Games of chance have a rich and colorful history but perhaps the most famous - and notorious - of them all is the simple three-in-one proposition game known alternatively as Find the Lady, Tossing the Broads, and most popularly, Three-Card Monte. While written descriptions of early versions of this classic con game date back to at least the 16th century, Three-Card Monte hustlers are on the streets of the world's largest cities to this day, still able to draw the unsuspecting into wagering their hard-earned cash, a testimony to the lure and intrigue of this game. The entertainment potential of this simple hustle didn't escape the notice of magicians, either, with Professor Hoffman being just the first of many conjurors to adapt the basic premise of this con game for the amusement of their audiences.
In Volume 1, you'll discover a variety of different artists with their own unique interpretations of Three Card Monte. Dai Vernon leads off with a routine that has its roots deeply in the game's traditions. With just three ungaffed cards, Vernon first bewilders a lay audience and then discusses the fine handling points with Michael Ammar, Gary Ouellet, and Steve Freeman. Fernando Keops is next, offering his version, and many additional fine handling points, of Vernon's routine. Chicago card expert Steve Draun manages to still keep the audience from finding the money card even when it has a paper clip attached to it while David Regal turns the game into a fine example of card conjuring where the money card vanishes and reappears elsewhere. Scotty York conjures images of card hustlers of the past as he presents his version of Martin Lewis' routine while John Guastaferro uses the game to set up a sensational transposition between two selected cards. Gregory Wilson takes to the streets in true Monte style, winning personal possessions from passers-by in the process while, finally, Henry Evans eliminates a card to play a stunning version of Two-Card Monte, yet the spectators still cannot win.
Running Time: Approximately 2hr 4mins
In Volume 2, you'll meet a number of performers each with their own take on this old swindle. Bill Malone begins with a typically hilarious version of Michael Skinner's ingenious monte trick while Boris Wild uses a money card with a different-colored back and the audience still can't find it! Alexander de Cova combines Monte and Wild Card to amazing effect while Harry Lorayne has three completely and highly entertaining monte-style routines. Garrett Thomas presents a variation on a classic of packet trick magic using cards from a regular pack while John Luka presents a jumbo card monte suitable for stage performance. Michael Ammar finishes strong with Louis Falanga's Virginia City Shuffle, a four-card routine where the audience cannot keep track of an Ace among three blank cards and is especially bewildered to find that, at the effect's conclusion, that there are now three Aces and only one blank card!
Running Time: Approximately 1hr 55mins
In Volume 3, you'll see five skilled magicians each with a singular perspective on Three Card Monte as entertainment. Jon Armstrong is first with a very commercial routine that has the spectator trying to find the one card they signed among blank cards. John Mendoza takes his audience back to an encounter with a carnival swindler while Darwin Ortiz displays the skills that have made him a world-class gambling consultant. Doc Eason teaches the ins and outs of what makes Three Card Monte such a great piece of card magic (along with super-practice sessions to help ensure mastery) and Dan Harlan brings the swindle to a real-world environment. Finally, as a bonus, Patrick Page gives up the real work on the legendary Three Card Trick - Patrick Page's handling of what has been called the Dutch Looper, the Kitson Miracle and, finally, just The Three Card Trick, is arguably one of the great effects in magic. It was the trick that he always carried with him and it became one of this legendary magician's signature effects. A completely in-the-hands monte effect, a Queen and two indifferent cards are shown. No matter how fairly the cards are fanned, the spectator is unable to find the Queen. What's more, the Queen seems to vanish and reappear repeatedly, all at the performer's whim. For the startling finale, the cards are laid on the table one at a time to show that the Queen has vanished for good. No extra cards - nothing to add or take away - just one very diabolical secret.
Running Time: Approximately 1hr 42mins