Penn and Teller MasterClass Review:
Is it Effective for learning Magic tricks?

Last updated on: July 11, 2023, Written by:

Bill Tremlon

Just a heads up, whenever possible, I use affiliate links in my reviews to help cover the costs of running this site. You can learn more here.

Everyone appreciates a good magic trick. But performing a captivating magic routine requires a true understanding of the art form. If you’re eager to learn magic, what better way than to be mentored by the legendary magicians themselves, Penn and Teller?

In their masterclass, Penn and Teller break the fourth wall, revealing the simple principles behind the art of magic while showcasing several tricks to entertain others.

But the question remains: is the Penn and Teller magic MasterClass worth it? I will cover that and more in this detailed review of the Penn and Teller MasterClass.

Penn and Teller MasterClass Overview

In this MasterClass, Penn and Teller teach the art of magic and a few knuckle-busting moves you can use to dazzle your friends. Penn and Teller explain how magic works in a simple and fun way to make it easy for anyone to get started on the art. You’ll also appreciate that a few video lessons of the Penn and Teller MasterClass are dedicated to showcasing the magical duo doing their magic routine.

Penn and Teller MasterClass review

Penn and Teller MasterClass Review Summary

⭐ Rating:9.0 ★★★★★
🥇 Category of class:Arts and Entertainment
📈 Suits best for:Anyone interested in learning magic or fans of Penn and Teller
🕒 Lenght:2 hours 53 minutes
⏳ Avg. Lesson Duration10 minutes
🛍️ Course Essentials:balls, a magic wand, plastic cups, coins, and more (see section on essentials)
💼 Complementary material:64-page class workbook
📚 No. of Lessons:17 lessons
🛒 Payment options:Individual / Duo / Family
💵 Price:10 – 20 $ (billed annually)
🔄 Refund policy:30-day satisfaction guarantee
🎁 Free trial:

1.Meet Penn & Teller;
2.Sleight of Hand: The French Drop;
3.Cups and Balls;
4.What Is Magic?;
6.Coin Magic;
7.Magic Vs. Lying;
8.Mentalist or Crook?;
9.Card Magic;
10.Exploiting the Best of the Human Brain;
11.Rope Tricks;
12.Principles of Performing;
13.Cause and Effect;
14.The Joy of Magic;
15.Bonus Chapter No. 1: Advanced Student Coaching;
16.Bonus Chapter No. 2: Piff the Magic Dragon;
17.Bonus Chapter No. 3: Penn & Teller Live at Rio Las Vegas “Cell Fish”.

Key Skills You’ll Learn

  • The joy of magic;
  • The fundamental principles of magic;
  • Human behavior and how a magic act is pure psychology;
  • How to practice magic with morality;
  • Working magic knowledge;
  • The subtle mechanics of specific tricks, such as the sleight of hand and the French drop;
  • Misdirection;
  • Rope tricks, card tricks, coin tricks, and other simple tricks;
  • How to use simple techniques to create a whole magic trick;
  • Penn and Teller 7 principles of magic.

Who is Pen and Teller’s MasterClass for

The Penn and Teller MasterClass is designed for individuals with an interest in the art of magic. Fans of Penn and Teller will particularly appreciate learning magic from their beloved magic duo.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced magician, this course is for you. Beginners will have the opportunity to learn magic tricks that utilize simple props and grasp the simple principles underlying most tricks.  Experienced magicians will benefit from gaining insights into Penn and Teller’s unique perspectives on magic.

Our Evaluation

Total score: 9.0

Penn and Teller as Instructors
Uniqueness and Freshness
Structure and Quality
Student Engagement and Retention
Value for the Money


  • Learn simple magic tricks you can perform anywhere
  • Watch Penn and Teller perform live
  • Learn magic from legendary magicians
  • Understand the brain science involved in a magic act


  • Too short

Penn and Teller MasterClass Instructor Review

About Penn and Teller

Penn and Teller are among the most legendary magicians of our time. The magical duo has been captivating audiences with their magical, often brain-churning tricks for the better of half a century, giving them immense magic experience.

