Cutting the Deck

Jimulacrum

Flush
Joined
Nov 16, 2014
Messages
1,406
Reaction score
1,450
Location
Nah Hampshah
The import thing is to do a "single overhand cut" directly onto the cover card (cut card.)

Then it makes little difference who cuts.

As far as ensuring fairness in game - the most important thing is that when a player is dealing, that dealer cannot deal their own cut. Never have the same person cut and deal, unless they are a dedicated professional and you know they're not cheating.
You shouldn't let the same person shuffle and cut either. If you're dealing with a mechanic who could set a deck in the first place, it would be pretty trivial for him to perform a convincing false cut or to shuffle so that his cut will be the final step in setting the deck.
 

Gameface

Two Pair
Joined
Jan 13, 2018
Messages
293
Reaction score
229
Location
Salt Lake City, Ut
Im also struck by the irony that shitty half assed shuffling...which is what most players do...doesn’t seem to bother many comparatively
In Hold'em the deck never gets arranged. What constitutes "shitty" shuffling? As long as the arrangement of cards in the deck is not predictable to anyone the job is done imho.
 

Old State

Straight
Joined
Jul 20, 2016
Messages
841
Reaction score
704
Location
Directly above the center of the Earth
In Hold'em the deck never gets arranged. What constitutes "shitty" shuffling? As long as the arrangement of cards in the deck is not predictable to anyone the job is done imho.
The typical tossing of one half the deck into the other or the riffle with the meaningless bridge that does nothing. Try taking a deck in order and shuffle some of those ways. Then fan the cards out. You will be surprised at how unshuffled they are.
 
Last edited:

Old State

Straight
Joined
Jul 20, 2016
Messages
841
Reaction score
704
Location
Directly above the center of the Earth
That's the thing, though; you probably don't suspect it at all if it's happening in this kind of context. It's not like the cheat's going to announce it, and other players will have their guards down. Home games are low-hanging fruit. The cheat would just act like any other player, making friends, blending in. If he doesn't get too greedy or stupid, an effective cheat could skim a nice win rate off the top of a home game for years without anyone even getting suspicious. All it would take is a couple "lucky" hands here and there.

Doesn't matter if it's a cheeseburger-stakes home game or some big-time underground game with thousands getting shipped every hand. There will always be people who want to take money without earning it—whether it's $20 or $20,000—and manipulating cards isn't as hard as most people seem to think.
I think you are over thinking this. The important thing is to know who your players are. If anyone is at a low stakes game of mine and wants to put weeks or months of time into learning how to manipulate cards to win a few bucks ...thats on me and I deserve to be ripped off.
I think some of these concerns in the context of the types of stakes being played are pretty far fetched. I’d like to know of a real life card “mechanic “ at a super low stakes card game
 

Gameface

Two Pair
Joined
Jan 13, 2018
Messages
293
Reaction score
229
Location
Salt Lake City, Ut
I get the feeling many people like to imagine their low stakes home games are just like playing at Teddy KGBs place. If you have people coming over who you actually think are trying to manipulate cards to cheat at your $.25/.50 game to win $50 - 80, I think you need new poker friends.
I've been into poker most of my life. When I was in my teens, about 14, my friend and I would occasionally get a few other people together to play dealer's choice poker with $.05 antes (we didn't play hold'em much back then). Anyway, for kicks we learned a few ways to do a false shuffle or deal from the bottom. Most the time either he would deal me a winner or I'd deal him a winner. Never once was anyone even sort of suspicious. Without a cut card dealing from the bottom is easy, even for a complete amature. I'd just collect the previous hand and arrange aces on the bottom of the deck then shuffle the deck without involving the few cards on the bottom, then do a false cut (split the deck, but then put the top portion back on the top). Then it was just a matter of dealing fast enough that the other players couldn't see that cards to my buddy were coming off the bottom of the deck.

During breaks we'd arrange the deck while the other players were away. Do a false shuffle, a false cut and deal out exactly the hand we wanted, the victim would have a flush or something and my buddy would get a full house, for example.

