How often did you have the cards stacked against you?
I guess, everybody has similar experiences and there are always plenty of those situations when the cards stacked against you... Alright, I myself don't believe in cards and I don't play very often. However, when you come to think of those card games you played, you must have experienced situations in which you just didn't have the right cards to be able to win the game. Well... the same is in life...
The expression refers to those situations in life that are not very likely to succeed because there are many problems or difficulties on the way that make reaching your goal hard or even impossible.
The opposite expression would be
the cards are stacked in favor of sth/sb
Anyway, I'd love to hear from you on your experiences when you had the cards stacked either against ot in favor...