A mechanic or card mechanic is someone who has learnt sleight of hand techniques for manipulating a card deck and can potentially cheat while dealing.

Not only can mechanics covertly deal from the bottom of the deck and make it look like they are shuffling when they are not (the false shuffle), they can also secretly manipulate the ordering of the cards in the deck to generate profitable poker situations for themselves.

Part of a mechanic’s skillset involves memorization techniques. A skilled mechanic may potentially be aware of the exact order of the 52 cards in a deck at any given time and can extract one of them at wil. 

In this guide we’ll learn the following - 

Are Card Mechanics Cheaters?

Card mechanic simply refers to someone who is adept at manipulating a deck of cards and has learnt various sleight of hand techniques. This does necessarily mean that they cheat at poker although the term card mechanic is often (perhaps incorrectly) associated with cheating at cards. Card manipulation is considered a branch of magical illusion; in other words, magicians with no interest in poker can also be described as card mechanics

What Happens if a Card Mechanic is Caught?

It really depends on the setting. It can range from ridicule in a home game to full blown jail time for cheating in a commercial setting. In the classic movie Rounders Mike and Worm are beaten up and thrown out of the game minus their buyins after Worm messes up his card mechanic skills. Cheating is not recommended, getting caught even less so. 

What is False Shuffling With a Card Deck?

False shuffling is where a card mechanic makes it appear that a deck is being fairly shuffled when it in fact isn’t. The mechanic is generally trying to achieve one of two objectives. 1) Keep the order of the cards exactly the same since the deck has already been stacked. 2) Rearrange the deck into a specific order while giving the appearance that the deck is being shuffled randomly. 

What is Palming With a Card Deck?

When a card mechanic employs palming it means that they have removed a card from the deck and are concealing it in their palm. This is considered a slight of hand technique because when it is done skillfully, it appears as if the hand with the palmed card is completely empty. A card mechanic might palm a particular card with the intention of moving it to the top of the deck or into his own poker hand at a later time. 

What is the Card Mechanic’s Grip?

The card mechanic’s grip is a specific way of holding a deck that makes it easier to control and manipulate the deck. It’s also a standard grip taught in many dealer schools so it’s not possible to infer that someone is cheating purely based on the way that they are holding the deck.

What Does It Mean When a Mechanic is Bottom or Second Dealing?

Base dealing is a sleight of hand technique where the card mechanic deals from the bottom of the deck while making it appear that he is dealing from the top. Second dealing is a similar sleight of hand technique where the card mechanic deals the second card in the deck while making it appear that he is dealing from the top. Different dealing techniques may make slightly different sounds unless the card mechanic is very skilled. 


A card mechanic is someone who has learned sleight of hand techniques and is capable of manipulating a poker deck without others realising. Card manipulation is often associated with cheating at cards, but it is also learned for entertainment reasons such as in the case of magicians. 

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