Cold Deck: Mastering Card Cheating in Real Games

Master card cheating with a cold deck! Learn deck switching secrets from article and perfect your trick without getting caught.
Cold deck

A cold deck is a deck of cards that has been tampered with by a cheater to produce certain hands after being dealt. It is a stacked deck and is commonly introduced to a game by a deck switch, where two decks are exchanged in the course of play. This move is commonly performed by the dealer or the player who cuts the deck.

Creating the Perfect Cold Deck

A great cold deck needs to feel right and fit the context of a game perfectly. Many sleight of hand switches look incredible in the right hands but not all of them are practical. For a cheating dealer, few deck switches qualify as usable. In fact, if a dealer is getting ready to cheat you (or already has), you might spot it in their behavior before or after that perfect move.

For a player switch, getting ready and getting rid of the cards you just switched is somewhat easier without the business of shuffling and dealing to worry about. A player switch is a powerful move if the dealer is completely honest since all suspicion flows in their direction after a loaded hand.

Examples of Cold Deck Scenarios

In the movie The Sting, Doyle Lonnegan performs an excellent example of a player switch when asked to cut the cards. This switch can look incredible but what sets this scene apart is that we see him prepare the cooler, then dispose of the slug using a pocket handkerchief. All attention follows the cards, so the cheater is only exposed for a split second.

Back in the first season of The Real Hustle, members of the Hendon Mob were invited to a private poker game under the ruse of two reality TV types who were aiming to learn poker from the professionals. In the course of that game, more than one cooler was dropped onto the table, partly because deck switches were the subject of this scam but mostly because neither of the TV types stood a chance against three hard-nosed professionals!

Cold Deck in Poker

In the world of poker, a “cold deck” is a term used when two or more big hands compete for the pot. It can be a difficult situation for players, especially when they are up against cheaters. In the bad old days of Las Vegas, less scrupulous managers ran the card rooms, and cheaters were often employed to deal games and rip off tourists.

One scam involved a deck switch that was as easy as it gets. When a fresh tray arrived with a new dealer, there would be two decks in the tray. Joining the game, the dealer would spread his first deck face up for everyone to see. These cards were in new-deck order – all fifty two cards in sequence, separated by suits.

The dealer would then shuffle thoroughly and deal. At some point in the game, a house player (who was part of the scam) would call for a fresh deck. The cards would be changed, and the new deck spread face down NOT face up. The dealer would then “forget” to flip the cards face up and proceed to shuffle.

Nine hundred and ninety-nine times out of a thousand, no one noticed or cared that the faces were not shown, and if they did, the dealer would call for a fresh deck and apologize. The rest of the time, a few false shuffles and a controlled cut was all it took to fleece the strangers at the table.

A friend who worked in one of these joints had a difficult situation where he mistakenly believed he had a stacked deck waiting in his tray, which was actually a normal deck in new deck order. When a change of cards was requested, he spread the cards face down, false shuffled, cut, and dealt a round of seven stud. When the up cards came out, they came two of hearts, three of hearts, four, five, six, seven, eight, and nine of hearts!

My friend, the dealer, quipped “What are the chances of that? Must be a hundred to one!” He quickly resolved the matter with an “accidental” misdeal and restarted the hand.

Staying Vigilant Against Cheaters

It’s important to note that a subtle cooler might be safer than dealing hero hands to everyone, but some cheaters could care less about taking time and are just there to rob the bank as quickly as possible. It’s always best to be on the lookout for scams like these, especially in the world of poker. By staying vigilant and aware of the potential for a cold deck, players can protect themselves from falling victim to such scams.