Performing magic tricks becomes quite a different occupation when your life is on the line. No, we are not referring to so-called “death-defying acts.” Many of those have carefully-implemented failsafes, and despite the skill needed to perform them, no one will threaten to shoot you if they catch you palming a hairpin. Likewise, no one will drag a mentalist in Miami into the street if they found out that they were merely skilled at making lucky guesses. Instead, truly dangerous magic is the type that has to look like it is no magic at all.
This type of flawless performance was born in the gambling halls and casinos at the turn of the 20th century. At the time, many migrant laborers realized that their calloused hands could make them more money playing cards instead of tilling soil. Some realized that they could make even more money if they rigged the odds by cheating. Their only rule: don’t get caught.