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Gary Kosnitzky
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This is the original shell game.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7gp1WNRG6c

Enjoy.
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Bluesman
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He did a good job on it. But the girl couldn't see anything where she was sitting at.
luvisi
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This may also be of interest: http://books.google.com/books?id=jx3TQ5x......&f=false

Andru
Pop Haydn
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Thimble-Rig, the original version of the shell game, came from our Western version of Cups and Balls. It first appeared in England in the 17th or 18th centuries. Thimble-rig probably became the "shell game" in the United States in the 19th Century. The description of the the take down cups and balls in Robert-Houdin's "Card Sharpers" is the exact ploy often used in the shell game and thimble-rig, and was probably just one of many scams that made the cups and balls a scam parading as entertainment.
luvisi
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This site puts it at least as far back as the 17th century: http://www.threeshellgame.com/allure.htm

I believe this is the story to which Whit is referring: http://www.archive.org/stream/cu31924026......mode/1up

Andru
Pop Haydn
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Thanks, Andru, that is the citation from Robert-Houdin.
Gary Kosnitzky
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What I find very interesting is that in 3rd century India they were not only practicing sleight of hand but also recommending that all men acquire this skill.
The Kamasutra refers to Magic and specifically sleight of hand over 200 years before the ancient Greek sophist Alciphron wrote about it.

To quote Prof. Lee Siegel:

“Prestidigitational techniques for close-up magic and parlor conjuring had been cultivated into skills the time of the Kamasutra (c. third century C.E.), wherein various sorts of legerdemain are enumerated among the sixty-four arts that were de rigeur for sophisticated ladies and gentlemen in ancient India (1.3).”

Lee Siegel - Net of Magic: Wonders and Deceptions in India , page 153.

For your own curiousity all 64 arts can be found listed here in English:
http://tamilelibrary.org/teli/arts.html

It is a possibility that the Hindu Cups and Balls may predate the 'modern' cups and balls and may also be the original shell game.
All the conditions are perfect for that scenario.
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Pop Haydn
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Do you have any evidence that the Hindu Cups and Balls was used as a takedown scam?

BTW, thanks for the reference. That is very intriguing.

Seneca's 45th Epistle to Lucilius (4 BCE-65 CE) describes the cups and balls as a magic trick in the first century.
Gary Kosnitzky
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Quote:
On 2012-01-21 13:21, Pop Haydn wrote:
Do you have any evidence that the Hindu Cups and Balls was used as a takedown scam?

BTW, thanks for the reference. That is very intriguing.

Seneca's 45th Epistle to Lucilius (4 BCE-65 CE) describes the cups and balls as a magic trick in the first century.


Seneca said:
“Such quibbles are just as harmlessly deceptive as the juggler's cup and dice, in which it is the very trickery that pleases me. But show me how the trick is done, and I have lost my interest therein."

I do not see any description remotely close to the Cups and Balls concept we are discussing.
He is not even discussing Magic.
He is a philosopher and those words “ juggler's cup and dice” are merely being used as a metaphor to make a point that has nothing to do with Cups and Balls or magic.

There is absolutely no description of how the “cup and dice” are used or even if they are to be used together. It is pure speculation on your part.

Wikipedia is not a scholarly source of information.
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Pop Haydn
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"Show me how the trick is done, and I have lost my interest therein." I don't think that would apply to a game of chance.
Pop Haydn
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Do you have any evidence of the Hindu Cups being used as a gambling game before 1700?
Gary Kosnitzky
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I know nothing. Who does?
I only know 3 ancient traditional routines, and all the patter in Dravidian. If you ever need any information regarding the actual work it would be my pleasure.
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Pop Haydn
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That is very kind. Thank you. I admire your presentation.
Jerry
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Mr.Haydn, any chance of the thimble rig set being release/manufacture again (it is currently sold out)?

Jerry
Pop Haydn
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That was manufactured by Al Cohen. We bought all he had. We have no plans to put out a thimble rig set, though we hope someone will.
Jerry
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Mr. Haydn, may have the measurements of a standard thimble rig set (if there is such a thing), I may have a source?
I'll have to ask if they can make a set.

Jerry
Pop Haydn
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There is no standard. The 18th Century hustlers used real thimbles. Pewter thimbles would work. The brass set that we use to carry was just thimbles made of heavy brass--a little too small an interior for putting on a finger. They had the advantage of being heavy, and they were fairly stable with a wide base and lip. Thimbles that are heavy and stable (not likely to tip over) are the main thing. The moves are very different for the thimbles, more like cups and balls.
silverking
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Although the Al Cohen thimbles were pretty much the only game in town as far as a pro Thimble Rigging set, they were quite roughly finished........as not really finished at all!
Lots of tool marks, and ridges, not polished.
They look like they came right off the lathe, and into the package.
Whoever turned them certainly was no Jim Riser or Joe Porper.

Despite the above, I was happy to get one of the last Cohen sets, and used it quite a lot for a while.

