Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.
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erdnasephile
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Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby erdnasephile » March 11th, 2018, 4:45 pm

Recently, a couple of people requested a demonstration of three card monte on short notice. Just for fun, I pulled Skinner's Ultimate Monte off the shelf and was really shocked at how strongly it played. It knocked them for a big time loop which was way out of proportion to level of sleight of hand involved. (As someone who spent a fair bit of time learning Ortiz' three card monte routine, I wasn't sure whether to be pleased or dismayed.)

In any event, this performance caused me to look at some other gaffed close-up Montes I had on the shelf: (Roger's Unconquered Card, Farmer's Brilliant Bammo Monte Monster, Bloom's Visible Monte, Bean's Monte 3.0, Valentine's 3, Page's 3 Card Trick, etc.). Loads of fun to play with, including some truly eye popping sequences. However, some get pretty far afield from the actual game they are based on.

Question to those of you who work for real folks: given an hypothetically equally strong presentation, do you favor the gaffed approach or are you in the Ortiz camp that feels authentic monte techniques are the best during performance?

(Yes, I know--it's the effect that matters, but just asking here as a conversation starter)

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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby erdnasephile » March 11th, 2018, 5:06 pm

I should clarify: I didn't mean the phrase "work for real folks" to act as limiting the discussion to pros. Just wondering about your experience with both types of routines in actual use.

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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby performer » March 11th, 2018, 6:07 pm

I have sold thousands upon thousands of the Dutch Looper which is an old grafting product and fairground item in the UK. It is a three card monte routine with gaffed cards. You can see me demonstrating it at 1.15. I also do the worm and the svengali deck:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3GSItQV6io
Last edited by performer on March 11th, 2018, 6:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby observer » March 11th, 2018, 6:08 pm

Well, since real monte as "played" on the streets for money, and magician's monte are entirely different things, it seems pointless for a magician to affect any sort of purity of method. In a show, the objective is to knock the spectators' eyes out, and the performer absolutely should gaff it up as much as required to achieve that objective.

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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby performer » March 11th, 2018, 6:16 pm

Actually when I am performing rather than selling I far prefer to use regular cards! I wouldn't dream of using fake cards. I leave that for the punters! I actually use the Vernon 3 card monte routine and have been doing it for decades!

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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby performer » March 11th, 2018, 6:19 pm

Easily the best monte routine I have ever seen is the one Jon Tremaine does. I haven't seen him do it for about 50 years though. It was fantastic! He called it the "Scarlet Pimpernel" or something. I don't think he has ever revealed the routine or put it in print except for a very tiny excerpt in one of his card trick books written for the public. It does use gaff cards. I hope that one day he puts it in print while he is still with us. He can't be getting any younger.

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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 11th, 2018, 6:43 pm

Jon Tremaine's book "The Amazing Book of Card Tricks" has the item "The Pimpernel Queen" (page 52) which looks very good.
Something like the Jennings Homing Card routine can work as a monte where you keep reducing the packet size from five cards down to two at the end. But again that's method rather than effect.

Does anyone here have performing experience treating the gaffed set (or even the Joe Riding three/four card item) as a Monte in terms of apparent handling but played with a wink? If so- how's that working for you?
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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby Bob Farmer » March 11th, 2018, 6:55 pm

As with most poker routines, it seems that you have to make a decision: is what you're doing an apparent demonstration of skill (and therefore not impossible) or is it a demonstration of magic (and therefore impossible).

The method is irrelevant, it's the audience's perception that is important. If they see it as skill, then that's one reaction; and if they see it as magic, that's another.

Obviously, with my routine, the Bammo Monte Monster, I come down on the magic side. I find demonstrations of skill to be boring which is why almost any poker/shuffling routine puts me in a coma. If it's not magic, I'm not interested and I don't care what the method is (i.e., it can be real skill or apparent skill, real cards or gaffed cards).

