What Steve Forte can do with a pack of cards borders on the unbelievable

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/03/31/what-steve-forte-can-do-with-a.html


Daaamn! Honestly, I wouldn’t even believe this wasn’t just well edited if it weren’t for the slo-mo sequences. I really wish I had the “venue” in which to practice this. Makes me wonder how he came by these techniques. At a certain point, solo practice is just that.


I am a high-school teacher in China. A few years back I had a student who was an amateur magician who would show me his card manipulations. I used to study his hands intently but could never catch what he was doing. I asked him how long it took him to learn this skill. He said years. It is very impressive to watch.


He’s using a professional casino deck - they have a special feel and finish so the cards handle and deal smoother than the decks we plebes buy. This in no way diminishes his incredible skills, though. I’ll bet he could manipulate any deck just as easily.


Sky Masterson in ‘Guys and Dolls’ puts it beautifully…

One of these days in your travels, a guy is going to show you a brand-new deck of cards on which the seal is not yet broken. Then this guy is going to offer to bet you that he can make the jack of spades jump out of this brand-new deck of cards and squirt cider in your ear. But, son, do not accept this bet, because as sure as you stand there, you’re going to wind up with an ear full of cider.


I can understand how sleight of hand can produce the kings every time as he keeps track of where they are in the deck, but how did he get those nines? Did he memorize the entire deck?

1 Like

I assume that he pocketed them somewhere in the deck so he knew exactly where they were.

My suspicion is that the entire deck was in order at the start and, given his skills, he can shuffle it to any other order and shuffle it back to an order he knows will be there - i.e. the original order - whenever he wants. That way, if the guy had said threes, or any other number, that would have been equally achievable.


He doesn’t need to. As he demonstrated, keeping track of top stock and bottom stock is enough. While he showed his control of the kings, he was also controlling the nines. I don’t know if they were on top or bottom, but it doesn’t matter for someone who can bottom deal as easily as this guy. Oh, and he had a plant in the audience. Common practice for these kinds of videos.

1 Like

If it was a plant so he knew in advance that it would be nines I agree that it is no harder than keeping track of the kings. I’ve always hated magicians using those, it’s such a cheap trick, almost as bad as video editing.

No, you’re wrong. 1. Those are Bee brand cards 2. Casino cards from a casino handle worse thab most brands because there’s little shelf life 3. The finish if Bicycle cards works great for many card tricks 4. Bee brand decks have no white borders which helps hide certain discrepancies

Steve Forte does not need a plant


KEM brand are really high quality cards and apparently last quite a long time. Casinos use them because they’re durable and magicians like them because of the feel.

As a close-up magician and card guy for decades:

  1. I’m sure Forte could have produced whatever 4 or a kind was called for.
  2. He’s not using any “special” cards and could do everything perfectly with a deck of bicycles picked up at the corner drugstore (though the lack of a white border on the Bees is helpful for visual cover).
  3. Although there is now a huge new generation of young magicians who are next-level (kind of like how YouTube is filled with 12-year-old guitarists who can outshred Hendrix), Forte is ridiculously skilled – among the best of the best when it comes to card handling and gambling techniques. He’s a legend in the world of technical card handling, and certainly in the intersection of magic and gambling he’s considered the top guy, probably in the world.

Here are a few more videos of Forte demonstrating unusual techniques, for fans old & new:


I’m not a fan of stooges, either. Seems like cheating, though “cheating” is what magicians do for a living. However, in the context of a card mechanic I somehow feel it’s inline with the skill set, like something a card cheat would do, having a confederate.

Maybe not, but it’s the simplest explanation. I don’t hold it against him. It’s just another form of misdirection.

1 Like

Its the easiest to arrive at conclusion but not the simplest.

Is having a confederate give you the answer you want not simpler than manipulating a deck of cards to produce any cards you want from it? Huh.

Double the workers, halving the pay, for something that can be accomplished alone with a reasonable amount of time practicing; also stooges TALK; so you exponentially increase your chances of your “secret” being exposed, which then leads to everyone who would’ve hired you think you are a hack; also the easiest cop out for a viewer (“it’s a stooge”) makes your method transparent if it’s a stooge, thus not fooling people. No, not simpler. Way more complex.