Part Two : Stacking and Shuffling
Although there are countless systems for stacking a deck of cards, there are really only a few methods that are practical during a euchre game. Some stacking techniques are so difficult that only a professional who finds it financially worth his while to put in eight to ten hours of practice a day would be capable of employing. The money in high dollar poker games and such will surely keep them disinterested in most euchre competitions. However, in the event that such a skilled professional should wander into your euchre game, the unfortunate truth is that there is little that can be done to stop him.
1. The Pick-up Stack - Stacking the deck in a euchre game is much easier than many card games simply because you know how many players are going to be playing before the cards are dealt. Also, the cards are customarily dealt in batches of 2's and 3's making things even easier. If a cheater can "cull" (collect) just four good cards together, deal three of them into the same hand and turn the fourth one up to make it trump, it is a sure winner. Of course, with all stacking techniques, there must be a system to nullify a cut and a method to make the correct suit trump (this is all covered later on this site). The pick-up stack in euchre is simple and goes like this; On the hand prior to the cheater's deal, the cheat will watch the cards as they are being played and look for an ideal trick to make a hand out of .Very often, there is a trick played that contains four cards of the same suit including a bower or two. This will be his "target". The target can be the suit that is currently trump, but it is even better when an offsuit trick contains four of the same suit with the ace and jack included (this will take away any suspicion one might have about how the same dealer keeps dealing himself a sure winner in the suit that was trump on the previous hand). He will keep a mental note as to where the target trick is stacked. Immediately at the conclusion of the hand, the cheat will reach for the cards and stack them all on top of the selected trick (if performed correctly, it is not obvious at all). This move is best covered by table talk and clumsy handling of the cards. The only thing done with precision is the initial move that put the "target" trick on the bottom. The cheat now has four winners at the bottom of the deck.
2. Coolers - If a cheater is aware of the brand of cards that will be in play at the game, he can simply stack them at home. The cheater can even pick up a new deck at the store (just like the one in his pocket) on the way to the game and offer them to be used during the game. He might choose to play at a "friend's" house where he knows what brand of cards he uses or even play in a tournament sponsored by a card company and bring a couple of their decks with him (both colors). There are several techniques of bringing "packages" into a game, all of which are basic moves often performed by amateur magicians. One of the sneakiest perhaps involves a jacket containing a "net" which is a large pocket that has been attached to the right side of a cheater's shirt (assuming that he is a right handed dealer) and to the inside of the jacket. Just above the net, the jacket has another half pocket (many cheats just sew in elastic straps) that holds the cold deck (cooler) face up and ready (and stacked).The cheat will often feign drunkenness and wait until the right moment to pull the move. In euchre, being at 8 points and having the deal would be perfect (the move can only be performed once during a game unless the cheat excuses himself and restacks the deck before returning). With a partially unzipped jacket and a big smoky cigar, that apparently drunken dealer shuffles, offers the cut, and then (holding the deck in the left hand) goes to flick his cigar (in the right hand) into the ashtray which is positioned a little too far from his left elbow to reach comfortably. While the cheat is struggling to reach the ashtray, his deck holding hand curls slightly inward and for a brief moment, is covered by his jacket. At that moment, he drops the deck into the net and grabs the cooler. This move takes only a split second and is a perfect finisher for the cheater. Some cheats simply use a rubberband to wear the cooler just below their shirt sleeve. The switch is a little more complicated because it involves palming the entire deck, but a "sleightly" skilled magician can do it right before your eyes! Sometimes the cooler is taped up under the table and involves other similar magic tricks to make it appear.
3. Kitty Snatch - This move is simple, and quite literally "in your face". If you have ever played with someone who always wants to see what was in the kitty after the hand is over, you may want to consider watching them a little closer the next time they deal! I've had this move attempted on me by people that I never would have suspected (grannies, nuns, my mom etc.)! While they're looking at the kitty, they gather up the rest of the deck that they are about to deal. When they are done looking at it, they simply place the rest of the deck right on top. This can be done in many "innocent" manners, but the "bottom" line is that the dealer now knows what the 4 cards at the bottom of the deck are. If the kitty contained 9's and 10's, they can be dealt to one of the opponents, but if they are 4 good cards, you'll probably be seeing the dealing team end up with them. Always remember, if the dealer is allowed to have any knowledge of the location of just 4 good cards in the deck, they can win every time they deal.
