(Close Window)
Topic: The 3 Shell Game vs. The 3 Card Monte
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Dec 29, 2005 02:50AM)
Which one do you think is more entertaining to spectators?
Message: Posted by: ROBERT BLAKE (Dec 29, 2005 05:35AM)
The shells are more known then the 3 Card Monte.

The people think that you can take away the pea and put it somewhere else.

With the 3 Card Monte you can't cheat like the shells. Because the cards are there on the table. That's the disadvantage of the Monte game. you have to switch cards sometimes. people know that you have switch them. it is harder to do then.

With shells this is easier.

They are equally entertaining in the hands of an expert. The shells are easier than the cards. People think the cards are fairer then the shells.


Is this a help to you?
Message: Posted by: Larry Davidson (Dec 29, 2005 06:57AM)
Props aren't entertaining, presentations are (or can be). I find Bob Sheet's presentation for the 3 Shell Game as well as Bill Malone's presentation for the 3 Card Monte to be entertaining.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Dec 29, 2005 10:17AM)
It depends on how well you do it. Both are entertaining with a good routine! The magic is in the magician and the entertainment comes from the routine the magician does.

Not the props.
Message: Posted by: Alan Munro (Dec 29, 2005 11:38AM)
I agree, it depends on the performer. It depends on how well you interact with an audience.
Message: Posted by: Josh the Superfluous (Dec 29, 2005 04:32PM)
I disagree with Robert Blake regarding the 3 Card Monte. There are several ways to cheat once the cards have been played (Peek and throw and Mexican turnover for example).

I do both, shells and cards, but never together because of their simmilarity. I do the monte 4 to 1 over the shells. My routine is based on Ortiz's from "At the card table". Super entertaining and not confrontational at all.

There's a video with an older magician performing the shell game for a young girl spectator. I don't recal the name but don't get it, it's kinda creepy.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (Dec 29, 2005 05:35PM)
[quote]
On 2005-12-29 17:32, Josh the Superfluous wrote:
I disagree with Robert Blake regarding the 3 Card Monte. There are several ways to cheat once the cards have been played (Peek and throw and Mexican turnover for example).

I do both, shells and cards, but never together because of their simmilarity. I do the monte 4 to 1 over the shells. My routine is based on Ortiz's from "At the card table". Super entertaining and not confrontational at all.

There's a video with an older magician performing the shell game for a young girl spectator. I don't recal the name but don't get it, it's kinda creepy.
[/quote]
I think what Robert was saying was that the cards are on the table, and the bet is made, so the audience knows to look for a switch at that moment--making it hard to get away with. The Mexican Turnover, the Flip and other moves can be used at this point, but they always come off looking suspicious--why is he using another card to turn it over? Why doesn't he just turn it over? Those moves are better used in other situations.

The shell game is much more convenient when it comes to cheating after the bet is made.
Message: Posted by: David Bilan (Dec 29, 2005 06:02PM)
If looking to round out a routine, I'd use the shell game. Different gear from cards, if you know what I mean.
Message: Posted by: ROBERT BLAKE (Dec 30, 2005 02:36AM)
Whit, thanks.

That's the point I meant. I do both even at the same night, in between some table magic. People don't bother to see the monte and the shells. The shells they know better. The monte is new for most of them.

[b]Josh[/b], what do you mean with [b]peek[/b] and [b]throw[/b]?
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Dec 30, 2005 03:16AM)
In my area the monte is more well known. A guy near my neighborhood does the monte on buses and bus stops. A lot of people know of him. He is known as "Slow Fast." He makes his living off the monte. He knows all the words and moves from A to Z with and without a partner. He does not do the shells.

When I entertain with either one, I get the same response from spectators. I guess I must learn more from dvd/tapes.

I heard street smuglers in New York use bottle caps instead of shells.

Thanks for all the response guys.
Message: Posted by: Alan Munro (Dec 30, 2005 04:08AM)
[quote]
On 2005-12-30 04:16, Dynamike wrote:
I heard street smuglers in New York use bottle caps instead of shells.
[/quote]
The only time that I saw it performed, by someone other than a magician, was with bottle caps, on the L-train in Chicago, in the late 80s. Cheap equipment! He used a sheet of typing paper taped to a piece of corrugated cardboard, for a working surface, and a paperwad for the pea.
Message: Posted by: Josh the Superfluous (Dec 30, 2005 08:26AM)
After a night of sleep and Whit's comments, I see what Robert was saying. Yes I conceed that with 1 shell and 1 pea in isolation, you can still pull the scam. So with that criteria the shells are cooler.

I also see that if you do a lot of card magic (I don't), it would mix things up a bit.

I'm still a little biased because I've spent so much time re-thinking Ortiz's routine. I perform the 3 cards for house guests more than anything else, and (thanks to incredible structure) I've never had to do any switching live.

