How to Throw Playing Cards

Three Methods:Throwing Frisbee StyleThrowing OverhandUsing Your Thumb

Whether you want to channel your inner Gambit, live out a film noir scene, or end a poker game in style, throwing cards is a great little skill to learn. It takes a lot of practice, but learning a few different techniques to see what works best for you will have you throwing accurately in no time. See Step 1 for more information.

Method 1
Throwing Frisbee Style

  1. Image titled Throw Playing Cards Step 1
    Grip the card correctly. Hold the card parallel to the ground and grip the bottom of the short side of the card on the corner farthest away from you between your index and middle finger, or your middle and ring finger. This is sometimes called "The Ferguson Grip," named after a famous card player. Alternate finger grips for the basic throw include:
    • For the Thurston grip, place the short side of a card between your middle and index finger so that the side runs parallel with the two fingers all the way through. This is perhaps the most common, if not the most accurate grip on the card.[1]
    • For the Hermann grip, hold the card between your thumb and your middle finger, letting the index finger reach all the way to the opposite corner.
    • For the Ricky Jay grip, place your index finger on a corner and place your thumb on top of the card with your three remaining fingers along the bottom of the long side of the card. Your thumb on top should be right around on top of your middle finger.
  2. Image titled Throw Playing Cards Step 3 preview
    Curl the card back into your wrist. The opposite corner of the card (top corner, closest to you) from where you're gripping it should come back and touch the inside of your wrist to cock it for the throw. Most of the power comes from the flick of your wrist, not from arm strength, so it's important to curl it back like this.
  3. Image titled Throw Playing Cards Step 14 preview
    Flick your wrist forward. Unwind, keeping your arm as straight and level as possible relative to the ground to keep the card from wobbling side to side, and snap your wrist forward to throw the card.
  4. Image titled Throw Playing Cards Step 15 preview
    Release the card. When your fingertips are pointing at the target you want to hit, let go.
  5. Image titled Throw Playing Cards Step 21 preview
    Keep it in the wrist. There should be almost no arm movement whatsoever when you first start out, to get the mechanics of the spin right. To practice, grab a hold of your arm and practice launching the cards with wrist movement alone.
    • After practicing and being able to throw cards without missing, you could try moving your arms for extra speed.
  6. Image titled 43983 6
    Practice by aiming at a target. Set up a potato or a banana and throw cards at it. Experienced card throwers can stick a playing card into a potato from several paces away. Practice tossing until you can get the corner to stick in firmly.

Method 2
Throwing Overhand

  1. Image titled Throw Playing Cards Step 16 preview
    Grip the card correctly for an overhand toss. How you hold the card for an overhand toss is up to you: you can grip by card by the corner, Ferguson style as with the Frisbee toss, or you can hold the entire long side of a card between your middle and ring finger. Experiment some with different grips to see what works best for you.
  2. Image titled Throw Playing Cards Step 17 preview
    Curve your wrist and wind your arm up over your shoulder. To get started, don't put your arm into it, but perform the same basic motion as the Frisbee toss, just having rotated your wrist up and down, rather than side-to-side. When you've gotten used to it, bring the card up beside your head to put more power into your tosses. It's all in the wrist.
  3. Image titled Throw Playing Cards Step 19 preview
    Snap your wrist forward. In one fast, smooth motion, swing your arm over shoulder and step into throw like throwing a baseball. At the end of that motion, curve your wrist out and spread your middle and ring finger slightly, releasing the card.
  4. Image titled 43983 10
    Keep practicing. Practice the motion, try to get it as smooth as possible, getting a clean release of the card. Keeping the motion as smooth as possible is the key to getting the card to spin and not cut through the air, rather than floating on it and moving everywhere.

Method 3
Using Your Thumb

  1. Image titled Throw Playing Cards Step 7 preview
    Hold the entire deck parallel to the ground. If you want to throw cards straight off the deck, hustler-style, grip the deck firmly with the long side of the cards in the palm of your hand, the short sides perpendicular with your body.
  2. Image titled Throw Playing Cards Step 8 preview
    Place your thumb on the top of the deck. It can be helpful to lick your thumb to get a bit of grip on the top card and slide it off more easily.
  3. Image titled Throw Playing Cards Step 9 preview
    Snap your thumb forward rapidly, launching the card. It'll take some practice to get the motion firm enough to send the card, but light enough not to launch off the top several cards. Your thumb should come up off the deck slightly, launching them out and away, rather than down. A bit of wetness on the pad of your thumb should help.
  4. Image titled Throw Playing Cards Step 10 preview
    Go into rapid fire mode. Once the card is launched, draw thumb back quickly, being careful not to touch the top of the deck, so you can keep shooting off cards like mad. It's fun!


  • You can use a block of Styrofoam for target practice. The cards should stick in that quite nicely.
  • All spin comes from your wrist, don't use your arm for anything but directing the throw.
  • Use a brand-new deck with straight cards.
  • Cards can be thrown either vertically or horizontally
  • There are several variations to throwing cards, if the methods above fails to work, try one of these:
    • With your index finger resting on the top-right corner, place your thumb and middle finger on opposite sides of the card, pressing in on the middle towards each other.
    • Make a peace sign with your dominant hand and clasp a card between the two fingers. Bend them over the top slightly and throw.


  • If you can throw hard enough to knock down light items, make sure and watch out for picture frames or pottery.
  • The card can get damaged if it hits a hard object such as a the edge of a door.
  • Wear eye protection when having card throwing wars with others.

Things You'll Need

  • A playing card
  • A clear area with no drywall or breakable items

Article Info

Categories: Card Tricks