Played with Marked Cards

Detailed description of a wealthy card sharp who cheated his peers in 1920 New York. He played with marked cards and just couldn't lose.


The World 02/02/1920

7/5/20220 min read


Had Sure Thing at Stud Poker Wealthy New Yorker said to have cleaned up an immense sum.

Victims finally got “wise”, and evens things up slightly by administering a beating after exposing his game.

New York 02/06/1920 – A group of screen magnates and music producers along Broadway have been fleeced out of $350,000 by a wealthy manufacturer with a deck of marked cards, whom they admitted to their private game. He was finally detected and thrown out of the house by the owner of the man who caught him.

The World prints the story calling the fleecer Mr. Trimmer and the other man Mr. Screen. It asserts it has their real names. For a considerable time a group of 12 or 14 men, all of ample means, have been playing stud poker. There were Mr. Screen, a big picture promoter, and the husband of one of the prettiest and most talented stars; Mr. Flicker, od equal rank in celluloid productions; Mr. Circuit who owns a flock of theaters, Mr. Ragg who receives immense royalties for his music compositions, and other quite as well known in their respective fields.

Last summer, at Fort Rockaway and Arvevne, their ranks were augmented by Mr. Trimmer. He is a manufacturer of immense scale of a certain article of women’s wear, and is generally known as a millionaire. They Thought it was Luck. Mr. Trimmer’s “uncanny luck” as the other players described it, was noticeable from the very start. In one session, for instance, which began on a Saturday night and continued into Sunday, he cleaned up more than $40,000.

The daring Mr. Trimmer’s play was what interested the other more than anything else. He would make bets against seemingly impossible odds - and win them.

Mr. Trimmer always knew what the other fellow’s secret card was, when he was the dealer and he always won. Also, he know when he held the deck what card his opponent would get next, and what card he (Mr. Trimmer) would get next, for his cards were known to gamblers as “readers.” The design on the back of them – which meant nothing to others – told him exactly what each denomination each pasteboard was.

At last, suspicion intruded, and one of the other men at the party which Trimmer had arranged pocketed a deck of Trimmer’s cards and took them to a professional gambler for examination.

“They’re readers,” said the professional. At the corner of each card, on the back, was a design composed of four fleur-de-lis the three leafed flower of France. If the right hand petal of the flower at the upper right hand of the group was heavily shaded the card was an ace. If the center petal of that particular flower was accentuated, it was a king: if the shading was on the left hand petal, it was a queen. There were four flowers each with three petals. The shadings therefore stood for 12 different cards. According to where they were placed, these cards ranged down from the ace to the deuce. If no petal was shaded, the card was a deuce.

An exposure was planned at Screen’s house. There were eight players. Trimmer, on a few hands off square cards, lost $650. The he produced a deck of this sort. As soon as Screens saw the marked cards he exposed the cheat to his guests and proceeded to beat Trimmer up, winding up by throwing him out of the house.