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Card marking is the process of altering playing cards in a method only apparent to marker or conspirator, such as by bending or adding visible marks to a card. This allows different methods for card sharps to cheat or for magicians to perform magic tricks. To be effective, the distinguishing mark or marks must be visible on the obverse sides of the cards, which are normally uniform.
Card marking is often used to cheat when gambling or for card tricks. Many casinos, particularly those in Las Vegas alter the decks of cards they sell to tourists – either by punching holes through the middle of cards or trimming their edges – to prevent cheaters from returning to the game tables after buying the cards and then slipping the favorable cards into their hands when playing.
Marked cards can be used regardless of who shuffles and deals the cards. Some more sophisticated marked-cards scams involve additional manipulative skills to steer the cards into the correct positions once the desired cards have been identified.
The first attempts to mark playing cards involved bends, crimps and tiny pinprick bumps known as "blisters", resembling the Braille script. Later, when the first designs appeared on the backs of playing cards, cheats began altering the designs on the backs of cards. Hustlers have used various inks, pigments and scratches, to add or remove lines or patterns from the back of the card design. Some varieties of card marking include block-out work, cut-out work, scroll work, shade work and tint work.
More recently, science and technology have also enhanced marked-card techniques. Modern technologies are variations of shade techniques.[ clarification needed ] Traditional block-out and cut-out work have the disadvantage that they must be read close-up, because the marks are small. On the other hand, another advantage of luminous and juice marked-card technology[ clarification needed ] is that they can be read close-up or from across a table.
Block-out work is simply using the same color ink as the back of the card and coloring in small white areas of the card. For example, sometimes people add ink to the flowers on the back of a card by making the petals narrower or blocking out a bird on the back design.
A more subtle variation on blocking, card backs can be marked by lightly tinting certain areas of a detail. Rather than blocking out the entire petal on a flower detail, the petal is washed with a light ink of a similar colour to the card ink.
Cut-out work is use of a razor to scrape off some of the printed areas of the card, such as adding (cutting out) a white bird to the back design.
It is not necessary to mark the entire deck in order to gain an advantage in most types of poker - even marking just one rank (especially the aces) is enough to gain a significant advantage in a game such as Texas hold 'em.
Some marked cards can be identified by performing the gamblers' riffle test (also known as "going to the movies"). Looking at the back of the cards while they are being riffled, the marks will "dance" around the back of the cards like an old-fashioned cartoon, provided that the viewer knows what sort of marks to look for. The riffle test is less effective for detecting cards marked with luminous and juice methods.
Reflected light off the back of the card will reveal cut-out work (scratches or white ink), as well as many inks or solutions that tend to dull the finish on playing cards because they are alcohol-based. Only the highest quality solutions will not burn the finish of cards. Placing a drop of alcohol on a card and then looking at the finish by reflecting light off the back reveals the dulling effect that these cheap solutions can cause.
A playing card is a piece of specially prepared card stock, heavy paper, thin cardboard, plastic-coated paper, cotton-paper blend, or thin plastic that is marked with distinguishing motifs. Often the front (face) and back of each card has a finish to make handling easier. They are most commonly used for playing card games, and are also used in magic tricks, cardistry, card throwing, and card houses; cards may also be collected. Some patterns of Tarot playing card are also used for divination, although bespoke cards for this use are more common. Playing cards are typically palm-sized for convenient handling, and usually are sold together in a set as a deck of cards or pack of cards.
Shuffling is a procedure used to randomize a deck of playing cards to provide an element of chance in card games. Shuffling is often followed by a cut, to help ensure that the shuffler has not manipulated the outcome.
In card games, to cut the cards is to split the deck into two packets by lifting one packet from the top and placing it face down beside the remainder; before placing the lower packet on top of it. This is typically done after the cards have already been shuffled, and the procedure is used just prior to the cards being dealt to the players. The aim of this is to reduce the possibility of cheating, for example, by knowing the bottom card. Cutting the cards is also a common way of determining the seating order at a card table, the partnerships or the first dealer.
