Throwing cards is a vital skill. Impress your friends, annoy your family, blind your enemies.
For legal reasons I have to remind you that blinding people with playing cards is illegal, not to mention impolite, so don’t do that.
In the video above, Brian and Jason of The Modern Rogue are joined by magician and professional card tosser Rick Smith Jr. for a lengthy tutorial and demonstration of the art. Smith holds three world records for the longest, highest, and most accurate card throws.
He’s been practising magic since he was a child, but got his start in the field (hoho) of throwing things fast and accurately as an NCAA Division I pitcher during his time at Cleveland State University. After throwing a card at a friend in jest and accidentally cutting the guy’s arm open, Smith realised he could throw cards just as well as baseballs. Shortly after that, at the age of 21, he scored his first world record.
So what’s the trick to card throwing? Well contrary to the age old cliche, it’s not entirely in the wrist. Instead, it’s about unfurling the arm quickly and carrying that momentum through the wrist, as Smith demonstrates when he starts dicing fruit and veg with cards.
The nice thing about already having the Guinness World Record for card throwing is that it doesn’t matter if you succeed or fail on subsequent reattempts – you’re still the champion. Such is the case on a recent episode of The Today Show, where Rick Smith Jr. showed off his skills, first on a watermelon (held by a deeply frightened intern who probably didn’t know what was going to happen until it was already over), and then on a target overseen by a Guinness judged. Check out the video above, then swing over here to read about his talk at Magi-Fest 2018.
I have to get this out of the way: don’t try this at home. Rick Smith, Jr. is a professional, with multiple Guinness World Records for card throwing and he came to Magi-Fest prepared with foam shields and welding helmets.
After giving his lecture on how to find a niche, he hosted a series of special card-throwing challenges with the young attendees of Magi-Fest 2018. This included a special challenge against Nick Suriano, magician and host of YouTube channel NoWayAsWay. The two donned their armor, stood back to back, marched five paces, and proceeded to whip cards at each other as fast as they could in a special game of what they called “Dodge-card”.
Check out the video above for the complete battle, which begins at around the 5:15 mark. We even captured some of Nick’s wild card-throwing abilities on our own Twitter feed:
— Genii Online (@GeniiOnline) January 27, 2018
Rick Smith Jr. is the Guinness World Record holder for card throwing height, distance, and accuracy. He’s been on the talk show circuit, performed all over the world, and most recently on Dude Perfect, a YouTube channel with 26 million subscribers, in a video that reached over 52 million people.
“What does card throwing have to do with magic?” he asked the crowd at Magi-Fest 2018. “Nothing.”
But that hasn’t stopped him from using card throwing as his path toward greater success in magic. After showing off his skills to the crowd, he talked about his own career. While he’d seen some success travelling to schools to perform tricks and give speeches, he’d had trouble breaking out into the wider, increasingly over-saturated world of magic performance. It wasn’t until he discovered his own uncanny talent, almost by accident, that he decided to use it to parlay that ability into more gigs.
While the talk itself was relatively brief and generalized, it’s still incredibly useful advice for any budding illusionist. What skills or interests do you have that aren’t magic, and how can you use those to build your career and help you stand out? Do you have an encyclopedic knowledge of film? Are you a computer whiz? Can you play a wicked cover of the saxophone solo from George Michael’s Careless Whisper? Whatever skills you have, find a way to work them into your act. It’ll likely be better for it.
Stay tuned to GeniiOnline for more reports from the heart of Magi-Fest 2018.