Is this the ultimate device for a poker cheat?
What is a poker cheat device?
Can you imagine what it was like in the Wild West in the late 1800s? If you have watched the series Deadwood, then you’ll know what I’m talking about. Not quite Little House On The Prairie, or Doris Day’s version of Calamity Jane.
It was dirty and primitive and rough.
Yet, it was also an exciting time – filled with dreams of striking it rich with gold. Opportunities for new businesses with new towns opening up. And the US Patent Office run off its feet with people inventing new ways to make life easier in all aspects of their daily living.
It was a risky life. Braving the elements of the Frontier country, living in fear of natives protecting their land. It was rare to come across a man without a gun.
Every new town proudly boasted a new saloon, or two. After a hard day of digging for gold, men would gather in the saloon to talk of their day’s successes, to wash away their failures, or to play poker.
Poker was a thriving business and the stakes were high. Desperate men sought to hide an ace up their sleeve (using a nifty little gadget to hold it there), thinking it would be easier to get rich from poker than from the hard work needed to get rich from gold.
The gadget was metal with a different type of clip at each end. The clever poker boys somehow managed to clip one end onto their shirt sleeve, while the other end held the coveted Ace.
With a slight of hand, the Ace could be slipped into the player’s hand allowing him to (hopefully) win the pot.
But the Wild West was an unforgiving time, with frustration and anger fuelled by alcohol and an abundance of guns, and many a young man lost his life at the poker tables of now long-forgotten towns.
At the very least, it may have been the birth of the magician’s catch-cry “Look, nothing up my sleeve”.
Or so legend would have it…
So what was the ultimate poker cheat device?
The true story is far less glamorous, this antique from 1889 is a “wizard” cuff holder.
Back in the late 1800s, gentlemen’s shirts came with detachable cuffs and collars so they could be easily replaced. As I said before, it was a dirty and primitive time. Roads were not sealed, and time was spent digging for gold. Dust and dirt were everywhere.
Many styles of men’s shirts came without collars and cuffs. Instead, cuffs and collars were made of flexible celluloid material (a type of plastic). Replacing the cuffs, when needed, could give the appearance of a fresh, clean shirt.
While the celluloid cuffs were a little flexible, they were not good at staying in place.
Enter the Wizard Cuff Holder.
This wonderful little gadget was designed to hold the cuffs in place.
One clip held the two ends of the cuffs together, while the other end was attached to the shirt sleeve.
The Wizard Cuff Holder is ornately patterned and some have survived the test of time in very good condition.
Now, although its true intention was a not-so-glamorous form of cufflink, that is not to say that the poker boys didn’t try using it to cheat… and hide an Ace. Some may even have been successful!
This antique (pictured above) is available for sale in our Vintage store.
Have you seen a poker cheat device like this before?
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