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Skin Game

What is a 'Skin Game'?

In poker, a game which has cheaters among the players is commonly known as a 'skin game'. The term implies that two or more players are working together to cheat the others out of their money. Skin games might also involve just one player along with the dealer, in a casino game where the dealer does not play and instead the dealer button is passed. In wider use, a 'skin game' is one which is rigged against the player in some way.

'Skin Game' Explained

The phrase 'skin game' is most frequently used to describe a poker game where two or more players are working together to cheat the rest and take all the money. It might refer to a game where cards have been 'skinned' - that is, a player or a dealer has removed certain cards from the pack during the deal or during play. Card skinning is the practice of hiding cards away for later use, or to prevent them from coming up in the game. It might be used along with card counting, or the hidden card might be slipped back into play at an opportune moment.A 'skin game' might also mean one which is being played with a 'skinned deck' - one which has been tampered with by the dealer or a player. In other games, such as blackjack and roulette, players might use the phrase 'skin game' to mean one which is unfair or in some way rigged against them. Any game or wager which is fixed or involves cheating could be called a 'skin game'. More rarely, 'skin game' refers to a form of online gambling game which is widely distributed across many platforms and played by the clients of multiple establishments at once, but rebranded by each with a themed facade, as though it were their own production. Many online poker matches are 'skin games' in this sense.
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