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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » If right you win, if wrong you lose... » » Three Card Monte versus The Three Shell Game (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Jamie D. Grant
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Hiya!

Just out of curiosity;

Which game, if you could only operate one, would make you the most money with, do you think? Say you're in NYC, by yourself, and can only carry three cards or three shells and a pea, which would you choose?

Wondering,

jamie
TRICK OF THE YEAR: Industrial Revelation, BOOK OF THE YEAR: The Approach, The AIP Bottle, and my new book Scenic 52, can all be found over here: SendWonder.com
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NJJ
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If you are

a) In NYC
b) By yourself

then the only choice is the shell game.

To be run as a real scam, the three card monte requires shills and confederates to be 100% successful. If the mark chooses the correct card, a lone con artist can not switch the cards. While the Mexican turnover and similar moves will fly during the mix or in a magic routine, they just don't fly post bet.

With the shell game, the swindler can switch the pea AFTER the bet has been made.

Also, the shell game is less popular in NYC so you'd find it easier to find uneducated rubes.
NJJ
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Check this out for more info http://scams.wikispaces.com/Three+Card+Monte
uhrenschmied
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Quote:
On 2009-06-10 04:39, Nicholas J. Johnson wrote:
If you are

a) In NYC
b) By yourself

then the only choice is the shell game.



I disagree. Without a crew watching out for police or other trouble, you might as well turning yourself in at the next police station. This way you would at least avoid getting robbed by other, less subtle entrepreneurs.

Regards,


Regards,
NJJ
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Obviously, if they choice is between having a crew and NOT having a crew, then you ALWAYS go with a crew.

But Jamie specifically asked the question with the proviso that "you're in NYC, by yourself" and gave as the option of either 3CM or Shell.

Given that choice, I would choose shell.
uhrenschmied
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Obviously, if I am asked whether I want to jump in front of a fast driving truck or in front of a fast train, the answer would be "neither".

Regards,
kannon
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Out of those two choices yeah I'd say shell and pea;
As Nicholas says you can hold out and steal the pea when they've guessed correctly.
it gathers more attention and people believe you can't really fiddle it...chumps!!!

If you gave me a free reign I'd say Trinidad monte!
My work and the Mtangulizi here http://kannonsworks.weebly.com featuring work on drawing duplications, a fiddle-free billet tear, bar mentalism, pendulums
NJJ
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Quote:
On 2009-06-10 08:24, uhrenschmied wrote:
Obviously, if I am asked whether I want to jump in front of a fast driving truck or in front of a fast train, the answer would be "neither".

Regards,


*sigh*

It's a hypothetical question in a magic forum. It's designed to compare the relative strengths of two similar, yet different styles of scam.

To answer your question, I would step in front of the train. It would be a cleaner kill and less likely to endanger passerbys.
mota
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Given the choice between a four ace trick and a spelling trick I would also choose neither. That wasn't the question asked here.

I agree with shell game for the above mentioned reasons. Also you can work the shell game, win, and still have people laughing.

The shells are doable working alone. Cops aren't really a factor...when you see them leave. You can also feel in the crowd if there is one.

Chad, in another section, opens his routine with shells in the streets. No problems. I suspect you could easily pass it off as a magic trick.

There is some added danger of robbery when working alone...you do have to watch for that. This could be cut down by working in bars...I knew a guy who worked the game that way. He did travel though.

There is something about cards that brings out the combative in some guys...the shells seem more like a fun game.
FunTimeAl
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I actually open with coins across and then a ring on string type effect. The shell game is my middle/finale in one.

I once had a New Orleans Police SUV honk at me on Royal Street, have me move my crowd over, and then creep past me while I was in the middle of my shell game routine. The driver looked down at my table, then at me, and chuckled.

I think it was obvious by my outfit and the situation that I was an entertainer.


...oh, and if I had NOTHING in NYC, I'd still put together a sidewalk show and make enough in tips to go buy some decent props and do a bigger show. There's never a need to resort to the con if you can put on a decent show Smile

Three bottle caps, a dollar bill TT, a couple of foil balls, a few coins, a stick, a shoelace and an orange...and I'm ready to go!
silverking
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Actually, in the form the question was posed, there is no wrong answer just as there is no right answer.

The somewhat proper answer (but still neither right nor wrong) would likely be "neither", as both cons are designed from the get-go to be run in their classic forms with a crew, and both suffer somewhat without that crew present.

If I was by myself, I'd actually pick any one of the dozens of other more appropriate scams that were designed to be run single-o.

Gaffed rolling logs, red/black pencils, gaffed spinning tops.......there's a million of 'em.

........but if I had to pick only from the shells or the Monte, I'd also pick the shells.
Whit Haydn
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I've done both the monte and the shells on the streets of NYC single-o for money.

This was in the 1960's before I had learned how they should really be played with shills. I had never been taught by a con man.

