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Vegas sidewalk gambling scam - One of the sketchiest things I've ever seen.

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Vegas sidewalk gambling scam - One of the sketchiest things I've ever seen.

Old 07-11-06, 08:47 AM
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Vegas sidewalk gambling scam - One of the sketchiest things I've ever seen.

so we're walking down the strip to go to the mirage, and notice a crowd gathered on the sidewalk, making a good amount of noise.. don't remember exactly where it was - sort of near caesar's IIRC, but that's neither here nor there.. so we go and check it out, and there's a hispanic guy with a piece of cardboard laid out on the ground, and 3 semi-bent cards (2 queens of clubs, and 1 9 of diamonds). he's mixing the cards up, and the object of his game is for you to lay out $X-hundred, and pick the red card. ("red, red, red, like a rooster's head"). you pick it, he pays you..

but it didn't take me more than a couple minutes to realize that the whole thing was a scam, and there was no way anyone was winning but him.

there were 3 people who were obviously (to me, anyways) working with him, and placing 'fake' bets -- doing their fair share of both winning AND losing; trading money back and forth with the guy the whole time.. when they were 'winning' they were high-fiving each other, and when they lost, they'd act like they were frustrated, but you always saw them win their money right back after a couple minutes.

the thing is, the game is easy - and that's exactly how he wants it to look. he's not moving the cards around very fast at all, and keeps flipping them up to show you what card is where, before he rearranges them. it's really simple to follow where the red card ends up - a sure thing, really. that is, until a 'real' person places a bet.

i watched a couple 'real' people get sucked in. it disgusted me. a lot. a lot more than it probably should have, but it really really bothered/bothers me. not sure why, but... so the thing is, when 'real' person is ready to bet $100 on it, 'fake' person will throw up $300 on it first. the guy then tells 'real' person that the guy next to him has $300 up, and he has to at least match that. to talk him into it, he tell them that if he throws up the $300 and wins, he'll pay out $1000. guy throws up the $300, 'fake' AND 'real' guy both point to the same card (which again, if you follow it, it is THE obvious card that is red), guy turns it over, and it's black. the look on this 'real' guy's face when he saw the black card killed me. he KNEW he was picking the red card, and so did i, but it ended up being black. he did this again after watching a couple minutes, with the same result. his jaw dropped to the ground, and he walked away, furious.

now, i can TOTALLY see this from the angle that if these people are stupid enough to not see what's going on, and if they're promoting illegal gambling on the sidewalk then maybe they deserve to piss their money away, but this still made/makes me incredibly sick. maybe it's more me being pissed off at the scammer than feeling bad for the scamee.. either way, i walked away from there feeling really shitty - almost like he took my money, even though he didn't. i wanted to kick the guy in his balls.

so i have to ask - WTF??? is this sort of thing common? it's obviously not legal, right? i mean, it bugged the shit out of me that i saw a bike cop scream at someone for attempting to jaywalk, but i watched this scam for quite some time and didn't see a cop in sight.. and finally, what the hell is the trick with the cards?? how are you made to believe that the red card is in one definitive spot, and it ends up not being there? 4th card?? ugh.

the whole thing just left a bad taste in my mouth. made me feel really shitty about mankind. *sigh*
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Old 07-11-06, 09:03 AM
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The most surprising thing about your post is that you hadn't heard about it before. It's a variation on old old con game: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-card_Monte.
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Old 07-11-06, 09:07 AM
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Did he look like this guy?

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Old 07-11-06, 09:12 AM
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damn.. i feel like such a noob.
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Old 07-11-06, 09:51 AM
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Same thing happened in Joe Pesci's "The Super".
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Old 07-11-06, 01:21 PM
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So you're the guy who hasn't heard of 3 card monty.
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Old 07-11-06, 02:17 PM
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this is how we separate dumb people from their money.
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Old 07-11-06, 07:00 PM
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Or, you figure out his little sleight of hand (it happens when he flips the cards before the final set up) and you take his $100.

