How to Fan a Deck of Cards: The Pressure Fan

By Tom Interval

You don’t have to be a magician to learn really cool flourishes with playing cards, but it does help if you’re already good at shuffling, cutting, dealing, and knowing your way around a deck in general.

If you do, you’ll love the challenge of learning this particular card fan. This is not the same fan I taught in an earlier video (the thumb fan). This one’s a bit of a knuckle-buster, but it’s worth taking the time and effort to learn well.

Long story longer, it’s called the pressure fan, otherwise known as the spring fan because it uses spring pressure to propel a fan of cards in a clockwise circle. Okay, it could also be counterclockwise if you’re left-handed, but who’s splitting hairs?

The fan is taught in a number of books on magic, including one of the earliest I could find, the 1927 Tarbell correspondence course, known today as an eight-volume set called The Tarbell Course in Magic, Vol. 3, “Modern Card Fan,” pp. 214–215.

Other book descriptions include those in Expert Card Technique, by Jean Hugard and Frederick Braue (1940), p. 164; The Royal Road to Card Magic, by Hugard and Braue (1949), p. 65; and Now You See It, Now You Don’t!, by Bill Tarr, p. 63.

The latter book is where I learned how to do the pressure fan. In fact, I show the book on the video tutorial, along with not only teaching the fan itself but also briefly talking about its history and sharing a few old films of me doing it as a child.

So without further delay, please enjoy the tutorial by following the YouTube link or watching the embedded video below. And if you have any feedback or simply want to share your progress learning the fan, I’d love to hear from you.


About Tom Interval

San Diego Magician Tom Interval, owner of Interval Magic, provides magic entertainment and training to private and corporate clients locally and nationally. A member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians (IBM), Society of American Magicians (SAM), and the Academy of Magical Arts (AMA), Interval has captivated tens of thousands of people at numerous venues, including Busch Gardens theme park in Williamsburg, Virginia. With a BA in professional writing and minors in communications and business administration, Interval writes magic-related e-books, magazine articles, and blogs and produces tutorials and related videos for his YouTube channel. Most recently, Interval earned The Linking Ring Award of Excellence for a cover story he wrote for the magicians' publication. To learn more, please visit
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