In most carnival games, the victim pays money to the scammer, often
called a carny, in order to try to win a prize. However, most of the
prizes are worth less than what the victim payed in order to play the
game. In addition, many of the carnival games are rigged to be made
nearly impossible to win.
The outcome: the scammer gets large sums of money
just for running the game.
One of the most common carnival scams is
the Balloon Popping Game.
In this game, the victim must try to pop a balloon
hanging on a wall by throwing a dart at it.
To prevent the victim from popping the balloon,
the carny will:
- use blunt darts that cannot pop the balloon
- under inflate the balloon so that the balloon
cannot be popped
- loosly attach the balloon, so that the balloon
spins when hit
In this carnival scam, the victim must try to throw a ring and land around
a square block.
This game is based on the optical illusion that the ring will easily fit
over the block. However, the ring actually fits tight around the block and
will only fit around when it lands completely flat. If the ring lands on the
block at an angle, it will not fit around the block. The carny may also use
irregularly shaped blocks where the carny can manually fit the ring around
the block, but when thrown the ring will never fit around.
Milk Pail Toss
Another popular carnival scam is the Milk Pail Toss.
In order to win, the victim must toss a ball into a milk pail.
This game is nearly impossible to win for several reasons.
First of all, the actual hole that the ball needs to go into
is much smaller than it appears to be. In addition, the
bounciness of the ball causes the ball to bounce out if
it does not land directly in the hole. However, this
requires an almost vertical throw, but the carny will
usually use a stall with a low roof, making it nearly
impossible to beat the game.
Six bottles are stacked in a pyramid. In order to win this game, the victim
must knock all of the bottle down by throwing a ball at them.
This carnival game can be switched to be easy or hard to win. The key to this
game is that half of the bottles are made really heavy while the other half
is really light. When the base of the pyramid is made of the lighter bottles,
the game is easy to win. This is usually the way the game is set up when the
carny demonstrates that the game can be won. However, when the victim pays
money for a try at the prize, the heavier bottles are stacked on the bottom,
making the game nearly impossible to win.
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