Wanna Bet?

Published on Thursday, July 09, 2009 in ,

ChipsBack in April, when I wrote about scams in relation to math, I only scratched the surface. It seems I'm not the only one who turns a mathematical eye towards bar bets.

Over at allmagic.com, they've rediscovered the joys of a trick they call Encounter, but which you may remember as The Trick That Fooled Einstein, from the Scam School video I posted back in April. There are some excellent touches here to which anyone should pay attention, whether you're performing it as magic or a bar bet.

(BTW, allmagic.com reuses their magic URLs, so if you like Encounter, save it now! In a few weeks, there will be a completely different routine at that exact same address.)

Grey Matters favorite mathematical blogger, Garth Sundem, has also recently posted on the mathematics of bar bets, as seen in installment I and installment II. These aren't all subtle mathematical principles, as discussed in the previous column. They are great examples of lateral thinking of a mathematical nature, however.

Many of the ones Garth Sundem posted reminded me of Bob Farmer's Flim-Flam column, which appeared in both MAGIC and Genii. He's rumored to be working on a book that would be a collection of these columns. Should that book ever appear, it will be a must buy! Until then, I suggest doing your best to track down his past columns on scams. They're pure gold!

In the second part of their How To: Be Popular In Bars series, AskMen.com has even more suprising mathematically-based bets. The very first one is my favorite, as it starts by putting the focus on math, and at the end the math seems to be completely irrelevant, even though it is more important at the end!

Don't forget - while you're pouring over these bar bets, Scam School itself has been posting more creative ways to win free drinks. Have fun with these, and let me here of any good stories you have about bar bets, as well!

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1 Response to Wanna Bet?

11:41 PM

Mnemonics can be useful for bar bets.

I think it was Ed Cooke who said that he would win free drinks by memorising a pack of cards in a pub.
Here is a card-counting method which uses nonsense syllables.
You can say how many queens have been played from a deck, how many tens and so on - even the colour and, using a small adaption, at times the suit.