Robert: The P&T is another switch, but as Whit said it involves handling the cards after the selection.
Message: Posted by: BobGreaves (Dec 31, 2005 12:08PM)
I originally thought that 3 Card Monte was better, but after watching Bob Sheets on video performing the Shells (excellent lesson for learning on how to cheat the spec without insulting them) I came to realise that there is much more to the Shells than I had imaginged. I also think that the problem with Monte is that the thrower can get caught; but with the shells this should not be the case.
Message: Posted by: Motor City (Jan 2, 2006 01:37PM)
Bob Sheets does the "shells" like he was born with them in his hands. If you ever get a chance to attend one of his "shell" workshops, don't hesitate to do so.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (Jan 2, 2006 02:28PM)
Bob Sheets is great, and you should make every effort to see his work.

Other excellent shell game performers are Chef Anton, Eric DeCamps, and Phil Cass.

For a video clip of me doing the Bob Kohler routine, go to:

http://www.whithaydn.com/video_clips.htm
Message: Posted by: Mtripp (Jan 2, 2006 03:08PM)
Well, a question...

...is this about cheating? Or entertainment?

Eugene Burger has observed that unless there is money on the table, no one really cares. Vernon also observed no one wants to watch a wise guy, or someone who makes them look foolish.

Take a look at Darwin Ortiz's version in "Ortiz at the Card Table" to see the point.

The real problem with both is that there are so few "magic castle" venues where you are seated and can do either.

Patrick Page's three card trick is the best for real world performing.
Message: Posted by: Face (Jan 2, 2006 03:18PM)
I think you cant compare them at all. They seem to be so similar but yet they are so very different illusions.
Message: Posted by: Josh the Superfluous (Jan 3, 2006 08:23PM)
3 objects are mixed in a fairly simple manner, yet the spectator can't seem to follow the one that is different.

Face: you may be thinking of 2 very different presentations of these effects. But they certainly are comparable. It would be extremely difficult to put 2 full routines back to back, without a ton of redundancy.

Were you kidding?
Message: Posted by: Dave V (Jan 3, 2006 09:44PM)
I don't think he was kidding at all. 3 balls appear and disappear out of your hands, reappear under the cups, one two, or even three at a time. They vanish, they come back, they change colors, they even change sizes! It's a magic trick about the antics of the little balls and the skill of the magician in moving the balls around unseen.

The monte is a simple swindle. One ace, two other cards. The "operator" (as opposed to magician) moves them around in such a way as to try to fool you into guessing wrong. The spectator is so sure he's right he's willing to wager his hard earned money on it.

One is a magic trick. One is a game of "chance." Unless people are making side bets on which cup the balls will appear under next, there's really no comparison. The same goes for the Shell Game. In fact my description of the Monte pretty much goes for the shells as well.

I can imagine a good magician in the right setting can perform them both in the same set without fear of redundancy.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Jan 3, 2006 10:02PM)
I agree with Dave VanVranken as I do three card monte and the shell game in the same show. I use the shell game just before I do a card shark expo to help break the expo apart from the magic card effects I do earlier on in the show.

Here is the run down

Chop dice cup
Ropearama
Magic Card Effects
Matrix
Shell game
Card sharp expo
Three card monte
Cups and balls

Anyway the audience seems to like it.
Message: Posted by: Josh the Superfluous (Jan 3, 2006 10:16PM)
Dave,
The discussion was regarding the shells vs. 3 card monte. Not Cups and Balls. As you said your description of the shells and the monte are identical.

"In fact my description of the Monte pretty much goes for the shells as well. "
Message: Posted by: steve j (Jan 3, 2006 10:24PM)
I think the three shell game is more fun for me, that and I think it interacts well. that's just what I think.
Message: Posted by: Dave V (Jan 4, 2006 02:40AM)
[quote]
On 2006-01-03 23:16, Josh the Superfluous wrote:
Dave,
The discussion was regarding the shells vs. 3 card monte. Not Cups and Balls. As you said your description of the shells and the monte are identical.

"In fact my description of the Monte pretty much goes for the shells as well. "
[/quote]
Oops, sorry about that. In the words of Rosanne Rosanadanna... "Never Mind."

Although I still think it's possible to do both in the same set, but as in Glenn Bishop's case it would probably be in the context of an "expose" of some sort, and separated with other effects. You did make the statement that it would be difficult to do them "back to back" and I do agree with that.

My personal choice? I'd go for the Shell Game over the Monte. Why? It just seems more... fun... for lack of a better description. The Monte relies on skill and dexterity in tossing the cards, and it's apparent early on that it's a "challenge match" between you and them. The "operator" in many cases is seen as not very bright, or at least unaware of his surroundings, leading the spectators to take advantage of the situation only to get "burned" in the end.

