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Kovaks Street Scam Forums • View topic - Shell Game in Venice - You Can't Win

Shell Game in Venice - You Can't Win

Wherever you are, wherever it happened, share your scam story here.

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Shell Game in Venice - You Can't Win

Postby KOVAKS on Wed Sep 17, 2008 5:37 pm

Contributed by Bob Posey:

I really enjoyed reading your stories of street scams. Thanks for the opportunity to learn about these scams the easy way, and avoid a future disaster.

My wife and I saw the shell game in Venice, on the Acedemia bridge, using match boxes and pieces of wadded up paper. As an amateur magician (I have a book about the shell game), I knew better than to join in the game, and instantly spotted the shills. As you described, the victims were allowed to "accidentally" see the box that contained the ball of paper.

I would like to point out a slight misconception in your description of the game, though. Once the "correct" match box, or shell, or card has been "accidentally" pointed out to you, it is NOT necessary, as you seem to say, for the operator to then misdirect your attention and re-arrange the items. If someone believed this, they might erroneously think that by watching carefully and/or stopping the final re-arrangement they would have a hope of winning. They most certainly would not. Any shell game operator out of diapers can let you clearly see which shell holds the pea, or which card is the queen, etc, and then still have the pea appear under a different shell without any re-arranging of the shells and with no need for you to look away.

I would say (to misquote Damon Runyon, from "Guys and Dolls") that if one of these operators bets you that the ace of spades will jump out of the deck, sing the national anthem, run up your arm, perch on your shoulder and pee apple cider in your ear, and you make the bet with him, then as sure as God made little green apples that's exactly what the ace of spades is going to do.

Thanks again for the excellent site and for the grief you are helping so many people to avoid.
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