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Scams - Three Card Monte


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Three-card Monte is a card game, which has been played with shells since the time of the pyramids. It probably originated around the fifteenth century in Spain. It soon developed into a gambler’s game with hungry bumpkins and half-drunk settlers as the main players. This is not really a game, but just a con job. Three Card Monte is called Find the Lady in Britain and, Bonneteau in France. It also called The Texas Twist or the Country Boy. There are usually three to four players, the innocent victim and two players of the scam. The last stays in the background, follows the victim to the bank, and picks up the other scamsters after they have earned the money. The ploy involves targeting a black male between 55-75 years old, who appears wealthy, around banks and department stores where they are likely to be found.

The game is played between the dealer who takes the bet and deals the cards, and a punter places a bet in the hope of winning money. The dealer deals three cards, shows them to the punter and then throws them face down on a table. The punter has to bet on the card, which is the queen. The dealer then maneuvers the cards to ensure that the punter does not win. The game has other operators who manage the show. These include shills who pretend to be punters, the lookout who signals the arrival of the police, and the muscleman who tackles those who complain. The roper engages new punters to be a part of the game.

A tosser may employ many strategies if one happens to win. They shuffle the cards or take another bet from the shills to ensure that one does not win. The aim is to convince one that the game works and one wins. Sometimes the dealer may not switch cards just to appear convincing. The trick is to switch cards when the punter is not looking. The shills appear to win because the dealer discreetly signals them to bet on a particular card. This is just to fool people into believing the con.

Three Card Monte is illegal in most states in the country. Most of the dealers are small-time magicians who use tricks to fool people. They operate as a gang beguiling innocent people with their game. One must therefore be wary of such scamsters and stay away from any group playing Three Card Monte.


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