Dexterity is very much a factor in the Shell Game as well, but it's more of a "covert" dexterity. The moves as seen by the spectator are as sparse and clean as can be, leaving them with a clear notion that they know exactly where the pea is... or at least where it should be.

The better Monte routines do this as well, but as I said, it's my personal preference to go with the shells. As demonstrated in Bob Kohler's and Phil Cass' routines, the shells lend themselves better to humorous interactions with your spectator. You can see this demonstrated very clearly in Whit's video clip on his website.

To me anything with cards can be simply dismissed as a "card trick" and I'm looking for something else for my "character." I don't want to be seen as that guy who does "tricks" but rather the one who makes them doubt their own senses, and have some fun with them along the way. I do cards too, but I keep it to a minimum, and nothing that is seen as a "me vs. them" scenario.
Message: Posted by: ROBERT BLAKE (Jan 4, 2006 05:18AM)
[quote]
To me anything with cards can be simply dismissed as a "card trick" and I'm looking for something else for my "character."
[/quote]
That's you view and if you say so that's the truth - [b]for you![/b] People don't see 3 Card Monte as a magic trick. only if you gave them the idea it is a magic trick.

As with the shells some people say: "He takes it from under 1 shell und puts it under another 1." They believe that so that's the truth [b]for them![/b]

Some people feel more for the shells others for the monte or chain. In the past I did not like the shells. No fun here. I know now better.

It is a view. Be happpy with what you like and your audience will be happy too.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Jan 4, 2006 07:52AM)
[quote]
On 2006-01-04 03:40, Dave VanVranken wrote:
Although I still think it's possible to do both in the same set, but as in Glenn Bishop's case it would probably be in the context of an "expose" of some sort, and separated with other effects. You did make the statement that it would be difficult to do them "back to back" and I do agree with that.

[/quote]
I don't really expose anything of value in my card shark expose. I do the shells as a lead in to gambling effects. Then I demo seconds and bottoms and do a poker deal and by that time I can tell if the audience is really into it.

Three card monte is a closer to the routine but I do not teach or expose any of the moves. I just do the effect and let them guess like the shell game.
Message: Posted by: ROBERT BLAKE (Jan 4, 2006 09:07AM)
Glenn where do do this set? table magic? parlor?
Message: Posted by: Dave V (Jan 4, 2006 12:15PM)
Glenn, I think there's a subtle difference between your expose (exPOSE)and expose (expoZAY)

In your own post you talked about a card shark expo which is pretty much what I had in mind. You don't have to explain the exact technique you used to get the point across that the card shark can deal cards differently than other people. That's pretty much what I was talking about; demonstrating your ability (showing off, if you will)to handle cards. I'm glad it works for you, and I'd love to see you do this in person some day.

We're drifting a bit off topic, but the impression I try to convey to people is that of them not trusting their own senses, even though I make things as clear as possible for them. A demonstration of skill in this context wouldn't work for me. It's just my opinion, but the Monte doesn't do it for me. Again, it's a "me vs. them" contest and I don't want that. The pea under the shell doesn't convey that feeling. They "see" where it is. They KNOW it's under there, but it's not. The pea vanishes completely, only to reappear in an impossible location (glass, pocket, somewhere else) Up until that last "kicker" they are led to believe they can't possibly be wrong. The same holds true for the Monte, but the difference is in the spectator being wrong because they tried to take advantage of you and they were double crossed.

As you can tell, I don't do the Monte for these reasons. I simply enjoy the shells (and endless chain) more, and because of that, so does the audience. If I did the Monte, it would be with a "softer" approach, a demo perhaps, like Vernon's "let me straighten that out, someone might try to take advantage of something like that" as he subtly shows they would have been wrong anyway.
Message: Posted by: johnnymagic (Jan 4, 2006 12:27PM)
I like both. I like to use Michael Skinners 3 card monte and I always end the three shell game with making it easier for the spectator by only using two shells and when they get it wrong again I only use one shell and they get it wrong with the pea under something else nearby.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Jan 4, 2006 01:13PM)
Great points Dave VanVranken good to talk to you - I am sorry I should have written it better or had more time to write this mourning when the ideas hit me. But I have to get the kids off to school and there is a 1001 things going on. Plus I am not the best writer. I like the way that you said "(exPOSE)and expose (expoZAY) Because this is right on target. I also knew that you knew that about my expo - but it is good that you posted again because there are new people in the Café all the time and new people starting out in magic - I feel that things like that are important because it is info that they can use. And I never heard it said like that and I like the way that you said it - I am going to use it.

I also like the way you talked about both the shells and the monte and from my performing both effects I agree with what you say. I feel that they are both great but I tend to favor the shells over the monte and have done so for years. For the same reason you said above.

That is that when I do shows I do the shells first and I do not do the monte if I feel it is not needed. But I almost always do the shells because of the reason you said above and it is a very strong effect.

