The trickiest cheaters are those who have perfected the art of sleight of hand to manipulate a deck of cards. A cheater will hold the deck in a special manner to perform special maneuvers to cheat. One of the many ways to hold the deck is formally known as the Mechanics Grip The scam artist behind these features is known as the Mechanic.
Understanding the Mechanics Grip and Sleight of Hand
To understand this special grip, I ask you to get a deck of cards and pick them up as though you are preparing to deal your friends their hands. It is likely that you are holding the deck in a way so natural that you are holding the deck in your palm with your four fingers on the long side and your thumb on the top. Trying to push a single top card onto the tips of your four fingers. Did you notice that your thumb is holding this card in place until the thumb and index finger of your other hand takes it and deals it to your friends?
If you have been playing poker for a long time, and have never investigated this topic before, then it is likely that you have never taken note of the particular “natural” way that you and your friends deal the cards. When you began to deal cards at home poker games or other family games, the skill of dealing the cards became an acquired natural motor skill and you stopped having to think about how you were dealing the cards to people. Mechanics are the same way.
How do I hold the deck to use the Mechanics Grip?
The Mechanics Grip is quite similiar to the natural way of holding a deck of cards. When holding the deck in a natural position, move your index finger and middle finger from the long side of the deck to the short side that is away from your body. Basically, pretend you are pointing at another player with your fingers from the front of the deck. This is the basic grip that is used by a Mechanic. Through this method of deck handling, Mechanics can cheat by peeking, bottom dealing, second dealing, and much more. You should note that most of the deck is covered by your hand. Watching the hands of other players when they are dealing and noticing the way they hold the deck can be beneficial to catching a Mechanic.
Another way that Mechanics hold the deck is with their thumb on top of the deck, their index finger wrapped around the front edge, two middle fingers on the bottom, and their smallest finger around the back edge. Just as before, the dealer’s hand is concealing most of the deck.
What do I do if somebody is displaying the Mechanics Grip?
Before charging a player with the accusation that he or she may be a Mechanic, you must consider a few things. First, that sleight of hand tricks can be accomplished by using a grip other than the Mechanics Grip by a knowledgable person (watch out for people who have been in jail for long periods of time). Secondly, that a regular and honest player may naturally hold the cards in the manner the Mechanics Grip is held and may not even realize it.