The magician puts a card on top of a deck of cards and waves a hand over it. The card then mysteriously rises from the deck, pulling away from it like a bus slowly pulling away from a bus stop -- only this bus is levitating!
This effect is essentially just an optical illusion and requires a good bit of acting to pull off.
To make a card hover above the deck, the magician grips the deck in such a way that the thumb and ring finger fingernails can be secretly slipped beneath the top card. A quick, practiced flick of the fingers is then enough to make the card jump straight up off of the deck.
Now the real magic happens. The magician must keep a careful eye on the card as it reaches the top of its jump and begins to fall. The magician then lowers the deck below the falling card at the same speed as the card is falling -- the distance between the deck and the falling card remains the same, giving the illusion that the card is hovering!
Alternately, the magician can hold the deck vertically and flick the card up and out, using the same type of deck motion to make it look like the card is floating out from the deck.You will notice that magicians performing this effect tend to stand over floor air registers or in other locations in which there is a strong updraft, as it helps prolong the levitation.