Marked Playing Cards

marked playing cards

Marked Playing Cards

Marked playing cards are a common tool used by magicians and mentalists. They can be used to perform miracles’ that would otherwise be impossible with ordinary decks of cards.

There are a few different techniques for marking playing cards, including block-out work, cut-out work, scroll work and shade or tint work. Some also use special solutions that dull the finish of the card.

What are marked playing cards?

Marked playing cards are a type of poker card that has been marked in a way only apparent to the player who marks them. It is a common tactic used by poker cheats to gain an advantage over their opponents and is usually employed by casino gamblers, although it does occur more frequently in home games where the players don’t know each other.

In the past, there were various methods of marking the cards, including bending the card, adding or removing visible marks on the back, and using a needle or nails to make patterns or lines. These practices were far from sensible, however, and so the modern world has evolved marked-card techniques that are more sophisticated and deceptive. These include block-out work, cut-out work, scroll work, shade work and tint work.

Another popular technique for marking cards is called luminous marking. These cards are only visible when a person wears special contact lenses or gimmicked sunglasses that have been specially designed to read the marks on the back of the card. The original luminous systems were based on green ink and red lenses, but more recently a new technology has been developed that uses chemicals[clarification needed] to create the marks. The most deceptive and futuristic of these systems is the newest, Ultra-Luminous system that uses complicated chemical formulas and optical scientific principles to make the marks almost impossible to detect.

Other types of marked cards include juice-marked decks, which are only readable when a person is trained to read them. These can be used to spot collusion by watching the hands that partners fold- if a player constantly has a good hand but his partner never folds, it is considered to be a sign of cheating.


A marked deck allows you to perform card tricks that would be difficult to pull off with a standard unmarked pack. They can also be used to conceal cheating cards or magic props from unscrupulous players or magicians alike. Some casinos even alter playing cards before they are sold or given away to prevent cheaters from stealing table stakes. Marked cards can be marked in many different ways, from a small dot on the obverse to a gimmicky gum wrapper. The most effective method is a mix of judicious and creative use of a tint solution, a dab of special paste and an eye-catching back design. The most interesting aspect of this type of marking is that it can be done on the fly, without having to swap in a pre-marked deck. Moreover, the marks are very easy to remove. This enables you to perform a wide range of card magic tricks and illusions, from the most basic to the highest-flying.

Collocation tool

Aside from the standard deck of cards, the most exciting aspect of marked playing cards is their ability to display a variety of special cards. This is made possible by a number of inventions, the most important of which is the collocation tool. This device allows you to highlight selected words using the original source text or its concordanced equivalents. The tool is a slick and speedy affair, with the best part being that it’s free!

To use it, click on the “collocation” button in the lower right hand corner of your keyboard and select the desired word. The result is a window that displays your highlighted word(s) in their natural context. A plethora of buttons and menu options will make the task a breeze. In the resulting concordance window, you can also resize and rotate your selected words to suit your viewing needs. The most intriguing thing about this little gem is that it is always on standby for you, and only requires a single click to launch. This is the only system of its kind on the market, and is a welcome addition to your desktop, especially in the office.


Playing cards were first seen in China around the year 1100 AD and soon began to spread across Asia and Europe. The cards were then used in many different games, especially for gambling purposes.

They were popular in Europe, influencing and transforming the society. They were even banned by religious authorities, such as St Bernadin of Siena in 1423 and by the church in Switzerland in 1367, but they were gradually accepted into society over time.

Some experts argue that they were introduced by Chinese nomads, although the evidence is disputed and there are other possible theories. Either way, they were widely known and spread throughout Europe, as printing technology accelerated their production.

The earliest references to playing cards in Europe are found in the thirteenth century and come from Catalonia (Spain), Florence, France, Sienna and Viterbo, Italy. They describe packs of cards painted ‘in gold and various colours’ or ‘painted and gilded’.

It is not clear how they were first manufactured in Europe but it seems likely that someone had a set of cards made out of scraps and based on recollections of what they saw in a game or similar elsewhere. It is also possible that they were copied from existing Chinese paper tiles, though these may have more in common with dominoes than cards.

Scenario 2: Another possibility is that some travellers had discovered a card game during their travels and they brought it back with them to Europe where it was quickly picked up by the local population and then incorporated into everyday life. This is supported by a cluster of early literary references, including the 14th century, which refer to ‘the Saracen’s game’ or ‘the Moorish Game’.

The cards remained popular for many centuries, being played for a variety of reasons. They were a convenient way of representing and categorising experience, and for many people they served as a practical’mnemonic’ or memory aid or teaching tool, or as a means of condensing knowledge. They also became a means of self-affirmation and, in some cases, were used as a form of political satire.