I had three friends there ready to kick his ass if he didn't pay up.
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Old 07-11-06, 08:54 PM
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i enjoy watching those because i know its a scam and i know theres no way they can get me to play.

while i was watching once, a man who also knew it was a scam, walked by and warned everyone "its a scam! dont play!" and stuff like that. not surprisingly, the scam artists were PISSED and started swearing at him.
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Old 07-11-06, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by RickerOne
Or, you figure out his little sleight of hand (it happens when he flips the cards before the final set up) and you take his $100.

I had three friends there ready to kick his ass if he didn't pay up.
lol nice. id pay to watch someone scam them right there!
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Old 07-12-06, 02:50 AM
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mkdevo, no offense, but I think you would probably make a poor con man.
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Old 07-12-06, 06:47 AM
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Originally Posted by El Scorcho
So you're the guy who hasn't heard of 3 card monty.
right? i've heard the name before, but never knew what it was..

Originally Posted by Aphex Twin
mkdevo, no offense, but I think you would probably make a poor con man.
yeah, you're probably right.. jesus, i should just delete this thread..
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Old 07-12-06, 10:59 AM
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When it's time to pick your card, all you have to do is say, "I pick the middle one" and then flip over the two outside cards before he can flip over the middle one. The two on the outside will not be the queen, so anyone watching will believe the inside card has to be the queen. The dude can either pay off, or pack up at that point. Either way, you're a winner.

Say what you want about downtown... You don't deal with that crap, the porn flippers, and a lot of other things like that that you find on the strip.
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Old 07-12-06, 11:19 AM
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Huh?

Downtown it's even worse at times. Last time I was there two homeless guys teamed up for their version of the shell game, complete with 3 plastic 2-liter coke caps and a rolled up ball of dental floss.
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Old 07-12-06, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by El Scorcho
Huh?

Downtown it's even worse at times. Last time I was there two homeless guys teamed up for their version of the shell game, complete with 3 plastic 2-liter coke caps and a rolled up ball of dental floss.
Yeah. Remember he was going to give us $5. We were like "what?". Then he started some shit and some other guy comes running in like he's going to try and play. All along we knew he was the plant.
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Old 07-12-06, 01:01 PM
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It was so hard not to trust two homeless guys that randomly approached us with a game of chance, too.
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Old 07-12-06, 04:36 PM
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Was that on the FSE or one of the sidestreets? Usually security makes those guys move along.
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Old 07-12-06, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by renaldow
When it's time to pick your card, all you have to do is say, "I pick the middle one" and then flip over the two outside cards before he can flip over the middle one. The two on the outside will not be the queen, so anyone watching will believe the inside card has to be the queen. The dude can either pay off, or pack up at that point. Either way, you're a winner.
what if the correct card IS one of the outisde ones? basically, with a scam how can you be sure what the correct card is at any point? isnt that the whole concept of a scam?
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Old 07-12-06, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by renaldow


Was that on the FSE or one of the sidestreets? Usually security makes those guys move along.
It was up by the lady luck entrance on FSE. They just kinda came out of nowhere like most crack addicts do.
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Old 07-12-06, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by atari2600
what if the correct card IS one of the outisde ones? basically, with a scam how can you be sure what the correct card is at any point? isnt that the whole concept of a scam?

If you know the scam and how 3 Card Monte operates, you'll know that the card you're looking for has been removed from the table entirely. If it wasn't, it wouldn't be a scam, it would be a fair wager of you trying to pick your card.

It works like this:

They sucker you in by doing the shuffle of the 3 cards slow enough so that you can spot it. They do it this way as a demo to you, and you can see that you can 'follow the lady' as the cards are moved. You pick the right card, and wish you had put down $20 on it. So, you go again and this time wager on it. They move the cards much faster, including a move that removes the goal card (usually a queen or an ace) from the table entirely. This is why it is a scam. You can never pick the correct card, because the correct card is either in the dealer's lap or up his sleeve. All 3 cards on the table are wrong cards, and picking any one of them will result in your loss. Again, if that were not the case, this would not be a scam, it would be a fair wager.

