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Profile of TimonK
Wow, this is a great thread Smile ! Thanks for all the answers you are giving us!

It could be that this was already asked, but if so I couldn't find it.

1) You mentioned that you perform at sports events and so on - how do you manage to get the licence for that?

2) Do you ever get caught out by police, especially on those public events? If yes, how do you deal with it?

Best greetings, and bad luck to your marks ;D.

"But overcome space, and all we have left is Here. Overcome time, and all we have left is Now. And in the middle of Here and Now, don't you think that we might see each other once or twice?"
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Profile of Woland
Indeed this was a very interesting discussion. I think many of us begin by concentrating on the mechanical aspects of a performance, such as the actual manipulation of the shells . . . as illustrated here, the far more important work is the manipulation of the audience . . . the marks or pigeons . . . and that's something that usually requires teamwork . . . it's more like an elaborate illusion show than a one-man tour de force of prestidigitation . . . the psychological attitude is obviously key.

The psychology of how the crew works, how the members work with each other, and how they all contribute to the performance is interesting, and so is the psychology of how the crowd is worked in different situations.

There was some discussion above, also, as to whether or not it is "right" to practice the three shell game.

All considerations of morality aside, it was clear from the OP's comments, that you have to develop a certain mind-set in order to function. At least he made it clear that he was not a selfish psychopath who could blithely take other people's money away from them; he had to "con himself" into doing it first. I think the psychology of that is interesting. There are many difficult things in life that we have to "con" or convince ourselves into doing, after all.

In another thread in another forum, the highly experienced Mark Lewis made a comment that I think illustrates the sort of psychological space you would need to get into, in order to practice the shell game as an actual "con":

There is a major difference between selling Svengali decks and performing it at a booking or for casual entertainment. It is your mental attitude that makes the difference. That is why many magicians make lousy pitchmen. They are thinking "magic show" instead of "ripping off the punter".

A good pitchman is a street wise sharp character who when you shake his hands you have to count your fingers afterwards to make sure they are all there. A good entertainer is thinking "value for money" A good pitchman would be heartbroken if he thought his punters were getting value for money.

A good magician believes in the Thurston philosophy of "I love my audience". A good pitchman believes in the Mark Lewis philosophy of "I utterly hate these verminous people in front of me who have my money in their pockets" {

I think that's the psychological "trick" you have to effect: you have to actually come to believe that it's your money that those "verminous people" somehow happen to have in their pockets.

A friend of mine who lived on the Mescalero Reservation for many years told me that Geronimo's Apache Band actually believed, as a fundamental part of their world-view, that all 4-legged animals in the world belonged to them. Thus they were never rustling cattle or stealing horses, they were just taking actual physical possession of their own property. I think the Maasai have the same attitude regarding cattle. The Conquistadores had the same attitude towards the entire Western Hemisphere!

Jamie D. Grant
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Profile of Jamie D. Grant
4 years later and I still think about this thread. Top was a guy that I would have given anything to spend a day with. I wonder what ever happened to him.
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Profile of MatthewSims
I just read this entire forum. Certainly an invaluable resource. Seeing as Topandball is not around, is there anyone that can speak on these scams from the perspective that he could (being a legitimate con artist, and one who works the games on a regular basis for money)?
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Profile of vanp8
MatthewSims I just read this forum also. Hope everything is well with Topandball. I found this interesting and informative. I realized a long time ago I would have difficulty taking other peoples money but vicariously I like the stories. As I posted on another thread I almost became a victim (mark) of TCM. But it really showed me how big the crew could be. If someone else is qualified I'm sure we would all like to hear more insight.
Pop Haydn
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Profile of Pop Haydn
Top and Ball is the real deal. He joined a team, Gambling Sam's, on the Scoundrels Forum. Sam was a poster on our forum. The Scoundrel's Forum has been dead for several years. His team appears on video in Youtube.

Most of the jargon that is in print is way out of date. Some goes back to the 1800's. Some is English, some American. Don't expect the players to use the terminology you find in books.
Mr. Bones
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I miss the old Scoundrels Forum.
It got a bit weird there in its final days (with a rather odd women who posted crazy stuff pretty well non-stop), but back when Sam and Top and Ball were posting, it was a fantastic forum. One of a kind.
If you knew where to look, the Scoundrels Forum contained information not available anywhere else in a public venue.
Mr. Bones
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