What is an ‘Imperfect Deck’?
An ‘imperfect deck’ is a pack of cards which has some form of defect or irregularity on one, some or all of the cards. Sometimes the term is applied to a deck that has been altered by a cheat. However, it usually means that the deck has a manufacturing fault, such as inconsistencies in the pattern, a misshapen edge or duplicated cards within the pack.
’Imperfect Deck’ Explained
A standard pack of playing cards contains 54 individual cards – two jokers, plus thirteen each of the heart, club, diamond and spade suits. These cards are usually printed on both sides, with the card’s value and suit on the face and some pattern, logo or other design on the reverse. While each card has a different face, the design on the back should always be identical – this prevents players from cheating by recognizing which card is which when they are laid face down.
Some card players will try to cheat by altering packs of cards. This is tricky unless the player is working with a corrupt dealer – casinos use anti-cheating methods such as refreshing the deck in play at regular intervals, and replacing the deck whenever a player at the table requests it. Modern casinos also use special detection software which scans cards at the table to spot any signs of tampering. A deck which has been unfairly altered in some way might be called an ‘imperfect deck’.
However, the term more usually applies to a deck which shows some manufacturing mistake, such as misaligned edges, inconsistencies in the patterns used, or even mistakes in the cards that pack contains – for example, having an additional King or missing an ace. Most imperfect decks which find their way to the table are easy to spot and will be swiftly replaced. However, if the error is subtle and the dealer has not spotted it, a player with a keen eye might be able to take advantage of the situation and work the imperfect deck in their favor.