The Razzle Dazzle Scam – James Grime from Numberphile

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* Correction: the “actual count” at 11:41 should be 29, the bet doubling score.

“Razzle Dazzle,” also known as “Play Football,” “Auto Races,” “Double-Up,” or “Bolero” is a complete scam disguised as a game of chance. Not only is it illegal in the United States, it’s virtually impossible to win. Dr. James Grime from Numberphile and SingingBanana demonstrates this carnival scam as well as a slightly-more-fair version you can play with just dice.

Thanks to Dr. James Grime for joining us! Check him out at:

Want to print the Razzle Dazzle scoreboard from this episode? Download it here:

Data and information sources for this video:
“Probabilities of Winning a Certain Carnival Game” – Donald A. Berry and Ronald R. Regal (The American Statistician, November 1978)
“Razzle Dazzle and Related Gambling Games” (FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, February 1969) –

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This video made by:
Brian Brushwood
Brandt Hughes
Bryce Castillo
John Rael
Annaliese Martin

Includes an edit of “Makie Elkino” by William Ross Chernoff’s Nomads

#CarnivalScams #RazzleDazzle #ScamNation


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41 thoughts on “The Razzle Dazzle Scam – James Grime from Numberphile

  1. Think counting is all there is to this illegal scam? Watch the second half to see why even a fair game is nearly impossible!
    Did the count fool you?

  2. Very good demonstration. Playing the role as the dealer, as James demonstrates, he manipulates the game by miscounting in order to hook or keep hooking you. Just like dangling a carrot in front of a donkey. What helps the operators of these boards is a lot of people are too lazy to count and do the math.

  3. Wait, what? How is the scamee not supposed to notie you're miscounting? Can't he see the board? There was something amiss from the start.

  4. when I did this on my friends with dice I made the number 26 remove just 5 points to make it a lot harder to get 100 points.

  5. If you count all the individual numbers on the board there isn't an equal amount of each number. There's hardly any "1"s and lots of "4"s which is on the losing profile. The board itself is a scam.

  6. Brian has developed a overpowering gambling addiction, he is never home anymore, all he does is spend his nights in the casino, and when he doesn't have the money for gambling he sits outside the casino and robs people

  7. For a second i thought he was gonna say his name was professor Edgar Singleton(five of spades) or something.

  8. Two lovely show hosts at the same time, what else?!! James Grime on the Modern Rogue would be awesome!
    Also yeah the miscounting was fairly obvious after the first round, and we all know Dr. James Grime would not miscount that unless on purpose…

  9. The incorrect addition was noticeable the first roll. I was keeping track and I was like… WTF this guy is a mathematician and can't do arithmetic? That's when it should be obvious as a scam to anyone keeping track.

  10. I thought there was something clever about his miscount , like When the number is odd use the top number when even use the bottom number. We're talkong about James Grime here.

    But No it's just Straight up Slot Machine without all the gears , free cocktails , Fancy Light and sounds. Dang. I've Played Gatcha with more chances than that.

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