What Does The Term Card Marking In Poker Mean?

What Does The Term Card Marking In Poker Mean?

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Poker is one game that compels you to learn hundreds of terms if you are ever to be an expert in the game. It is mainly because players and poker tournaments and the even online games use this jargon to communicate. Each term has significance in the game, and therefore it is vital to understand and know about them for every beginner. Here, we will take you through the term known as card marking. So, let’s begin.

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What is card marking in poker?

Card marking is the practice of modifying cards in a way that is only evident to the person doing the card marking or the conspirator, such as by bending or adding noticeable marks to a card. This allows for various card sharp methods to cheat or can be used for magic tricks. The identifying mark or marks must be visible on the obverse sides of the cards, which are usually uniform, in order to be effective.  Before they are sold or given away, casinos change playing cards used at table games to discourage cheaters from purchasing them to cheat at table games.

Many casinos, especially those in Las Vegas, alter the decks of cards they sell to visitors to prevent cheaters from returning to the game tables after purchasing the cards and then slipping the favorable cards into their hands while playing, either by punching holes through the middle of cards or trimming their edges. Regardless of who shuffles and manages the cards, numbered cards may be used.

Some more complex marked-card scams require additional manipulative skills after the desired cards have been detected to guide the cards into the correct positions. Historically, twists, crimps and tiny pinprick bumps known as blisters, resembling the Braille script, were the first attempts to mark playing cards. Later on, the backs of playing cards, when the first designs appeared, cheats started modifying the designs on the backs of cards. Various inks, pigments and scratches have been used by Hustlers to add or erase lines or patterns from the back of the card design. Block-out work, cut-out work, scroll work, shadow work and tint work are several forms of card labelling.

More recently, marked-card methods have also been improved by science and technology. Modern technologies are adaptations of shade techniques. The drawback of conventional block-out and cut-out work is that it is important to read close-up, since the marks are small. Using the luminous and juice-marked-card technology, on the other hand, gives you the benefit of reading such cards from across the table as well.

How to do card marking?


In short, block-out work is actually using the same colour ink as the card's back and painting the card in tiny white areas. For example, by making the petals narrower or blocking out a bird on the back design, individuals often add ink to the flowers on the back of a card.

·         Tinting

A more subtle way of blocking, by softly tinting certain areas of a detail, card backs can be labelled. The petal is washed with a light ink of a similar colour to the card ink, rather than blocking out the entire petal on a flower detail.

·         Cut-out

When we talk about cut outs, we often see people use a razor to scrape off some of the card's printed areas, such as adding a white bird to the back template of the card.

·         Shading

o   Luminous card marking - Only by using special gimmick sunglasses or using contact lenses can these be read. Red lenses and greenish ink on the back of red cards were used by the original luminous systems, though more modern variations use chemicals added to the cards.

o   Video luminous cards use card marking which, even though a luminous filter, cannot be seen by the human eye. The marks can only be read using custom electronics and filters and shown to a partner on a TV monitor in another room. Then it is possible to signal or relay the card values to the player who needs to know them. Video-luminous card marking can be used for magic or by a poker house or a person who, after the fact, may want to evaluate a card game. The captured images of the marked cards can be played back later to detect any suspicious play, if collusion is suspected. If when a partner plays a better hand, a player folds a good hand repeatedly, then it can be concluded that collusion takes place in the game. Since these markings cannot be seen by the human eye, there is no possibility during the game of detecting the marks, except by knowledgeable players.

o   Juice card marking - The marks are apparent only when an individual is trained to read the marks. There is no need for filtered lenses, while glasses can be used to make these marks easier to spot.

o   Tintwork or shade - This technique utilizes a tint solution to mark cards, but depending on the back nature of the cards being marked, the marking patterns differ.

o   Daub - A player uses a special paste to mark the deck of someone else on the fly, when the cards are used during a game and sometimes when being watched. It removes the need to turn to a pre-marked card deck.

How to detect marked cards?

By conducting the gamblers' riffle test, some marked cards can be identified. Looking at the back of the cards as they are being riffled, the marks will dance like an old-fashioned cartoon around the back of the cards, provided the audience knows what kind of marks to look for. For detecting cards marked with luminous and juice methods, the riffle test is less successful. Cut-out work as well as certain inks or solutions that appear to fade the finish on playing cards because they are alcohol-based, can be seen by reflecting light off the back of the card. The end of the cards will not be burned with just the best performing solutions. The dulling effect that these cheap solutions can cause is shown by putting a drop of alcohol on a card and then looking at the end by reflecting light off the surface.

With this you now know all that you need to know regarding card marking. Download the GetMega app and put this knowledge to the test by playing poker with your friends now!

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About The  

Kanchan Sharma
Kanchan Sharma

Kanchan Sharma started her career as a learning designer at an MNC while pursuing poker as a hobby. However, she soon pivoted to becoming a professional MTT (Multi Table Tournaments) player. She is currently a leading player, who has taken the male dominated poker world by storm. During her stint as a poker player, she has bagged many titles including India Online Poker Championship (IOPC) for Rs. 17,98,906, Winter Celebration Series for Rs. 6,62,500 and has final tabled multiple tournaments. She continually seeks to improve her poker game and work on her mindset to win the WSOP title soon. Her journey from being a recreational player to a poker pro is inspiring for many people out there.

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