Here's my argument:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0Xo68frPQk

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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby MagicbyAlfred » March 11th, 2018, 8:06 pm

This happens to be a topic I am passionate about. My viewpoint, I admit, is somewhat subjective, although my reason for doing it the way I do does, I believe, have a basis in logic. I am a student of three card monte, the con. I have studied the history of it for years; I am fascinated by the psychology behind how the dealer and shills prey on the avarice and naiveté of the mark (a bad combination BTW). I am equally enthralled by the carefully orchestrated theatrical aspects of the game; often there are 6 to 8 shills involved, all of whom look as different from each other as night from day, and each with his or her important role. Now make no mistake about it, I do not approve of three card monte the con, the scam; it is and always has been run by uncouth, immoral cheats, criminals who should be in jail - and I will invariably warn them to never, NEVER play the game, as it is surely not a game, and they cannot and will not win. But like I said, I am fascinated by it, and I find that spectators are too.

In my presentation, I talk about the colorful, famous (or should I say, infamous) characters who pioneered the game in the U.S. (although the swindle itself is ancient), men like George Devol, Canada Bill, and Frank Tarbeaux (with his "Rube Act") and the different types of scams they ran on the railroad, the steamboats, the back rooms of saloons and the so-called "Monte Stores" that drew suckers in with the promise of getting something for practically nothing. I am intrigued by the ploy of using one shill to bet correctly and "win" the money, while using another to make a foolish mistake and lose. Meanwhile, watching this drama unfold, the sucker sees that the dealer pays off, while believing he is smarter and more observant than the loser(s). Then there are the look-outs and the smoother, often a kindly well-dressed gentleman who sympathetically cools down the sucker after he's been fleeced.

Yes, I'll admit I am a purist, and I have cringed seeing phenomenal card men using the gaffed cards and doing it super-slow and challenging the spectators to boot. In some cases, making the spectator(s) look foolish. But that's obviously their call. For my own part, I would be more than mortified if someone asked to see those gaffed-to-the hilt cards or grabbed them, as what little remains of my reputation would be gone. And I know, there has been hot debate on here as to what does or does not fall into the too perfect theory, but it would be hard to convince me that, at least the version I have seen with the Skinner ultimate monte, does not qualify as too perfect, since there is no conceivable explanation for what happens, save gaffed cards. But so there is no mistake, overall, I think Michael Skinner is one of the greatest close-up workers ever...

But even if I was 100% sure that I would never get caught, I would still eschew the gaffs and do the real monte tossing the cards. Maybe it's a matter of pride and the desire for authenticity - I don't know. And I can't imagine not doing the bent corner ploy and the switches and other great classic moves. As I step down from my soap box, I'll sign off with a quote from someone who has been mentioned on here once or twice, S.W. Erdnase (whoever the hell he is): "But there is not a single card feat in the whole calendar that will give as good returns for the amount of practice required, or that will mystify as greatly, or cause as much amusement, or bear so much repetition, as this little game; and for these reasons we believe it worthy of unstinted effort to master it thoroughly." And you know what? He's right.

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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby Bob Farmer » March 11th, 2018, 9:19 pm

That's a powerful argument for the non-gaffed method. Do you treat present it as magic or skill?

A non-gaffed version using real skill has a huge advantage over the Skinner routine because it has none of the problems of the Skinner routine. The Skinner routine despite its notoriety is a terrible routine that makes no sense and it's not Skinner's routine. It is Eddie Taytelbaum’s, “Find The Ace” (DAI VERNON’S ULTIMATE SECRETS OF CARD MAGIC BY Lewis Ganson, Unique Magic, 1967).

The Taytelbaum version uses the DeLand cards from Pickitout (Ace, 2 and 3 of clubs) and provides a routine where the cards are tabled (approximating the feel of real three-card monte). The routine is in three phases.

Phase One: After showing the cards in a fan (ace on the outside), they are dealt face down in a row, the ace going to the left end. The ace magically jumps to the middle.

Phase Two: The cards are picked up and shown in a fan a second time (ace again on the outside). The ace is dealt face down and the other two cards are dealt face down on either side of it (so the ace must be in the middle). The 3 magically appears in the middle where the ace should be.

Phase Three: To make the ace easier to follow, the 3 is discarded face down and way off to the side. Only the ace and the 2 are used. Dealt to the table, they are moved around slowly, then shown: the ace is gone, it’s now the 3. The ace is found off to the side where the 3 was placed.

Problems: Unfortunately, the routine is not as direct as the effects summary suggests and has serious weaknesses. The major one is the end-for-end switch (the A-3-2 fan has to be closed then re-fanned as 3-A-2, or vice versa).

