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Topic: Three Shell Question
Message: Posted by: Kent Wong (Aug 26, 2004 09:32AM)
I'm a little embarrassed to ask this question, but here goes. I've been doing the three shell game for a little while now, and I've even gone so far as to purchase a few instructional DVDs. I have developed a very nice routine that I am quite happy with.

However, I noticed that the Vernet set that I originally purchased came with 3 shells and 4 balls. The instructions only talked about using one ball. This is also true of the additional DVDs I have purchased.

So, why do I have 4 balls? I have always wondered if I am missing something, or if there is a way to incorporate the additional balls to make my routine even stronger. Without going into exposure, any tips, suggestions or leads would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Message: Posted by: ImpromptuBoy (Aug 26, 2004 12:02PM)
Don't be embarrassed to ask ANYTHING! If you don't ask you'll never get an answer. I just purchased a Vernet Shells set just a few weeks ago. You get four balls for the simple reason, if you lose the one you use, you'll have extra ones (my opinion). Now, as far as the instructions are concerned, you DON'T need more than one pea. Really. You just don't. This game is designed to use three shells and one pea. Now, if you've purchased Sal Piacente's Three shell Game DVD like I have, you can finish the routine by having one pea under each shell. I'm not going to expose the method here, but I'm assuming you know how to do it, if you don't know how to, send me a PM and I'll tell you how.
The routine is just as strong as using one pea.
Any questions about the shell game will be answered.
BTW, I just started doing the TSG a few weeks ago.
Message: Posted by: Kent Wong (Aug 26, 2004 12:38PM)
Thanks for the response. That's what I had suspected, since Sal's DVD makes absolutely no mention of any of the other balls. I just wasn't sure if there were some moves (ie. similar to cups and balls moves) that I was missing.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (Aug 26, 2004 01:42PM)
Actually, there are lots of uses for extra peas. Soapy Smith, the king of the shell game in the 1890's, always began the game with an extra pea. His routine is outlined by Alexander "The Man Who Knows" in his Dr. Q manuscripts. Alexander was one of Soapy's men in Scagway, Alaska during the Gold Rush.

Bob Sheets has explored the use of two peas with a lot of mind-numbing ruses in his video "Absolutely Nuts," which is available at our site.

The bible of the shell game is Tom Osbourne's booklet, The Three Shell Game, illustrated by Ralph Read and produced by Kanters. It is available and cheap from most magic shops. Although not an easy read, it contains tons of great info from actual street hustlers, and discusses pea holdouts and the use of an extra pea.

The School for Scoundrels dvd on the shell game will cover a whole lot of new territory with regard to ringing peas in and out of a routine, using a number of new hold out and receptacle devices as well as our magnetic peas.

The ending with the three peas is not my favorite, as it may confirm the audience's suspicion that the game somehow wasn't fair--because the operator was somehow using more than one pea--and that takes some of the mystery and juice out of the peformance, even though in reality it doesn't explain much.

It is like the audience suspecting a trick deck of cards is being used. Even if it isn't true, it takes the mickey out oft the trick.
Message: Posted by: KingStardog (Aug 26, 2004 02:45PM)
You can see the book here although you can find it cheaper elswhere. These are merely posted to show folks the ones to look for.


There are some very nice pocket sized casino grade Chuck dice though. The last gasp of the tin horn gamblers.

Sorry, the Osborne book is last at the bottom.
Message: Posted by: Darwin Ortiz (Aug 26, 2004 04:38PM)
On 2004-08-26 14:42, whithaydn wrote:
Actually, there are lots of uses for extra peas.[/quote]

As you mentioned, the use of multiple peas is an old and widespread idea among hustlers. When I was a kid, the "pea" was often a spitball (a wadded up bit of newspaper held together by saliva). As soon as the hustler stole it out he would drop it on the sidewalk. He would then flash his empty hands as he asked the mark to bet. As the sucker turned over the shell, the hustler would steal another spitball and load it under one of the two remaining shells as he turned them over.

I realize that you know this, of course. I mention it only as a prelude to describing an idea of my own. I thought of this years ago and have never seen anyone use it. The idea would be for one of the [i]sticks[/i] to have a duplicate pea palmed.

The play would be as follows. The hustler steals out the pea and asks the mark to bet. As soon as the sucker turns over his choice, the stick reaches over and loads the pea under one of the other shells and reveals it while saying something along the lines of, “Are you blind, man? It’s over here.”

I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if this has occurred to others. Anyway, I think it could be a strong play.

I agree with you about the inadvisability of ending a routine by producing three peas. It reminds me of any idea that appeared in a three-card monte manuscript marketed a couple of years ago. The routine climaxed with the three cards being turned over to show that all three were losers. The winning card had vanished. Of course, this would fool the audience. But it would also confirm their suspicions and thereby undercut everything that came before.

Darwin Ortiz