What’s your high score? Try a few rounds of magician’s solitaire

March 11th, 2013 | Joe Hadsall | Filed Under General

Grab a deck of your favorite cards. Time to play some magician’s solitaire. If you’ve never heard of magician’s solitaire, no worries — no one has. We created this, and we’re sharing it with you now. The rules are simple:

  1. Shuffle the deck, so that the cards are random.
  2. Perform a double lift and turnover, then note the card you reveal. Any double lift works: push-off, strike, Diving Board, anything. (You can learn the push-off double lift in Crash Course 2 or in this download.)
  3. Replace the double, then swing cut. (Choose your cut position carefully… this is the game’s action.)
  4. Perform another double lift, then note that card.
  5. If the second card you reveal has a “crazy eights” type of link — meaning that it matches in either suit or value — then you’ve successfully completed a play. For instance: Seven of diamonds, four of diamonds, four of clubs, king of clubs would count as a run of four cards.
  6. Optional: If you use jokers, consider those wild cards and count them in your run of consecutive plays. (Give yourself bonus points if you can name the suit you reveal after the joker.)
  7. The goal is to get the highest run of consecutive plays.

You may shuffle the deck after a few plays, if you want. Also, play at a brisk pace — but without sacrificing the mechanics of your double lift. The quicker you can clip along, the more this game will do what it intends. So go ahead, try a few hands for yourself.

Hard, isn’t it?

Getting a run of three or four is good. Five or six is impressive. Nine or 10, and we start wondering if you cheated.

If you’re one of those people who, upon finding out that something fun is educational loses interest, then stop reading now. But this game helps you train and be a better performer in a couple of ways. That raises the question: Why exactly are we doing this? We know plenty of ways to find chosen and controlled cards, so why would we base the success of this game on the random element in step No. 3?

Solitaire is supposed to be impossible, remember? Yet the impossible elements of this game help you increase your ability to do some pretty critical things when you’re out in the field and all eyes are on you and your hands:

  • ~ Your chosen double lift will get better. Any sleight, from double lifts to passes (and even some flourishes that feature a single card such as Daryl’s Hot Shot Cut), that involves showing a random card works with this game. The more you work on that move, of course, the better you’ll get. But concentrating on something else helps the move become second nature.
  • ~ How many tricks do you know have a part where you have to glimpse a card and remember it? From using a key card to doing a Biddle trick, we can think of a high number of routines that have a component where you have to steal a look at a card. Remember that there are things other than sleight of hand that you should practice. This game is a way to practice your ability of noting and remembering a certain card on the fly, thus strengthening your short-term memory.

So how’d you do? Post your high score below, and remember that if you know that you’re cheating, then so do we.


  1. Video demonstration?

  2. What do you need a video for? It’s just lift/cut lift/cut lift/cut lift/cut. Simple.

  3. Matt Whittaker on:

    after playing a few hands before getting back to my school work, my best was a run of 7.

  4. I play with a crimped joker :)

  5. In the words of the kid sister: “Cheater cheater poo poo eater!” Did I mention the kid sister is a few cards short of a full deck?

  6. Well done! I got nine once. ONCE.