Pick a Card – A Magic Trick Over the Telephone

Pick a Card – A Magic Trick Over the Telephone

Telephone tricks question and delight because people do not expect them to work. Check out this baffling, outrageous telephone trick.

This trick resembles a typical ‘pick a card’ trick, except the magician and the spectator are separated by the telephone.


I call a friend on the telephone and explain that I intend to do a magic trick over the telephone.

I ask her to shuffle and divide a deck into 2 equal piles, choose a card from one pile, observe it, and place it on the bottom of the other pile; this is her Chosen card.

I ask her to slowly deal and call out the cards on the top of the pile that contains her Chosen card. She calls out the first card and I stop her, apologizing because I made a mistake; she must cut the deck first. She puts the card back on top. I request that she cut the deck completely.

I now ask her to slowly deal the cards from the bottom of the pile that contains her Chosen card, and to call out the cards as she turns them. She deals the complete pile and I ask her to do it again.

She starts over and I suddenly ask her to stop. I tell her the identity of her Chosen card and that is next to be turned. She turns over the next card, revealing her Chosen card.

PLEASE GUESS HOW YOU THINK YOU MIGHT ACCOMPLISH THIS CHICANERY? It may help if you answer the following questions about this particularly interesting trick: Why did I ask her to divide the deck? Did I really make a mistake when I asked her to deal and call out cards the first time? Why did I ask her to cut the pile? Why did I ask her to deal and call out the cards from the top? Why not deal from the bottom? How did I know the identity and location of her Chosen card?

Congratulate yourself if you generated a reasonable plan to do this trickery. The wizard thanks you. I did the trick this way.


I first asked her to divide the deck, so we wouldn’t have to wait while she called out all the cards in a complete deck,

To do this telephone trick I needed a way to create a meaningful card on the telephone. By asking her to deal and call out cards from the top, and then pretending I made a mistake after she told me the identity of the top card of her pile, I made that card my meaningful card and wrote it down to not forget it.

The rest of this mechanical, self-working trick played out as described above. The first time she dealt the cards from the top of the pile, I listened for my meaningful card, and knew her Chosen card was the next card. I wrote down her Chosen card.

Then when she dealt again, I stopped her when she called out my meaningful card. I then told her the identity of her Chosen card and expected it would appear next. It did.

This great telephone trick baffles, amazes, and delights. WOW.


In my Family Magic books, I deal with the concept of card tricks so easy to do that the magician does not have to touch the cards. Instead, he hands the cards to a spectator-volunteer and coaches her to do the trick. The audience is truly impressed when I point out that ‘I did not touch the cards.”

Telephone tricks take the idea of ‘the magician did not touch the cards’ one step further; the magician not only does not touch the cards, he does not do the trick in the same room, city, state, or country as the spectator-volunteer.

In some regards, I find this idea decidedly eerie. however it works. This magic startles, astonishes, and entertains everyone. Adapt telephone tricks like this one to your computer: communicate using email, webmail, Skype, moment messenger, etc.

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