by Jim Rose
SCAMS AND CARD SHARPS
The hustler goes first and takes
four tens plus a non-important card. The dupe is always
surprised that he didn’t take a royal flush. But after the tens
are gone, he realizes that the best hands left are four of a
kind higher than a ten or a straight flush, which are both
better than the hustler’s hand.
The four tens preclude the dupe
from building a straight or a straight flush higher than a nine.
The hustler then discards three of the tens and the odd
card. The one ten will be used to
build the highest straight flush left. The mark is totally
caught off guard with that winning strategy.
The key for a hustler to get
someone to take him up on this bet is the act. After watching a
legitimate poker game and seeing someone lose, he acts drunk and
“You’re the worst player I’ve
ever seen, you couldn’t win even with the cards turned up, blah,
blah, blah.” He is careful to emphasize: “I will even give you
all ties and let you go second so that you can see what I have
ahead of time blah, blah.”
Going first insures the hustler a
An old con artist’s trick is to
mark cards so they can be identified by touch.
when you can feel bumps on the surface of the cards. Make a tiny
dent with a pin. Roughing is when you rough up the
edge of the
cards with sandpaper.
By feeling the cards, both
systems allow the dealer to always know what you have.
Monte Myth # 1
The Three-Card Monte is an old
street con game.
It works like this: the dealer
holds a red queen and two black kings that he throws face down
on a table or cardboard box. The rule is to guess which one is
the queen. The victim puts his money down on the card he thinks
is the winner, then the dealer turns it over to show which one
it is. It appears to be a simple game to beat.
There is a general perception
that street hustlers working the Three-Card Monte games always
let you win the first time you play to get you hooked.
This myth grew from seeing money
changing hands with other betters. The other betters are in fact
part of the scam. It is their job to make you feel comfortable
enough to take out your money and try to beat the dealer.
When you first walk up to the
game, you see a guy who is winning most of the time with great
enthusiasm. He makes the game feel like it’s a lot of fun and an
easy way to make money. When he wins, you see how he did it.
When he loses, you see where he
went wrong. The dealer has a bag full of
money stuffed in his pocket that
he uses to keep his winnings and pay his losses. Since only one
person bets at a time, the “other better” offers to let you
play. If you accept, the dealer will hustle you out of twenty
dollars on the first bet.
After a quick loss like this, you
might take a step back to reassess your strategy. This allows
our friend, the “other better,” to start betting again. He
loses three times in a row and
out of anger throws the losing card. When the dealer turns his
back to retrieve the card, the “other better” bends the corner
of the winning card. When the dealer returns, the game starts
again. This time the other player picks the bent card and wins
After sustaining several losses,
the dealer says:
”That’s enough, let someone else
play,” and he looks at you: “One last bet.
Five hundred dollars limit.
How much do you want to bet?” When you open
your wallet, the “other better”
excitedly snatches all your money and throws it on the bent
card. The dealer turns the card over and you lose. He grabs
the winnings, and puts it in his
money bag that he stuffs back in his pocket.
The dealer had secretly taken the
bend out of the winning card.
When you start to argue to get
your stolen money back, his partner, the “other better” screams
“Police!” and takes off running. The dealer runs in the opposite
direction. If you chase him he will throw his money bag. Once
you get it, you’ll find that it’s a duplicate bag stuffed with
newspaper and a rock. The rock adds enough weight to throw the
bag far enough for the hustler to get away while you’re chasing
Monte Myth # 2
Three-Card Monte is one of the
easiest sleights to learn. You only have to lift your middle
finger first when throwing the cards onto the table. The
simplicity of this trick means many people know how to do it.
They know exactly where the winning card is, but they never win.
If they pick the right card, the dealer says: “Double or
nothing?” That is the cue for his partner to slap the money on
the table first.
Since only one person is allowed
to bet at a time, this negates the deal.
The Talking King
Ask a volunteer to place four
cards facedown under four objects. Tell him you will use the
help of the king of diamonds to guess each card. Slide the king
face up under one card at a time and bring it to your ear where
the king “whispers” the name of the card in question.
This trick is very
simple to learn. First
ask the volunteer to shuffle the
deck. Once done, go through it to take the king of diamonds out.
While doing that glance at the last four cards at the bottom of
the deck and memorize them. Ask the volunteer to cut the deck,
and to pick a half.
