Sunday, February 10, 2008

Best Poker Cheating Dealer Ever!

I have been recounting some humourous but true anecdotes about the greatest card tricks and poker scams in history. This one is the first about a poker cheating dealer ripping off her game. As it usually the case, women make better card cheats than men, whether it be from the outside or inside of the poker table. Read this and have a laugh!

The double-rake scam
In the 1890s, San Francisco’s Barbary Coast overflowed with gambling action. Many people don’t know this but the City on the Bay was actually a precursor for Las Vegas. The first casino slot machines were invented and put to use along its waterfront gambling halls.
Like in all American gambling venues, poker found its home on the Barbary Coast. Ever since the Gold Rush, players flocked in droves to try their luck and skill on the new frontier’s poker tables. Gamblers came from New Orleans, Steubenville, and even Alaska to get in on the action. Many enjoyed the Coast’s row of watering holes as well.
One person who recognized that most of the poker players became drunk by the morning wee hours was an enterprizing lady dealer named Babs. Her shift began in the early evening and didn’t end until enough players went broke to stall the game. Babs dealt five-card stud, just as she had in New Orleans before coming out west.
Her husband was an experienced laborer who had a special talent for constructing gizmos that worked on pulleys, springs and levers. Like his wife, he also had a penchant for high living, but also like his wife he was always short of cash. Together they hatched a plot.
Babs’ game worked on a rake from each contested pot. She was responsible to remove the chips due the house before pushing the pot to the winning player. The rake varied from one to three percent depending on the particular game and how drunk her players were. It was in carrying out this function that Babs realized she could further rake the pot for her own benefit. If hubby could produce the tool, she’d produce the cash.
The tool was a hollow white cylinder that looked like a small stack of white $1 chips. It had a bottom base that moved inward on springs. By lightly pressing the top end of the cylinder to activate the springs on the bottom, Babs was able to suck up three $1 chips in the dark while supposedly removing only the $1 chips needed to satisfy the game’s rake.
She did this every hand, unless someone was causing her to feel heat. Her game was loaded with action that made big pots, so no one noticed the three $1 chips she siphoned off every pot. At twenty pots an hour, Babs had taken down $60 each time her watch’s minute hand struck twelve. That amounted to $500 a shift, four grand a week when she worked seven days, a real fortune in 1890s America.
Babs continued her double-rake scam unimpeded. She and hubby began living in secret luxury, richly decorating the inside of what from the outside appeared to be their modest home. Together they dined in fine restaurants, frequented the opera, attended ballet performances, enjoyed piano recitals in private hotel suites and sat in the orchestra while viewing stage plays. Alone each indulged in private fantasies with or without the spouse’s knowledge. At the poker table no one seemed to have a clue. Babs and hubby began to believe it could go on forever.
Forever ended abruptly one night when Babs pressed the top end of the cylinder to suck in the chips and was shocked to see her index finger go right through the top into the cylinder. The top had collapsed. Babs’ first thought was that it wasn’t so bad. Hubby could either repair the device or build a new one. But what Babs hadn’t noticed those first few moments was that her finger had been gripped by the snaking coils inside the cylinder and could not be dislodged. True to her coolness under pressure, Babs did not panic. She tried to continue dealing the game with the cylinder sticking onto her fingertip like a white thimble. She gamely carried on for a few hands but finally one of the drunken players asked her if she’d been sewing during her break.
Shortly afterward, Babs and her husband disappeared from the Barbary Coast. Rumor had it that they had been packed into a large cylinder, similar in shape to the one Babs had used on the poker game, that is weighted down somewhere on the bottom of the San Francisco Bay.