Running Up Hands, the Hole-Card Switch and Idiots

September 5, 2011 § 1 Comment

There was a particular group of dealers from the casino next door who were morons.  They were relatively certain that I was cheating for the house.  It was their intent to catch me cheating them, but for what end I never did know, as they never caught me.  Three or four of them would sit at my game and I would deal to them.  They paid very strict attention to everything I did.

They came in almost every night after their shift and would lose their money – imbeciles.  If you think you are being cheated out of your money, why would you continue to go up against it, especially if you got busted every night?  They watched for me to deal the second card, but their problem was twofold, they were drunk and couldn’t tell an “ace from a deuce”­­— inside terminology meaning that they couldn’t tell if the top card was being dealt or the second card was being dealt.

There were more things in my arsenal than just dealing the second card.  One of the other things I did that was routine to me—and many other mechanics—was what is termed “running up a hand.”  When picking up the cards after a hand had been dealt and all bets attended to, I would pick up cards in a particular order.

Example: There are four players and a dealer—me.  The dealer on the next hand—me—would receive the fifth and tenth cards I had picked up: the first four cards dealt to the players, the fifth card dealt to the dealer—me—cards six, seven, eight and nine to the players, and card number 10 to me.

So, during the picking up of the cards, I made certain that the fifth and tenth cards were good cards for me, hopefully a face card and an ace.  But most often two cards with a value of ten is what occurred.  If a mechanic can show the players 20 every hand, he will get all the money.

Then I false shuffled the cards, carrying what is called a “slug.”  The slug was the 10 cards I had run up in the specific order.  I would make sure the 10 cards stayed together and ended up on the top of the deck.  I would offer one of the players the cut and do something that is called “hopping the cut.”  That means that when the player cut the deck, I would put the cards back in the same order they were before the player cut the deck, when I was picking up the deck to get ready to deal it.  It’s a sleight-of-hand misdirection thing.

The other thing I did was to switch my hole-card and had to peek at the next card(s) in the deck to know what they were.  These sucker dealers never picked up on anything.

The hole-card switch was not a well-known move.  I knew of one other mechanic using it.  It was something that most people thought was impossible.  Plenty of people had heard of the hole-card switch but didn’t know how it was done or discounted it as being BS.  It was my favorite move.  It was really a strong one to win the money.  I’ve uploaded two videos of myself switching the hole-card for my readers to observe.

It’s done with the deck hand and is the reason that casinos back in the day, when they finally found out how the hole-card switch was performed, made it a rule that a 21 dealer could not turn over his hole-card with his deck hand.

I don’t have a video camera so I used my Iphone’s video feature.  I taped it to a small tripod and made a little setup with an old green-felt 21-table layout.

This particular hole-card switch took me many takes to get a couple of decent switches.  This switch is analogous to somebody who more than 40 years ago was a decent piano player, but after the music stopped 40 years ago, it stopped for a long time.

Every once in a while the piano player sits down to fool around for 15 minutes or so playing a tune or two.  This is the same as me with a deck of cards.  Every few years I might pick up a deck of cards and practice a little and then stop.  I think to myself, Why am I doing this?  I have no reason to.

I could feel the pressure just performing the hole-card switch in front of my camera, the same move I used for years in live action and thought nothing of doing it.

In the videos you will see me walk up to the table, perform the move and then move away.  Before I approach the dealer position I had to start the video and then walk around to the dealer position and proceed.  When I finish the move, I move away because I had to go shut off the camera.

I thought I’d explain all this because this whole thing I’m doing, writing the blog, the pictures, the novel I wrote—is a one man operation.

Well, I do get some blog writing advice from my old friend Dan Bunker, by e-mail, as we live several hundred miles apart. Dan also copy edited my novel.

Many of you know Dan and, for those who don’t, we grew up in the same small town many years ago.  He was also a 21 dealer for a few years.  He was one of the good guys, though.  He is now a filmmaker.

Check out Dan and his wife Judy ver Mehr’s website:

There are two hole-card switch videos.  One, the two-card switch, is of me just switching the hole-card.

The three card switch is an example of being stuck in a situation with my having 18: a face card as my up card and an eight as the hole-card.  18 is not a strong hand for the house.  The dealer can’t hit 18.  He has to stand pat on it.  What to do?

Try to find a ten-value card to switch in as the hole-card.  But sometimes I’d get real lucky and find a card with the value of three.  I would save the three for myself by dealing the second card.  When I turned over my hole-card, I would switch the eight that was in the hole for the three.  Then I would hit my now hand of 13 with the eight that had been in the hole, ending up with 21.

Of course this three-card switch works the same with the dealer having a ten-value card up and a seven in the hole and being able to find a four or having 19 and finding a two to switch in for the nine in the hole.

All these things worked great on the dealers who thought they were going to catch me.

They were just plain dumb.  If they would have caught me and tried to make a problem, I would have had them thrown out permanently, eighty-sixed.

I uploaded these hole-card switches I perform to YouTube.  They are under the name of Clay Parish.  Clay, is one of three protagonists in my novel The Cheaters, which I plan on uploading Tuesday.  It will be approximately five weeks before it is available.  I will continue to blog during that time and design my book covers, front and back.



§ One Response to Running Up Hands, the Hole-Card Switch and Idiots

  • Rob says:

    It’s a given that all dealers need very nimble fingers to be successful. To elevate dealing to an art form though some slight-of-hand is necessary. You had that ability, and it was the difference that turned other professional dealers into little more than your customers.

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