The Champions Trick
Shin invites Terry to the stage and asks him to sit by the table. A deck of cards is spread across the table. Shin takes one of the cards and places it on Terry's palm. He then asks Terry to cover the card with the other hand and wait.
For the grand finale, he spreads out the deck of cards he has been using the whole time across the table. To everyone's amazement, the suits and symbols have been replaced by letters, which spell out: »CHAMPIONS« and »TERRY CHECK YOUR POCKET«.
When Terry checks his pocket, he finds out that it is full of cards!
Watch this amazing performance, then read the explanation below.
How did he do it?
Shin Lim's trick is full of carefully executed sleight-of-hand techniques which take years to learn and master to the level he has. A detailed, step-by-step explanation of this trick could probably fill a short book, so let us instead focus on certain easy to understand principles and tricks he uses throughout this performance.
Let's start with the appearing and disappearing of cards. The cards seem to appear out of nowhere and then disappear into thin air. While this seems like amazing magic, the trick behind it is actually quite simple. To achieve this effect, Shin Lim uses cards with black backs. When a card with a black back is laid face-down on a black table, it becomes practically invisible. This is especially true if you are only watching a camera recording. And vice versa, if you pick up a card with a black back up from the table to show its face, this creates an illusion of the card appearing out of nowhere. And this is how Shin Lim makes cards »appear« and »disappear«. He of course does this masterfully, with smooth movements which make this visual illusion even stronger.
And now, the final mystery. How did those cards get into Terry's pocket? This one really seems impossible. The answer might disappoint you: Terry was in on the trick. He was what magicians call a stooge – someone who pretends to be just an innocent spectator, but is actually actively helping the magician. He probably put those cards into his pocket himself before the show began. Yes, he did seem surprised to find them there. But remember, he is an actor! His job is to help create a good show, and sometimes that includes helping a magician create an amazing illusion. Which is exactly what he did.