I learned of the expression “give cards and spades” from a comment by John Cowan, and of course I looked it up. It’s not in the OED, so I tried the Historical Dictionary of American Slang, and sure enough:
give cards and spades to allow an advantage; to outdo despite an advantage
1888 in F[armer] & H[enley] II 37: Artie found a Chinaman out in ‘Frisco who could give him cards and spades and beat him out. 1903 A. Adams Log of a Cowboy 274: That little hole back there could give Natchez-under-the-hill cards and spades, and then outhold her as a tough town. […] 1936 J.T. Farrell World I Never Made 97: None better. She can deal out cards and spades to most gals.
I’m curious both as to its origin (spades are, after all, cards) and to what extent it’s still used, or at least known. Are you familiar with it?