The I ost Ring

A brand new luxury car pulls into a gas station and out steps a beautiful woman, stunningly dressed, complete with furs, designer clothing, and expensive jewelry. She asks the attendant if she can use the washroom. When she conies out, as she is walking to her ear. she lets out a scream. When the attendant runs over, she explains that she has dropped her diamond ring. She had taken it off in the ladies' room to wash her hands just as she was putting it on, it fell. The woman and the gas station...

Surveillance Techniques a

If you have ever been in Las Vegas, you haw probably noticed the mirrors on the ceilings I mean the ones in the casinos, not in your hotel rooms. These two-way mirrors are pari of the casino's surveillance system, the 'eye in the sky that watches out tor cheating. The casinos also use closed circuit IV and videotaping in their surveillance. In addition. hey have their dealers watching the players, their fioormcn watching the dealers, and their pitbosses watching the doormen. Finally, most...

Draw Poker

Llie widespread notion that a card cheat will deal himself straight ilushcs and tours of a kind a 1 evening at draw poker is entirely oft base. It a ineehaiiic can ge diree of n kind each time he deals, he may not win every pot but he will have all the money by the end of the game. One method of accomplishing ibis is the three-card draw. The'ihree-iJard Draw ' his scam is wor.eed by two hustlers the mechanic and s partner sitting on his right. l,et's assume '.lie game is six-handec. On the...

Nit Court Card Cut Prop

This simple prop should get you a good deal of action among your card-playing friends. Have someone take a regulation deck of cards and shuffle it. 1 hen have him cut die deck into three piles. Now offer to bet even money that at least one of the three cards he cuts to is a picture card either a jack, queen, or king. You 11 have to give your victim a few uiomeiiLs lo mull over the odds, but if he has any sporting blood, lie will probably go for it. His reasoning will run something like this...

Gkorge Devol

Another legendary monte worker of hat era was Canada Hill's sometime partner, George Devol. Devol worked monte as well as other card-cheating scams for forty years on the Mississippi rivcrboats and later on the raihoad.v His victims on the steamboat included plantation owners, slave traders, cotton buyers, horse traders, and poultry fanners returning from market with their pockets full, as well as thieves and embezzlers fleeing with their loot. Vol even the Army paymasters who wagered die...

The Baccarat Slug

Baccarat is also a good game for -.he dealer who can manipulate tlx cards. In baccarat, only two hands are dealt each round, the player hand and the bank hand. Before any cards are dealt, the players around the table bet on which o- the two hands will win. It is a common sight at the baccarat table to sec players with pen and paper, keeping a record of player hand and bank hand wins in a vuir. attempt to predict what will happen next An agent working Willi a dealer will pretend to do the .same....

Road Mobs

Despite the opportunities outlined a'juve. most full-time hustlers find that in order to get all the action they want they have to travel constantly. They move from town to town working golf outings, fraternal club annual events, fund-raising dinners, charity benefits, company picnics, community spoil- sored barbccues, conventions of car dealers or pharmacists, and anywhere else where a yauie is likely to starl or be started by I he hustler. Don't cxpcct these guys to sport waxed mustaches,...

Private Card Games Rmateur Cheating

The techniques we have examined so far are I hose used primarily by professional hustlers who make their living from crooked gambling. However, for every professional, there are dozens of otherwise honest citizens with regular iobs and standing in their communities who supplement their incomes by cheating at cards. These amateurs usually plav in what hustlers call still games regularly scheduled games held in someone's home or at a country club, or a veterans' club or other fraternal...

Card Transfers

Everyone lias heard the term four-flusher but few know lis derivation. Literally, a four-flusher is a poker player who attempts to pass off a four-card Hush as a winning hand. Suppose a player is dealt a hand of four hearts and an odd card. He discards the odd card but, rather than drawing lhc hoped-for heait, he gets a diamond. When he shows down the hand, he calls it a flush and lays il down without spreading if completely, lhc four red hearts show plus just a corner of the red index of the...

What Constitutes a Con Game

Most readers will probably feel that all the cheating scams exposed in this book are con games. However, strictly speaking, con games constitute a very Specialized kind of cheating. Like other cheating techniques, con games always contain sonic method for controlling the outcome of the event involved and usually require sophisticated teamwork between two or more mob members. Most important, a tare con game always involves some method for getting the mark to eagerly baud over his money by...