Introducing Penn and Teller MasterClass

Penn and Teller started their magic act all the way back in 1975 on the streets of Philadelphia. The Penn and Teller tricks got so good that they became a staple act on major world stages, ranging from Broadway to Las Vegas.

They have also been invited severally to popular shows such as The Late Show with David Letterman and Saturday Night Live. Penn and Teller even have their own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

An interesting fact about this magical duo is that they were refused membership into the Magic Circle, the most prestigious magicians alliance in the world. The Magic Circle doesn’t take too kindly to magicians revealing any secret behind magic tricks or illusions.

The Pen Teller duo, on the other hand, prides themselves in giving their audiences full transparency, with Penn quipping that a good magician is an ‘honest liar.’

Needless to say, if you want a magic MasterClass, Penn and Teller are the perfect duo to teach it to you, thanks to their willingness to divulge their secrets. These Las Vegas-based magicians are still working together after all these years, saying their relationship is more of a business-like friendship.

Penn and Teller as Instructors

Penn and Teller are remarkably good as instructors. Despite the duo having performed magic for nearly 50 years, Penn and Teller teach magic with lots of enthusiasm. They don’t mind going over the same trick over and over again to ensure you understand the art form.

I must say it was just a pleasure to see and hear Teller talking, as he’s always taken a mime-like approach when performing magic. He is profound, thoughtful, and kind in his delivery.

The dynamic between Penn and Teller shines through in their teaching. Penn’s vibrant personality and storytelling abilities bring infectious energy to the video lessons.

Teller’s profound understanding of the subtleties and nuances of magic adds depth and intricacy to the instruction. Together, they create a harmonious balance, making the learning process both fun and educational.

About MasterClass

Since 2015, MasterClass brings best online classes from top-tier instructors in almost any field. It includes pre-recorded video lessons from masters such as Richard Branson, Martin Scorsese, Aaron Sorkin, Gordon Ramsay, and many others.

The video quality equals Hollywood movies, and every MasterClass course is carefully structured. But that’s not all. There are interactive assignments, MasterClass community activities, and an ever-growing video library to enjoy. The sheer amount of content can make it hard to begin. Cursums will help you to choose wisely.

Uniqueness and Freshness of the Content

Penn and Teller were denied entry into the exclusive magicians alliance due to their insistence on being honest to their audience. That’s what you get with Penn and Teller’s MasterClass – full transparency. You won’t get that kind of transparency anywhere else, which is what makes the Penn and Teller MasterClass remarkably unique.

While scattered knowledge can be found in various books and online video lessons, you’ll be hard-pressed to find one single resource that combines mastery and authenticity into practical learning material the way the Penn Teller MasterClass does.

What makes Penn and Teller’s MasterClass even more remarkable is its exclusivity. As the only magic course offered on the renowned MasterClass platform, it stands as a beacon of value and opportunity.

With a subscription to the Penn and Teller MasterClass, you not only gain access to their incredible teachings but also unlock a vast array of unlimited courses across multiple disciplines like music production with Hans Zimmer or unlock creative boundaries with photographer Annie Leibovitz MasterClass.

Penn and Teller MasterClass Content and Structure Review

The Penn and Teller MasterClass offers 17 video lessons that take 2 hours and 53 minutes to complete. On average, each lesson is about 10 minutes long, with the longest one being 22 minutes long.

As such, the video lessons are curated in such a manner that makes it easy to complete the Penn and Teller MasterClass in one sitting.

Meet Penn and Teller, The French Drop, Cups and Ball Routine

1-3 Lessons Summary

The magic course begins with Penn and Teller introducing themselves, talking about the joy of magic, and stating that it is the driving force behind their work. This is followed by Penn & Teller’s promise that the few fundamental principles of magic they’ll teach in the course should be sufficient enough to allow you to perform hundreds of magic tricks.

Reviewing the Penn and Teller MasterClass: Unveiling the Fundamentals of the French Drop

This leads us to the second lesson, where we are introduced to the Penn and Teller French Drop, which serves as the essential building block for many a magic trick. What I particularly loved about this lesson was the decision by them to work with complete beginners.

