A sucker bet is so-called for the fact that while it appears impossible for the person who proposes it to win, it is in fact impossible for him to lose. Many people consider these wagers to be out-and-out larceny. Those with the ability to chuckle at themselves will usually not take it so seriously, at least when only a small sum of money is involved, which is usually the case. Here is a sample of the sucker line:
The bettor takes a glass of beer, declaring that he can drink the entire glass and still have enough left for another drink. If the challenge is accepted the bettor drinks down the beer, then places 50 cents in the bottom of the glass, “enough left over for another drink.”
Or, the bettor tells the chump that if given a dollar he, the bettor, will be able to tell the serial number of the bill without looking. The sucker gives him a bill and the bettor rattles off some number or other. Whether or not the numbers are accurate doesn’t matter. The sucker has “given him the bill” and it is now rightfully the bettor’s. A bargain is a bargain, after all.
Or, the bettor takes a jigger of whiskey and fills in three-quarters to the top. He announces that he will drop ten dimes into the glass without spilling the whiskey. This one is totally legitimate. To the taker’s surprise, many more than ten coins will fit into the glass before it overflows.
Or, the bettor touches the tips of his index fingers together and holds them at a point directly in the center of his chest. He challenges the strongest man in the vicinity to take hold of both wrists and, without jerking, to pull his fingers apart. Sounds incredible but the strong man will fail. Try it. As long as the pulling movement is done slowly without violent jerks the fingers can not be parted. Leverage is on the bettor’s side.
Or, the bettor takes a dime and places it on top of an empty (but recently cold) bottle of beer, claiming he can make the coin flip over without touching it or moving the bottle. The secret: he makes sure his hands are warm. He clutches the bottle toward the top and the heat of his fingers will cause the gas inside the bottle to expand, forcing the coin to flip over.
Or, the wiseacre bets anyone that with a single glance he can tell how many grooves are in any long playing record. The secret: there is only one groove on every record. It is a continuous spiral.
Or, finally, no matter how hard he tries, the bettor announces, the sucker will not be able to take his wristwatch of alone. Every time the sucker then tries, the bettor takes his own watch of along with him. The sucker can never take it off “alone.”