Heading out to the pub? Want to leave with more money than you walked in with?
You could use one of the 21 ways to make money at the bar that we previously covered. Or you could pick a few targets from among the people around you and start wagering . . . and winning.
That’s right, you can make extra cash with these foolproof bar bets (or at least get someone to pay for your drinks).
1. The Folded Bill
This is one of the easiest bar bets because the only preparation necessary is to keep a bit of cash in your pocket.
Put a five-dollar bill on the bar, have a friend or stranger match it with his own, then challenge him to fold either one in half eight times, doubling it over each time. If he can do it he keeps the bills; if not, you take the money. (Like this idea? Click to tweet it!)
This idea has been around for a while. Some people have claimed that it’s impossible to fold any piece of paper in half more than seven times, but an episode of Mythbusters proved it can be done with a huge piece of very thin paper.
But fortunately for you, nobody in the bar will ever fold a normal piece of paper or currency in half eight times.
2. The Wizard
This amazing card trick requires an associate, so you might have to share your winnings with a partner.
Ask someone to draw from a deck of playing cards and place one card face up on the bar so everyone (including you) can see it. Tell her you’re going to call the “Wizard,” and once he’s on the line, you’ll hand her the phone so the Wizard can announce which card was chosen.
Bet any takers $5 or $10 that the Wizard will get it right. Explain it all again if you have to, making it clear that there is really no way for the Wizard to know which random card was selected.
Let’s say the card is a nine of diamonds. You make your call and ask, “Is the Wizard there?” Your associate knows what to do, and so says “clubs, hearts, diamonds, spades.” When he gets to “diamonds” you interrupt him with “Okay,” so he now knows the suit.
To those watching it appears that someone on the other end is getting the Wizard for you. But your associate continues with “ace, two, three . . .” and you interrupt at nine (so he knows the number) with “Hello Wizard, I have someone who wants to ask you something?”
Then hand the phone to the person who chose the card or anyone who bet against you, preferably putting the call on speakerphone. When she asks what the card is, the Wizard will announce, “The card was the nine of diamonds.” Collect your bets and take a bow.
3. The Paper Bridge
Place two beer mugs five inches apart and put a piece of paper over them. Set a salt shaker on the paper to show that the paper can’t hold the weight. Let your “target” try to set it on the paper between the mugs.
He might fold the paper or roll it into a tube for greater strength, but it’s very unlikely that he’ll succeed in setting the salt shaker on it without it falling.
Once he’s convinced it won’t work bet, him $5 that you can do it without moving the mugs and using only the paper to support the salt shaker between them. If he accepts the bet, fold the paper accordion-style with a heavy crease every half inch.
Now place it between the mugs with the folds facing up and you should be able to set a salt shaker on the resulting “bridge” easily. Richard Wiseman demonstrates this trick in one of his “Quirkology” videos.
Note: Get to know your target a bit before making this bet! If you try this with an engineer, she probably won’t take the bet, and may even find other ways to balance the salt shaker on the paper.
4. The Date
This one is from a list of tricky bar bets you can use to take advantage of and/or annoy your friends.
Tell your drinking buddy, “Get a coin out of your pocket and set it under that drink coaster.” As he does so, say, “Don’t let me see it.” Then wave your hand over the coaster, look like you are concentrating, and say, “I’ll bet you $5 (or the next round of drinks) I can tell you the date.”
If he takes the bet, just announce today’s date — you didn’t say you would tell him the date on the coin!
5. The Fast Drinker
Here’s another one to annoy your drinking buddy and win you a few drinks. Tell her you’re going to order three beers and three shots, and that as long as you get a one-beer head start, you’ll finish all of the beers before she can drink the three shots. Neither of you can touch the other’s shot glasses or beer mugs. Whoever loses has to pay for all six drinks.
As soon as you drink your first beer (your head start), place the mug upside-down over one of your friend’s shots without touching the glass. Since she can’t touch your mug, she can’t get to her third shot, so you can drink the other two beers at your leisure and hand the bill to her.
6. The Coin Hole
Place a dime on a piece of paper and use a pen to trace a line around it. Follow the line to cut out a hole. If nobody has scissors, you can trace the circle repeatedly with the pen until the center tears out easily.
Now bet that you can fit a nickel through this dime-sized hole without tearing the paper. Let anyone examine everything so it’s clear that trying to push the coin through will tear the paper.
If someone takes the bet, fold the paper across the middle of the hole and place the nickel between the folds onto the hole. Pull the corners of the paper up toward each other and the nickel will fall through easily. Check out this video to see how it’s done.
Your Turn: Have you ever won money or drinks from a bar bet? Which one is your favorite?