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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Gambling Spot » » Is Card Table Manipulation Passe among Higher Level Hustlers (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Cagliostro
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In 1894, Sharps and Flats by John Neville Maskelyne was published. In the chapter on Manipulation, Maskelyne made this observation:

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In card games especially there is always a risk in resorting to manipulation nowadays. There is the ever-present possibility of someone among the cheat's antagonists having sufficient knowledge to detect him in his manipulation of the cards. He is haunted by the fear that sharp eyes are watching his every movement, and he knows full well that he can accomplish nothing in this way without some movement which a trained eye would instantly detect. Once detected in cheating, his reputation is gone. He can no longer hope to find dupes among his former acquaintances. He must seek “fresh fields and pastures new.” However precious reputation may be to an honest man, it is a thousand times more so to the sharp. Once his reputation is gone he has to depend upon chance custom; whereas he might otherwise have a nice little circle of regular clients, at whose expense he could live in ease and comfort.

As a professional sharp remarked to a young friend, to whom he was giving lessons in the art of cheating:

“The best gamblers [they don't call themselves sharps] play with fair cards only; and, by being wonderfully keen card-players, make their brains win, instead of cheating with the pack. They play in partnership (secret), and are invincible, as they know all the various swindles and so can protect themselves from being cheated. The most successful men are among this class, although nearly all of them can do the finest work with a pack of cards.

“The next best class are those who play marked cards well, many of them using cards that no one not acquainted with the work could find out in a lifetime. These men, if they can only get their own cards into a game, are sure to win.

“Then, after these, come the class of "second dealers," "bottom dealers," and men who habitually do work with the pack to win. These men always get caught in the long run.”

Such, then, being the case as evidenced by the word of an expert, one may form some idea of the relative value of manipulation as compared with other methods in the hands of the card-sharper.


Inasmuch as this was written over 100 years ago and taking into consideration that in the last 20 or so years there has been tremendous exposure of card table manipulation by a myriad of would be expose “experts” and "gurus," with these moves being continually bandied about and demonstrated by a host of newly informed internet and DVD “experts,” does this observation by Maskelyn regarding card table “moves” still have validity today? In other words, is manipulation today confined mostly to the lowest order of card hustlers and of little use in higher level tough money games?
iamslow
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THe amount of money being played doesn't always dictate the level of the players at the game.... There's big stupid fish and small stupid fish all over the ocean....
"Everyone is tough till they get punched in the face" Mike Tyson
Tony45
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Quote:
On 2011-11-19 19:47, Cagliostro wrote:

Inasmuch as this was written over 100 years ago and taking into consideration that in the last 20 or so years there has been tremendous exposure of card table manipulation by a myriad of would be expose “experts” and "gurus," with these moves being continually bandied about and demonstrated by a host of newly informed internet and DVD “experts,” does this observation by Maskelyn regarding card table “moves” still have validity today? In other words, is manipulation today confined mostly to the lowest order of card hustlers and of little use in higher level tough money games?


If a hustler sees the companys 1/2 sharp, he wont move and will seek softer spots, I'm sure theres tons of them. In the same breath, theres all this info about 21 out there and I see guys consistently betting big money with no regard to basic at all and losing and keep coming back. So just because theres info available, its not always used, people are just lazy I guess.
My best example is the commercial that was on for years on CNN during lunch time and early afternoon where James Coburn was hawking a dvd to beat the slots ! Now that kind of advertising aint cheap any way you cut it so that means an awful lot of people are or were looking for a quick fix without putting any time in to study anything more than pulling a handle, lol.
Im sure theres tons of places where simple moves can be put in to gain an edge, it don't always have to be a difficult sleight that works and gets the job done.
Cagliostro
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Quote:
On 2011-11-21 05:41, Tony45 wrote:

If a hustler sees the companys 1/2 sharp, he wont move and will seek softer spots...


That's a good observation and I certainly agree since I was referring more to the tough, high stakes games. Sometimes the soft games are just not worth the effort – the stakes are too small although there certainly some big money soft games populated by idiots. Of course, serious tough games can still be beaten, but one might not be able to do so with the common everyday moves.

Quote:
Im sure theres tons of places where simple moves can be put in to gain an edge, it don't always have to be a difficult sleight that works and gets the job done.