The 3-A-2 is cleanly shown, then the cards are dealt one by one into a face-down pile, picked up, reverse counted face down in the hands and then fanned again to show A-3-2.

Before and after this “shuffle” the cards are in the same order, but in turning the packet face down and then face up, the ends are switched so the first fan (3-A-2) is made from one end and the second (A-3-2) from the other end.

Logically, this makes no sense at all: why show the cards in one order, turn them face down, move some cards around and then turn them face up and show them in a different order? But worse, anybody paying attention to the ace would expect to see it still in the middle. It started in the middle, the cards were reverse counted twice, so it should still be in the middle.

Remember, it’s three-card monte and the audience has been invited to watch the ace closely: if they actually decide to do so, the method better be bulletproof.

“Find the Ace” uses this illogical shuffle switch twice, once in Phase 1 and once in Phase 2, but then abandons it completely for an even bigger whopper.

At the end of Phase 2, the cards on the table are spread out face down in A-3-2 order (the 3 has just been shown as the middle card). The cards are picked up one on top of the other and fanned face up. Obviously, the 3 should still be in the middle, but when the cards are fanned it now appears on the end (3-A-2).

Here there is no illogical shuffle, actually no mix of the cards at all, yet the cards are not in the order they should be in (magic has happened, but apparently the magician hasn’t noticed).

The use of all black cards in sequence, A-2-3, highlights the discrepancies rather than camouflaging them. The 2 is always on the face, the 3, like the ace, always shuttles back and forth between the first and second positions.

Finally, in some key places, the handling is very, very awkward (e.g., the initial display of the cards).

SKINNER’S ”ULTIMATE 3 CARD MONTE”
Mike Skinner’s routine was first marketed in 1990 and quickly became the most popular of the gaffed montes. It is virtually identical to Taytelbaum’s routine (hence the reference to “Ultimate,” it’s the routine from ULTIMATE SECRETS OF CARD MAGIC).

There are two improvements: the awkward handling has been eliminated and the ace is red, while the 2 and 3 are black.

However, nothing else has changed: it uses the same illogical shuffle switch in Phases 1 and 2 and the same defective pickup at the end of Phase 2. The cards are still sequen-tial A-2-3.

ROGERS’ “THE UNCONQUERED CARD”
Mike Rogers devised his routine in the 1960s and it is clearly superior to both the Taytelbaum and Skinner efforts because it offers solutions to the problems in those routines. It is comparatively unknown, perhaps because it was only available from Jeff Busby Magic, Inc., a dealer whose eccentricities tended to limit his customer base (to be diplomatic about it but to be frank, he was a jerk).

The first thing that Rogers improved was the cards: his routine does not use the sequential A-2-3, rather he uses an A-2-2 combination. In addition, the ace is red (a diamond) and the 2s are black (clubs and spades).

Now the audience only has two things to process, the red ace and the black twos (not three things, as in the other versions, the ace, the 2 and the 3). This makes the effects clearer and the method more decep-tive.

Rogers also uses the illogical shuffle switch, but he improves it: the ace is in the middle before the shuffle and it is still in the middle after the shuffle. In fact, before and after the shuffle the cards appear to be in exactly the same order, 2S-AD-2C.

The shuffle is still illogical (and maybe more so because the cards are in the same order before and after the shuffle), but at least if anyone is following closely, the card order looks right.

The handling Rogers has devised leaves the other routines in the dust, chiefly because he holds the cards face up and deals them in a row face down (the other routines deal from a face-down fan, with an occasional face shown). As a result, the Rogers routine looks much fairer and much more impossible.

The routining is about the same as Taytelbaum/Skinner, though Rogers adds a second part to Phase 2.

There are ways to perform the Skinner/Rogers routines with none of the issues I've described and those are in the instructions for the Bammo Monte Monster.

Bob Sheets has devised a routine that uses elements of the Skinner/Rogers routines and the Bammo routine and it is a real fooler.

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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby Jack Shalom » March 11th, 2018, 9:34 pm

Submitted for your approval: Garrett Thomas's Stand Up Monte.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2Ct3Dm8Boc

I'm a big fan of it.

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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby performer » March 11th, 2018, 9:37 pm

Jonathan Townsend wrote:Jon Tremaine's book "The Amazing Book of Card Tricks" has the item "The Pimpernel Queen" (page 52) which looks very good.


