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How to Cheat at Everything: A Con Man Reveals the Secrets of the Esoteric Trade of Cheating, Scams, and Hustles
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How to Cheat at Everything: A Con Man Reveals the Secrets of the Esoteric Trade of Cheating, Scams, and Hustles

3.6  ·  Rating Details ·  268 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
Gambling is more popular than ever, with multi-million dollar poker tournaments on television, gambling themed movies like Rounders gaining in popularity, and casinos opening in just about every state of the U.S. How to Cheat at Everything is a roller-coaster ride through bar bets, street hustles, carnivals, Internet fraud, big and small cons, card and dice games and more. ...more
Paperback, 456 pages
Published January 1st 2007 by Running Press (first published December 31st 2006)
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200th out of 204 books — 98 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 897)
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Jennifer Lewis
Aug 27, 2014 Jennifer Lewis rated it liked it
How to Cheat At Everything delivers exactly what it promises. It's encyclopedic, going over a wide range of cons, cheats and sleight-of-hand options. The sheer number of options for separating eager people from their money are astounding and enough to make me leery of any proposition with the word "bet" in it. It covers everything from idle bar gambling to pass the time to mailing scams to the professionally rigged games in travelling faires.

In the end, this book is more useful as a way to educa
Chloe Tempest
Mar 09, 2015 Chloe Tempest rated it liked it
I got this book as a Christmas present from my father as a joke (given that I may or may not have cheated while playing board games back in the day) and after just finishing a slew of horror stories, decided I would take a different route and give this book a try. Before actually reading it I ignorantly believed that it was going to be a rather sarcastic book, not actually about “cheating at everything”, but I could not be further from the truth. Simon Lovell literally writes 456 pages worth of ...more
Apr 26, 2011 Johnny rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology, sociology
I was delighted to discover a reference to my favorite musical, Guys & Dolls, as I was devouring How to Cheat at Everything. In the play, Sky Masterson says that his dad warned him that a man would come up to him with a new, sealed deck of cards and bet that he could make the joker pop up and spit on him. The father said, “Do not take that bet!” and goes on to express that as surely as the sun rises, the joker will do just that. Before reading this book, I wondered how one could rig a “seale ...more
Jul 23, 2012 Rsoeffker rated it really liked it
What a fun read! As a magician, historian, and barroom grifter, I found this book to be a enjoyable walk through the dank carnival known as "The World of Con-Men". The author covers many genres and corners of "The Trade". There were a great many parts of the book where I was laughing like a mad-man at the stories.

The Downsides:
1. the historical documentation of the book was really bad. He would say stuff like "This has been around since the middle ages" but would back it up with nothing.
2. The
May 05, 2013 YoSafBridg rated it it was ok
Simon Lovell is a magician, former con man, and professional card cheat. Currently he stars in the one-man Off Broadway show Strange and Unusual Hobbies. He is the author of seventeen books, has produced fourteen videos and five DVDs on the subject of cheating, and has lectured to both police and casino operatives on the subject according the back of How to Cheat at Everything: A Con Man Reveals the Secrets of the Esoteric Trade of Cheating, Scams, and Hustles, a book which showed up on the new ...more
Aug 09, 2016 Jeff rated it liked it
Saw this at Borders while shopping for other stuff and decided to check it out if available at lieberry. I read almost half of it in a couple days while in Connecticut on business.
#1: Horribly edited. Could be so much better with more clear descriptions of events and rules and such.

#2: The photos are laughably unhelpful though they could be a *huge* benefit to the reader.

Nevertheless, it's quite interesting reading as well as educational--almost consciousness-raising. Still, my
Apr 26, 2014 Dave rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, crime
This guidebook to all sorts of ways to cheat was recommended by Eleanor Catton, Booker-prize winning author of the Luminaries. It's entertaining without being too technical, but I did skim some of the sections regarding odds. A great reference guide as well as a fun read.
May 30, 2014 Meghan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars. A lot of the information on the cons is very interesting, but it's written in a very irritating and unclear way and the sections on ways a cheat can manipulate cards and dice were too long. I'm more interested in how people pull off actual confidence games than in poorly described sleight of hand.
Kym Mccoll
Sep 04, 2013 Kym Mccoll rated it really liked it
I don't play poker or spend time in bars playing dice games, which encompasses the majority of ths book. But I was still facinated by all of the methods described to cheat and, best of all, the little side bets of, "I'll bet you that you can't...." explained. Very good advice given over and over about how to keep your money in YOUR pocket rather than a cheat's. Many many kinda of scams explained (some just briefly, but you get the idea) and some real life examples given. I only give it 4 of 5 st ...more
Oct 20, 2011 Lesley marked it as abandoned
October 20, 2011

How to cheat at everything....... Made it through about 40 pages.

First of all, it's clear from the start that Mr. Lovell is not a writer. Calling me stupid and an idiot right out of the gate is not going to get you any marks.

Secondly, you call your book "how to cheat at everything" and then constantly repeat the fact that this is not a book telling you how to cheat at everything because if you use any of the scams listed here you WILL DIE or at the very least end up with broken b
Sep 25, 2008 Melody rated it liked it
Interesting book about the number of ways a poor sap like me can get cheated. Heavy on the card/dice cheats, but with a few way cool chapters on how the carnivals are rigged and how people rip off restaurants and the like.

I am happy to say I only found con that I've fallen victim to- the well-dressed older guy who's just been mugged & needs to get to his sister in the hospital.

