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Canceled playing cards

9 April 2016

The playing cards used in casinos today are manufactured to a much higher quality than standard decks sold to the general public. However, since they are used at a much higher rate than cards played at home, they are also discarded at a much greater rate.

Some casinos will change a deck of cards every few hours, while decks in a six-deck shoe game for example, might last an entire eight-hour shift.

One question that comes up is: How many decks of cards do casinos use? One answer is that the United States Playing Card Company, the largest manufacturer of playing cards in the world, sells more than 20 million decks to casinos each year. When the decks are removed from a game, casinos go to great measures to ensure they don’t appear again. The cards are “canceled” to prevent single or multiple cards from being reintroduced into a game later on. It is simply a security issue to discourage cheating at the casino.

Some casinos will cancel the cards themselves while others send them to companies that do the canceling for them. Most cards from casinos in Nevada are sent to one of the prisons in the state where the "residents" cancel them. After returning them to a casino, the decks are given away to customers, sold in gift stores or given to charitable intuitions, and sometimes sent to military organizations servicing around the world.

The reason casinos are so concerned about canceling the cards is that when cards are removed or additional ones added to a deck, it changes the odds of the game. This is certainly frowned upon not only by casino management but also the state. In fact, it is considered a felony in the state of Nevada to alter the outcome of a card game by altering the cards. If a person is convicted of that offense it will result in a sentence, even for the first offense, of no less than one year in state prison. It should also be noted that many other states follow Nevada’s enforcement guidelines.

The decks themselves are "canceled" in a variety of ways. Some will be trimmed on one or two of the corners of the deck or diagonal corners will be rounded, usually by an industrial cutting machine. Some are simply marked across the side of the deck with a black ink marker. Some decks will be canceled by simply drilling a hole through the middle of the entire deck. The cards will then be sorted, packaged, resealed and returned to the companies or the casino. No matter which method is used to deform the deck, it would be quickly recognized by a dealer if a canceled card was being reintroduced into a card game.

Players can get obtain these decks and use them as mementos of casinos visited. They can also be used as a small but unique gift for a friend back home. There is also the need to obtain a deck so one can practice to become a better player. How can you get one of these unique prizes? There are many ways that are inexpensive or even free sometimes. First, ask a pit boss in a blackjack pit. If he doesn’t have them to give away, he might send you to the player rewards center where they give decks away to patrons who sign up for a players card. One other place that you are almost sure of finding a canceled deck is the gift store. You can expect to pay for these decks but they are usually inexpensive, ranging from 25 cents to two dollars.

Pick up a deck of casino cards on your next trip to a casino. By owning your own personal casino deck it might bring back some fond memories of an exciting, fun and maybe even a profitable visit. There could also be a chance that some rich or famous person won thousands of dollars in that casino that you have a deck from, and now you own those lucky cards. That would make a great story to tell the folks back home.


BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW

• In 1685, the re-supply ship to French’s Quebec colony in the New World was delayed for several months. The colony's Intendant (governor) was without funds to pay his troops. He took decks of playing cards, cut them into quarters, wrote a money value on each card and used them until they could be exchanged later for French currency.

• Each king in a deck of playing cards represents a great king from history. Spades — King David, Clubs — Alexander the Great, Hearts — Charlemagne and Diamonds — Julius Caesar.

• The image of the king used in most standard decks of playing cards today is said to have been based on Charles I, the English monarch who was beheaded in 1649.

• The modern day four-suit system of playing cards; spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs, originated in France around 1480.

• The first woodcuts on paper were, in fact, playing cards. The term Kartenmahler or Kartenmacher, ‘painter’ or ‘maker of cards,’ appears in German in 1402.

• When it comes to playing cards, when giving the full written name of a specific card, the rank should be given first followed by the suit, e.g., “ace of spades.” Shorthand notation should also list the rank first: A?.
Recent Articles
Best of John Marchel
John Marchel
John Marchel is an author, speaker, teacher and player -- what John plays are casino games. He’s been a casino player for over 25 years and has played successfully in Europe, Panama, the Caribbean, Canada, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, on Indian reservations, cruise ships and in over 350 casinos throughout the US. He is also the author of six books about gambling, and has written numerous magazine articles and is currently a columnist for three gambling magazines and one internet magazine.

Since 1988 John has combined his experience as a manager, teacher and player to present seminars and lectures about gambling. In addition, John has had an Internet website since 1995 that offers books, special reports and tips about gambling. He also publishes a monthly Internet gambling newsletter. The newsletter keeps subscribers alert to trends, information and winning techniques that allows them to be more successful when visiting casinos.

John Marchel Websites:

johnmarchelgambling.com

Books by John Marchel:

101 Casino Gambling Tips: Affordable Strategies & Techniques for Maximizing Profits & Reducing Loses

> More Books By John Marchel

John Marchel
John Marchel is an author, speaker, teacher and player -- what John plays are casino games. He’s been a casino player for over 25 years and has played successfully in Europe, Panama, the Caribbean, Canada, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, on Indian reservations, cruise ships and in over 350 casinos throughout the US. He is also the author of six books about gambling, and has written numerous magazine articles and is currently a columnist for three gambling magazines and one internet magazine.

Since 1988 John has combined his experience as a manager, teacher and player to present seminars and lectures about gambling. In addition, John has had an Internet website since 1995 that offers books, special reports and tips about gambling. He also publishes a monthly Internet gambling newsletter. The newsletter keeps subscribers alert to trends, information and winning techniques that allows them to be more successful when visiting casinos.

John Marchel Websites:

johnmarchelgambling.com

Books by John Marchel:

101 Casino Gambling Tips: Affordable Strategies & Techniques for Maximizing Profits & Reducing Loses

> More Books By John Marchel