Yes. The Pimpernel Queen is the routine I am talking about. However, he only gives a tiny snippet of the routine in the book.

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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby performer » March 11th, 2018, 9:52 pm

I have seen Mike Rogers do his three card monte routine. It was OK if a little long winded. However, I am not a fan of the usual business of asking the spectator to pick out the queen or whatever the card is. I find it preferable to do it the Vernon way of not giving the spectator a chance to guess where the card is. I only ask them on one occasion only and that is for the bent corner finale. Less of a challenge that way and you avoid the irritation when they get it right! I like to involve audience members somehow in every trick I do so the bent corner business gives me a chance to do it. But only once.

With the Dutch Looper I actually have three routines according to which envelope containing the trick I select at random. I have a routine if the "royal" card is a queen, one if it is a jack, and one if it is a king. If it is a jack (or sometimes the queen) and I have children in front of me then I DO ask them to pick out the right one. It gives me a chance to growl at the little brats and snarl, "See ---kid don't know everything!". It is wonderful therapy after dealing with the little bastards all day ...............

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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby Richard Kaufman » March 11th, 2018, 10:20 pm

Theodore DeLand gets the credit for the first Three-Card Monte using gimmicked cards: double ended. All the others are variations of DeLand's original, and none change the basic gimmick.

However, Pat Page's Kitson Miracle is by far the best gimmicked version, being a terrific improvement on the Dutch Looper (both sides of all three cards can be shown front and back).
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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby Bill Duncan » March 11th, 2018, 11:10 pm

Jack Shalom wrote:Submitted for your approval: Garrett Thomas's Stand Up Monte.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2Ct3Dm8Boc

I'm a big fan of it.

I love Garrett's routine. It is so much better than the more popular gaffed monte that people associate with Mike Skinner. The gaff allows for a much cleaner show and you can buy a whole deck of replacements for the cost of one set of the mis-pipped cards. And Garrett has added a huge kicker ending.

That said, I sort of feel that if I'm going to claim to be demonstrating a gambling scam I should be honest about it. I can't imagine anything sadder than being busted for cheating about cheating.

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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby Richard Kaufman » March 11th, 2018, 11:22 pm

Thomas's trick is a great expansion of DeLand's "Two Card Monte."
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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby MagicbyAlfred » March 12th, 2018, 12:20 am

Bob Farmer wrote: "Do you present it as magic or skill?"

I would say it's a hybrid, as there are elements of both in my routine, and sometimes simultaneously..

When I saw Ricky Jay do his 3 Card Monte Routine in his incredible show, "Ricky Jay and his 52 Assistants," I became very enamored with his introductory phase. He referred to Canada Bill's reputation for being the greatest monte dealer of all time. Holding 3 cards in one hand, about 1/4 inch between each of them, he noted that, in Canada Bill's time, they used 3 red queens of hearts, and as each queen was displayed vertically, and then (apparently) tossed to the table, it was shown to be a red queen, but before he tossed the last (actually the only) queen to table, he explained that they would draw a big black X on one queen with a crayon to differentiate it from the other two queens. He then picked up the cards from the table one by one, holding them in one hand again (same grip) and said, "Later, they decided it was better to use thee black cards," showing three twos of clubs, one at time and tossing each, in succession, to the table like he did with the queens, and before tossing the last two to the table, he pointed out that they drew a large circle with a red crayon on one of the twos to differentiate it from the other twos. It was a beautiful, magical transformation of 3 red queens into three black twos. Next, Ricky stated that, eventually, they realized they could get a contrast by using a black card and a pair of red queens (matching words to action by showing, apparently, one black two and a pair of red queens.) Then he quickly turned all three cards face up, to show two black cards and a single red queen, saying, that "today, they play with one queen and two black cards," and he immediately pushed the 3 cards over to he dumbfounded spectator sitting to his left gesturing that she should feel them and check them out. I ended up pulling an all-nighter in my hotel room getting that down. Obviously, it is very magical, and gets a phenomenal reaction. But at the same time, it is implicitly a demonstration of skill without having to say so.

