How does Selective Shuffling work in Live Blackjack?

Gamers tend to use the card counting technique as a method to improve their chances of hitting a natural blackjack, that pays out 3 to 2. This approach requires the card counter to pay attention to each card that is dealt with every player at the Live Blackjack table. It lets players determine at what time the deck contains more high-value cards than lower ones.

The increasing count offers the player a statistical advantage over the casino, allowing them to make a better-informed decision, of hitting or standing as well as increasing or decreasing the bet based on the count.

The players are known to use Shuffle Tracking, to gain an advantage over the casino and involves following slugs of high cards (T, J, Q, K, A) during the process of shuffling. Though it is difficult for players to get an edge over the house using this method, there is a probability of gaining a 3% edge under ideal conditions. However, with the advent of automatic shuffling machines, this method has lost popularity.

Selective Shuffling

The Live Blackjack casinos tend to make use of counter techniques to defend the casino against card counters. They include shuffling the card deck more often, making it difficult for the player to keep a running total of the cards. It is commonly called selective shuffling or preferential shuffling.

Below are the different ways in which selective shuffling can be used.

Frequent Shuffling

The live blackjack dealers shuffle the cards more often, over every few hands, preventing the players from seeing enough cards thereby withholding the statistical advantage they can gain. This is normally done with the use of cut cards, that are interspersed throughout the deck. The coming up of one of these cards indicates to the dealer that a shuffle is required after the current hand is completed.

Casinos using the selective shuffling method are likely to put the cut card higher up in the deck.

Shuffling on a Bet raise

Apart from shuffling on encountering a cut card, the dealers are also likely to be allowed to shuffle based on their discretion. The dealer can shuffle the deck when a player raises his bet, which could be an indication that he is counting cards.

Scanning of Cards

It is also possible that a casino has a device in the shoe or on the table which scans the cards thereby keeping track of the remaining deck. As the count gets higher the reshuffling of cards is triggered to tackle the statistical advantage that a player scores.

Shuffling Machines

Some of the Live Blackjack casinos make use of continuous shuffling machines, to prevent card counters from keeping track of a deck, as they ensure each hand has a freshly shuffled deck.

During the Live Blackjack games, it is normal for a dealer to shuffle the cards after a certain number of cards, something like 50 to 60 percent are dealt from the deck. Cards will be instantaneously reshuffled when the pit boss or the dealer notices that a player is likely using card counting and hence winning more.

Reshuffling of cards is used as the first line of defence by dealers when it is noticed that players are trying to get an edge over the house in Live Blackjack games. This selective shuffling technique is repeated when a lot of low cards come out as it gives the players an advantage. In the worst case, the dealer could reshuffle cards after only 2-3 hands.

Methods of Shuffling

The cards in a Live Blackjack game are either shuffled manually by the dealer or through an automatic shuffling machine. The continuous shuffling machines reduce the chances of players winning and hence are not player friendly.

The flaws of Selective Shuffling

Though selective shuffling is used as a counter measure for card counting, its use leads too much of time being consumed and results in slow gameplay.

Advantages of Selective Shuffling for casinos

The casinos get the right to adjust the house edge, in their favour on noticing that the advantage has shifted towards the players. However, the players are free to raise concerns on the use of selective shuffling by casinos.


Name: How does Selective Shuffling work in Live Blackjack?
Author: Helen Stratford
Published Date: 08/04/2019