...........Now if Jim Riser would make a set!..............
jakeg
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I have a set of thimbles that I got from Karl Norman about upteen years ago. They look like miniature Hindu Cups, and made out of brass. (I also have the original routine that went with them.) Although I seldom use them, they are pretty neat and handle real well. especially with the perfect pea.
Pop Haydn
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I have a set of those as well, and a set of his heavy brass caps. They both handle very nicely on a good surface.
Gary Kosnitzky
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Quote:
On 2012-01-22 11:36, Pop Haydn wrote:
Do you have any evidence of the Hindu Cups being used as a gambling game before 1700?


Thank you for this question.
It inspired me to do my own research.

For starters the Indian magicians that perform the 'traditional Hindu Cups and Balls' that I have spoken to will tell you that it was used primarily for gambling for thousands of years.
Of course this is a non-falsifiable hypothesis since written records of such things are rare. Everything was passed on orally from guru to disciple.
But I have found some references you may find interesting.

Gambling undoubtedly has an extremely long history in India.
In the Śatapatha Brâhmana, written approximately between the 8th to 6th centuries BCE it said:
“the gods trick the demons out of their winnings, this world, the sacrifice”.

It was at Mohenjo-daro, one of the largest settlements of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization, and one of the earliest major urban settlements in the world, that the oldest chessmen and the very first chess boards, dice and playing cards were found.

Hundreds of other recreational games of skill and chance were also excavated there. It riddles archaeologists that their civilization was richer in games and gaming than any other civilization in the last 5000 years. Why did they have so much recreational time to play games while the Egyptians and Mesopotamian's were toiling all day long building huge architectural formations and striving just to survive? According to Topsfield, during the last five thousand years, more variation and richness in the range of games and game utensils can probably be seen in the Indian subcontinent than anywhere else in the world (Topsfield 2006b:12).You can read all about it in his extremely fascinating Doctoral thesis:

That is why I believe that the conditions were perfect for the possibility that the Hindu Cups and Balls is the original shell game.

I am qualified* to say that wherever there are games of chance there is always the likelihood of cheating.
* I am a Casino Surveillance Specialist and have been in the industry for the last 40 years.
Also written in the 7th century CE the 'Daśakumāracarita of Dandin' says:
“Entering the casino to join the gamblers there, I witnessed their skill at the twenty-five gaming arts - at such tricks as loading the dice and moving a piece, unnoticed, from one place to another”
That is why I said that the conditions were perfect for the possibility that the Hindu Cups and Balls is the original shell game.

So in answer to your question - “Do you have any evidence of the Hindu Cups being used as a gambling game before 1700?”

Yes I do.

There is absolutely no evidence of what you state - “Thimble-Rig, the original version of the shell game”
That is an hypothesis that appears to be completely based on Eurocentric thinking.
Rediscover a lost art.
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maharajademagia
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Gary, thanks for a very informative research on the topic. I think you are a very useful source of information on this topic. The following is my addition to what you have said. Please do let me know your opinion as I value it so much as you are doing some serious research on the topic.

According to researchers, dice or pasa (side) are the oldest game instruments in the world. Excavations made in the southeast of India (the current Pakistan) revealed relics of the Harappan civilization, among which prehistoric dices, older than 5000 years, that may indicate the Asian origin of the dice.

They are so many indore games that I would take a book to capture them all but just to mention the most popular ones would be Pachhasi or the modern Ludo, Ganjifa or the playing cards, Chaturang (Based on the four major division of the Indian army e.i. solders, charioteers or horse back riders, camels and Elephants. Who even played havoc on Alexander of Macedonia) or the modern chess and Backgammon.

There are two very famous tales where kings lost their kingdoms and even their wives in betting. Mahabharata the great epic tells us how the Pandavas lost their kingdom and even their wife to their cousins in a game of Chaupad. The legend has it that the die were made from bones of the die thrower’s brother and that’s why he could get the number he wanted

Betting and gaming become so notoriously popular in ancient India that with the advent of Buddhism, these were shun down upon. In fact, Vinaya Pitaka, a Buddhist script names 18 games which were forbidden.

Three very popular betting games which used little resources were or only die were:
Khali ya Jota (Empty or pair): Iin which two die are held in cupped hand and shaken and then both the hands with closed fists are placed on the ground. There are three possibilities: 1) Empty hand, 2) One dice 3) Both the die. And depending on the guess made by the bidder the money was lost or was to be paid in triple. Since dice would be hidden in the hands, two coconut shells were used for fair play.

Satta (Seven): This is played by making two stright lines on the ground, thus making three spaces. Middle represents 7. one on the left less than 7 and one on the right numbers over seven. People bet. The dice were rolled and according to which number came, the bidders lost or gained. They one who placed his money on Satta or seven always got three times more than that what he placed. Even today the name Satta Bazar is used for Stock Market in India.

The three shell game: Where as the first two games were more of a game of chance, this was a scoundrel type of game. In its basic form it was played with three walnut shells and a small marble or cotton ball. Various versions of this betting game came up. One version used cards and another version used small pill box type of cups.

