Bottom Dealing

Bottom Dealing

Dealing from the bottom of the deck:

Bottom dealing is a well-known crooked gambling move used by cards cheats to deal a winning hand to a desired position. At the showdown the cheat may spot cards that make up a god hand. Instead of scrambling the cards and assembling them for a shuffle the base dealer will gather these desirable cards in a group, place them on the bottom of the deck, and keep them there undisturbed during the shuffle. During the deal the cheat will deal cards from the bottom to a desired position.


The Full-house Bottom Deal Strategy

Most cheats will not use the bottom deal as described above. First of all, if dealing bottoms before the draw, the cheat would have to execute the move from a full deck. This is not a desirable situation. Usually it is considered more difficult to deal bottoms from a full deck, i.e. the deal is louder and there is more of a chance for mistakes. Secondly, even if the cheat can guarantee a good hand there is still no guarantee that others will raise enough to make it worthwhile. In that case the cheat would have gone through all this trouble only to see everyone else fold. Furthermore, in order to end up with a somewhat guaranteed winning hand that cheat would most probably have to cull and bottom deal five cards. Of course the cheat could go for three or four cards, but three of a kind may too easily be beat, and four of a kind may arouse too much suspicion. The most common bottom dealing strategy is with a full house, as described below.

The cheat will cull a three of a kind to the bottom of the deck in the attempt to later use these three cards to complete a full house. He will keep this stock at the bottom of the deck and deal the cards fairly. If working with an accomplice, the odds are that one of the two cheats receive one pair during this "honest" deal. Through secret signals the two cheats determine if one of them in fact ended up with a pair. If so, they bet big because they know that at the draw one of them will receive the three of a kind from the cellar, thus completing a full house. Preferably it will be the secret accomplice who may never have touched the deck (depending on seating position).

This is a very good cheating strategy. First of all it is very likely that there will be three cards of a kind exposed at the showdown, especially if there are five or more players. Secondly, the cheat does not have to actually deal from the bottom until he knows if it is even worth it to do so. In other words, the first round of betting will determine that. If one of the cheats got a pair (by chance) and if they were able to raise and re raise then it is worth pulling the scam. But if the cheats did not get a pair, or if they did but the other players decided to fold or not to raise enough then the cheats will abort the mission and try to pull the same scam during another round.

Furthermore, this strategy offers very good odds. The odds of being dealt a full house before the draw are 1 in 694. The odds of being dealt a pair are 1 in 2.37. With two cheats working together the odds of being dealt a pair between themselves are 2 in 2.37 (that's 84%). This means that there is an 84% chance that the cheats will get a full house. This still does not mean that the other players will put enough money in the pot to make it worthwhile, but if they play all night there's bound to be one round when it will be safe and worthwhile to pull the scam. In fact, with such good odds the cheaters don't even have to bother with anything else all night except wait for the best opportunity to pull this one.
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