{loadposition myposition}Shin Lim performed this amazing magic trick for his audition on the TV show *America's Got Talent 2018*. In this incredible illusion, he invites Tyra Banks on stage to be his spectator.

He first spreads a deck of cards on the table and asks Tyra to pick any card from the deck. Tyra picks the Queen of Spades. Shin Lim then asks her to mark the card by signing her name on it and then put it back in the deck. Shin first makes her card magically appear on the top of the deck, takes it, and rubs it on his chest under the shirt. When he shows the card again, the card is blank! But that is not all. Shin then displays his chest to reveal he has the Queen of Spades tattooed right where he rubbed the card!

He then goes on to amaze Tyra with many more amazing close-up magic. But let's first focus on the first part of the trick. First look at the performance, and then read the explanation below the video.

**Explanation:**

How did he do it?

The most fascinating part of this performance is that Shin Lim has the tattoo of exactly the same card that Tyra randomly picked from the deck. How is this possible? Obviously, he had to know in advance exactly which card she will pick, so he could get the tattoo made before the performance. But how could he possibly know which card Tyra will select?

{loadposition myposition}The answer is actually quite simple. Notice that Shin places the deck on the table face-down, so we don't see any of the cards. Why is that?

The reason is that all the cards are the same! Every single card in that deck is the Queen of Spades. So it doesn't really matter which card Tyra picks, the result will always be the same. It may look like Tyra is freely selecting the card, but she actually has no influence on which card will be selected at all. Magicians call this *forcing a card*.

And how does he make the card blank by rubbing in on his chest? This is also quite a simple trick. There are actually two cards. Shin has a blank card in an inner pocket of his shirt, right by his chest. When he puts the card with Tyra's signature under his shirt, he quickly drops it into the pocket and takes the blank card out of the pocket. He does this while pretending to rub the card on his chest. Notice that for a moment the card completely disappears behind his shirt. That's when he exchanges the cards.

]]>Shin Lim performed this amazing illusion in the finals of the 2018 season of America's Got Talent. As you can imagine, he left the best trick for the end. His magical performance was so unbelievable that he not only astounded the judges and the audience, but also won!

{loadposition myposition}So, let's look at the trick that won the season 13 of America's Got Talent!

Shin Lim first asks Tyra to roll a pair of dice. She rolls 4 and 5. When you add 4 and 5 you get 9. Shin shows that all the cards he is holding in his hand have the number 9. He then asks Tyra to pick a suite, and she picks Hearts. So the selected card is 9 of Hearts. With a snap of his fingers, Shin Lim turns all the cards into 9 of Hearts.

He then continues to produce numerous new cards (all of them 9 of Hearts) in many different amazing ways. He even turns a 6 of Hearts into a 9 of Hearts. The whole thing is incredible.

As a grand finale, he makes a huge amount of cards levitate and dance in the air. At the end, most of the cards fall to the ground, and the ones remaining form a shape of a big number 9 and a big heart symbol.

The whole performance is amazing, from beginning to the end. Watch it if you haven't seen it yet, and then check out the explanation below.

**Explanation:**

So, how did he do it? It seems quite incredible, right? But trust us, there are no actual magical abilities involved, only a lot of skill and many clever tricks.

Most of this illusion is based on sleight-of-hand magic, which is hard to explain to someone which is not a magician. So let's start with more basic things which will help you understand the main mysteries of this trick.

First thing you have to understand is that Tyra didn't really freely pick the 9 of Hearts. The 9 of Hearts was picked by Shin Lim before the actual performance, and the whole performance was designed around this card from the beginning. But the selection of the card appears to be a mix of randomness (the dice roll) and free choice (Tyra picking Hearts). How is this possible?

{loadposition myposition}Let's start with the dice. Tyra rolls two dice and gets 4 and 5, which when added give us 9. However, notice that we never actually see the dice up close. After she rolls them, Tyra, picks them up and very carefully shows them to the camera so we only see one side of each dice. Why doesn't the camera simply come close enough to record the dice roll in the first place? This is a giveaway that there is trickery involved.

The reason that we never see the dice in full is very simple. They are not normal dice. They are clever gimmicks, designed to always give the sum of 9. One of the dice only has the number 4 on every side, and the other has 5 on every side. So the sum will always be 9 regardless of how you roll them. Smart!

