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
This is a game in which the electric
dice are particularly useful to the sharp. It is played with
four dice, only two of which, however, are used at one time. The
player has the option of throwing with any two of the dice, or exchanging
them for the other two whenever he pleases. There are two kinds
of throws which must be specially mentioned in connection with this
game, viz. those which are called respectively 'crabs' and 'nicks.'
A player is said to throw a crab when the dice turn up either 'pair
sixes,' 'pair aces,' or 'deuce and ace.' These throws instantly
lose the stakes or 'set-money.' A nick is thrown when the aggregate
number of pips turned up amounts to eleven or seven. Either of these
numbers being thrown, the player throwing wins the set-money.
Apart from a nick or a crab, the first throw made by the player
is called the 'main,' and he must go on throwing until one of three
things happens. Either he eventually throws a crab and loses, or
he throws a nick, or he throws a number corresponding to that of
his main. In the event of either of the two latter events occurring,
he wins the stakes. In the case of a player winning with a nick,
however, he still goes on throwing; when he wins or loses in any
other way, the throw passes to his opponent.
When the main is either four or ten, the chances against his throwing
it again before either a nick or a crab turns up are in the ratio
of two to one. Against five and nine the chances are as six to four.
Against eight and six the probabilities are six to five. Obviously,
then, the best main to throw is either eight or six, and if the
sharp can contrive to make his main either of these two numbers,
he stands a better chance of winning than one who does not. He may
therefore, for instance, ring in a loaded
die to fall four, and secure the other die to fall two, leaving
the following throws to chance. Having thrown a main of four or
ten, he might secure a six in the latter case or an ace in the former;
this would render his chances of throwing the same number again
about equal. The most certain method of cheating, however, and that
which leaves no uncertainty as to the result, is to ring in a loaded
die to fall six, and secure either an ace or a five upon the other.
This obviously results in a 'nick,' and wins the set-money.
Where electric dice are used, cheating at this game is the simplest thing imaginable. One pair of dice being made to fall six and the other
one, they may be combined to give any desired result. If the sharp uses a pair, one of which will fall six and the other turn up one, the
application of the current will cause him to throw a nick whenever he pleases. If he gives his dupe a pair which can be made to fall both
sixes or both aces, the sharp can force his opponent to throw a crab every time if he chooses to do so. And yet there are some who will argue
that science has conferred no real benefit upon humanity. Those people are certainly not sharps they are undoubtedly flats of the first water.