The card/dice chapters are full of odds and mathematical tables I think would be interesting only to real stats ge
May 12, 2013 catechism rated it liked it
Hmmmm. Bad editing and lolariously terrible photos (and some stuff about the internet I skipped because of age), and also I guess I thought it would be more about cons and less about cheating at bar/street games. But because it's basically about bar scams, the best way to actually get anything out of this book is to sit there with a friend and try to figure it out (the rules, the math, the sleight of hand). Simply reading through it turns it into a difficult-to-follow blur that can basically be ...more
Feb 14, 2008 Sarah rated it it was ok
Don't listen to the title. This isn't a manual for the aspiring cheat, but rather a collection of classic cons. (Not that I was planning to rip folks off, but you never know when such things might prove useful.)

And while the cons themselves are interesting enough -- I particularly liked the explanations of precisely how the booths at the carnival midway are rigged -- the writing frequently gets in the way of the material. Lovell's jokes often fall flat, and his typos (and occasional blatant erro
Jun 25, 2007 Denise rated it liked it
Shelves: anecdotes
A very fascinating book -- mostly about how not to get taken for a ride in various situations, how to spot cheats, and how to protect yourself from con artists, not quite what the title suggests; it's not a how-to manual. The organization is pretty good and the stories are fun and funny, but typos (and typos that occasionally change the meaning of a sentence!), heavy-fisted humor, and the semi-frequent descent into utter incomprehensibility make it impossible for me to rate it higher. Still, it' ...more
Dec 09, 2013 Evan rated it did not like it
Each of the entries in this book would be interesting as a side bar in Maxim Magazine (where I usually see this stuff) but as a 400 page text book, it is absolutely brutal. I didn't make it a quarter of the way through this book before I had to think about all the things I could be doing instead of reading this. Might be a decent addition to a library in your bathroom, and not just because it is a piece of poop. I'll see myself out.
Apr 22, 2007 Todd rated it really liked it
I haven't actually read this book per se, but after picking it up in the store, I'd call it a valuable reference. It's very large, and nearly every page is packed with the secrets of conmen and grifters through the ages. Just flipping through it, I felt like I was getting corrupted. Next thing you know, I'll be out on the street running my own shell game. Please write to me in jail, everybody. Thanks!
Xavier Ashe
Nov 07, 2013 Xavier Ashe rated it it was ok
I had high hopes for this book. I love scams and tricks, and the review I read of this book described it as the encyclopedia on the matter. Unfortunately, it's very dated and seems to address a bygone era of scamsters. And the Amazon ebook format is horrible. Many time the images are referring to paragraphs several pages back. It's a good book to poke through, but painful to read cover to cover.
Aug 16, 2007 Jim rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: cheaters
This was an interesting read, it's really more of a guide on how to prevent yourself from getting swindled, than a book on how to cheat. If there's anything you'll learn from this book, never underestimate how much time and effort someone can put into a scam, nothing is coincidence, everything is scripted.
Jan 07, 2013 James rated it it was ok
I read this book because I was interested in con artists and the potentially elaborate hustles. Unfortunately, this book is 90% card cheats and bar room drinking scams. At best it will keep you from losing a $4 beer to guy pretending to be drunk while tossing match sticks on the counter...
Feb 12, 2009 Mike added it
Shelves: tried-and-quit
This is basically a textbook on how to screw people in countless situations, from bars to the office to the street (literally! There's a bit on how to get out of a speeding ticket by running a scam on the arresting officer). It's all interesting to a point, but gets numbing after 20 pages or so.
Jun 22, 2015 Jourdan rated it really liked it
TL;DR: Do not gamble, ever. Never hold anything, for anyone. Don't talk to anyone. Don't go on vacation. Don't drink. Don't play cards with strangers. Don't play cards with friends.

Also, written by an Englishman, and they have some weird bar games.
Anne Kretzmann
Jan 13, 2008 Anne Kretzmann rated it really liked it
Not a book to read all they way through. Anyone who has ever worked in the casino, carnival, or vending business will love this book. The book gets repetetive at times, but he does a great job talking about the con itself and who to actually con.
Aug 18, 2007 Schmerica rated it really liked it
There are quite a few distracting copyediting and style choices, and the section on cheating at cards really gets bogged down, but mostly, this is completely fascinating.
Jan 09, 2016 Darryl rated it really liked it
good book with interesting info but it seems a bit dated already, especially the section on internet scams. it gives one good insight on how to avoid being scammed.
Anthrodiva Stommen
Jun 03, 2007 Anthrodiva Stommen rated it liked it
Recommends it for: grifter manques
I am in a sleight of hand phase. Funny thing, caught Nicholas practicing 'walnut and pea' all on his own the other day...step right up, ladies and gentlemen!
Brian Thompson
May 22, 2008 Brian Thompson rated it it was ok
Told in an annoyingly snarky manner. I guess I picked up some tips. Next time I'm in Vegas or AC, we'll see.
Andrew Thompson
Oct 13, 2009 Andrew Thompson rated it liked it
I'm always fascinated by scams and cons, so I'm hoping this book will feed that interest.
Aug 17, 2007 Punk marked it as find-and-read
Always wanted to know how to run a con. Four stars from Erica.
Jul 11, 2012 Feliks rated it really liked it
Shelves: good-nonfiction
The best how-to book ever written on con games.
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