origin of the name...

A place where beginners can participate, ask questions, and post their views. However, beginners typically ask a lot of questions about sources, tricks, books, and so on. In fact, all magicians are interested (or should be) in the provenance of tricks, ideas, and related matters. This department will service these needs.

Postby Guest » 06/16/03 09:07 AM

Where is the name monte come from? As in three card monte etc. Is it monte carlo? That would makes sense I guess.

Postby Guest » 06/16/03 02:48 PM

It came from a game called Mexican Monte, which isn't the same as 3Card Monte but the game had that nice mix of being a name (Monte) that folks recognized as a card game but they were not familiar with it. That is where the name came from, it exist under different names as well.
Steve V

Postby pduffie » 06/16/03 03:09 PM

More info - according to Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary re the word "Monte":

Main Entry: monte
Function: noun
Date: 1824
1 : a card game in which players select any two of four cards turned face up in a layout and bet that one of them will be matched before the other as cards are dealt one at a time from the pack -- called also monte bank.

2 : Main Entry: three-card monte
Function: noun
Date: 1854
: a gambling game in which the dealer shows three cards, shuffles them, places them face down, and invites spectators to bet they can identify the location of a particular card.
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Postby Max Maven » 06/16/03 06:07 PM

Peter, your dictionary provides the year in which the term began being used, but no etymology.

The OED agrees with 1854 as the year when the term was applied to the card game. (The game itself is older; a version is described in Decremps in 1786. And, of course, the premise is essentially that of the Three-Shell Game, which goes back farther -- how much earlier is a matter of some dispute which can be debated at another time...)

Ah, but the word "monte" itself? Well, according to The Random House College Dictionary 1988 revised edition (which is rather dependable in my experience), the term made its way from Latin (mons, mont-) to Old English (munt) and Old French (mont), hence eventually the modern English word "mount" -- the noun, as in "mountain."

The application of the term to a gambling game has to do with a precursor to what is now played with only a few cards; the "mount" of "monte" was a heap of cards.
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Postby Pete Biro » 06/16/03 06:17 PM

Would Mountebank (sp?) enter the picture?
Stay tooned.
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Postby Edwin Corrie » 06/17/03 05:25 AM

According to the Collins English Dictionary, monte is "a card game of Spanish origin - 19th century, from the Spanish for mountain, hence a pile of cards". Of course, the Spanish "monte" also derives from the Latin.

The same dictionary says that mountebank is from the Italian "montare" (to climb) and "banco" (bench), referring to charlatans and people who used to sell quack medicines in public places (presumably standing on benches).
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Postby Guest » 06/17/03 09:26 AM

The answer I gave came from Notes on Three Card Monte from The School for Scoundrals and I think that it is pretty accurate.
Steve V

Postby Guest » 06/17/03 11:20 AM

Originally posted by Steve V':
The answer I gave came from Notes on Three Card Monte from The School for Scoundrals and I think that it is pretty accurate.
Steve V
So you're saying that the School for Scoundrels is more accurate than the Oxford English Dictionary, Random House Dictionary and Collins Dictionary?

Could it be that the SfS just MIGHT be pulling your leg? ;)

Stranger things have been known to happen.

With humor, not enmity intended,

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.

Postby Guest » 06/17/03 02:18 PM

It is more accurate when it comes to answering the question asked. I don't believe the question was "what is the definition of the word Monte?" it was a question as to how the name Monte came to be applied to the 3 Card Monte. If someone was to ask how poker got it's name would you respond "it means to push, thrust, or jab"? So I think the answer that it was borrowed from another game, one which was heard of my more than knew how to play it, to add legitimacy to the game and thus draws in 'players'. I love those notes on the 3-card Monte.
Steve V

Postby Guest » 06/17/03 07:17 PM

Yes, I was interested in how the word monte got applied to this game.

Postby Necromancer » 06/27/03 01:09 PM

No disrespect to Steve, but the question as written pertained to where the word monte came from.

Replying that it came from another game, Mexican Monte (the gist of Steve's answer) was fine, certainly, but I personally was hoping for something that went a little deeper. The other definitions provided by Duffie, Maven, and Corrie filled that gap in my knowledge. So thank you, all.
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