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ImpromptuBoy
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Hi Everyone.
Have you ever done the shell game and three card monte on the streets for money? If it wasn't illegal, would you still do it on the streets for money?
All the best,

Michael
bishthemagish
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If the question is have I ever done three card Monte or the shell game or the chain of chance on the street for entertainment - at a block party - mall or a fair or festival? And they paid me to do it? The answer is yes.

If the question reads - Have I done it to swindle people - the answer is no.

The third part would I do it if it were legal?

It isn't legal! And that is my answer!
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ursusminor
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Well, it's quite a few years ago now, and not something I'm particularily proud of... But I once swindeled a guy out of Nkr.250.- (ca. $40.-) with the endless loop. And he was about to double down on me when I called it a day!
My only excuse is that I was "under the influence" at the moment, and so was he...

Today, of course, I agree with Glenn. It's not legal, and that concludes the case.

Bjørn
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Whit Haydn
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I don't have any problem with the ethics of the three-card monte game, in that the victim is always just as morally culpable as the operator of the game.

I think that both the victim and the operator are equally in the wrong. It is a sort of "entrapment" from the other side of the law. If law officers trick or encourage people to break the law when they wouldn't have without such encouragement and then arrest them, it is entrapment. Here a criminal encourages another citizen--who had no thought to take unfair advantage of another--to do just that, and then rips him off.

I have no sympathy for the victim, who really deserves what he gets.

Still, I think the game should be illegal because it is always an occasion for possible violence and is not really a benefit to society, even though the practitioners might claim it teaches people "a valuable lesson." Their real goal is not to "wise up a chump" (something in other circumstances they would deny could ever happen) but to take the money. Even so, I would allow three-card monte if there was not such a high incidence of violence connected with it, simply as a form of free speech.

Three-card monte is a mean-spirited game. If the game were not illegal, it still is not a fun way to make a living for any length of time, and I don't think it is a healthy thing for the operator spiritually. We are all brothers and sisters on this planet, and it is not our job to expose and take advantage of the weaknesses of each other, but rather to help each other and build each other up--to try to assist each other to stay on a good path.

Operating a three-card monte game teaches you to look for the weakness and vice in other people, rather than to look for the good and wholesome that is in people--to be cynical and mean and to feel superior rather than to see the universality of mankind, and to recognize that we are all the same, with both good and bad mixed together. I would not want to take a path that leads into self-aggrandisement, loneliness, and cynicism.

I don't like Glenn's and ursusminor's argument that "It is illegal, and that concludes the case."

Many things are legal or illegal at one time or another, and that may have nothing to do with their respective vice or virtue. In the twenties, pot was legal and alcohol was not. Now it is the other way around. I know people who will not smoke pot--even though it might be a great relief to the symptoms caused by serious illness--because it is illegal.

If it was legal, they would use it in a heartbeat. My mother is like that. She had a radical masectomy a few years ago (she is in her eighties) and even though she believed, and her doctors encouraged her, that pot would have helped her symptoms, she wouldn't use it. I know others who do use pot to control nausea or to increase their apettite during chemo-therapy, and I don't feel they are doing anything morally wrong at all, even though they are breaking the law.

I grew up in the South in the fifties. Jim Crow laws were "the law." I did not respect those laws, and felt no problem breaking those laws and helping and encouraging others to break them.

This is a democratic republic. It is every citizen's job to question authority, and at times to stand against the majority or the law. It is our civic duty to alter or abolish laws that stand in the way of the free exercise of the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

If I didn't feel the way I do about these games, and I thought that the laws against the shell game or three-card monte were unjust or unfair or even unnecessary, I might try to skirt around them, break them, or change them. I would act the way I would to unfair or non-sensical laws about other forms of street performing--I would try to sneak around them and not get caught, or I would publicly break them in order to try and change them.

So I don't accept the facile statement, "It is illegal, case closed."

All that said, I do think that three-card monte and the shell game are public nuisances and should be illegal.
Magicmaven
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Yeah, what Whit said.
bishthemagish
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Quote:
On 2005-07-11 15:45, Whit Haydn wrote:
I grew up in the South in the fifties. Jim Crow laws were "the law." I did not respect those laws, and felt no problem breaking those laws and helping and encouraging others to break them.