Another sequence I use, I learned from Eugene Burger, which I modified. The 3 cards are ostensibly shown all to be black at a point in the middle of the routine, with the patter that suckers who lose several times in a row, despite feeling certain of where the queen was, sometimes accuse the dealer of making a switch and of using 3 black cards (I show all 3 cards to be black while reciting that patter), but the dealer turns one card over only to reveal that he "always plays with a queen." Again, quite magical, and that phase, I would think, conveys more of an effect of magic than skill, but again the skill element is strongly implied since the theme of the routine is explaining and demonstrating a crooked game, and crooked gamblers are commonly understood to possess great sleight of hand skills with cards.

In a phase of explaining how a shill bets and wins as a "come-on" to the mark,, the cards are tossed legitimately (with no "hype" move) and all the spectators, of course, easily followed it. The shill is paid, thus assuring the mark that he will be paid upon winning. But in the following sequence, when the mark bets, the cards are tossed apparently identically to the prior sequence and mixed exactly the same way too. So, when the wide-eyed spectator sees that the mark lost and, of course, that the queen wasn't where they were sure it was, once again, there is this double-edged sword of both magic and skill. The element of surprise that transpires upon them seeing the implicit transformation of red card to black card evokes the magical punch, while the uncanny unseen switch they know occurred elicits the perception of skill and manipulation.

At one point in my routine, I explain how George Devol used a ploy where he made it 100% unmistakably clear that the queen was in the center, but when the sucker rushed to bet on that card, he would execute a clever switch, and the queen was not to be found (turning over the center card to show it's black). That, of course, is exclusively a demonstration of skill, and is undoubtedly taken to be as such by the spectators.

In explaining how Canada Bill and others of his day employed the bent corner ruse, I explain how he wore glasses as thick as coke bottles to convey how poor his vision was, and that while one shill appeared to distract him by protesting the game was crooked (sheer irony) another shill would bend back the corner of the queen, with a conspiratorial wink at the mark. Not seeming to notice a thing, Canada Bill would first display, then toss the cards to the table, the mark needing no further incentive to make a huge bet on the card with the bent corner. When the card with the bend is shown to be black, and the queen revealed to be devoid of any bend, that brings the most powerful reactions in the routine because there is not only a transposition, but, in effect, a double transformation. What could be more magical than that? And yet, at the same time, they know that uncanny skill was employed and they cannot help but give you credit for that.
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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby Ryan Matney » March 12th, 2018, 12:24 am

I really like Steve Valentine's 3 which is a version of the Dutch Looper that ends clean.

The Garrett Thomas routine is very popular with magicians but I can't see past the method myself. I know it's just my problem, and it is really brilliant, but I just see the method every time I watch it.
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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby erdnasephile » March 12th, 2018, 9:24 am

It seems clear that amongst this group, the Skinner routine has few fans perhaps due to the weaknesses listed by Bob Farmer.

However, given that Skinner had a huge reputation as a performer, I wonder why he settled on such a flawed routine? He's not alone apparently, as some really fine contemporary performers (Malone, Ammar, etc.) also favor this routine.

Do lay audiences really notice the discrepancies or is this something that just bugs magicians? Or is it a matter of great presentations from strong performers being able to overcome the inherent weaknesses of the routine?

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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 12th, 2018, 10:17 am

Skinner did the monte non-gafffed on a tv show - and got a celebrity to do the corner bit.
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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby Ian Kendall » March 12th, 2018, 10:29 am

A few thoughts; Garrett's Stand Up Monte is very similar to Keith Bennet's Kickback Monte which came out in the early 90s (I've spoken with both about it, and it's a case of independent invention).

On a personal level; I have (I think) most of the versions published (and mentioned here), but almost always use a purist routine. Having said that, earlier this year I saw Paul Vigil's version in a lecture (and I believe The Doors of Deception) which was very good - he's taken all the best bits of the other routines and made a well crafted and apparently open piece of mini theatre.

There are also different situations where different routines are more suitable; for example - if you are strolling with no tables, then a pure routine is not possible and I would go with the Bammo Monte Monster. If you have a table and use the gaffs, then either Rogers or Vigil would be my choice (and ironically, due to their limited availability, the least likely to be done), and for stage you have the Joe Monti routine (basically the Skinner routine with jumbo cards), or a variation of the Sidewalk Shuffle.

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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby Q. Kumber » March 12th, 2018, 12:11 pm

Jonathan Townsend wrote:Does anyone here have performing experience treating the gaffed set (or even the Joe Riding three/four card item) as a Monte in terms of apparent handling but played with a wink? If so- how's that working for you?
.

