sucker is asked to pick out one. Suppose the cards are the
ace, deuce and trey of hearts, the ace to be selected. The ace
is shown, then thrown down on the table and all are passed
back and forth a few times. The sucker is asked to pick out
the ace. He makes a selection and gets the ace. The player
probably says he can't get on to the way that fellow did it.
"Now, I've got 'em fixed. Now I'll go you half a dollar you
can't pick it." The sucker, who has been watching the cards
closely, and knows where the ace is, bets half a dollar and
picks the ace. The player seems discomfited, but says he will
try it again. "Now, I'll go you $20 you can't pick it." The
sucker, who has still been watching the cards and knows just
as well this time where it is as he did before, puts up his twen-
ty and draws not the ace no, not this time. He gets the
deuce or the trey this time. Of course, the fool took the
sharper for a sucker, but he got the worst of it himself. It is
one of the cleverest accomplishments of these rascals to act
Now the reason the real sucker was so sure he could pick
SWINDLING GAMES AND TRICKS. 269
the ace was because he discovered that one corner of it was
slightly turned up, thus distinguishing it from the others. He
thought the manipulator of the cards was so green or lacking
in common observation that he did not see it. But that was the
very bait set to catch him with. When he drew to win twen-
ty the corner of another card was turned up just like the ace
had been and the ace card was as smooth as when it was made.
It requires very clever and dexterous manipulation of the
fingers to accomplish this, but these fellows that follow it for a
living become very expert it is impossible to detect them
fixing the cards.
This game is not always played by a man representing
himself as a greenhorn. Frequently at county fairs and
shows it is played right out for all there is in it, generally in
some secluded spot or any place where there are no officers
around. As soon as two or three people are fleeced they pick
up and move away.
The player always has two or three confederates, who come
up and start the game and win money, then the suckers see
how easy it is and bite.
Never bet on another mail's game.
This is a variation of Three Card Monte. Little cup-
shaped shells are used, the half of the hull of an English wal-
nut being generally employed. A little pill of composition used
in making rollers for printing presses is the "mascotte" of
this game. A box, a barrel head, or any level surface where a
small crowd can be attracted, will suffice for the game. The
little ball is rolled around and covered first by one shell, then
by another. "Pick out the shell that the ball is under for ten
dollars," says the head worker. A confederate comes up be-
side the sucker and says: "That looks easy. We can beat
that. I'll go halfers with you and we'll make a little stake."
270 HOW TO PROCEED.
The sucker bites. They put up their money and turn the
shell. The ball is not there.
This game is worked so cleverly that many people are
caught who have been amply warned, and some who under-
stand the principle of the game have even been fooled. When
you look at the manipulation of the shells and see how easy it
is, notwithstanding this warning, you will think, "It must be
there. It can't be any place else. I'd bet all I have or ever
expect to be worth that I can pick the shell it's under." Hold
on, young man. Don't be too sure. Those men are playing
to win your money and they'll get it as sure as you put it up.
Let us warn you particularly against this game. It is the
most seductive and most dangerous. Don't touch it under any
circumstances you are sure to lose your money.
The fact is, the ball is not under any of the shells at the
time the selection is made. By a very quick and skillful
movement of the shell and the little finger, they "cop it out,"
and the poor sucker has no chance at all of winning. Still
they are so dexterous in handling the little ball that they can
pick up any shell at any time and show you that it is under it.
But if you pick it up for money it is not there.
Never bet on another matCs game.
