->''"Weakness equals strength."''
-->-- An old poker adage

A common con game in fiction, particularly in comedy. It works like this: Someone challenges a person to a "friendly game" of something, be it cards, some kind of sport or something else. At first, they seem to be bad at the game and will repeatedly lose to the other person. Then they will suggest a wager. The minute the wager is made, they suddenly become good at the game and beat the other person hands down. A longer, and more expensive version, is to lose a series of small bets and then [[KansasCityShuffle apparently attempt to bluff the mark]] into going away with a very large, dangerous bet that completely overwrites the previous losses.

The defeated party has just been the unfortunate victim of a clever scam artist. In other words, the mark has just been hustled. Big time.

Often involves the use of ObfuscatingStupidity. A subtrope of ShortCon. TruthInTelevision. There have been many famous hustlers in RealLife. In fiction, the apparent mark will often turn out to be a ''better'' hustler than the con-artist.

Note: This trope does not refer to ANY kind of scam. It specficially refers to a particular con involving a competition of some sort.

'''May contain spoilers.'''



[[folder: Anime And Manga ]]

* Popped up in ''Manga/HikaruNoGo''. Hikaru is looking to recruit a kid from his school who is very good at Go, but who prefers to use his skills in semi-shady Go-parlors where money is bet on the outcomes... and he's not shy about cheating to make sure he takes home the cash, either. Eventually, however, he falls prey to this. A drunken patron plays him for a game, screws up impressively, and loses a small bet. Drunkenly complaining, he suggests a second game, with a much bigger bet, and the kid - thinking him an easy mark - agrees, putting all his money down. However, as soon as they start playing, the 'drunkard' changes, turning out to be a highly skilled and intimidating player, who is apt at sleight of hand himself. Turns out, he's actually a famed hustler who was hired by the local players to teach the kid a lesson, since they were tired of being cheated by him all the time. Sure enough, he beats the kid soundly and takes his money.
* In ''Manga/TheLegendOfKoizumi'', George W. Bush does this against Taizo during a game of Mahjong. Yes, it's one of [[WidgetSeries those series]].
* Duke Devlin does this to Joey in the ''Anime/YuGiOh'' anime, pretending to be a total novice at Duel Monsters, only to reveal the skills of an experienced player a few moves into the match.


[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* Occurs in a ''Webcomic/DorkTower'' story arc. After hearing that Igor has never played poker, Ken eagerly invites him to join his poker game. At first, Igor frustrates the other players with his naive questions and obvious tells, but by the end of the evening he makes off with all of the winnings. The final strip shows Igor talking to someone on a cell phone about how he fooled everyone... while being pursued by a ''very'' angry Ken.
* In one ''[[Franchise/ArchieComics Archie]]'' story, Mr. Weatherbee reveals he used to hustle people at "pitching pennies" when he was younger. Miss Grundy, who claims to be bad at the pastime, convinces him to show off his skills in a friendly game. If Mr. Weatherbee wins, Miss Grundy buys him lunch and if Miss Grundy wins, he buys her a dozen roses. It turns out Miss Grundy is an expert at the game and she easily defeats him.
* A ''ComicBook/LuckyLuke'' album has a scene where hucksters [[ThemeNaming Denver and Colorado]] join a poker game pretending that they have never played the game before. Naturally, they soon prove themselves to be suspisciously "fast learners".


[[folder: Films -- Animated ]]

* In ''Disney/BigHero6'', Hiro does this in an illegal underground bot-fight. He first loses a game with a small bet and comes across as...well, a kid trying to play in the big leagues. Then he makes a big bet (before his opponent can take the winnings from the betting tray, so his opponent's bet constitutes all the money he'd lost and then some) and ''completely annihilates'' his opponent's bot. Since this is an illegal underground fight, though, his opponent is ''not happy'' with being hustled, leading to a chase sequence.


[[folder: Films -- Live-Action ]]