Hey ROBERT BLAKE good to see you. I do this set in formal close up shows where I may do a stage show and later in the evening pull a table over and then do a formal close up performance. Or when booked to perform a house party I do a formal close up show for them.

I do the shells and the monte in a restaurant or at tables only when the customers bring it up. Or when I am doing a go back performance for regular customers. If the table show in a restaurant is to long it can tie up the table so I leave a lot out.
Message: Posted by: landon (Jan 5, 2006 05:20PM)
I don't do a shell routine right now but I do the 3 Card Monte (Michael Skinner) and it always gets great reactions. I think a shell routine would too as long as you don't challenge the spectator. I'm actually planning on experimenting with the shell game shortly so I'll be interested to see what gets better reactions.
Message: Posted by: Cpontz (Jan 6, 2006 11:50PM)
I vote for the 3 Card Monte. Most people have heard of this being done in the streets of big cities. Giving them a "demonstration" can be both entertaining and a learning experience.

Craig
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jan 7, 2006 02:45AM)
[quote]
On 2006-01-02 16:18, Face wrote:
I think you cant compare them at all. They seem to be so similar but yet they are so very different illusions.
[/quote]
Illusions? [b]Not![/b] They are tricks. They are routines. They are scams. They are by no stretch of the imagination -- illusions.

Regarding actually seeing the shell game in situ, I have seen it performed in Berlin and Budapest, by gen you wine crooks. Interesting. You will see it in London, and New York.

Regarding Roseanne Rosanadana -- actually it was Emily Littella who said "Never mind." (What's all this fuss about Soviet jewelry?)
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Jan 7, 2006 06:47AM)
[quote]
On 2006-01-04 13:27, johnnymagic wrote:
I like both. I like to use Michael Skinners 3 Card Monte and I always end the three shell game with making it easier for the spectator by only using two shells and when they get it wrong again I only use one shell and they get it wrong with the pea under something else nearby.
[/quote]
I really like the ending with Daryl's 3 Card Monte. I never thought about doing that ending with the shells. After they get it wrong a few times, put one shell to the side and use two. They pick one of the two, both are wrong. It is under the 3rd shell that is not being used. That is a good idea. Thanks.
Message: Posted by: landmark (Jan 22, 2006 09:14AM)
Just my personal experience: in the last twenty five years in NYC, I've seen many many monte games on the street, never any shell games. Whit's recreation on his DVD was pretty much the script.

Shell games I associate more with traveling carnivals and the like in more rural areas (at least in my mythic understanding).

So maybe it depends on your audience's prior experiences and expectations as to what would be the most interesting to them.


Jack Shalom
Message: Posted by: BobSheets (Apr 16, 2006 09:30PM)
I do both Monte and Shells for different performing situations.

Monte: I do a combined version of Carpenter, Michael Skinner, and Mike Rodgers for the wide audience formal close-up presentation.

Tonte by Ton Onasaka for walk-around and close-up. The jumbo version ends with 4 queens and the poker size version ends with a Royal Flush. Both kill.

Patrick Page's Three Card Monte (my Killer Monte routine) for close-up and walk-around. My favorite version because it satisfies all my needs for repeatable amazing effects with great comedy patter.

All of the Monte presentations are demos with no challenge. Many of the folks posted thier reasons for and against. All good ones. I just had a harder time making the losing fun in the monte routine.

Shells: I do at close-up walk-around with the shells set up as people trickle in and I do it one on one untill a crowd forms and then do the full blown routine and I love it because everyone knows what the trick is with the props laying on the table. Same thing at a trade show. Instant interest.

For me the shells offer the best methods for dealing with the spectators choice since "I don't care what they pick". I have routines for one on one and wide audience presentations. The most versatile gambling routine I perform.

If seen or studied most of the routines mentioned in others posts. It's all about the journey. Go with what interests you and make it fun for your audience to lose, if you pick the involvement presentation, of Shells or Monte and everyone's a winner.

All the best. bob.
Message: Posted by: BobSheets (Apr 18, 2006 02:01PM)
Monte: I do a combined version of Carpenter, Michael Skinner, and Mike Rodgers for the wide audience formal close-up presentation.

OOOPS- That should have been Bob Farmer (Bammo Monte), not Carpenter. Sorry. bob.
Message: Posted by: memph33777 (Aug 20, 2006 09:03AM)
Well they say a trick is good only as long as everybody doesn't know about it. they say crooked dice or anything becomes useless once everybody knows about it. but I have something that I do that I havent ever heard of before. it is supposedly 3 card monte but I do it with 3 cards. Whatever card they turn over is black. I was reading the post about the supremacy of the shell game over the three card monte. I have a video camera and I would love to post a video of me doing the 4/3 card monte but I don't know how to get video off the stupid camcorder onto the computer.