Paris - Three Card Monte

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Postby sjrwheeler » 07/11/12 05:19 PM

Hello Everyone,

I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this but:

I spent a long weekend in Paris, and after visiting the Eiffel Tower we walked along the river, and when we crossed the bridge there were three or four teams of three card monte hustlers.

It was interesting to watch, it was clear to me, and to my girlfriend that some of the "members of the public" were actually part of the gang, watching them bet and win, then bet on the one which was obviously wrong and lose, making the rest of the "audience" shout at their foolishness, and then of course: bet themselves...

It was fascinating, I managed to resist the temptation.

My question:
They were not using playing cards, instead they were using what looked like leather drink coasters, and one of them had a white sticker on the bottom.
Can anyone tell me anything about this variation?
Or point me in the right direction to find out more about it?




Also as a side note, a lady walking towards us on a bridge stopped to pick up a finger ring, she explained (without speaking French or English) that the ring didn't fit her, so we should take it, my girlfriend and I refused the ring, but eventually she placed it into my hand and walked off.
So my girlfriend and I walked off (with the ring), and we both commented about how we are expecting to be conned...
Sure enough, seconds later the lady is following us and calling after us, she was clearly asking for money for giving us the ring (she kept saying "For Cola")
At this point i tried to give the ring back but she refused, so i placed it in her hand and we walked away.

Does anyone know anything about this con? Is it deeper than it seemed? or was she just trying to get a few Euros for a cheap ring?


Thanks,

Sam
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Postby erdnasephile » 07/11/12 06:05 PM

Sam:

For the disc version of 3 Card Monte, See "Gambling Scams" by Darwin Ortiz. You were wise to have been able to "resist the temptation" as you would have lost all your money (or ended up hurt).

As far as the ring scam, try walking in downtown Chicago at night. Same scam except they hand you a cheap newspaper instead of a cheap ring.
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Postby sjrwheeler » 07/11/12 06:13 PM

Can you tell me more about how the scam works? or is it just an attempt to make me feel guilty for taking the ring and give them some money?

I'll check out Gambling Scams, thanks for the tip.
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Postby erdnasephile » 07/11/12 06:23 PM

From my understanding, the scam is they "sell" you something you don't want, then try to get you to give them cash in return.

Variations I have witnessed include the unsolicited car/window washes at stop lights and parking lots in LA, as well as an allegedly deaf guy handing out flowers at LAX (when airport security allowed such things)

They bascially take advantage of basic human decency and social conventions.

Your particular lady may have had something more sophisticated going on, but I suspect not.
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Postby Bob Gerdes » 07/11/12 08:21 PM

Re: the ring scam. From Rick Steves website:
The found ring: An innocent-looking person picks up a ring on the ground in front of you, and asks if you dropped it. When you say no, the person examines the ring more closely, then shows you a mark "proving" that it's pure gold. He offers to sell it to you for a good price which is several times more than he paid for it before dropping it on the sidewalk.


http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/298scam.htm
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Postby Edwin Corrie » 07/12/12 03:31 AM

I experienced the ring scam not so long ago, more or less as Bob describes. The guy "found" the ring as he walked past and pointed out the mark proving it was gold, then said I could take it and sell it as he wasn't able to (can't remember the reason he gave). Then he said he was out of work and asked if I could spare him some money for a coffee.

Another variant of the Three Card Monte I saw here in the centre of Geneva recently was with three matchbox trays and a little white ball. The interesting thing was that he moved them around very quickly and when he stopped one of the boxes seemed to not quite cover the ball properly, so it looked like a mistake and you thought you'd caught him out.
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Postby erdnasephile » 07/12/12 06:30 AM

Edwin:

The latter scam sounds a lot like the three shell game, right? Did he use some of the same moves associated with these routines?

SJR: another resource worth checking would be the School for Scoundrels Forum. http://scoundrelsforum.com/

If you join the forum and search and/or ask your question there I'm sure you'd gets loads of information.
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Postby Edwin Corrie » 07/12/12 09:18 AM

Yes, my mistake, more like the Three Shell Game than Three Card Monte. I'm not very familiar with the moves, so perhaps they are standard. Either way, the psychology is interesting.
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