I saw a guy on the street the other day playing with cards in a way that I’d never seen before: Flipping them fluidly, spinning them on his finger tips, building houses of cards between his hands like magic. It was mesmerising. And then I saw someone else do something similar on the train, then another at a restaurant.
It’s been years since card-trick fever has struck this hard, and it’s all due to one thing. Nope, not the release of a new installment of The Unbeatables or God Of Gamblers, but the rise of cardistry – or, as some like to describe it, the art of card flourishing.
Started by a Californian pair of brothers called Dave and Dan Buck some years ago, the movement has picked up speed over recent months thanks to the proliferation of slickly edited YouTube videos by practitioners around the globe.
At the forefront of it all: A group of five Singaporean guys who call themselves The Virts (short for virtuosos), who lead the, ahem, pack with their skills and cool online tutorials. They even have their own merchandise, like limited edition card decks specially designed for flourishes.
In an April interview with Vanity Fair, The Virts founder Huron Low said, “A lot of new doors are opening. Earphone companies and watch companies want to see product placements [in our videos]. And there’s a lot of focus now on cardistry as a lifestyle brand – caps, T-shirts.”
Why is cardistry so captivating? For one thing, it offers loads of street cred (cardists liken it to doing skateboarding tricks with your hands). Plus, since all you need is a deck of cards, it’s really affordable – and if you practice hard and get the tricks right, the results look amazing.
In fact, so popular is the sport now that the first-ever Cardistry Con was held this year in Brooklyn, New York, drawing enthusiastic participants from all over the globe at USD$125 a pop. And you only have to look at The Virts’ YouTube channel to get an idea of how massive it’s becoming: The group has almost 60,000 subscribers and its videos have amassed over 7 million views.
Who would’ve thought card tricks would be so cool again? Not many of us, that’s for sure. But don’t worry if you were caught unawares – it’s not too late to pick up a One Card Twirl or a Tornado Cut before the cards come out during Chinese New Year.
Photos: The Virts
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