Darwin Ortiz (b. 1948)


Real Name

Darwin Ortiz




Magician, Inventor, Author, Lecturer

Place of Birth

New York City, New York, USA


Approx. 5' 9"






Darwin Ortiz possesses the ability of superior sleight-of-hand skills. He specializes in performing the "close-up" branch of magic, and is also an authority on gambling, and card manipulation.

Interesting Fact

As the world's foremost expert on crooked gambling, Darwin frequently conducts seminars for gambling casino managements and police agencies.


Darwin Ortiz was born in 1948, and raised in New York City where he had a profound interest in card tricks since childhood.

At an age when other children were learning to play marbles, Darwin was learning how to manipulate a deck of cards in his South Bronx neighborhood.

Darwin's passion for the art of manipulation grew as he practiced religiously, six hours a day, wearing out over five hundred decks of cards each year.

In 1974, he dropped out of NYU Law School and pursued card magic full-time. During that time, he initially supported himself playing blackjack (using card counting techniques) and as an instructor at Harry Lorayne's memory school in New York.

Ortiz was mentored by the seminal British/US close-up performer, Derek Dingle, and also became a contemporary and close friend of the influential US coin magician, David Roth.

He later became a consultant to a number of casinos in the US, Europe, Africa, UK and Australasia, and was a regular featured presenter for a succession of years at the World Gaming Congress in Nevada.

Ortiz has been a featured performer at magician's conventions in the US, England, Portugal, Argentina, and Japan, and has lectured on sleight-of-hand before countless magician's groups in numerous countries, including the Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

He has appeared in over seventy television and radio programs, including The CBS Morning Program, shows on NBC, The Learning Channel, and both America's Most Wanted and Britain's Most Wanted (as an expert on card cheating - not as a fugitive).

Ortiz is the author of books on gambling and magic. The most recent book on his original routines was "Scams and Fantasies With Playing Cards."

His book "Strong Magic" focuses on practical presentational techniques for close-up magicians. The book has been broadly embraced by the professional and amateur magic community but initially met with negative reviews from the two major US trade publications MAGIC and Genii.

Demand for the book has been high, despite the initial inability of the original publisher to reprint the text.

Ownership of the copyright has recently returned to the author (along with two other books "Darwin Ortiz At The Card Table" and "Cardshark") and the books are once again being made available to the trade.

Ortiz's latest book, "Designing Miracles" is an exposition on the design of powerful magical effects, and is subtitled "Creating the Illusion of Impossibility."

The book posits and analyzes various theories regarding the perception and cognition of lay audiences and provides practical examples and advice on the construction of effects, aimed at maximizing their impact and deceptiveness to a lay audience.

Ortiz's major work for the lay public on gaming protection is "Gambling Scams" 1984. He also authored an influential annotation of S. W. Erdnase's "The Expert at the Card Table " titled "The Annotated Erdnase" in 1991 which was published to the magic trade.

Darwin Ortiz currently resides in Washington, D.C.

For more information, visit Darwin Ortiz's official website.

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