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Clumping
 

A reader says: I ran across a sequence of shoes which was very strange. While playing against Ted, I observed that almost every shoe was "bad:" Being curious, I continued playing. Ted was abnormally accurate in splitting the cards into six piles for the shuffle, and performed a very fine shuffle (not perfect). Whether by chance or design, the cut card was then given to a person who cut the deck for a "negative" sequence. Now these people who cut (only 4 out of 7 people really got to cut the deck) were fairly consistent in where they placed the card - certainly nothing abnormal about that. However, the result brings up the frightening possibility of the dealer using the skill of the player against the player. By hav-ing a good idea where people will cut, the dealer can give the cut card to the appropriate person.

Now, if I was doing the dirty dealing, I would try to clump the large cards at the very end of the pack rather than the small cards as happened here. This would be a total disaster for the player! I was wondering if cheating of this form actually occurs, and if so, how common is it?

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Finding Your Way to the People Who Play
 
At an even more basic level, you can't even play poker unless you can find some opponents. Unlike a casino blackjack game, which will commence anytime you are ready to play, a casino poker game can't start unless at least two people are willing to play. The ability to find opponents who are less skilled than you lies at the very heart of your poker hopes. Let's take a look at how you can and should find the right opponents.
 
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