**But surely Tyra will notice this and call him out?**

This brings us to another important part of the trick. You have to understand that ** Tyra is in on the trick**. She doesn't call him out because she is basically acting as his assistant. This also explains why she picked Hearts. It was not a free choice, Shin Lim told her beforehand which suit she should pick and she agreed to do it. She wants the show to be good and is more than happy to help. She is not there to bust and expose magicians, she is there to help create a good entertainment program. That is her job. So you should not see her as a spectator, but basically as Shin Lim's magic assistant. Not only does she not call him out on using gimmicked dice, she is actively helping him with the trick.

**How does he make the cards appear on the table out of nowhere?**

Notice that he actually makes them »appear« not on the table, but on the piece of black cloth. The cards are actually already there (remember, he knew that the 'selected' card will be 9 of Hearts) but covered with smaller pieces of black cloth. As he hovers his hand over the card, he pulls down the piece of cloth, revealing the card below. This creates the illusion that the card just appeared out of nowhere.

**But how does he make the cards disappear?**

The backs of the cards are black, same color as the cloth. To make them 'disappear', he simply turns them around.

**How does he make the cards levitate and dance in the air?**

The cards are attached to many very thin wires, and manipulated from the backstage by either human assistants or a machine.

]]>Smoke Cards Trick

Revealed

Shin Lim performed this amazing trick on the semi-final of America's Got Talent. It is an extremely complex performance involving many different parts, which makes it even more incredible.

{loadposition myposition}In the beginning, Shin takes a deck of cards out of the box. He asks Heidi to select one card from the deck and sign it. He puts the card on the table, and smoke starts forming around it. Shin turns it around to reveal that it has turned blank. Next, Heidi’s card appears inside his mouth in a cloud of smoke! Shin then puts it inside a bag and gives the bag to Heidi.

He does a similar thing with Tyra. He asks her to pick a card and sign it. He then makes her card teleport to several different places until it finally appears in his mouth, accompanied by a cloud of smoke.

In the grand finale, he makes both signed cards switch places multiple times, and then makes the whole deck disappear in the smoke. Amazing!

See the performance if you haven’t yet, then read the explanation below.

**Explanation:**

There is a lot going on in this trick and a whole book could be written trying to explain all the different techniques and gimmicks Shin Lim is using in this trick. Since we don't have so much time, we will focus on the parts of the trick which are easier to understand for the average person without detailed understanding of sleight-of-hand techniques.

{loadposition myposition}Let us start at the very beginning of the trick. When Shin Lim takes the cards out of the deck to begin the trick, you naturally assume that he took all the cards out. However, this is not the case! In fact, he only takes out about half of the cards. Later in the trick, he will make »the deck« disappear from his hand and appear back in the box. The reality is that we never see one full deck, but two different halves of a deck. He only takes the first half out of the deck, makes it »disappear«, and when he opens the box, the second half is waiting there, just where he left it. This creates the illusion that the deck magically teleported back into the box.

Next up, he asks both Heidi and Tyra to select a card. An important thing to remember is that this choice was forced. They didn't select a random card out of many possibilities, they »selected« exactly the card he wanted them to select.

Now that you understand the basics, let's look at some more questions about the details of this performance.

**How does he make the cards with the signatures teleport all over the place?**

{loadposition myposition}Those are not actually the same cards. Pause the video and analyze the signatures on the cards. You will see that the signatures are not the same throughout the trick. He is using duplicate cards.

**How does he make things disappear?**

His west is full of hidden pockets. The rest is skill.

**How does he change the card once it is inside the bag?**

This one is actually really simple. There is only one card in the bag. On one side, it has the Jack of Clubs (with »Heidi« written on it) and on the other side the 2 of Spades (with »Tyra« written on it). To »change« the card, he simply has to turn the bag around so the audience sees the other side of the card. He does this in such a dramatic way that you don't notice him turning the bag, but it is actually quite obvious if you pay attention to it.{loadposition myposition}

]]>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.

{loadposition myposition}Shin then proceeds to perform an amazing assemblage of mind-blowing card tricks he has become famous for. The cards appear out of nowhere, disappear into thin air, change places and colors ... the audience goes wild. At one point, he gestures Terry to lift his hand and reveal that there are now many, not just one card, laying on his palm.

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.

**Explanation:**

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.

{loadposition myposition}Another thing Shin does is make multiple cards »merge« into one card. He does this with the help of a little magnet which holds the cards together. Shin keeps the cards separated with his hand and then suddenly drops them on the table. Since his hand is no longer holding the cards apart, they are pulled together by the magnet, creating the illusion of »merging« together. Clever! Shin is actually selling these magnets in his online store, so you can get them and perform this illusion yourself!

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.

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