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Work the broads

What is ‘Work the Broads’?

“Work the broads” is a casino term used to describe a card fraud, especially three-card monte.

‘Work the Broads’ Explained

It can be any three card game, often played with the red Queen of Hearts (the “broad”) as the target card. Three-card monte is also known as Find the Lady in the UK, Bonneteau in France, Chase the Ace, or Running the Red.

Three-card monte is a confidence trick, in which the dealer works with other players to draw a victim (also known as a “mark”) into placing bets on what the mark thinks is the winner among three cards.

The dealer starts by showing the players three cards, one of which is the winning card. The dealer then places the cards face down and moves them around the table, using sleight-of-hand to make sure that the mark picks out the wrong target card from the three.

The game will be set up to attract a passer-by to watch what appears to be a simple three-card game. As the mark watches, they will be allowed to think they have worked out correctly, which is the target card among the three placed face-down. The mark will then be encouraged to place a bet, which they will lose, as the dealer switches the target card with a losing one.

Card tricks

The dealer can use various sleight-of-hand techniques. One such move is known as the “Hype”, where the dealer throws down the wrong card while misdirecting the mark to think they are tracking the target card.

Another popular cheat is the “bent card” trick, where the dealer “drops” the cards and bends the target card’s corner. The victim then bets on the bent card, which the dealer will unbend and switch for a losing bent card as they throw down.