Rolling the deck is the practice of not keeping the deck level at all times during a hand. Dealers in school, when they are breaking in, and as policy at any legitimate poker dealing job are told to keep a deck low and level. Unfortunately many dealers are often lazy about this.

Why would a dealer ever roll a deck? Why would a dealer not always keep a deck low and level? What is going on when they roll a deck?

Here is a related post describing a tournament director doing a little magic trick were the key to doing this trick is being able to roll the deck.

3 Answers 3

  • Why would a dealer not always keep a deck low and level?

A dealer who does not keep the deck level is ignorant or lazy about good dealing procedure or cheating you. Rolling the deck is just plain sloppy dealing of the worst kind.

  • What is going on when they roll a deck? Is the dealer cheating or just lazy?

More likely then not the dealer is just lazy. Shame on that dealer, and even more shame on the management that lets that dealer keep their job. When management does not insist that dealers know and practice good deck handling skills, they are opening the door to cheats in their poker room. If you ever find yourself in a card room were some or a lot of the dealers are not keeping the deck level, you are in a place were you will be cheated eventually.

Rolling the deck is a drop dead easy cheat. Setting things up with a player at the table is not even necessary. All a dealer needs to do is make sure one of their favorite regular George's sees a card once in awhile. Some lazy dealers are not even cheating they are just flashing cards because they don't care. Some are simply rolling the deck because they don't like you, and will flash to other people so you hopefully loose.


The biggest concern is that a card from the bottom of the deck may become exposed, which could give some players an unfair advantage. The other concern, as you mentioned, is that card manipulation often requires the card handler to do things like roll the deck.

Being a good cheat is real hard work though, so I'm guessing you can be 99.999% sure the dealer you're watching do it is doing it because they have been poorly trained; sometimes though, a quality dealer who is on the short side or who has a stiff back and can't fully extend will roll the deck 20 degrees or so as they extend to grab chips which may be out of their reach.

  • Exposing a card at the bottom of the deck is not a big concern, it just an exposed card, if you sit low in your seat you can see lots of exposed cards as players sloppily discard. A dealer dealing off the bottom already knows what the bottom card is. The cheat is the dealer exposing the flop cards to a player before the flop.
    – Jon
    Jan 26, 2015 at 7:27
  • 4
    @Jon Just an exposed card? If I am sitting on pair of 9s and I see 9 at the bottom of the deck it changes my play. So what if players expose cards. Does make it OK that a dealer should expose a card.
    – paparazzo
    Jan 3, 2016 at 16:52

I always thought that Poker operators used 'lackies'. A lackie is a player salaried by the House, given chips, but is destined to lose. No-one is hurt as the pot is just bigger, and the lackie is free to make wild bets to disconcert punters and take them off big hands. Rolling the deck could be communication with a lackie.

  • 2
    Jon Mark Perry. Welcome to SE poker. Welcome. If you have a short comment our question for a poster please feel free to ask in "Add Comment". If you have an answer please feel free to answer a question. but your answer here has nothing to do with the question, which is about rolling a deck. Look around and get a feel for the place. It is a question answer site, that is different from a forum. We don't really have threads, we post a question and get answers. Thanks.
    – Jon
    Jan 26, 2015 at 6:32
  • Definitely an interesting comment, but not the answer to the question.
    – yaki moto
    Apr 13, 2015 at 18:00

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