Shuffling machine cards and chips on the table

The Shuffle Master company presented its first shuffling machines for blackjack in 2000. It was called The King and was designed primarily to fight with card counters. The producers even said this machine was supposed to be the worst nightmare for all card counters.

As you know, the fight between the casino and card counters has lasted for several decades.

Using various techniques of card counting without technical devices is not considered a violation of the law, but almost all casinos try to get rid of those who do it by all means.

The United States is experiencing a thrilling situation in this concern. While Las Vegas casinos can expel any visitor suspected of card counting and permanently ban him in Atlantic City, they can not do that. But they can limit the bets of these visitors and apply a unique shuffle technique. That's where the shuffle machine is helpful for casino management.

How CSMs work

Shuffling machines work in the following way:

  • After each deal, cards again get into the shuffling machine from the shoe.
  • There they are mixed with other cards.
  • A special machine with numerous sections randomly shuffles the cards.
  • Then it returns the cards to the shoe for the next game.

The nonlinear principle in this process makes it possible for each card to be used in the next deal.

Benefits of CSMs

Continuous shuffling of the cards with CSM makes real blackjack closer to the virtual, as cards from the decks used in the game can be used in each deal.

At such tables, there is no sense to count cards because the dealer returnes them to the shoe. 

Moreover, using the CSM makes it impossible to use such techniques as shuffle-tracking because cards are not mixed in front of the player and with the utmost care.

Other significant advantages of shuffle machines include speeding up the game and substantial savings on cards (using all four decks instead of six or eight as in the classic shuffle).

Since the introduction of video surveillance systems, CSM has become the best invention for casino owners.

Even the high price (15 to 20 thousand dollars) could not keep them from installing these devices. However, their ardor somewhat faded after a while, and some casinos even refused to use shuffle machines.

Reasons to avoid CSMs

The mass use of CSM in all casinos quickly caused the dissatisfaction of the players (counters make only a small percentage) and dealers who did not share the enthusiasm of their bosses. Dealers unanimously expressed their dissatisfaction with shuffling machines.

The reason is that dealers and visitors could talk and establish relationships while manual shuffling, which creates a better atmosphere at the table.

When CSM is being used, the game resembles a non-stop conveyor. Players feel (and that's reasonable) that they lose money quicker. Croupiers lose an opportunity to rest, make friends with customers, and improve their chances for tips. As a result, no one likes it.

If complaints of casino employees still might pull the plug, ignoring customer dissatisfaction means moving toward bankruptcy. That's why casino management had to reduce shuffle machines' use significantly.

How CMSs Affect the House Edge in Blackjack

At first glance, it may seem that the use of shuffle machines gives the player advantage because, in this case, the game has only four decks instead of six or eight, as with a manual shuffle of cards. As you know, using fewer decks is favorable for the player.

However, speeding up the game by about 20% completely disables this advantage (already too small, about 0.1%).

In a long run, a player will lose more money in blackjack with CMS.

There are almost no land-based casinos offering blackjack with one or two decks. Maybe in the future, it will become a part of history. However, playing with eight decks is way more exciting and profitable than four decks and a shuffling machine.

We recommend players ignore tables with CSM.

This will also help the casino owners to stop using them.


How do you like such technical innovations in casinos? Have you ever played blackjack at the tables with shuffling machines? Did you like it?

Please share your opinions and experience in the comments. Other Casinoz readers will highly appreciate that.

Frequently asked Questions

💸 What do shuffling machines do?

They shuffle cards at blackjack tables, speeding up the gameplay and preventing players from card counting.

❓ Do blackjack shuffling machines help or obstruct the player?

Shuffling machines are beneficial for the casino, not the customers.

👎 Do all large casinos use shuffling machines?

No. Many land-based casinos refrain from it for various reasons.

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