Beat Three-card Monte with Google Glass and remotely located human or artificial expert?

One of the entertainers on our recent cruise was a magician. He played around with some variations on Three-card Monte. Of course none of the passengers (average age: 70) had a chance of figuring out what was going on, but I wondered if another magician, or perhaps a computer vision system, would have been able to track the money card.

What do readers think? Suppose that one were able to retrieve a Google Glass device from Africa or an improved successor whose camera was impossible to spot. The device is then connected up to LTE. A professional magician, or perhaps just software, watches the game and, at the end, indicates via pocket vibrations which card to select. Would this end the era of Three-card Monte? (Or maybe it will end sooner if countries abolish cash?)


  1. wally

    October 4, 2017 @ 1:11 pm


    Jesus Phil, can’t you stop? The next thing you know, AI will eliminate bingo and canasta. What the hell am I going to do in my dotage?

  2. Andrea Matranga

    October 4, 2017 @ 1:48 pm


    If you win, somebody yells “COPS!!!” they still take your money, and run away.

  3. Someone Else

    October 4, 2017 @ 2:35 pm


    You realize that the three-card monte operator palms the winning card early (unless he plans to force it on a new mark for a small payout as a teaser) so it isn’t on the table to be tracked, right?

  4. philg

    October 4, 2017 @ 2:46 pm


    Someone Else: Don’t they have to turn the rest of the cards up at the end of the “game”? Or when it is time to do that do they swap it back out from their palms?

  5. AlexS

    October 4, 2017 @ 3:13 pm


    philg: Yes, to show the winning card at the end they swap it back out of the palm. As Someone Else says, the card is never on the table, so you can’t win unless the operator gives it to you (usually to get a bigger bet on the next play).

  6. Jackie

    October 5, 2017 @ 12:30 pm


    Sometimes 3 card monte also depends on trick cards where one of the “pips” (the card denomination marks in the corners) does not correspond to the rest of the card.

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