Three Card Trickster

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Three Card Trickster
Three card trickster.

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Old Book Illustrations

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Description

The three card trick or three card monte is one of the oldest cheats around as records of tricks based on the same principle date back to the fifteenth century.

It could be played with pictures of saints instead of playing cards. There could sometimes be four cards instead of three, but it has always been based on the the same principle: the dealer shows a card among the three, for instance the ace of diamonds, which the player is supposed to spot once it has been put face down and rearranged with the other cards on a table – sometimes an umbrella, nowadays often a cardboard box. And the outcome hasn’t changed in the slightest over centuries: players always lose their money.

The con artist whose adventures this picture illustrates used to perform in trains, and was arrested at a station after having just played his trick on… an investigating magistrate.

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