It allowed the magicians to break down the trick into multiple stages, ensuring that the students intuitively understood it and benefiting us as viewers as well.

After learning the French Drop, we are treated to a hilarious cups and balls routine where we see the technique applied. Here, you learn how to use the French Drop to make balls disappear and reappear from under cups.

What’s Magic, Misdirection, and Coin Magic

4-6 Lessons Summary

After the first few videos, Penn and Teller decide to open up about their definition of magic and the philosophy that guide their approach to magic. 

A chapter in Penn and Teller MasterClass about magic act

They then delve into the fascinating subject of misdirection. The magicians emphasize the importance of misdirection in making magic work. They explain that distracting the audience is essential for successfully executing a magic trick, and they generously share some techniques they use for this purpose.

In lesson 6, we explore the world of coin magic. Teller reveals his fondness for coin magic, as it can be performed virtually anywhere. Penn and Teller proceed to showcase a variety of coin tricks, all of which utilize the French Drop as a fundamental skill.

I was particularly amazed by a coin trick in which Teller employed sound misdirection to make the coins transform into fish, disappearing and reappearing before our eyes!

Magic vs. Lying, Mentalist or Crook, and Card Magic

7-9 Lessons Summary

Lesson 7 explores the fine line that separates magic from lying, according to Penn and Teller. While the art of magic involves an element of deception, it should be approached with a moral perspective, and any magician should strive to be an honest liar.

Penn and Teller delve deeper into this topic in the lesson on Mentalist vs. Crook, providing an example of the unethical use of magic. They highlight how a mentalist can use brain science to exploit the vulnerabilities in the human brain and manipulate people for personal gain.

Penn and Teller explores the fine line that separates magic from lying

Next, we are treated to a lesson on card magic featuring both our beginner students and the late legendary magician Johnny Thompson. This card magic MasterClass covers various card tricks, including card force and card location.

One of the most intriguing aspects I learned about card magic is the concept of the magician’s choice. In all card tricks, it turns out that you don’t actually have a free choice. The magician has already predetermined the card they want you to select, and their role is simply to guide you toward it.

It is then illustrated by a wonderful card trick by Johnny Thompson called the Whispering Queen, which I always thought was a Penn and Teller card trick.

Human Brain, Rope Tricks, Principles of Performing, and The Joy of Magic

10-14 Lessons Summary

This section of the Penn and Teller MasterClass offers further insight into the fascinating realm of brain science and how magicians leverage the vulnerabilities of the human brain to deceive their audiences.

Penn and Teller vividly demonstrate this phenomenon through rope tricks. One particular trick involves cutting a rope in half, tying a knot, and then mysteriously removing the knot, revealing an intact rope! It’s a clever trick that is sure to leave the audience scratching their heads in bewilderment.

Penn and Teller MasterClass Review: how magician misdirects viewers

In the Principles of Performing segment, we delve deeper into the importance of respecting the audience’s intelligence to enhance the believability of your magic act. Additionally, Penn and Teller impart valuable knowledge on distorting the principles of cause and effect to create truly magical moments.

Teller then shares his personal reflections on the joy of magic, recounting one childhood experience that fueled his desire to bring joy to others through the art of magic.

Bonus Lessons: Advanced Student Coaching, Piff the Magic Dragon, Penn & Teller Live at Rio Las Vegas

15-17 Lessons Summary

In the bonus lessons, we have the opportunity to witness Penn, Teller, and Johnny Thompson coaching students who have been practicing magic for some time. We also observe them assisting an experienced magician in dissecting his whole magic routine, searching for any potential flaws that could affect the act’s selling or entertainment value.

This experience was truly enlightening, revealing the immense effort required to perfect even seemingly simple magic tricks.

Penn and Teller adds a bonus chapter in there MasterClass

The course culminates with a captivating Penn and Teller skit. During this performance, the legendary magicians present one of their renowned routines, known as the ‘Cell Fish.’ In this magic trick, they astonish the audience by making a person’s phone disappear and reappear inside a fish.

