Symboji: reframing a mentalism classic


My kids are currently obsessed with clicking the reaction emojis during video calls.

So naturally, my thoughts turned to magic, and how to integrate them into a trick.

Here’s a way to adapt a classic mentalism routine to Zoom shows:

The Idea

Adapt the method of Symbologic, the ESP symbol-matching trick by Hen Fetsch, to the reaction emojis on Zoom/Skype.

If you know Symbologic, you’ll see how easily it can be adapted. Just make a up a set that replaces the pairs of ESP symbols with reaction emojis – laughing, clapping, etc. If you don’t know the trick, it’s well worth getting, as the procedure is cleaner than many of the subsequent ‘improvements’.

The Details

During a virtual show, introduce the idea of predicting people’s reactions, then say you’ll use the emoji cards to rule out any suspicions of techno-wizardry.

Given the remote aspect of the performance, you’ll need to handle both sets of cards.

Have your prediction cards face-down on one side, and have their reaction cards face-up on the other.

Each time, you study their face to supposedly guess their upcoming reaction, then lay down a face-down prediction card. Then have them click their chosen emoji, and place their choice face-down on top of your prediction card. Finish the routine as usual.


  1. Please don’t make the mistake of dismissing this as just a cosmetic change to a standard trick. In the eyes of the audience, it turns the ‘strange symbols’ trick into the ‘Zoom emojis’ trick, making it feel more current.
  2. For another presentational hook that reframes how the audience remembers a trick, check out David Regal’s admirable (and adorable) ‘The Puppy Trick’ in Approaching Magic.
  3. Yep, I know the title of this post sounds like a Jumanji spin-off series. And I’m okay with that.