Card Tricks vs Card Magic - What's the Difference?

Occasionally when people contact me they ask if I "just do card tricks?" This is often said (I think) negatively, and I believe they ask it because they've seen someone perform a series of boring card tricks.



In and of themselves, it's not the card tricks that are boring, it's the person performing them.

As a professional close up magician, and expert in card magic, I feel I am well placed to offer advice on this question.

In fact, I give this advice to the magicians that I mentor too. Sometimes they say to me, "my audiences don't like card tricks." That seems crazy to me. The response I would like to say, is harsh but true (and often I tone it down a little) - it's not the card tricks that are boring, it's you!

There is a whole world of difference between the card tricks that an amateur might do versus the card magic that a professional performs.

- Ed Sumner (that's me).

A family member standing up on Christmas day showing you a card trick where you deal the cards into three piles, three times and then eliminate piles of cards until they know which card you chose, is boring.

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A professional magician finding fifteen cards, making one card change magically from one to another, making your signed card appear on the ceiling, all whilst weaving in comedy that has been honed over 1000's of performances is something completely different. It's a fantastic sight to behold, and an incredible experience to be a part of.

In short, it's not the medium (card tricks) but the piece of art (the performance) that makes the difference. To use an analogy, there are boring, repetitive, uncreative pieces of music, and then there's music that moves you, ignites you, stirs your emotions [insert your own favourites here].

An often that comes down to the performance. As an example, here's some fun card magic from non other than David Blaine:

Notice how everyone is crowded round to see what's going on. Notice how much laughter there is. People are having a good time! David Blaine sometimes gets criticism for being a boring performer, but I disagree. He has a certain style but he also knows how to work a crowd.

This close up magic style of performance is similar to the style of magic that I perform. But no, I will not be eating glass!

Here's a video of one of my performances with playing cards:

The difference you get when you hire a professional is that they know instinctively what to do. I know how to bring your event to life. I do that by getting your guests laughing along with each other and enjoying each other's company. Sure, they might have a good time without a magician at your event, but what is a party without entertainment. A pleasant, but unforgettable, get together if you ask me.

I've been performing magic for over 20 years now, and in that time I've worked hard to make sure my routines are polished. That has meant putting myself out there in situations that tested my performance skills, and at times, making mistakes. That's all part of the journey though and has helped me to become the performer I am today.

I mean to use an analogy, I can make a pretty good Sourdough Loaf, but I bet Paul Hollywood can make a better one. He's just vastly more experienced, and bakes more often than I do.


Taking this one step further there is a difference between tricks and magic in general. One of my favourite quotes about magic is:

There's a whole world of difference between not knowing how something is done and knowing that it can't be done.

- Simon Aronson

You can read more about my thoughts on this subject here.



I can be if that's what you want, but most of the time I am a close up magician. That means I provide magic in social situations such as weddings, private parties and corporate events.

This is an important point. While card magic is included in the close up magic that I provide it's not the only thing that I do. Instead, I know when to perform what for maximum effect. Here's another piece of my magic (without playing cards this time) for you to enjoy:


It's of course important to cover all of your bases when organising an event, but if this was one of your concerns, then hopefully I've helped to put your mind at ease.

Close up magic, including professional card magic is a fantastic choice to bring your event to life, and if you're still not convinced, just take a look at some of the photos and reviews below:

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charity magician review
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corporate magician review

Want to find out more? Reach out to me here and I would be happy to talk about how I can help your wedding, corporate event or private party to be a huge success.

Ready to find out more?

Get in touch today for an accurate quote or more information.

Rebecca Blumstein
Rebecca Blumstein
I booked Ed to perform at my husband's 60th Birthday party. We had invited 20 friends to a local restaurant and Ed entertained us between courses. He was supremely professional and we loved all of his magic. Ed was friendly and funny and made sure to include all of our party, who were aged between 3-89. Having Ed's magic at our party made the event special and memorable and I would recommend Ed without reservation.
Daniel Coe
Daniel Coe
Fantastic close up magic that enthralled everyone
Becki Hughes
Becki Hughes
A great evening, blew our mind with his tricks! Would recommend 10/10
Richard Linden
Richard Linden
Ed, you were awesome! - very entertaining, funny and clever.
Craig Pearce
Craig Pearce
Very good and entertaining, would recommend.
Amanda Staton
Amanda Staton
Just wowed at a corporate event… thoroughly recommend.
Tom Soane
Tom Soane
Ed was great, very entertaining.
Davies Lettings
Davies Lettings
A fantastic magician and entertainer.
Shahzad Chaudhry
Shahzad Chaudhry
Just wow, totally babbled. How did he do it. Amazing



It's easy to get in touch with me, either:


During a short phone or video call, we'll talk about your event and your initial ideas. Don't worry, if you're not sure. I've helped to plan many events so I can advise on the best use of magic and other events entertainment.


Once all the details are agreed, I'll send you a booking confirmation and ask you to make the first payment which confirms your date in my calendar. Then it's time to start looking forward to your big event.


I'll check in with you in the week before your event, and on the day of the event. All you need to do now is enjoy the magic, mind reading and conversational comedy.