It is interesting to note that the number in play is always three. Thee is an auspicious number in Hinduism representing the Holy Trinity or Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. Similarly seven is also considered a luck number bringing good luck and hence the lucky 7.

So anyone could hazard a guess on where the Hindu Cups and Balls came from. In fact, my humble opinion is that, thee were developed by the Brahmans to educate the lay people and there is trickery involved in all gambling game. Since the Brahmans evolved it, and it was taught to the street magician there was a message to be taken to the people and the those who practised it are scoundrels. No doubt traditional street magicians of India keep repeating during the whole show what, this is all sleight of hand. This is why Hindu Cups and Balls is considered the mother of all magic tricks. The three shell or box game is also to be blamed why the Indian magicians always face the "catch the magician"syndrome while performing. Becase the, people have been trained to catch the swindler.

The Indian Gypsies who were expelled from India were the ones who duped the people with these tricks. And it were the gypsies who introduced these tricks to the west. With time the bell shaped Indian cups took the form of glasses and rest is history. In fact the Hindi word for Gambling is Jua. As it belongs to the Indo-European languages it is interesting to observe that most of the words in the neo-latin languages aver very similar to the Hindi word Jua.

<iframe src="https://docs.google.com/present/embed?id=dgf64872_72d5mjq9df&interval=5&autoStart=true" frameborder="0" width="410" height="342"></iframe>
Gary Kosnitzky
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Maharajademagia,

Thank you for sharing your knowledge of the Harrappan civilization. Harappan was a suburb of Mohenjo-daro.

I have always been very curious as to the history of the 'Cups and Balls' and the 'Shell game', especially the Asian varieties. Unfortunately, all the current paths magicians have been taking has lead to nowhere.

For years we were convinced that the walls of the burial chamber in Beni Hasan, Egypt displayed the oldest version of the 'Cups and Balls' and it's derivatives. That turned out to be a complete fallacy.
I believe the mistake we have been making is that we are overlooking the knowledge from other indigenous sources.
New paths must be found. I feel a closer look at the ancient Indus Valley civilizations will unveil the true beginnings of not only the Cups and Balls and the 3 Shell Game but also Magic.

Thank you once again Maharajademagia.
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maharajademagia
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I have never seen the famous fresco in the Egyptian chamber even in a clear and bright picture. When I went there even the most knowledgeable guides did not know about it. In the TV show done by Penn and Teller they did visit the tomb, but even there it picture was not very clear.

Does someone has that picture?

What I have seen and is very clear is the hand drawn version is our dear friend Bill Palmer's C&B Museum. And from what it seems to me and I guess no westerner would even think about it is that the chap sitting there is not performing Cups and Balls but making cow dung cakes. As you would know cow dung cakes are used in the east as combustible or fire wood. They are still being used in rural India and in Egypt.
Gary Kosnitzky
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Quote:
On 2012-02-13 14:55, maharajademagia wrote:
I have never seen the famous fresco in the Egyptian chamber even in a clear and bright picture. When I went there even the most knowledgeable guides did not know about it. In the TV show done by Penn and Teller they did visit the tomb, but even there it picture was not very clear.

Does someone has that picture?

What I have seen and is very clear is the hand drawn version is our dear friend Bill Palmer's C&B Museum. And from what it seems to me and I guess no westerner would even think about it is that the chap sitting there is not performing Cups and Balls but making cow dung cakes. As you would know cow dung cakes are used in the east as combustible or fire wood. They are still being used in rural India and in Egypt.

If the cups and balls existed in Egypt back in those days
I am sure you would have seen and heard more about it then
on the wall of one burial chamber. Cow dung cakes,
that sounds right, looks exactly the same shape when stacked:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/vaijayanta/4558042787/

You are very observant besides being extremely knowledgable.
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maharajademagia
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Gary you are funny. I thought you had posted the picture of the Egyptian burial chamber with the so called "cups and balls". I could not help smiling.
borderjs
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On 2011-12-10 07:26, Gary Kosnitzky wrote:
This is the original shell game.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7gp1WNRG6c

Enjoy.


This video is private now ;(
Gary Kosnitzky
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Quote:
On 2012-02-23 15:34, borderjs wrote:
Quote:
On 2011-12-10 07:26, Gary Kosnitzky wrote:
This is the original shell game.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7gp1WNRG6c

Enjoy.


This video is private now ;(


Sorry about that.
I am going to put up a new one on Youtube.
I really was not that happy about the quality.
Rediscover a lost art.
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Gary Kosnitzky
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On 2012-02-23 14:43, maharajademagia wrote:
Gary you are funny. I thought you had posted the picture of the Egyptian burial chamber with the so called "cups and balls". I could not help smiling.


Here it is maharajademagia :

http://magic.about.com/od/magichistory/a/091107cupsballs.htm

They are exactly the same shape as stacked cow dung cakes.
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maharajademagia
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Thanks Gary. I have seen this picture in Bill's Museum. But I am looking for a foto from the chamber. A real Kodak picture.
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