A division of performance magic focusing mainly on tricks performed only with the practitioners hands and a few common items that could be found at a dinner table for example. This intimate setting gives this type of magic its name, as opposed to stage magic (think Siegfried and Roy).

The two most popular areas of study that make up the bulk of close-up magic are playing cards and coins. Volumes of books exist explaining the art of card and coin manipulation, whose techniques can be dated to at least over 100 years ago, if not more for lack of documentation. For obvious reasons, the exact methods that magicians use don't exactly get published at your corner bookstore on a regular basis.

The following books are two of the most important for a budding close-up magician and I highly recommend them:

Other commonly used items include sponge-foam balls, thimbles, napkins, matches, cigarettes, pencils/pens, and many more. Each of these have their own techniques as well.

As with any skill, practice is essential. Become comfortable holding palm sized items in your hand, so much so that you almost forget you are holding it at all. Feel the edges of the card or coin in your hand. Play with it. Become aware of the weight it has in your hand. Hold it while you watch TV. Your body language says a lot about what you are up to, so the less conscious you are about hiding something behind your hand the better. A great tool in these modern times is a video camera. Tape your performance at an angle that your audience would typically be watching you so that you can perfect your technique. A mirror is also helpful.

And as always, never perform the same trick twice for the same audience.