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The Open Book

The Open Book

Houdini Publishing






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The Open Book has seemed to be more of a myth than a real book. For decades it has been out of print and trying to find an original is difficult. So difficult that when I did find one in the basement of my favorite used books store I snatched it up not believing what I had found. But how could I just stash it on my bookshelf along with all the other great out-of-print books where no one else could enjoy it? So I put my publishing skills to work and decided to make The Open Book available to all those who want the inside scoop on the tricks that gamblers, crooks, grifters and con men have used over the years and still use today. Oh, don't think that just because this book was published long ago that what's inside is not useful. In fact, if one were so inclined to be dishonest they would find lots of ways to part a fool from his money just like they did "in the day." "Fore Warned is Fore Armed." That is the motto of this book. Learn all about the little and big tricks of the trade that Officer Johnson learned from years on the beat. He had seen it all and wrote down for you the tricks these gamblers, crooks, grifters and con men used to "befuddle the mind of the gullible public." Reading what's inside is like going through your attic, topics are loosely grouped together but there is so much in these groups that it's hard to believe. I decided to keep it in its original format out of respect for history buffs and book collectors and because it would take a gigantic effort to bring any kind of modern "order" to this book. Inside you will find secrets on how card men use cross lifting, cold decks, crimping, shading and scratch work are just a few of the techniques used by card cheats that he explains. There is also a remarkable Master Key method on how to read any deck of marked cards. He also goes into great detail on how card sharks mark just about every make of card there is/was. The welcher and the check thief are not forgotten either. Hole card switching. Counting cards. Oh, and don't forget the dice men. Craps. Loaded dice. The Chinese Box Secret. Miss posted dice. Suction dice. Transparent loaded dice. And the list goes on. Oh, and did I mention the old standby The Three Shell Game? Read about Soapy Smith in Alaska and his demise. Or read about a Shell Operator and how he makes and handles the walnut shells. Pea Pool is exposed. Dice tops are exposed. The Blow-off. Pitch. Bridge Whist. Pinochle. Solo. And of course, Poker tricks. All these tricks and more are fully exposed. Since this is a period piece, there are also stories about "Spirit Fakirs" and tricks of the Master Magicians. Raps on the table. Table lifting. Spirit lights. Fortune tellers. Did I mention Magic? Card tricks. Fire eating. The needle trick. And more. Dead Man's Mail Order Swindle. The Pawn Shop Game. The book finally finishes off with the story of a real-life racketeer called Dutch Schultz, New York's Public Enemy No. 1 and how he was murdered including some gruesome photos of the dead body. But I'm just scratching the surface. If you have any interest in any of these subjects you just have to get this book. Just be aware that the language can be very direct and unabashedly "earthy." And if you are easily offended by racial slurs then don't buy it. I thought about taking out a couple of images just because they may offend sensitive folk and maybe delete some more "blunt" talk but in an effort to remain true to the times and the author I left them in so just be aware that while I don't agree with his choice of language or adhere to his same viewpoint I respect this right to express himself as he sees fit. So again, if this is something that would be offensive to you then please buy another book. Thank you.

by J.H. Johnson

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