* Naturally, this trope was used in ''Film/TheHustler'' as well as its {{sequel}} ''Film/TheColorOfMoney''.
* Creator/WoodyAllen's film ''Film/TakeTheMoneyAndRun'' sees the main character attempt to become a pool hustler and fails miserably.
* The entirety of the movie ''Film/{{Diggstown}}'' is about this: hustles, counter-hustles and counter-counter-hustles.
** It's possibly subverted and played straight in the same scene. Oliver Platt's character tells everyone in the bar that he's good and poker and pool and everyone still accuses him of hustling when he wins, which he calls them on. However, he's also been drinking heavily, but had taken a pill to prevent intoxication which he was feigning.
* ''Film/EnterTheDragon'' has ThoseTwoGuys pulling this trick in a tournament fight.
* In an early scene of ''Film/{{Maverick}}'', the title character asks to sit in on a poker game, and finding the players reluctant he assures them that he never cheats, hardly ever bluffs, and promises to lose for a full hour. True to his promise, he spends the first hour generally acting the fool and doing things like "accidentally" displaying his hand to the entire table right after it's dealt, and loses a fair amount of money... and then proceeds to clean everyone out once the hour is up because he spent that hour figuring out everyone's tells.
* This happens in several Creator/AbbottAndCostello movies. Typically it's also [[SubvertedTrope subverted]] in that [[ConMan Abbott]] 'tricks' seeming clueless innocent [[ObfuscatingStupidity Costello]] into a game of dice or poker, only for Lou to walk away with everyone's money.
* Poker tournament {{mockumentary}} ''Film/TheGrand'' features a player who acts like he's never played poker before, not knowing the difference between a good or bad hand, when he should bet or how much, that sort of thing. None of the other players ever find this out, but this was a persona he had constructed based on something he'd read in a veteran pro's book -- he's actually a very experienced online poker player.
* An early scene in ''Film/OceansEleven'' has Danny and Rusty hustling a group of actors, who are complete amateurs at poker.


[[folder: Literature ]]

* Happened to Nanny Ogg in ''Discworld/WitchesAbroad'', playing the card game [[{{Calvinball}} Cripple Mr Onion]] against a group of young men on a riverboat. Then they tried it on Granny Weatherwax. She managed to beat them without even ''cheating'', just [[{{Metagame}} using headology]] (and some magic to destroy their cheating aids).
--> "... when an obvious innocent sits down with three experienced [[CardSharp card sharpers]] and says 'How do you play this game, then?', someone is about to be shaken down until their teeth fall out."
* The titular ''Literature/PrinceRoger'' demonstrates the ''Discworld'' quote above at the beginning of the second book:
--> "Spades?" Roger asked. "What's spades?"\\
[cut scene]\\
"I can' believe I get taken by my own pocking prince," Poertena grumped much later as he and Denat watched Roger walk away, whistling cheerfully while he counted his winnings.
* ''Literature/GauntsGhosts'' got in trouble pulling this for an unusual reason. One of the people involved was brought up before the Inquisition - and forced to prove that the method he was using to cheat did not involve the use of psychic powers.
* Denna pulls this in ''Literature/TheWiseMansFear'' when playing cards with Kvothe and his friends.
* In Neal Shusterman's book [[Literature/StarShardsChronicles Scorpion Shards]], [[TheChessmaster Dillion]] does this with several games of pool. He loses the first, bombs the second, and pulls out his wallet, demanding a rematch. When his opponent (convinced that Dillion's doing this to impress his [[TheHeart girlfriend]]) throws down his own wallet, Dillion [[CurbstompBattle doesn't even let his opponent get one shot in]].
* In the ''[[Franchise/BattleTechExpandedUniverse [=BattleTech=]]]'' novel ''By Blood Betrayed'', protagonist Harley Rassor finds out in person that being subjected to this is practically an informal rite of passage for new recruits to the mercenary unit Able's Aces -- like him. The idea isn't so much to relieve them of their money (although that ''can'' happen, a win is a win) as to see how long it takes them to figure out the scam and how they react once they do.


