A dead spread is a table with no players, only the dealer. This certainly applies to "table games" as well as poker. If there is no dealer at a table, it's just an empty table, but if the money is unlocked, a dealer is there, but no players are there, it's a dead spread.
I love jargon, and I wouldn't be surprised if I thought about educating E2 readers on this little term because I mentioned it in some story or another and confused someone. I remember mentioning a 2 top to a poker dealer friend of mine and he had no idea what I was talking about. Why servers refer to the number of people at a table as "top" I have no idea.
I googled dead spread and a poker definition came up. I played Texas Hold 'Em pretty much 7 days a week the first year I moved to Vegas, and I still am quite in tune with the poker world, and I've never heard used that way.
I was thinking about dead spreads while I was at one the other night. I hate dead spreads. Standing around with my thumb up my ass wishing some woman would play with me is a bit too much like real life. I'm at work, for crying out loud!