakes), and let one or two cards fall at a time, at a constant rate. If you let a big chunk of cards fall every other second, it doesn't look as good and the force is easily noticed.
  • When the spectatorstarts saying'stop!', there's two possibilities: 1) You've already gone past your thumb break, so an almost complete deck already lies in your right hand. 2) Or you haven't reached that point yet.
  • In case 1, simply drop all the cards remaining and tell him he was too late and start again.
  • In case 2, now drop all the cards remaining until the thumb break. Then get the bottom card of the cards remaining in your left hand, which you've spotted earlier on, and show/give it to the spectator

The difficult part here is to learn to dribble nicely, the rest shouldn't be too hard.

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