One chap a navigator, able to sail a ship round the Horn, and yet he prefers to play the shell game at rural fairs.
Where would you find a man to run your shell game while you was gone?
My impression was that if he had said "shell game" he would have more accurately stated his case.
But the operator of the shell game had caught sight of the bills, and it was like the scent of blood to the tiger.
You see,” he explained, moving to the washstand, “this shell game is easy enough when you know how.
A swindle; confidence game; scam: I'm afraid this proposed merger looks like a shell game
[1890+; fr a version of three-card monte played with a pea or other token under walnut shells]