Games You Can Win but You Can’t Lose

Anthony Riniti on Saturday, March 15th, 2014 Comments Off on Games You Can Win but You Can’t Lose


This is an old hustle game which con men would do to pass time while waiting for the next fish.  A pile of toothpicks or matches are laid on a table.  Each person gets a turn to take 1, 2, or 3 toothpicks from the pile.  At the end, whoever gets to pick up the last toothpick wins the money.

The secret is to get the pile of toothpicks to a number that is divisible by four when it is your opponents turn.  For example, if you know there are 21 toothpicks left and it is your turn, you would take 1 toothpick thus leaving 20 toothpicks which is divisible by four.  From now on, however many toothpicks your opponent takes, you take a number that when you add them together it equals four.  So if he takes one, you take three.  If he takes two, you take two.  If he takes three, you take one.  This always leaves a number divisible by four (16, 12, 8, 4)  At the end, there will be four toothpicks and it is his turn.  No matter how many he takes, you win.

Put n Take

A simple top which has 6 sides.  Three say Put 1, Put 2, Put All and three say Take 1, Take 2, Take All.  You spin the top and the base bet is one dollar.  If it says Put 2, you put two dollars into the pot.  If you spin Take 1, you take one dollar from the pot.  If you get Put All, you have to match the pot or forfeit the game.  If you get Take All, the pot is yours.

The secret is the top.  It is unevenly weighted.  Depending on which way you spin the top, it will increase your chances of getting Take All or Put All.  Most people spin right handed, which would make them spin Clockwise.  So if you spin Counter Clockwise, you increase your chances of taking home the pot.

Flipping Coins

This is a great way to hustle a friend.  Three people go out to dinner.  You are about to pay a dinner bill. You say, “How about if we flip for dinner?”  Everyone flips a coin, and the odd man out as far as heads or tails pays for the meal.

The secret is two of the people have a pattern.  Regardless of how their coins come up, they will always say, “Heads, Heads, Tails, Heads, Tails, Tails…”  So even if the odd man out happens to get Heads the first time, which would be a three way tie, eventually he will always be the odd man out.

Tic Tac Toe

There are many patterns for Tic Tac Toe.  Basically you can always ensure at least a draw.  And if you go first and your opponent just makes his first move incorrectly, you are guaranteed to win.

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