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Second Deal

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See also: The Second Deal website and convention.

Second Deal is a false deal that deals the second card down from the top of the deck while apparently dealing the top.

This sleight was originally created by professional card sharps and was exposed in 1822 in the autobiography of Robert Bailey from Virginia. Bailery Robert Bailey invented a brass dealing box with a hole in the top called a Faro Box, which allowed cards to be slid out one by one in an attempt to prevent such things as the second deal.

One of the earliest known reference (although no explanation was given) appeared in a four page pamphlet in the early 16th century called "Opera Nuoua Done Facilmente Poirai Imparare Piu Giuochi di Memo el Allri Giuochi Piacenolissimi & Genlili Come si Polra Leggendo Uedere el Facilmente Imparare" by G.S. di Carlo da Pavia in Florance (circa 1520).

In English some of the earliest books were "A Manifest Detection of the Most Vile and Detestable Use of Diceplay, and Other Practices Like the Same" by G. W (1552) which includes some card-cheating methods, "A Notable Discovery of Cozenage" by Robert Green (1591) and "The Art of jugling or Ledgerdemaine" by Samuel Rids (1612).

The Second Deal was mentioned briefly in "How Gamblers Win or the Secrets of Advantage Playing" by Gerritt M. Evans (1865), but one of the first advanced description in English appeared in S.W. Erdnase's book The Expert at the Card Table in 1902.

Basic Types

Magicians use two basic types of second dealing procedures, the "Push-off" and "Strike". The push-off, which was described by Erdnase, consists of pushing off two cards from the deck with the dealing thumb snapping the top card back into place allowing the taking hand to take the second card. The strike second deal consist of moving the top card slightly out of the way allowing the dealing hand to 'strike' the second card with its thumb to deal it out from the deck.

A related sleight is the Punch Deal in which some of the cards (usually the high values) are marked with tiny bumps which can be felt by the dealer. Cards can be dealt normally until a "punched" card is felt and then held back using "second deals" until ready to give to the hand of choice.



  • Advanced Card Control Series Vol. 2 by Allan Ackerman (1999)
  • The Cheat (1991/2005) by Richard Turner
  • Cheating at Hold 'Em: The Essetials by David Malek (2005)
  • Darwin Ortiz on Card Cheating (2000)
  • Gambling Protection Series by Steve Forte (1987) - Not structured as teaching tapes, but highly praised.
  • Poker Cheats Exposed by Sal Piacente (2006)
  • Revelations Vol. 12 by Dai Vernon (1982)