The Shell Game is by far the best of the two for single-o, for many reasons.
Jamie D. Grant
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Thanks for the responses everyone!

I think that it's important when presenting to know all the angles and to have the facts down. I've done 3CM presentations for quite a while and am starting to get into the Shells, and I want to know everything there is to know- history, real world scenarios, etc.

When working on new pieces, I also want to know how they compare with other similiar type effects and how they relate.

Anyways- thanks for reponding! It seems like The Shell Game is a clear winner for Single-O.

Taking it a step further then...

2 guys approach you and say, "Hey, you're not bad wth those bottle caps! We've worked with the Big Eddie Crew and know all the ins and outs. Let's work together. I think Johnny here has some cards if you want to change it up..."

Now having two conferderates, do you stick with The Shells or move onto Monte? Does one have a history of making more money than the other?

Appreciating the input,

jamie
TRICK OF THE YEAR: Industrial Revelation, BOOK OF THE YEAR: The Approach, The AIP Bottle, and my new book Scenic 52, can all be found over here: SendWonder.com
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NJJ
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If you have confederates, the topic gets a little more complex.

Personal taste and ability is probably going to be the deciding factor. It really doesn't matter how much better one game is if you prefer playing the other.

The major benefit of the shell game, the moving of the pea post bet, remains in this situation. The 3CM crew can only prevent the mark from winning. They can not GUARANTEE that he will lose without resorting to strong arm tactics or straight theft.

However, the 3CM, with a crew has some many interesting come-ons and techniques allowing for greater flexability. Bent corners, pencil marks, one way decks etc. can all be used.

It is possible to mark the shells but the possibilities are limited.
Kjellstrom
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If you use the Magnetic Street Shells, yo do not need any confederates.
I love these things - the unfair advantage with the magnetic shells are extremely useful for real life performance and not just for some magic buddies.
Tip - I use a magnetic ring to pick and drop the "extra" pea in my special routine with a double killer ending.
I recommend these shells very much! 10 ot of 10. (true statement)
silverking
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One small but distinct advantage to the shells over the monte (even with crew) is that the monte when performed as a con requires some sort of a fixed table (you need both hands to work the cards), whereas the shells can be performed standing up with a piece of cardboard acting as a table in one hand, and the shells (or bottle-caps) being moved by the other hand.
The Gambling Sam portion of the new School for Scoundrels DVD brilliantly shows him working this way.

Jamie, have you got all the School for Scoundrels material on both the shells and the monte?.....it's the finest work available on either or both, and highly reccommended as the prime resource for anybody interested in either the monte or the shells as a con or as part of a magic routine.
silverking
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Quote:
On 2009-06-11 06:19, Kjellstrom wrote:
If you use the Magnetic Street Shells, yo do not need any confederates.


I think you misunderstand the job of the crew.
NJJ
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Quote:
On 2009-06-11 11:38, silverking wrote:
One small but distinct advantage to the shells over the monte (even with crew) is that the monte when performed as a con requires some sort of a fixed table (you need both hands to work the cards), whereas the shells can be performed standing up with a piece of cardboard acting as a table in one hand, and the shells (or bottle-caps) being moved by the other hand.
The Gambling Sam portion of the new School for Scoundrels DVD brilliantly shows him working this way.

Jamie, have you got all the School for Scoundrels material on both the shells and the monte?.....it's the finest work available on either or both, and highly reccommended as the prime resource for anybody interested in either the monte or the shells as a con or as part of a magic routine.


Couldn't you do the same with the three card monte? There are quite a few one handed moves for the monte.
silverking
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Nicholas, you definitely could as a magic demonstration, but in the pure con (ripping people off for money) you'd be giving up on a lot of moves that you'd not likely be willing to give up.

This forum often blends discussion of the actual con with discussion of the same thing performed as a magic trick, which occasionally makes things confusing in terms of responding to questions while not knowing if folks are talking about magic, or talking about ripping off a mark with a true con.

In a magic monte anything goes, but in an actual con you'd most often, if not always, use a table.

If you're asking has there ever been a monte done as a pure con using only one hand and holding a table in the other hand?.......I suspect that the answer to that would be "yes"........but it's not common in terms of its use.

As well of course, the monte as a con can be performed without a table when it's done on the surface of a sidewalk......but that's a technicality in terms of using the word "table" and implying the use of both hands.

Of course, in magic montes, a marketing tool commonly used for selling monte effects is that they can be done standing up, one handed, in the specs hands, etc......so that's a definite "yes".
NJJ
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Silverking

Yes- this discussion is not in relation to the magic trick but to the scams. Not final loads or $14 cards here! Smile

Do we have a source for the claim that the 3CM is done with two hands more often than the shell game?

What about the shell game do you think makes it easier/better to do one handed than the 3CM?

I see know major impediments in performing the 3CM with one hand that do not exist with the shell game. I also see a few additional possibilities that are not possible with shells.

Man! I love this game!
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