The three card monte magic trick is one of THE most famous card tricks in history. It’s definitely a trick that every magician should learn sooner or later. But there’s so many different versions of the three card monte that it’s hard to know where to begin.

In this blog post, we’re going to share our ‘top five’ three card monte routines and let you know exactly where to learn them!

Use the links below to navigate between our various picks.


Best 3 Card Monte Pick No.5: The ‘Classic’ 3 Card Monte

We’ll start this list off with the ‘classic’ three card monte. In this version of the trick, you have two black cards and one red card. It’s the job of the audience to follow the red card.

You begin by showing them the red card, and then throwing it to the tabletop. You then mix up the cards, but tell them to keep their eye on the red card (which they saw you throw to the table.) If they can correctly guess the position of the red card, they win. If they can’t – they lose.

In the first round of this game, the spectator usually guesses right. But here’s what’s actually going on: the magician will actually LET them get it right, in order to get them more confident in their ability to follow the card. After a couple of practice rounds in which the spectator guesses correct, the magician ups the ante by putting money on the outcome. If the spectator can tell him where the red card is, they win the money. Since the spectator is feeling pretty confident on his ability, they take the bet. And often, they guess correctly and win the money!

Now, the magician offers to play one more round. He puts even more money on the table. But this time, he asks the spectator to put some of their own money down too. If the spectator guesses right again, he takes all the money – but if he guesses wrong, the magician takes it.

Well, can you guess what comes next?

Of course, the magician throws down the cards and the spectator THINKS they see exactly where the red card goes. But when they take their guess – they discover they’re totally wrong, and the magician takes the money.

This is how the three card monte is often played by street performers and scammers.

WARNING: This version of the three card monte is nothing short of a scam. If you play it this way – you do so at your own risk, and we would strongly advise you not to.

But since we’re just learning the 3 card monte for fun…we would never perform it this way.

Indeed, if you’re looking for alternate presentations and endings for this trick, why not check out our official 3 Card Monte masterclass?

Inside this training, you’ll learn fascinating methods and presentations for this trick that are just as fooling – but end with everyone happy, magician and audience alike!

CC Members can get this training here:

3 Card Monte

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Best 3 Card Monte Pick No.4: Stand Up Monte

Steve Barcellona is a member of the ‘CC Panel’ and he recently gave a CC Live Lecture where he shared the secrets behind his stunning ‘Stand Up Monte’. This routine is a three card monte style effect, but done with ‘jumbo’ playing cards.

This means you can take the three card monte – a trick usually reserved for solely close-up performances – and use it as part of a stage show.

For those of you who perform on stage or to large audiences, this trick is a great way to get the power of the three card monte on a large scale.

This training is available to CC Members here:

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Best 3 Card Monte Pick No.3: The Skinner Monte

Skinner MonteThis monte is different to the others ones we’ve discussed because it actually relies on a ‘gimmick’ in order to work. While that means you can’t hand the cards out to be inspected, this drawback is far outweighed by the ASTONISHING effect it produces.

This routine looks like pure magic, and will stun your audiences.

You can pick it up at the official CC Store here:

Best 3 Card Monte Pick No.2: The 2 Card Monte

We’re cheating a little bit here, because this one isn’t technically a 3 card monte…it uses two cards.

This version of the 3 card monte was made very popular by David Blaine. Imagine this…

You hand the Ace of Diamonds to your spectator, asking them to hold it in their hand. You then show them the Ace of Hearts and demonstrate in slow motion how you would use sleight of hand to switch the cards. You take their Ace of Diamonds and leave the Ace of Hearts in their hand. Then, in a fast movement, you place the Ace of Diamonds in your hand into theirs. You ask them whether they think the Ace of Hearts or Diamonds in on top.

After they make their guess, they turn over their hand and see that they are in fact holding the Ace of SPADES and CLUBS.

This ALWAYS gets incredible reactions from audiences!

A great trick that works on a similar principle is ‘Daley’s Last Dance,’ a stunning four card routine that we offer in-depth training on inside CC.

CC Members can get this training here:

Daley’s last dance

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Best 3 Card Monte Pick No.1: Color Monte

The Color Monte is our favorite version of the three card monte. This classic effect is a little hard to describe, so just watch a video of it in action here:

As you can see, this is a visually stunning monte, with a kicker ending that ALWAYS astonishes audiences. The good news is, YOU can learn it.

The Color Monte is available in the CC Store here:


Honorable Mention: Color Monte PRO

Recently Scott Alexander came to Conjuror Community to deliver an astonishing live lecture filled with his very best material. One of the tricks he shared is his famous ‘Color Monte PRO’

CC Members can get this training here.

Not a CC Member? Join here!