4 Cheats from the Olde West

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Grifters and gamblers played a dangerous game in the olde west, finding loopholes and taking

advantage of a lawless world. Some grifter secrets might still work in the modern day, but it’s

not the same world anymore.

1. Dealing Backwards

In the age before the Internet, there was no way to know the true rules to a card game besides

word of mouth. New players were easily duped because the people teaching the game often had

their own interest in mind, and left little details out of the explanation. Grifters would place

desired cards at the bottom of the deck, and then drop those cards right into their own hand. Most

players, especially new ones, were none the wiser.

2. Coin on a String

When slot machines first came out, the coin slots weren’t quite as secure as they are today. Even

now, it is possible to trick a coin slot with a fake chip, coin, or token, but back in the day, it was

possible to stick pretty much anything in the machine and get something back. A handful of

clever thieves were caught feeding slot machines a coin on a string. They would feed the

machine then yank the coin back like a yo-yo, making for infinite replays.

3. Spinning Dice

There is a reason the most widely used dice game uses two dice instead of one. Tricksters have

honed the art of spinning a die instead of rolling it, causing the die to land on the same side every

time. When spinning is too obvious, loading is also an option. Loading dice is about making one

side heavier than the others, causing the die to fall on that side at least most of the time. Loading

dice is a dangerous game, however. Plenty of grifters got caught when another player picked up

the die and realized something was strange about it.

4. Card up the Sleeve

Cheaters of the old gambling world didn’t just hide cards in their sleeves. Some had devices for

tucking away the card and then shooting it out, no electricity required. These devices got past the

casual observer easily, but getting caught with one did not make for a good day.

Who would have thought that the olde west was so full of clever gadgets? It wasn’t all tattered

cards and rugged dice. Being a grifter in the land before laws had its own dangers, but it certainly

sounds adventurous.


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