Tt1k Swinger

The Ultimate Bowling Guide

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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 the counter as the players. The only things on the other side of the counter arc tire prizes, but the operator never has lo go back there since nobody ever wins a prize.

J80 i Canhlitti> Scams

When a likely-looking niaik walks by, the flattie calls to liiiu and says, "Buddy, let me show you how this game works. I'll give you a free play, and maybe you can win a nice prize for your girl friend. All you have to do is swing the ball away from you so it misses the pin going out but knocks it over on the way back."

The operator demonstrates this and succeeds in knexrking down the bowling pin. When the player takes his free play, he also succeeds.

"rI here, that wasn't hard, was it? All you have to do ix bowl a strike by knocking over the pin ten times for h buck the way you just did and you win one of those beautiful stuffed animals. I'll even give you credit for your free play, so you have to do it only nine times more." As he says that, the operator slides one ot the ten pennies away from the pile.

If the mark asks whether each tiy will cost him a dollar, the grrftcr reassures him, "No, no. It just costs you one buck for all ten tries."

flic player pays his dollar and tries again. Once more he succeeds and the flattie slides over another penny. H:s next try is also a success. Just when he feels he is getting the knack of this, lie fails on his fourth try.

The mark starts to walk away, thinking he has lost, when the flattie calls to him and says, "Where arc you going? You can still win. It costs you an additional buck to keep going if you miss, but you get to keep your points. Hell, you've already got three points. Yon should't walk away from that."

The mark decides it's worth risicing another dollar, so he hands the flattie a buck. The gr:fler says, "You didn't understand. It costs an additional buck each tune you miss, 'lhat means you have :o pay two dollars this time." When the sucker hesitates, the grifteracds, "Remember, as long as you keep knocking over the pin, you don't have lo pay anything. And you can keep playing until you win."

The mark decides to bet the two dollars and is soon happy he did since he successfully knocks over the pin on the next two tries. 'I hen he misses again. He has to hand over three dollars this time to keep going. Ile décidés to do it when Se notes that the pennies arc now in two piles of five each. He is halfway there.

A couple of minute* later, lie has nine pennies in his pile and t's now going to cost him six dollars to keep playing It's starting to dawn on him lhat he has already lost more Ihan lire cost of the prize when the tiattie, sensing his thoughts, says, 'Tou'rc a mec guy and 1 hate to take your money. But 1 can't ilist hand it back to ycu or I'd lose my job. I'll tell you what I'll do. I'm going lo pul all the money you've lost Tight here on the counter. Any more money you lose. I'll add to the pile. As soon as you win I'll not only give

your gill tliat beautiful stuffed animal, I'll also return every penny you've lost. Anyway, you need only one more poir.t to win.''

I'rorti here on, the more money the sucker loses, the more incentive be has to keep playing to recoup his losses. But every try turns out a loser and the cost of playing keeps going up until he has lost every cent without ever scoring llrat last point. We can only hope that the flattie is a nice enough guy to let him go home and get more money to plav with.

I be gaff on the swinger is based on a simple law of physics. If the pin is placed direcdv beneath the hanging ball, it is impossible to miss the pin on the forward swing and hit ir on the hacks wing. 'Ihe ball must be swung at an angle seveial degiees to the light of Lhe pin in order to r.iiss it on the outswing. On the baekswing, the ball will be that same number of degrees to •he left of the pin. Thus, i: the ball misses the pin on the outswing, it must miss it by the same distance on the baekswing.

As with the rar/e, the operator does not cheat to make tin': player fail; that happens automatically. He cheats to allcw the player to succccd from time 'o time in order to keep his hopes up. '1' iis is 01 ly possible if the pin is placed slightly off-center rather Lhan directly beneith the ball. The grifter may use any one of several different gaffs to allow him to place the pin either directly under flu: >all or off-center a! will while apparently always putting it in the .same Spot.

