Green’s Dictionary of Slang

brace game n.

also braced game
[SE brace, to bluster, to domineer; see Asbury, Sucker’s Progress (1938): ‘An extraordinary number of the terms, technical and otherwise, which were employed by Faro players in the palmy days of the game have passed into the language [...] and are commonly used by millions who never heard of Faro. Here are some of them: [...] Brace game—A crooked Faro bank’]

1. (US, also brace) any form of gambling game in which there is concealed cheating; thus brace dealer, a crooked dealer.

[US]Cincinnati Enquirer (OH) 11 Feb. 8/1: A ‘green cincinnatian’ [...] was induced to go against a brace game of faro by a gentleman with the classic appellation of Jack Sheppard.
[US]J. O’Connor Wanderings of a Vagabond 203: In the meantime [he] obtained an insight into the immense profits to be derived from roping suckers to brace games. [Ibid.] 204: Any ‘brace dealer,’ having any respect for his future bread and butter, would not be seen with him in public.
[US]Overland Monthly (CA) July 69: Monte Bill, the best brace-dealer and short-card player west of the old Mississippi.
[US]Detroit Free Press (MI) 1 May 10/1: A good ‘brace’ dealer commands a large salary in gambling circles.
[US]A.H. Lewis Wolfville 15: I now announces that this yere game is a skin an’ a brace.
[US]Cincinnati Enquirier (OH) 26 May 2/2: Among the goody-good every thimble-rigger, shell spieler and brace dealer is a gambler.
[US]Ade Forty Modern Fables 66: He is put against a new Brace Game every Week.
[US]A.H. Lewis Boss 375: They handin’ him out every sort of brace.
[US]Inter Ocean (Chicago) 25 Jan. 34/3: New Yorker’s Experience in a Brace Game [...] A runner for a brace faro bank got next to me [...] and went along with him [ibid.] 34/7: I recognized [him] instantly as the brace dealer who had dished them out to me while I was in a haze on the previous night.
[US]W. Irwin Confessions of a Con Man 32: Faro [...] came nearest to being a straight game. The introduction of brace boxes and high layouts has changed all that.
[US]Day Book (Chicago) 11 Nov. 3/1: Hearst isn’t the kind of man who would get acquainted with a stranger and steer him up against a brace poker game, the big mitt, or a skin faro layout, and get part of the money for landing the sucker.
[US]C.E. Mulford Hopalong Cassidy Returns 144: Last time I was up here I got in a brace game [...] an’ I’m goin’ to look for that squint-eyed faro dealer that tried to run th’ six spot off under a queen.
[US]H. Asbury Sucker’s Progress 58: To understand how anyone could succumb to such an obvious brace game it is necessary to remember that before the telephone, the radio, and widely circulated magazines and newspapers, the average American countryman and small-town resident was a real greenhorn, made to order for the city slicker.
[US]D. Maurer Big Con 183: Every night the Kid played poker in a brace game.

2. any fraudulent scheme.

[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 250: They have burlesque shows in St. Louis, too, and the brewer wasn’t going to fall for any brace game, so he doped out cautious play.
[US]J. London Valley of the Moon (1914) 414: Gambling for franchises and monopolies, using politics to protect their crooked deals and brace games.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).

In phrases

get the brace (v.)

(US) lit. or fig., to be cheated, swindled.

[US]F. Hutchison Philosophy of Johnny the Gent 20: I’ve got about as much idea whether I’m gettin’ the goods or the brace when one o’ them Shakspere guys is dealin’.