So I don't accept the facile statement, "It is illegal, case closed."

All that said, I do think that three-card monte and the shell game are public nuisances and should be illegal.

People that do three card monte as a street swindle and con people do so at their own risk... Don't do the crime if you can't do the time. I do not have any sympathy for anyone that does three card monte and then get caught by the law.
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Whit Haydn
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Glenn:

Then if it were legal, as it has often been in times past and may be again, and as it is in some other countries, would you still say "case closed?" What if you had a way to do it that you were certain you could not be hurt or punished?

If it were not a crime, would you be tempted to do it for money, and why or why not?

To answer Impromptuboy's original question "If it were legal, would you do it?" with a parental "it is illegal, case closed" doesn't really help. I think that it is much better to discuss the pluses and minuses of these actions to help find an ethical and spiritual approach that is not totally dependent on the "wisdom of authority."
bishthemagish
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Quote:
On 2005-07-11 17:12, Whit Haydn wrote:
Glenn:

Then if it were legal, as it has often been in times past and may be again, and as it is in some other countries, would you still say "case closed?" What if you had a way to do it that you were certain you could not be hurt or punished?

If it were not a crime, would you be tempted to do it for money, and why or why not?

I look at this kind of a question like - if it were legal would I do drugs? What if?

The point is that it is not legal.

Smoking is legal but I choose not to do that. I think that there are better and safer ways to make money in and out of magic.
Glenn Bishop Cardician

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Whit Haydn
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Quote:
On 2005-07-11 18:46, bishthemagish wrote:
Quote:
On 2005-07-11 17:12, Whit Haydn wrote:
Glenn:

Then if it were legal, as it has often been in times past and may be again, and as it is in some other countries, would you still say "case closed?" What if you had a way to do it that you were certain you could not be hurt or punished?

If it were not a crime, would you be tempted to do it for money, and why or why not?

I look at this kind of a question like - if it were legal would I do drugs? What if?

The point is that it is not legal.

Smoking is legal but I choose not to do that. I think that there are better and safer ways to make money in and out of magic.


"The point is that it is not legal" begs the question.

Impromptuboy was asking, if it were legal, if that were not the problem, would you play the shell game for money? Why or why not?

It would be the same for drugs. If drugs were legal, would you do them? "Drugs are not legal" doesn't answer the question. Why wouldn't you want to discuss the various reasons that drugs should not be used recreationally? Why would you want a young person to just accept that drugs are bad because you or the law say they are, when you could have a chance to explain the many solid reasons why drugs are hurtful to the body, the mind, the will and for society?

It is important to talk to young people with reason and fact rather than just repeat the "because it is" type of argument that makes one sound like the guy in South Park:

"The shell game is bad, ummmkay?"
bishthemagish
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I thought that I answered this question when I talked about smoking.

The answer is no I would not be interested in doing it if it were legal. There are better and safer ways to make money in and out of magic.
Glenn Bishop Cardician

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ursusminor
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I really stuck my foot in it now, I see!

Quote:
On 2005-07-11 15:45, Whit Haydn wrote:
I don't have any problem with the ethics of the three-card monte game, in that the victim is always just as morally culpable as the operator of the game.


Agreed!


"I don't like Glenn's and ursusminor's argument that "It is illegal, and that concludes the case."



I agree that that is a too simplistic way to put it, yes... There are times when you have to follow your concience.




"I know people who will not smoke pot--even though it might be a great relief to the symptoms caused by serious illness--because it is illegal."





Never understood that one either, Morphine is a painkiller, should it be outlawed because it may be misused?




"I grew up in the South in the fifties. Jim Crow laws were "the law." I did not respect those laws, and felt no problem breaking those laws and helping and encouraging others to break them."



I'm not sure what "Jim Crow laws" means, is it the racial segregation laws?



Oh, and by the way, Whit, I ordered your 3 card monte and 3 shell game DVDs the other day, and can hardly wait for them to arrive!
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them
pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened."
- Winston Churchill"
bishthemagish
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Quote:
On 2005-07-12 09:37, ursusminor wrote:
I really stuck my foot in it now, I see!