There is a bold and daring scheme played on wealthy
farmers nowadays for big money, that is usually called a confi-
dence game. It embraces the features of a confidence game,
and, according to the plan recently adopted, winds up with the
serious crime of robbery. Two men usually work it. To the
farmer they appear to have no connection with each other
whatever. They always work farmers who have a healthy
A gentleman who has the appearance of a prosperous bus-
iness man makes his appearance at the farm house. He is
SWINDLING GAMES AND TRICKS. 271
probably in a carriage, drawn by a fine team of horses. He
has driven out from the county-seat town and is looking for a
farm. He may have some other business, but these fellows
generally want to buy a farm. He engages the farmer in con-
versation, is exceedingly agreeable, and apparently a gentle-
man in every respect. He is well informed, too, on farm top-
ics, and talks intelligently on all subjects. The farm is looked
over. The stranger is asked in to dinner. His horses are put
up and fed. He likes the appearance of everything very
much. But they can not agree on the price. He goes away,
and probably next day comes back again. They always take
plenty of time in working this game. Three or four days, or
a week, may be spent in this way, until Mr. Farmhunter has
come to be quite a favorite at the farm house. He don't make
any loose or slip-shod bargain for the farm. He usually drives
a very close and business-like bargain, and, in some instances,
they have shown themselves exceedingly well posted about
the rights of the purchaser of a farm.
When the proper time comes a second stranger appears
upon the scene, meeting the farmer and his pseudo-purchaser
at a convenient time and place. There is no telling what his
talk will be about, or what his pretended business in the com-
munity is. They are not long togethes until, upon some pre-
text, a game of cards is proposed. The first man probably
advises the farmer that they have nothing to do with him.
Still, as a matter of curiosity, they look at what he has. He
begins to play his little game, and it looks simple and easy.
The first comer is tempted to draw once just for fun no
money put up. He draws the winning card. Sometimes if
the farmer understands it an ordinary game of draw poker is
played. Any game will do upon which they can bet money.
The farmer is finally drawn into the play and makes some
small winnings, then he loses some, then wins again, and
272 HOW TO PROCEED.
keeps on winning and the Stranger keeps on putting up
more money his pile seems inexhaustible. The game is
getting interesting now. The farmer has won several hundred
dollars. Of course he hasn't taken it in yet, but it lies there in
front of him. It is his; he has won it. Then the last comer
begins to grow desperate at his losses and stakes more largely
than ever, pulling great rolls of bills from his pockets. The
farmer's eyes bulge out at the sight of all that money. " If
my luck continues," he says. And it does continue. He
loses occasionally, but his winnings keep growing. A thous-
and dollars is now in the pile. But the reckless gambler puts
"Oh, I always could play a pretty stiff hand at poker," the
old man says. "Why I remember one time when I was a boy,
jist a comin' up to a man like, down to Zeke Higginbottom's,
we got to playin' a little game, a cent ante, I guess it wus, an'
I had wonderful good luck, jest knocked 'em all out, but law
sakes, that wus nothin' like this. Seems a pity like to take all
this man's money."
"That's all right, old man, if you win my money square, I
never kick, it's yours. Here goes to win all back or lose all."
The play goes on biggef than ever. The pile now contains
$2,000. Still the bets increase, and still the old man's luck
runs on. Now $3,000, $4,000 in the pile. The gambler in
desperation empties his pockets and counts down his last
thousand. "I stake it all," he says, "on that play. I'll win or
The cards are run and the old man wins.
"By zounds, the most wonderful run of luck I ever saw."
says the gambler.
" I congratulate you on your good fortune," says the farm
"Now, old man," says the gambler, "when I lose I never
SWINDLING GAMES AND TRICKS. 273
squeal. Here's the money. You've won it and it is yours."
And he picks it up to count it over. " But you must remem-
ber," he went on, "that you haven't put up any money against
mine. I played my good cash against your word. Now, I
might have won from you, and I think it no more than right
and fair before I turn this money over to you absolutely that
you give me some evidence that if I had won $5,000 from you
as you have from me that you could pay me. I don't want to
play my good money against wind. Can you show up
The old man hesitates and the farm purchaser says he
thinks that is fair. Then the old man says that he hasn't got
the money in the house but if he was in town he could get it.
So it is arranged that they go to town in order that he may
show up his money, to satisfy this man that if he had won it
from him he could have paid.
The farm purchaser, being an outside third party, is prob-
ably entrusted with the custody of the $5,000 the old man has
won until the matter is settled. They manage to select some
secluded place along the way where the farmer is to show up
his money. In recent times, the next step has been one of
bold robbery, slugging or sand-bagging the old farmer and
taking his money from him. Formerly, possession of it was
obtained upon some strategy, as for the purpose of counting it,
the farm purchaser probably being entrusted with this duty.
