The infamous card game, three-card monte, became widely popular on riverboats and railroads in the late 1830s. Wherever men migrated, a tense game of three-card monte usually wasn’t too far away.

Scam trivia: Three-Card Monte, the oldest scam
Scam trivia: Three-Card Monte, the oldest scam

The game is based on a simple sleight of hand. The operator throws either of the two cards held in one hand. The illusion created is that only the bottom card is ever thrown. However, the top can be dropped in an identical manner to change the outcome.

People have been losing money to three-card monte scams for over a hundred years.

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