Classic “three card monte
” forms the basis of many close-up card
routines and packet
effects. On the one hand, you have realistic recreations as performed on the street such as the routine by Whit Haydn who tips the real work that resembles the actual con. And there are many entertaining versions that are easier for spectators to follow and that don’t require that the spectator “lose.” In these, the magician shows two cards and the “money” card and things start to happen. Spectators are told to follow the “money” card but the card continually changes places with the others. And in the best routines, there’s a kicker at the end.
A Real "Money Card"
“Money Card” by Shaun Robison follows the basic plot and premise of three card monte. In the first couple of phases, the spectator is asked to follow the “money” (different card, for example the red card - queen - among two black cards - kings or jacks) but can’t seem to do so. The red card keeps changing location. This routine
features a kicker at the end where the money card actually changes into paper currency. It’s a nice ending that takes the standard monte routine to a logical and entertaining conclusion.
The routine relies on a gimmicked card that comes with the kit. However, most of the monte phases use normal playing cards and sleight of hand is required to create the well known visual illusions to make the “money card” appear to start in one place and end up in another.
The ads state that the moves are those that a “beginner could perform,” but there are some that take a bit more work to execute convincingly. The moves aren’t difficult, but a rank beginner will need considerable practice to properly learn and perform them. On the accompanying DVD, Robison takes time to teach the fundamental move in detail for those who don’t already know it.
The kit also comes with a prop that looks like a small wallet that’s made of newspaper that is gimmicked to act as a switching wallet. This “wallet” allows you to exchange a normal card for the gimmicked one. At the end, there’s nothing left in your hands, however, the cards may not be examined by spectators.
How Does it Compare?
As with most Monte style routines, one will have to memorize the sequences. As it stands, I find this one easier to learn than the classic Skinner routine or Garrett Thomas’ “Stand-Up Monte” (click here
to read my review). Like most close-up Monte routines, this one does require a table.
In terms of entertainment value, I judge this one to be as good as the others. Whether it’s “Color Monte’” Bob Sheet’s “The Killer Kitson Miracle” (based on the Pat Page gimmick - click here to read my review); Michael Skinner’s “Ultimate 3-Card Monte,” Martin Lewis’ “Sidewalk Shuffle,” Bob Sheet’s “Royal Tonte” (click here to read my review); Wolfgang Moser’s “Miracle Monte” (click here to read my review); Garrett Thomas’ “Stand-Up Monte” (click here to read my review) and many more, you have lots of options for these routines.
The accompanying DVD does a great job of teaching the basic routine. You receive all of the cards and the well made gimmicked props. The newspaper wallet is not made of actual newspaper but a more resilient material. I can’t tell for certain, but I couldn’t easily tear it so I think it's made of a tyvek or other tough material. I should be quite durable.
”Money Card” is an excellent and entertaining routine. It’s not too difficult to learn and perform and it’s got that great ending which is lacking in so many of these Monte routines. I like this one.