Fast-Track Lesson Plan

In case it’s not feasible to sit through the nearly 3-hour Penn and Teller MasterClass, I recommend this fast-track lesson plan that only lasts 1 hour and 13 minutes. Here, you’ll learn the following:

2.Sleight of Hand15:58
3.Cups and Balls10:24
6.Coin Magic18:52
9.Card Magic22:16
11.Rope Tricks6:10

Penn and Teller MasterClass Review: Student Engagement and Retention

The Penn and Teller MasterClass is incredibly engaging. It’s no surprise that Penn, the charismatic voice of the duo, knows how to captivate an audience. He effortlessly grabs your attention as he delves into the intricacies of magic.

He interweaves philosophical questions and makes the journey of learning magic truly fascinating. Watching Penn in action is enthralling, as nothing contents Penn more than passionately discussing the artistry of magic.

However, it is Teller who truly steals the show. When the typically silent magician finally speaks in this Penn Teller MasterClass, you are unsure of what to expect. But oh boy, does he deliver!

The moment he opens his mouth, you instantly feel like you’re listening to a master sharing insights on his beloved subject. Teller explains each new trick with clarity and kindness, ensuring that you understand how to execute it effectively.

Together, this unlikely magic duo creates an extraordinary chemistry that hooks you from the very first lesson.

My Personal Experience With Penn and Teller’s MasterClass

Things I Liked About the Penn and Teller MasterClass

Learning from Legendary Magicians

Magicians have never been renowned for their forthrightness. That’s precisely why you should embrace this magic course. In the Penn Teller MasterClass, this magical duo wastes no time in dismantling the illusion of magic and making it clear that every magic performance, regardless of its complexity, is nothing more than a well-crafted trick and not the result of supernatural powers.

Learning Psychology Used to Trick Audiences

Penn and Teller impart the fundamental principles on which every magic trick relies, while also providing insights into the psychology behind selling magic tricks. I particularly appreciated their choice of sharing tricks that only require a few simple props to perform.

Things I Didn’t Like About the Penn Teller MasterClass

Feels Short

Not to take away from any Penn and Teller MasterClass pros, but when I enrolled in the Penn and Teller MasterClass, I expected to learn a multitude of magic tricks. However, what I learned was the underlying techniques behind the majority of magic tricks that heavily rely on the sleight of hand.

I wouldn’t say that I was disappointed, but I did feel that the course concluded rather unexpectedly, leaving me wanting more.

Is Penn and Teller MasterClass Worth the Money?

Cost of Penn and Teller’s MasterClass

So, how much does Penn and Teller’s MasterClass cost? You’ll be glad to know that it’s the same as that of any other MasterClass, which is $10 per month for the all-access pass. With the all-access pass, you not only gain access to Penn and Teller’s MasterClass but also to the entire library of over 180 courses, ranging from science & tech with Neil deGrasse Tyson to filmmaking MasterClass with David Lynch, as well as other genres taught by experts in various fields.

Individual (one device)$10 per month
Duo (two devices)$15 per month
Family (six devices)$20 per month

Does the Class Keep Its Promises

The Penn and Teller MasterClass does keep its promises. I came out with a new awareness and appreciation of the art of magic. The course not only taught me the secrets behind many magic tricks but also provided insights into the psychology, principles, and techniques that make magic truly captivating.

Through their engaging lessons, Penn and Teller shared their expertise and passion for the craft, inspiring me to delve deeper into the world of magic. I learned to approach magic with a creative mindset, understanding the importance of showmanship, misdirection, and audience engagement.

Therefore, I recommend Penn and Teller’s MasterClass for anyone who has an interest in magic, whether they are beginners looking to learn the foundations or experienced magicians seeking to refine their skills.

Penn and Teller MasterClass: What Others Have Said

In addition to reading this Penn & Teller MasterClass review, you should also check out what other customers are saying on social media. Almost all the Penn and Teller MasterClass reviews I came across on social media were overwhelmingly positive. Here’s an example from Reddit:

Penn and Teller MasterClass Review on Reddit

According to another Reddit user There’s some good insight into how to refine a magical idea into something that can be performed.

