How to Do the Basic 3-Card Monte Trick

Learn how to do the basic 3-card monte trick in this dinner table magic tricks video from Howcast.

S1: Have you ever heard of a game called the Three Card Monte?

S2: Nope.

S1: Okay, so it’s a game where you play– you see people playing it on the streets. The whole point’s to win money. And you just have to keep track of one card. We call it the money card. I like to use the joker because it has…

S2: Money on it, yeah.

S1: Yeah, a little dollar sign. So there are three different cards, that’s why it’s the Three Card Monte. We have the queen or any other arbitrary card, the money card and the other card. I’ll mix them up. It’s your job to keep track of which one’s which.

S2: Okay.

S1: Which one do you think is the money card?

S2: This one.

S1: That’s the queen and that’s how I win all the money.

S2: I was watching it.

S1: You want to learn how to do it?

S2: Yeah.

S1: All right, this is an old, old trick that con men have been doing for hundreds and hundreds of years.

S2: Really?

S1: Oh, yeah. But I’m going to teach you one of the many methods that they use. Don’t go thinking you that you can go out and play on the streets now, because this is just one of them. Yeah, yeah even if you win, you might not win if you know what I mean. So here’s how it works. There’s three different cards. You show the first card and then give it a little flick like this, and then I flick it down here, and you’ll see why that’s important in a moment.

S2: Okay.

S1: Then I show the next card to you. I’m also showing the camera’s over here. I give it a little flick and here’s the secret move. As I bring the cards down, I’m actually sliding them and reversing them and the bigger motion of bringing my hand down, hides that movement. So it’s this, that. I’ll do it again. So from here to here. But here’s what I do. So I say the queen, one of the red cards, I’m going to flick it again down here. The money card, and I switch it, the joker and the last card. And this is actually out of Diver and his Three Card Monte routine, which was published. But this is what seals the deal is when you show the first card, you give it a flick, they remember it and then you flick it down here and you say the queen or the other card. Then you show this card and you flick it, and as you put it down, you say the joker. And they remember seeing the card and hearing it flicked and they associate and remember that they saw the joker down there. But they never saw the joker down there. They saw it up here. And then the last card, which you can’t show, but by process of elimination people assume it’s the other queen. And when people try to trace back they’ll really recall that they saw all three cards very fairly, and now when you mix these up people are thinking that, "Oh, you’re mixing them so…"

S1: They don’t really know, yeah.

S2: And then they have no idea.

S1: Great.

S2: And that’s one way to win at Three Card Monte.