Thomas asked in TravelFranceParis · 7 years ago

How does 'the cup trick' done by people on streets in Paris work?

Just came back from a stay in Paris. I noticed a number of men on streets who would have 3 cups and 1 ball, jumble them around rapidly and people would have to guess where the ball was. If they guessed correctly they would have their money doubled.

It is however obvious that it is a scam. It's far too easy to guess where the ball is. So how do these tricksters make money? Do they take it and run off?

2 Answers

  • 7 years ago
    Favourite answer

    The "winners" are always plants working with the scammer. They hope suckers see this and think its easy to win but there's no ball anywhere. It's a slight of hand trick and the ball is actually in the guy's hand, not under a cup

    And while people are watching, another member of the crew is busy pickpocketing the spectators. There are usually 3-4 people in on the scam

    Read here or google shell game and you'll find loads of YouTube videos showing how they do it

  • 7 years ago

    I guess you have not as yet visited New York City. This same "game" has been going on since Henrik

    Hudson sailed up the Hudson River in the 16th century. Usually called the shell game and to some Thinglerig. It is "played" in many cities, including Paris, There almost always is a shill (an acomplice) of the one who is running the game. It is a very quick game and can be closed in a matter of seconds

    in case of suspected arrival of police. The ignorant player never wins.

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