The Card Shark

Theatre, West End
  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(17user reviews)
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The Card Shark

Seasoned gamblers might consider the £50-£60 ticket price to 'The Card Shark Show' as an investment, but they'd be better off fluttering their money away at the Blackjack table.

Of course, close-up magician Steve Truglia's solo show only promises to demonstrate 'how sleight-of-hand techniques honed by hardened gamblers influenced modern card magic', not 'how to cheat at cards'. Even so, there's little to justify the steep entry fee.

The 50-year-old east Londoner talks us through the history of card cheats with tales of Wild West poker players, modern deck-controls and mechanical swindling devices. The stories themselves are interesting, but our narrator-magician tells them at such tedious slow-pace they can seem rather dull.

The magic is fairly hit and miss, too. Truglia's obviously an accomplished, if slightly inelegant, magician and his sleight-of-hand is very impressive. But by explaining that he's controlling cards, false shuffling and so on, the reveals are automatically less spectacular. On our visit, he also seemed to be struggling to remember each line, ushered multiple volunteers on stage when just one would do, and told far too many corny jokes.

There's also little to back-up the marketing blurb's promise of a 'multimedia show'. Presumably it's referring to the live camera-feed of the card table. The angle was slightly askew during my performance, so Truglia's hands were often out of shot, but even when aligned, this is hardly technological wizardry.

Perhaps the show will get slicker throughout its run. Truglia seems like a charming guy, but he's no polished showman, and 'The Card Shark Show's biggest illusion is that it's worth the money.


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Average User Rating

4.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:12
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:1
2 people listening
stuart s

Fantastic show! We loved this so much that we'll be going again. The stories, videos and sheer amazing magic blew us away. Really classy intimate venue too, bravo

Richard B

I hate saying this but I feel I have to leave a review and express my thoughts.

The basis of my comments are this...

The show is not worth the £50 a ticket for front row seats and I'm sorry to say but I feel like its a bit of extortion, we were left disappointed and flat after reading a number of positive reviews. We watched Dynamo recently on his tour and left feeling amazed and mystified bearing in mind we paid just £10 more for tickets to see him it was on another level.

I feel like we spent £50 each on a security breifng about pickpocketing and how good he is at it, and how people he knows are good at swindling others in card games, if I had wanted a presentation about either I would have called crime stoppers or watched lock stock again.

The show was quite tacky to be honest and I'm sorry Steve but I still feel like I've been played by a card shark for spending £50 each for me and girlfriend.

£15 to see about two decent tricks ok I can handle that but to charge the rest is simply money for old rope. Please consider this before forkng out, there are better shows for the money all over the west end, wish I had read time outs actual review before I decided to go.


I'm baffled by the negative reviews. I went last night and had a great time, as did the rest of the audience judging by the applause at the end of the show. Stories were fascinating, humorous and delivered well, with the passion for the trade clearly evident. I liked the use of the camera and thought it was an essential part of the show - there really wasn't any place to hide, and the projector was used well throughout the performance. Steve Truglia was warm and accommodating, staying for a long time after to mingle with the fans. Well worth a visit even if you're not into cards.


Overall an enjoyable show with some interesting stories of card cheats in history and incredible slight of hand skills by Steve Truglia.. The overhead camera helped to see the extent of this card master's expertise. He is also good in engaging some of the audience in a psychological linguistic behaviour technique in how to make an accurate guess from voice inflection and behaviour. However, the price of the ticket, considering it is only for an hour stretches the imagination. Would have benefitted from an interval to chat with others and take in the atmosphere. Word of warning, be on time as you will miss a trick and not get to your booked seat.


I read your review after a friend said he was taking me to see it, so I wasn't expecting to enjoy it. But it was a really enjoyable show. So different from other theatre and so entertaining, as well as being interesting. I was really enthralled with the tricks and, going on the gasps of the audience, so was everyone else. So pleased to have seen the show.


We watched this show last night and really liked it. Steve Truglia is a great story teller and amazing magic. How does he do that? We will go to see this again, very good


The show is ok, nothing special. It’s exceptionally overpriced and the the card shark’s skills are, at times, rather clumsy and I would disagree with Time Out’s assertion that his sleight of hand skills are ‘very impressive’. None of the 'magic' seems very natural. The presenter appeared to struggle at times to remember where he was going with the stories as he concentrated on shuffling the cards (there is a lot of that!). The show was busy when I saw it, however, chatting with people around me they had all been given free tickets for the show. So would I recommend it? Not really, unless you’re given free tickets and have nothing better to do with your time.

Nicola Humphries

An unusual and very entertaining show, including lots of audience involvement, with story telling and awesome card tricks. I kept thinking 'how did he do that?' in sheer amazement. Well worth seeing and believing that perhaps a little magic is happening here too! ;-)


Awesome Show - although I have always found card magic unbelievably frustrating ...As I have no idea of how they could possibly do it !!!! Time Out reviewer very harsh and clearly has no idea of how difficult it is - I Would definitely recommend this show with a great location for a meal & drinks after upstairs


Brilliant show - despite thinking of myself as a person doesn't like magic or cards I was completely transported! Recommend going. The sound in the venue is sometimes too loud to hear Steve properly, be great when they get that right as this show deserves to be well supported by the sound and lights since they are an integal part of the show.

tom holland

Disagree with this review entirely. Loved the format - its like going to a very, very entertainting talk on the history of card cheats, low lifes, hard core criminals from the Wild West right up to the present day!!! Highly recommend - fun night out and great hotel for a few drinks after.


Enjoyed it immensly and think the Time Out reviewer is too harsh. Perhaps the ticket price is a little steep, but is a 5 start show and a great night out - not too long so you can enjoy a good meal but long enough that I was entertained

Richard M

I've seen the show twice. Loved every minute and enjoyed it just as much second time round. Combined a magic card show with an entertaining history lesson full of characters. Still can't figure out how he did some of those tricks. Just amazing. Steve comes across as charming and genuine. Enjoy

Tim S

Was this reviewer at the same show as the rest of us???? Expensive yes, but so is everything in London. Truly excellent show, great magic and fantastic delivery. The reviewer is talking through his a**e if he thinks it was slow or they guy struggled to deliver. Go see it and decide for yourself!


Great show - loved it and everyone else seems to have done too, so not sure the reviewer was watching the same show!! The show's facebook page has nothing but great reviews from all the other reviewers... Ref the post from WG about Card Sharp - the terms are interchangeable and both used widely. Think Steve did point that out in the show. Really great combination of the history of card magic and gambling woven in with some stunning routines. A really unique and entertaining show. Also surprised to see how much the kids in the audience seems to love it, so definitely a show for all the family. A must see if you want to see something truly different and have a great night out in the West End!


We thought it was an excellent show. It was interesting and entertaining and the magic was great, and the kids loved it, a great night out, thanks