Top Tips To Avoid Marked Cards At The Casino


Posted: July 9, 2024

Updated: July 9, 2024

Thanks to top-notch security, cheating in land-based casinos is pretty much a thing ofthe past. However, there are always those players who like to try their luck, in both the games, and in breaking the rules. One common technique is to secretly mark the cards in a very descrite manner. We suggest you keep your eyes peeled for signs of altered cards.

Ever heard the saying “cheaters never prosper”? Unfortunately, that’s not always true, especially in environments with less oversight. Marked cards are a classic trick in a card shark’s arsenal. But with a keen eye and some awareness, you can protect yourself and avoid marked cards at the casino. Here at, we’ve put together some key strategies for private games. On the whole these won’t work so well at online live dealer games like those found at Bet365 Poker. That’s because all poker games at the best online casino sites in the UK are licensed and highly regulated. 

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Watch The Player And Dealer Moves

While technology has introduced new methods of marking cards, many cheaters still rely on old-fashioned sleights of hand. A common technique involves creating tiny markings on card edges using fingernails. This is particularly risky, so cheaters often exhibit unusual behaviour that can tip you off. To avoid marked cards, be mindful of players who handle their cards excessively. Shuffling is normal, but watch for someone who seems fixated on the cards, especially the backs. Do they grip the edges with an unnatural tightness, or constantly lift and examine them? These actions could be attempts to create or verify markings.

Don’t Point Fingers Too Soon

However, here at, we suggest it’s crucial to avoid jumping to conclusions. Shuffling techniques vary, and some players might simply be nervous or fidgety. A single instance of unusual handling might not be enough. The key is to observe discreetly and gather evidence over time. If your suspicions grow, become more attentive during card distribution. Notice if a player seems overly eager to receive specific cards, or tries to palm them during shuffling. Look for patterns in their handling, particularly if it focuses on high-value cards like aces and kings. By staying vigilant and recognizing these subtle tells, you can gain a significant advantage, avoid marked cards, and protect yourself from potential cheaters.

Avoid Marked Cards – Inspect The Deck For Hidden Markings

If a player’s behaviour raises red flags, it’s time to become a card detective. While the dealer shuffles, subtly examine the backs of the cards for any irregularities. According to online casino news in the UK, you should look for imperfections beyond normal wear and tear. When you’re looking to avoid marked cards, here’s what to watch for:

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Picture Sourfce: Pickpik
  • Tiny Cuts – Cheaters might use sharp objects to create minuscule nicks or slices on card edges. These can be difficult to detect, so focus on holding the cards at an angle to catch any glinting light reflecting off the cuts.
  • Unexplained Bends – Slightly bent corners or warped edges could indicate manipulation. Carefully examine the cards for any inconsistencies in their shape.
  • Suspicious Scratches – Faint scratches or scuffs could be deliberate markings. While some wear and tear is normal, unusual patterns or scratches concentrated on specific areas deserve closer scrutiny.
  • Focus on High-Value Cards – Cheaters pressed for time often prioritise marking key cards like aces and kings. By devoting extra attention to these cards, you’re more likely to uncover any hidden markings that give them an unfair advantage.

Remember, the goal is to be discreet. Examining cards too blatantly can draw unwanted attention. Instead, use natural pauses in the game, like shuffling or dealing, to perform a quick visual inspection. By staying observant and identifying these potential tells, you can level the playing field, avoid marked cards, and protect yourself from marked card trickery.

Call For A Fresh Start

If your suspicions about marked cards solidify, requesting a new deck is a powerful tactic. However, the approach can differ depending on the setting. Casinos prioritise fair play and maintain a ready supply of fresh decks. If you suspect foul play and want to avoid marked cards, politely request a new deck from the dealer. Explain your concerns to the pit boss and most casinos will readily switch it out, as maintaining a fair game is paramount to their reputation. Private games require a more cautious strategy. Openly accusing someone of cheating can escalate tensions. Here’s a subtle approach:

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Picture Source: Pixahive
  • Casually Request a Change – Mention that the “deck feels worn” or you’d like “a fresh start.” This avoids direct accusations.
  • Have a Lighthearted Excuse – If met with resistance, laugh it off and say the current deck isn’t in your favour.
  • Observe the Reaction – A hostile response might confirm your suspicions. However, the host might simply agree, unwilling to disrupt the game or expose their own knowledge of cheating.

