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Short Shoe

What is ‘Short Shoe’?

Short shoe is a method of play that is reportedly used by casinos to ensure that the house has the edge at all times. Employed in blackjack, the short shoe has fewer cards than blackjack rules dictate and prevents bettors from winning as often as they’d like.

‘Short Shoe’ Explained

In games of blackjack using more than one pack of cards, the short shoe is a deck that lacks the full amount of cards required to be a fair game for the player. For this reason, the short shoe is a method of play that is reportedly used by some casinos to gain the edge.

The short shoe, unless counted by similarly cheating card counters, often goes undetected by the players unless made very, very noticeable by the dealer. However, the reason that it so often slips through the net is because the pit bosses, which bring the shoe to the gaming table, have already pre-arranged the shoe so that it is missing several cards. For this reason, it is thought that sometimes the dealer does not even know about the presence of the ‘short shoe.

The short shoe is often only risked by casinos when the minimum bets are higher on any given gaming table, because they have more to gain here than at tables with smaller minimum betting requirements.

It is possible for the aforementioned card counters to detect a short shoe by simply keeping track of the cards they have already seen. If they have not seen them all by the time the shoe depletes fully, the casino is likely to be guilty of foul play.

One way that casinos get around the card counting tactics is by adding in a four, a five, and a six card for every 10-point card and ace removed from the deck. This way, the numerical value of the deck remains the same and actually gives the casino an even more significant edge.