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Theodore "T-Bag" Bagwell: Trust me, son. When I play cards, it ain't gambling.

Quick hands. The prestidigitator member of a con team, who sometimes works alone. Frequently, the tricks he pulls have to do with manipulating playing cards, hence the name, but a team will sometimes call on a card sharp to make a tricky switch, "dip" a pocket, or put up a fancy misdirection.

May or may not be a Death Dealer. Compare Professional Gambler. In settings reminiscent of the Wild West, this character has a good chance of being hit with Tar and Feathers.

Examples of Card Sharp include:

Anime and Manga

  • Protagonist Allen Walker from D.Gray-man is an expert at cheating in cards due to the horrible experiences with debt he had from being with General Cross.
  • Faye from Cowboy Bebop is highly skilled in conning people in a game of cards (also dice, though then she just flat-out cheats with rigged dice).
    • Spike's no slouch either and was able to spot Faye's con a mile away.
  • In Liar Game, the 17-Card Poker game becomes a battle of dueling card sharps: Akiyama uses skill and strategy, while his opponent uses superhuman reflexes honed from an aborted career in boxing to track the cards.
  • Unsurprisingly, comes up frequently in both Kaiji and Akagi.
  • Gojyo in Saiyuki frequently cheats at cards. Hakkai can still beat him though, so one wonders if his playing style is completely orthodox .
  • Nearly every major character in The Legend of Koizumi is able to cheat at Mahjong in some way.
  • Both Firo and Keith Gandor from Baccano. Firo's picked up enough tricks from managing an underground casino that not only can slip cards in and out with the best of them, but can pick marks well enough that he can nearly sweep a casino without cheating at all. Keith, on the other hand, cheats so much and so blatantly that he has a deck of cards composed entirely of jokers.


  • Matt Damon's character facilitates this role in the Oceans trilogy. Also, Brad Pitt and George Clooney clean out a poker school of celebrities in the first movie.

  Ocean: Cause yesterday I walked out of the joint after losing four years of my life and you're cold-decking "Teen Beat" cover-boys.

  • Edward Norton's character is a card-sharp, or "Mechanic", in Rounders, also starring the aforementioned Matt Damon, whose skill in that movie is reading the other players rather than rigging the deck.


  • Locke Lamora. He cheats in the safest gambling place in the world, where the mere act of cheating carries the death penalty.
  • In Time Scout, Skeeter's as much a master at cheating with cards as he is with any other cheat. Picking pockets is just another part of the game.

Live Action TV

  • A G-rated version appears in an episode of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, in which a little girl scams Maddie out of all of her candy by getting her obsessed with trying to pick the right card. Then again, aforementioned little girl's father was pretending to be injured in order to get a free hotel room, so yeah.
  • Alex of The Real Hustle.
  • Neal Caffrey is this in several episodes of White Collar
  • T-Bag in Prison Break. Claims that maybe 5 people in the country can do what he can with cards. It's only significant in one episode, however.
  • Hiro tries this with his time-altering super-powers at one point. Unfortunately for him, someone notices the switch.
  • Londo tries this once on Babylon 5 using his, ummm...attributes. It doesn't work out to well.

Tabletop Games

  • The hucksters of Deadlands find their lives last longer if they minor in sleight o' hand, as a little legerdemain goes a long way in convincing the Torches and Pitchforks crowd that, no, you didn't just summon spectral cards into your hand and use them to channel a stream of ghostly-white energy at your opponent. It was a trick of the light and nothing more. Some "hexes", like trinkets, even go so far as to allow a huckster to summon small objects literally from thin air into his hands, furthering the use of one as a Card Sharp con man.


  • Left 4 Dead 's Nick is stated as being a con man. He was down in Savannah trying to hit up the riverboat circuit when the infection hit.
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