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Don-G
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I hope that his item is in the correct slot as I can't see where else to ask. Can anyone tell me the meaning or interpretation of the term 'Monte'. I know that it is mainly used in cards but seems to be used for any similar type effect with many other objects. All I know is the it comes from a Spanish gambling card game that uses three cards but what is the history of the term?

Don
Bill Palmer
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Spanish Monte and three card Monte are two different games. Spanish Monte is a layout game, somewhat like Faro. Three card Monte has always been a short con. The cards originally used for Three Card Monte were not your regular playing cards, but had illustrations on them instead -- an old lady, a kid rolling a hoop and a kid on a bicycle.

Maybe Whit Haydn can tell us more.
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

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Don-G
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Thanks Bill for snippet of information, I was expecting a few more posts on the subject but it does not seem to have attracted very much interest. What I have planned to do was to run a session for the junior magic group that I organise showing various items used foe a Monte effect. It would include cards, snappers, squeekers and dice etc. I wanted to give a reasonably full answer to the question that I am sure to be asked, just what does Monte mean. I do know the basics but there must be a little history behind the term. I have had a lot of help so far from the Chafe and was expecting the same here.

Don
Bill Palmer
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Some of the experts on this kind of thing will tell you that the shell game is quite recent, but I believe it is the source of the "find the object" plot. In fact, from my own research, I can tell you that the earliest versions of the cups and balls very likely were what you are calling a "Monte" effect.

As far as the card game and the term "Monte" are concerned, I have done a lot of research on it, and I have come up empty. Why don't you send Whit a PM?

The OED suggests that Three Card Monte or Three Card Monty as it is sometimes spelled is a game of Mexican origin. The word Monte means mountain in Spanish, but it is also related to the word "montar" which can mean to mount or to jump on top of something. It doesn't show up by that name in the Elizabethan gambling texts.

The term might come from tossing one of the cards over the others, that is, making it jump over the other cards.

In any case, as I post this, your question has had 50 views, so people are at least looking.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Bill Palmer
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There is a reference you should look for. I don't know the name of the book, but the author is George DeVol. He discusses the short cons.

Also, check the Scoundrels forum.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Bill Palmer
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I found this post. It doesn't answer where the term "Monte" came from, but it does answer to a certain degree how it got attached to the three card game. http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/searc......=5562159

Again, you should contact Whit Haydn about this. If anyone knows, he does.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Don-G
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Sorry for the delay with this reply Bill but I have been laid low with a bug that is going around and have felt rather ill. Thank you for your extra info, from asking around it does seem that very little is know about the origin of the term Monte. It seems that magicians have just accepted the term without question. I have taken your suggestion and pm Whit Haydn and await his reply. At least I can tell the juniors that I have tried to find the origin of the term and very little seems to be know. By the way, as a new member of the Café, how do you check on how many hits you have received on your post? I am still finding my way round the sight with a little difficulty at times.
Whit Haydn
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"Monte" means "mountain" and refers to the pack or deck of cards which is being dealt from. The game Spanish Monte or Mexican Monte is played with a simple layout, and the players play against the bank, betting on the drawn card being higher or lower. It is similar in some ways but simpler than Faro. It has nothing to do with Three Card Monte, except that the sure-thing gamblers took it to make their three card trick sound more legitimate.

Mexican Monte was extremely popular in Mexico, Louisiana and the Southwest of what is now the United States from before the California Gold Rush until after the Civil War and the building of the Union Pacific Railroad. Easterners on their way West or Southwest would have heard of the game but not seen it played or know anything about it. This made it easy on the steamboats and later the railroad to hook the interests of the victims.

Tenderfeet don't like being "out of the loop" and always want to learn as much as possible about the new place as quickly as possible. So when a local offers to show them the "Monte" game, they think they are being taught Spanish Monte, and are eager to learn it so they can feel less like a newcomer.

This same ploy was used in the sevices in WWI and WWII, when con men soldiers took their young enlistees..."Ever hear of the Old Army Game? Want to learn how to play?" The Old Army Game was used to refer to the Strap, All on the Barrelhead, Three Card Monte and the Shell Game. "Monte" was used in exactly the same way.

I am with Bill. I think that during the Picaresque period of Spain, in the 16th century, a horde of swindlers and gypsies descended on Spain from Eastern Europe, after the gold that came flowing in from the New World. They brought with them all kinds of swindles, games, and ploys to take the money, and spread out from there to the rest of Western Europe and England.

The Cups and Balls was probably always a takedown game, although it is always presented as a "magic trick." The description of Robert-Houdin in "Card Sharpers" of a French conman in a Parisian restaurant in the 1840's taking the spectators with the Cups and Balls using three soup plates and a ball of bread.

The Three Card Monte and the Thimble Rig which later became the Shell Game, were all descendants of the Cups and Balls. They were made simpler, and more direct to cut to the chase, and so they could be played in a smaller space for fewer people.

Basically, it was the first move from an open game to a closed game.
Jonathan Townsend
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Whit, do you expect the soup plates handling is where we get the load ( and steal ) using the extended third and fourth finger?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Whit Haydn
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Quote:
On 2011-01-18 21:36, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Whit, do you expect the soup plates handling is where we get the load ( and steal ) using the extended third and fourth finger?


Don't know. Don't know anything about it except what Robert-Houdin said. Sounds plausible.
silverking
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I've wondered, but never really found any solid information on the thinking behind the original three card designs, which as Bill points out above, weren't playing cards as such.
The child/hoop card seems to be a constant, and the other two seem to have taken on a few different designs in the repeated telling.

I wonder what these designs originally referred to?

I also wonder why somebody like CardShark doesn't design and market a quality card set with three authentic designs on them.........(with a bit of research of course, as to what might constitute "authentic" designs).
Bill Palmer
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Maybe these were supposed to look like something that would be found in a deck of cards that children used.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Don-G
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Thanks a lot Whit for your very interesting summary to my query, even though we do not seem to know precisely how or why the term Monte came to be used, I can at least give the juniors some of the thoughts behind the term. Apparently there has been a number of articles in one or two magazines on this topic, all giving a slightly different slant to it.

Thank you to all who have added to the discussion so far any to any further additions.

Don
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