I agree. In fact, oftentimes the most difficult and complicated moves and scams don’t work in the real world. I have seen a number of scams go back to the drawing board because in live action they were too complex. In fact, many of the really fancy and “cute” moves that many card table aficionados drool over are basically only good for demonstration purposes and are impractical when it comes to getting the money.
Pop Haydn
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Maskelyne is right about playing with partners at poker and other such games...it is still the simplest, most successful and best strategy still commonly used.
GothicBen
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The simplest methods seem to be the most common. Discard culls and pickup stacks are simple in terms of execution and probably bottom of the list in terms of sleight-of-hand skill level, but are STILL the most commonly used!
Yorunero
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I'd like to say that it really depends on the move(s) and on the kind of game you're in.
IMHO there still are some difficult moves that pretty much guarantee you walking out richer, but only if you've truly mastered and perfected them, for example riffle stacking (preferably with a partner : D ).
If perfectly executed there's probably no way anyone will catch you riffle stacking the deck (perhaps only when culling the cards). Unfortunately this kind of move would not fly in any game, not because of the mechanics of the move, but because of the procedures that other players might employ to ensure that the game is fair.
I really think it's more about how aware other players are of the "moves" and what they do about it, rather than particular details of the moves themselves.
silverking
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Tables full of 'friends' whipsawing strangers, or a couple of guys giving the office to each other.......those are effective strategies that have stood the test of time.

Manipulation is still practiced to be sure, but certainly nowhere near as common as whipsawing and playing partners.
Cagliostro
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Yorunero wrote the following quotes on Nov 22, 2011 12:18
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I'd like to say that it really depends on the move(s) and on the kind of game you're in.


Precisely. One cannot make a specific statement without taking into consideration the conditions of play and the type of game.

However, as a general observation, I think Maskelyne’s statement is valid, perhaps more so today. Any type of manipulation in a tough game with observant players has its difficulties. Let’s face it, ALL moves can be detected, or at least suspected, regardless of how well executed. It depends on how well informed the observer is.

Quote:
IMHO there still are some difficult moves that pretty much guarantee you walking out richer, but only if you've truly mastered and perfected them, for example riffle stacking (preferably with a partner).


IMHO the difficulty of the move has little to do with its efficacy in play. Some very difficult moves might require a new deck of cards and fall apart when the deck starts to get worn. Also, in a game the hustler is not warmed up as he would be when practicing and difficult moves can become more difficult when the hustler gets the deck every 8 or 10 hands. At that point he is making the move cold and he may not do it quite so well.

Tremendous amounts of money have been made with very simple moves, or without any moves at all, in casino and high stake private games. In fact, a good argument can be made that the biggest scores have been made without moves or with easy to do moves. The reason being is there is so much more to a successful play than the “move.”

Quote:
If perfectly executed there's probably no way anyone will catch you riffle stacking the deck (perhaps only when culling the cards). Unfortunately this kind of move would not fly in any game, not because of the mechanics of the move, but because of the procedures that other players might employ to ensure that the game is fair.


That's a great observation. As you mentioned the culling of the cards is more likely to be detected and of course the various ways of overcoming the cut have their weak points regardless of how one does his riffle stack. It is the weak points that are more likely to be detected and that would lead the suspicious person to look for some form of stacking, blocking or location.

The second problem is most riffle stacking is not done that well. But assuming it is, for a specific move it can be made virtually undetectable. However, one must know when and how to use it.

And yes, a change in procedures can nullify many forms of cheating. I played more than once in big games in which, although each player could shuffle and deal, ALL discards had to go into the center of the table and could not be touched until the hand was over – that included the deck itself at the end of the deal. Moreover, prior to the cut the cards had to be riffled shuffled – no overhand shuffling or multiple cutting the deck prior to the final cut by the player on the right. If one is looking to cull and stack, that would be a pretty tough game to do so in.

Fortunately these games were quite beatable, but not using moves.
Yorunero
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Quote:
On 2011-11-22 14:10, Cagliostro wrote:
IMHO the difficulty of the move has little to do with its efficacy in play. Some very difficult moves might require a new deck of cards and fall apart when the deck starts to get worn. Also, in a game the hustler is not warmed up as he would be when practicing and difficult moves can become more difficult when the hustler gets the deck every 8 or 10 hands. At that point he is making the move cold and he may not do it quite so well.


