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|Origin||Spanish[ citation needed ]|
|Playing time||5–10 min|
Three-card Monte – also known as Find the Lady and Three-card Trick – is a confidence game in which the victims, or "marks", are tricked into betting a sum of money, on the assumption that they can find the "money card" among three face-down playing cards. It is very similar to the shell game except that cards are used instead of shells.
In its full form, Three-card Monte is an example of a classic "short con"in which a shill pretends to conspire with the mark to cheat the dealer, while in fact doing the reverse. The mark has no chance whatsoever of winning, at any point in the game. In fact, anyone who is observed winning anything in the game can be presumed to be a shill.
This confidence trick was already in use by the turn of the 15th century.
To play Three-card Monte, a dealer places three cards face down on a table, usually on a cardboard box which provides the ability to set up and disappear quickly.The dealer shows that one of the cards is the target card, e.g., the queen of hearts, and then rearranges the cards quickly to confuse the player about which card is which. The player is then given an opportunity to select one of the three cards. If the player correctly identifies the target card, the player gets the amount bet (the "stake") back, plus the same amount again; otherwise, the stake is lost.
Since there are only three cards, the jack of spades and jack of clubs often complement the "money card", which is usually a queen.The queen is often a red card, typically the queen of hearts. Sometimes the ace of spades is used as the money card, since in some cultures the ace of spades is viewed as lucky, which might lure the mark into playing the game.
This section needs additional citations for verification .(October 2022)
When the mark arrives at the Three-card Monte game, it is likely that a number of other players will be seen winning and losing money at the game. The people engaged in playing the game are often shills, confederates of the dealer who pretend to play so as to give the illusion of a straight gambling game.
As the mark watches the game, they are likely to notice that they can follow the queen more easily than the shills seem to be able to, which sets them up to believe that they can win the game.
Eventually, if the mark enters the game, they will be cheated through any number of methods. An example of a simple scheme involves a dealer and two shills:
Dealers employ sleight of handand misdirection to prevent the mark from finding the queen.
While various moves have been devised for Monte, there is one basic move which is overwhelmingly used with virtually all Monte games. It has to do with the way the cards are held and tossed to the table. The dealer will pick up one of the cards with one hand, and two with the other. This is the key: although it appears that the dealer is tossing the lowermost card to the table, in actuality they can toss either the top or the bottom card at will. Thus, having done so, and while mixing up the cards, the mark will be following the wrong card from the beginning. The move, done properly, is undetectable. Even the shills pretending to play are often unaware of where the money card actually is without the dealer employing signals of various kinds to let them know where it is.[ citation needed ]
Inevitably, once in a while the mark will manage to find the right location of the card by pure chance. This presents no problem at all for the mob; if the mark picks the right card, one of the shills will simply post a higher bid, which the dealer immediately accepts, announcing that he will accept only the highest bid. In other words, the mark puts down money on the right card, at which point a shill will immediately place a double bet on top of the card, thereby winning the "right" to play that round. Of course, if the mark picks the wrong card, the dealer takes the bid and the money. The dealer will never accept a winning bid from a mark.[ citation needed ]
The psychology of the con is to increase the mark's confidence until they believe they have a special ability to cheat the dealer and win easy money. Everything the Monte mob does is geared towards creating that mindset in the mark. To increase the mark's motivation to bet, they will also employ standard strategies such as having the dealer be slightly abrasive or rude, so there is even more reason to want to take his money.
The "bent corner ploy" is one of the classic scams in Three-card Monte, and is used if the mob thinks a mark can be had for more money, or needs more convincing to put some money down. During the course of tossing the cards, the dealer "accidentally" drops the cards, resulting in a corner of the money card having a slight bend in it. Another variation is for the dealer to look away, and while occupied, one of the shills will quickly put the crimp in the money card. Either way, the dealer pretends not to notice, this perhaps being made more plausible by having the dealer wear thick glasses. Assuming the mark bets on the card with the bent corner, the dealer will tell the mark to turn it over (so there can be no accusations of card-switching), revealing that it is not the money card after all, but one of the loser cards. The dealer has, in the course of tossing the cards, unbent the money card and bent the loser card. In this variation, the mark will be even more reluctant to complain about having lost money, as doing so would reveal that he intended to cheat the dealer.
A skilled card mechanic can perform this con without shills or assistants. Everything is legitimate up until the reveal. To show that nothing dishonest is being done with the selected card, the dealer does not even touch it, using one of the other cards to turn it over. If a losing card was selected, the card is simply turned over. If the winning card was selected, a Mexican Turnover is used to switch the two cards. When done correctly, the two actions are indistinguishable. No matter which card is selected, when turned over it is a losing card.
The Three-card Monte is performed in card magic tricks with minor or major variations that manipulate the use of gimmick cards, and other sleight-of-hand techniques.
In Canada, under section 206(1) of the Criminal Code, it is illegal to do the following in relation to Three-card Monte, which is mentioned by name:
They are indictable offences, with a maximum penalty of two years in prison.
Canada Bill Jones (1820–1877) was considered a master of Three-card Monte, in the middle of the 19th century in America.
