CARDSHARK Online: take a closer look at cheating with cards
This chapter offers information on holdout devices (known as holdout machines or holdouts) used by card cheats and crooked gamblers in illegitimate card games. Holdout machine are not very common today. However, in the 19th and early 20th century holdouts used to be used mostly to cheat at poker, but also in various other gambling card games. In this chapter I will assume that the reader is familiar with the game of poker, but should you need further information on poker please refer to our sister site, Playing Cards Online, and visit the chapter rules of popular card games, for basic rules of poker games.
Also, please note, many of the holdout devices that appear in this chapter have previously appeared in the classic crooked gambling book, Sharps and Flats: An Exposure of the Secrets of Cheating at Games of Chance and Skill, published in 1894.
Many different varieties of holdout machines have been developed throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Here is a short list of the most popular machines.
Introduction to card holdouts:
Some card sharks use external mechanical devices, called holdouts, to cheat at card games. Those holdout machines vary in design. Some a are very simple clips used to hold a card in position, while others are advanced mechanical devices that perform a series of complex moves to switch cards in and out of play.
The cheat who uses a holdout machine is called a machine worker. A machine worker is basically a "holdout man" except that a holdout man does not necessarily resort to the use of a holdout machine. For detailed descriptions of holdout machines and how they are being implemented please read the information below about frame enabling your Internet browser.
CARDSHARK Online: holdout devices