Every magician with even the slightest serious interest in cards has heard of Erdnase, and his important 1902 book, The Expert at the Card Table. Vernon, Ortiz, Racherbaumer, and others have all given the magic world study guides for Erdnase.
But less familiar to (even some well-read) magicians is Michael MacDougall's 1944 book, Card Mastery.
This may be because from the very first edition of MacDougall's book, it included a complete reprint of Erdnase's text. So (maybe) since most serious card workers already would have Erdnase in their library, they passed on spending more money for Card Mastery. (?) Or they glanced over the text of MacDougall's book, and saw that pretty much everything in it is already covered by Erdnase...
But I think there are good reasons for card workers to read Card Mastery, even if they are already well-versed in Erdnase.
Let's start with the "one trick worth the price of the book" reason. An overused phrase in magic book marketing, but in this case, it is true. Card Mastery opens with an EASY-to-perform 7-handed poker deal which you can do after breaking the seal on an unopened deck. As written by MacDougall, the routine is good, but I have used it for so long, that I wrote up my own "improved" handling, which I will include.
It looks like this: you break the seal on a new deck, and shuffle it, let the spectator cut it a few times, and then you deal seven hands of poker. You openly cheat a couple times, dealing a card from the bottom to your hand. When the hands are shown, each hand is progressively better than the next -- first a pair, then a higher pair, then two pair, then three of a kind, then a full house... The dealer (you) show you have four of a kind to beat them all. BUT, since someone saw you dealing from the bottom, you discard your four-of-a-kind and the spectator cuts the remaining deck and gives you five new cards. These cards are a STRAIGHT FLUSH. Wow!! Oh, by the way, this routine is practically self-working.
So that routine, with my bonus 4 page handling and presentation is Reason #1 that you should get Card Mastery.
Reason #2 -- MacDougall's writing style in Card Mastery is more accessible than Erdnase, and so for those who found Erdnase a bit overwhelming, or hard to get through, they are likely to find MacDougall's descriptions and a explanations easier to "get into". Card Mastery does not try to cover everything (as perhaps Erdnase did, or so it seems) -- so the information is focused on the most valuable and useful sleights and techniques for magicians. And once you learn from MacDougall, you can go back (or go onto) the Erdnase text to compare, contrast, and learn more. I am pretty sure this was why MacDougall always included the Erdnase book after his text; he saw Card Mastery as a way into Erdnase.
Card Mastery was first published in 1944, and there was a hard cover and also paperback edition (published by Tannens). This paperback edition (published in 1975 by D. Robbins) recreates the Tannen's paperback format and cover design.
Check out the photos of the table of context and sample pages to get an idea of how much is in this book, and the format.
This book is highly recommended. 1975 paperback reprint by D Robbins. 204 pages. (81 pages comprise the text of Card Mastery, and 123 pages are the text of Erdnase's book).
PLUS you also get my personal handling and presentation of the MacDougall 7-hand Poker deal
New-old dealer inventory so in NEW condition