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How to Do the 4 Thieves Card Trick

This simple magic trick is all about storytelling — and a little sleight of hand.

Here are the steps to perform the 4 Thieves Card Trick or watch the video to see the magic in action.

STEP 1: Begin with four jacks in your hand, showing the audience the cards.

What you say: “These four jacks are master thieves. The deck is a famous museum.”

STEP 2: Place the jacks face down on top of the deck.

What You Say: “The thieves helicopter onto the museum’s roof.”

STEP 3: Drawing from the top, insert one card into the deck near the bottom, one near the middle and one near the top.

What You Say: “The first thief goes to the first floor for paintings. The second thief goes to the second floor for sculptures, and the third thief goes to the third floor for historical artifacts.”

STEP 4: Flip the final card, revealing the final jack.

What You Say: “The last thief stays on the roof as a lookout.”

STEP 5: Use that jack to tap the top of the deck and “summon” the rest of the jacks.

What You Say: Suddenly, the fourth thief hears the approach of sirens. He calls his fellow thieves back up to the roof.

STEP 6: When you turn over the next three cards, you’ll see the jacks have magically jumped to the top.

What You Say: They get away just in time.


The trick actually requires seven cards: the four jacks and three random cards. Before your audience is watching, fan out the four jacks in your hand. Behind those cards, hidden from the audience, are the three random cards. You’ll place all seven cards face down on the top of the deck.

When you tell the audience the jacks are going into the deck, you’re actually inserting the random cards, leaving the jacks at the top of the deck the entire time. Voila!

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