One who runs games in a traveling carnival.
Although often included under the umbrella terms “carny
” and “carnie
”, splinterheads consider themselves to be of a different ilk, completely separate from sideshow performers and ride operators, whom they consider to be freaks and simpletons, respectively.
Some splinterheads employ morally questionable tactics to draw people to their games, keep them playing, and insure that they lose–firmly establishing the stereotype of the skulduggerous splinterhead.
Indeed, it is from splinterheads where we get the term “mark
”, one who is targeted as a dupe in some scheme: back in the day, after a splinterhead had identified a gullible carnivalgoer, he/she might discreetly pat this person’s back with chalk, leaving the unsuspecting individual easily recognizable to all splinterheads.
“Splinterheads don't have the luxury of sitting around in ticket booths or pushing buttons all day. You know, we really have to work for our money. We have to pick our marks in the crowd, and we have to take those suckers for all they’re worth, or we don't make a cent. You know, it is really hard work.” –Galaxy
from the film, Splinterheads (2009)