Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Orlando Carmelo Scarnecchia was born March 4, 1903, in Steubenville, Ohio and at some point anglicized his name to John Scarne (pronounced /'skArni/, like SCAR knee, by rhotic speakers). He moved to Fairview, New Jersey as a child. Leaving school after the eighth grade, he learned as a teenager how to perform card tricks like three-card monte and to gamble using cards and dice. His mother, disappointed in how he was making his money (the family was Roman Catholic), encouraged him to take up magic instead. He soon started making money at card tricks.
Gradually, Scarne became quite the expert at tricks and games of all kinds. Articles were written about him in various magazines, and he was hired as a consultant or advisor by various companies. He also wrote twenty-eight books on games, such as Scarne on Dice, Scarne's Guide to Modern Poker and Scarne's New Complete Guide to Gambling, and a memoir.
But he was happiest when inventing (and marketing, through his company John Scarne Games Inc. ) new games, which he did quite a bit. And he was especially proud of one called Teeko, which he invented in 1945 (version withdrawn), re-invented in 1952 and modified in the 1960s. He was so proud of the game that he named his son John Teeko Scarne . But he never made a profit on the game, and it is now virtually unknown.
Scarne married Steffi Storm (née Norma Kearney ) in 1955 (and they had John Teeko the same year).
- Cook, Joan (July 9, 1985). John Scarne, gambling expert. The New York Times, p. B6.
- Eskin, Blake (July 15, 2001). A world of games. The Washington Post Magazine, p. W18.
- Deaths Elsewhere (July 9, 1985). The Washington Post, p. D8.
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