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What is ‘Palming’?

Palming is the act of concealing a playing card in the palm of the hand, and is used in gambling by card cheats, or by those who perform card tricks. Expert “palmers” are able to conceal a card completely in their hand, making their hand appear empty. They are then able to hide the card somewhere where it can later be retrieved – such as a pocket or trouser leg – at a convenient time in the game, allowing them to have an advantage over other players.

‘Palming’ Explained

Palming, often referred to as “hand mucking” or simply “to palm a card”, is a serious form of card cheating – unlike that of card counting, which is generally frowned upon but not officially illegal. If a player is caught “palming a card” in a casino or gambling establishment, they are likely to face serious consequences, rather than just being removed and banned from the premises. Card palming is more likely to occur in unofficial venues, such as in the case of private poker games, where there is little in the way of security that could catch a player cheating.Card palming techniques used by card cheats and those used by magicians are very similar in nature. The player’s aim is to remove one or more cards from their hand or the deck, hide it somewhere undetectable and then reproduce the card at the opportune moment, giving them an advantage over both the house and the other players.To ensure that the card is completely concealed, the player must make certain there is no space between their fingers and that the card is flat against the palm of the hand. The card is held between the pinky finger and the base of the thumb – which allows the rest of the player’s fingers to appear natural.