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Scoundrels Sayings


This will be the wiki page on which we collect the bromides, aphorisms, epitaphs and pithy quotes from Scoundrels past and present. The "Edit Page" button is at the lower left of this window. If you notice any spelling or gramatical errors, please just fix them. We are all editors on this page.

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The Wit and Wisdom of Scoundrels


Soapy Smith:

"The way of the transgressor is hard--to quit."

"A gambler is one who teaches and illustrates the folly of avarice; he is a nonordained preacher on the vagaries of fortune and how to make doubt a certainty. He is one who, in his amusements, eliminates the element of chance; chance is merely the minister in his workshop of luck; money has no value except to back a good hand."

"A gambler is the only person who in the exercise of his profession learns how to smile in defeat, and yet is fearful to exult in success. The first leads to poverty, the other to jail. If he loses he is a pauper; if he wins he is a robber."
--Jefferson R. "Soapy" Smith



Wilson Mizner:

"Hollywood is a trip through a sewer in a glass-bottom boat."

"If you steal from one person its plaigarism, if you steal from four, its research."

Telegram to his dying brother Addison: "Stop dying. I'm trying to write a comedy."
--Wilson Mizner



"A sucker has no business with money in the first place."
--Canada Bill Jones

"Nobody ever went bowlegged carrying away the money they won from me."
--Poker Alice


"I don't know what a scoundrel is like, but I know what a respectable man is like, and it's enough to make one's flesh creep."
--Joseph De Maistre

"You just ran nine racks but you won't give me a spot?"
"I can't; I haven't seen you shoot yet."
--Unknown

"Never give a sucker an even break or smarten up a chump."
--Edward Francis Albee (1857-1930).

"In play there are two pleasures for your choosing
The one is winning , and the other is losing."
--George Gordan , Lord Byron, Don Juan (1826)

"Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people."
--H. L. Mencken

After Canada Bill lost his pile in a backwoods village gambling shack, George Devol demanded, "Don't you know that game is rigged?"
Canada Bill replied: "Of course, I know the game is rigged. But it's the only game in town."

"The generality of people throughout the world are of the opinion that gamblers are the worst people on the face of the earth. They are wrong, for I tell you there is ten times more rascality among men outside of the class they call gamblers than there is inside of it."
--George Devol

"All men that bet should not be classed as gamblers, for some things that style themselves men will bet (to win, of course), and kick if they lose, which a gambler will never do, although he may sometimes be sucker enough to bet (to win) against a sure thing, like old monte or a brace game. A kicker, or squealer, always speaks of the money he has lost, against any game, as his money; while the gambler considers the money he loses, against any game, as lost: and it belongs to the person who won it, and you never hear one of them do any kicking."
--George Devol

"With plain or garden reformers, go to their office and be sure you are alone. Then tell him that you are sorry he is acting the way he is, and if he acts different it will be to his advantage if not it's apt to cause a lot of trouble. If he gets big and blustery, just get up and go over and shove a gun in his ribs. Then tell him in plainer and more forceful language. Promise to come back if necessary, and if he has been a sinner tell him about it. Be convincing, and prod him a bit with the barrel."
--Ben Marks

"When a sucker sees a corner turned up, or a little spot on a card in three-card monte, he does not know that it was done for the purpose of making him think he has the advantage. He thinks, of course, the player does not see it, and he is in such a hurry to get out his money that he often cuts or tears his clothes. After they have put up their money and turned the card, they see that the mark was put there for a purpose. Then they are mad, because they are beat at their own game. They begin to kick, and want their money back, but they would not have thought of such a thing had they won the money from a blind man, for they did think he must be nearly blind, or he could have seen the mark on the winning card. They expected to rob a blind man, and got left. I never had any sympathy for them, and I would fight before I would give them back one cent. It is a good lesson for a dishonest man to be caught by some trick, and I always did like to teach it."
--George Devol

"He (Canada Bill) loved gambling for its own sake, just as the moralists love virtue for its own sake."
--George Devol

"It's (the rube act) the funniest act in the world to look at and I nearly died laughing when I first saw it."
--Frank Tarbeaux

"I never cheated an honest man, only rascals. They wanted something for nothing, I gave them nothing for something."
--Joseph "Yellow Kid" Weil



Damon Runyon:

"Son, one of these days in your travels, a guy is going to come up to you and show you a nice brand-new deck of cards on which the seal is not yet broken, and this guy is going to offer to bet you that he can make the Jack of Spades jump out of the deck and squirt cider in your ear. But, son, do not bet this man, for as sure as you are standing there, you are going to end up with an earful of cider."

