Marked Cards at the WSOP ?

by , Jun 21, 2009 | 10:08 pm

The card pictured here, according to @Andy_Bloch, was actually in use and in play at his table during today’s $5,000 NLH-Shootout.

Hmm, despite what some Batfaces may contend after a particularly good home-game run in 2005-06, I don’t know enough about card-marking systems to tell if these scuffs are a matter of defective product or an overzealous cheater. I’d tend to think the former — when you use a bajillion decks, there’s gonna be a bad one in there — but this pic is not the first murmur of marked cards at the 2009 WSOP.

But usually it’s in the high buy-in mixed games where the dangers occur (and floormen are operating on high alert). For example, smudges and nail marks were reportedly found on decks in the $10k 2-7NL-1D (won by Phil Ivey), where at least one specific player was targeted for enhanced interrogations intensified scrutiny.

4 Comments to “Marked Cards at the WSOP ?”

  1. Johnny Hughes

    I don’t believe those are intentionally marked cards. There are two good ways to check for marked cards. Take the deck and run your thumb from the bottom to the top of a corner. You are making the cards fly by like the frames of an old movie. If all the patterns are the same, you see nothing. If one card is different it sticks out.

    Another way to check for marks is to hold a card toward the overhead light and move it back and forth until the shine removes the pattern and you see only a shiny surface. The marks will stick out.

    Folks use an ink or a daub to make spots like those. It can be done accidentally with ball point pen ink on your hands.

    With plastic cards, daubers would use a blue on blue, with a slightly darker blue for the marks. or red on red.

    Paper players, folks using marked cards, will be wearing a hat, and looking really hard, usually when they are dealing.

    Those marks, black on white, obvious from a distance are either: 1. an accident or 2. an idiot. It is eleven to ten pick ’em.

  2. Johnny Hughes

    Those are the dumbest, easiest to mark cards I have ever seen. Long ago on Bicycle, a spoke would be missing, or a bird would have only one wing.

    For years, there was a daily ritual when I ran a poker game. We’d show new decks of diamond-backed Bees around for inspection. We’d smell of the bottom seal for a glue smell to see if they had been opened. Then we’d do the mark checks above.

    With Bees, the edges were different. A cheater could get five decks and make a deck of “sorts” where the low cards had a different pattern on the edges.

    I am not surprised that someone would try to mark cards at the table. No one but me checks for marks. It is impossible to prove who did it, unless you catch them with a little daub thingy that looks like the thumb print pads when you cash checks.

    It looks to me like those Bicycles above might have the pattern slighly off center sometimes. This would allow a casino employee to make decks of sorts, since the cards are used over and over.

    I’ve seen finger waves, cards that are warped differently than the others.

    In any poker joint, in any country in the whole wide world, someone is trying to cheat.

    Johnny Moss said, “I know about all those things because they were done to me. Being on the road is the best education the world.”

  3. RunningBad

    Lame Design, yes.
    Bad Printing, yes.
    No QC to allow those cards in rotation in the first place: You bet.

    But player’s marks … no.

  4. Kevin Mathers

    In Bloch’s brief time at the 8-game today, he also noted that the dealer was using a translucent cut card, which was noted at another table.