I don't think so. Because doing the shell game and three card Monte as a magician and for entertainment is very different than doing it on the streets. As an entertainer and a magician I do it to FOOL THEM in a nice way for entertainment.

The street Monte man and shell guy. WANTS them to THINK that they know where it is. So he will flash the card or the pea. If the audience or the sucker thinks that they know - they will put their money down.

They also work with a mob and a script that draws the sucker in and with all them working together take him and his money!

I rather entertainer and make the money that con and make the money.
Glenn Bishop Cardician

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bitterman
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Having thrown three card monte in the subways of Boston in my youth I can tell you (in Boston anyway) the cops don't care. They have other problems. What you need to look out for is getting your hat handed to you by someone who just lost their lunch money. I never worked with a 'mob'. I found that people would seek me out and were all too eager to hand their money to me. Remember, they think they have the upper hand once they see how worn and bent the corner of the money card is. I have never once had a person say to me, "Wait, you should use new cards. I can tell which one is the Queen because she's bent". Scams that take advantage of other people's greed are life lessons; only on a good day I'd make more than a school teacher.
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Police Magician
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Quite interesting posts on these two games. If I, as a law enforcement officer, may interject my two cents, I would like to bring you into my profession. Is the Shell & Pea and Three Card Monte illegal? That depends on the "intent" of the person performing it. As Glenn said, for entertainment purposes, no it is not. To deceive a person out of their money would fall under our laws of Theft by Deception. Cops don't make the laws, they just enforce them. And, yes, there is such a thing as selective enforcement (discretion on making an arrest). This holds true only on misdemeanor crimes, not on felonies.

I have had experience with Three Card Monte men who did use this to swindle people. One such victim reported the crime as a robbery when no elements of a robbery existed. We caught the perps and questioned them. To make a long story short, we found they were running the Three Card Monte and the victim lost his company's money to it. When the victim came back to our station to recover his losings, we arrested him for filing a false police report.

I have been asked what I would do, as a cop, if I witnessed either of these games being played on the streets. First, I would observe the actions of the person (s) involved. I would ascertain their "Intent" and go from there. Are they deceiving the public? Yes, the game uses magic principles to deceive. Is the deception used to swindle or entertain? Therein lies the "intent". To make an arrest, I have to prove "intent" and have probable cause to make an arrest. These two games can be classified, like a carnival game. A Two-Way game can be played honest or crooked. If the former, there is no problem. If the latter, we have to prove that in court.

I have also witnessed how a victim can get caught up in these games as well. I have demonstrated both for law enforcement (local, state and federal) and civilians. Both, thinking they have an advantage, have tried to upstage me and lost. Two incidents come to mind. Once, while in a lounge, I was demostrating the Three Card Monte for another cop. A man came over and wanted to place a wager. I explained that I was a cop and a magician and allowing him to do that was not only unethical, but a violation of my Oath of Office. Still, he insisted. I had him write his winnings and losings on a piece of paper to show how he would end up. Within five minutes, he would have lost almost two thousand dollars. It was a cheap lesson for him to learn. While training some law enforcement officers, I performed the Shell & Pea. One officer wanted to wager with real money instead of the fake money I handed out. He said he understood this game and could win. Needless to say, with permission granted and the money returned to him, he learned a valuable lesson as well. His peers ribbed him for weeks.

My objective was to train officers and let them know how victims felt so they would be more knowledgable about the crime and assist in taking the report. One problem that did occur with one class was an officer learning how to Change Raise and actually doing it at a restaurant. He is no longer with us or in law enforcement.

So, are these games illegal? I hope I made my point.

Glenn
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drkptrs1975
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Doesn't David Blaine have a few tricks that are like the Three Card Monte and Shell games.
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I doubt it. Although he did a version of Fechter's "Be Honest, what is it?" he mistitles "Two card Monte" but I don't think that exactly qualifies as a "confidence game" in the style of the Three Card Monte or the Shell Game.
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Quote:
On 2005-07-11 15:45, Whit Haydn wrote:


I think that both the victim and the operator are equally in the wrong. It is a sort of "entrapment" from the other side of the law. If law officers trick or encourage people to break the law when they wouldn't have without such encouragement and then arrest them, it is entrapment. Here a criminal encourages another citizen--who had no thought to take unfair advantage of another--to do just that, and then rips him off.

