Mike Powers' "Power Plays" offers an excellent and comprehensive collection of close-up effects that use cards, coins, bills, rings, rubber bands, straws and more-some 58 effects in all. While many are Powers' take on classic effects, he has created and compiled an impressive assortment of tricks that are visual and commercial.
The book is divided into five sections: Impromptu Card Mysteries, Mathematical Mysteries, Prepared Card Mysteries, Coin Mysteries and Miscellaneous Mysteries. With 37 tricks, cards make up the bulk of the effects. Theres so much great material, I can only skim the surface.
Off the Cuff
The section on Impromptu Card Mysteries offered lots of gems. Powers Expert Card to Pocket
is an incredible card to pocket routine that uses two selected cards, serves five revelations and phases (youll need a jacket for this one) and ends in a strong card from wallet. Its classic card to pocket on steroids.
There are various transposition effects where groups of cards trade places and change into other cards, and Powers covers the bases by including: collectors, four of a kind locate four selected cards; sandwiches, a selected card is found between two of a kind; cavorting aces, red and black aces continually switch places in a deck; an excellent variation on the date book card prediction; a card-based moving hole routine; some poker-themed effects and his admirable take on Paul Currys Out of This World.
Theres an impressive Triumph effect where cards are shuffled face-up and face-down, and the deck is somehow righted in two phases, and a selected card is found between two jacks. This one needs no table, is performed entirely in the hands and was based on a convincer in a routine by Larry Jennings in his book, Up in Smoke
Theres an offbeat Sawing a Lady effect where a card appears to pass through another one thats in a card box.The amBIGuous Card offers a visual effect where a selected card shrinks in size into a miniature card and then returns back to normal size.
As the name implies, Mathematical Mysteries, the second section, offers card effects that dont require as much sleight of hand. While I generally find these kinds of card tricks, with their constant dealing, cutting and piles less desirable, Powers still comes through with some cool and amazing effects that rely on punched cards.