Closing out the first ever theme week on the topic of deception, here’s a little do-it-yourself deceit lesson. Of course, it comes with the disclaimer that this is in the interest of protecting yourself from cheats, not to inflict it upon others… promise?
So you find yourself playing poker with your grandma and your uncle. As you give ’em the ol’ steely-eyed gaze you realize they are pretty lax about standard card table procedure. Those procedures, such as cutting the deck before dealing, that are in place to prevent cheating. As grandma goes to check on the casserole again during the deal, you decide her and uncle Max are ripe for a fleecing.
There are countless ways to cheat in a casual home game of cards. Dealing cards from the bottom of the deck is handy, but takes years of practice. Here’s one trick you can use that doesn’t take much skill… just guts. In the cardsharp lingo it’s called holding out. It is the real life “ace up the sleeve”, except sleeves are not very practical.
We’ll assume your playing some sort of draw poker, wherein you are holding a five-card hand. (while Texas Hold’em is the popular game these days, it’s harder to cheat when you only get two cards, and they generally stay on the table) So, your first hand is nothing special, but it does contain an ace. You wanna keep that. Bring that ace to the face of your packet, and as you casually wait for your turn, the hand holding the cards naturally comes near the table edge, and subtly thumbs the ace off to fall into your lap. Obviously, make sure nobody can see in your lap.
When it comes your turn to fold, you toss the four remaining cards onto the table. Ideally, you can aim for another folded packet so the cards mix, obscuring their numbers. Now you are holding out an ace. In the action of adjusting your chair, you can tuck it under your leg for long term storage. Later on you will hopefully find yourself with one or two other aces in your freshly dealt hand and it may be a good time to ring in your secret ace.
One hand goes south to retrieve the ace, and as you transfer your packet of cards from one hand to another (near the table edge) the card gets added. You can then ditch the un-wanted sixth card using the same drop-in-the-lap move as before. (and remember what that card is for the next time!)
So it’s not a tricky move, but you want to get the timing right. A fun, casual game is full of distraction. Somebody is digging in the chip bowl, a person walks by to chat, the casserole is burning. Like a ninja, use these to your advantage. Grandma had it coming to her anyways.
- Source: the book “How To Cheat Your Friends At Poker” (at least I think this trick is in there… it’s a fun book either way)