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How to Do the Three-Card Monte

Just follow the Ace. Easy, right? These steps will prove it's actually impossible.


  • Step 1: Create a trick card Create a trick card, also known as the money card, by cutting off the corner of the Ace of Spades at a forty-five degree angle so you have about one quarter of the card.
  • TIP: A red Queen is often used as the money card, in which case you would tell an audience to "follow the lady."
  • Step 2: Tape it to another card Tape the corner of the ace onto the Four of Hearts a half inch from the top left edge at a slight angle. Make sure you tape the back of the Ace to the front of the Four so you can flip the corner of the Ace up and down.
  • Step 3: Place the queen Place the Four of Diamonds in front of the trick card and hide the Queen of Clubs behind the trick Ace. When you fan the cards, the spectator will see the two Fours with the Ace of Spades in the middle.
  • Step 4: Ask spectator to pull the middle card Ask the spectator to remember where the Ace is. Lay the cards face down and tell the spectator to pull out the Ace, face down.
  • TIP: Practice flipping the ace down so that it's not peeking out when you lay it down.
  • Step 5: Pick up the Fours Pick up the other two cards and position them close together so the sliver of Ace is hidden. Show them to the spectator, who'll see just two Fours.
  • Step 6: Fool them Tell the spectator to turn over the Ace they picked out. They’ll be shocked to see it's actually the Queen of Clubs.
  • FACT: Three Card Monte swindlers were once such a big problem in New York that local magicians waged a campaign to alert the public.

You Will Need

  • Ace of Spades
  • Scissors
  • Clear tape
  • 4 of Hearts
  • 4 of Diamonds
  • Queen of Clubs
  • Spectator
  • Red Queen (optional)

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