Man doesn't even get to place a bet in shell game and he's still out $40

A man taking a smoking break from bowling at Boston Bowl in Dorchester thought the odds at the shell game outside were pretty good: Put down $40 and if he guessed right, he'd win $100.

But, the man told the Boston Licensing Board this morning, after he handed the money to the guy running the shell game on the evening of Sept. 24 - which the guy added to his stack of "a few hundred in his hand" - he realized everybody else huddled around the car hood with bottle caps on it were in cahoots and that he was about to be scammed. So he asked for his money back - just as Boston Bowl security happened on the scene.

The cap guy refused and instead went to his car. The hapless gambler followed him, to try to take a photo of his license plate, he said. "Don't try this," he said the guy told him, "This is a stolen plate number." And then, to drive home the point that he wanted to be left alone, the victim told the board, the guy whipped out a pocket knife moments before a security guard hustled over and the man drove off.

The security guard told the board he saw the scam man and his touts earlier, but said the main guy was holding a clipboard, so he figured he was just collecting signatures for a political campaign, rather than running a scam. He said he then went on his rounds of the bowling alley and a couple other nearby businesses before returning to find the scene had changed dramatically.

A bowling-alley attorney said his client had no idea the illegal gambling was going on outside.

The board decides Thursday what action, if any, to take.

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Comments

Uh...

even if the game were on the level.

The game is NEVER on the level, that's the whole point of the scam. The odds don't matter because the cups and/or table are rigged.

Boston Bowl security is top notch

These guys aren't clueless at all and aggressively patrol Boston Bowl and the property around it. Honestly, a 24 hr pool hall, which is a main draw, and how often do you here about trouble here?
They regulate. They're dressed paramilitary and not for show. these guys are like the Navy SEALS of private security.

You should really speak of what you know, Scratchie.

I thought it was more like NYC in the 1970s-80s

Shell game and its relative, Three Card Monte, were common scams on the streets of NYC when I was a kid and a young adult. The gonifs running it would commonly set up in some area like Times Square that was frequented by tourists, who were often naïve and unfamiliar with the scam. I always thought Three Card Monte games had gone the way of squeegee bums when Rudy Giuliani cleaned up a lot of the petty lawlessness and disorder in NYC in the '90s. (Let's just say that Giuliani's actions in that regard were controversial, and leave it at that; I don't want to have a flamewar over this.)

I actually saw a game of Three Card Monte on an MBTA Red Line subway train back in about 2005 or '06, much to my surprise.

Three Card Monte more prevalent here

In my experience. I've seen it off and on, but never gone for long, on the Common since the mid-80's. I;l always stop to watch if there's a sizable crowd but you have to avoid at all costs if it's just a handful of people. that'll be the con and his gang and they're going to get money one way or another.

Lil carnival gang can turn strong arm, or armed, robbery in a flash.

The guys at Boston Bowl were probably rolling thru from out of town or really hard up for cash. Any local would no BB is no place to pull a scam.