Anyway, based on my experience with that and how shockingly easy it was I'm all for taking the basic measures to prevent that type of cheating. A cut card is the simplest and most effective way, having one person shuffle and another person cut (by using one hand to pick up the top of the deck and place it on the cut card) is also essential to protect your game.
 

Gameface

Two Pair
Joined
Jan 13, 2018
Messages
293
Reaction score
229
Location
Salt Lake City, Ut
The typical tossing of one half the deck into the other or the riffle with the meaningless bridge that does nothing. Try taking a deck in order and shuffle some of those ways. Then fan the cards out. You will be surprised at how I shuffled they are.
The riffle with a bridge is still a riffle. Yeah the bridge doesn't do anything, but as long as they get a few good riffles in there all should be good.

And yeah, if you have an arranged deck, like let's say you're playing 5 card draw for some reason, then you need to do a better job "rearranging" the deck because players often arrange their cards and discard non-matching cards for a better chance of getting matching cards. But with Hold'em the cards never get arranged. Each player gets two cards, they can't put them in any sort of order that does anything.

So, since the deck is basically randomized at some point, one guy not doing a great job of putting the randomized deck into a new randomized order isn't going to allow anyone to have a better idea of what their cards, other players cards or the community cards are going to be.
 

Mental Nomad

Full House
Joined
Nov 7, 2014
Messages
3,775
Reaction score
2,302
Location
NJ - NY/NJ metro area
trivial for him to perform a convincing false cut
Not if it's a proper "single overhand cut."

Never, ever, ever let anyone use two hands to cut.

The riffle with a bridge is still a riffle. Yeah the bridge doesn't do anything
If they use a ridiculous highly bent riffle, then the bridge is actually necessary to reverse the bend of the cards so that they stay flat. But the whole process puts a lot unnecessary wear and tear on the cards and slows down the shuffle.
 

Gobbs

Two Pair
Joined
Aug 26, 2017
Messages
256
Reaction score
211
Location
Atlanta
A dealer using proper technique is all that’s needed. Shuffle the cards with a proper table riffle, table riffle, box, table riffle sequence and follow it with a one-hand cut, placing approximately half the cards onto the cut card, followed by placing the remainder of them on top of the stub. Unless the dealer is able to swap decks at this point (with a set deck), you are pretty safe.
 

Coyote

Straight
Joined
Jan 28, 2018
Messages
953
Reaction score
918
Location
Athens, Greece
I guess that, if you have a dedicated professional dealer you don't personally know well in a home game (which sounds ideal), he/she should be paid a fixed amount per hour, contributed by all players, not just the host.
If paid using a rake, or even as a percentage of final cash-out winnings, he/she might be tempted to just deal volatile hands, regardless of who wins.
Am I too suspicious?
 

Poker Zombie

Straight Flush
Joined
Oct 29, 2014
Messages
8,248
Reaction score
11,495
Location
Nashville-ish, TN
I think you are over thinking this. The important thing is to know who your players are. If anyone is at a low stakes game of mine and wants to put weeks or months of time into learning how to manipulate cards to win a few bucks ...thats on me and I deserve to be ripped off.
I think some of these concerns in the context of the types of stakes being played are pretty far fetched. I’d like to know of a real life card “mechanic “ at a super low stakes card game
I think you are under thinking this. Yes, I agree that there is little chance of a cheat appearing at a friendly home game. I'm sure every cheat or card mechanic says "I won't practice on my unsuspecting friends. I'll try my skills, for the first time, at a backroom club where I will get 2 slugs it the back of the skull if I get caught".
 

Old State

Straight
Joined
Jul 20, 2016
Messages
841
Reaction score
704
Location
Directly above the center of the Earth
I think you are under thinking this. Yes, I agree that there is little chance of a cheat appearing at a friendly home game. I'm sure every cheat or card mechanic says "I won't practice on my unsuspecting friends. I'll try my skills, for the first time, at a backroom club where I will get 2 slugs it the back of the skull if I get caught".
If some loser is that dedicated to stealing a few bucks from a poker game I’m sure they have considered getting around a card cut. I’m personally more worried about getting struck by lightning.
 

