Las Vegas Magician Banachek Awarded ‘Mentalist of the Year’

Watch ‘Banachek’s Mind Games Live’ at The STRAT

By Melissa Gill

At a typical magic show, the magician is usually the one surprising the crowd, but world famous mentalist, Banachek, got a surprise himself on stage last night during his Grand Opening performance of his new residency show, “Banachek’s Mind Games Live,” at The STRAT. This was above and beyond a so-called usual magical performance.

Yesterday while in the midst of his 4 p.m. performance, the mentalist was caught off guard by a video awarding him “Mentalist of the Year” from the International Magician Society. Since 1968, this Merlin award has been earned by the most globally renowned magicians and mentalists such as Luca Volpe and Gerry McCambridge. The Merlin awards to magicians is like the Oscars to actors, it’s one of the most prestigious honors in the world of magic. And this is the second time Banachek has been the recipient of this achievement.

As Banachek accepted his award in the 600-seat STRAT Theatre, the audience was filled with his family, friends and a few other popular magicians–Criss Angel and Colin Cloud.

SPI Entertainment’s senior vice president, Alex Schechter, presents the award to Banachek.

“It is truly an honor to be considered ‘one of the greats’ by such an influential organization,” Banachek said in a statement. He expressed gratitude for his new residency at The STRAT.

The surprises continued to unfold after Banachek’s mind-bending performance. Following the mesmerizing show, guests were invited to the after party ceremony on The STRAT’s exhilarating 1,149-foot-tall Observation Deck. Rolling out on the red carpet, some of Las Vegas’ top entertainers were spotted at the party, including Vinny Groso, the headliner of “Totally Mental,” plus the cast of “Thunder From Down Under” from Excalibur and the cast of “Fantasy” from Luxor.

The STRAT’s vice president and general manager, Stephen Thayer, plus the senior vice president of The STRAT’s production company, SPI Entertainment, Alex Schechter, warmly welcomed Banachek to his new home in their theater.

Magic lovers can catch “Banachek’s Mind Games Live” performance shown six days a week (dark on Fridays) at 4 p.m. Prices for tickets begin at $29 and can be purchased at

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