Marked Cards are cards that have had their backs marked in a subtle way so that it's possible to know their values without turning them over.

The purpose of marking cards is generally to cheat at whichever card game is being played! Honest players might not therefore be overly interested in this technique. However, having a basic knowledge of how card marking works may help us to spot if we are being cheated by other players. 

What Is The Purpose Of Marking Cards In Poker?

Marking cards in poker is not a standard part of the game and involves making subtle marks on the back of the playing cards themselves. It allows players to determine the value of a card without requiring it to be turned over. The main reason why a player would mark a deck of cards is for the purpose of cheating at whichever game was being played.

How Do We Know If A Deck Of Cards Has Been Marked?

Markings on the back of playing cards will be subtle but it might be possible to spot them by looking carefully. We should look for parts of the cards that have been coloured in, scratched off or appear to have sections which are a lighter or darker shade than the other cards. Some types of card markings will not be visible to the naked eye and require special glasses in order for the marks to be visible. 

How Can A Deck Of Cards Be Marked?

There are a range of subtle ways that playing cards can be marked. It is possible to colour in or scratch off a small part of the card-back at a strategic location. Segments of the card-back can be made lighter or darker with a process known as ‘tinting’. It is even possible to mark the cards with luminous markers that can only be seen with the aid of special glasses or video cameras. 

Is It Necessary For Cheaters To Mark Every Card In The Deck?

Although having every single card in the deck marked might be ideal for a cheater, this is not necessary in order to confer a significant advantage. For example, even if a cheater only managed to mark all of the Aces in the deck - that might still be enough to guarantee victory when it comes to game time. Of course, cheating is never cool, don’t do it!

What Is The Riffle Test For Detecting Marked Cards?

The ‘riffle test’ involves looking careful at the backs of playing cards while the deck is being riffled. If there is some sort of mark on each of the cards, the marks will dance around like in an animation flipbook. Note that although this method is effective, it won’t detect all types of card marking. For example, luminous marks require special glasses or contact lenses in order to be visible to the human eye. 

Summary Of Marked Cards

A marked card is one that has subtle marking on the card back so that it can be identified without the need for turning the card over. Marked cards are typically used for the purposes of cheating at cards. Even honest players might benefit from a basic knowledge of card marking so they can protect themselves against scams. 

However, there are other applications for marked cards outside of cheating. For example, magicians might mark cards as part of a magic trick.

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