Possession once obtained of the money, the pair lose no time
in getting away. Having a swift team they drive rapidly
across the country, striking the railroad at some small station
about train time, which they manage to know, and leaving the
team, take the train and are many miles away before the alarm
Only a few men in the country are working this racket,
but they are the boldest and cleverest rascals out of jail. Ev>
274 HOW TO PROCEED.
ery farmer should look out for this very alluring and danger-
ous trick. In it success means failure you seem to win, yet
lose all. And these men will not hesitate at taking human
life if necessary when it comes to getting the money.
THREE BOXES OF CANDY.
A common trick, worked usually on trains, is the candy
box trick. It is generally worked by train boys or young men
representing themselves as in the employ of the news com-
panies who have the privilege of selling books, fruits, confec-
tions, etc., on the train. It is scarcely necessary to say that
the sharpers who work this racket have no connection with
the news company, or if they have, their nefarious business is
done without the knowledge or consent of the company. Of
course this may be worked any place, but the train seems pe-
culiarly adapted to it.
The fellow pretends to be selling candy and offers prizes.
He has little boxes like trochee boxes, the lid of which en-
circles the box and the box slides in and out of the lid.
Twenty, thirty or more dollars in bills are placed in a box on
top of the candy. The victim sees the money placed in the
box, and observes, too, that the box is soiled and one end is
slightly rubbed giving it a whitish appearance, the green color-
ing being rubbed off. This he of course considers an oversight
of the candy man and a sure pointer to the location of the box
with the money. Three boxes are used in playing this trick,
all alike in size, shape and color, except the one defect noted.
They are shuffled over and held out to the sucker with the
proposition that he can have the chance of drawing the box
with thirty dollars in it for ten. He has watched the shuffling
closely, which is usually done rather clumsily, and knows that
the box with the money and the whitened end is on the bot-
tom. That is like picking up thirty dollars in the street. He
just goes a tenner on that and pulls the bottom box with the
SWINDLING GAMES AND TRICKS. 275
whited end. When he opens it up and finds half a dozen
little pieces of cheap candy his eyes hang out on his cheeks.
The whitened end was the trap set to catch him. The
money was placed in the box and the box was on the bottom,
but the top box had a whitened end exactly like the bottom
one but it was toward the operator and the sucker had never
seen it. When he momentarily took his eyes off the boxes to
get his money the boxes were turned over endwise, the top
box coming on the bottom and presenting apparently the same
whited end to the sucker that he had seen before. But the
money was not there.
If the sucker had seen the change in position, and at-
tempted to select the top box with the money, he would not
have been permitted to do so. Some objection would have
been raised, the boxes would have been suddenly struck by a
confederate, and knocked out of the operator's hands, or some-
thing would have occurred to prevent him from getting the
money. They never allow an outsider to win any money,
whether he is onto their game or not. So we say, Never bet
on another man's game.
Very similar to the candy box trick is one worked with
books. It is a train trick and worked by apparent newsboys.
They say that the Company, in order to encourage the sale of
this book, has offered a number of cash prizes, and intimate to
the sucker that by a little clever manipulation they can control
the distribution of these prizes to a certain extent, and they
would like to see him get one, etc. Then they put bills in a
book and use these books, all alike, on the same plan as the
Don't be sucker enough to think that any stranger wants
to put money into your hands for nothing.
276 HOW TO PROCEED.
BEE HIVE OR HAPHAZZARD.
A common game about country fairs, picnics, shows, etc.,
is the old haphazzard racket. This is played with a machine
shaped something like a conical bee hive. It is a cone shaped
arrangement standing on its base, and in the sides at appar-
ently irregular intervals are driven, or fastened, nails or pins.
At the bottom, around the base, is a trough, and leading off
from this little stalls which are numbered. If a marble is
dropped on the top of the cone it will start down the side,
striking the pins and jumping from one to another, and finally
land in the trough at the bottom, and go into some one of the
little numbered stalls. Some of these numbers draw prizes,
others do not.
