The Tip” Scam: Con Artists’ Psychological Tricks

“The Tip” scam is a confidence game that preys on wealthy individuals who are willing to participate in a potentially dishonest proposition. This scam involves a group of con artists, including a “roper” who identifies potential victims and an expert deceiver who pretends to be a friendly but unscrupulous poker player.

How the Scam Works

The con artist informs the mark about a poker game being organized with a wealthy player who consistently loses large sums of money. The con artist aims to fill the table with “friends” to ensure winning a significant amount. The mark is promised a share of the winnings if they play using the con artist’s money.

To guarantee victory, the con artist tells the mark that he will pass all of his chips to one of his partners. Then, he will sit out of the game where he can see the big player’s hand and signal its contents to the others. The mark quickly agrees to play, as the only money being risked belongs to the con artist.

In the first round, the big player loses everything to the mark and runs out of cash. The mark has none of his own money on the table and, once the big player’s losses are divided among his “partners,” is guaranteed to win thousands from the affair. This is just the beginning, and everything that has happened so far is designed to firmly “hook” the mark for the next phase of the scam.

The Cold Deck and the Stacked Deck

When the big player returns with more cash, the game continues. After a few rounds, with the con artist signaling dud hands to the mark, a cold deck is secretly introduced to the game. The deck in play is now stacked to produce a known outcome.

Once the stacked deck is dealt between the big player and the mark, the con artist signals “no pair” to the mark. The mark is convinced he has a winning hand because every signal he has received from the con artist so far has been accurate. The mark is betting no pair with an ace high.

With tens of thousands of his own money plus all of his partners’ money in the pot, the mark reveals an ace high. The big player shows an almost identical hand, but with one crucial difference: the big player has an eight, making his hand slightly stronger, so he takes the pot.

The Dangers of “The Tip” Scam

“The Tip” scam is a perilous game that not only robs victims of their money but also their reputation and good name. It is essential to be aware of these types of scams and avoid becoming a victim.

In “The Tip” scam, a group of people collaborate to cheat a mark out of their money in a rigged game. The big player takes everyone’s money and then makes an excuse to leave the game. The mark is left with their “partners” and has lost all their money, plus more. The “partners” feign sympathy and promise to set up another game soon.

The mark is highly motivated not to report the scam or admit to trying to cheat someone in a rigged game. This is because they were taking part in a crooked effort to steal from the big player. In many cases, this is at the heart of the con game – an inbuilt reason not to discuss what happened, whether for shame of being a victim or fear of being exposed as a crook.

“The Tip” scam is easier to play today, thanks to games with community cards where stacking the deck is much simpler. The “Tip” itself changes from game to game, but it always involves making the victim believe they have a sure thing. Sometimes it’s a tell or supposedly marked cards.

Players with access to large bank accounts make excellent targets for modern-day “Tip” games. The big player might insist on showing their money before returning to the game, but today that money is transferred electronically.

Scammers have accidentally targeted friends or relatives of past victims without getting caught because their past victims never said a word to anyone. As H.K. James observed in his 1914 book, “owing to this fact there is no protection given others.”

In conclusion, “The Tip” scam is a classic con game that still works today. It’s important to be aware of the signs and not fall for it. Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

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