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Ambitious Card

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Ambitious Card (also been known as Elevator Card) is an effect wherein a selected card, after being placed in the deck, is found to be on the top. This is often repeated, with the conditions seemingly becoming more impossible with each phase. The finale of an ambitious card routine can include a surprise ending, such as the card disappearing from the deck entirely, to be found in some other location.

Some have credited this effect to the French magician Alberti in the book Recueil de tours de physique amusante published 1886. The first possible published record may be a related idea in Ponsin's Nouvelle Magie Blanche Devoilee (1853) which, in fact, have already been explained in The Merry Companion; or Delights for the Ingenious, published in 1716.

Dai Vernon fooled Houdini with his version of this effect. See Genii 2006 June, Vol. 69, no. 6, page 52.


There are many variations of how the card comes to the top of the deck. Some magicians relate the Ambitious Card to the Cups and Balls in terms of the multitude of moves and skill that can be associated with it.

It can also be considered "Jazz Magic" in how magicians can improvise the routine like musicians do with jazz music.

Variations can be linked together to create a routines:

  • The spectator signs the card.
  • The spectator is handed the "ambitious card" and asked to put it in the middle himself.
  • The spectator marks an X on the back of an indifferent card at the top of the deck, only to see the same X appear on the back of the "ambitious card" after it has risen to the top.
  • The "ambitious card" is bent so that it is seen to be physically different from all the other cards, making it clear that it is placed into the middle of the deck.



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