This is another sure thing game. No outsider ever draws
a prize. A very slight movement in the position of the ma-
chine will make it draw prizes or blanks at will. This is done
without attracting any attention, as though to arrange it in its
position. Confederates put up their money and draw hand-
some returns. Suckers put up their money and draw nothing
but experience, who " teaches a dear school." The old adage
says, " but fools will learn in no other."
A sure thing game, of a dangerous character, is worked
with a soft leather strap about half an inch wide and two feet
long. The strap is cut even, and is soft and pliable. The
strap is first doubled in the middle, bringing the two ends to-
gether. The parts are then pressed flat together and the
double strap is rolled, beginning at the end where the strap is
doubled and rolling together closely in a tight roll towards the
loose ends. In the center of the roll, when finished, can be
seen the little loop that begins the roll. In fact, if you look
closely, there are two little loops there exactly alike, formed by
SWINDLING GAMES AND TRICKS. 277
doubling the strap over itself and it is impossible, almost, to
tell which one really begins the roll. The completed roll is
laid down on a table or other surface, but still held in the hand
of the operator, and the proposition is made that the sucker
can not insert his pencil or other sharp pointed instrument in
the strap or loop in such a way as to be inside the strap when
it is unrolled. It should be observed that as the st^ap is rolled
up the outside piece, having the larger circumference to reach
around, appears to grow shorter, and the two ends will not
be together, sometimes being half the circumference of the
roll apart. Now, don't imagine that you can catch the loop,
for you can't do it when you have any money up. You might
catch it when there is nothing at stake but never when they
don't want you to catch it. The reason is that the operator
controls that matter entirely and absolutely. He can make
you catch it or miss it at will. It is done by the manner of
unrolling the strap and depends entirely upon the end of the
strap that he begins to unroll with. The ends being uneven
he can begin with either one and the other must come along.
A few trials with this will make the explanation plain. Don't
bet on it. You cant beat it.
FLIM FLAM RACKET.
It is scarcely worth while to explain this racket, because a
man is always caught on it before he knows it, and hence
warnings do no good. It is always played on merchants and
dealers, saloon-keepers being favorite victims. Two fellows
come into a saloon and call for beer. It is drawn and placed
before them. One fumbles in his pocket as though feeling for
change, but not finding any hands out a five dollar bill. The
saloon keeper changes the bill and gives him back $4.90.
Just then, as he is counting down the change, the fellow says:
"Oh, never mind, just give me back that bill, here is the
change." The saloon-keeper returns for the bill and brings it
278 HOW TO PROCEED.
back and they put down a dime for the beer. While he was
gone for the bill, the $4.90 in change, which he left on the
counter, has been transferred to their pockets. He hands back
the bill and takes the dime. Perhaps some third party, a con-
federate, comes in at this moment and calls for a drink at the
other end of the bar, which distracts his attention and adds to
the confusion in the saloon-keeper's mind. While he is wait-
ing on the other party the first two walk out, $4.80 and two
beers ahead. The saloon-keeper may never think of it again,
or he may discover it in counting up his cash, or it may come
to his mind in thinking the matter over, but in any of these
events it is too late.
"Well, I never would get caught on a trick like that," we
hear some one say. We hope not truly, but remember that
many very clever business men have been caught on that same
simple little trick, and they will continue to be caught on it for
all time to come.
The only advice to be given on this subject is one of busi-
ness caution. Always be careful in making change. Finish
up one deal before you begin another.
ANOTHER FLIM FLAM.
All swindles in making change of money are called Flim
Flam. A very common form is worked at shows. Outside
ticket agents stand at some distance from the show in the di-
rection in which the crowds come, to accommodate the people
with tickets who desire to avoid the rush at the ticket wagon.
