b Papa Dog's Blog: Bullshit Poker

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Saturday, May 21, 2005

Bullshit Poker

I don’t remember the details because it was a long time ago and I was pretty drunk, but I think DM told me her father was a con man, or at least that he was some sort of card sharp.* You’d think I’d have borne that in mind before gambling with her, but like I said I was pretty drunk and back then when I had a little money in my pocket I tended to seek the fastest means of divestiture available. Well, I suppose I could have just thrown the money in the street, but that seemed too easy. What I did was play bullshit poker with DM. That’s where you look at the serial number on a dollar bill and you say, for example, “This one’s got three threes,” or “This one has five twos.” You take turns doing that until somebody says “bullshit.” If the serial number doesn’t really have the specified number of the specified digit, the bill’s forfeit. If it does have the digits, the person who called “bullshit” loses a dollar. DM and I played that game while David Rex looked on and laughed, and I steadily eroded my little roll of dollar bills. I couldn’t believe DM’s luck. She had an amazing array of bills stocked with duplicate digits in the serial numbers. Every time I called “Bullshit,” she had the goods.

Later, sober, not really caring one way or the other, I said, “You were cheating, weren’t you?” She said yeah. Figuring I’d been taken in by some complicated scheme she’d learned from her father I asked how she did it. She said, “Whenever you said ‘Bullshit,’ I’d say, ‘No, I’ve got it,’ and you’d believe me.” I thought back and realised it was true. Never once had I bothered to ask to see the magic serial number. It wasn’t complicated, but it could well be the best lesson a con man could pass on to his children: “When you find a chump who wants to give you his money, let him.” I don’t get that drunk much anymore.
*Doesn't really make that big a difference to the story, but I hope she'll correct me if I'm wrong.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This game is actually a bit more interesting than you perhaps remember: http://wizardofodds.com/games/liars-poker.html

11:08 AM  

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