It has been gently brought to my attention that I am not the first to think of the Himber wallet in connection with a clean-up for the Ultimate Monte. And now my frail ego is crushed (OK, just kidding, it's bigger than ever). I am told, that Michel Ammar, for one, has used the HW in his routine. Was he the originator of the idea? I have no idea. My understanding, from reading up on this a bit, is that the strategy of magicians who have used the HW in conjunction with the routine have done so as a means of insurance; in other words, the cards are placed into the wallet at the end and stay there until if and only if someone asks or demands to see them, or maybe contends they are less than on the up and up. I think that the schtick of taking "the cards" out again, as an afterthought, after placing them in the wallet at the end, in order to "show them one more thing," doing a fLustration count to show that it was, in fact, done using "all aces," then immediately tossing the cards (an ungimmicked ace, two and three) face up on the table may have been my idea. But if someone else thought of it first, well then, hey, c'est la vie. I am not even entirely convinced that it is that good of an idea, or even necessary, because I haven't performed the routine, let alone field-tested it over any significant number of trials. However, working in bars has made me anticipate the brash and the grabby. (*new idea for magic soap opera?)
But then this begs the question of whether the cards should even be introduced from any kind of wallet or receptacle other than the deck itself? Is that not innately suspect, particularly if one has done prior tricks using the full (or nearly full) deck? True, the cards in the traditional, ungaffed 3 Card Monte are not generally taken out of the deck (although I believe I read that Performer does so). But even if the cards in the ungaffed monte are not introduced from out of the deck (e.g. I keep mine in my shirt pocket or top jacket pocket - just the cards, no wallet or container), they are nevertheless seen face up throughout the routine and, of course, can or could be examined before, during and/or after. Furthermore, the cards are always at least somewhat bent lengthwise when I introduce them, and I explain that this is done for ease of pick-up and that it is how the actual 3 Card Monte hustlers do it. And it is actually surprising how many people I have come across who either know about the game, have seen it played live or on video, or in a movie, or have even themselves been victims. So, all in all, suspicion-wise, I think it is different taking the ungaffed cards out separately (i.e. not from the deck) versus doing that with the gaffed ones. Of course, I am pretty sure that there are those who introduce the gaffs form the deck - but that still leaves the clean-up issue. And anyone who wants to tell me that if the gaffed routine is presented the "right way," nobody will ever suspect, or ask to see, or grab for, the cards, I would suspect has not performed in bars very often. Moreover, suspicious and skeptical people, or those who are astute and logical, are not confined to those who patronize pubs.
Which leads to the problem of: Does anyone really turn over a card with their thumb virtually always completely covering the bottom pip of a card (except of course when they turn over the deuce as an (to me, unconvincing) acquitment, and, if anything, a tell? Is it just me, or does that look really unnatural? (If someone says that it is just me, I won't get offended). And even if they did not turn over the two any differently than the others, that would not allay suspicion, but arguably even compound it. All of this being said, I have it on very good authority that the gaffed, Ultimate Monte style routine absolutely kills. Maybe it's just not for me - I like throwing cards about and not stressing out over how dirty I am throughout the routine, and what life would be like if I were to be adjudged guilty of magical fraud.
Like so many things in life, it might just come down to different strokes for different blokes...