This is the second in a three-part series on how

to turn yourself into “the house” and reap the benefits of a mathematical edge

in games that are less than fair but seemingly place the odds in the players’

(suckers’) favour.

I must re-iterate that these games are for

entertainment purposes only and as always, while I encourage you to play for

affordable stakes, it’s always good to share the secret when the game is over

so your suckers can enjoy the same benefits with fresh fish on another day.

Here we will take the flip of a coin and turn it

to our favour with some ingenious games that ultimately push the money in your

direction.

## The Fun Of Coin Flips

I’ve written elsewhere about the master of crooked coin flips AKA “The Flipper” and the many ways he would manipulate a coin toss or secretly know the outcome.

It’s also possible to buy (or have made) a

“wobbler” – a coin that has been re-milled on the edge with a slight angle

towards one side so that, when spun on a hard surface, it favours one side more

than the other and, in many cases, the work is so heavy it’s almost impossible

to force a losing spin!

Such gaffs can be fun, and the above variation

was my preferred method for securing a free lunch by spinning a coin and asking

someone to call heads or tails while still spinning.

The bet was for who would pay for lunch and if

they called the winning side, I’d scoop up the coin and say, “I’m only kidding,

I wouldn’t force you to pay for this!”

But if they called the losing side I’d let it

fall!

What follows are games played entirely with fair coins and can be a great ongoing game or distraction between other gambling sessions and have been used as such by smart players and grifters for decades.

## Coin Hustle #1 – Eight Coins Out

With eight pennies, propose a simple bet that

once all are flipped, spun or tossed in a random fashion, you will pay two to one

any time that the player throws four heads out of the eight coins.

A simple calculation makes four heads (or tails

if preferred) the most common outcome of eight 50/50 flips but in fact the odds

are absolutely in your favour, since you win if the result is one, two, three,

five, six or eight heads (or tails)!

I prefer to do this in a cup or glass (a glass

attracts attention and more suckers in the right scenario) and simply and

fairly spread out the coins once upended onto the table without changing how

they landed.

This is such a simple proposition that you can

play this edge for hours both winning and losing but always being ahead.

And if you can’t find any takers for a

two-to-one proposition like this, you’re probably not cut out for this kind of

friendly swindle!

## Coin Hustle #2 – Threesomes

The same proposition can be made with just three coins and again is based on encouraging a simple fallacy.

With just three coins, point out that there are

only four possibilities when all three are flipped at random:

- Three heads.
- Three tails.
- One head and two tails.
- Two tails and one head.

Now state that if they fall **all heads** or **all
tails** they win, and you will pay two to one on any reasonable bet but if

the coins land with any other outcome they lose.

Personally, I prefer to randomise the coins in a

glass or cup but the result is three individual 50/50 propositions. You may

prefer to simply flip one coin three times, but the result is the same.

Think about this for a minute.

If there are only four outcomes, then you are

essentially offering them two to one on a 50/50 situation and that’s madness.

But be warned that if they’re smart enough to

think it over they will exit the logic trap you set up at the beginning and

realise that there are actually **six losing outcomes** and **only two
winning possibilities** since each of the three coins has a 50/50 outcome.

You **lose** when the coins land:

TAILS, TAILS, TAILS

or

HEADS, HEADS, HEADS

You **win** if the coins land:

HEADS, TAILS, TAILS

HEADS, HEADS, TAILS

HEADS, TAILS, HEADS

TAILS, HEADS, TAILS

TAILS, TAILS, HEADS

TAILS, HEADS, HEADS

Think of it as individual rolls and it makes

sense but the beauty of rolling three coins at once is that this is harder to

intuit and many people will be blinded by your two-to-one offer on a game that

is actually three to one against the player.

## Coin Hustle #3 – Penney’s Game

Finally, let me share a brilliant bit of mathematics that will guarantee a powerful edge almost by magic if you follow some simple rules.

As stated above there are eight possible

outcomes when flipping three coins and each outcome should be as likely as the

other.

But for this version, only one coin is flipped

repeatedly until a chosen three-flip combination appears.

So, if the chosen combination is TAILS, TAILS,

TAILS, a single coin is flipped until three tails have appeared in a row. So it

might be flipped 10 times before this occurs in three consecutive flips.

Similarly with any selected possible outcome –

such as TAILS, HEADS, HEADS or HEADS, TAILS, HEADS – you keep flipping coins

and recording the outcome until three consecutive flips produces one of the

wagered results.

I hope you got that.

It can be confusing, but just keep flipping and

noting down the result until one of the wagered three-coin outcomes happens and

whoever bet on that combination is the winner.

So where is the scam?

Walter Penney discovered that a simple calculation based on your opponent’s choice of three-coin combination will place the odds firmly in your favour in the worst case, and seven to one in your favour for the best case scenario!

The secret is to make sure they choose their three-coin

combination first and then you state your three-coin combination based on their

choice as follows.

Whatever combination they choose, consider it as

A/B/C so if they nominate HEADS, HEADS, HEADS:

A = HEADS

B = HEADS

C = HEADS

If they pick TAILS, HEADS, TAILS, then:

A = TAILS

B = HEADS

C = TAILS

And so on.

**Your nominated three-coins should be X/A/B
where X = the opposite of B.**

I know this sounds complicated so let’s look at a

couple of quick examples.

For the two examples above X/A/B would be TAILS,

HEADS, HEADS (if the sucker nominates HEADS, HEADS, HEADS) and TAILS, TAILS,

HEADS (if the sucker wants TAILS, HEADS, TAILS).

So, another way of saying this is that you take

their choice (A/B/C) remove C (their third flip option) and simply add the

opposite of B (their second flip option) to the beginning of your three-coin

combination.

This means that X/A/B for their choice of HEADS,

TAILS, TAILS would be HEADS, HEADS, TAILS.

Play with this for while with all the

combinations mentioned in the previous coin flip game above (Threesomes) until

you can quickly calculate X/A/B for all outcomes, then flip a coin to see how

often your three-coin combo will win against theirs.

Sure, it sounds complicated but all advantages

in gambling require a little extra work and understanding and if you can

decipher these instructions, you have a powerful winning strategy for a

seemingly simple game.

*For more similar content, check out the first part of this series on dice hustles.*