With these secrets you can
beat the devil at his own game.
There are two basic principles of magical deception applicable to all types of deception and not just to those used by magicians.
Con-artists of all types use these secrets extensively. They are: 1) the importance of the inconsequential, and 2) the simple way.
The first rule says that if the magician/deceiver doesn’t treat something as being important, then the one being deceived/victim will not treat it as important. This makes it easy to hide what must be hidden by paying less attention to it.
The second rule is that deceiving somebody in the simplest way is best, because it doesn’t matter how they’re deceived, as long as they are deceived.
These secrets - which can be used in far more than card tricks - are from the well-regarded magic book Expert Card Technique: Close-up Table Magic by Jean Hugard and Frederick Braue, published in 1940.
The Importance of The Inconsequential
Remember always that that which the performer appears to feel is of great importance will also be so regarded by the audience. Conversely, that which he treats as inconsequential will be given scant attention.
Expert Card Technique: Close-up Table Magic, Amazon>>
It is for this reason that, when you false count a number of cards, you should never look at them during the count. Instead avail yourself of the opportunity to gaze about you at the audience, making of the count a routine matter; the impression you give is that it is merely a formality and since those present have no reason to suspect chicanery they accept the count at face value. On the other hand, if the conjurer watches the cards closely, or shows nervousness, or counts each card as though it were breakable, he will give to the count an importance which the onlookers similarly attach to it.
Again, if you have anything to hide, place it in the most open position available...
Mr. Bert Allerton makes great use of this principle; whenever, in his table work, he has something he wishes to hide, he places it in the most (apparently) dangerous position; he knows that if a spectator suspects that he is trying to withhold an object, the spectator will want to see it desperately; if, on the other hand, it is placed directly before him, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred he will regard it with indifference.
The same principle applies to all tricks in which you have gambled that a spectator will follow a certain set course of action; if you watch him like a hawk and attempt to guide him, he will fight you and ruin your trick...
Finally, never place too much importance in your sleights, lest you telegraph to the onlookers that the sleight is about to take place…
Learn the technique of your sleights perfectly, create a misdirection to cover them and, when they must be made, divest them of all importance in your own mind and you will avoid the danger of forewarning your spectators.
The rule, subject to the exception to which all rules are subject, is to treat as unimportant that which you really wish to conceal.
The Simple Way
The very best method of performing a given trick is the easiest method, and it is the method which should be used. The complication of a trick for complication's sake, a strange malady sometimes noted amongst conjurers, should be rigidly eschewed…
Remember always that it is not what you do, but what the spectator believes that you do which is important. One of the very finest of all card workers has, time and again, performed tricks which have appeared to be absolutely miraculous, by the simple expedient of looking at a chosen card carelessly held by the spectator. If you have the good fortune to be in the position where you can sight a chosen card, it would be foolish not to make the most of it.
The only demand that need be made of a method is that it shall deceive the onlookers; bluff, audacity, swindles and barefaced deceptions are all fair grist in the conjurer's mill. If it is effective, and it is simple in the bargain—so much the better.