1. Players should make it a habit to "wash" the cards before pushing them to the incoming dealer. This is done by mixing them up face down on the table in a circular motion.
2. Players in a money game should be (at least) forced to reshuffle before dealing a deck that has disappeared from sight for even a second.
3. If the incoming dealer decides to look at the kitty, make sure that they "wash" the entire deck before they begin to shuffle.
1. Table Riffle - The table riffle is the best type of legitimate shuffle that a dealer can use. Casinos make their dealers use this method of shuffle, and if you have certainly seen it if you have ever watched a professional poker or blackjack dealer. The cards are split into two piles which are laid end to end next to each other and are riffled together with the thumbs. The good points about this technique are that cards aren't easily exposed to the other players during the shuffle (as long as the corners aren't lifted too high) and the cards stay relatively flat with practically no "wave" effect. The bad point is that it is very easy to retain a group of cards at the bottom while shuffling the rest of the deck. When a cheat has culled four cards together at the bottom of the deck, he simply needs to riffle the bottom half first. As soon as the first few cards fall, the other half of the deck is riffled off and the cards begin to interlace. This leaves all but the bottom few cards in the deck legitimately shuffled.
A legitimate table riffle;
2. Overhand Shuffle - A cheater will often observe the players in a game before deciding which method of shuffle to use. If most players in a euchre game are shuffling overhand, then obviously the overhand shuffle would be the best to employ so as to not draw any unnecessary attention to himself. Overhand shuffling is the common shuffle that you see in many house games. The dealer holds the deck in his right hand and shuffles groups of cards into the left.
A legitimate overhand shuffle;
When a cheat plans to employ the overhand shuffle, he will need to in-jog a card to use as sort of a book mark. This will allow him to know where the stacked cards are located.
In euchre, the four card stack is by far the most useful. Four cards give the dealer 3 winning cards and an upcard to make them trump. This makes dealing from the bottom (or "base-dealing") more practical since dealing seconds (or thirds or anywhere else where the stack is kept on top) is usually a technique reserved for games where retaining one single card is very useful.
Therefore, the in-jog card would be moved in to place with the thumb during step 5 of the illustration (L). It is the top card on the "b" pack. The stacked cards are at the bottom of "c". After repeating these steps a few times, the cheat returns to step 2 and peels a pack of cards off of the in-jog card (that would make the top card in the "b" pack the in-jog and the bottom of the "a" pack the stack) and complete the process one more time This will return the stacked cards to the bottom.
3. The Hindu Shuffle - No matter what anybody says, the "Hindu Shuffle" is not a legitimate shuffle. I admit that it can mix the cards up thoroughly, but the only real benefit from using it is that it is very deceiving. Almost every magician uses the Hindu Shuffle for a card trick or two. The deck is held by the long sides in the left hand between the thumb and middle finger while the right hand strips a pack of cards from the bottom, pulls it up over the rest of the deck, pinches it with the thumb and middle fingers of the left hand while the right hand strips another pack of cards from the bottom of this second stack and slaps it down on top. This is of course repeated several times. The cheating comes in when a small group of cards are stacked at the bottom. The performer simply strips out a pack of cards from just above the stacked cards, although it looks just like he is stripping out the bottom. The stacked cards remain in place throughout the "shuffle".
1. Players should always watch the dealer shuffle closely. Unusual hesitations or in-jogged cards during a shuffle are warning signs that the dealer may be trying to manipulate the cards.
2. It is actually much easier to spot a cheater attempt to false shuffle if you have practiced the moves yourself enough to understand the mechanics behind them.
3. The Hindu Shuffle should be barred from all money games.