3 Card Monte – Complete Routine and Moves

3 card monte combines magic and gambling. It is entertaining and amazing. Here you will learn, in detail, the 3 card monte routine I use professionally, plus all the moves.

PROPS

3 Bee back cards- two black cards and a red ace. *Use borderless cards.

monte 1

PREPARATION: Gently bend (don’t crease) the cards downward in half lengthwise. Bend the top right and bottom left corners, up and down, to soften them for the corner bend.

THE HYPE

sleight of hand
I am right handed, if you are lefty switch hands.

This secret move happens as you throw the card. You must practice and get smooth at it before you perform the routine.

hype

Pick up a card from above, at the bend, with your right thumb at the back, right 2nd finger at the front. Line up the left side and pick up a card below with your right thumb and 3rd. Turn your right hand palm up and flash the card. You are supposedly tossing the bottom card, the one you are showing. Instead, toss the top card.

THE TOSS

It should always looks the same no matter which card you throw. Turn your right hand palm down and, in a throwing motion, let go of the top card with your right thumb and 2nd finger. After you toss the top card regrip the card you are holding with your right 2nd finger. Practice this until you can do it smoothly and confidently.

PRACTICE SEQUENCE: Pickup and flash the bottom card, toss the top card, switch fingers, repeat. It is best to use a magician’s close up pad for this trick. Check out- Why Do Magicians Use Black Mats.

Me performing the whole routine

PHASE 1 – DOUBLE TURNOVER

Open

“I have three cards. Watch the red ace.”

Start with the cards face up in a row on the table, ace in the middle. With your right hand use the card on the right to scoop up the face up cards into a pile, red ace going in the middle. Flip the pile face down, book style, into dealer’s grip in your left hand. Bend the cards down to straighten the cards a little. Turnover a double showing the ace.

“The ace of diamonds.”

Turn the double face down. Deal the top card on the table, in the middle.

“Don’t worry about the black cards.”

flustrtion

FLUSTRATION COUNT: Grip the packet from above with your right thumb and 2nd finger, and do a flustration count. Turn your right hand palm up and show the card. Turn your right hand palm down, peel off the top card with your left thumb and 1st finger, and place it to the left of the card on the table. Flash the face of the card you are holding and place it to the right of the cards.

“Just a quick mix.”

Switch the position of the right and left cards. Turn over the middle card showing it is not the ace. Turn over the right card and then the left card.

“Keep your eyes on the ace.”

PHASE 2 – MID AIR LAY DOWN

“Don’t worry about the black card, keep your eyes on the ace.”

air

Turn the cards face down and move the ace to the middle. Bend the cards so you can pick them up easily. Pick up the left and right cards from above with both hands. Pick up the middle card below the right card. Turn your left hand palm up and flash the left card (black card). Turn your left hand palm down and your right hand palm up showing the ace.

air2

Leave the card in your left hand on the table, turn your left hand palm up, and hype the black card above the ace onto your left palm. Toss it on top of the tabled card. Toss the card in your right hand to the left.  

“Watch for the switch.

Flip the two cards over in a reverse spread. Turn the card on the left face up showing the ace. 

I learned this move from Lee Asher’s Catch 33. Lee Asher is one of the greatest sleight of hand magicians in the world. His work on 3 card monte is incredible. I highly recommend Catch 33.

PHASE 3 – DOUBLE HYPE

switch

“Keep your eyes on the ace.”

Turn the cards face down with the ace in the middle. Pick up the left and right cards from above with both hands. Pick up the middle card below the right card. Flash the ace and hype the card above it to the left.

“If I show you the black cards…”

Drop the card in your left hand in the middle. Pick it up below the card in your right hand. Flash the black card and hype the ace above it to the middle. Flash the black card in your hand and drop it to the right.  

“…you know where the ace is.”

Switch the left and middle card. Slowly turn over the left card showing the ace.  

PHASE 4 – ALL BLACK

Turn the ace face down and place it in the middle. You will do a nice sequence here where you show all the cards to be black.

“Some people think there is a black card, a black card, and a black card.”

all black

Pick up the left and middle cards from above with both hands. Pick up the card on the right below the card in your right hand. Turn your right hand palm up and flash a black card. Hype the ace above it to the center. Turn your left hand palm up showing another black card. Turn it face down and toss it to the right. Turn the card in your right hand face up showing another black card. Place it face up on the left.

“Yet, there is an ace.”  

Turn over the middle card showing an ace and turn the right card face up.

PHASE 5 – FLIP CHANGE

“Keep your eyes on the ace.”

show2

Turn the right and left cards face down and pick them up. Flip the ace face down with the left edge of the right card as you toss the card in your right hand to the left. 

If I show you a black card…”  

show

Lift up the face down ace with your right hand and drop the card in your left hand in the middle. Pick it up below the card in your right hand. Turn your right hand palm up and flash a black card. Hype the ace to the middle. 

“…and not this one…”

Place the card in your right hand on the right. 

“…you know where the ace is.”

new

Flip the outer cards slowly away from you face up. Flip the middle card toward you face up.

PHASE 6 – CORNER BEND

“Over here is A, over here is B, the ace is the one you have to see.”

bend

Turn the outside cards face down and give them a bend. Pick up the ace and hold it face up with your right thumb on top, 1st and 2nd fingers below. Turn the ace face down and gesture with it. As you speak, press the top right corner on the mat next to each card and openly bend it. Flash the ace and drop it face down in the center, bent corner at the top right.

“Not this card.” 

Pick up the right and left cards. Flash the face of the right card and move your pinky and 3rd finger into bending position.  

“Or this card.”  

Rotate your right hand palm down. Rotate your left hand palm up. Put the corner bend in while you show the left card. Turn your left hand palm down.

bend 1

CORNER BEND: Hold the card firmly from above with your right thumb and 2nd finger. Press the nail of your right 3rd finger slightly below the corner. Bend the corner with the side of the tip of your 4th finger. Push with the nail of your 3rd finger to help bend the corner. 

“Follow the ace.”

Pick up the ace below the right card, flash it, and hype the top card to the middle of the table. Cross your left hand in front of your right hand and place the left hand card on to the right of the card on the table. Under cover of your left arm unbend the corner and place the card to the left of the cards on the table.  

UNBEND: Hold the card firmly with your right thumb, 2nd and 3rd. Press the corner down with the side of the tip of your 4th.

Oh, that’s obvious, a little too obvious.

Notice the bent corner, unbend it, and flip the card over, away from you, slowly. Turn over the right card and then the left card.  

Check out this Free Video and learn my favorite 4 Ace Trick. It is easy to do and guaranteed to amaze. I perform it all the time at my paid events.

PRO TIPS

I never have a spectator guess which card is the ace. I have tried doing that and found it never goes well. Many times your spectator will randomly guess and find the ace, out of luck. It ruins the flow of your routine. Since I never have them guess I can do this routine silently. This is perfect for performing it at events and venues with loud music.

Make sure to go slow. 3 card monte can be very confusing. I keep my sequences simple and do as few mixes as possible.

I only do the hype with my right hand, I don’t think it is necessary to learn with both hands. I don’t use any “bust out” moves where you switch cards when they guess the right one. I think even the best switches look suspicious.

You don’t have to use an ace as the monte card. Just make sure the other two cards are a good contrast. So if you use the red queen as the monte card you could use the two of spades and two of clubs as the other cards.

Matt
Matt

Hi, I'm Matt Furman. I have been a full time professional magician for over 20 years, ever since I left medical school to pursue my passion of magic tricks. I have a ton of real world experience and I am constantly practicing and performing new mind blowing magic.