What is the ‘Cut’?
In any betting-based card game such as poker or blackjack, the cut is an important part of the shuffling and dealing process. It creates fairness within the game and allows all the players to share responsibility for the randomness of the draw. The cut simply means to separate the deck somewhere near the middle, thereby reducing the chance that card counting has occurred and preventing cheating. During the cut, a cut card may be employed to prevent anyone seeing the face of the bottom card.
Making the cut is done either by the dealer or by the player to the right of the dealer, depending on which game is being played. The player dealing the cards or cutting them often shifts around the table during rounds of a game, though in some instances only the dealer will handle the deck and make the cut during play.
The cut occurs right after the cards have been shuffled, and just before they are dealt to the players. The reason the deck is cut is to prevent the chance of a player cheating by counting the cards or through some other method. Cutting the deck at random means that the cards are mixed up, even if tampering has occurred.
The cut takes place under the watchful eyes of the other players at the top of the table. In order to prevent players accidentally seeing the face value of the bottom card during the cut, a cut card is usually employed. This is a small piece of plastic made to the same size as the deck, often made in a bright colour to prevent it being mixed in with the deck. The cut card covers the deck during the cut and keeps the game fair for everyone playing.