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Con Jargon

Con Jargon

Do you know what 'a mark' is? What would you do with a 'cackle-bladder'? Get the low-down on the world of the con and the jargon used in Hustle.


  • 'The mark' is the intended victim of the planned con.

  • A 'short con' refers to taking 'the mark' for all the money he has on his person. It's an opportunist scam that isn't pre-planned to any great deal.

  • A 'long con' or 'big con' refers to a more complex, planned con, whereby 'the mark' is sent to get more money or used to get more money than is just on his person.

  • 'Putting him on the send' is another term for a 'long con' or 'big con'.

  • The 'big con' is a form of theatre - "staged with minute naturalistic illusionism for an audience of one who is enlisted as part of the cast".

    'The Big Store' or a real hotel room?

  • 'A mark' is lured in by the conman by, in the first instance, by making money himself on one of their scams. Having gained 'the mark's' trust, the conmen 'sting' him for a load of money.

  • There are two types of con settings, real life (ie. restaurants and hotel rooms) and 'The Big Store', where empty offices are rigged out to look like a real life setting.

  • 'The Roper' is the 'Outsideman' - the man who identifies with 'the mark' (the victim) and gains their confidence.

  • 'The Insideman' is the key player, the member of the con mob who stays near the 'big store' and receives 'the mark' (the victim) whom 'The Roper' brings.

  • 'The Manager' manages the outfit and is often the bookmaker for the group.

  • 'Extras' are unemployed conmen playing the role of extras in the con.

  • 'Putting up the mark' refers to the process of locating a well-to-do victim.

    The cons get to work on their 'mark'

  • 'Playing the con for him' refers to gaining the victim's confidence.

  • 'Roping the Mark' refers to steering him to meet the 'insideman' who will eventually fleece him.

  • 'Giving him the convincer' refers to the process of allowing the victim to make a substantial profit on the first scam, thereby gaining his trust.

  • 'Blowing him off' refers to the process of getting the victim out of the way as quickly as possible.

  • 'Putting the fix' refers to forestalling action by the Law.

  • 'Playing a man against the wall' refers to conning a man in a real setting, eg. a hotel room.

  • 'Cackle-bladder' is a method of faking the death of one of the conmen. It involves filling a small receptacle with chicken blood which the conman conceals on his person for the fake gunshot.

  • If 'the mark' 'beefs' then he's gone to the Police to grass up the conmen.

  • 'The Fix' refers to the cooperation bought from the Police. A Fixer usually has political connections and is paid off by the conmen for fixing people in the banks, police, and the courts. Most con mobs can't exist without 'Fixers'.


    More »

  • More on Hustle:

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    Episode Guide

    Series 4 - get the latest and watch video clips
    Series 3 - find out what happened and watch video clips
    Series 2 - find out what happened and watch video clips
    Series 1 - find out what happened and watch video clips

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