Richard Turner
Richard Edward Turner

(1954-06-16) June 16, 1954 (age 69)
Occupation(s)Card mechanic, card manipulator
SpouseKim Turner
WebsiteOfficial website

Richard Edward Turner (born June 16, 1954) is an American expert card mechanic who is known for his card trick performances. He was the subject of the documentary Dealt.

Early life

Turner was born in San Diego in 1954, which he dubbed "the year of the full deck" (referring to a standard 52-card deck of playing cards, plus the two jokers). At the age of seven, he became infatuated with the television show Maverick.[1][2]

His eyesight began failing at the age of nine following his recovery from a bout with scarlet fever.[2] The macula of each of Turner's eyes was completely destroyed, preventing forward vision.[1] By the age of thirteen, his vision deteriorated to 20/400; over the years, what little vision Turner possessed gradually deteriorated to the point where he presently can no longer distinguish between a fully lit room and total darkness.[3]

Turner attended a special school for the visually impaired in Santee, California, where he refused to learn Braille. His younger brother, David, had been taking karate lessons for nine months, and invited Turner to accompany him. He began karate lessons in 1971 under the tutelage of Master John Murphy, the United States' founder of Wado-Kai, a Japanese hard-style karate, was good at it, and began training at Gene Fisher's Gym, eventually earning a sixth-degree black belt in Wado-Kai karate.[4]

In 1972, Turner auditioned for a small non-profit San Diego Christian theater operated by television actor Steve Terrell, and he performed for six years with the "Lamb's Players Theatre". Terrell taught Turner how to look people in the eye so that they would not know of his visual impairment.[1]

He was later introduced to stuntman Bobby Yerkes, who taught him to swing on the trapeze, walk a tight rope, and take high falls.[5]


Turner's demonstrations have been featured on television programs, including That's Incredible!, Ripley's Believe It Or Not, The 700 Club, five appearances on Japanese programs, including World Geniuses and on Great Britain's The Paul Daniels Magic Show. He has conducted motivational lectures for international corporations and government agencies and created and performed a family entertainment program for schoolchildren, featuring a comedy routine co-starring his wife as schoolmarm "Miss Guided", his assistant.[6]

Turner performed his 19th-century riverboat gambler's act as "The Cheat" in various venues:

Turner's audiences have included Jimmy Stewart, Gene Kelly, Johnny Carson, Bob Hope, Muhammad Ali, and Secretary of State Colin Powell, who joined Turner and his wife at one of their school programs.[8] Turner auditioned for and was hired by his employers without revealing his visual impairment, and he never informs his audiences he is blind.

The United States Playing Card Company employs his services as a "touch analyst" to evaluate the texture, flexibility and cut of dozens of decks of cards each year.[1]

Although semi-retired, Turner appears several weeks a year at The Magic Castle, performs his act and presents lectures to his peers, and performs at private parties at the Buckhorn Saloon & Museum in his hometown of San Antonio, Texas.[5] He has also appeared in a Penguin Live lecture where he details some of the work on his award-winning false dealing.[9]

In 2008 he toured as part of a stage show called Hoodwinked with Todd Robbins, Bob Arno and Banachek.[10][11]

In 2010, Turner was asked by director Terrence Malick to cheat Brad Pitt's character at the blackjack table in the film The Tree of Life.[12]

Personal life

Turner is married to Kim Turner (née Miller). They have a son.[13]

When Turner was eleven years old, he created a puzzle game called Batty, inspired by the game Tower of Hanoi. In May 2011 he released his fourth version. Batty features eleven levels of difficulty, ranging from an uncomplicated Level 3 through the extremely complex Level 11. While a Level 3 can be resolved by an elementary school student in six or seven moves, mastering Level 11 demands far greater mathematical acumen, requiring between 1,023 and 2,047 moves without a single mistake.[14]


  1. ^ a b c d Stone, Alex (2012). Fooling Houdini : magicians, mentalists, math geeks, and the hidden powers of the mind. New York: Harper. ISBN 978-0061766213.
  2. ^ a b "Performances". Richard Turner The Cheat. Retrieved August 2, 2009.
  3. ^ Dealt (2017)
  4. ^ Cervantes, Jessica. "Film to Shed Light on Card Trickster". July 18, 2013. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  5. ^ a b England, Jason (April 2007). "Living on Jacks and Queens: Richard Turner". Genii: The Conjurer's Magazine: 66–71.
  6. ^ "Master Card Mechanic". Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  7. ^ England, Jason (April 2007). "Living on Jacks and Queens: Richard Turner". Genii: The Conjurer's Magazine (66–71): 66–71.
  8. ^ "About Richard". Richard Turner The Cheat. Archived from the original on December 6, 2008. Retrieved August 2, 2009.
  9. ^ "Richard Turner LIVE (Instant Download)". Penguin Magic. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  10. ^ Greenaway, K (July 10, 2008). "If it weren't onstage, it'd be illegal". The Montreal Gazette. Retrieved July 31, 2009.
  11. ^ Smith, Alison (November 25, 2008). "Woo in Review: HOODWINKED". SWIFT. James Randi Educational Foundation. Retrieved July 31, 2009.
  12. ^ Cervantes, Jessica (July 18, 2013). "Film to Shed Light on Card Trickster". Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  13. ^ "Blind card shark amazes with his astounding skills". CBS This Morning. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  14. ^ "Batty Game Information".