Marked Cards

Relatively few professional chca s use paper (marked cards), partly because' they know thai when the average player suspects cheating, the llrsl thing he thinks to look for is markings on the backs of the cards However, when an amateur decides to chca his friends, the technique he is most likely to turn to is the use of paper foi precisely that reason it's the first thing he thinks of It is also the most acccssiblc technique. A would-be cheat who is not part of the hustling community would not...

Earnest Money

When Ihe broad tossci spots someone who has been watching the game for a while without betting, he goes to work on him. He mixes the cards and tells lhc mark lie will give him a free play. He asks the victim to pom- to where he thinks the money card is. When the mark points to a card, the broad tosser -ells hin he has won and starts to hand him forty dollars. The mark is usually reluctant to take die money, fearing some trick. The hustler assures him there is no catch and continues o offer him...

Jijio join i s

Another devastatingly effective approach is the juice joint. In this scam, the crap Table has two electromagnetic plates built in under the surface, one near each end where the dice typically come to rest. The dice arc gaffed by means of metal inserts under certain sides Kven transparent Hush-spot dice can lie gaffed by using cxtieiuely minuLe loads of slmnliuni cobalt under some oi the spots. If the electromagnets are turned on us the dice hit the table after rebounding off the backboard the...

Private Card Games Professional Cheating

A Card cheats can be divided into two categories thf amateurs and the professionals and there arc fa more in botli lanks llianllic aveiagc jxrrson lxrgins lo suspect. Although the distinction between the two is not always clear-cut. there are important dilTcrctiees. The amateur i> likcl> to be someone with j regular job. sometimes a very lucrative job. But because he has somehow gainec access to a few of tlic secrets of cheating and because be lias larceny in his heart, he augments his...

Bar Dicc Games

In ccrta u parts of the country (San Francisco and Chicago, for example.) certain dice panics played in bars arc very popular. Among them arc Indian Dice, Buck Dice, Boss Dice, and Liar's Dice. Although there arc countless variations, almost al of these games arc patterned after draw poker and use five dice which art thrown from a dice cup Aldiough special poker dice are available which bear playing card faces instead of spots, most players use regular dice. Thus, a player may roll a full house...

The nati joint

Here is another old seam that is still popu ar today. It consists of a railroad tic set on a pair of saw horses plus a hammer and some 1 l -inch nails provided by the flattie. The grifter taps the point of die nail into the wood, then hands you the hammer. Your mission should you choose to accept it, is to drive the nail all the way into the wood willi only one blow, l'he flattie does it easily every time. Yon do, too. on the practice tries, but when the money is up and it really counts, it...

Count Stores Tiik Rale

Razzle Board

Any kind of fiat store in which the player anives at a series ot numbers which the operator totals up to determine, whether he has won or lost is called a count slvm Ovei the yeais, one particular kind of count store has proven so phenomenally successful in swindling suckers thai it has set the pattern for all the others. I'hat game is the ra.zzlc, undoubtedly the all-time champion moneymaker of gaffed carnival games. To understand how it works, let's accompany a -ypieal carnival goer who has...

The Whip Shot

In the whip shot, the hustler eliminates the rolling cartwhccl action. He picks up the dice one on top of the other with the desired numbers on top ot each die He may rattle the dice several times before shooting them, but this means nothing. The dice arc in his fist, trapped between (he sides of his forefinger and pinky, held loosely enough so thac they can cackle against each other bet loo tightly for the numbers to change position. When the cheat shoots the dice, he tosses them out of his...

Switching Cards Hand Mucking

A hustler may cheat by secretly exchanging one or several cards in his hand or even the entire deck. A mechanic who specializes in switching caids in his hand is called a hand inicker. This requires considerable ability at palming cards F.very time the cheat touches the deck, his hand, or tlu discards, he has an opportunity to either palm cards or unload palmed cards. Palming is one of the easiest forms of cheating to delect when done poorly and one of the most difficult to detect when done...

The Smack

A tourist is visiting one of the town's popular sights when a stranger asks him for a match. It turns out that the stranger is from the tourist's home state. The two men engage in conversation and discover they have a o in common. The stranger, who is actually the outside man for this scam, invites his new friend to a nearby cocktail lounge for a drink. Kvcntually, an inebriated gent joins them and insists 011 buying everyone a di ink. The drunk is a bit ot a lxior. but they endure him, hoping...

