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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Hey! Are you a cheat or entertainer? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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what
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Yeah, Volume 2 goes back to Bob Reid for another History tour. I really enjoyed Bob's presentation.
Magic is fun!!!
Ellen Kotzin
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So how is that street magician/performer situation going in New Orleans? I heard there was quite a ruckus.

Ellen
Mark Rough
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Quote:
On 2004-01-16 18:36, JamesinLA wrote:
I wonder if conning people was part of the original use of the cups and balls way back when?!! Does anyone know anything about that?

Jim


Okay, you've gotten my curiosity growing. So I went and did some checking. The preliminary results. According to Chaflin and Sheridan's book "Street Magic," it seems that the three shell game and thimble rigging (same thing with thimbles) might have been an outgrowth of cups and balls. I say seems because this is obviously not a primary source so. . .I'll continue my research. Anyway, apparently the magic came before the con. It doesn't say anything about using the cups per se as a con though. I wonder if Bill Palmer has any information on this?

Mark
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JamesinLA
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Bill might know. Bob Read, I would think, would be the authority.

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
Doug Conn
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>So how is that street magician/performer
>situation going in New Orleans?

I think we're experiencing the 'calm before the storm.'
Right now it's "business as usual"... but... I think that's about to change. I'll keep ya posted.

Note: For future info/inquiries, I suggest checking the "New Orleans Safe?" thread.
Badger
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This is a fine line. My favourite effect has always been 3-card monte. However, here in Ireland I am always on the street doing 3 card monte and some people realize it is a hustle but some of them do not. Others just love to see people lose money. I always draw a a large amount of people with this. And I make money. They know this is a con game but people still feel that they can find the ace. This is entertainment for some and a game to others. 3 card monte is a game of skill in mind and body.
I have been doing 3 card monte on the streets for 2 years, mostly on the weekends. It's fun and I never made anyone mad and wanting there money back. If you know how to do it right you can make people see the entertainment side and con side. The conclusion is they walk away with a smile. Even though they lost their money it was still fun and it is a jaw dropping effect (if done right). The "how did he do that?" crosses their minds as well. However Irish people are different and I would never do this in the states.

My 2 cents
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Danny Hustle
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Badger,

A word of free advice, playing the monte on the street is a dangerous proposition without a mob.

In the late 70’s I worked a monte con in much the same way you did. I worked solo and explained the entertainment value of the trick. I never took any one for more than three dollars and by days end I made a killin’.

Unfortunately, after a week or two some other guys started clocking my pitch and after a count they decided to mug me.

They got the cash and left me with a fractured orbit bone and a floating ribcage. I couldn’t work for two months.

What I was doing was illegal so calling the cops wasn’t an option. They counted on that and it worked to their favor in this situation.

I took my lumps and went home busted but just a little bit wiser.

Remember, good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgment.

Cheers,

Dan-
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Badger
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Danny Hustle,

You are 100% correct. That is great advice. I have been thinking about setting up a mob. A few of the lads I box with are willing to do this for some extra money. So we will have to see what happens. In Ireland this is not illegal and the cops are always around, however I will keep an eye out. Sorry to hear that story; that's sad. Thanks for the good advice.

Badger
Whit Haydn
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I did the shell game and three-card monte on the streets in New York in the late sixties, much as Danny described, without a mob. I had no idea how to use shills, having learned from magic books.

I made fair money, not as much as from performing my street magic act for a good crowd, but steady.

I was mugged once, but not hurt.

The cops used to come and watch. No one had played the games on the street in twenty years, and it was no problem for anyone back them. The cops were amused when the marks lost their money.

No one ever complained.

Ten years later, monte guys seemed to sprout like mushrooms, and made 42nd street into a street-scam fair. The merchants complained and the authorities cracked down.

If you want to use shills in a con game on the street, you should learn to do it right. There is never an excuse for violence, and it is never necessary when the game is understood well and the shills are well-trained.

It is not a happy way to make a living in my opinion. Once you involve others as shills, it is no longer "My hands against your eyes." It is not a game of skill then, but a confidence game--a kind of entrapment of otherwise fine people by exploiting their weaknesses such as avarice, lust, or ego.

It will become depressing by and by.
JamesinLA
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Whit,
Have you thought on the possibility that the cups and balls was originally a wagering game, a la three card monte, historically speaking?

Thanks.

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
Whit Haydn
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Yes. It is my belief, and that of Ron Wohl, a very fine student of the shell game, that the cups and balls was always a take down scam. It was presented as an entertainment, a magic trick, rather than as a guessing game or betting game. But it always had a little "impromptu" betting element involved.

A description of what this may have been like is in Robert-Houdin's Card Sharper's where a couple of conmen take the crowd in a Parisian restaurant with three soup bowls and a ball made of bread.

The shell game came from thimble-rig, which was pretty much just a scaled down version of the cups and balls, minus the magic trick presentation.

We will have more about this in our Notes on the Shell Game.
Danny Hustle
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Wow,

Whit touched on a very obvious point that I missed in my response to the young monte tosser.

