“It’s Time To Play The Game”

No, not when Lemmy said it. I’m talking about back in 2019 on Fool Us when I said it. It began with me inviting Penn & Teller on stage to play the shell game and ended with the FU trophy. In between those two moments I chatted with Alyson Hannigan, and said this about the shell game,

“It’s not just a show or a trick that you watch,
it’s a trick that you PLAY.”

That element of play, whether real or pretend, is one of the most POWERFUL presentational hooks a magician can have in his tool box.


What Would Del Ray Do?
Arguably the greatest close-up act of the 20th century, his act featured several routines where he would play card or dice games with the spectators.

Not cheating demonstrations. Nope. Del would actually play blackjack, poker, or his own incredible dice game, offering spectator’s a chance to win a “fifty dollar bill. I apologize for it lookin’ so shabby. I’ve had it for seventeen years.”

A part of Del Ray’s appeal was the game element. It made his magic so incredibly entertaining and engaging.


What Would Terry Seabrooke Do? Seabrooke originated the classic routine where a signed banknote is put in one of four identical envelopes. The envelopes are mixed up. The spectator guesses which envelope has his signed money. In other words, the spectator plays a game. That envelope is set aside. The other three are burned. The chosen envelope is opened and …it’s empty. Later, the signed bill is is found in a sealed envelope inside Seabrooke’s wallet.

It’s the game element — even a pretend game like Seabrooke’s — that makes the magic so incredibly entertaining and engaging.

What routines of yours — routines you already do — can benefit from adding the game element?

A few possibilities off the top of my head: shell game (doh!) three card monte, mental effects, cups and balls, card routines (Paul Harris’ Whack Your Pack is a great one) the ten card poker deal, etc.

Now to be clear, I don’t thinks this works with all magic tricks. Of course not. But I do think the game presentations can so be fun, so playful, so naturally interactive, that it is something definitely worth exploring.

And that brings us to …

Our Newest Magic Routine Release:
Corn Hole Zero

Years ago I began with a modern classic of stage magic, and transformed it from head to toe.

I turned it into a game. And I added a prize.

Corn Hole Zero adds a game to the magic.
A fun, interactive, magic game with real, visible & magic results.
Pre-Sale Begins Wednesday, July 26th, 2023.

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