Coincidentally, just a week ago, I found my old set of the Joe Riding trick, originally called, The Irish Three Card Trick, before being released by Ken Brooke as the The Only There Card Trick in the World With Four Cards. It wasn't long out before Ken released some handling ideas by Fred Kaps, which improved the overall effect. It was very popular in the 70's with stand-up magicians and fell out of favour when Martin Lewis developed his Sidewalk Shuffle.

What I believe matters most, is not the method, but how you draw the audience in to the plot.

In 1998 at the A1 Convention in Sacramento, Phil Cass came in to the close-up room where I was and started to do the walnut shells and pea. My heart sank (we'd just had sessions from Derek Dingle and Eric Mead) and I expected to be shown a rather bland effect. However it was the opposite. Within minutes he had theatrically created a real world situation and we, an audience of magicians, were totally engrossed, and on the edge of our seats. His moves were pretty standard, and I've seen others since who are technically better, but none of them have come close to the drama, the tension, the suspense - the experience - that Cass created.

Cass's performance and Jerry Camero exploding beside me are the two most memorable events from that convention (the latter is written up in Mike Close's book, That Reminds Me, exactly as I remember it). Cass's routine is available on DVD.

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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby performer » March 12th, 2018, 12:44 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:However, Pat Page's Kitson Miracle is by far the best gimmicked version, being a terrific improvement on the Dutch Looper (both sides of all three cards can be shown front and back).


I am sorry Richard but I don't agree. Magicians do like the flap but it affords no real advantage for all the hassle involved. The only time Patrick Page shows the full faces and backs of the cards is at the very end for a few seconds and it doesn't make the blindest bit of difference to the effect. Everything that can be done with the Kitson Miracle can be done with the Dutch Looper except that one tiny thing at the end and which doesn't mean a toss anyway. I always do the trick on a table anyway so right throughout the routine the full backs are shown and because of this psychologically the people imagine the full faces have been shown too.

Pat's routine is all done in the hands which is useful for a walk around situation of course (although I find it a bit of a cramped position that I would be averse to) but even he has to use the table at the end to show the full faces and backs for a matter of about 3 seconds. I personally don't think three lousy seconds is worth the hassle of fiddling about with a flap.

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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby observer » March 12th, 2018, 8:37 pm

Performers can keep their monte routine as "pure" as pure can be and it'll still be BS because they'd get eaten alive on the streets.

(With the exception of Performer, who has been there.)

Leonard Hevia
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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby Leonard Hevia » March 12th, 2018, 9:26 pm

observer wrote:Performers can keep their monte routine as "pure" as pure can be and it'll still be BS because they'd get eaten alive on the streets


That is true because there is more to this scam on the streets than just knowing how to manipulate the cards.

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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby performer » March 12th, 2018, 9:30 pm

I have sold svengali decks in the street but have never done the monte in that situation! I have known some monte workers in my time and I have even seen two sneaking in to a Randy Wakeman lecture at the Magic Circle! I was shocked to see them there. They did recognise me and were quite friendly. One of them gave me a gag that I have used all my life with the Dutch Looper. He told me that there was a guy called "Mossie" who used to sell the Dutch Looper in the streets of London who was the originator of the gag. I never met Mossie though so I can't tell you much about him.

He did show me a different way of bending the cards for the three card monte that is usually done. A kind of S shape. In any event when I perform the trick I do it the pure way. I only do the Dutch Looper in a grafting situation. After all the trick was originally made for that purpose. However, when performing close up magic I prefer to use ungimmicked cards with the exception of MacDonald's Aces which is so strong I have to make an exception. I use the sleight of hand version. I cut out the betting presentation and there is no mention of people trying to pick out the Queen except at the very end with the bent corner finish. It gets great reaction and I have done it for decades. Oddly enough I struggled like hell when I was young to master the move but I could never get the hang of it until I read Ganson's description in one of the Vernon card books. I am actually in awe of what I learned from Ganson's books over the years. I wish I could have thanked him for it.

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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby performer » March 12th, 2018, 9:32 pm

Leonard Hevia wrote:
observer wrote:Performers can keep their monte routine as "pure" as pure can be and it'll still be BS because they'd get eaten alive on the streets


That is true because there is more to this scam on the streets than just knowing how to manipulate the cards.


