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Cross Cut Card Force (Easy Magic)

The cross cut card force is an essential method of forcing a playing card and performing AMAZING magic tricks.

Two piles of cards crisscrossed
The Cross Cut Card Force is a Classic Card Force

Despite requiring almost zero technical skill, this card force (sometimes called crisscross or top card force) relies on a very deceptive principle that every magician should master. Let's take a look.

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Cross Cut Card Force Explained

The effect is that the audience believes they had a free choice in selecting any card, while in reality, the magician subtly guided them to pick a predetermined card.

This creates a moment of surprise and wonder when the chosen card is revealed, as it seems impossible that the magician could have known or controlled the spectator's seemingly random choice.


A glass of water balancing on a playing card

The cross-cut force is a perfect example of how our minds can be fooled into thinking we're in control when we're not.

The primary "effect" of the Cross Cut Force is relatively straightforward yet impressively deceptive.

You can incorporate this playing card force into your magic in unlimited ways.

Here's how it appears to the audience:



The magician asks the spectator to cut the deck of cards in half. No matter where the deck is cut, the spectator will always select a specific card that the magician has pre-chosen.

Close up of a deck of cards, two piles crisscrossed


The Secret

This card force is easy to learn and requires no difficult sleights or fancy moves. Even though you can cut the cards anywhere, it doesn't change the card you end up with.

Step 1: Setup

Begin with the card you want to force, face down on the top of the deck.

A deck of cards.  The top card has an "X" drawn on the back with marker
The forced card begins on the top of the deck of cards.

NOTE: The forced card has been noted with an "X."

Step 2: Cut the Cards

A spectator is invited to participate. The magician asks the spectator to cut the deck of cards at random and place the pile to the side.

It's their free choice to cut as many cards as they wish.

Step 3: Crisscross

Place the remaining cards crisscrossed on the pile they cut off. The forced card will now be on the top of the lower pile.

Two piles of cards crisscrossed
Remaining cards are crisscrossed

Divert the audience's attention with time misdirection by asking a question and briefly taking the spectator's mind off the cards on the table.

Step 4: Reveal the Card

Reveal the card that the spectator has cut to (the forced card)

One of the critical factors is understanding time misdirection. It's a valuable tool for pacing and audience engagement but also can impact how your audience remembers.

The delay before the (forced) card is revealed aids in misdirecting the audience's attention.


Tips & Suggestions

The cross-cut force is a perfect demonstration of simplicity and effectiveness.

Sometimes, simple techniques can be surprisingly effective, even when they seem transparent.

Here are some tips and suggestions:

  • Learn False Shuffle or Cuts - Performing a series of false cuts or shuffles before asking for the spectator's help will help make this seem more impossible.

  • Alternative Location - The forced card can also start on the bottom of the deck, and when the cards are crisscrossed, instead of revealing the top card of the lower pile, you show the "card they cut to" on the bottom of the top pile

  • Value of Time Delay (aka Time Misdirection) - Time delay can cause people to misremember events. After the cards have been crisscrossed and before revealing their "free" selection, divert their attention by asking questions or sharing details.

  • Don't Repeat - You don't want to repeat this card force for the same spectator. Repeating the same procedure may cause them to become more aware.

  • Recommended Reading - For those interested in the science behind why this force is so effective, read this scientific study by Gustav Kuhn, which discusses how magic tricks fool us and why we think we choose things when we don't.


Frequently Asked Questions

Here are four common questions about forcing cards and the cross-card force:

1. What is Cross Cut Force?

The Cross Cut Force is a simple trick magicians use to make you pick a specific card without realizing it.

The magician spreads the cards in a cross shape, and you choose the card they wanted you to pick, even though it seems you had a free choice.

2. What is the Magician Force Technique?

The Magician Force Technique is a method where the magician makes you pick a specific item, like a card, while making you think you have a free choice.

It's a clever trick that makes the audience believe they are making their own decisions, but actually, the magician is guiding the outcome.

3. What is the Magician's Choice Trick?

The Magician's Choice, also known as "Equivoque," is a psychological trick where the magician gives you options but leads you to choose the one they want.

If you seem to choose differently, they cleverly guide you back to their preferred choice through their words or actions.

4. How do Magicians Know What Card You Picked?

Magicians use different techniques to know your card. Sometimes, they 'force' you to pick a specific card without you knowing. Other times, they use their skills to track the card you picked.

It's all about skill, practice, and clever deception!



And there you have it – the Cross Cut Force, a timeless classic in the world of magic that continues to amaze audiences.

This trick is more than just a clever sleight of hand; it's a testament to the art of illusion and the magician's skill.

Whether you're just starting or have been charming crowds for years, mastering the Cross Cut Force adds a valuable tool to your magical repertoire.

Remember, the key to success with this card force lies in practice, confidence, and a bit of misdirection.

The more naturally you can guide your audience's choices, the more astonishing the reveal will be. Magic is not just about the trick but the story you weave around it and the connection you create with your audience.

Keep exploring, practicing, and refining your skills as you continue your magical journey. Magic is an ever-evolving art form; there's always something new to learn and share.

So go ahead, try the Cross Cut Force, and watch as you bring a touch of wonder to those around you.

After all, the possibilities are truly endless in the world of magic!


That's It!

I hope you found the guide insightful and that it adds a little extra sparkle to your next performance.

If you enjoyed this post and found it helpful, don't forget to show some love by hitting the 💟heart button.

Your support means the world to me and keeps the magic alive!

If you have any thoughts, experiences, or magical tips to share, please drop a comment below. I'd love to hear from you and see how you're bringing this classic trick to life.


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