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Marked Cards

What are ‘Marked Cards’?

‘Marked cards’ are cards which have been tampered with by a cheating player. Marked cards have some alteration on the back so that the player can identify the suit and value of that card. The most common use of these marked cards is in magic tricks and illusions, but they are also used for illegal cheating in casino and ‘after hours’ card games.

‘Marked Cards’ Explained

Marked cards are cards that look identical to the standard deck, but which have been altered in some way so that the value of the card can be read on the reverse. Some decks are printed with subtle markings on the back, which can be read to learn the card’s true value. The main purpose of these cards is to help magicians and illusionists with their tricks. The classic card reading tricks are often done in this way.

Marked cards are sometimes used to cheat in poker games and other card games. The marked cards might be put there by a dishonest dealer who is working with a professional player at the table, or they might be exchanged by a player at a convenient moment, without the dealer’s knowledge. When cheating with marked cards, sometimes just a few of those cards will be marked, to give the player an advantage without arousing suspicion. However, it is not uncommon for the whole deck to be marked.

Cheating through using marked cards is illegal in almost every nation around the world, and anyone involved in a card marking scam will usually be prosecuted by the relevant authorities. Many casinos use scanners and special software which can detect any tampering with cards, ensuring that decks are safe to use, that the casino is protected against fraud and that all players get a fair chance at winning their games.