How To Avoid Getting Cheated With Marked Cards

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a person’s hand holding out a digital tablet with playing cards flying off of it
BetMGM Jul 23, 2023, 3:02 AM

Marking cards has been an issue since the days of the Wild West, leading to a major crackdown on marked cards in casinos. Of course, once something unlawful gets controlled, shady characters uncover new avenues to enhance their chances of winning; some believe that counting cards is the modern-day approach, especially if players in online casinos implement illegal software and tools to outdo the opposition. Thankfully, since the early days, the ongoing theme is that cheaters always get caught. Read on to learn how casinos nab cheaters and ways to avoid being exploited by players marking cards. 

The Ins and Outs of Marked Cards

So, what are marked cards? It’s when a gambler subtly alters the pack of cards — primarily via invisible ink only seen with special glasses, tiny scratches or marks — which allows them to identify the value or suit of a card. The advantages of this are huge. Not only can they determine what card will be drawn out next (by the dealer,) but more crucially, they can read their opponents’ cards and bet accordingly. Marked cards are most commonly spotted in poker, where outdoing the opposition is the aim of the game — it allows them to be one step ahead and only bet when they know they’re going to win.

How Can I Avoid Being Cheated With Marked Cards?

Although it’s the casinos’ job to identify and ban cheaters, it’s also up to players to flag them as they have a greater chance of spotting them being in a game, whereas online casinos are often dealing with hundreds and thousands of users. Here are several ways to avoid getting cheated with marked cards.

Be Constantly on the Look-Out for Unusual Play Patterns

Unusual play patterns are one of the most significant signs for players, as marked cards are often hard to spot. So, throughout a game, if you notice an active player winning multiple rounds and never losing, don’t be afraid to share your thoughts with the casino. Why? Because games such as poker can last several hours, making it unrealistic to win every round, even for professionals. 

Other unusual play patterns include inconsistent betting by staking huge bets or constantly changing bet sizes without apparent reason. 

Inspect the Cards

While you might be unable to inspect the cards before a game in a casino, you can investigate them throughout the game. Look out for unusual physical markings, such as slightly bent edges and minuscule scratches. Also, cheaters may only have the chance to mark some cards, meaning they often prioritize high-value cards such as queen, king and ace, so be sure to give these cards special attention. 

Be Alert to Suspicious Behavior

Players cheating with cards in poker can often be uncovered if you’re looking out for suspicious behavior, such as excessively looking at opposition hands, constantly touching the cards or often monitoring the deck. If you watch the World Series of Poker, you’ll notice it’s unusual for players to be constantly looking at their hand and the deck; often, they’ll glance after each new community card. If you see players constantly scanning the cards, keep an eye on them in a bid to try to catch them out. 

Moreover, whether it’s offline or online gambling, casinos attract socializing, meaning you’re free to ask questions to gamblers you think are shady without them knowing you are onto them. This is a great way to gauge their personality. For example, if they refuse to answer questions, it may give you more insight into whether they’re cheating. 

Ask for a New Deck of Cards

If you detect foul play or something doesn’t feel right, remember, you can ask for a fresh deck. And if any opposition tries revoking this, it’s a good tell that they’ve tampered with the cards. 

But, if you suspect cheating and ask for a new deck, you must be careful how you approach the situation. For instance, never confront the player with distasteful remarks and shouting, as this may lead to unfortunate events such as fighting. The safest way to report cheating is to walk away from the table and alert staff. 

Play at Reputable Casinos

Playing at a reputable casino should be your main priority. Great ways to identify a safe casino are reading reviews, identifying how long the establishment has been operating and whether they’ve embedded authentication processes such as facial recognition if it’s an online casino.

If you aren’t playing in a reputable casino, you’re exposing yourself to the threat of playing opposition who cheat. Simply put, they often look for illegitimate or poorly managed casinos as these venues find it harder to identify illegal activities.

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.