The Reference Guide to Early Works on Card Cheating

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The Reference Guide to Early Works on Card Cheating is a book that attempts to document every publication that describes at least one technique for cheating at cards, that was written in English before 1900.

With this aim in mind, 151 publications were reviewed in this context, and the particular techniques they described were noted. The 146 card cheating techniques were divided into 14 categories, which were

  • Collusion
  • False Deals
  • Extra Cards
  • Fewer Cards
  • Marked Cards
  • Modified Cards
  • Card Switching
  • Peeking
  • Stacking
  • False Shuffles
  • Location Plays
  • Overcoming the Cut
  • Capping
  • Furniture

In the course of the review, a few unusual techniques turned up, such as marking a card for touch with a needle, but not in the way you would for the punch. Also, an interesting use for a dog at the card table, and cards marked such that they can be distinguished audibly…

The publications are assessed in terms of their breadth and contribution. Whereby, the breadth was evaluated by simply counting the number of card cheating techniques described. Whereas the work’s contribution to the literature was measured by the number of techniques that the work described for the first time in an English language publication.

The highest scoring publication in terms of breadth was Koschitz’s Manual of Useful Information (1894).

Whereas, the publication with the greatest contribution to the in-scope literature was Annals of Gaming (1772-1775).

A full breakdown of which publications describe which techniques is also included.

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