Firstly, I'd like to agree with everything you said your post that isn't "quoted" by me in this message.
I'd also like to clarify myself a little bit. I did not mean that the more difficult moves are ultimately "better" or are invisible. What I meant to say that SOME of the difficult moves can be practically invisible, even to a trained eye.
I'd also like to add that most "difficult" moves are usually indeed "better", but in most cases not by much that their "noob-versions".

My final point would be, of course, that when I'm talking about flawless execution of a move I don't only mean the mechanics of the move, say how well one pushes off the bottom card, how good one's rhythm is, etc etc. I also include the "knowing what and when". If say, you try to cull the cards while someone just happens to stare at your hands, you risk getting caught. Not flawless. That's what "flawless execution" means. One executs the move in a way that even a trained eye would not spot it (the degree of how trained the opponent's eye can get varies with each move of course)

TLDR version of above:
A master hustler would know not only HOW to perform a move and actually do it that way, but also know WHEN to do the move and with WHO in order not to get caught.

Hope that clears things up Smile
Cagliostro
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On 2011-11-22 14:46, Yorunero wrote:
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I'd also like to add that most "difficult" moves are usually indeed "better", but in most cases not by much that their "noob-versions".

I am in complete agreement will everything you wrote in the above posts. Sometimes the semantics or nuances of the written word need further clarification. I don’t know if you are a card enthusiast, magician or have actually “been there”-- at least I don’t know that just yet, but so far we think the same and thanks for the clarification.

I singled out your above quote because in my “long” lifetime I have learned and mastered just about every "get the money" card table move one can think of and invented a few of my own. This is not to boast…much to my chagrin I just could not put that *** deck down for very long. However, IMHO even the “noob-versions” of moves only need a little help to do the job just as well as the fancy stuff in most cases, but certainly they have to be improved to a certain extent. Also, the fancy flourishy demo stuff, no matter how difficult, is usually completely impractical and total BS in a game.

I have found that only a few moves are “primo” enough for fast company plays, both casino and private game play. In fact, top paper (not the junk that is exposed and bandied about the internet sites) when used properly by pros (not amateurs) can fool just about anyone. Top paper and very sophisticated collusion are my two biggest concerns in a game. In my experience, reading top paper and playing it well is harder to learn than mastering the most difficult card table moves.

Maybe I should qualify that. There were only two moves that I gave up on, MacDougall’s Riffle Cull in the hands (at speed), and MacDougall’s Full Deck Perfect Riffle Shuffle against the table (as explained in Card Mastery). There were much easier and more practical ways to get around doing those moves the way MacDougall described, and without the occasional “misses” during the shuffle.
tommy
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Since 1971 I have played less than once in a big poker game in which, each player could shuffle and deal. Poker though is not the only game in town and there often big games of Kalooki at my place in which each player will shuffles and deals. Then there is Bridge played for for big money in other circles. There is Gin and so on and no croup is used in such games. Its not so much about finding the right move, and there simple right moves for these game, as it is about finding the right sucker.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
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On 2011-11-24 09:22, tommy wrote:
[snip]
Its not so much about finding the right move, and there simple right moves for these game, as it is about finding the right sucker.



So true! Give me a green Gin player with lots'o cash and I am a happy camper!


Brian
"Lulling the minds of your company is more important than dazzling their eyes." Ed Marlo
jfquackenbush
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I play straight and if I think the company is half sharp I move on. Poker isn't chess. The challenge isn't beating a skilled opponent, it's trouncing a sucker who doesn't know he's outclassed and having him laugh and joke with you the whole time you're cleaning him out.
Mr. Quackenbush believes that there is no such thing as a good magic trick.
john oleson
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Have witnessed the best of the best at bottoms and seconds ... takes big gonads and extremely good timing ... and real naivete on the part of the other players. With the internet and books, the unsuspecting are not as naive as in the "old" days.

My dad told me once "Winners never gamble, and gamblers never win!"

MHO
jfquackenbush
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I dunno John. I have a bottom deal that's mediocre at best, and I've told people I was going to deal off the bottom while I was fiddling with the cards after a game and they weren't able to tell which hand I put the straight flush into. These are friends of mine who play a lot of poker and who were burning my hands. If you don't know how to spot it you don't know how to spot it, and there's nothing that I would think is more appealing to a hustler than an idiot who thinks he's got a clue.
Mr. Quackenbush believes that there is no such thing as a good magic trick.
AMcD
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Nah Jason, only big-top-mega-hyper-super-pros can do that...

(Yeah, I'm in sour mode).
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