Magic Trick: Colour Monte

An easy trick involving only three cards

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Written by Josh Humphriss

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Posted: 13 Mar, 2023

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Watch the trick!

This article is only meant as a point of reference if you've seen the trick already. Please watch the trick first.

Techniques

This trick is great because you don't really need to know any particular techniques. There's a fairly unique kind of double lift, but this is easy to learn.

Preparation

You want three distinct cards:

In this article, I have assigned each a number to make it easier to follow the arrangement. The normal card will be denoted with 0, the more interesting card with 1 and the special card with 2. All orders are given with the cards face-down from top to bottom. The order at the start of each step is shown in square brackets.

First, arrange the cards in the order: 201. That is, the special card on top, the normal card in the middle and the card to follow on the bottom.

The Trick

1. Show 3 Cards [201]

Introduce the trick with some interesting patter, showing that we will only be dealing with three cards.

2. Show The Cards [201]

Bend the corner of the bottom card to do a double lift, showing the middle card (but pretending to show the top). Deal the actual top card onto the table. In a similar manner, show the second card to be the same as the first, then put on the table. Finally, show the last card and introduce the objective of the trick (to follow this card). Pick up these cards, which should now be in the order 102.

3. The Bottom? [102]

Use a double lift to pretend to move the queen onto the bottom, when in reality you are moving the top 2 cards to the bottom. Ask the audience where the card is. You may then reveal that the bottom card is in fact the boring card, and they are wrong.

4. The Top? [102]

Now, you can ask them whether or not it is on the top or in the middle. Note that if they say the middle, you will need to deduce that the top must be the normal card, and let them be correct. Ideally, they will choose the top (usually people do).

Here, we will pretend to show the top card while actually showing the bottom. Move the top card back with your index finger, then place your thumb on the bottom of the cards and push forwards such that the top and bottom cards are aligned, but the middle is pushed forwards. Then, you can pull the top and bottom card as one and show that it is not the correct card. Put these cards onto the top of the pile.

5. The Middle? [201]

Finally, you can deduce that the card has to be in the middle. Here, you can simply spread out the three cards and let an audience member take it for themselves to realise that none of the cards are in fact correct. Place this card back into the same position as before.

6. It's on the bottom! [201]

Now, you can explain that you're not lying to the audience member, and it's actually been on the bottom the whole time. Show the bottom card.

7. And the top! [201]

But that's interesting, because it's also on the top! Here, you do exactly the same move as before to show the bottom card while pretending to show the top.

8. And the middle! [210]

Finally, you can let them pull the middle card and reveal that all three of the cards are in fact the special card. Here, place this card on the top.

9. Bottom [120]

"You're clearly having some trouble, so let's just go over the cards again".

Now, you do the same sequence again.

10. Top [120]

As before, use the special move to actually show the bottom card (and re-order them).

11. Middle [102]

Now that you have shown the audience two of the cards, you can ask them what the final card will be. Then, you can show it is in fact the boring card. Put this card back on the top.

12. The Finale [012]

Given the audience are clearly hopeless at following the card, you choose to make it even easier for them by dealing out the cards one-by-one. First, you deal out the top card to reveal it is the boring card. Then, you deal out the second card to reveal that it is the interesting card. You can then ask the audience what they think the third card is. Given they have not seen it for the whole trick, they will be very surprised when the ace appears!

Improvements

Have 2 decks

You don't need multiple decks, but if you take 2 cards from one deck and 1 card from another, it makes having two of the same card seem less weird.

Alternate Colours

If your boring card is black, choose a red face card so it's easier to distinguish.

The Special Move

This can be a bit of a weird move, but there's two opposing approaches that can be used to make it seem more natural:

Putting your index finger on the top of the card as you take it also adds to the illusion.

Don't Show Your Hand!

Throughout the whole trick, you have to be really careful to never actually show your hand. If they see the secret card, the final reveal is ruined!

Patter

Patter is particularly important for this trick as it is fairly simple and flashy so requires a good bit of misdirection. You can frame it as a game of "follow the lady" or similar. You should also emphasise the impossibility of the situation and try to make it easy for people to follow as otherwise they may get confused. Overall, you should make it seem like you're making it even easier for the audience while they are continuing to get it wrong.

Conclusion

Overall, this is a great trick that can be a bit more interesting than other card tricks as it only uses three cards. It's a very impressive trick and doesn't require any particularly advanced moves, although some people will be able to figure it out.