For some, magic is a great hobby that will entertain and amuse friends and family. Others become professional magicians.

When I was 14 years old, I got the magic bug. Some 25+ years later, I still love the art. The excitement of fooling someone, and then to laugh at it together. It’s childishly amusing. 

I have tried both, and although I don’t perform as much these days as I used to, I have done my fair share of professional gigs.

Don’t make unimportant things important

Dai Vernon

I’m convinced there are some basic guidelines both amateur and professional magicians could (and should) follow to elevate their performance. 

In this article, I will go over thirteen of them.

1 Wash your hands

There is nothing worse than a magic performer with dirty nails. It doesn’t matter how good your pass is if you have dirt under your nails.

And I do mean real dirt. It’s not a metaphor for something else.

Wash your hands, cut your nails, and use good hand cream.

 (Fun fact. The late Tom Mullica always used O’Keeffe’s Working Hands. If it were good enough for Mullica, it would be good enough for you.)

O’Keeffe’s Working Hands – Used by professional magicians all over the world

2 Dress up

You don’t need to wear a tuxedo or a tie with cards.

Find your style, but let your magic do the talking. If you want to wear the” standard magic outfit,” that’s fine. But it should be a conscious choice. Don’t wear it just because you think you should.

Oh, and while we’re talking about clothes. Make sure your performing outfit is washed. You don’t want to be a smelly performer…

3 Professional Magicians Use premium Props

We all love props. Cards, wallets, coins, ropes…you name it. If you’re like me, you’ve probably spent way too much money on magic props. But that’s part of the addiction…and we love it.

When performing for others, make sure you use good quality props.

Use a new deck of cards for every performing event. Make sure your cups and balls are clean… 😉

4 Pick 6 tricks and learn them well

Professional magicians do a few tricks for a lot of people. Amateurs do lots of tricks for a few people.

It’s fun to learn new tricks. But one secret of professional magicians is that they know only a few tricks, but they know them well.

You could make a good living out of knowing only six tricks. In a strolling environment, you could do two sets of three tricks and alternate those between the spectators. 

 5 Don’t take it too seriously 

You’re doing a magic trick, not performing heart surgery. The worst thing that can happen is that your audience catches you, and realise it’s” just a trick”. 

 Want to know a secret? They are right. You can’t do” real” magic, so if they catch you …that’s ok. Laugh about it and move on to the next trick. It’s not the end of the world.

6 professional magicians Solve problems

All professional magicians solve problems for their clients. The problem is NOT” I need a magician”. No, the problem could be” I need some sort of entertainment after dinner” or” I need something that will bring people to my trade show booth” or” I want my ten year old to have a great birthday party”.

If you want to be professional, think about what problems you can solve for people. And no, you don’t have to be paid to be a professional. Volunteer at the local hospital, and I guarantee you people will think of you as a pro. 

7 Don’t use stock lines

Hold out your hand…no, the clean one” is a stock line used by too many magicians. As with all stock lines, it is outdated and not funny anymore.

Try to write your own jokes, and send those stock lines to the comic cemetery.

8 Learn pocket management

Know your pockets, and what props go into each pocket. Try to wear the same kind of outfit both in practice and when performing. 

 That way, you soon know where everything is, and you look like a magician version of James Bond, pulling magic stuff out of pockets without fumbling or hesitation.

9 Don’t use fire indoors  

Two words…Fire Alarms.

10 professional magician Script everything

You should have a basic script for every trick. That way, you both look and sound like a professional. 

You don’t have to use the script to the letter. Sometimes the best performances I’ve made was when I went off script and improvised the whole trick. 

But there’s a BIG advantage of having a script…and that is that you always have an escape hatch if your ad-libbing doesn’t work.

11 Don’t insult people

The days when a magician could treat a spectator like a monkey are long gone. If you insult your spectators, make fun of them, and treat them bad…people will not like you or your show.

Treat everyone with respect. And be kind. It’s a simple rule to follow, magic performance or not.

12 Touch people

No, I don’t mean you should go around and put your hands in places that could put you in trouble.

But I do mean you should try to, in a subtle and friendly manner, touch your spectators. A gentle hand on the shoulder, a light touch on the spectators hand while she/he is picking a card etc.

If done correctly, it will give you a better connection to your audience.

13 Professional Magicians Have fun

Magic should be fun. You should enjoy practicing, performing, and everything in between.

Don’t judge yourself. Don’t be nervous. Enjoy the ride.


The” bullet point” I’ve shared here are just my opinions. If you don’t like them, that’s fine. 

If you want to break the “rules”, by all means do so (except the most sacred rule…never expose a secret).

All in all…have fun!