How to Cheat at Cards.

History of card cheating.

Cheating at cards has been around for longer than cards themselves.  Many of the methods used to cheat at cards predate the invention of cards by thousands of years.  Before cards were invented dice, dominoes, and mahjong tiles were favorites gambling games. Peeking at an opponents hand of cards is no different than catching a glimpse of which mahjong tiles they have. The advantages and many of the techniques did not change much when supplanted other games as the most popular gaming mode. Marking, peeking, influencing who gets what... The advantage and the techniques have shifted but they have not changed.

Definitions - Advantage VS Cheating.

Before we go on lets take a look at the difference between cheating and just playing with an advantage.  For instance. If several folks were playing poker and a new guy walked in and asked to join them then informed the table that he has never played. The other players at the table would have an advantage.  They know the rules of the game and he does not.  That is a huge advantage for them, but it is hardly cheating. Additionally, they know how the other players at the table behave, this is an advantage but it is not cheating.

Now, let's say that the new guy actually lied about not knowing how to play. Some folks might consider that to be cheating but as long as he confines his deceit to just the lying it is not technically cheating.  But if he then asks folks to help him and peeks at their cards or uses their help to some other unfair advantage, that is cheating for sure. In the case of lying, naughty, peeking at cards, marking cards in a deck, switching out the deck in play for a marked deck, holding cards, dealing seconds, signaling, tapping, or speaking in code or a foreign language, these things are all cheating and absolutely they are not allowed. 

Let's take a look at a common advantage used in casinos all the time.  Counting cards.  Card counting is most often used in Black Jack. It's a method for keeping track which cards have been played so a player has a better chance of predicting the correct outcome the next deal. Knowing what has been played and using statistics to determine the best betting strategy is part of playing.  That is not cheating.  Casinos don't like you to do it and they will throw you out if they suspect you of counting but it is not cheating. Marking the cards so you know what is in play or what is about to be played, that is cheating. 

The best way to win - Don't play with people who are better than you. 

Winning at cards is a skill.  Playing poker in particular is a skill or more accurately a set of skills which can be learned, practiced, honed, and lost over time. At every poker table there are sharks and their are fish. Look around the table and see if you can spot the fish.  If all you see is sharks then you are probably the fish and the fishing is better elsewhere. If you are the worst player at the table you will lose. It won't even take any cheating. 

The easiest method to cheat.

As the cards are being passed around the table during play, they will eventually come to you to shuffle.  As you are shuffling the cards get a glimpse of one of them then allow it to fall under the table. Now kick it to the middle of the table so it is less likely to be found and less if it is found it will be harder to pin it on you.  Knowing that one card is out of play and knowing the value of that card gives you a six to seven percent advantage over the rest of the players at the table.  Best of all, it's harder to get caught.  There is no holding out of cards or seconds to catch. Five percent may not seem like much but when you consider that casinos keep the lights open with a lot less than that you should appreciate the advantage of this play.  

Fortunately there is an easy way to stop this kind of cheating.  I count the cards once or twice each evening when it is my turn to shuffle.  This ensures that all the cards are in play. It doesn't take much effort and it doesn't accuse anyone of cheating, in fact most folks won't even notice that you have counted the cards. 

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