Magic Trick: Slop Shuffle Triumph

An excellent beginner magic trick

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Written by Josh Humphriss

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Posted: 02 Mar, 2023

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Modified: 04 Mar, 2023

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Watch the trick!

Before I spoil the trick, go watch it. I aim to create videos of me performing it so that you can watch it.

Techniques

For this trick, you need to be able to:

If you don't know how to do any of these, it's worth learning the techniques beforehand. However, you may manage to modify the trick to exclude some of these moves if you find them particularly challenging.

Preparation

Grab a standard deck of cards, preferrably shuffled (but this is not particularly important). Doesn't matter if some cards are missing or if jokers are included.

As for the patter, I was taught to introduce this as a trick about shuffling, where we're going to go over various different methods of shuffling cards to make sure they're really well shuffled. You may want to go with this, or to vary it up a bit.

The Trick

1. Pick a Card

Get an audience member to pick any card from the deck. They should show it to everyone else, but not to you.

2. Catch a Break

Now, you need them to put it back in the deck while catching a pinky break above the card. There are various ways of doing it, although the simplest is to simply divide the deck in two, get them to place the card on top of the bottom card, and then sneakily catch a break while bringing them back together.

3. (Card -> Top) Cuts

You want to bring the card from the break to the top. You can introduce the first method of shuffling as just simply cutting. You want to hold the cards in biddle grip and angle them such that the audience cannot tell that there is a break. Then, you want to cut the cards such that their card ends up on top.

4. (Optional) Riffle Shuffle

The next method of shuffling is the riffle shuffle. You want to do this while controlling the top card.

5. (Card -> Bottom) Overhand Shuffle

The next method of shuffling is the overhand shuffle. You have to be careful to peel of the first card individually, then you should continue the shuffle as usual.

6. Slop Shuffle

Now for the final method of shuffling. This one is great, because it not only changes the order of the cards, but it changes which way up they are (kind of...). This is quite a simple move - you have to feed cards to the bottom of a pile, whilst repeatedly turning it over. Be careful to do it to the bottom! Then, when reaching the final card, place this on top (this is their card). It's best to watch a video to understand this step properly.

7. Show Cards

Now, the deck has half of it face down, half face up, and their card is in the middle. You want to (pretend to) look through the deck, then show part of it that is face-up and face-down, another bit that is face-down and face up. Then, you want to find the middle of the deck (this is often quite easy as the cards will have a natural bend), and split it here, displaying that it is face-down and face-down. Then, discretely flip over the left pile as you put it back, such that most of the deck is now face-down

8. The Reveal

Now click your fingers or whatever you want to do - you have a deck where all the cards are facing the same direction except for their card. It's best to turn this face-up to first reveal that all the cards are facing the same direction. Then, you can see that a card is face-down, which you can ask an audience member to pick. Assuming you did everything correctly, this should be their card!

Improvements

Step 3: Multiple Cuts

A single cut can be a bit suspicious. It's just as easy to do 2 cuts, which can make it seem much more natural.

Step 4: Multiple Riffle Shuffles

You can do the riffle shuffle as many times as you like! Don't do it too many times or the audience will get bored...

Step 5: Don't show the bottom card!

You must be careful to not show the bottom card for as long as their card is on the bottom. People don't like seeing their own card.

Step 6: Your cards need borders!

It's really obvious otherwise...

Step 6: Chaotic = better

The more chaotic this can seem, the better. Try to do it in small chunks, but also make it seem chaotic and get through the deck fairly quickly so the audience don't have time to question what you're doing.

Step 7: Big Movements

It's important you use big movements here to conceal the final turning over of one of the piles.

Patter

I generally frame it as a trick about teaching methods of shuffling, while also bringing in the occasional fun fact to keep it a bit more interesting. You'll want to put your own spin on it.

Fun fact: fully shuffled = 2500 overhand shuffles = 7 riffle shuffles