In French-speaking countries, the game is known as Bonneteau. In Italy it is known as Gioco delle tre Carte. In German-speaking countries, the game is known as das Kümmelblättchen. In Uganda, it is known as Wakaleba. In Turkish, it is known as Bul Karayı Al Parayı 'Find the Black, Get the Money'. In Dutch, a similar game is known as "Balletje Balletje" in which the con artist moves three cups to hide one small rubber ball.
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Whist is a classic English trick-taking card game which was widely played in the 18th and 19th centuries. Although the rules are simple, there is scope for strategic play.
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Black Lady is an American card game of the Hearts group for three to six players and the most popular of the group. It emerged in the early 20th century as an elaboration of Hearts and was initially also called Discard Hearts. It is named after its highest penalty card, the Queen of Spades or "Black Lady". It is a trick-avoidance game in which the aim is to avoid taking tricks containing hearts or the Black Lady. American author and leading bridge exponent, Ely Culbertson, describes it as "essentially Hearts with the addition of the queen of spades as a minus card, counting thirteen" and goes on to say that "Black Lady and its elaborations have completely overshadowed the original Hearts in popularity."
Écarté is an old French casino game for two players that is still played today. It is a trick-taking game, similar to whist, but with a special and eponymous discarding phase; the word écarté meaning "discarded". Écarté was popular in the 19th century, but is now rarely played. It is described as "an elegant two-player derivative of Triomphe [that is] quite fun to play" and a "classic that should be known to all educated card players."
Euchre or eucre is a trick-taking card game commonly played in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Great Britain, and the United States. It is played with a deck of 24, 28, or 32 standard playing cards. Normally there are four players, two on each team, although there are variations that range from two to nine players.
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Pedreaux is an American trick-taking card game of the All Fours family based on Auction Pitch. Its most popular variant is known as Cinch, Double Pedro or High Five. Developed in Houma, Louisiana, by Chris Levron and Brad Greco in the 1880s, it was soon regarded as the most important member of the All Fours family. Although it went out of fashion with the rise of Auction Bridge, it is still widely played on the western coast of the United States and in its southern states, being the dominant game in some locations in Louisiana. Forms of the game have been reported from Nicaragua, the Azores, Niobe NY, Italy and Finland. The game is primarily played by four players in fixed partnerships, but can also be played by 2–6 individual players.
Preferans or Russian Preference is a 10-card plain-trick game with bidding, played by three or four players with a 32-card Piquet deck. It is a sophisticated variant of the Austrian game Préférence, which in turn descends from Spanish Ombre and French Boston. It is renowned in the card game world for its many complicated rules and insistence on strategical approaches.
Sueca is a 4 player-partnership point trick-taking card game of the Ace-Ten family, and a popular variant of the Bisca card game. The game is played in Portugal, Brazil, Angola and other Portuguese communities. Its closest relative is the very similar German game Einwerfen.
304, pronounced three-nought-four, is a trick-taking card game popular in Sri Lanka, coastal Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, in the Indian subcontinent. The game is played by two teams of two using a subset of the 52 standard playing cards so that there are 32 cards in play.
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Lanterloo or Loo is a 17th-century trick taking game of the Trump family of which many varieties are recorded. It belongs to a line of card games whose members include Nap, Euchre, Rams, Hombre, and Maw. It is considered a modification of the game of "All Fours", another English game possibly of Dutch origin, in which the players replenish their hands after each round by drawing each fresh new cards from the pack.
Marjolet is a French 6-card trick-and-draw game for two players using a 32-card piquet pack. It is of the Queen-Jack type, and thus a relative of Bezique and Pinochle, albeit simpler. The trump Jack is called the marjolet from which the name of the game derives.
The following is a glossary of terms used in card games. Besides the terms listed here, there are thousands of common and uncommon slang terms. Terms in this glossary should not be game-specific, but apply to a wide range of card games. For glossaries that relate primarily to one game or family of similar games, see Game-specific glossaries.
Triomphe, once known as French Ruff, is a card game dating from the late 15th century. It most likely originated in France or Spain and later spread to the rest of Europe. When the game arrived in Italy, it shared a similar name with the pre-existing game and deck known as trionfi; probably resulting in the latter becoming renamed as Tarocchi (tarot). While trionfi has a fifth suit that acts as permanent trumps, triomphe randomly selects one of the existing four suits as trumps. Another common feature of this game is the robbing of the stock. Triomphe became so popular that during the 16th century the earlier game of trionfi was gradually renamed tarocchi, tarot, or tarock. This game is the origin of the English word "trump" and is the ancestor of many trick-taking games like Euchre and Whist.
Watten, regionally also called Watteln or Wattlung, is a card game that is mainly played in Bavaria, Austria, Switzerland and South Tyrol. There are several main variants: Bavarian, Bohemian, South Tyrolean (Stichwatten), (Austrian) Tyrolean, Kritisch and Blind Watten. It is usually a 4-player game, which is "by far the most interesting", but it may also be played by 2 or 3 players. According to Parlett, Watten is "hard to describe" but "fun to play and easy to learn."
1000 is an easy-to-learn card game for two or three players. Its simple rules make it suitable for players to quickly become familiar with the basic concepts of trick-taking and trump-based card games. The name is taken from the score at the end of the game.