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Beware! Could Cheaters Be Attending Your Home Games?

Poker cheats are much more prevalent than you might assume. These scandalous deviants use numerous methods to give themselves the edge. The following article is not to assist honest players in becoming a cheat, but to assist them in spotting one.

Most of the cheating methods you?re likely to encounter are performed by the dealer, usually sleight of hand tricks played while he uses a ?Mechanic?s Grip? to better conceal the deck of cards. There are a few versions of the Mechanic?s Grip, but the most common is described below.

MECHANIC?S GRIP - most (honest) people hold the deck with four fingers along the bottom or side of the long edge of the cards, with the thumb on top of the cards on the opposite side. The thumb will slide the cards off the top of the deck onto the fingertips. With the Mechanic?s Grip you hold the cards the same way with the following exception ? you put your index and middle fingers along the top of the cards (the short edge). Hold the cards in this manner and you will see how much it conceals.

While using the Mechanic?s Grip, the unscrupulous dealer may use any of the following methods of cheating:

The Peek, or Peeking - the dealer pushes one corner, or side of the top card, away from the rest of the deck to reveal the top card.

THE SECOND DEAL, OR TOP HOLDING - after performing ?The Peek? to reveal the top card, the dealer will push the top card slightly behind the rest of the deck, revealing the second card. He will then deal the second card from the deck keeping the top card for himself.

THE BOTTOM DEAL - the dealer ?places?, or discovers, that the card on
the bottom of the deck is desirable. He then deals in a normal fashion
until dealing himself the card from the bottom of the deck. Enforcing the use of a cut deck can prevent this. Bottom Dealers are commonly
caught when forcing the bottom card from the deck drags the second from the bottom card with it, and leaves it hanging out from the deck ? dubbed the ?hanger?.

FALSE SHUFFLING - card cads will use numerous kinds of false shuffling, such as peeking at the bottom of the deck and shuffling that card to the top, or even keeping that card at the bottom of the deck, peeking at the top card while not disturbing the top few cards during the shuffle. The most skilled method is when the dealer stacks the deck while shuffling. This requires more time with the deck, and the dealer will have to glance at the deck on a more regular basis. It is easier for him to perform this in games where two decks are rotated in play as the deal goes around the table. All methods of false shuffling require the dealer to also ?shift the cut?.

FALSE CUTTING, OR SHIFTING THE CUT - as with false shuffling, there are several ways of shifting the cut. The most common method is simply by putting the top cut back on top of the bottom cut. Another method is putting the bottom cut on top of the top cut of cards, leaving them slightly off-center. This allows an extremely experienced dealer to switch them back surreptitiously, while acting as if he is settling or squaring the cards in the deck. The dealer will usually ensure players are distracted before doing so.

Although we have given you some of the signs to look for, the best protection from a cheat is common sense. Some cheats are expert at what they do, so if you are losing with great hands and your intuition is
telling you you?re being cheated, but you don?t spot the cheats being performed, this doesn?t mean that it?s not happening! The best protection isn?t knowing the signs; it?s leaving the game!

(© 2005 BluffMagazine. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed)


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