On the Road

Gambling Scams

We’ve all seen too many gambling movies. Thanks to Hollywood and hope springing eternal, we all suspect that secretly, we have what it takes to be a winner. Sure, most people are suckers but like a child who’s convinced that the right combination of sounds will make a magic word, big winnings could come our way with the right hand of cards, lottery ticket or lucky guess.

Dream on. Gambling is a tough, mean world full of narrow margins and deceit. You don’t have an ice cube’s chance in hell. The people who work gambling scams know exactly what they’re doing and they make a good living at it. If they didn’t they wouldn’t be there, sweet talking you into gambling your cash.

The classic example is the three card trick of Chase The Lady. Some hustler sets up a cardboard box or table in the street and begins to toss three cards around face down. Two of them are tens and one is a queen. He then asks you to choose which one is the queen. Simple enough it would seem and lo and behold, the first time you try you win! Note how the scammer makes a big show of handing your winnings over to you.

He might even let you win the second time to get you really hooked and start to bet bigger money. But the next time somehow, although you were sure you’d seen where the queen fell, when the card is turned over it reveals a ten. Your money is whipped from your hand so fast it was like it was never there.

The essence of the trick is a slight of hand that is way too fast for the human eye to catch. Period. The hustler has been practicing this scam for years and you’ve just arrived to try your luck for the first time. Just how good do you think your odds are?

What’s more is that these scammers work in teams. Sometimes the guy you see winning a pile of money is the card dealer’s accomplice. Sometimes, in places like Las Ramblas in Barcelona, there are pickpockets who work the crowd whilst they try to work out just where that queen went.

The same score goes if you’re ever invited to play cards in places like Thailand. They’ll have a guaranteed way for you to make money until you feel confident enough to place a bigger bet and then the sharks will take you for all you have.