Skip to main content

Best Magic Tricks

The best magic tricks (in my opinion). Of course, “the best” is entirely subjective. Agreeing and disagreeing as to what is “the best” makes sharing a passion for art and entertainment fun. This article focuses on close up magic, stage magic and mindreading. I have not included grand illusions such as those requiring assistants. I could spend days boring you with an endless list but featured below are 5 routines that I believe are worth a mention.

Yann Frisch

Yann Frisch is a French magician who came to prominence after taking part in a competition known as FISM (essentially the Olympics of magic). The attached routine saw him win the competition and receive international acclaim. As a magician, there is something immensely satisfying about a magician revolutionising an effect we are all familiar with.

In 2012, Yann posted his award-winning routine “baltass” (a variation of the cups and balls). The video received over 1 million views in just over a week. Since then he has toured the world with nothing more than a cup and a ball…Well, a little more than that but you get the sentiment.

What makes this routine so beautiful (apart from the impeccable sleight of hand, timing and tempo), is the chaotic character that Yann portrays. Yann elevates magics’ oldest trick (the cup and ball) to a truly compelling piece of art. I won’t say anymore, just watch it and see for yourself…

Coin Trick – Teller

Anyone who has a passing interest in magic knows that Teller is a genius. He is the brains behind Penn & Teller (arguably magics most famous double act). Whenever Penn and Teller showcase something they have been working on, the magic community is on tenter hooks. The following routine is an excellent illustration of his innovative thinking. It takes magics most tired trick – pulling a coin from behind someone’s ear – and turns it into a miracle. Teller has baffled and bemused audiences with this wonderful piece of magic since he first began performing it. I don’t know how it’s done, I don’t want to know how it’s done, and Teller couldn’t tell me even if he wanted to…

Sam the Bellhop by Bill Malone

It makes the top 5 here but it is arguably my favourite card trick of all time. Bill Malone is an exceptional performer who has audiences eating out of the palm of his hand. Sam the Bellhop is a masterpiece of card mechanics, storytelling and showmanship. The effect has been recreated by many performers offering their own version of the story, but no one does it like Bill…

David Blaine and the ambitious card

The ambitious card is an extremely popular effect that has been around for decades. If you have seen a magician perform at a corporate event or a wedding, I can guarantee they’ll have been performing a version of this trick. The basic premise is a card is placed in the middle of the pack, and under impossible conditions, rises back to the top.

Blaine did not create the effect, however, I remember how him doing it made me feel…Like so much of the material from his early specials, the focus was visual magic that was simple to follow. This particular card trick has such an impact on me I called a magic shop called “Davenports” (RIP) the next day and asked if I could learn the trick. When I was told I could, I exclaimed “surely not, you don’t understand, I SAW A CARD MELT THROUGH THE PACK”. The helpful attended sighed…I don’t think I was his first call of the day…

Derren Brown and Grandfather’s medallion

If you ask a magician what the best magic tricks of all time are, 9/10 this will feature. It is a perfect combination of magic, psychology, storytelling and showmanship. The night I saw this at the theatre, the young woman on stage was so impacted by the moment of magic, she cried. Performing as a mindreader can have a huge affect on any audience, more so than magic tricks. Derren is a masterful story teller – very few do it better. The method used to accomplish this particular magic trick is not particularly satisfying, but that doesn’t matter. Once again, it is a stark reminder that audiences care about how a trick made them feel, not how clever it was. This trick really is the pinnacle of what a great mentalist can strive for.

What do you think are the best magic tricks of all time?

Have I missed an absolute belter?! Let me know in the comments or hit me up on instagram.