foreword to the online edition
II. common sharpers and their tricks
III. marked cards and the manner
of their employment
VII. collusion and conspiracy
VIII. the game of faro
IX. prepared cards
XI. high ball poker
XII. roulette and allied games
XIII. sporting houses
XIV. sharps and flats
SHARPS AND FLATS
Unfair dice are seldom submitted for inspection, as may well be
imagined, particularly those of the dispatcher kind. The greatest
donkey in existence would at once find that the number of pips upon
the faces of these latter was incorrect. Therefore they are always
introduced into the game whilst the play is occupying the dupe's
undivided attention, and the manner of their introduction is that
embodied in the process known as 'ringing-in.' This is done at the
moment when the dice are taken up in order to throw them into the
box. It is only possible to change one die, the others are allowed
to fall into the box in the usual way.
Supposing that two dice are being used, two fair ones will be employed,
and with these the dupe will throw. The sharp, however, has a false
die concealed in his right hand, and held in the thumb joint. He
picks up the two fair dice from the table, in the manner described
in 'securing,' and allows one of them to fall into the box.
Then, of course, he has still two dice in his hand, one genuine
one between his fingers, and one false one held by his thumb. In
figs. 55 and 56, a is the genuine. die and b is the false one.
At the same instant that the first die is allowed to fall, the
false die b is dropped into the box also (fig. 56).
Immediately the false die is released the two fingers holding the
second genuine one are turned inwards (fig. 57) an d the die is
taken into the thumb-joint, in the position formerly occupied by
the false one. The whole of this manipulation is performed in the
act of throwing the dice into the box. The false die is dropped
into the box, and the genuine one put into its place at the root
of the thumb in one movement only, and the exchange is instantaneous.
The fingers are well bent before any of the dice are dropped, so
that the second genuine die has the least possible distance to travel
in its movement towards the thumb-joint.
From the manipulations outlined above, the reader will observe
that the skill required is less in the case of dice than in that
of cards; but he must not run away with the idea that, because the
methods of swindling with dice are comparatively simple, the dice-sharp
requires but little practice to enable him to carry out his operations
successfully. That is by no means the case. It is frequently the
amateur's lot to find that those things which appear simplest in
theory are the most difficult in practice. The sharp who seeks his
fortune by manipulation of the 'ivories' has to devote many weary
hours to the acquisition of deftness in the manúuvres which he intends
We may now proceed to consider the application of the foregoing principles to the purposes of cheating, and see how they are employed in
actual practice. In this we cannot do better than follow the sharp's operations in connection with one or two games which are commonly played.
This will serve to give the reader a more adequate conception of the manner in which this style of cheating is conducted. The games selected
for this purpose, then, are: 'Over and under seven,' 'Yankeegrab' or 'Newmarket,' 'Sweat,'