the cards are stacked against

the cards are stacked against somebody

if the cards are stacked against someone, they are not at all likely to succeed in a particular situation because they have a lot of problems He fought a brilliant campaign, but the cards were stacked against him from the start.
See play cards right
See also: card, stacked
References in periodicals archive ?
Grain companies claim the cards are stacked against them, so they have refused to participate in the process that was intended to make the grain transportation system more commercial, competitive and accountable.