Hustling

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Hustling is the deceptive act of disguising one's skill in a sport or game with the intent of luring someone of probably lesser skill into gambling (or gambling for higher than current stakes) with the hustler, as a form of confidence trick. It is most commonly associated with, and originated in, pool (and to an extent other billiards-family games), but also can be performed with regard to other sports and gambling activities. Hustlers may also engage in "sharking"—distracting, disheartening, enraging or even threatening their opponents, to throw them off. Hustlers are thus often called "pool sharks" (compare "card shark"). Professional and semi-pro hustlers sometimes work with a "stakehorse"—a person who provides the money for the hustler to bet with (and who may assist in the hustling)—in exchange for a substantial portion of all winnings. Another form of hustling (often engaged in by the same hustlers who use the skill-disguising technique) is challenging "marks" (swindle targets) to bet on trick shots that seem near-impossible but at which the hustler is exceptionally skilled.

Pool hustling techniques[edit]

Pool hustlers use deception and misdirection in order to win cash from inexperienced players (or skilled players inexperienced with the world of hustling). A skilled hustler:

Many of these ploys can easily be mistaken for the honest faults of a less-than-exceptional player. The engendered doubt and uncertainty is what allows hustling to succeed, with the "faults" being dropped when a significant amount of money is at stake.

In popular culture[edit]

Pool hustling is the subject of films such as The Hustler (1961) and The Color of Money (1986) (both adapted from earlier novels, see "Books", below), among others (see "Films", below). In the 1972 Jim Croce song "You Don't Mess Around with Jim", the character Slim teaches a lesson to Big Jim about pool hustling. It was also the principal subject of episodes of various television programs, including The Dick Van Dyke Show episode "Hustling the Hustler" (season 2, episode 5, 1962), Quantum Leap episode "Pool Hall Blues" (sn. 2, ep. 18, 1990), The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episode "Banks Shot" (sn. 1, ep. 22, 1991), The Steve Harvey Show episodes "Pool Sharks Git Bit" (sn. 1, ep. 12, 1996) followed up with "What You Won't Cue for Love" (sn. 3, ep. 6, 1998), and Drake and Josh episode "Pool Shark" (sn. 2, ep. 5, 2004). Main characters Dean and Sam Winchester are also pool hustlers, among other sources of income, in the TV series Supernatural (various episodes, 2005–present).

Notable real-life hustlers[edit]

Notable books about and/or by hustlers[edit]

In a similar vein, but about other sports

Notable films about hustlers and hustling[edit]

In a similar vein, but about other sports

Notable fictional hustlers[edit]