Poker Zombie

Straight Flush
Joined
Oct 29, 2014
Messages
8,248
Reaction score
11,495
Location
Nashville-ish, TN
If some loser is that dedicated to stealing a few bucks from a poker game I’m sure they have considered getting around a card cut. I’m personally more worried about getting struck by lightning.
The odds are about the same. Struck by lighting, or encountering a cheat at a home game.

Difference is playing without simple security (like a cut card) is like playing golf in a lightning storm. You are inviting unnecessary risk to save what? 50 cents?
 

Gobbs

Two Pair
Joined
Aug 26, 2017
Messages
256
Reaction score
211
Location
Atlanta
The odds are about the same. Struck by lighting, or encountering a cheat at a home game.

Difference is playing without simple security (like a cut card) is like playing golf in a lightning storm. You are inviting unnecessary risk to save what? 50 cents?
...and if you’re that worried about saving 50 cents, tape two jokers together (jokers facing out) and use that for a cut card. I did that on a cruise ship once when we had no cut card (and M&Ms for chips).
 

Gameface

Two Pair
Joined
Jan 13, 2018
Messages
293
Reaction score
229
Location
Salt Lake City, Ut
If some loser is that dedicated to stealing a few bucks from a poker game I’m sure they have considered getting around a card cut. I’m personally more worried about getting struck by lightning.
A cut card makes executing the most common card mechanic tricks many orders of magnitude harder.
 
Joined
Aug 2, 2018
Messages
1,197
Reaction score
953
Location
USA
I've been into poker most of my life. When I was in my teens, about 14, my friend and I would occasionally get a few other people together to play dealer's choice poker with $.05 antes (we didn't play hold'em much back then). Anyway, for kicks we learned a few ways to do a false shuffle or deal from the bottom. Most the time either he would deal me a winner or I'd deal him a winner. Never once was anyone even sort of suspicious. Without a cut card dealing from the bottom is easy, even for a complete amature. I'd just collect the previous hand and arrange aces on the bottom of the deck then shuffle the deck without involving the few cards on the bottom, then do a false cut (split the deck, but then put the top portion back on the top). Then it was just a matter of dealing fast enough that the other players couldn't see that cards to my buddy were coming off the bottom of the deck.

During breaks we'd arrange the deck while the other players were away. Do a false shuffle, a false cut and deal out exactly the hand we wanted, the victim would have a flush or something and my buddy would get a full house, for example.

Anyway, based on my experience with that and how shockingly easy it was I'm all for taking the basic measures to prevent that type of cheating. A cut card is the simplest and most effective way, having one person shuffle and another person cut (by using one hand to pick up the top of the deck and place it on the cut card) is also essential to protect your game.
:vomit:
 

DrStrange

Full House
Joined
Nov 9, 2014
Messages
3,268
Reaction score
3,994
Location
middle of no where, Texas
While I do have tiny concerns about a sophisticated cheat, my focus is on exposing the bottom card on the deck. Lots of people shuffle in a sloppy way that exposes the bottom card to someone often many people. If you don't cut the deck, it is 100% certain that the card is not coming into play (absent some card mechanic)

Cutting isn't a perfect solution, but it helps. A one card cut is worse than useless if the bottom of the deck precut is known. Similarly, a "few" card cut means the bottom of the deck is in people's hands. I don't make an issue of it so long as someone cuts.

Is it cheating to see a sloppy dealer and make use of the exposed card? I say yes, but other people might think otherwise. It certainly is a lot different to gain an edge from seeing a card vs stacking the deck or dealing seconds.

And of course, use a cut card -=- DrStrange
 

Old State

Straight
Joined
Jul 20, 2016
Messages
841
Reaction score
704
Location
Directly above the center of the Earth
While I do have tiny concerns about a sophisticated cheat, my focus is on exposing the bottom card on the deck. Lots of people shuffle in a sloppy way that exposes the bottom card to someone often many people. If you don't cut the deck, it is 100% certain that the card is not coming into play (absent some card mechanic)

Cutting isn't a perfect solution, but it helps. A one card cut is worse than useless if the bottom of the deck precut is known. Similarly, a "few" card cut means the bottom of the deck is in people's hands. I don't make an issue of it so long as someone cuts.

Is it cheating to see a sloppy dealer and make use of the exposed card? I say yes, but other people might think otherwise. It certainly is a lot different to gain an edge from seeing a card vs stacking the deck or dealing seconds.

