Find the Lady

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Paris, France

Find the Lady Paris Reviews

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648 reviews
Find the Lady Apr 29, 2011
Find the Lady


Never play find the lady.  Find the Lady is the game that people play with three playing cards, or three cups and a pea, or similar, where you have to guess which card is the queen, or which cup the pea is under for money.  You bet some coins that you can guess which cup it’s under, and the man manages to hide it.  And, it really needs to be said, almost no one beats the house.  Everyone you speak to knows this, and yet somehow, the Find the Lady man turns a profit. 

There are two reasons you cannot beat the house.  The first is the reason that assumes it’s an honest game.  If that man could not turn a profit playing find the lady, he would not be doing it.  He spends all day, most weekends, hiding the lady.  You better believe he’s good.  Your eyes are not that fast.  And the other reason is that it’s not certain he’s honest.  Sure, it is theoretically possible that he is turning an honest living hiding queens or peas under cups, it does happen.  But come here.   Join me on this park bench and watch this unfold. 

A Friendly guy in a Sweatshirt is playing cards with the Find the Lady Man, and a crowd starts to grow.  Friendly Sweatshirt man is winning a lot – A Lady with a Small Dog remarks how lucky he is to a tourist wearing a hat.  Tourist in Hat has bet a euro he can find the lady.  Look! He has won! The crowd all cheers, appreciatively, and there is lots of back patting and jostling to get closer. 

Tourist in Hat puts down another euro.  The crowd grows!  Bloke with a Camcorder puts down a euro too.  Bloke with a Camcorder and  Tourist in Hat loose.  Never mind.  The Find the Lady man must be honest – this game is easy.  Tourist in Hat and Bloke with a Camcorder keep playing.  They lose a few Euros each.  But that’s OK, for some entertainment. 

Watch Friendly Sweatshirt Man.  Isn’t he friendly, bumping them in the shoulder when they win, commiserating when they lose?  And Woman with a Small Dog, she’s lovely, isn’t she, helping hold stuff when people’s hands are full?

Suddenly, the crowd disperses.  Find the Lady Man has spotted a policeman, and gambling in the street is illegal. 

Watch carefully.  Bloke with a Camcorder pats his pockets, puzzled – he thought he had his wallet in his hip pocket?  Never mind.  It must be in his camera bag after all.  Tourist in Hat seems to have mislaid something too.  He was going to take a picture – where has his camera gone?  And come to think of it, several tourists have puzzled expressions, mingled with mild panic, as they search their pockets and their bags.

Over there – isn’t that Find the Lady Man, setting back up?  Tell you what – there’s Friendly Sweatshirt, too!  And Woman with a Small Dog!  They must really like watching Find the Lady, to keep watching it like that.  Right?

So, don’t play Find the Lady.  And if you watch people play Find the Lady, watch it with your valuables in your hands, and stay out of the main crowd. 


*disclaimer – obviously, if I had seen a whole story like this play out all at once, I would have tried to warn Bloke with a Camcorder and Tourist in Hat.  I’ve seen parts of this situation many times – seen the game set up, seen a game collapse and set back up elsewhere with some of the same people watching, been puzzled as I walked past because no one else seems to be worried about it, and I’ve spoken to people who were robbed in crowds like this.  Find the Lady is a very well known scam, but in the interests of fairness, I am prepared to believe that some Find the Lady stalls are honest places where you might actually win some money.  And whilst you’re there, perhaps you’ll meet a man who really does just need your bank details to get money to his formerly-noble-but-trapped-refugee friends?
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