By picking a card, then immediately turning over the two cards that you did not pick, logic indicates that you are correct because the two cards you flipped are *not* the correct card. The dealer has very few choices at this point. He can either pay you, and tell you to leave, which will make him look like a bad loser in front of the crowd. Or he can get pissed because you just cheated him; but that will show the crowd that he is a cheat himself and there was no way anyone could win the game. Chances are, he's not going to expose himself as a scammer.

I would only do this if you had a lot of friends around (the dealer has at least 2 in the crowd) or you have a large group of people watching. These things can get ugly, fast.
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Old 07-12-06, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by El Scorcho
It was up by the lady luck entrance on FSE. They just kinda came out of nowhere like most crack addicts do.
Do you mean Fremont's entrance on FSE? LL is a block off of FSE between Ogden and Stewart.
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Old 07-17-06, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by renaldow
If you know the scam and how 3 Card Monte operates, you'll know that the card you're looking for has been removed from the table entirely. If it wasn't, it wouldn't be a scam, it would be a fair wager of you trying to pick your card.

It works like this:

They sucker you in by doing the shuffle of the 3 cards slow enough so that you can spot it. They do it this way as a demo to you, and you can see that you can 'follow the lady' as the cards are moved. You pick the right card, and wish you had put down $20 on it. So, you go again and this time wager on it. They move the cards much faster, including a move that removes the goal card (usually a queen or an ace) from the table entirely. This is why it is a scam. You can never pick the correct card, because the correct card is either in the dealer's lap or up his sleeve. All 3 cards on the table are wrong cards, and picking any one of them will result in your loss. Again, if that were not the case, this would not be a scam, it would be a fair wager.

By picking a card, then immediately turning over the two cards that you did not pick, logic indicates that you are correct because the two cards you flipped are *not* the correct card. The dealer has very few choices at this point. He can either pay you, and tell you to leave, which will make him look like a bad loser in front of the crowd. Or he can get pissed because you just cheated him; but that will show the crowd that he is a cheat himself and there was no way anyone could win the game. Chances are, he's not going to expose himself as a scammer.

I would only do this if you had a lot of friends around (the dealer has at least 2 in the crowd) or you have a large group of people watching. These things can get ugly, fast.

Actually, the one I "beat" did not remove the goal card. The cards were bent in a weird "fan" or "accordion" fold. I presume this makes the sleight of hand a little easier.

At one point during the "shuffle" the scammer switched the goal card for one of the others. However he did this in a way that was very quick and slick, if you were not paying super close attention as I was.

I'll try to explain in a very simple example.

Three cards, A, B, C. B is the "goal" card.

As he shuffles, he's using both hands.

As he is about to finish the shuffle there's a point where he bring both outside cards toward the middle to presumably switch the two ends (let's call them A & C at this point).

However as he passes one of them over B, he switches and all of a sudden B is on one of the ends.

Most people won't see the switch and think B is still the middle card. the way he accomplishes the switch is by "stacking" the cards on top of one another whenever he switches the position of two cards. The last position switch he stacks a card on top of the goal card, however he moves the goal card and not the card he stacks.

Once I caught this, and decided to "play", he shuffled and I picked the card. Before he flipped it over he tried to scare me by saying if I am so sure, I need to put up more money and he'd match it. The original bet he was trying to get was $100, so he told me if I am so sure, to have my friends put up more money. I said, nah, I'll just take your $100. He flipped over the goal card where I said it was and paid me my $100.

Felt good to beat the scam.

Last edited by RickerOne; 07-17-06 at 01:07 PM.
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Old 07-17-06, 01:22 PM
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I think the first signal that something's wrong is when a guy standing on the side of the street wants 100 bucks of my money. The only options when that happens are that you're about to lose it "playing" 3CM, you're about to buy something stolen, or you're about to be mugged.

I'm glad you were able to beat him--if he actually left the goal card on the table instead of palming it, you're ahead of the game.
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Old 07-17-06, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by renaldow
Do you mean Fremont's entrance on FSE? LL is a block off of FSE between Ogden and Stewart.

Oops you're right. West end of the FSE, almost by the Plaza.
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