And of course, use a cut card -=- DrStrange
Sloppy cards handling is indeed FAR more of a realistic concern than a “mechanic “ trying to rip off your neighborhood small stakes game.

However, the question was not whether or not to cut the deck but rather if the person dealing cuts the deck themself.
 

XBobdog

3 of a Kind
Joined
Sep 18, 2016
Messages
656
Reaction score
597
Location
charlotte
You should alway have some one besides the shuffler cut and use a cut card.

The basics of card mechanics are out there. Everyone knows them as well as not to slow play your aces.

You do not want to create a fertile ground for someones up and coming mechanic skills to grow. I don't mean guys are going to start dealing off the bottom. But it is sooo easy to take exposed cards and bury them out of play (without a cut). I just think if you tempt too many, you will get a few bites.
 
Joined
Aug 2, 2018
Messages
1,197
Reaction score
953
Location
USA
I 100% get everyone’s point here and would always want to see it for games I play at but I still think there’s some games that it’s uncalled for. My home game consists of newbies, family, and friends of 10+ years. If someone wants to trade those relationship (and lets say more) for $50-$100 per game then they need it more than the other people at the table. Just wish they’d ask for it up front so we could give it to them as we show them the door.
 

Gameface

Two Pair
Joined
Jan 13, 2018
Messages
293
Reaction score
229
Location
Salt Lake City, Ut
I 100% get everyone’s point here and would always want to see it for games I play at but I still think there’s some games that it’s uncalled for. My home game consists of newbies, family, and friends of 10+ years. If someone wants to trade those relationship (and lets say more) for $50-$100 per game then they need it more than the other people at the table. Just wish they’d ask for it up front so we could give it to them as we show them the door.
But what would be wrong with doing a proper cut and using a cut card, no matter what the game setting?

It's not like we play with the cards face-up when we're with friends and family and just think that no one would ever look at my cards in this game because we're all old friends here. These are just completely standard parts of poker.
 

Mental Nomad

Full House
Joined
Nov 7, 2014
Messages
3,775
Reaction score
2,302
Location
NJ - NY/NJ metro area
All these people talking about mechanics and insisting that you can't let the person who shuffles make the cut... both amuses and frustrates me endlessly. You just don't understand.

The mechanic to worry about is not shuffling the deck. The mechanic you worry about is the one dealing. And they don't need a card topped or bottomed before the deck comes to them, because they've likely held back a card previously, have it palmed, and will add it to the top of the deck. You make it really easy by letting them cut for their own deal. If they cover the deck in their hands while squaring it up post-cut, they can easily be putting a palmed card on top. Then they'll deal seconds until it's their card (unless they plan to give it to a confederate.)

Don't let the dealer cut for their own deal. If you want to insist that the person shuffling can't cut, fine, but that's rule number 2. Rule number 1 is that you don't let the dealer cut.

And make sure they keep the entire deck, but especially the top card, in plain sight for everyone after the cut and until they start dealing. Make sure there's a cover card, because dealing bottoms is nearly impossible with a cover, and because most of you are going to roll the deck a couple times a night and flash that bottom card, so you need a cover card. Hell, I was a professional dealer and I roll the deck every now and then when pulling the chips into the pot - of course, I don't worry about it, because there's always a cover card.

In addition, there's the "gentlemanly" aspect of the tradition: having someone other than the dealer cut the deck exonnerates the dealer of the 'responsibility' for the cards they deal; the final order is set by whoever cuts. After that, the same cards should come no matter who deals them. This is why casinos have players set the cut with a cut card in blackjack, baccarat, etc. - they'd prefer for people not to be able to blame the dealer with their superstitious anger.

With a proper single overhand cut and the top card in plain sight after that, you're getting a fair deal even if someone tried to control the shuffle.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 2, 2018
Messages
1,197
Reaction score
953
Location
USA
But what would be wrong with doing a proper cut and using a cut card, no matter what the game setting?

It's not like we play with the cards face-up when we're with friends and family and just think that no one would ever look at my cards in this game because we're all old friends here. These are just completely standard parts of poker.
Nothings wrong with it per say but why add extra steps when it’s not needed for certain groups?

