Card Sharp is “Harnessed”

Story of a poker cheat who used a card hold out divice and was caught in 1909


Oakland Tribune 01/31/1909

7/5/20220 min read

Card Sharp is “Harnessed” with Holdout Poker Hands

Wearing a complete and ingeniously devised harness for cheating at cards a man giving the name Ervin Hart and believed to be a professional card sharp is under arrest here. He was apprehended in a gambling resort in Seventh Street. He also carried a revolver.

The mechanism was concealed underneath the clothing and extended from feet to wrists, and was first thought to be a should brace with arm attachments. Around the man’s body was a brass plate, fastened with cloth straps and buckles. From either side of the plate a string was run down his legs and fastened on a hook in his shoes. The strings worked over small, well-oiled pulleys, and were connected with attachments in the sleeve, which when arrested held three aces. The same number of tens and other cards. The arm had three joints which worked easily with the bending of the arm, the string running through a tube, opening and closing a hand shaped attachment and worked up and down the sleeve with the movement of the foot or back.

With this arrangement any card or cards could be taken from the pack and pulled up the sleeve, with but slight movement of the foot. The attachment was also near enough the hand that the cards could be withdrawn when needed for play or to be thrown in the discard. Hart refused to discuss his card hold out, but said he was a recent arrival in the city.

He is being held for investigation.

Oakland Tribune 01/31/1909