One method utilizes a large nail or pes which pro|ects up from the counter A hole .11 die bottom of the bow ingpin corresponds to the nail and seems to ensure that t ie pin is always set at the same point. Actually, the hole in the pin is slightly oil-center. If the flattie places the bulk of the pin to the right of the nail, die player can't win. if he sets i- with flic bulk of the pin to the lot. tic player has a chance of succeeding, if the hole is only one-half inch off eciiLcr, it will allow a one-inch difference in the placement of the ph, which enough to give the grifter complete control over :he game. Alternately, Ihe hole may be centered but larger than necessary. Ihe flattie controls the gaire by setting either the right side or the left side of the hole against die na:l

Another approach is to paint on the counter a red s)x:t the size of the base of the bowling pin. 1'he pin is always placed squarely 011 die spot so there is seemingly no possibility of trickery, the ijafF is that the base of the pin is cut 3t a very slig-it angle. When the pin i.s set so it tilts to the left, fhe player can knock it down. When it is set leaning to the nght, the player cannot win.

Instead of moving the bowling pin. the operator may move the ball. In this gaff, the ball and chain are not hung from the top of the boolh. Instead,

182 ! Civnb'mg Scorns tney are attached lo a wooden framework 01 ihe counter consisting ot a crossbar across two upright supports. The framework is nailed together loosely so that, if the flattie leans against i: casually, the whole Ihing w II list to die side slightly. This shifts the ball over, bringing it directly above the pin and making it impossible to win. A I tt.'c lean in the opposite direction and the game again bcconrc* fair.

The simplest gaff is the one most commonly jscd today. Nailed to Ihe counter aie two pieces of wood meeling at an angle. Sometimes this is just the top pari of a wooden coat hanger w:th the center dowel removed. Apparently the p n is always placed exactly within the comer formed by die wood. In his position it is impossible tor the mark to win. When the operator wants the sucker to succeed, he pist places the pin slightly oil-center ml her than ar the exact apex of .lie wooden angle. Although "his method lacks the ingenuity- of the other three gaffs, it has the advantage that, it the authorities should examine the equipment, they will find no evidence of fraud such as an off-center hole, a tilted pin, or a loose scaffold. Matties have found thai lie suckers never notice where they place die bowling pin anyway.

You may occasionally see n swinger joint in which a baseball bat has been hung from a chain instead of a bowling ball. All the above gaffs still apply

The swinger is one of ihe oldesl of flat joints. It was reputedly invented by a well-known old-time grifter named Papa Cole. What has given this old seam a new case on life and made il so popular on today's midways is the introduction of die "bowl a strike" angle. By using the ten-penny scoring system, the operator can keep ihe mark playing long after he might otherwise have quit and also raise him so that what started as a one dollar a playgame can soon involve four or five dollars 01 more each play.

A good fbiL store agent is interested in more than just making sure the: mark loses. Me wants a method ot getting the uiaik committed o Ihe game so lie will keep playing to Ihe last dollar. Since the flattie's time is valuable, fic also wants bu ldup to force the player to keep belling more money on each try so ihe process of cleaning h.m out doesn't take unduly long, 'llic ten-point scoring system accomplishes both goals.

Since the game is actually under the operator's complccc control at all times, he can let the player succced or fail as he feels is ncccssary to keep him going to his wallel. If the mar.e looks as it lie starting to get discouraged. the flattie will ulle>w him to succeed once or twice to keep him playing. If Ihe sucker is gelling optimistic, starting to anticipate Ins victory, the grifter will figure this is a good lime to make him fail anel thereby raise Llic ante for subsee|ucnt tries. The one thing you can be sure he will never do

is allow the mark to score that final point to win ihe prize. The shifting pennies w.ll never go ljcvoud nine to one.

