Welcome to “The Machine”, a site built to provide those interested with helpful information about card shuffling machines for casino games.
Throughout www.the-machine.be, you’ll find an introduction to casino card shuffling machines as we look at what these actually are, how they may advantage or disadvantage players and casinos, as well as the knock-on effects for casinos around the world.
You can also browse through The Machine site to discover some additional resources about casino card shuffling machines, learn more about us via our ‘About’ section or shoot us a comment or question for the ‘Contact’ page.
So, before we go any further – what exactly are casino card shuffling machines and how are they used?
Many of the most popular casino games, especially blackjack, poker and baccarat, involve a dealer who draws cards from multiple decks that are all shuffled together. For example, in blackjack, a casino will typically use between six and eight decks of cards, meaning that at any one time there are more than 400 individual cards in circulation.
Traditionally, all of these cards are shuffled by the dealer and then drawn to each player. However, in recent years, more and more casinos have started to use card shuffling machines that often continuously shuffle the cards as each round the game progresses, thus eliminating the need for a person to shuffle the cards at the table.
There are two main types of card shuffling machines, including basic automatic machines and continuous shuffling machines (CSMs).
Automatic shuffle machines, which have been popular in the casinos of Vegas and Atlanta for many years now, are able to shuffle one or several decks of cards at one time as the dealer uses a previously shuffled deck (by the machine) during each round. This basic automatic shuffler ensures that time is saved between each round (as the dealer does not have to pause to shuffle the pack after collecting the cards back in); also, depending on how up-to-date the machine is and the shuffling ability of the dealer, the card order is normally better randomized.
The other type, continuous shuffling machines, are used not only to speed up the flow of each game, but also prevent players from ‘counting cards’ – a mathematical technique that gives players with advanced arithmetic ability to gain an upper hand over the house. These machines use an elevator system to randomize the cards; once a card from a single round has been discarded by a player, it is then re-inserted into the stack (normally containing five decks) in any random position – meaning that the same card could reappear in the following round.
Automatic card counters: advantages and disadvantages from the casino’s perspective:
- Speeds up each round – with around 20% more hands per hour in some cases (the more rounds that a casino can process, the higher the profit they make)
- Prevents players from counting cards, ensuring the casino maintains that all-important upper hand
- As fewer decks are used, the house edge slightly decreases by around 0.1 percent in blackjack as players have a slightly greater chance of being drawn a card worth 10 points
- Costly and bulky – taking away part of the glitz and glamour of the traditional casino atmosphere
- For most casinos, card counting isn’t actually a problem (as very few people can actually do it successfully).
What are the advantages and disadvantages from the player’s perspective?
- Players may also prefer the quicker pace of each game, with automatic shufflers reducing the monotony of waiting in between each round for the dealer to finish shuffling
- Most players can’t actually count cards – so those unable to do the quick calculations will feel as though they’re on a level playing field with those who can
- For the mathematical geniuses, card counting becomes impossible
- Having a machine sitting on a blackjack table may be deemed unsightly, and a move away from the traditional, authentic land-based casino landscape that players choose over playing card games online
We are certainly seeing more and more casinos in both American and Europe start to integrate automatic card shuffling machines, especially on blackjack tables. However, most large casinos with these machines also provide tables that do not use these machines, which ultimately means that players have the choice as to whether they want to play fast-paced hands or take things a little slower with the dealer shuffling method.
And as for card counters? The choice between automatic shuffling machines and dealer-only games is an obvious one! If you have any thoughts, issues or concerns with our site then get in contact with us.