Ethan Haning started playing with cards to help him with his anxiety.
“(Cards) became really soothing to mess around with as a fidget toy,” Haning, a sophomore at Athens High School, said. “I just sort of picked them up and messed around with them.”
He later became interested in learning how to do easy magic tricks and found cardistry videos online.
“I thought it looked really cool. I had been carrying around a deck of cards for so long, not doing anything with them so this is something to do with them,” Haning said.
Cardistry is moving cards around in what magicians call “flourishes”, which are bold and sweeping gestures.
“(Flourishes) are what magicians used to enhance their magic tricks,” Haning said.
Haning has been practicing cardistry for two months, but already knows how to do multiple tricks, such as the Sybil cut, the worm and the one hand cut.
When it comes to choosing a deck of cards, Haning said the stock and finish of the cards can affect how the cards move while holding them.
“It is all up to personal preference,” Haning said. “But (the cards) affect movement and the handling.”
Both Haning and Jacob Williamson, a senior studying astrophysics and math at Ohio University, said Bicycle playing cards are the most popular cards to use for cardistry because they are inexpensive.
Williamson said when it comes to getting paper cuts, “the cards are designed not to cut you.”
Williamson is the president of OU's Magician’s Association, a group that mainly practices magic but some members take interest in cardistry.
When it comes to learning moves, Haning said that once you start learning them, things start to become easier and move faster.
Part of learning cardistry is learning how to properly hold a deck of cards as well as learning how to shuffle and cut the deck. Cutting a deck of cards means dividing to cards into sections.
Haning decided to try to get in contact with more people who practice cardistry. He discovered a Reddit thread dedicated to it.
“It was just this really kind and small community where everyone knew each other,” Haning said. “Everyone was asking questions on how to do moves.”
Unlike Haning, Bochen Yao, a sophomore studying mechanical engineering, said he became interested in cardistry through magic.
Yao and Haning both learned through videos online.
“I just watched a bunch of YouTube videos,” Yao said.
Williamson started learning from books, then moved to watching videos. He later bought videos to enhance his skills.
When it comes to mastering the moves, it depends on how long and how often you practice, Yao said.
It took Haning about a week to learn his first move.
“Once you learn (the moves) it almost gets addictive,” Haning said.