Help us get to over 4,000 biographies in 2018.

If you know of a past magician not listed in MagicPedia, start a New Biography for them or Email us your suggestion.

Punch Deal

From Magicpedia, the free online encyclopedia for magicians by magicians.
Jump to: navigation, search

The Punch Deal refers to a type of poker deal or other gambling demonstration which utilizes "punched" or "pricked" cards. That is, some of the cards (usually the high values) are marked with tiny bumps which can be felt by the dealer. The performer deals the cards normally until a "punched" card is felt, at which point he uses the Second Deal to keep the desired card on top of the deck, before eventually dealing it fairly to the hand of his choice.


Methods for marking cards date back almost as far as cards themselves! But most marked cards are determined by SIGHT, whereas punched cards are meant to recognized by FEEL alone. Early descriptions of the idea appeared in print by Robert-Houdin,[1] John Phillip Quinn,[2] and John Nevil Maskelyne.[3]

There are many different devices which have been used to "punch" cards. An early example appears in Maskelyne's Sharps and Flats.[4]

In the 1930s, Walter Scott earned his nickname, "The Phantom of the Card Table," after fooling several of the top card magicians in the world (including Cardini, Al Baker, T. Nelson Downs, S. Leo Horowitz, and Max Holden) with his "Blindfold Deal," utilizing punched cards.


  • The Blindfold Deal: Eddie McGuire, The Phantom of the Card Table (1931, pp. 18-22; 1969, pp. 53-62).
    • Gazzo and David Britland, Phantoms of the Card Table (2002, pp. 224-226).
  • The Punch Deal: Ed Marlo, Marlo in Spades (1947, pp. 18-19).
    • Poker Prediction (pp. 20-21).
    • The Perfect Stack (pp. 21-22).
    • The Blind Fold Stack (p. 23).
    • The Three Stacks: (pp. 23-24).
    • Super Reading: (pp. 24-25).
    • Putting in the Work: (pp. 25-26).
    • For Cheaters Only: (p. 26).


  1. Robert-Houdin and Professor Hoffmann, tr., Card Sharping Exposed, 1882.
  2. John Phillip Quinn, Fools of Fortune, 1892.
  3. John Nevil Maskelyne, Sharps and Flats, 1894, p. 52.
  4. John Nevil Maskelyne, Sharps and Flats, 1894, p. 53.