Gaffed Shoes And Marked Cards

A casino can adopt or.ly one precaution to prevent Hashing the top card and that is to deal the game from a shoe. You will recall that shoes are the dealing boxes used when blackjack is played with several decks shuffled together. However, where there is a will, there is a way. In 197x an elaborately gaffed shoe was discovered in use in a Nevada casino. Dealing shoes are always constructed with he inside bottom of the shoe slanting downward toward the front so that the cards will keep sliding...

Professional Prop Hustlers

Most of t ,esc bets are spur of the moment events with neither man having an edge or with both quickly calculating and caeh fuzzily concluding he has advantage over the other. However, some men make a specialty of such kets. The cleverest ones make a living on nothing but props. A good pu> p ii ustler will have g large repertoire of challenge bets, each of which seems to give his opponent ihe best of it while actually providing the hustler with a sure thing or at least a significant...

Coil Games

Numerous con games masquerade as proposition bets. Kor example, consider the following seam which is usually worked in a bar. A guy enters the bar and, before long, decides to show off his prowess at. card tricks. The fact that no one is particularly interested in watching doesn't slop him. lie removes the two black aces from a deck of cards and has someone cut the deck m two halves. He places one ace on one half and then places the other acc on top of it. 1 he other half of the pack is dropped...

The Monte

The moiile mob consists of the operator, anywhere from one to four sticks (shills). and a lookout, known as the wall man, who watches for approaching police, 'llie operator is called a broad tatser. Tossing the broads is the name con men use for three-card monte. This is not a sexist reference. It derives from the nineteenth-century grifters' slang in which certain kinds of playing cards were called broadi bccausc of their extra width. Thicc-card monte ihe name by which the game is known to the...

The Cross

Those con men who .ire also skilled gambling cheats often use a short con variation of the last turn called the cross. It is also known as the double steer because the mark is led to believe that the eon man is going to steer a victim to him whom they can both fleece actually, it is the mark who is being steered into a game with the con man's partners. There arc as many ways of working the cross as there are ways of cheating at gambling. If the hustlers are dice men, the outside man will show...

Poker Room Scams

Another area of the casino which is very vulnerable to a skilled crooked dealer is the poker rooms found in most N'cvada casinos. In these games, a house dealer deals and supervises the game, sut lie does not participate in it he doesn't deal hrnsclfa hand. The casino makes its profit by collecting a percentage of each pot. lhe players usually assume that the other players can't cheat since they never set to shuffle and deal, and they conclude that the casino dealer has no incentive to cheat...

The Last Turn

So far, all or Lie cons we have looked at have been short cons, ' 'ha last trir i is a perfect example of a big con The difference between the big con and the short eon is only one of degree In the big con, everything is taken further. I he professional ism of Ihe opeiators i.s giealei, he uuiubei of con men involved is greater, the attention to detail ir. convincing the mark is greater, and t ie money is greater. The division of labor found in shoit cons, and most other gambling scams, is much...

A

In the South Bronx neighborhood in New York City where I grew up, it was as common for kids to play on the rooftops of the buildings as to plav on the street. One day when 1 was seven years old I was on the roof of my building when I spotted a friend of mine on a nearby roof. We got into conversation a id, Ixrforc long, he took .something out of his pocket to show me. It was a deek ot cards. The moil tent 1 laid eyes on those cards, I knew I had o have them 1 had never seen a deek of cards at...

Dice Switches

Tins can be done by means of the thumb switch. The cheat will pick up the galfs from his lap and hold tnem hidden in his cupped fingers. 1 le then picks lip the regular dice and apparently drops them in his cup. Actually, the levels aie retained in the thumb crotch as the ringer-palmed dice are dropped in I le may then use the same- hand to cover the month of the cup and shake il, Ihe palmed dice bciiis hidden against die side of die cup, 01 lie will shake with the other hand, the hand with the...

Flat Stores

All carnival games are divided into two general categories- games of chance and games of skill. AWheel of Fortune would be an example ul the former while a game in which the player tried to pitch a ball into a bushel basket or throw a honp over a block of wood with a fifty-dollar bill wrapped around it would be an example of a game of skill. ITiis distinction is more theoretical than practical since many games of skill are so difficult that the average person could succeed only through luck and...

