1. Home

Book Review: Power Plays-Mike Powers

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating


Book Review: Power Plays-Mike Powers
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. There’s 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 (you’ll need a jacket for this one) and ends in a strong card from wallet. It’s 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 Curry’s “Out of This World.”


There’s 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.”

There’s an offbeat Sawing a Lady effect where a card appears to pass through another one that’s 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.

Adds Up

As the name implies, Mathematical Mysteries, the second section, offers card effects that don’t 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.”

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.