The overwhelming majority of players enjoy card games such as blackjack and poker because, if you’re doing it right, it’s all good, clean fun. However, experience shows us that there have always been, and probably always will be, some players who’ve lost sight of this, and are determined to win at all costs – even if this means cheating.
While the most famous technique of them all is arguably the card up the sleeve, or holdout, one of the most notorious of the classics is far less dramatic. It’s known as the Crimp, and it’s all about making a slight bend in one or more corners of certain cards so that the cheating player can identify them during the game.
The cards that are marked are usually those that are important in the game, which are usually Aces, high value counting cards such as tens, and court or face cards.
Crimping Players Got Caught
In 2002, three cheating players were sentenced to a collective 30 months of imprisonment and home detention for racketeering after they, along with 17 others, were caught cheating in various casinos in the United States and Canada between 1994 and 1999.
Specifically, the group cheated at Baccarat, at the mini and midi versions of the same game, and at Blackjack.
The group used different cheating techniques in each of the casinos. They used the Crimp while playing at Harrah’s Casino in Las Vegas. Some of the group crimped the cards, while others then took advantage of the cards that had been marked.
The Crimp Technique
One of the first things that needs to be said about the Crimp is that the mark made must not be a permanent mark. The idea behind this is that, if there are no permanent marks on the cards, it’s almost impossible to prove that a player cheated.
There is no one way of crimping, although some may be more obvious than others, so lending themselves to discovery.
A basic technique that looks natural is to pick up a card from the table, at the corner of the card, with the thumb on one side of the card, and the index and middle fingers on the other side of the card.
The cheating player gently presses their index finger or their thumb on the card to leave a slight V-shaped mark.
Examples of How the Crimp is Used
One way in which the Crimp is used in Blackjack is when a player makes the mark on all cards valued at 10 points. This technique is apparently quite useful in helping the cheating player identify the dealer’s one face-down card.
If the player is able to identify the dealer’s card as a 10-point card, they would then know the value of the dealer’s hand. This means they can then hit, stand, double down, or make other moves to ensure they come out tops.
In Poker, a cheating player could use the technique early in the game, and mark some of the high-value cards. In the game’s later deals, the player should then be able to spot those cards.
Another use of the Crimp in Poker is to influence where the deck of cards will be cut. The cheating player would mark one or more cards in the spot where they wish the deck to be cut. With bent cards, it’s likely that the player who cuts the deck will do so in that place.