Dealing face-up and not having someone other than the deal cut the deck are worlds apart. Also while I’d encourage most games to cut the deck it’s not a “completely standard part of poker” in home games. Then again I wish all the games I played at were as concerned about cheats because that’d mean they’d all use custom chips as opposed to the half of them that still using dice chips! :D
 
Last edited:

BGinGA

Royal Flush
Tourney Director
Joined
Oct 29, 2014
Messages
16,877
Reaction score
18,711
Location
Atlanta
while I’d encourage most games to cut the deck it’s not a “completely standard part of poker” in home games.
I guess it must be the specific home or cultural environment, then.

I grew up in a very large card-playing family (20 blood aunts and uncles, plus their spouses) and cutting the deck after shuffling was part of ANY card game, bar none.

In fact, I can't recall a single time playing cards -- and I mean any cards, whether gin, hearts, spades, canasta, pinochle, euchre, rummy, poker, go fish, or even war -- from the time I was a child, through school and college, working on the pipeline and playing cards during downtime, and later, serious games as an adult -- where cutting the deck wasn't an integral part of the shuffle prior to dealing a hand of any card game. Even Monopoly cards were cut after shuffling.

It's actually almost incomprehensible to me that it could actually be considered 'proper' to not do so.
 

Marius L

Straight
Joined
Oct 23, 2015
Messages
969
Reaction score
530
Location
Norway
Paranoia much guys. I have to agree with @Old State in this thread. In my homegames this has never been a problem. Having another player cutting the deck slows the game down and is not worth it if you ask me. Using a cut card to cover up the bottom card is good though. We are good friends and its not a lot of money at stake. I will always just tap the deck and have the dealer cut it himself if its a person i know and trust. (Which is all the players invited to my home) If playing in a high stakes underground game with seemingly sketchy people you dont know i guess there could be value in doing it if nothing else than for you own superstition and peace of mind, but in a homegame with people you know...?
 

RainmanTrail

Full House
Joined
Dec 21, 2015
Messages
3,767
Reaction score
4,550
Location
CA
The ironic thing to me is that you often hear people bickering about the cut, but no one seems to notice when someone chunks the deck when they shuffle, which is very easy to exploit as a player. It takes 7 good riffle shuffles to randomize a deck, which is rarely done in practice. 5 or 6 good riffle shuffles, while not quite fully randomizing a deck, is still pretty difficult to take advantage of, but if it's 3 or fewer, someone paying attention to how the cards came out on previous hands can gain a small edge. However, if the dealer is chunking the deck when they shuffle and if they only shuffle a few times, it's pretty easy to exploit and you can gain a fairly decent edge by doing so.

For example, say there were 4 hearts on the board in the previous hand, and two players both made a flush, one of them getting counterfeited on the river with his 8h9h losing to the Kh, then afterwards someone else said "damn, I folded the Ah". After the hand is over, you notice the dealer is chunking the deck pretty bad when he shuffles it 3 times, then someone else cuts the deck and he deals. You look down at the KhTh on the next hand and see a flop of Ah8h7c. The likelihood that you'll make your flush is much greater now than the usual 35% for a randomized deck. It'd be pretty difficult to get your money in bad on this flop, and you'll have the added bonus of looking like a donkey when you turn over a flush draw after calling all in getting just 3 to 2 on your money against a better hand while justifying your play by saying "hearts have been running hot!" And from a meta game perspective, it's even a much bigger win than you can calculate because of all the action you'll get later on.
 

Poker Zombie

Straight Flush
Joined
Oct 29, 2014
Messages
8,248
Reaction score
11,495
Location
Nashville-ish, TN
Having another player cutting the deck slows the game down and is not worth it if you ask me.
List of things that slow a game down more than a player cutting the deck...
  • Talking
  • Waiting 3 seconds as a player is almost at the table with a refreshed drink
  • Waiting 2 seconds as a player is almost at the table with a refreshed drink
  • Shuffling
  • Using chips instead of an electronic table
  • Balancing tables
  • deciding which game to play next in a "Dealer's Choice" game
  • Laughter
 
Top Bottom