Chris Ramsay: Tricks of the Trade

Chris Ramsay, magician, photographer, puzzle-maker and all-around Canadian mystery man, has drawn raves from Neil Patrick Harris and 4 million followers on YouTube. We caught up with Ramsay to learn his secrets, his sizzle, and how to entertain our friends and loved ones—whether online or in person, completely sober or stoned off our ass. Ramsay says a good magic trick never fails.
To learn Chris Ramsay's Trick below, exclusive to kind magazine, click here.
  • Ben Kaplan: When did you first acknowledge your exceptionality?

    Chris Ramsay: Magic is an icebreaker. My dad was in the Canadian military and I moved around a lot as a kid. I learned early that practicing magic can set you apart—make you interesting.

  • BK: You’re certainly interesting, dude. Your YouTube channel is out of this world and you have more tattoos than our cover star, Matty Matheson.

    CR: I learned how to be interesting from being a chameleon. Through magic, I was able to reinvent myself. Constantly. That’s where the curiosity came from. Entering new schools led me to dissecting the social and psychological dynamics, then playing upon them.

  • BK: Why magic?

    CR: It gives you tips and tricks to conquer your awkward moments and fear.

  • BK: You’ve gone from corporate magician to bonafide celebrity. How’d your career evolve?

    CR: I’d use my tricks and skills at the bar and that made me more comfortable—plus the low lighting, loud music and drunk patrons made for a perfect environment to practice the craft.

  • BK: So you’re saying...

    CR: Anyone looking to work in magic, tend bar!

  • BK: I’ve seen bartenders do cool shit. I used to have a friend who’d snap fire when he worked.

    CR: The bar scene turned out to be a little too heavy on my liver, so I exited stage left, and eventually became a professional magician.

  • BK: How old were you?

    CR: I was 25. It was twelve years ago.

  • BK: Social media has definitely become a big part of your brand.

    CR: I used to like posting my sleight of hand on Instagram and soon enough, companies that sell magic took notice. I started working for them, building their online communities, then I thought I’d try a better trick—making content and building subscribers of my own.

  • BK: Why do you think you’ve taken off as you have?

    CR: The level of magic being showcased and even my sense of humour, weren’t being represented. I was going to do my own thing—regardless of what these older magicians think.

  • BK: You didn’t mind stepping on some toes?

    CR: Not at all.

  • BK: What were you proposing that so pissed people off?

    CR: For instance: magic can only be experienced in real life. I mean, lo and behold: 2020 proved otherwise.

  • BK: You’re also known as the King of the Puzzle.

    CR: Puzzles relate to magic in methodology. I think magicians are fascinated with the effect that the trick does but also how that trick works. Puzzles require logic, but also thinking outside the box, and so Escape Rooms and puzzle solving—you know the truth is that it all comes down to me secretly wanting to be a spy.

  • BK: You are like a spy!

    CR: I play with cool gadgets and pretend I’m someone I’m not. Being a magician, spy or pirate, those were basically my only options.

  • BK: Help us with a trick.

    CR: The thing is: you can go to magic shops and purchase tricks and it comes with a pattern or presentation and you can do that verbatim, which most magicians will do. But your readers, I know they won’t want to be hacky.

  • BK: That’s where you excel.

    CR: If I came up to you in a tuxedo and top hat and produced a bouquet of flowers, you’re expecting that. But if I came up to you dressed the way I do and with tattoos, people don’t expect me to be anything other than a drug dealer. It’s the uniqueness of the experience, so keep that in mind this season why you blow your friend’s mind.

How To Do Magic Like Chris Ramsay

This trick is made to be done over Zoom over FaceTime. Anywhere you can’t touch the cards.


First: ask the person on the other line to take any deck of cards, and give it a shuffle. Once they're done, ask them to look at the bottom card. That’s their card. That’s the card you’re trying to find.


Now, work your magic. Say something like, in your own words: “I want you to take the value of that card, say it’s a 5. So take the value of the secret card and that’s how many cards you take off the deck.


Now take your five cards and put it to the bottom.


Work them a little now. Say, “Your card is somewhere near the bottom, but not at the bottom.” Create a little mystique, anticipation.


One at a time, from the bottom, have them name out cards. Remember: It’s OK if they go past the card that is their card. Let them count about thirteen cards up.


The reason why is you’re counting the cards. What gets you thrown out of casinos works well in magic. And this is how it works: whatever their card is, it’s going to be the number of cards on the bottom—plus one. So for our example, it’s five cards on the bottom, plus one—that’s their card.


It’s really simple. Every time they match the number you're counting to, write down that card, because you could get multiple matches. Start counting on the second card. And always ignore the first card they tell you. They keep telling you cards and you count on your hands.


Then, lo and behold—a match! Five and five. So let them keep naming cards and write the matches down on a piece of paper. Then give them a little presentation, what we call, “fishing.”


“It wasn’t the black card, right?” You can fish to find their card. The idea is simple: no matter the card they choose, they have to put that many cards in front of it on the deck.


So take away that number and count the cards. It will match up to their selection, and that is a Chris Ramsay trick you can do over Zoom for friends.



To follow Chris on YouTube, see MrTricksforfun.