Past posting

A roulette player who is doing business with the dealer can past pest at will and consequently must end up a winner. Al he has lodo is take care not to do it when die floorrnan is aromd, assuming he is not also in on the scam. At eraps, a dealer can help his ageni not only by ignoring his past posting but also by shie ding the action from the rest of the crap crew. A crap table layout is divided into two identical halves with one dealer assigned to take and pay bets on each halt It is the job...

Thf Pencil Majrk

A variation of the crimped corner swindle which was a favorite of George Dc vol's and is still being used today is the pencil mark. Instead of turning up Ihe corner of the money card, I he shill draws a short line across tie corner of the card with a pencil while the monte operator is apparently not looking. There are two ways of working Ibis scam. In one ease, the Droad tosser uses a combination of die false throw and the Hip move described earlier to make il appear thai tie pencil mark goes...

Contents

Private Card Games Professional Cheating 1 The Wscard CaII5-The Pickup Cull 6-Overhand Rumps 6 Riffle Stocking 7 The Doublt Duke 8-The Pickup 7Vie False Cul 9-The Crimp 10-The Hop JI Crooked Deals I 2 The Second Deal - 12 The Heel Peek )> -Tells on (fie Second Deal H Grating the Cut cfj the Bottom Deal 17-The Bottom Peek 17 The Spread 28-The Brush 28-The Bottom Deal Transfer 29 The hree-Card Draw 52-The Lowbail Slug 33-The II. Private Card Games Amateur Cheating 36 Reseating Decks...

The Lit Match Prop

Tear a match out of a hook of paper matches, hold it by the very bottom, thru turn your hand over so the match is inverted. Offer to bet that you can light die match and hold it in U'.is upside-down position while counting horn one to fifty without letting go of the match and without extinguishing the flame Anyone else who tries it will soon find he has to drop the match long before reaching the fifty count to avoid getting fried fingers. To make good your claim, hold the lit match in die...

Tilt Drop Shot

The dsnp mot is another way of killing a number on one die. I he dice arc-held in the same way as for the .slide shoe with the key number uppermost on the lower die, the one that rests against the pinky. Instead of tossing the dice forward, the cheat throws them directly downward on to the playing surface. 'I he top die hits the lower die. trapping it against Lire Cable and preventing it from turning over. The top die then falls off and rolls heely. Since it is a.I ever in an instant, it is...

Spo Vi An Kous Games

The first category includes virtually any situation in which a group of men get together on a social basis, such as business conventions, fraternal conventions, stag banquets, retirement parties, and sports dinners. At .such events, after the business and other formal matters are out of the way, a friendly crap same is a common occurrence. Usually the game is played with a pair of candystore dice that someone happens to have on him. A table will be pushed up against a wall and the dice rolled...

Gaffed Dice TEES

Legitimate dice bear spots totaling numbers one to six. Gaffed dice may he misspottcd so Quit certain numbers appear twice while others are left off entirely Ihcsc arc known as tops or tees. The usual approach is to place only three numbers on each die, each number appearing twice, on opposite sides of the die. Because the duplication occurs on opposite sides, it will not be noticed in a casual observation of the dice. One can see orry three adjoining sides of a die at one time, and any three...

Itit dump siiol

Hie standard method ot cheating at tnese games is Ihe dump vhct. Ihere are many different methods of performing a dump shot. The essence of the move, however, is that one of the dice is kept from -umbling randomly in die cup with the others. Then the dice arc poured out of the cup in such a Way that the controlled die does not turn over Controlling only one die out of five may not seem like a major advantage, but it is. In au aces wild game, the ehcut can control one die on his tirst roll to...

Other Alibi Joints

Now that you have a good understanding of how alibi stores work. 1 11 briefly describe a few more of the most popular ones. Cirifters have adcrptcd a couple of old pool bets in strong joints. One ot these s l ip the I ce. I ip the Tee A golf tee is set upright and three pool balls arc grouped closely around it forming a triangle. One ball is in front ot the tee and the other two aie behind with all three balls touching. The player is given a cue ball and stick, ilc then tries to knock over the...

