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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 to me.

The opportunist:
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 card.

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 guy!

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 different.

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 others?").

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.


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