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
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