29 Sep

How to win a free drink

Performing as a magician in bars around Glasgow and Edinburgh is lots of fun. But if there’s one thing I love, it’s a bar bet. If done with a wink and a smile you’re sure to get yourself a free drink. And if the trick itself doesn’t impress then you just tell your ‘mark’ they’ll be able to win drinks using the same technique for the rest of their lives. A good deal, right?

So what’s my favourite bar bet? I know a ton (and will post some more over the coming months) but the following two are by far the easiest and most practical as they require no secret preparation.


 No. 1 The Shot of Plenty.


Fill a shot glass to the brim with water and casually ask your friend to estimate how many coins you can place in the glass before it starts to overflow. Chances are they will say three or four. It looks impossible to put in more without displacing the liquid.

This is where the bet comes in. Say you bet them a drink that you can put in more than ten coins without it spilling over. Or if you’re really cheeky bet them a drink for every coin you can put in over their original estimate.


You proceed to carefully place ten coins into the shot glass without any spillage. Indeed, you may even find you get up to fifteen without the liquid overflowing.

You win a drink!

What’s the secret?

There is no secret to this trick, it just works with good old science.


No.2 The Trapped Bank Note.


Place a bank note under an upturned bottle. Bet your friend that you can remove the note without the bottle falling over. One condition is that you will not touch the bottle with any part of your body or use any other object.

It looks impossible! Ask them to try remove the note but however fast they try to whip it away the bottle will fall.

What’s the secret?


Roll the bank note into a tube towards the head of the bottle. Do this slowly and carefully ensuring you don’t touch the bottle with your fingers.


The note will nudge the bottle away leaving it standing on the table by itself.

Well done, you have just won another drink.