monte (n.)

1824, the name of a favorite Spanish and Spanish-American card game played with a deck of 40 cards, from Spanish monte "mountain," from Latin montem (nominative mons) "mountain" (from PIE root *men- (2) "to project"). So called from the heap of cards left after dealing. Picked up by the Americans in Texas and in the Mexican War, it was a favorite in California during the gold rush years. The three-card confidence-game form (first attested 1877) is of Mexican origin.

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