Remember that casinos are more likely to readily replace the deck. In private games, prioritise your safety and avoid confrontation. A lighthearted request can achieve your goal without causing a scene. Even if a new deck isn’t provided, the act of requesting it can disrupt the cheater’s strategy and potentially deter them from continuing.

Avoid Marked Cards – Spotting Statistical Anomalies

Marked cards aren’t the only weapon in a cheater’s arsenal. Technology has introduced invisible inks readable only with special glasses or lighting conditions, making physical detection difficult. However, by staying alert and recognizing unusual play patterns, you can raise red flags and avoid marked cards. Here’s what to watch for:

  • Uncharacteristically Bold Bets – Regular players typically develop a recognizable betting style. If someone suddenly starts making outlandish bets with weak hands, it could be a sign they possess hidden knowledge about the cards.
  • “Hero Calls” – Calling down large bets with seemingly weak hands can happen occasionally, but a frequent occurrence in a short time frame is suspicious. A cheater with marked cards might be more confident in their hand than they appear.
  • Trust Your Gut – A string of statistically improbable plays might indicate something fishy. In private games, prioritise your safety. If you’re uncomfortable, excuse yourself from the game. By staying vigilant and combining observation with intuition, you can identify potential cheaters using advanced marking techniques and protect yourself from unfair play.

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Know When to Fold 

Sometimes, the smartest move at the poker table isn’t a strategic bet, but knowing when to walk away. If you suspect a game is rigged or the deck is marked, staying becomes a losing proposition. Here’s why cutting your losses to avoid marked cards and leaving is the best course of action:

  • Unbeatable Odds – A rigged game or marked cards create an unfair advantage for the cheater. No matter your skill level or luck, winning becomes statistically improbable.
  • Preserving Your Time and Money – Why waste your time and resources on a game where the outcome is manipulated? Leaving allows you to protect your bankroll and invest your time in a fair game.
  • Avoiding Escalation – Accusing someone of cheating can lead to conflict. Leaving quietly avoids unnecessary drama and potential retaliation.

Avoid Marked Cards – Tips To Make A Smooth Exit

It’s best to avoid conflict and leave quietly. After all, there’s little point in making a scene when you have little evidence to prove your cause. We suggest that you use the following excuses:

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Picture Source: Flickr
  • Cash Out – Exchange your poker chips for cash before departing.
  • Make a Lighthearted Excuse – If you feel pressured for an explanation, offer a simple excuse like needing to leave early or “not feeling lucky tonight.”

Conclusion – Why Regulated Games Are Your Best Bet

When it comes to protecting yourself to avoid marked cards and other cheating tactics, the golden rule is this: avoid unknown private games altogether. Here’s why regulated poker rooms are your safest haven:

  • Advanced Technology Means Less Risk – Cheating methods are constantly evolving, and private games might lack the resources to detect sophisticated techniques – Regulated poker rooms, on the other hand, invest heavily in security measures and staff training to stay ahead of potential cheaters.
  • Transparency and Fairness – Licensed casinos and poker rooms operate under strict regulations. Licensing authorities like the UK Gambling Commission and Malta Gaming Authority  ensure fair play, random shuffling of decks, and the ability to request a new deck if you have concerns.
  • Support at Your Fingertips – Regulated environments offer a safety net. If you suspect something amiss, you can easily notify floor staff or security officials who are trained to handle such situations.

That’s the main reason why we recommend you stick with established casinos and poker rooms with a reputation for fair play. We highly recommend Bet365 Poker for the safest online gaming experience. At the end of the day, your peace of mind is priceless. The added security and support offered by regulated and fully licensed games are worth the potential trade-off of a more “homey” private game atmosphere.

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