I have no sympathy for the victim, who really deserves what he gets.


Does this mean that the only system of ethics that truly counts is the one set down by law? And that once that code is broken that the scoundrel is no longer accountable for their unjust actions in relation to their victim?
Whit Haydn
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No, Nicholas. It doesn't.

I think that in the case of the shell game or three-card monte, the operator and the victim are on a similar moral and ethical plane.

They are both trying to leverage what they believe to be an unfair advantage over the other in order to take the other's money from them. It is a moral push.

Neither is better or worse than the other. That doesn't mean they are both right.

They are both like gunfighters in a showdown to me. One is the hapless drink besotted cowboy, the other is the professional killer. They are both equally wrong to be involved. Both think they may have an edge, but the cowpoke is usually wrong in his drunken assessment of the situation. He "went and got hisself killed."

Only in the courtroom would it be considered a fair fight and self-defense. But that is how it would come out.

I believe that the grifter and the victim in these games are both wrong.

It is not our job on this planet to set stumbling blocks for others, or to study and take advantage of other's weaknesses.

We are all brothers and sisters and it is our job to look out for others and lead them if possible away from trouble instead of into it.

I think that the life of a grifter is spiritually unhealthy and bad for the grifter, and that is the main reason I advise against anyone taking this route.

It leads to cynicism, hardness, paranoia, and other unhealthy mental attitudes. It shifts one's values in many, many ways that are not good for the individual who practices these deceptions.

Money loses its connection to work and therefore loses its value to the grifter--many of whom toss money around like it was nothing.

So I think that the path of the conman and grifter is one that will lead inevitably to a more bitter and cynical view of mankind, and eventually to unhappiness, even misery, and possibly to more serious bodily injury or prison.

In my opinion, the victim, even one who loses a lot of money, is not hurt by the deception as much as the operator could be in the long run.

Lastly, I think that these games are bad for society. They lead to trouble, strife, and possibly to violence. They should be outlawed for that reason--not simply because they are somehow "immoral."
Tom Bartlett
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Gentlemen,

Wow, what a subject “Ethics” in this day in time, I say it that only because it has always been the nature of man be the opportunist, liars, thieves con men and worse. It is just now days we are inundated with examples in the media, by our leaders (both sides of the isle), prominent corporate heads, and yes, by the media itself, till is has become so blurred and people have become anaesthetized to what is right or wrong. It’s no wonder young people just don’t see the wrong in asking such a question.

I teach, you should hear some of the things said to me, these kids should not even know about, much less speak of such things and are totally oblivious to it being right or wrong. The people that should be teaching them are constantly setting examples by breaking the laws that they choose all the time, like speeding, “oh everybody does it”, “I hired Pablo, I’m just helping the guy out he doesn’t speak English”and “the office won’t miss a few reams of printer paper” these are just a few things kids are taught by the people that really influence them.

I grew up around horse traders, golf & pool hustlers, professional gamblers, bankers, lawyers, farmers and ranchers and at times I thought it was kind of glamorous life style. Thank god for my mom and dad, they were the reason I did not have to ask about what was right and wrong. My dad would tell me a story like, a lot of kids steal watermelons but that does not make it right and when they get caught and punished, it’s over for them, for the ones that don’t get caught they carry guilt the rest of there life. My dad wasn’t perfect but he tried the best he could. His honesty some times left him a little venerable, he just did not think people would do things like that, he wouldn’t, (many time I think God stepped in and protected him from the ones that would) and he would come out ok on a trade.

Well how does all this pertain to the question that was asked, right and wrong are a little clouded and we need to teach morality with kindness and understanding and not drive it with a hammer.

I think Whit got it right ; just being illegal and that’s the end of it, is likely to do more harm than good. I mean, helping guide the person that ask the question down the right path is what we are all after aint it?
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Paul Budd
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I apologize......I don't want to violate the board's TOS, but "change raise"......could I get a bit of clarification?
His face isn't really this long in-person!
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