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17 Responses to “Ten more sucker-bets you can't lose!”

  1. Matthew Urso says:

    i’ve seen the thumb trick go very wrong when someone tried to smack the persons hands in 2 different directions

  2. Hegelian says:

    Actually, Weisman looses the thread and ice cube bet, which was to lift the ice cube using “only the thread.”He used the thread **and** salt so he failed the bet. (Well, and he used his hand, too, but that one he can probably get away with…) The bet has to be phrased as “using the thread”.

    Also, there is another way to make the 9.50 = 101010 equation correct with the addition of a single line. Simply change = to ≠ (does not equal) by putting a line through the equal sign.

    The ten pence coin through the hole bet lacks the qualifier that the paper can not be torn. The way the bet is phrased, to push the coin through the hole, doesn’t preclude ripping the hole–and given that these are all trick bets you can’t claim that is an “understood” part of the bet.

  3. haineux says:

    Pretty sure I saw all these in a Dover Publishers puzzle book from my childhood.

  4. Daneel says:

    Does anyone ever actually place these bar bets? I can safely say that if someone offered me a bet that looked like I couldn’t lose, I’d expect a scam.

  5. semiotix says:

    Show your friends this equation 

    9.50 = 101010

    and challenge them to make it correct by adding just one line.

    9.50 ≠ 101010

    Et voilà!

    EDIT: DAMMIT, that would have been more impressive if Hegelian hadn’t CLEARLY gotten to it first. I partially retract my implied claim to awesomeness.

    • Hegelian says:

      I may have beaten you to the punch but your delivery is way snazzier. :-) I guess it is really the more obvious solution. I wonder if Weisman omited or truncated phrasing that would have precluding crossing the equal sign?

      I have to say that this latest video is a lot weaker than the first, and as haineux implies, it seems that Weisman has just lifted them from some old book, and did so in a pretty sloppy fashion. There is value added in making a video demonstrations of the bets taken from print sources ( and value to Weisman in adding it to the Weisman marketing and aggrandizement stack) but not so much if the bets are improperly phrased or potentially dangerous as Matthew Urso notes the thumb in the hand trick can be.

      • morkl says:

        If one crosses the equal sign, its not really an equation anymore, so it might be invalidated depending on how “make it correct” is interpreted.

        • Hegelian says:

           Good point, but I think it is overridden by relawson’s point that 9.5 is decimal equivalent of the
          Sexigesimal 9:30, so changing the equation to “9.50 = Ten to Ten” is not a valid answer.

  6. Robert Fiore says:

    I remember a number of these from a paperback called “Ed McMahon’s Barside Companion” that I bought when I was a wee tad.

  7. Jeremy Hughes says:


  8. Ty Myrick says:

    In reply to relawson and Hegelian, I believe the British commonly use a decimal, rather than a colon, to designate time. See Agatha Christie’s 4.50 to Paddington http://www.amazon.com/4-50-Paddington-Agatha-Christie/dp/1405046260/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1360696002&sr=1-4&keywords=4.10+agatha+christie

    • phuzz says:

       It’s not really a common usage, but in a context that makes it clear that it’s a time (like your example) would probably be ok.
      Usually though brits either use the colon; “4:50″, or in text, spell it out; “ten to five”.

  9. John Clavis says:

     I wonder if the “9.50 = 101010″ bet would still work if you said “you can add one dot and one line”. This way, you could change “9.50” to “9:50″ and “101010” to “10T010″ and it would work for us Yanks. (Who am I talking to?)