What is a Shuffle?
In card games, dealers ‘shuffle’ the cards before and after play. This means that they mix the cards up, so the order is random and the chances of any hand appearing is fair to all players. There are lots of different shuffle styles which a dealer might employ. Some shuffles are designed to facilitate cheating, by stripping cards from the deck or by stacking it – placing the cards in a particular order to influence the draw. Others are designed to showcase the skill of the dealer, and for the entertainment of the players at the table.
A standard 52-card deck is usually split into the four suits when first opened, arranged in numerical order. In order to play games with the cards, they need to be in a random order. Therefore, the cards are shuffled before a game begins. The dealer mixes up the cards using one of a number of techniques (or a mixture of several) before the cards can be dealt. Shuffling techniques include the Overhand shuffle, Riffle, Hindu shuffle, Corgi shuffle and the Pile shuffle. Cards may then be shuffled after each round of play, to keep things random, or the deck may be used until all cards run out before a fresh deck is called for.
Shuffling can be used to conceal cheating, for example by stripping cards from the deck or by marking or counting the location of certain cards. To prevent cheating by the dealer or by the players, some casinos will use a shuffle machine instead of manual shuffling. The mechanism mixes up the cards prior to play, removing the chance that the deck could be tampered with.
A card shuffle requires a certain amount of technique, and some dealers will employ special tricks and styles to entertain the punters. After a shuffle, a ‘cut’ in the cards is usually made by one of the players. They split the deck at some point near the middle, and the bottom half of the pack is added to the top of the pile. This reduces the chance of the deck being stacked before play.