A guy goes into a bar during a slow period, has a couple of drinks, and gets into conversación with the bartender. Eventually, he brings nut a Put-and-Take top (the kind with an immovable spindle) and gets the bartender into a game. They may just play for loose change; it doesn't matter as long as he succeeds in getting tie bartender to play. After winning the bartender's money, die cusloniei returns it to him with the comment, ' Here, I don't deserve this money. 1 chealed you."
To the bartender's puzzled questions, die guy responds by explaining how the gaff works. A clockwise spin means Put and a counterclockwise spin means Take. "I don't want your money. 1 just did it for laughs," he says.
The conversation coulimies, with die bartender p aying with the top and marveling at the cleverness of the gimmick. Finally, the customer says, "Listen, it you want it, I'll sell it to you. 1 can't make any real money with the thing I just don't meel enough people. But a guy '.ike you, with people going in and out of here all the time, all of them with cash in their pockets—this could Ixr a real moneymaker for you."
lie then offers to sell the top for twenty or thirty dollars or whatever he figures he can get for it. The bartender will probably think it over for all ot three or four seconds before agreeing to buy it 'Ihe customer departs soon afterwards, leaving the bartender to make his fortune.
A couple of days go by and die bartender is as happy as a hog in .slop, taking in the money with his gaffed lop and wondering how long it will be before he can afford to retire from the tavern business. When a particularly promising sucker walks in one day. flashing a big bankroll and looking for action, the bartender is ready for him
He takes out his top and asks. "Have you ever played this little game?" When the mark confesses he hasn't, the bartender is only too happy to leach him. rhcy go at it and soon the bartender is stuck a few dollars. The top just isn't working the way it's supposed to. When the mark starts talking about leaving, the bartender insists on playing another ganc and suggests doubling the stakes so he can win back what he has lost. '1 lungs go from bad to worse. The game finally ends when the bartender has no more money left in the till. 'Ihe "hunk" finally leaves the bartender to sit and wonder why the roof fell in.
Needless to say. the real mark is the bartender. The guy who sells him the top is the outside man who sets him up for the kill. 'Ihe would-be sucker who wanders in a couple of days later is the inside man who actually lakes off the score. Karly in the game he switches the bartender's gaffed top by sleight of hand for one tha: works just the opposite way: clockwise spins win and counterclockwise spins lose. Ihe more the bartender cheats, the more he loses. If Ihe haltender should try spinning in :he opposite direction, the con man switches the other :op back in. No matter what happens, the hustlei can stay one step ahead of his victim.
Tliis teamwork between the outside man who ropes in the sucker and the inside mail who swindles him is found in almost all con games. Depending on the particular con, the two men may appear to be friends or they may-appear to be strangers as in this example. I .t>ok for this (-¡vision of labor as one ol the earmarks of a classic con.
The reason why this way of working the Put-and-l'ake top is superior to just cheating people with it is that an innocent player might stop betting after having lost a few dollars or he might begin to suspect cheating. Our larcenous bartender, however, won't stop Ix-t'ing until he has lost eveiy cent because he has .so much faith in the gaff that has been winning him money for days. He is convinced that if he pist keeps playing, the gall'will have to start working for him again as it did betöre. The more he loses, the more desperately he believes the top will work the next time, lie is so busy trying j<> cheat his victim, it never occurs to him that someone might be cheating him.
A good outside man can set up half a dozen bars in one day, and his Partner can lake, otf the same number of bars one day later in the week. I he of ihern can work dicir way across country, a few days in each city, niaking a good living with nothing but a briefcase full of plastic tops.
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