It only seems fair that readers of this blog
deserve a few free drinks.
In this article, I’m going to share two excellent bar bets that will entertain your friends and send them to the bar to buy you a drink, but I’ll also discuss how to beat someone who already knows the secret.
In fact, if you are lucky enough to find someone
who knows the second “betcha” described below or who proposes this bet, you
will be sure to beat them at their own game.
As described previously, the way to ensure you get paid without losing friends in the process of a proposition bet is the promise that anyone who falls for these bets will be able to do the same to others once they know the secret.
More importantly, only employ these betchas with
people who can afford to pay the agreed amount – and keep those amounts
A free drink or even lunch is reasonable in most
cases and won’t cause bad feeling so long as you pick your mark with care.
Remember, these are not con games.
You are telling people you can do something they
can’t and offering to prove it for a small wager.
In return, they learn how to do the same stunt
Bar Bet 1: Pints vs Shots
This is an all-time favourite and I’ve scored
more free drinks with this game than almost any other.
Here’s the pitch:
We order three shots and three pints of beer.
The sucker is challenged to drink all three
shots before I can drink all three pints while observing two simple rules:
- Only we can touch our own glasses, and with just one hand.
- I get to finish one pint before they start drinking their shots.
It’s important to be clear on these rules and
not to elaborate.
Many suckers will try to get into a game of
“what if” but I quickly shut that down and press for a decision on whether to
take the bet, reiterating the two rules if necessary.
Naturally, whoever loses must buy all six
The secret is simple.
Place the three pints in a row, evenly spaced,
with the shot glasses in front of the spectator to match the spacing of the
Be prepared to drink your first pint quickly, telling
the sucker that it helps line the stomach for the next two, which will be
According to the rules, they cannot start
drinking until you finish that first pint and as soon as you do, they will race
for their first shot glass.
While they are focused on that first drink,
up-end your glass so it is mouth down and cover one of the remaining two shot
glass, trapping it inside!
Remember, no one else can touch your glasses, so
that shot glass is now out of reach until you finish the next two pints, which
you can do at your leisure…
Bar Bet 2: Do As I Do
Some years ago, I presented a show throughout the Edinburgh Fringe Festival that was sponsored by Bushmills Whiskey, a brand I happened to like despite not being Scottish.
To feature my sponsor in each show, I included a
simple bar bet that I’d learned during my time in the British Army; a bet that
had cost me a round of drinks and shot to my ego but had since repaid me with a
few free beers and lunches.
Here’s the pitch:
We each begin with a shot glass filled with our
favourite tipple and two coins, both heads side up.
The challenge is for the sucker to do exactly
what I do for five phases of the game.
That’s it: do exactly what I do, and you win
the game and your choice of poison from the bar.
Before we start, we each lay out our glass and
coins in the same fashion, with the heads up.
Without saying a word, I pick up my glass, move
a coin aside and place it between the coins.
The sucker repeats this exactly.
I turn one of the coins, so it is tails-up, and
place it on top of the other coin.
The sucker does the same.
I now drink the entire shot and replace the
The sucker does the same.
I drop both coins into the glass.
The sucker repeats.
I then pick up the glass and spit the shot –
which I never swallowed – back into the glass and replace it on the table or
The sucker, having actually drunk his shot, is
forced to concede and reach for his wallet.
This makes for an entertaining and surprising
stunt and almost always elicits a laugh as well as a few free drinks.
How To Beat People Who Know This Trick
The first bet (pints vs shots) is very difficult
to beat, even if you know the secret.
So if the sucker accepts that proposition you
can be pretty sure he or she is going to lose so long as they don’t try to
change the conditions.
The second, however, is the kind of bet that can
kick you in the back if the sucker is already wise to it but there’s a simple
way to beat someone who already knows the con.
First, let’s talk about how to deal with an
overly suspicious or challenging opponent.
Many times, when making friendly wagers for low
stakes (like a drink or a sandwich) you will find yourself faced with someone
who tries to interrogate every detail of your proposition, which can make the
whole exercise both difficult and unpleasant.
If you have the personality quirk to do so, it
is possible to manipulate people in these circumstances by distracting their
In the case of “Do As I Do”, I like to put a
little extra stress on the orientation of the coins in order to distract the
I will sometimes show the head and tail of one coin while showing only the head of the other.
When I turn the second coin to show tails, I deliberately cover the tail side with my finger as I say “heads on this side, tails on this side” but it never fools a suspicious sucker who is suddenly obsessed by the missing side of that coin.
I promise they can examine everything at the end
but stress that neither of us can touch each other’s glass or coins (an
additional condition to distract their thinking).
If they are really suspicious about the coins, I
already know they probably don’t know this trick and can continue with
If I get a sense that the mark does know this
betcha than I have another trick up my sleeve.
When picking up the two coins, I palm one as I
apparently drop both into the glass.
In fact, only one is dropped while the other
remains in my hand.
This is a skill you’ll need to learn but if you
can naturally hold one coin in your hand without cramping or looking like your
hand has been trapped in time, you simply appear to pick up the coins and toss
them both into the glass but only one is allowed to fall.
If done smoothly, dropping the coin into the
glass and then spitting out the drink, the sucker never suspects that only one
coin was dropped.
After spitting out the shot I never swallowed,
if the sucker does the same, I proceed to pull the palmed coin from the bottom
of the glass!
If the sucker ever does the same, I’d happily
buy him or her a round of drinks and congratulate him on having read this
*Unless I happen to have a third kicker not