Cheating for fun & profit

Truels of Engagement

Hey, you! Yes, you — mediocre gamer. Yes, that’s right, I know all about you. You’re tired of being beaten by luckier, more skillful opponents, right? Do all of your friends joke that you’re just paying for the company at your weekly poker game? Is a nerd who figured out all the hotkeys for that online game is grinding you into the dust?

Do I ever have a solution for you.

Who am I, you ask? Why I’m your regular Friday columnist’s streetwise alter-ego, Clue Fields. The cupcake who writes the other column thinks hard work and dedication are the keys to success. Balderdash, I say! He doesn’t have the balls to tell you what I’m about to: the secret to winning.

I’m talking, of course, about bending the rules. Some would call it cheating, but I call it the creation of otherwise unavailable winning opportunities.

It’s all in the wrist, really. If you want to pull off the likes of The Credit Caper or The Baccarat Offset in Vegas, you’ve got to develop your sleight-of-hand skills.

Who am I kidding — why am I endorsing the really intricate maneuvers when one of the simplest is the most effective?

According to Internet gambling guru Richard Marcus, one of the best scams — “The Savannah” — involves a classic bait-and-switch betting scheme that takes advantage of good acting skills. The scheme is simple: Lay down two chips, a $5 on top of a $100 or even $1,000 chip, on the 2 to 1 column and hope for a win. If you do, congratulations! But if not, simply scoop up your chips before the dealer can sweep them away. When he protests, replace the expensive chip with another $5 chip and repeat the aforementioned steps, or move to a different table to keep things kosher. You wouldn’t want the fascist Sin City pigs to catch wind of your brilliant scheme and kick you out.

I can already tell you’re skeptical. That’s just your pesky conscience getting in the way. Hell, anyone these days can see that cheaters profit. It’s the American way; from Old West snake oil peddlers to the Wall Street geniuses who stacked derivatives upon credit-default swaps (small businesses and homeowners be damned), cheaters have always prospered.

Take Bill Belichick, for example. He’s a personal hero, a true paragon who managed to sneak a peek at the New York Jets playbook and take home the 2007 Coach of the Year award. He fleeced the entire NFL for the low, low price of $500,000 and his dignity.

Need more anecdotal evidence that my methods are superior? Look no further than all-time soccer great Diego Maradona, who I can unequivocally and without reservations proclaim to be the most talented sportsman who ever lived. The grace and confidence with which he leaps toward the ball, the superior hand-eye coordination he employs to punch it into the net, the unabashed swagger as he takes his victory lap — these are qualities a true champion possesses. Had he admitted his violation of the rules, he wouldn’t be in the history books, now would he?

Physical games not your style? It’s even easier to cheat in cyberspace. Everyone loves first-person shooters, but nobody likes losing. Try evening the odds with an aimbot (you’ll never have to worry about missing again!) or a wallhack (I see you!). Who needs friends when you’ve got 100-percent accuracy and x-ray vision? I know I don’t.

Now there’s that mischievous gleam I like to see in gamers’ eyes. That determination to win no matter the cost will earn you your spot in the 1 percent. Which brings me to my one and only disclaimer: People will be jealous of you.

All the lemmings will tell you you’re being “unsportsmanlike,” “unfair” and “un-fun.” But don’t let that get you down — you’ll have way more fun than everyone else because you’ll be holding all the chips!

Tonya Harding didn’t get where she is by thinking about other people’s good time. She knew that true gamesmanship is about creating, and then seizing opportunity. No megalomaniacal rules association should be able to dictate the way we play. As an old baseball coach of mine once told a bunch of impressionable young athletes, “it’s no fun unless you’re winning.”

That other columnist mistakenly believes in some pretty outdated shit. Community? Respect for one’s opponent? Fairness? You just want the big, beefy W. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and none of us want to be just another sheep in the flock. It seems to me that the 99 percent only sleep in tents because they couldn’t figure out how to get a real job and buy a mansion. Stick with me, kid, and you’ll go far.

Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start is how I roll. Would you care to join me?