[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* ''Series/{{Cheers}}'': ConMan Harry the Hat once helped Coach earn his money back by playing poker against a card shark, exclaiming brightly when invited to a poker game, "I heard poker can be a pleasant diversion!"
* Card sharps take advantage of Roger Addison in an episode of ''Series/MisterEd''. Wilbur Post and the titular talking horse cheat them in return and get Addison's money back.
* ''Series/FullHouse'' has D.J. hustle Michelle into doing the dishes after Michelle refuses to do them together. Michelle feels that she would much rather play jacks. D.J. says " Hey, Jacks, gosh, I was never any good at that. " Michelle challenges her to a game and wages that the loser of the game has to do the dishes by themselves. Good Ol' Deej obliterates her [[AnnoyingYoungerSibling little sister]] in the game. D.J. even says "call me a sucker, but ok." Probably as close to gambling as a show like that can get.
** No, the closest they actually got to gambling was when Jesse and Joey played a game of pool. Jesse beats Joey hands down, but then Danny wants to play. Jesse mocks the strait-laced Danny for wanting to play, especially when Danny seemingly tries to use the wrong end of the stick to break. That's when Danny breaks and sinks three balls on his first shot, before [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdqKkrVgx0w mopping the floor with Jesse.]] Danny makes a hundred bucks off Jesse, and then gives Joey $10 for keeping his mouth shut about Danny going to college on a billiards scholarship.
* ''Series/TheSuiteLifeOfZackAndCody'' had a girl who was an expert at this. She hustled Zack out of some money and cleaned Maddie out of a large number of candy bars.
-->'''Girl:''' ''(to London) "Nice watch. Wanna play some cards?"
-->'''Maddie:''' [[TaughtByExperience Don't do it!]] She'll have the hotel within the hour.
* In an episode of ''Series/{{Jonas}} LA'', Macy pulled this off on Nick and Kevin during a game of golf.
* Used by Mimi one time on ''Series/TheDrewCareyShow'' when she was going to hustle Drew at bowling, but then some other guys challenged them and she & Drew ended up teaming up on the ShortCon.
* Happens in an episode of ''Series/TheFreshPrinceOfBelAir''. First Will racks up considerable debt to a pool shark and has to call Uncle Phil to bail him out. Uncle Phil refuses to give his money to the pool shark, and instead challenges him to a game, unfortunately not being very good at it. And then...
--> '''Phil''': [[spoiler:[[PreAssKickingOneLiner Geoffrey? Break out]] [[ICallItVera Lucille.]]]]
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' has Sam and Dean hustling a pool player like this once onscreen. Though that particular occasion falls through, it is implied that this is how they make a good deal of their money usually, since they don't exactly get paid for their [[DemonSlaying other kind of work]].
* Played straight on a episode of ''Series/FamilyMatters'' in which Eddie and Urkel get hustled at a pool hall for more money than they have and require Carl and [[NeverMessWithGranny Grandma Winslow]] to get them out of their mess in yet ''another'' game of pool.
* Once in ''Series/DrakeAndJosh'', [[LittleMissConArtist Megan]] first hustled Drake in a game of darts. Drawing inspiration, he goes to the pool hall and starts hustling there. Josh disapproves of the dishonest way to earn money, so he hires his two burly camp counselors to scare Drake straight afterwards.
* Hilariously subverted in an episode of ''Series/{{Bunkd}}''. Ravi and Xander try to hustle Emma and Lou during a game of billiard where the losers would have to stand outside for a whole day dressed as chickens. However, Ravi becomes so pressured over hitting the final hole that he misses, and he and Xander get ''themselves'' hustled instead with TheStinger showing them trapped outside covered in clay and feathers and betting attacked by a hawk while Emma and Lou watch them victoriously.
* Appears in one episode of ''Series/DegrassiHigh''. The cool kids invite nerdy, insecure Arthur to their poker party so they can take him for all he's worth. He's totally out of his depth -- at one point, he asks, "does three of a kind beat a full house?" But he suddenly starts winning, and by the last hand, it's down to Arthur and the host ...and Arthur wins almost all the money by bluffing when his hand is complete junk. The cool kids are amazed, then Arthur grins and says, "'Does three of a kind beat a full house?' You guys are so gullible."
* In the ''Series/{{Victorious}}'' episode ''Freak The Freak Out'', Jade, Tori, and Cat pull off a rather awesome example on Haley and Tara. (Complete with OhCrap looks on Haley and Tara's faces when they realized Tori wasn't the pushover they thought she would be.)
* Subverted in an episode of ''Series/{{Leverage}}'', in which Ford ''pretends'' to pull this trick on his mark, in a game of poker. When the mark realizes he's been scammed, he pulls a gun on Ford [[spoiler:in front of a room full of undercover cops, which was the actual con.]]
* ''Series/{{Hustle}}'', obviously. Though, being Long Con artists, they tend not to go for competition hustles as often as they might. Still frequently enough to be mentioned here, though.
** Comes up a lot more often in CompanionShow ''Series/TheRealHustle'', however.
* Daphne does this at a pool hall in the ''Series/{{Frasier}}'' episode "You Can't Tell a Crook by His Cover":
-->'''Opponent''': All you have to do to win the game is pot those five balls. So what do you say we double our bet?
-->'''Daphne''': Oh, I might as well. I never really have understood this game. Never understood it, when I started playing with me older brothers, at the age of six. And I never understood it during all my formative years, spent mostly in the pool halls of Manchester. Playing in local competitions and club tournaments ... winning cup after cup after cup ... until our poor dad had to convert the pantry into a trophy room. And I can't really claim to understand it -- eight ball in far corner -- even today. But I certainly do enjoy it.
* In ''Series/AuctionHunters'', Allen and Ton are negotiating with a potential buyer over the price of a pool table. Eventually, Allen convinces the buyer to settle the final price over a game of pool: the buyer wins, the buyer pays his last offer; the auction hunters win, the buyer pays ''their'' last offer. The buyer is allowed to pick the game; the buyer picks nine-ball. Cue Ton: "Dude, what's nine-ball?" The buyer is then asked which of the two auction hunters he'll face. Naturally, [[GenreBlindness he picks Ton]]. The moment the two shake on it, Ton grins very widely, letting the buyer know [[OhCrap he's in trouble]]. After the buyer scratches on the break, Ton proceeds to pot all the balls on the table, finishing with a two-rail shot on the nine ball.
* In one ''Series/MadTV'' sketch, a pool hustler and his accomplice try to con someone, but fail because it is very obvious that they�re hustlers.
* In ''Series/{{Dracula}}'', Dracula is playing cards with some rich gentlemen and seems to have already lost a lot of money. However, we are shown that he can use his vampiric SuperSenses to see the reflection his opponents' cards make on their eyeballs, so it is obvious that he is hustling them. Sure enough, the next day Dracula is the owner of the company shares one of his opponents owned which were the real reason he was playing cards with the man.
* ''Series/{{Farscape}}'': Rygel at one point gets beaten by a pirate captain in a game of "Tadek", basically space chess, while providing a location for another character. After the game, he tells Moya's other crew that he deliberately lost in order to keep the captain from being suspicious of the fake coordinates, and the pirate was so bad at the game that losing required a great deal of skill.
* In the ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' episode "Time's Arrow", Data finds himself stranded in Earth's past in San Fransisco in the 1800s. How does he make some quick money for means of acquisition? Hustle some card sharks who assume he's "fresh off the boat". Not only can the android card-count like no organic sentient could ever hope to, not only does he have the ultimate poker-face, but the sharks ''let him deal'', and a previous episode established he [[CardSharp has the ability to stack a deck]] more quickly than the human eye can see. Needless to say, Data cleaned house. The mark hustled the hustlers.
* The fourth episode ("Replacements") of ''Series/BandOfBrothers'' has Lt. Buck Compton playing darts - and losing badly - against some of the titular replacement soldiers. As soon as the replacements agree to a wager, however, a fellow veteran asks Buck [[IAmNotLeftHanded if he's going to keep shooting lefty all night]]. Buck scores a bullseye with his first shot after switching hands.


