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10 Best Proposition Bets of America's Bigtime Gamblers
by John Scarne


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10 Best Proposition Bets of America's Bigtime Gamblers by John Scarne

A proposition bet is one which appears to give the taker an even chance and at times the best of it, but does just the opposite. Like con men, proposition gamblers pretend to be pleasant, friendly, easy-going, good fellows who would never think of double-crossing anyone. They also usually pretend that their prepared proposition bets are something they just happened to think up on the spot. They take great pleasure in beating seasoned gamblers; money is not the main objective. It's the prestige and self-satisfaction they derive from having outsmarted a top gambler, be he friend or foe.

While some of the proposition bets Scarne describes are enhanced by cheating (marked cards, double faced coins, ...), the odds of all bets are straight forward to calculate with a basic understanding of probability theory. A key part of the deception of a good proposition bet is that there is an 'obvious' way to figure the odds, which is wrong, but a closer look calculating the necessary probabilities will always make it clear why the hustler has the advantage. The contents of this ebook would therefore make great material for any teacher who is teaching probabilities.

  • Introduction
    • What Is A Proposition Bet
    • Beware The Proposition Hustler!
  • Chevalier De Mere's Double Six Dice Proposition
  • John Scarne's Birthday Proposition Bet
  • Nick The Greek's Match Pile Proposition
  • Pittsburgh Phil's Race Bet Proposition
  • Arnold Rothstein's Proposition Bet
  • Titanic Thompson's Matching Card Proposition
  • Joe Bernstein's Poker Dice Proposition
  • Johnny H. Winn's Ace-Deuce Dice Proposition
  • The Hiker's Tossing Coin Proposition
  • The Magician's Three Card Proposition
1st edition 1975, 19 pages; PDF 21 pages.
word count: 6871 which is equivalent to 27 standard pages of text

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Gambling / Cheating, Cons, Scams & Protection

Magic & Conjuring / Science & Math Tricks