Vincent didn’t fool Penn & Teller, but he killed ’em

January 13th, 2011 | Joe Hadsall | Filed Under General

This post was going to be a collection of great magic videos from the past week, because there have been a lot of great magic videos circulating during the past week. As it turns out, a video from a British TV show is enough for a whole post, because there is A LOT to learn.

The show is “Penn and Teller: Fool Us” on ITV1. The magician featured in the clip below is Michael Vincent. The clip is pure magic. See for yourself:

Let’s break down why this was such a great performance, and how you can make yours better:

His presentation had a theme.

All of his phases focused on the aces. Sometimes they switched, sometimes they vanished, sometimes they reappeared. He could have picked any four-card combo, but the choice of the aces gave a strong theme to his performance that the audience could follow easily. He could have done a normal Triumph-like effect at the end, but he didn’t — he got the aces involved a final time.

He gave time for each phase to get a reaction.

To be fair, maybe this has something to do with a TV audience. But we doubt it. Vincent paused and let each phase of an effect get a reaction. Because he gave his audience a chance to appreciate the magic, he got three or four reactions for every trick. And looked like a pro doing it.

His movements were smooth, minimal and solid.

We could probably argue about a certain moment where he flashed to the camera, but did you see it? You had to watch again, didn’t you? His misdirection was well done and he used minimal sleights without a lot of extra motion. He personified the old quote about card magic being poetry.

His presentation was perfectly aligned with the magic.

There’s a good debate on the Ellusionist Performance HQ forums about how it’s hard to come up with good presentations for card magic. But Vincent’s was PERFECT. Especially when he sat down at the table: He did a Triumph-style effect, made four aces reverse and displayed after a shuffle that all the suits were together and in order. BUT HE DIDN’T SAY A WORD ABOUT IT. He didn’t sportscast, in other words. There was no need to call the action, because the audience was riveted to it and didn’t miss a thing.

How do we know it was great magic? Penn & Teller summed it up. They knew everything he did, but were still incredibly impressed.

Thanks to Brandon Sheffield for spotting this vid.


  1. Vincent didn’t fool Penn & Teller, but he killed ‘em: This post was going to be a collection of great magic vide…

  2. RT @ellusionist: Vincent didn't fool Penn & Teller, but he killed 'em

  3. @jay_sankey Vincent didn't fool Penn & Teller, but he killed 'em

  4. If you haven't seen this performance on "P&T: Fool Us," watch right now. TONS to learn from it:

  5. Alexis Sukrieh on:

    RT @Ellusionist: If you haven't seen this performance on "P&T: Fool Us," watch right now. TONS to learn from it:

  6. i would pay top dollar for this routine if he decided to sell it

  7. More then kill them! Vincent shows to the world of magic the Grace and perfection of manipulation! well done

  8. Just simply…..amazing.

  9. Damen William lewis on:

    vincent is a great great magician and he really makes you sit and look without trying. A true artist and cardician. I watched this when it aired during the hols in gb and I was sent back to childhood which is always great. Just a Quick reply to nelsons post on the 15th of january, he say’s he’d/she’d pay top dollar to learn his routine. As far as i can see myself, and I am a working magician too, is that all of it was classic slieght of hand and can be picked up and out from brad christians dvds from street magic straight through to ninja 2. Vincent is great and he inspires me to work harder and so I should and so we all should. Have fun in your magic and keep learning. (Sorry if there’s any speeling errors i@m in a rush lol)

  10. So glad you guys posted this show. Michael Vincent is an extraordinary close-up performer. He is smooth and elegant. I agree with Mr. Lewis’ Jan. 18th post. Almost all of the moves he performed can be found on Brad’s Crash Course and Ninja series. It’s the routining and performance that pulls the magic all together.

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