This system is really only a practical application of operant conditioning .ind positive reinforcement. It is very similar to the process at work at the slot machines in gambling casinos. Kveryone knows the slots arc one of the worst gambles in a casino, yet many people l>ccome addicted lo the in bccansc of the conditioning provided by Ihe occasional payofts. The process works despite the fact that the payoffs usually amount to far less than the money the player loses at the game. The only difference is that it is possible, although very unlikely for a slot player to hit a super jackpot. I he only one whoever hits a jackpot at the swinger is the griftcr; he does it every time a sucker comes along

The ten-point scoring .system is so successful and so vena tile that it is rapidly being adopted by ihe operators ol other types of alibi ¡oin:s. In fact, ah the games we will U* discussing ill the remainder of this chapter aiebeing worked by some operators on the ten-point basis. It seems as if. these days, practically every alibi agent has his pile of pennies nearby.

Since the swinger is an alibi joint, the operator keeps his mark under control, 110L only with the ten-point system, but also with the standard too high, too low. too hard, loo soft lap.

If the average person had any idea of the tonal contempt flatties have for anyone who isn't with i( fin the carnival business), they would realize how foolish it is to believe that a game operator really wants to coach you to help you win. My friend Bob Snyder, rcccnllv retired from the Vice Squad of the L. A. County Sheriffs Department, where he was their carnival games specialist, swears to me he once witnessed the following incident on a carnival midway: A flat store operator called to a passing patron, *;l ley mark, come over here anc let me show you how this game works." The player came over, no doubt wondering wily Lie agent thought his name was Mark when it was actually Steve, lie never suspected that die flattie had, in effect, said, "Hey, sucker, come over here!" A lew minutes of playing the game pioved the operator was right after all. Don't feel any better if a griftcr calls you vie. l'hat:s not shoil for Victor, it's short tor victim and it means the same as mark, sucker, or elininp.

THi; PUSH-UP BOTTLE

One of the popular newer strong joints is the pusli-up bottle. On die counter rests a wooden board about eight inches by twelve inches. Under one end of die hoard i.s nailed a small wooden block so dial die board slants downward

¡M GtimblScums slightly away from the plavei. At Ihe fioiil end of die boaid aie xciewcd I wo doorstops. A beer bottle rests on die board with its neck supported between the two upright doorstops.

The player is handed a piece ot wire bent into a hook shape or a plastic tork with the two middle, tine«» broken oil With this instrument, oe engages the neck of Ihe botLlc and lifis it gingerly until the bottle is .standing upright. The tricky part is that, because I lie board is slanted, it is easy to tip the bottle up too far so it falls over in the opposite direction, hi order to win, the player must stand the bottle up without having it fall over.

I have seen alibi agents provide players at this game, with many helpful lips about how rapidly to lift up the bottle, how much foice lo use, and what kind of wrist action. What they never mention is that it's impossible tor the player lo succeed unless the operator wants him to. The gaff makes use of a natural imperfection found in beer bottles. Because of the manufacturing process, the bottles are always slightly heavier on one side than the other. You can test this for yourself very easily. Place an empty beer boitle on its side and roll it gently across a tabletop. You will nolc an eccentric slow-fast, slow-fast pattern to the roll; this is causer by the imbalance. Also, if yon have left the label on the bottle—the flattie always removes it—you can see that the bottle always stops rolling with the same side on the bottom

When :hc beer bottle is placed on the doorstops with the heavier side downward, it is relatively easy lo set llie bottle upright. When the heavier side is on top. as soon ;is the bott'e is almost upright, the imbalance causes it to tip over. The flattie has a secret scratch mark on the bottle to enable him to tell which side is which. Some bottles have writing along die side in raised letters. In this ease, the grifter uses the writing as his guide.

This game is often worked with the ten-point scoring system, l'he flattie knows the mark will play longer if he wins occasionally. Willi the ten pennies, die grifter can let him win without his actually winning anything.

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100 Bowling Tips

100 Bowling Tips

Playing bowling with your friends can help you decide if it is indeed the hobby that you want to invest your time on today. Aside from that, it can help you get a better feel of the sport. More importantly, when you play with your friends, it would become a more fun activity, which you can look forward to each week.

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