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 tee by striking the three balls with the cue ball. If the tee remains standing when the three balls scatter, he loses. It's not difficult it's impossible 'I he impact of the cut ball is transferred to die iron- hall of I he triangle which transfers it to the two balls behind. Thus, the entire forcc of the striking cue ball is channeled around :hc golf tee, leaving it still upright. When the Hattie wants the player lo succeed, he sets tlie three balls so that two of them arc not quite touching. This one is often played with the ten-penny scoring system.

English Pool A pool hustle joint, which sometimes goes under the name English Pool, involves a ball placet: in the middle of a circle aboul eight inches in diameter. A coin is balanced on the ball. The player strikes this ball with a cuc ball and attempts to make die coin fall outside the circle. Like the swmger, the answer to this one is elementary physics. Inertia ffa'i Gambling Scam ensures that the coin will fall straight down, always landing in the circle no matter how hard or softly Ihe ball is hit.

/ he I hree-Pin Game The three-pin game has been around lot a long time and is still going strong Three small tenpins or beer bottles are set in a triangle, two in front and the third behinc. I he player is given a baseball which he rolls along the counter in an eliorl to knock down all three pins. If the two front pins arc set farther apart than the diameter of the ball, it is impossible to knock down al three of them. When the alibi agent wants to show you how easy it is, he sets the two pins ever so slightly eloscr.

Spot the Spot Spot the Spot i> another old scam that is more jxipular now titan ever before, The player must try t:> cover a five-inch red spot with five metal disks three inches m diameter by dropping them from a height ot about an inch. Il any red still shows—and it always does—the player loses. There is only one correct way to do it and if any oned;sk is out of position by-even a fraction of an inch, it becomes impossible to succeed. Tie player, who has no idea how to procccd. doesn't stand a chance. As with any alibi «lore, Ihe agent is lull ot "helpful-7 suggestions, but even if someone sincerely tried to teach you how. you wouldn't get it on the first try or the thirtieth try. The flattie makes it look easy, because that's all lie docs all day. I have a Spot the Spot at home and sometimes let friends try it for fun. Nol one has ever succeeded even after repeated tries

The operator at tins game will even go so far as to drop the hrst couple of disks for you If he can get you to raise your x>L high enough, he will even cover the spot with all five disks, remove one, and hand it to you. If you can drop Ilia: one single disk without leaving any rod exposed, you win. Mow-ever, in removing the disk, the grifter moves another disk a fraction of an inch so it .\$ now impossible to win.

Danger Signs

We have looked al many of the most popular crooked carnival games being used today. I lowevei. carnival grificrs have devised so many different ty pes ot strong joints and so many ( iffcrcnt gaffs that it is impossible to cover them all here. In any case, it would be impractical for the average person to try to remember them all. You can protect yourself, however, by remembering the different buildups that are used in these games. I .el's review the dargci signals: any kind of score chart for converting your numerical totals into

Crooked Carnival Comas : 187

points; vague or complicated rules that arc revealed to you piecemeal as the game proceeds; any rules l hat require you to increase the size of your bet in order to keep playing; the suggestion that you go home to get more money to play with, a friendly operator who wants to help you win and keeps pointing out what you are doing wrong; the requirement that you must score ten points (for example) over an unlimited nuinbei of plays in order to win; a game operator who wants to shift fawn merchandise to cash prizes, offers to return all your losses when you win, or offers you tremendous odds on your bet. If you cncounte- any of these features in a game, leave as fast as you can Don't stick around to try to figure out how the gatt works. By the time you do. you may not have carfare left lo get home.

At the beginning of Ids chapter 1 described a number of carnival games that are usually run honestly. However, since almost any game can be gaffed if the operator wishes, you should also avoid one of these games if it incoiporates any of the characteristics listed above.

Chalk Stains

In the early days of carnivals, when a flat store operator got hold ei a solt mark, he would pat him warn'y on the back. In so doing, he would leave behind a chalk mark.' I lint way ti e other gr iter* could spot the victim as he later walked along die r.iidway and would be sure lo call bin over and try to win whatever money the first flattie had failed to get. In those days, .suckers were hcerally marked men and, ever since, scam victims have been known as "marks.If you study the information in this chapter, you'll save a lot of dry cleaning bills. Those chalk stains are hard lo get out.