Twisting the Aces is one of card magic’s original and most classic packet effects. Best of all, it’s completely impromptu, extremely visual, and relatively simple to learn.

Let’s face it…

You can only do so many “pick a card” tricks before your audience gets bored.

Once you’ve mastered some of the basics of card magic and learned a few effects, you’ll want to throw a few pace-changers into your routines to liven up your performances.

Twisting the Aces is a perfect change of pace. It’s as far from “pick a card, any card!” as you can possibly get, and it’s nothing like most audiences will have ever seen anyone do with four cards.

card packet tricks


Let’s take a look at what a Twisting the Aces performance looks like, a brief history of the routine, and where you can learn it.


What is Twisting the Aces? (Effect explained)

The magician begins by displaying the four aces. The rest of the deck can be set aside and won’t be needed for the routine.

After showing all of the four Aces facing down in a single pile in his hands, the magician gives the packet a quick “twist” with his fingers.

Counting through the cards, he reveals that one — and only one — of the Aces has turned face up.

He repeats the process, turning each Ace over inside the packet using only a twist, one by one.

The last Ace, the Ace of Spades, is the hardest one, he says. After giving the cards another single twist, he shows that the Ace of Spades refuses to turn face up — all four Aces are plainly shown to still be facing down. 

With TWO twists now, and no other moves, the Ace of Spades reveals itself face up in the middle of the packet.

See a complete Twisting the Aces performance below:


History of Twisting the Aces

Twisting the Aces was developed by the great Dai Vernon and published in Dai Vernon’s More Inner Secrets of Card Magic.

Vernon, known as The Professor, was an amazing innovator and magic inventor, having also authored the classic Triumph card trick plot and many others.

The book was published in 1960 and the effect quickly took the magic world by storm.

It wasn’t long before his fellow magicians began putting their own “twist” on Twisting the Aces.


Popular variations & spin-offs

Since Dai Vernon first published Twisting the Aces, there have been tons of variations, adjusted handlings, and spin-offs inspired by his original effect.

Here are the two most notable ones:

Waving the Aces by Guy Hollingworth

In this handling, Hollingworth removes the “counting” motion and opts for a more visual effect.

The Aces are spread lightly in the magician’s hands so the spectator can see all four face down cards at once, and with a quick shake or “wave”, they turn face up one by one.

It’s quite visually stunning, though you won’t end as “clean” as in Vernon’s original.

Asher Twist by Lee Asher

In the Asher Twist, Lee Asher follows a similar plot to the original Twisting the Aces, but instead of a twist and a count, opts for a lightning fast and visual “spread” of the cards.

He spreads the four Aces to reveal one Ace face down among the rest face up, squares them, them immediately spreads them again to reveal a different Ace face down. It’s mind-boggling to watch.

You’ll swear it’s gimmicked the first time you see it, but it’s not. However, the moves involved are a bit more advanced than in Dai Vernon’s handling.


3 tips for performing this effect

Twisting the Aces is a phenomenal and powerful effect, but it needs the right presentation to have its full impact.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you learn, practice, and perform this classic:

Mind the pacing

It’s easy to rush through this effect, but it looks and lands much better if you slow down a bit.

You’ll need lots of practice to perfect the sleight of hand involved, so don’t perform it until you can do the moves slowly and smoothly.

If you’re rushing to avoid being caught, you’ll dampen the effect.

Build it up

Twisting the Aces can come off a bit repetitive when not performed properly.

You should use your storytelling and audience engagement skills to build and build to the final phase.

The first Ace turning face up should be a fun surprise. The second should be a serious head-scratcher. By the time you make that final Ace of Spades turn face up, it should seem absolutely impossible.

Think of it like an Ambitious Card Routine. Each phase should be more impressive and magical than the last.

Give it a splashy intro

There are so many cool things you can do with the four Aces.

If you know a great Ace production, now would be a great time to use it! Magically produce the four Aces to get your audience on the edge of their seats before moving into this timeless effect.


Where to learn Twisting the Aces

For over 50 years, only a handful of card magicians could make Dai Vernon’s Twisting the Aces feel like a miracle.

It doesn’t take amazing skill or endless practice. You only need a few simple secrets the masters kept for themselves.

And you’re about to discover all of them:

*A Practical Pro Routine with ALL the Trimmings

*How to Make your Elmsley Count Amazing…the easy way!

*Secrets to Packet Perfection

*How to ‘Flash’ and Never Get Caught

*Practice Hacks that Turn Decades into Days

*An unpublished climax that will blow your mind!

All of the above are available inside our exclusive ‘Twisting The Aces’ Live Event. However, this event is only available to Conjuror Community Members.

Here’s the good news:

Right now, you can get a full month of Conjuror Community, including this exclusive Lee Asher Living Room Lecture (plus over 160 exclusive lectures, workshops and video training plans)…

…for only $68!

CLICK HERE to get access!




About the author: Evan has been studying magic as a hobbyist for nearly 20 years. He started off performing for friends, family, and strangers on the street — but these days you’ll find him brushing up on children’s magic to entertain his 4-year-old and her friends! You can read more from Evan over at Ambitious With Cards.