by: Dino The Greek.
We’ve all seen how card sharks manipulate the deck by various means. A much bigger problem for most people is guys who cheat at any time, not just when they are dealing. And, 99% of us don’t play for stakes that would justify having a card shark wanting to be in our midst.
If you think about it, the chances of having one of our buddies using slight of hand on a drunken Friday night card game without anyone knowing he has that skill, is slim to none. Watching out for guys like that is a waste of time. More importantly is watching out for buddies, or friends of buddies that might be tempted to make “mistakes” occasionally. These mistakes can be covered up easily because they can claim it to being an honest mistake. It happens a lot more than people think. Getting caught outright cheating will not happen in most games because the person cheating picks spots where if they are caught, the proof of intentional fraud is unavailable.
How people cheat in friendly games
Three things assist the cheater in Friday night games. Alcohol, low stakes and the mindset of other players that they are with friends and nobody would do that. I’ve caught many guys cheating over the years.
a) Shorting the bet. With a pot of cash in the middle, an easy way to cheat is to throw a wad into the pile. Nobody can easily prove it was shorted and it’s easy for the person to say they made a mistake.
b) Dividing the pot. Watch out for guys who are always quick to divvy the pot up on a split pot. If someone gives themselves too many chips twice, it’s not an accident. Don’t call them on it the first time if it’s a small amount. That just warns them. Keep an eye on them and if it happens again, call them on it and know you’ve got a cheater. As opposed to looking like an asshole for calling someone out for an honest mistake. You may even want to tell someone else so they can watch too. That way you have proof.
c) Miscalling their hand and throwing the cards into a pile. This usually happens on a split pot when everyone may think that he’s got half the pot made. Everyone is focused on who’s going to win the other half of the split pot and the guy who actually has the second best hand either ways quickly mixes his cards into the pile and starts dividing the pot.
d) Marked cards. Beware the guy who supplies the cards, or wants to switch decks with his own. One time we had a guy who always lost introduce his own deck into the game by asking for a deck switch. He went on to win 4 weeks in a row until I examined the deck and found little pen marks mixed into the design on the card front.
There are more obviously, but more to the point, don’t ever assume that a friend would not cheat his buddies in a low stakes game. It happens all the time.
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