Richard Marcus

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Do Sunglasses Hide Poker Cheats?


Cheating at poker takes many forms in brick and mortar cardrooms, and some people have been asking me if sunglasses are part of a cheat's cheating arsenal. Well, more and more these days we see an increase in the amount of players sporting sunglasses. The primary reason for players wearing them has always been taken for granted: that they try to hide their eyes in order to protect themselves from other players picking up their "tells" by looking into their eyes. Then there's the psychological aspect some players use by wearing sunglasses to intimidate other players or to give themselves a certain mystique or individuality if the sunglasses in question happen to have a marked uniqueness.

But is there more to all this? Have some poker cheats taken to wearing sunglasses to enhance their cheating techniques and at the same time further blend in with the other players at the table. I mean, you are now part of the anomaly if you don't wear sunglasses at the table!

The reality is that organized poker cheats have indeed taken advantage of the poker sunglasses fashion craze. Not only do sunglasses do a good job of hiding nervousness at the tables, which cheaters may be feeling, but they also hide furtive communication. Ever hear of communicating with your eyes? I'm sure you have, but have you ever heard of communicating with your eyes when they can't be seen? Aha! That's a bit different. Professional collusion cheats can use their "shades" to actually enhance visual communication, by making subtle head movements and upper body gestures. So then, where do the sunglasses come in? Well, if you're at a table and you notice one of these subtle movements, you still can't tell which player is the target of the communication because the communicator's eyes are blacked out. You may think that this is no great matter, but you tend to subconsciously let your suspicions subside when you find yourself staring into the darkened abyss of lifeless lenses.

And get this: The other day I got an e-mail asking me about X-ray glasses at the poker table! A poker player wanted to know if those weird looking sunglasses he saw Greg Raymer wearing at the table might be X-ray lenses to see through the cards!...or underneath the cards...or whatever! I'm trying to say, see the faces of the cards so that the wearer of these glasses would know everyone's hole cards.

First off, let me assure you that Greg Raymer is a TOTALLY HONEST player and that my posting his photo here is only to show the distinctness of his glasses! I am in no way implying anything other than Greg Raymer's integrity.

Well, my answer to the e-mailer was..."If that was the case, you better never look any other poker player wearing sunglasses at the table in the eye again...wait!...I mean in the lenses again...AND, you better not go to the dentist for a few years!!! "
If you're not laughing...RADIATION, MAN!!!

If you're still not laughing, try this: Another e-mailer asked me, "Mr. Marcus, can you tell me if wearing sunglasses would help an online poker cheat?"

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Name: Richard Marcus

My book, AMERICAN ROULETTE (St. Martin's Press), tells the true story of my twenty-five years as a professional casino cheater. Upon arriving in Las Vegas, in my early twenties, I supported myself solely through legitimate gambling. However, I soon found myself broke and homeless, living under a highway overpass. I eventually sought gainful employment in the only industry I had knowledge of, becoming a Blackjack and Baccarat dealer. Armed with experience on both sides of the tables, my mentor to be, Joe Classon taught the ways of a professional casino cheater. Although retired, I keep up on the various cons and scams that law enforcement is largely unnable to adequately police.

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