What magicians don't realise is that the monte workers WANT the public to know it is a crooked game! Alas it would take me too long to explain why.

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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby performer » March 12th, 2018, 9:41 pm

I still remember years ago selling the Dutch Looper in the Dandelion Market in Dublin and the stupidest looking uniformed policeman stood there watching me. I did the trick, explained that instructions came with it, and someone purchased it. As soon as I took the money this Garda (Irish for policeman) said, "that's illegal. Money has changed hands" He was actually dim witted enough to think I was daft enough to be doing the three card monte right in front of him! I just handed him the instructions and the cards and then ignored him and went on with my demonstration. He read it, looked embarrased, put the trick on the table and walked away.

The Irish police aren't that efficient I am afraid. I still remember the time a murder was committed in the Phoenix Park and the police couldn't be bothered to come and look at the body even though the murder had been reported. In the end they had to come down to do something about it after a week or so since it was beginning to stink a bit.

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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby MagicbyAlfred » March 12th, 2018, 11:29 pm

observer wrote:Performers can keep their monte routine as "pure" as pure can be and it'll still be BS because they'd get eaten alive on the streets.


I'm not sure I know what that means.

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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby performer » March 13th, 2018, 1:21 am

I suppose he means that if magicians tried to do it on the streets for money they would come badly unstuck. I actually agree with that. Magicians don't know the ins and outs of how the scam works with all the ricks (shills) involved. And it is the ricks that do the dirty work rather than the operator anyway. They are the ones who pick out the suckers and whisper in their ears about what a scam the game is and how they think they know what is going on. The fiction that you read about, that the shills win money to encourage the suckers is not valid. It just doesn't happen. The shills lose their money and point out to the suckers how the operator scams them. They will keep whispering to the sucker they have selected, "It's a con. He switched the card" They will stage fake arguments with the operator to convince the sucker that they are on his side. Magicians don't know anything about that stuff so they are not qualified to do it.

The second reason you will not see magicians do it is that they do not have the right mentality which quite frankly is a criminal mentality. These people are not the sort you would invite to dinner on the grounds that they will steal the silverware and whatever else they can find when you are not looking. They are not nice people.

I have never been one of them but it is the world I come from.

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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby MagicbyAlfred » March 13th, 2018, 4:14 am

Oh, perhaps I misread his post. I thought he was referring to a magician who was doing 3 card monte in the course of entertaining spectators, as opposed to a magician running a monte game for money on the streets. I guess I was having trouble seeing why performing a non-gaff (i.e. purist) version of 3 card monte as entertainment for spectators would relegate that routine to being "BS" simply because a magician would get "eaten alive" if he/she were foolish enough to bet in a monte scam on the street. Just struck me as a non sequitur...

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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby Ian Kendall » March 13th, 2018, 8:43 am

He did show me a different way of bending the cards for the three card monte that is usually done. A kind of S shape.


I still have the cards that Tony Giorgio used to demonstrate his hype to me; they were bent in the S shape. It was incredible to see; the top card seemed to melt through :)

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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby performer » March 13th, 2018, 9:14 am

Indeed. The S shape may even be better. I am just so used to doing it the normal way that I have stuck to it. And of course I have to do the bent corner thing which might be slightly awkward to do if I am not used to it.

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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby erdnasephile » March 13th, 2018, 10:56 am

Ian Kendall wrote:
He did show me a different way of bending the cards for the three card monte that is usually done. A kind of S shape.


I still have the cards that Tony Giorgio used to demonstrate his hype to me; they were bent in the S shape. It was incredible to see; the top card seemed to melt through :)


Cool--I wish there was video available of him performing the monte.

Mr. Giorgio talks about the S bend (along with some photos) in his pamphlet, "Tossing Broads", although he doesn't explain why this type of bend is superior to the standard bend. The bend doesn't make the hype any easier/harder, nor does it seem to affect the bent corner dodge. I can't really see the difference the type of bend makes during mirror practice, so I'm not sure what the advantage is.

Follow up question for the hive mind: when doing a gaffed monte for entertainment, how important is it to pull the three cards out of the deck in play? During my reading on this topic, several authors I respect have opined that if you take 3 cards out of a separate wallet/pocket and do the routine, it screams "Gaff!" This argument makes good sense to me.

