Revealing an old carnival scam called "pricking the garter"

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Speaking of pricking…


Carnies have been on my mind a lot recently. I realize now it’s because Donald Trump seems very similar to one.


Nonsense, lad, it’s an event at th’ Highland Games.

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Aren’t all carnival games scams?


This game is also the origin of the phrase ‘playing fast and loose’.


Exactly - “if you do this seemingly easy thing, you win”. I’m baffled how anyone can fall for this.

Small hands, smell like cabbage?

I guess the players can’t imagine that pulling on both ends of a belt will undo the loop!

One particular carny game (which is also supposed to be a scam) is “Under & Over”: a huge pair of dice are dropped through the top of a tall box and pop out the bottom. You bet on whether any roll yields above or below “7” and on rolling “7”. Payout was higher if you successfully picked “7”. I played it once at our parochial school bazaar… rather I called the bets for my school buddies who put their own money down; I don’t recall exactly what took place for us to take that approach. Thirteen wins in a row with one roll being a “7”. The guy running the game started staring at me as things progressed. The fourteenth bet lost so I immediately quit. (I lost that ‘feeling’, punctuated later that night by my dropping a case of bottled Coca-Cola down the church basement stairway, me helping out in the bazaar.) One of these days I’m going to have to determine the probability of those wins, although I don’t expect that to be unusually high, although a high probability might sort of ‘justify’ the purported ‘scaminess’ of the game.

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