I make A LOT more money entertaining on the street than I ever did with the broad toss.

Entertainment just pays better, period. So if it is frog skins that fellow is interested in a magic act is the way to go. The monte is a loser’s game for the con as well as the sucker. The law of averages proves it and the math is simple to do.

Best,

Dan-
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©1999-2014 Daniel Denney all rights reserved.
Mario Morris
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Quote:
On 2004-01-16 05:31, JackDaniel wrote:
Well guys, thanks for the genuine interest.

Let me tell you this, I work as a hospitality host for convention groups at the Candlewood Suites-Las Vegas, and my job is to make sure the guests experience the trip of their dreams.
I have to admit that I get pretty P***ed off when they arrive back at the hotel and tell me (quote):

"Jack, a street magician (using three plastic cups and a ball) just cheated me for 300$. What can you do about it?"(!)

Believe me, this has happened several times, and now a part of my job is warn people of those guys.
My point is: when laymen see a guy in a suit doing card tricks with a fold up table, or a guy doing a three shell game on a cardboard box - they don't see the difference.

Of course their confounded ignorance troubles me...

The point to my posting is for us magicians to share experiences and knowlege on how we should approach this growing concern; what can we do to make laymen see the difference?

I know it's a big fish to fry.
Jack.


Hi Jack
Sounds to like me this is another version of the three shell game.
I have herd of hustlers using cups and balls, well they are the same family.
I work all the cons as a street performer, come preacher these days. One thing is for sure when I bring out my walnuts a draw a big crowd. I use Gazzo cups to finish off they are sweet.
Mario Morris
JackDaniel
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Well, it seems like the cons and the magicians all shop at the same place.
Guess the biggest difference is patter and presentation.

The weirdest thing though, I've never seen a con-artist using Cups'n Balls here in Vegas.
I guess they travel around to continue their streak.

If I meet this "jack" guy, I'll be sure to give him a lesson he'll never forget though.

By the way: anyone of you guys above tried to "hustle a hustler"? (just curious).
Visit the magic of Vegas and your life will change forever..
Chris Berry
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Hustle a hustler?

Isn't that one of the worst things you can do? Maybe I have been affected by stereo-types but don't most of them have a little "insurance" in case that happens?


Chris
Whit Haydn
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Hustling a hustler--that is probably as easy as selling to a salesman. There are a number of stories told by Yellow Kid Weil, George Devol, Titanic Thompson and others of how they themselves were hustled at one time or another.

Part of it is just the dues you pay to work in that union.

Magicians have a totally different mindset and personality than a conman, even though we share many traits in common.

But the idea of hustlers wanting to go out and "hustle hustlers" is some writer's fantasy, like card sharks wanting to take card sharks is a magician's fantasy.

For the most part, all of these guys look for the biggest suckers, the easiest fish to catch. They are mostly in it for the money, and that is how they judge their success. This is part of what makes the life so dreary.

There are always a few artists in any profession.

The real artists among the conmen don't want to fight over money and ego with people like themselves, they want to expose the avarice, cupidity, and hypocrasy of "good citizens"--people that "straight" society respects. They like to put people "in their place" and prove that everyone else is just as corrupt as themselves.

Canada Bill Jones offered the railroads $10,000 if they would let him work unmolested, and he only wanted to do the three-card monte on the trains out of Omaha "for well-heeled Chicago businessmen and Methodist ministers."

George Devol liked and admired truly honest men, and was baffled by them. He could never take them, and really didn't seem to want to--there wasn't any fun in it.

The "ministers of mistrust" have their own strange and powerful games, and in most ways, they are very different from ours.
JJDrew
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I don't remember who said this, but I think the mindset of a true conman is epitomized in the phrase:

"They wanted something for nothing, and I gave them nothing for something."

Anyone remember who said it?
Pete Biro
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It wasn't me.

Note: Doing magic is more profitable, because the MOB includes folks you have to split the take with. Smile
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
Whit Haydn
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Quote:
On 2004-02-07 15:16, JJDrew wrote:
I don't remember who said this, but I think the mindset of a true conman is epitomized in the phrase:

"They wanted something for nothing, and I gave them nothing for something."

Anyone remember who said it?


I believe that was George Devol in "40 Years a Gambler on the Missisippi:"
ed rhodes
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Quote:
On 2004-01-20 00:27, deerbourne wrote:
Quote:
On 2004-01-16 18:36, JamesinLA wrote:
I wonder if conning people was part of the original use of the cups and balls way back when?!! Does anyone know anything about that?

Jim


A Medieval painting, The Conjurer (Hieronymus Bosch), shows a magician performing the cups and balls while a cutpurse makes his living in back of the crowd.

I guess the fix has been in for a while!

Deerbourne


I always wondered about that. It's always assumed the magician is gathering the crowd for the cutpurse, but isn't it possible the cutpurse is just taking advantage of the crowd?
"There's no time to lose," I heard her say.
"Catch your dreams before they slip away."
"Dying all the time, lose your dreams and you could lose your mind.
Ain't life unkind?"
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