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Plainfield, ILLINOIS
1617 Posts

Profile of RandyWakeman
“Small But Deadly” (The Packet Trickster’s Handbook)

Some time ago, I received a pleasant e-mail from Paul Hallas in the U. K., where Paul mentioned that he was working on a little book on “packet tricks.” Obviously, Paul is not “just a talker,” he is a doer! Rather than the modest manuscript I had envisioned, Paul has produced an oversized hardbound book of some 128 pages.

You might want to set aside your preconceived notions as to what a “Packet Trick” is, as Paul Hallas has taken a much broader perspective than most in working up this collection. If you think that packet effects are comprised of only gaffed cards, or need to be introduced from a wallet made from “highly polished plastic by old world craftsmen,” Paul shows you that that is hardly the case. Many, many of the routines require nothing but that trusty pack of cards already residing in your pocket, lying quietly at the ready.

The organization of the book is interesting. Are you a Brother John Hamman fan? If so, it is easy to flip to his section (p.26) in a flash. The same applies to Peter Duffie, Phil Goldstein, Peter Kane, and many others. Like “twisting effects,” “Oil and Water,” Jumbo Card Effects, or “spooky stuff?” All are well represented.

I was chuckling to myself, wondering if I should buy some popcorn and go to a horror movie as I gave “Vampire Dawn,” The Beautiful Witch,” and “The Monster Mash” a perfunctory perusal. It was good to see both jumbo card effects and routines engaging enough for kid’s shows included, as both are underrepresented in the literature.

Along the way, you will be introduced to some old friends, some fascinating history, and Paul’s analysis of what routines are the best of a particular breed. S.B.D. also contains at least a dozen full-fledged new offerings, all of which could have been marketed as $20 standalone items. I’m sure that most pro shops will have this new tome on their shelves, but any questions can be answered by Paul at

Congratulations to Paul Hallas on producing not just a book of strong effects, but a valuable reference work of lasting value as well.
Steven Steele
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Hesperia, California USA
1904 Posts

Profile of Steven Steele
I learned a lot of magic during the hay day's of packet tricks (The Nick Trost, Emerson & West Golden Era). I know they are generally scoffed at today, but I remember working in a restaurant and the utter killer effect some of them had. The most fun (and requested) was "The Bicentenial Card Trick". I abosolutely loved that effect, even though I could only do it in 1976.

I'm glad to see somebody producing a book relating to this genre of card magic. It really was a lot of fun back then.
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