Whatever he chooses, make sure he
ends up with the half that has the chosen cards. Then ask him to
count the cards; this move will bring the four cards on top.
Whatever the number of cards he comes up with, just say: “Yeah,
that’s about right.” Ask him to put each of the four cards that
are on top of the deck under four objects.
Now the rest is easy. Since you
remember the cards, the king doesn’t have to say anything.
Show your audience the front and
back of a playing card, let’s say the ten of hearts. Place
it on the floor face-up. Put your foot on top of it, fully
covering it. Lift your foot again. Everyone is astonished to see
the ace of diamonds instead.
Two cards are
needed. The ace of diamonds
is carefully and tightly held
behind the ten of hearts as though both cards were one. Prior to
the stunt, stick a piece of gum or beeswax on the sole of your
shoe. Cover the card so it cannot be seen. When lifting the foot
up, the ten of hearts will stick to the sole leaving the ace of
diamonds on the floor.
Craps players pride themselves on
their knowledge of the laws of probability, but they are not
always prepared for a hustler’s angle.
First, before getting into this,
if you don’t understand craps, then you should learn.
Second, never take a
Game # 1:
Any dice player knows betting on
“hardways combinations” is a sucker’s bet. So if a hustler
approaches them with a proposal that if they will be the bank,
he will only bet the ”H.W. Combos.” He says he will put two
dollars on all H. W.’s., and every time they come up he gets
casino odds. When hard four or ten (2-2 or 5-5) come up, he is
to be paid off at 7 to 1 odds, which will give him $14.00 for
his two dollar bet. When a hard six or eight come up, he is to
get 9 to 1, which is eighteen dollars.
Any time a seven, soft four, soft
six, soft eight or soft ten is rolled, he will lose his two
dollars and have to ante up again.
The key is that the hustler only
loses two dollars.
In a casino he’d have to bet
eight dollars to cover all of the hard ways. The dupe always
seems to overlook that important part and only hears the 7 to 1
and 9 to 1, which is the legitimate casino payoff. Even at two
dollars the hustler can win a lot of money fast.
Game # 2:
This one is called “the bar
six-eight game.” The hustler tells the dupe that the six and
eight will be void on the come out roll. Anytime the six and
eight are rolled on the come out, it will be ignored and the
dice will be rolled again.
If the six and eight are barred,
the dupe will want to bet against the dice, fading the shooter.
He will do this because he knows
the six and eight are the easiest points for the shooter to
make. But he forgets that in casino craps, the odds only favor
the shooter on the come out, after that, they shift to the
But since the six and eight have
been taken out it allows the hustler to roll over and increase
the odds for instant wins from seven and eleven.
The experienced player will let
the hustler throw all night thinking he has the best bet and
that he’s just going through a period of bad luck that will turn
at any minute.
The Sure Bet
is a way to make a
volunteer pick a particular
object card while he thinks he
had chosen freely.
Every trickster should have
several forces at their disposal. Most require practice, but
here is a simple one to get you started: The performer takes out
a deck of normal cards and secretly peeks at the bottom one. He
sets the cards on the table and says to a volunteer: “There are
fifty-two cards in a deck. I want you to cut them to where you
think there are thirteen left on the bottom.”
Then the performer picks up the
bottom cut and counts them one at a time, placing each card face
down on top of the cut that was left on the table, until
finished. It doesn’t matter how many cards are counted because
the bottom card is now on top. The performer tells him to look
at the top card but not to let him see it, and to shuffle it
anywhere into the deck. All the performer has to do is reach
into the pile and pull out the designated card.
Now you are ready for the
greatest card scam ever devised. It’s better than Three-Card
Monte. Let’s say the seven of clubs is on the bottom, it is
brought to the top, looked at and reshuffled into the deck by
the volunteer, and the force is complete.
Take the cards into your hands
and start turning them over one at a time, placing each card on
top of the previous one face up on the table. When you get to
the object card, in this case, the seven of clubs, don’t stop!
Continue with four or five more cards on top.
The volunteer will think you have
made a mistake; that’s when you look at the cards that are still
in your hand and say: “I bet you twenty dollars that the next
one I turn over is yours.” They always bite because they have
already seen their card on the table. After the twenty dollar
agreement, reach into the stack of card on the table, find the
seven of clubs and flip it over.
I have won thousands of dollars
over the years doing this trick. I make the silly point of not
betting, we have a laugh and I give them their money back.
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