Penn and Teller MasterClass Reddit review

And a user of YouTube praises Penn and Teller’s 40-odd years in magic. That’s precisely why they have a masterclass and not other magicians.

Penn and Teller MasterClass Review on YouTube

“-I’ve picked up MasterClass on a couple of diffrent courses. The lessons are between 7-15 minutes. Then again, those were on acting and not magic. So the lessons on Penn and Teller’s course could be longer…Penn and Teller’s 40 odd years in magic is precisley why they have a masterclass. Shin Lim may be popular right now but in terms of experience knowledge and skill P&T tower over him.”

Essentials Used in the Penn and Teller MasterClass

The best thing about the Penn and Teller MasterClass is that you’ll only need a few simple props to get started. They include:

  • 2 small tinfoil balls
  • 2 large tinfoil balls
  • A magic wand (or anything resembling a wand)
  • Some grapes
  • 3 plastic cups
  • Some large coins
  • A drinking glass
  • A newspaper or strong napkin
  • A small piece of paper
  • A pencil
  • An ashtray
  • A lighter
  • 2 duplicate packs of cards
  • A 4-6 foot length of rope
  • Scissors
  • An audience

Alternatives to Penn and Teller MasterClass

Other Arts and Entertainment Courses on MasterClass

  • Aaron Sorkin Teaches Screenwriting
  • Werner Herzog Teaches Filmmaking
  • Martin Scorsese Teaches Filmmaking
  • Helen Mirren Teaches Acting
  • Samuel L. Jackson Teaches Acting
  • Parris Goebel Teaches Creativity in Choreography
  • Alicia Keys Teaches Songwriting and Producing
  • Judd Apatow Teaches Comedy
  • Spike Lee Teaches Independent Filmmaking
  • Natalie Portman Teaches Acting
  • Ken Burns Teaches Documentary Filmmaking

Alternatives to MasterClass


Udemy is one of the most popular online learning providers, with a massive choice of various classes. The learning platform covers a range of Magic courses for beginner and advanced learners.


Coursera is another big name in the online courses market, with a lot to offer in magic-related fields. It’s a great way to expand your knowledge of the field without spending much money on online learning.


Skillshare focuses on practical courses, with educational videos substituting expensive college courses. The aim is to provide users with marketable skills for finding a job. There are some courses related to card magic as well.

Q&A about Penn and Teller MasterClass

Penn and Teller’s MasterClass unquestionably provides excellent value for money. Not only are they the only magicians offering a MasterClass, but they are also widely recognized for their willingness to share their knowledge and expertise. Penn and Teller’s MasterClass unquestionably provides excellent value for money. Not only are they the only magicians offering a MasterClass, but they are also widely recognized for their willingness to share their knowledge and expertise.

Penn and Teller are internationally acclaimed magicians who have made a significant impact on the world of magic over the past 50 years. Their unique style, blending illusion and comedy, has captivated audiences worldwide. They have not only performed in countless shows and tours but also made numerous television appearances, cementing their status as iconic figures in the entertainment industry.

Some of the magic tricks and illusions taught in the Penn and Teller MasterClass include: Sleight of hand (French Drop), Misdirection, Coin magic, Card magic tricks, Rope magic

The Penn and Teller MasterClass runs for about 2 hours and 53 minutes. However, if you opt for my fast-track lesson plan, you can complete the course in 1 hour and 13 minutes.

As with all other courses on the platform, the Penn and Teller MasterClass comes with a 30-day satisfaction guarantee. This means that if you are not fully satisfied with the course within 30 days of purchase, you have the option to request a refund.

Author: Bill Tremlon

Blogger | Life-long learner

Bill Tremlon

I’ve spent the last ten years passionately studying various online learning platforms. Udemy, MasterClass, Coursera, and Skillshare are the main ones, but I review lesser-known study tools as well. I test and analyze each course and lesson thoroughly before sharing my research.



Penn and Teller inspired me to delve deeper into magic.

Author: Bill Tremlon

Blogger | Life-long learner

Bill Tremlon