To be an interesting magician, you must first be an interested magician. Driven by his endless curiosity, Ben Daggers has traveled across the globe seeking inspiration from both inside and outside of magic. After carefully nurturing simple ideas into full-grown routines, he is finally setting some of his most cherished creations free with The Elusive Illusive.

As Pit Hartling wrote in the foreword, Ben’s magic is pure and simple. He has spent years refining it in front of real audiences in both his private work, as well as his weekly show with Ponta the Smith and Takeshi Taniguchi. The result is magic that is clear in plot, direct in method, strong in effect, and, most importantly, playful and engaging in presentation.

“Ben is clever, practical and charming; and his magic has the same attributes as its multi-talented creator.” Guy Hollingworth

In The Elusive Illusive Ben shares the most remarkable effects he’s managed to trap, train and refine over the years. Across the 218 pages of this gorgeous hardcover book, you’ll find more than 10 professional showpieces that are as entertaining as they are magical. They are accompanied by three thought-provoking essays and several original techniques, including his highly-acclaimed “Drop Shuffle” which is one of the most deceptive full-deck false shuffles we’ve ever seen.

Ben gives you a front-row seat to the routines, techniques, and theory that comprise his professional work. It’s a fascinating blend of pure magic effects and theatrical multi-phase performance phases for both close-up and parlor work in both formal and informal settings. Some use cards, some use coins. Some are difficult, some are not.

Any fans of strong, creative and entertaining, and inspiring magic will want to read The Elusive Illusive by Ben Daggers.

“Buy this book, then lock yourself in a room for a few weeks and give it the time it deserves. The magic, the writing, the thinking… WOW! I love it.”Paul Gertner

“What a wonderful book! What a wonderful magician!!! I will do some of his routines for sure!”Hector Mancha

“Beware, there is more to Ben Daggers than meet the eye. Like him, his magic is at first sight sweet, funny, honest, humble and charming, and then you begin to realise, little by little how clever, thought out and strong it is. Magic that needs your time and study to profit by all the details involved. Under its light cover, The Elusive Illusive is a very deep book.”Pierric

“Many people know I love magic books, but over time, I’ve become more and more selective. ‘The Elusive Illusive’ is one of those I love having in my collection, among my exquisite selection of best contemporary magicians.”Javi Benitez

“This is not just a book of tricks. This is a window into the world of Ben Daggers. A world full of details, depth, and personality. I’ve seen Ben perform some of the wonders inside these pages, and they are simply magic.”Luis Olmedo

Contents of The Elusive Illusive


A unique gambling-themed routine in which you demonstrate your otherworldly ability to shuffle a deck and deal the four Aces with one hand while blindfolded. As you deal two poker hands, the first three cards to your spectator are Aces. But, you fail to find the fourth one. You then reveal in a shocking surprise that it’s because you’ve managed to deal it to yourself as part of an even stronger hand—a royal flush. All those hours practicing the one-handed shuffle finally go to good use as “Tribute” transforms the move from a mere fancy flourish into a pivotal component of an exciting routine.

Soft Centre

From a spectator-shuffled deck, a freely-selected card is lost in the pack before being dealt from the center. You then extract its mate in the same fashion before finally dealing every card of the same color from the center in a dazzling display of skill.

Triumph for Two

A deck that has been shuffled face up into face down by the audience is divided in half between you and a helper. You both then race to see who can sort the cards the fastest. Unfortunately, they never stood a chance because yours is instantly fixed while theirs remains a mess. That is until a surprise ending where they somehow replicate your feat and magically make all their cards face the same way.

Invisible Sleeves

Three coins pass from one hand to the other in the cleanest way possible, all with the apparent help of an invisible jacket.

Hands Off ACAAN

Multiple audience members help you mix a deck before it is isolated in a wine glass and a card and number are named. You then let the spectators remove this amount of cards themselves, eventually revealing that the chosen card is at the chosen number.

Ben Daggers’ Drop Shuffle

A perfectly choreographed and casual full-deck shuffle that genuinely looks and feels as if the deck is being legitimately shuffled. It’s one of the most convincing complete deck false shuffles you’ll ever see and is surprisingly easy to do.

One Track Mind

A member of your audience is revealed to be a shuffle-tracking master that successfully finds a named four-of-a-kind from a shuffled deck.

Mirror, Mirror

An engaging routine that elevates the “Do As I Do” plot into a memorable piece of magical theater that can play for audiences of any size.

OPOD (Outjogged Pushoff Double)

A natural, tension-free double turnover that eliminates the need for a get-ready or to hold a break. The relaxed movement creates an extremely convincing illusion of a single card. This is destined to become the double lift of choice for many readers of this book


An exciting routine in which you showcase how a magician could use their unique skills to cheat at a card table. You hide cards invisibly in the palm of your hand and demonstrate how you can quickly glimpse any card. The routine culminates with a stunning kicker where, as a tongue-in-cheek exposé of card marking, you make the backs of every card change color.

Uncommon Sense

A zany, slightly over-the-top routine in which you demonstrate how you can use all five of your senses to perform incredible feats of skill and magic. Thanks to some unorthodox props, your spectator is then able to replicate them.

Illusion of Control

A selected card is controlled in just one shuffle to a spectator’s desired location in the deck. You then control the cards of the same value in a similar fashion to any named position in the deck. Finally, the whole deck, which was undeniably mixed up just a moment prior, is shown to have returned to perfect order.

Babel Coins

A beautiful piece of coin magic wrapped up in an amusing and fascinating tale. Special elixirs from various countries allow you to unlock your ability to visually transform coins into a different currency.


Also included are three insightful and practical essays regarding the importance of thinking like a layperson, Ben’s thoughts on the classic force, and a compelling look at how sometimes the best inspiration can be hiding in your old material.


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