A Card Sharp's Trick

A short clip describing the use of phosphorus marks to cheat baccarat in Moscow - 1910


Ukiah Daily Journal

7/1/20221 min read

A Moscow card sharp has confessed that he has been winning money at the chief clubs for thirty years past by the following trick: On the pretext that his eyes were weak he invariably wore dark spectacles at night. His favorite game was called "bank", in which eights and nines are the most important cards. In his waistcoat he kept a preparation of phosphorus and by touching the backs of the cards which he wished to mark he made them sightly luminous. His dark spectacles enabled him to see the phosphorus marks, which were invisible to other players. After a few deals with a pack he could play with absolute certainty.


Our Comments: The game referred to-"Bank" was certainly a version of Baccarat, called Baccarat En Banque. Phosphorus which is yellow in color was used in the 19th century to mark cards. The trick to see the marks were glasses with blue lenses. These types of "cheater" glasses have been featured in movies and museums.