Cheating in poker is any behavior outside the rules that is intended to give an unfair advantage to one or more players.
Piquet is an early 16th-century plain-trick card game for two players that is still popular today.
Card counting is a blackjack strategy used to determine whether the player or the dealer has an advantage on the next hand. Card counters are advantage players who try to overcome the casino house edge by keeping a running count of high and low valued cards dealt. They generally bet more when they have an advantage and less when the dealer has an advantage. They also change playing decisions based on the composition of the deck.
Cheat is a card game where the players aim to get rid of all of their cards. It is a game of deception, with cards being played face-down and players being permitted to lie about the cards they have played. A challenge is usually made by players calling out the name of the game, and the loser of a challenge has to pick up every card played so far. Cheat is classed as a party game. As with many card games, cheat has an oral tradition and so people are taught the game under different names.
Spellfire: Master the Magic is an out-of-print collectible card game (CCG) created by TSR, Inc. and based on their popular Dungeons & Dragons role playing game. The game appeared first in April 1994, shortly after the introduction of Magic: The Gathering, in the wake of the success enjoyed by trading card games. It was the second CCG to be released, preceding Wizards of the Coast's second CCG Jyhad by two months.
Card manipulation is the branch of magic that deals with creating effects using sleight of hand techniques involving playing cards. Card manipulation is often used in magical performances, especially in close-up, parlor, and street magic. Some of the most recognized names in this field include Dai Vernon, Tony Slydini, Ed Marlo, S.W. Erdnase, Richard Turner, John Scarne, and Ricky Jay. Before becoming world-famous for his escapes, Houdini billed himself as "The King of Cards". Among the more well-known card tricks relying on card manipulation are Ambitious Card, and Three-card Monte, a common street hustle also known as Find the Lady.
Second dealing is a method of manipulating a deck of cards during a card game by way of dealing the second, rather than the top card of the deck, usually for the purpose of cheating. Second dealing and bottom dealing are also used in performance magic.
A trick deck is a deck of playing cards that has been altered in some way to allow magicians to perform certain card tricks where sleight of hand would be too difficult or impractical.
John Scarne was an American magician and author who was particularly adept at playing card manipulation. He became known as an expert on cards and other games, and authored a number of popular books on cards, gambling, and related topics.
The Odyssey is a Magic: The Gathering expert-level block. It consists of a trio of expansion sets: Odyssey, Torment and Judgment.
Cheating in casinos refers to actions by the player or the house which are prohibited by regional gambling control authorities. This may involve using suspect apparatus, interfering with apparatus, chip fraud or misrepresenting games. The formally prescribed sanctions for cheating depend on the circumstances and gravity of the cheating and the jurisdiction in which the casino operates. In Nevada, for a player to cheat in a casino is a felony under Nevada law. In most other jurisdictions, specific statutes do not exist, and alleged instances of cheating are resolved by the gambling authority who may have more or less authority to enforce its verdict.
52 pickup or 52-card pickup is a humorous card game which consists only of picking up a scattered deck of playing cards. It is typically played as a practical joke, where the "dealer" creates the false impression that a legitimate game will be played, then simply throws the entire deck into the air so the cards land strewn on the floor, and instructs other players to pick them up.
MindPlay was a technology designed to monitor blackjack players' actions while playing in a casino, first released in 2003 and discontinued in 2007.
This is a glossary of conjuring terms used by magicians.
A poker dealer distributes cards to players and manages the action at a poker table.
Edge sorting is a technique used in advantage gambling where a player determines whether a face-down playing card is likely to be low or high at casino table games by observing, learning, and exploiting subtle unintentional differences on the backs of the cards being dealt.
The Final Fantasy trading card game, often abbreviated as Final Fantasy TCG or FF-TCG, is a trading card game by Square Enix and Hobby Japan. The first iteration released in Japan in 2011 but never released outside Japan and was discontinued in order to release a second iteration worldwide in October 2016.