“Both the playing and making of cards in Soviet prisons and in the ‘zone’, as the correctional labour camps were known, were forbidden. If a card (or worse a whole deck) was found, the penalty was severe: to be involved in a card game was considered to be equivalent to defying the administration, consuming alcohol or injecting drugs and was usually punished with six months in an isolation cell. If evidence of gambling was discovered- even if the bet was push-ups or squats- then the infringement was deemed worse, resulting in a longer term of solitary confinement. The letter K (kartyozhnik or card-sharp) and a card- usually the ace of spades- would be added to the guilty prisoner’s file. ” – Russian Criminal Tattoos and playing cards.