[[folder: Puppet Shows ]]

* In ''Series/TheMuppets'', Rizzo and Pepe invite Creator/JosephGordonLevitt to a friendly poker game, because he always wanted to learn poker, and Rizzo always wanted to teach poker to a rich guy who doesn't know how to play poker. It doesn't go like they expected.
-->'''Joseph Gordon-Levitt''': A flush, huh? Okay, so is that better than ... three of one thing and ... two of another?\\
'''Pepe''': Unbelievable! How you do this?\\
'''Joseph Gordon-Levitt''': ''That'', my dear prawn, is called ''ACTING''!


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* In ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'', the Normandy's engineers at one point invite Shepard to participate in a 'friendly' game of Skyllian Five (the local InSpace version of poker). If Shepard simply accepts, you lose some credits, having been hustled by Donnelly. Alternatively, a Paragon Shepard can hustle the hustler, or a Renegade can basically order the engineers to let you win.
* The scene is revisited in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition'', with Josephine hustling the rest of the table.
-->'''Josephine:''' I think... I'll start at... three coppers! Do you think that's too daring?\\
'''Iron Bull:''' Seriously, who starts with coppers? Silver, or go home.\\
''One game of [[TabletopGame/{{Poker}} Wicked Grace]] later''\\
'''Josephine:''' And the dealer takes everything! I win again!
* In ''VideoGame/{{Warframe}}'', one quest has you helping a hustling: go in an arena contest and win by just enough to win a significant bet, but not so much that your opponent won't believe he can't win the next round by sending a more powerful force.


[[folder: Western Animation ]]
* Plankton in ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants'' takes the long view with this trope. He threw friendly poker games to Krabs for fifteen years until he finally got him to wager [=SpongeBob=] [[LostHimInACardGame and won.]]
* In the WesternAnimation/BugsBunny cartoon "WesternAnimation/BarbaryCoastBunny", Bugs is disguised as a gullible country bumpkin in a poker game against the villain. The villain gets a full house, to which a dejected Bugs moans, "[[TheMagicPokerEquation Gee, all I got is two pair. A pair of ones, and another pair of ones.]]" (That's a Quad of Aces, an extremely high hand that can only be topped by a Straight Flush. [[note]]There's also the Royal Flush, a special-case Straight Flush, but it's impossible to get both a RF and Quad Aces in the same hand without wild cards.[[/note]])
* Attempted by Peggy in ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'' after she and several friends had been conned by a diploma mill. She failed at hustling, but succeeded in the KansasCityShuffle.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'',
** Homer is hustled at checkers by a chicken in one episode. The bird was apparently clever enough to lose the first few games to build up Homer's confidence.
** Homer once bulked up one of his arms and goaded his mark into an arm wrestle while keeping only his weaker arm visible.
** Snake hustles Homer this way in three-card-Monte. Marge realizes Snake's accomplice is likely his brother. (And then does something few marks, for some reason, ever consider - revealing the two other cards to show everyone that all three are the same.)
* In beginning of an episode of ''WesternAnimation/ThePenguinsOfMadagascar'', the gang of sewer rats do this to the penguins with a game of ice hockey.