One can categorize cheats in any way he/she wishes. There is no real
right way to do so. However, I made up a few categories that make sense
Anyone who takes advantage of an opportunity and acts upon it is a cheat.
Sometimes a seemingly innocent opportunity may mean losing your entire
bankroll to a cheat, who just acted upon the knowledge gained through
such opportunity. For example it won't do you any good to bluff on a possible
spade flush in five card stud, if your opponent (the opportunist) happened
to accidentally catch a glimpse of a red card being dealt as your hole
The opportunist is a dangerous cheat. It is impossible to catch him,
since the critical information happened to land into his lap. He didn't
plan it, he didn't make any sleight-of-hand moves and neither is he using
any gaffs. In fact, he may have even not had any intention of cheating,
he just couldn't resist.
Should such opportunity ever land into your lap - beware! If you happen
to glimpse a hole card and act upon it you may be surprised to find out
that the hole card is not what you thought is was. Sometimes cheats stage
an opportunity just to make a victim fall into the trap. If you take advantage
of this knowledge and find out you were wrong, what are you going to do?
Should you say: "Hey, this was not the card you accidentally exposed!"
The ego cheat:
The name says it all. The main motive this type of cheat has is to satisfy
his ego. Usually the ego cheat will improvise as the game progresses.
Perhaps he hates one of the other players, so he wants to make him pay?
Perhaps he just can't stand losing? He is not a pro - his livelihood doesn't
depend on it, but he does it anyway, just to feed his ego. What a lovable
The amateur recreational cheat:
The amateur recreational cheat would be the guy who is somehow fascinated
by this "art-form". This is the type of cheat who will resort
to marketed gadgets, such as marked cards, holdout machines, or stripper
decks. This cheat usually doesn't have the time or perhaps the patience
(talent?) to practice sleight of hand, so he goes the easy way.
The expert amateur cheat:
In the English language amateur is almost a derogatory term. People say
"what an amateur!" when wanting to express how bad one is. But,
what does it really mean to be an amateur? An amateur is one who cultivates
a particular pursuit for pleasure, without pursuing it professionally.
In a case of a card cheat it would mean that the cheat doesn't cheat because
this is his livelihood, but simply because he likes it. In the case of
an expert amateur cheat it would mean that he also likes getting better
at it. Some expert amateur cheats could in fact be better than some professionals.
The expert amateur may actually take the time to study the subject and
practice sleight of hand moves. Perhaps he is even a frequent visitor
of this web site to update on ideas?
The semiprofessional cheat:
By definition this would be a cheat who supplements his income by cheating
at cards. "The expert amateur cheat" could definitely fall into
this category. He is an amateur because he has another job, but if he
cheats in money games, he becomes a semiprofessional. Another type of
semiprofessional is one who has some other job (or source of income),
but has a valid financial need to supplement his income with something.
If this is the case it doesn't necessarily mean that he is good.
The first example describes an enthusiast who happens to win money because
this is how you play the game. The other example is a person who actually
needs the extra cash. They are both semipros, but their motives are completely
The fast "street-corner" pro:
A typical street corner professional is a three card monte cheat. This
is by no means an amateur. However these cheats are most likely not sophisticated.
They don't really finesse their strategies and as hard as it may seem
to believe it, they don't really care if they end up hurting your feelings.
These guys have one or two fast plots that work for them and they do the
job fast - and then they move on to the next client.
The professional cheat:
If someone is a professional that doesn't necessarily mean he's good,
it only means that this is their main source of income. Professionals
usually work in teams, or at least in pairs. Some pros may be versatile
and use many different cheating methods, others may just stick to one,
such as playing best hand ("If one method works well why bother with
The expert professional cheat:
There is however another kind of card cheat who knows exactly what and
when to do it and knows how to do it not to get caught. This is of course
an expert card shark. All the cheating strategies a shark would apply
are premeditated and well rehearsed. If you are a recreational player
you may not stand a chance against a real pro.