Saturday, February 9, 2008

The 3 card monty...

Was at Chinatown (again) yesterday to do some groceries shopping. Unlike back home where shops are closed for the duration of Chinese New Year celebrations (sometimes up to 15 days), the shops in London's Chinatown remain opened.

A few clusters of people are gathered along Gerrard Street and that caught our attention. When I finally managed to squeeze up to the front, I saw what's perhaps the oldest gambling game in the history of mankind (other than the dice, which I've been told): the 3 Card Monty.

The rules were simple: the 'banker' would shift around 3 rubber discs (in this case) with one of them marked at the bottom. The player would then have to place their bet on the disc that he thought was the marked one.

Sounds simple? Not so. While shifting the discs in quick succession, the banker would be mumbling some foreign sounding words to confuse the player. And when the shifting stopped and the player deciding where to place his bet, the banker pulled out the last trick he had up his sleeves: he would very quickly change the (marked) disc around while the player is fiddling around with his money. The result? The player would be left poorer and the banker richer.

Initially I wondered why was it that no one pointed out what I saw (the coveted shifting of the marked disc). Then I came to realize that it was only obvious at a certain angle. The player absolutely has got no chance of winning.

Needless to say, the player wasn't going to give up so easily. The round was repeated with the same outcome. Well, the fool and his money soon part and very quickly in that case.

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kbguy said...

Chinese New year in London ? Don't seems like it is in the photo. No colourful lighting, no red colours for the street decoration, no lanterns, no people wearing red and its mostly brown all in the photo. And no chinese !!!
Anyway, Kong Xi Fa Cai ! from your neighbouring homeland country.. Malaysia !

C K said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
C K said...

Oh there are lanterns... take a look at the top left hand corner of the first picture. Sorry for the poor resolution. I was trying not to be too obvious taking the photos lest I get hacked to pieces... Gong Hei Fat Choi to you too!!