A significant variant of “Odds on Evil”, the target is an arms dealer on the black market, about to buy a shipload of American weapons captured in Vietnam, which he will then retail to various guerilla groups.
He is put in a position to make a fast killing. Phelps is the SS man who got him out of a POW camp, whom he has never met and whose greatest wartime feat was the dismantling of an enemy communications center delivered to Berlin intact. There is an advanced radar station just across the border, envied by the superpowers. The merchant offers him five million dollars, the price of the arms shipment, on a government promise to pay twenty million and a loan from the bribed defense minister of the initial five.
A remodeled radar station in-country serves for the mock caper. Phelps collects his money and goes.
Paris is a professional gambler who takes the merchant in with an electronic card-reading table, operated from a hotel room by Barney. The mark turns it to his advantage, until his mistress (expertly goaded by Dana) spills a drink and shorts it out. The dummy equipment bought for five million calls back the loan, the last hand is played unaided for the full amount, a possible king-high diamond straight against two sevens, which becomes two tens and three sevens. The minister collects his man, the S.S. Philippine Queen will not sail as planned.