Tipoffs How to detect a false deal

This brings us to the question of just what things will give away a false deal. Initially I planned on covering the subject of detecting a false deal at the end, but I have since decided that if you know what things to watch for it will help to improve the quality of your false deals. From the beginning it is important to realize that there is no one thing to watch for, meaning that, false deals do not look a certain way or sound a certain way while real deals look and sound another way. There is no real consistency from one method to another and from one performer to another.

The first thing to examine is the grip, and this is not a good one, but it can serve as an indicator. You should watch for two points. First, watch for a shift in the grip while dealing. In other words, someone may deal the first three cards and then when he goes to deal the fourth his grip shifts. Now this may be natural, but generally, it indicates some reason for the change. The change is however, usually fairly subtle and designed to facilitate a particular action. (See figure 353 and figure 354 for an example.)

Figure 354.

One of two things may occur in cases such as this, the first and I find it to be the most natural, is for the later grip to remain. In other words, after making the shift from the grip in figure 353, to the grip in figure 354, the dealer would continue using the grip shown in figure 354 for the remainder of the cards. (Just in case I have inadvertently created some confusion, the grips shown are not the only possibilities, virtually any shift could occur, the photographs merely illustrate how a subtle change may occur quite easily.) The second possibility is that the dealer will shift to a particular grip and then back. If this is the case you should watch to see if the shift is consistent. For example, each time the dealer reaches the fourth player his grip changes, then for the fifth or sixth player the grip changes back. This would be a fairly obvious tip off.

Another possibility, and something you as a dealer should attempt to avoid is using different grips depending on what deal is to be performed. For example, on one particular round the dealer may not be cheating and thus use a grip like that shown in figure 353, but on the next round may wish to bottom deal and thus shift to a grip such as that shown in figure 354. A further shift may occur if he desires to perform a second deal or a Greek deal etc. Caution must be exercised on this point since it is possible to perform false deals from a variety of grips and a different grip doesn't necessarily indicate anything. For example, I personally like to shift from one grip to another on different occasions to maintain my edge with each grip and each method and I have numerous methods I can use to perform most or all of my false deals from the same grip.

The next tip off is the position of the dealer's right hand fingers on the card after performing the take. While variation can occur here, there should be general consistency. Again, watching for consistency in exactly when this grip on the card changes is important. For example, if the dealer is dealing cards for five players and the cards dealt to the fourth player are consistently different from the other four players then you likely have a case where false dealing is occurring. (See figure 355 and figure 356 for examples of subtle differences in the finger position).

Figure 355.
Figure 356.

Another potential tip off, though one that is very easy to avoid involves the position of the cards when they end up on the table. This occurs most often when the dealer is dealing cards off the side of the deck and then performs a bottom deal. What happens is, the fingers used for support on the deck catch the card and twist it, causing its orientation to change as demonstrated in the photographs. (See figure 357 and figure 358.)

Figure 358.

Again, this is an inconsistency to watch for, though it isn't likely to occur often.

In regards to the action of performing the take there are numerous potential tip offs, one being, clearly performing the take in a location that is unsuitable for the card. For example, with a strike second, if you were to push off the top card and then perform a strike in the top corner of the deck. (See figure 359 and figure 360.)

Figure 359.

Figure 359.

Now naturally this may vary considerably depending on the deal, so I will examine these accordingly later, but it is a point to be aware of.

Another issue, common to the likes of a push-off second deal is that the take will be performed with a different finger than it should be. The common approach, is to perform the take on the bottom of the card with the middle or ring finger rather than from the top with the thumb. This is a very subtle difference and difficult to detect, though also difficult to disguise. A different sort of motion characterizes it, namely the take it performed outward instead of downward. I must stress at this point how there is no correct way or assured point to examine, what you are paying attention for are inconsistencies.

Along these same lines, I will teach you to perform a squaring take when performing a double deal, yet few people employ such a take when not double dealing, which serves as another tip off. (See figure 361 and figure 362.)

Figure 361.
Figure 362.

I will elaborate later on specific tip offs when it comes to the take and a specific deal, but as always, the issue is simply to watch for inconsistencies and to avoid them yourself.

Then there is the issue of card flash, which occurs most commonly in push-off deals, where basically, the dealer flashes the fact that there is either another card being removed, or that a card (the top card) is being pulled back and not removed. This often becomes a tip off when performing stud deals among other things, particularly one-handed dealing. It is difficult to illustrate in terms of photographs, but for your reference I am including a photograph of a push-off second deal flash as well as a stud second flash. (See figure 363 and figure 364.)

You will notice that the corner of the top card in the first photograph is flashing, specific details such as this will be covered later.

Next, there is the issue of thumb movement, most notably for second deals. If you notice the thumb is moving for some deals and not others, that is a problem. You may also notice that the timing of the movement changes. For example, when performing a push-off second, the pullback of the top card may occur sooner than the pullback would occur on a legitimate deal. Finally, the thumb movement may be inconsistent on the vertical plane, to illustrate this disparity, try pushing off two cards and then sliding the top one back. Now simply try pushing off the top card and dealing it off and watch the difference in the thumb. The tendency is to lift the thumb off the deck when performing the real deal and to allow it to slide across the top of the deck on the false deal; naturally, this difference in procedure provides a tip-off that something is amiss.

Particularly for push-off bottom and Greek deals there becomes the worry of the get ready as a tip off. This occurs in two forms. The first, is that the finger or fingers involved in the get ready will move or disappear from the side of the deck. (See figure 365 and figure 366.)

Figure 365.
Figure 366.

Second, there is the concern of what we refer to as knuckle flash where the knuckle can be seen to drop down and facilitate the push-off. (See figure 367 and figure 368.)

Figure 368.

Then there is a major concern for most dealers, and one that arises most specifically in attempting to perform all false deals from the same grip, namely finger flash. Essentially what happens is that certain fingers get in the way of performing the false deal and in order to facilitate the action it is necessary to open one or more of the fingers. This flash is quite obvious and also often fairly difficult for people to avoid when they are working on their technique. It is most often a concern when dealing bottoms. (See figure 369 and figure 370.)

Figure 370.

Naturally, the finger flash will vary depending on the deal and the grip, but this provides you with a general indication of what may occur and what to watch for.

You will find I think that the last tip off is the most difficult to avoid by far, namely sound. For various reasons, different deals will cause the cards to talk (make noise) and do so in different and inconsistent manners. This occurs to such an extent that one can often close their eyes and detect a false deal merely by sound. Again, there is no particular sound to listen for, the tip-off comes when a particular deal sounds different, this is especially true when it is consistently different. For example, if the cards dealt to the fourth player in a game consistently sounds different.

Naturally, if the false deal is terrible you will be able to see that the card isn't coming off the top of the deck, but this is a tip-off that cannot be relied upon. Ideally, you will be able to fix your eyes on the top card and ensure that it is in fact dealt from the top of the deck, as almost no one's deal is good enough to avoid this tip-off. The problem is that most of the time you are unable to see the top of the deck and thus this method is not effective.

Ultimately, there is also the issue of telegraphing to consider. Telegraphing is not the same as a tip-off since it doesn't refer to technique, but rather to mannerisms of the dealer in question. Someone who is cheating may appear nervous, give extra attention to a particular action, create unnatural breaks in procedure etc. You should be avoiding such indications yourself and watching for them yourself.

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