FOUR POINTS: Essential magic gear as important as wallet, keys, watch

February 14th, 2013 | Joe Hadsall | Filed Under Four Points, General

You’re a magician now, and magicians never stop being magicians. You may call yourself an illusionist, prestidigitator, close-up artist or urban shaman, but none of those titles matter. The bottom line is that you bend reality at your will, and you have a reputation for that. So be ready. Be prepared.

Granted, carrying your props around during dates, nights out or other social events may be difficult. It’s tough to manage a Howard Wolowitz-sized collection of sponge balls and magic bouquets in a pair of cargo pants. But there are four things you can have on you at all times in a variety of situations — school, church, work, whatever — and you’ll be ready to blow a few minds whenever you want.


PLAYING CARDS: Let’s be honest: You’re probably packing playing cards wherever you go anyway. Magicians have a special relationship with playing cards for good reason: There’s so much spur-of-the-moment magic that can be done with them. Think of all the impromptu tricks out there — even a simple ambitious card routine packs a powerful punch. There are many others that can be done with just a simple setup. Or, instead of making miracles, you can keep their eyes occupied with some flourishes.

CASH: There are many non-magical reasons to have money on us. But money can also be kept in checkbooks or on a credit card — we’re talking about cold, hard cash. Bills and coins can be used for a variety of effects. A coins across routine doesn’t need to be done with a Walking Liberty — regular quarters work just as magically, and even more so if they are borrowed. Get used to keeping some change on you: four quarters or half dollars is plenty. And Artifact coins always snare attention.

RUBBER BANDS: While some magicians go through the trouble of wearing a few Loops around their wrist, regular rubber bands can be almost as functional. There are a myriad of good linking and unlinking routines, such as Michael Ammar’s Crazy Man’s Handcuffs, that can be done at the drop of a dime. Other effects, such as U-Turn by Marcus Eddie, can use a borrowed ring. Or combine those with cards or cash for extra impact: Wrap a band around your deck for a phase in your ambitious card routine after you’ve done your work, for instance.

SHARPIE: This may not seem intuitive, at first. But having a writing implement with permanent ink is pretty handy to have. Pens can’t write on coins, and might not work on cards. Pencils are a no-go, no how. And other types of markers might have ink that beads and collects on the writing surface, instead of seeping in. Sharpies are different: They write on almost anything, and a signature adds a powerful punch to performances. And this particular Sharpie will set you up for even more badness.

If you’re not already packing all four of these things, consider adding at least one. It will encourage you get out of your comfort zone and learn a variety of magic, which will make you a more well-rounded performer.

YOUR TURN: Think that we nailed this list? Is there something that should bump one of these other items? Let us know in the comments.

FOUR POINTS is a regular feature that celebrates magicians’ favorite number by highlighting four critical bits of importance, awesomeness or otherwise. Send your suggestions to


  1. Many, such as myself, carry a “go to gimmick”. The one effect that will leave even the most skeptical of audience members in pure awe. ACR may get the laymen, Coin magic will incite an internal riot, but the final nail in the mythical coffin is kept tucked away, never far and ready to go. Unique to each prestidigitator, readers now are smirking as they remember theirs….

  2. Imagination, self-confidence and self-control…

    Those are important too even though they aren’t objects…

    What do you think?


  3. I Never go anywhere without my wallet. And a kollossal killer setup…

  4. lol the “urban shaman”, if i had to chose i would take a thumb-tip over the sharpie but putting it over the sharpie doesn’t take extra space. I also usually carry 5 silver-dollars and a Chinese coin.

  5. Billet: just a few of them with a sharpie.
    Strings: two of them, for Paulino Gil’s The Enigma. Great routine! (Perhaps more confusing than a coin routine.)
    Flash paper: without comment.

  6. I can not believe no one has mentioned a pack of business cards. These give you not only your information to book a gig but a variety of effects from “Out to Lunch” to any one ahead mental effect. If you are already carrying a pen or Sharpie then a pack of your business card are a must!