If you play online poker exclusively, you will never have to even touch a card, let alone shuffle. Even in a live casino, professional dealers do the shuffling for you. The only time you may have to know how to shuffle is if you are playing in a home game, since these poker games rarely have professional dealers. If you are planning a career as a professional dealer yourself, you will obviously have to know how to shuffle as well.
Basic Poker Shuffling: The Riffle Shuffle
The most common type of randomizing shuffle is the riffle shuffle. The riffle shuffle is fairly simple to learn and execute, although you may have to practice it a few times before it comes naturally.
Riffle Shuffle Step 1: The Set Up
Separate the deck into two relatively equal-sized packets. Hold the packets so that the edges are supported on one side by your thumb and on the other side by your ring finger and pinky. The remaining fingers can be against the side of the deck.
Riffle Shuffle Step 2: The Shuffle
Hold your hands close together and simply riffle your thumbs up the deck. Do this at the same speed with both hands and the cards should fall into place, overlapping as the thumb releases them. It’s okay if the cards don’t overlap exactly although not more than two or three cards from the same packet should stay together.
Riffle Shuffle Step 3: The Finish
Once all the cards have been released, simply push them together and square up the deck for a complete shuffle. If you want to get fancy, you can go for the cascade. Once your thumbs have released all the cards, bend the cards upward back into your thumbs with your thumbs pressing down. Slowly remove the thumb pressure and let the cards cascade into a neatly squared deck.
Notes on Shuffling
One shuffle is usually not sufficient to randomize the deck. Ideally, you will shuffle seven times in this fashion for full randomization. Also, you may want to work in a few cuts and overhand shuffles to make sure certain cards don’t stay on the top of the deck. Unpredictability is essential in poker.
If you’ve never shuffled before, it’s a good idea to practice for a while and make sure you get it down before shuffling in a real game. It’s unlikely that the cards will go flying as they sometimes do in the movies with an inexperienced shuffler, but if you get in a few practices, you can virtually assure that this will not happen.
So, just shuffle up and deal a few hands to your furniture. Things should go real nice next time you play poker.
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