Tfif Ciothksp1n Joint

Perhaps ihe most popular kind ot peek sf ore is Ihe clothespin joint. It consists of a series of tiered wooden slats vvilh a large number of spring-s ylc wooden clothespins clipped oil them. Each pin has a number written on it on the side facing away from the players. Each prize carries a tag with a number corresponding Lo one of Llic numbers on the clothespins. The pkyer tosses wooden hoops at the pins and the number on the pin he succeeds in ringing de-em ines what prize In wins. The game may...

Legitimate C dairies

Some carnival games really arc just the innocent pastimes they seem. Naturally, even at such games you can expect to lose more, than yon win otherwise the operators couldn't afford to stay in business. Bui it the game is not gaffed to nia lt c winning impossible, and 'f the operator is not out to gel every penny you have, li lle harm can come of it Usually, die fun of playing is enough compensation for the money lost, the first step in your education is to Icam to recognize the honest games...

Holdou T Machines

A few cheats employ a holdout machine to help tlierii switch cards. This is a mechanical device worn on the hustler's person, which can be manipulated to steal CMinh from his hand -.mrl itr'd thrm hnr-l lulrr j lt -- 1 Miirrvl Whit M- r are a variety of different types, a typical model is the arm-pressure sleeve holdout. The cheal has a Jacob's ladder strapped to his forearm under his jacket. The. end near his wrist has a clip attached to it The other end of the jacob's ladder is attached to a...

The Drunken Mitt

A drunk staggers into a bar on a Friday evening when it s good and crowded, lie orders a drink and before long he starts bragging to anyone who will listen that he jus had ihe best night of his life at poker. He did so well that the game ended early, because he broke every player. To prove his boast he pulls out his wallet and opens it so everyone can see that it's filled to bursting with bills. Not only did he get the money, he even got the deck of cards. From another pocket he pulls out a...

Alibi Stores SIXCAT

A game of skill tnat can be found on almost any midway is one in which the player throws a baseball to try to tut a stuffed cat. Usuallv the player gels three balls for his dollar and must succeed in knocking over three cats to win a large prize, in some versions, the player wins as long as he can gel the cat to fall over. In other versions, the player wins only if he succccds in knocking the cac completely off the shelf. If the cat falls over but remains on the shelf, the pitch is a loser In...

Ul Cheating in Private Dice Games

1 1 mentioned in Chapter 1 that most skilled card mechanics prefer to avoid gaft, and rely on pure sleight of hand. However, it's different with dice cheats. In any game where tire dice are rolled on a hard surface arid where players insist that both dice hit a wal or backboard few craps hustlers can accomplish anything with regular dice. They have to rely on switching in crooked dice. Although we have already discussed various kinds of gaffed dice, 1 think it would be worthwhile to review the...

Tt1k Swinger

A small bowling pin. about ten inches high, stands on the countcr. Some kind of marker is on the counter to establish exactly where the pin should he set . miniature bowling ball, about five inches in diameter, hangs above the counter from a chain. Tlic ball hangs low enough to reach the top of the bowling pin. Oil the counter next to the pin is a pile often pennies. Many booths have three or four of these setups side by side, each with its own o H rator. The operator stands on the same side of...

Slot Scams

A scam thai is related to stealing and overpayment is the practice of slot machine workers setting jackpots on the machines for their agents. The slot mechanics employed by the casinos to repair the machines are constantly opening up machines in Ihe course of their work o service the.ni. In doing so, one can easily set a winning combination on the reels lo bigger a payoff. I he scam has a much better chance of going undetected if the payoff can be delayed so it does not occur immediately after...

Backgammon Juice Joln1

The juice joint is also used in backgammon in a very simple but ingenious form. The dice are gaffed with metallic slugs as explained earlier so that when rolled over a magnetic field they will come up 6-6. The magnetic field m this case is not provided by an electromagnet but rathci by a small powerful magnet strapped to the cheat's thigh inside his pants just above the knee. When the hustler wants to turn on the juice, he brings his knee up under the table so it presses against the tabletop....

Stealing

With the vast sums of money in the form of both chips and cash thai constantly pass through the hands of dealers and other casino employees, it is only natural thai some will be tempted to hold on to part of it. Of course, employee 'heft is a problem throughout American industry In the casino field, unique Icalures eoulribule to the problem, in niosl businesses, inventory and accounting procedures guarantee that any theft will eventually come to light and the amount quaut.fied sometimes the cu...