"The race may not always be to the swift nor the victory to the strong, but that's how you bet."

"Much as he is opposed to law - breaking, he is not bigoted about it."

"Trust, but verify."

"I came to the conclusion long ago that all life is six to five against."
--Damon Runyon



"You can't cheat an honest man--Never give sucker an even break--and never smartin' up a chump!"
--W. C. Fields

"One should always play fair when one has winning cards"
-Oscar Wilde

"Luck favors the prepared mind"
-Louis Pasteur

"Probability is the very guide to life."
-Cicero (106-43 B.C.)

"At gambling, the deadly sin is to mistake bad play for bad luck."
-Ian Fleming in Casino Royale (1953)

"When I played pool I was like a good psychiatrist . I cured 'em all of all their daydreams and delusions "
-Minnesota Fats ... quoted in Jon Bradshaw, Fast Company (1975)

"A lot of good players never get to the top because when they get ahead in a game they start feeling sorry for their opponent.They ease up on him instead of kicking him when he is down . You've got to look at it this way... if you are playing your grandmother a fifty-point game, try to beat her fifty to nothing."
--Dan McGoorty from Robert Bryne in McGoorty (1972)

"A Smith and Wesson beats four aces."

"Someone you trust is one of us..."

"Age and treachery will beat youth and skill every time."

"We cheat the other guy and pass the savings on to you."

"A wise man knows everything, a shrewd one, everybody."

"A friend will come bail you out of jail. A TRUE friend will be in the cell with you, saying, "damn, that was fun!"

"Ed's four rules of life -- as coined in 1975:
1. Mind your own business.
2. If you think you can, or if you think you can't, you're right.
3. Never try to make anybody do anything they don't already want to do.
4. If rules one through three don't work, fire the first shot dead center."
--Ed Parish

"Never play cards, or shoot pool, with a guy nicknamed after a city."

"(1) Admit nothing. (2) Deny everything. (3) Demand proof. (4) Make counter-allegations."

"I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me."
--Hunter S. Thompson

"Scoundrel? Scoundrel... I like the sound of that."
--Han Solo in Star Wars

"You like me because I'm a scoundrel. There aren't enough scoundrels in your life."
--Han Solo in Star Wars

"A rich man is either a scoundrel or the heir of a scoundrel."
--Spanish Proverb

"To live outside the law you must be honest."
--Bob Dylan

"Never bet on baseball."
--Pete Rose



Money, that vehicle for transactions which is exchanged for goods and services is often hard earned honestly, and a great deal of our laws govern it's fair distribution. The concept that it should be redistributed based on chance is a perverse one invented by scoundrels. All other justification and arguments in favor of these endeavors are simply lies and illusion in support of the desired, unscrupulous result. In every bet ever made between two people there existed the following ingredients : one fool and one thief (excepting the scenarios wherein they are both fools or both thieves).
--A suppressed inner voice of an un-named pit boss.

" Do I have to double my bet if I play two spots?"
--That same pit-boss in another casino 2 hours after his shift!

--Dowser



"We must never forget that we are human, and as humans we dream, and when we dream we dream of money."
--"George Lang" (Ricky Jay in The Spanish Prisoner)

"You don't learn from smart people, you learn from idiots. Watch what they do, and then don't do it. "
--Rudolf Wanderone (aka Minnesota Fats)

"Heroes and villains are not born. Neither are they made. Heroes and villains are CORNERED!"
--Ed Parish

"...but in my humble opinion, I'm no hustler. You see, neighbor, I never go looking for a sucker. I look for a champion and make a sucker out of him."
--Amarillo Slim

"One may treat a gentleman rudely, but beware of being rude to a scoundrel."
--Chinese Proverb



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