They are not employed by the show people to do this, neither
do they get a percentage from the show on the tickets they
sell. The truth is they pay the proprietors of the show a
goodly sum for the privilege of standing there and selling the
tickets, and, of course, they buy the tickets from the show
people themselves at the regular rate. They make their money
by swindling people in making change. They have what they
SWINDLING GAMES AND TRICKS. 279
call "flash bills." This, we will suppose, is a five dollar note,
folded up rather .small and in a peculiar way. It is "palmed,"
or held in the harjd concealed. The shark must wait his op-
portunity, which comes when some young dude, or perhaps
better, an old man whose sight is not very good, comes along
and offers a ten dollar bill in payment for his tickets. He
takes the bill, folds it up carefully and exactly like the other
concealed bill is folded. This he does in full view of the vic-
tim. Perhaps, just as he gets it folded up, he will say,
"Haven't you something smaller than this, old man?" If the
old man finds smaller change he hands a folded bill back to
him and takes the small change, giving him as many tickets as
he asks for. If he has not smaller change he goes down into
his pocket and gives him change for a five dollar note, say four
dollars in change and two tickets at fifty cents each.
" Why, I gave you a ten dollar bill," says the old man.
" I beg your pardon, sir, you did not. You gave me a five
dollar bill. You saw me fold it up here plainly and here it is,
the only bill I have."
" Well, ihat's funny," says the old ,man, "I was sure that
was a ten dollar bill."
"Well you see plainly with your own eyes that it is not,"
says the sharper, "and so that settles it." And he begins call-
ing out his tickets again, and the crowd pushes the old couple
along and they go off wondering how that was. It was simply
a slight of hand performance by which the ticket seller substi-
tuted his prepared five for the old man's ten, and cheated him
out of five dollars. If the old man finds smaller change when
he asks him to do so, he hands him back the prepared five and
the victim probably puts it in his pocket and never looks at it.
so certain is he that it is the same bill that he handed him. If
he looks at it he settles him the same way as before.
28o HOW TO PROCEED.
DOUBLE BILL FLIM FLAM.
Another method of flim-flaming is as follows: The victim
presents say a twenty dollar bill to purchase two tickets to the
show. The shark gives him his tickets and counts out his
change thus: " five, ten, fifteen and two are seventeen and two
are nineteen." The old man probably puts it in his pocket
without counting it over again as he has seen it counted out so
carefully right into his hand. But when he happens to exam-
ine it he will find it five dollars short. The shark has one of
the bills doubled around his fingers in a peculiar way so that
when he withdraws his hand from counting the change to the
old man the bill returns with it and he is five dollars ahead.
In the first place never present a large bill to these show people,
or any one connected with them, or to any one who travels
about over the country and is not to be found in the same
place two days at a time. If you have large bills go to a
bank or responsible merchant and get change and present the
proper amount for the tickets. In the second place if you
must take change from the ticket seller always count it at
once and in his presence. And when you present a note call
his attention to the fact that it is a ten or a twenty as the case
SNIDE AUCTION HOUSES.
In every large city there is a class of sharks who run snide
jewelry auctions. There is a crier and two or three cappers
standing around to give the appearance of a crowd. The crier
will be making a much bigger noise than the size of the crowd
would seem to justify. We have not time or space to go into
a detailed description of these places. They are rank frauds
and we say to our country friends, keep out of them. They
work especially for strangers from the country. In the first
place their stuff is worthless, and if by chance you should buy
a watch or other article that had any value, it would be
SWINDLING GAMES AND TRICKS. 28 1
changed on you, before you would get possession of it, for a
similar appearing article worth nothing. Don't imagine you
can beat them you can't do it. Let them alone. Keep out
and you are safe. If you want to buy a watch go to a re-
sponsible dealer and pay a fair price. These sharks are not
going to give you something for nothing.
At country fairs, picnics, etc., sharp fellows sell soap, or
sometimes boxes of pen points, said to contain cash prizes.
These are clever slight of hand performers and arrant swind-
lers. No outsider ever draws a prize. When you see some
one buy a box of soap and get a five dollar note in it you may
know that he is a confederate. They fold the money up before
your eyes, place it carefully in a box and drop the box into the
large box containing perhaps several hundred boxes of pens or
soap as the case may be. But you are deceived. The money
did not go in. You may open every box in the pile and you
can't find so much as a five cent piece. They are not giving