Monday, December 13, 2010

Why Was (or is) Poker Called "The Cheating Game"?

Believe it or not, I actually got three emails during the past 10 days asking me this question. If ever there was a self-explanatory response in a question, right?

Well, for those of you who still don't get it, the reason Poker was originally called "The Cheating Game" is because nearly everyone who partook in it cheated. The massive all-around cheating at poker started in the Mississippi riverboat days (1840-1880), but it really took hold in the legendary American era we call "The Old West" (1870-1895). There, anyone who was worth his weigh in anything turned to cheating at poker.

The two preferred forms of cheating were marking cards and hold-out gadgets that allowed poker cheats to switch cards out of the game and stick them in a device rolled up their arm inside their sleave, and then sneak them back in play when they were needed to make a hand. Poker cheating collusion hardly existed back then as each cheat was in it for his own.

My favorite form of Old West American poker cheating was a method poker cheats used to mark cards. Called the "sun-dry marking card" method, it was done exactly as it was called. Poker Cheats would take the aces out of the deck and lay them backs-up flat on a table underneath the hot sun. After several hours of exposure, the backs of the cards would dry out and turn a slightly lighter shade of red or blue. The key was to take them out of the sun at the right time, before the color change would be noticeable to someone sitting in the poker game not in on the cheat.

As for poker being called the cheating game today, I think it still should be. After all, there is widespread cheating going on in poker today and there are certainly much more forms of it, and these are improved forms.

As for online poker, is it called "The Online Cheating Game"?

Well, it certainly should be!