by Jim Rose





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 says:


“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 victory.


Marked Deck


An old con artist’s trick is to mark cards so they can be identified by touch. Bumping is 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 every time.


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 the bag.


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.


Secret: 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.


Secret: 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 Props


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 proposition bet.


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 ”don’t” bet.


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


Forcing 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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