What is a ‘Squared Deck’?
A ‘squared deck’ is a pack of cards which has been lined up in a stack evenly, ready to be dealt, cut or otherwise handled. To ‘square the deck’ means to push all the cards together so that they are back in line in the pack: a ‘squared deck’ is the rest of this. Aligning the cards ensures that none are sticking out – sometimes a sign of a fixed deck.
‘Squared Deck’ Explained
Most casino card games use a 52 card deck, or a combination or several decks. These are the standard playing cards used in many games around the world, consisting of 13 each in the hearts, diamonds, spades and clubs categories. It is the job of the dealer to ensure that all decks are fairly and evenly mixed through shuffling them regularly and to prevent tampering by any player through retaining control of the deck at all times.
If a dealer is said to ‘square the deck’, they prepare it by pushing all of the cards together neatly in an aligned stack. A ‘squared deck’ is what results from this action – a straight and tidy pack with no cards sticking out or otherwise out of place. When the deck is shuffled and squared, it is ready to be cut, dealt or otherwise used in the game.
If a deck has been fixed by a cheating player or dealer, the cards are sometimes arranged so that they stick out slightly in the deck during the deal. This means that the cheat can identify that card. Squaring the deck prevents this from happening – it pushes all of the cards back into place so they cannot be identified from the side of the pack. Players might sometimes request that a dealer ‘squares the deck’ if they are concerned about being cheated.