However, it also makes sense that you could justify the use of 3 separate cards presentationally, especially if they have an unusual appearance or are bent. Bob Sheets also has a line about no one getting to touch the cards, which seems to be effective (and is historically accurate according to the Giorgio pamphlet). I think Derek Dingle also has a good line justifying the use of "special cards" in RK's big book.

I suppose that if the gaffed routine ends clean (e.g., Monte 3.0; Moser's Monte), or that allows the spectators to handled a lot regular cards (e.g., Stand Up Monte) or if you are doing an ungaffed version, it may not matter where those cards come from because the routine itself cancels out the notion of gaffs. Routines that rely almost exclusively on the gaff for their effect (e.g., Skinner's) may not fare as well.

Thoughts?

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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby MagicbyAlfred » March 13th, 2018, 11:43 am

My understanding is that the "S" curve in the cards allows the curved/recessed side of a card to fit nicely into the recessed portion of the card below it, thus providing more cover from the sides than when the cards are merely bent or creased, and minimizes or eliminates the risk of flashing. It is and has been used by many of the monte dealers (also known as tossers, hustlers or operators).

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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby performer » March 13th, 2018, 11:46 am

I simply take the two jokers out of the deck alone with one of the court cards, generally the queen. The trouble is in Canada and the US it is a bloody nuisance finding decks with two identical jokers. I never had this trouble in the UK. On the other hand in the UK the main manufacturer of playing cards at the time (Waddingtons) had the not so bright idea of making 4 index corners on the cards which caused hassle in other areas.

Now here is a tip for the bent corner thing. Because I work this trick impromptu I can't prepare the bent corner beforehand to make it more flexible so I do a bit of my most wondrous meaningless patter and eccentric procedure to get away with it right in front of them. If you are averse to meaningless patter and eccentric procedure you will have to find another way. I hold all three cards with both hands up to my left ear and mutter, "I'll just have a word with them and see if they want to do this" I then listen to the cards and get their opinion on the matter, at the same time bending the relevant corner back and forth with my right fingers to soften it up for manipulation. I then say, "Oh, they say they don't mind" and then I get on with the trick.

It works. Audiences like eccentricity you know.

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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby performer » March 13th, 2018, 12:14 pm

Here is my patter for the entire trick. It might give you an idea of my routine and my avoidance of getting spectators to pick the one they think is the Queen except at the very end where I do it just once. I am not a fan of making people get it wrong repeatedly and making them feel stupid even if they probably are.

"Three cards, two jokers and the Queen of Spades. Now the queen is a very confusing card. You see-if this card is a joker and that card is a joker why is this a joker too? It is a bit confusing isn't it? Look. this is joker number one. We understand that. This is Joker number two we understand that. What we don't understand is joker number 3. That's because the queen is over here.

Look. I'll bend the corner of the queen to make it easier to follow. Now if I mix these two cards up and say which one is the queen which one would you say it was? You are right! You thought you were going to be wrong didn't you? But if I cross my hands and say which one is the Queen which would you say it was? That one? Of course-it has the bent corner. Obviously if this card is a joker and this card is a joker this must be a joker too. And it has the bent corner. But no. The queen is over here"

See? No need to involve other people too much. I use the same psychology in the 3 shell game. A little involvement but not too much. I want to soften the challenge element and take away the sting a trifle.

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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby Ian Kendall » March 13th, 2018, 1:32 pm

Getting identical jokers is not that hard; if you use Bikes, for example, just open two decks. Take the coloured joker from one deck, and swap it for the black and white one for the other. You now have two decks with identical jokers.

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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby Bob Farmer » March 13th, 2018, 2:15 pm

My patter them goes like this: there's a game they play on the streets of New York (pretend to hear someone say "three-card monte").

Three card monte? They play that on 47th street--I'm talking about Wall Street. It's called Enron accounting or Bernie Madoff accounting. You follow the money and when you think you know where it is, you invest but--you lose.

ETC.

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Re: Gimmicked Three Card Monte vs. Real

Postby performer » March 13th, 2018, 2:39 pm

Ian Kendall wrote:Getting identical jokers is not that hard; if you use Bikes, for example, just open two decks. Take the coloured joker from one deck, and swap it for the black and white one for the other. You now have two decks with identical jokers.


Yes. That did occur to me. It is still a bloody nuisance though.


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