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Cold Deck

What is a ‘Cold Deck’

A cold deck is one which has been tampered with by the player or the dealer in order to facilitate cheating. A cold deck gets its name from the cards being cool to the touch, because they are fresh, as opposed to the warmed cards which have been repeatedly dealt out during the course of the game.

‘Cold Deck’ Explained

When 'cold' and 'hot' are used in a gambling context, they usually refer to a run of luck - or of losses - by the player. In this sense, a 'cold deck' is sometimes used to describe a game that is proving unsuccessful for the player. For example, if a blackjack player busts twice and then loses a 20 hand to the dealer's blackjack, they might blame the streak on the 'cold deck'. Some players will avoid a deck they believe to be 'cold' and will seek out a game with lots of winning players and a good chance of success.The phrase is more often associated with the idea of a fixed deck, used by a cheat in poker or in other card games. A cold deck is often lined with preset hands which have a good chance of success, and through careful positioning at the table or through an ally acting as the dealer, players can fix the game and pick up the best cards for themselves. This use of the term has spread into wider use: a 'cold game' is one which may have a cheat in it or which is being played dishonestly. Card tampering is illegal, and casinos use high-tech anti-cheat methods to prevent players or staff being able to switch decks, so the chance of encountering a cold deck is much smaller than it used to be.
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