The Science of How to Shuffle a Deck of Cards
When it comes to shuffling cards, there are plenty of ways to do so. Taking that into consideration, one must ask himself, are they all reliable and can you really randomise a deck of cards using all methods? In theory – yes, you can, but then we come to the question, how many times should you shuffle a deck of cards? If you’re interested in the science behind it, you can read the paper Trailing the Dovetail Shuffle to Its Lair by Dave Bayer and Persi Diaconis from Stanford University. Long story short, using the most common way of shuffling cards – the overhand shuffle, you’ll need to repeat the process over 10,000 times to mix up the cards properly. On the other side of the spectrum, we have the riffle shuffle. In this case, you’ll achieve your goal after only 7 repeats. Let’s dive into learning the best way to shuffle cards.
The Overhand Shuffle
The overhand shuffle is the most common way of shuffling cards. It’s a very simple way of mixing cards used by beginners, yet it leaves a lot to be desired. Not only is it sloppy, theoretically, but you’ll also need to do 10,000 of these mixes to be sure that you’ve randomised the cards in the deck. Obviously, this method isn’t used in casinos, as it would allow players to successfully guess about 10 cards from the deck. To perform this shuffle, you’ll need to form a cup shape with your fingers, to support the cards that fall into your hand. Use your palm and your index finger, to steady the cards as they continue to add up and use a, let’s say, light grip on the dealing card.
The Weave Shuffle
Next on our list, we have the weave shuffle. It’s still an easy to master shuffle, yet more effective and organised. It’s also a stepping stone towards learning one of the more advanced, but widely used among professionals, the riffle shuffle. We’ll cover that one later on in our article. Now, the weave shuffle is just as it sounds. You split the deck into two and you ‘weave’ the edges of the cards in between each other. Once you have wedged a few mm of the cards into each other, bend them into an arch and release the pressure. The cards will flow into your other hand and stack each other.
The Hindu Shuffle
The Hindu Shuffle is another easy method of shuffling cards, which as in improvement over the traditional overhand shuffle. There’s no clear evidence why it’s called the way it is. It is, however, a way to shuffle cards which is very popular in Asia, where you’ll see even dealers in casinos using it. It’s easy enough to perform by beginners. Simply hold the deck with your thumb and middle finger, slightly pinched on both long sides of the cards. With your right hand cupped and under the deck, lightly grab tiny portions of the deck and let them fall into your hand. We suggest you go slowly at first or you’ll end up magically picking up 52 cards at once.
The Riffle Shuffle
Now, we’ve reached what’s considered to most effective, if not the best way to shuffle cards – the riffle shuffle. This move can be performed either in your hands or on a table. You’ll see it used mostly by magicians or presenters, who entertain the audience as the way the cards flow into each other is a sight to behold. Otherwise, performed on a table, it’s the go-to choice for most casino card dealers out there.
Whether we’re talking about online blackjack, live casino poker or live dealer baccarat online, it’s quick, effective, and mathematically the most reliable way to randomise a deck of cards. Seeing how this method of shuffling cards is a bit more complicated than the previous ones we’ve listed, check out the video below for a step-by-step guide on how to shuffle a deck of cards using the riffle method.