When shuffling cards, there are many different techniques to shuffle playing cards. Professionals such as casino dealers usually use a specific technique, and magicians have mastered many techniques that are usually associated with card tricks. We at home usually know one or two different shuffling techniques and do well with them for many card games and also the poker game. Which technique is actually the best to shuffle cards? Which is the most difficult and how can you learn to shuffle cards? We may have the answers.

The art of shuffling cards is actually a science

How to shuffle cards has been debated for as long as the game of cards has existed. There are scientific papers about it and resourceful people have invented various techniques over time. Not all of them have caught on, because some techniques are just too sophisticated, some don’t shuffle the cards properly, and still other techniques allow manipulation of card position during shuffling. In 1726 an unknown author wrote something about the already then most popular technique to shuffle cards, the riffle shuffle. This is the oldest known written source for it in the book “Whole Art and Mystery of Modern Gaming”. The subject of card shuffling has also occupied scientists and mathematicians. And anticipating, the riffle shuffle is still the most used technique for shuffling playing cards all over the world.

But scientists and mathematicians in particular have proven that there is a definite problem with this most common card shuffling technique: the more carefully the playing cards are shuffled, the worse they actually are shuffled afterwards. With too many repetitions, this even goes so far as to restore the original order of the playing cards.

The different techniques to shuffle cards

An exact list of how many different techniques there are to shuffle cards is hard to find. It can be assumed that there are at least 8 to 10 shuffling techniques that do not belong to the “magic art” category. Shuffling cards, depending on the shuffling technique used, is easier with a new or well-maintained deck of cards. Older, worn decks become sticky and make any type of card shuffling more difficult.

Tip: There are simple remedies for sticky playing cards!

Card decks are not always cheap. If you have a nice deck of cards, you can take care of it with very simple means and it goes like this: After about 100 games, the playing cards can be rubbed damp and dried well. This already helps quite a bit to improve the gliding ability of the cards. However, it gets even better if you dust the playing cards very lightly with baby powder afterwards.

The classic: The overhand shuffle

When it’s “Shuffle once, please!” most recreational players use overhand shuffling. If you don’t know how to shuffle cards at all, you should learn and practice this simple shuffling technique first. Here’s how it works:

The pack of playing cards is taken with the long edge in the left hand, with the back of the card facing up. Four fingers are under the deck and the thumb is on the center of the back of the card. The hand with the pack of playing cards is tilted about 45 to the right. The thumb and middle and ring fingers of the right hand are now placed on the short edge of the playing cards, and the index finger rests on top of the long edge. Then the left thumb divides a small amount of cards away and the applied fingers of the right hand lift them up and place them between the palm and the deck of cards in the left hand. The whole process repeats until the pack of playing cards is well mixed.

The Hindu Shuffle

This shuffling technique is a variant of overhand shuffling. Here, the deck of cards is grasped with the right hand from above with the thumb and two other fingers and was at the end of the pack. The left hand points with the palm facing up. The thumb and middle finger now reach under the pack and grab a few of the top cards of the deck with the thumb and middle finger. Then these cards are pulled away and immediately dropped into the left hand. The little finger prevents the cards from slipping out there, if necessary. Then the process starts all over again.

Strip Cut und Strip Shuffle

A shuffle technique in which the deck of cards is held horizontally in front of you by the right hand just above the table. The thumb and middle finger of the left hand grab a few playing cards from the top, pull them away to the left, and place them on the table. This repeats until the deck in the right hand is reduced and starts over.

In Strip Shuffle, the deck is placed on the table and held by the right hand. The left hand remains static and the fingers now hold only a small portion of the top cards at a time, while the right hand pulls the remaining portion of the cards away. Then the left hand drops the small portion of the cards onto the table and the right hand reunites the pack. This is repeated until the cards are shuffled through. This technique requires a little more practice.

Ripple or bow shuffle

This card shuffling variant is also called casino bow shuffling. The two halves of the pack of cards of exactly the same thickness are placed on the table with their narrow sides facing each other. Their front corners touch and the front edges are then lifted with the thumbs. The thumbs flick the cards from bottom to top and the two packs of cards are interlocked. Then they are pushed together. If you are very good at this variation, you can also push the interlocked cards together afterwards using the bow technique.

More variants cards to shuffle

Faro Shuffle, a very demanding and difficult shuffle technique in which the playing cards are not discarded.

The Bridge Shuffle also takes place above the playing table and the playing cards are interlocked. However, they are then riffled into each other in a very attractive downward half-arc. The technique looks and sounds good.

The best technique to shuffle cards

The best technique for shuffling cards is also the simplest, but least elegant. It involves spreading the cards face down on the playing table and using both hands to carefully but generously spread them out, thus shuffling them through. The cards are then moved back into each other to form a neat pile of cards.

Card shuffling machines

Of course, shuffling a deck of cards can be done more simply. For this purpose, the card shuffling machine was invented, which shuffles playing cards very quickly and efficiently. Card shuffling machines are available for two or more decks of cards.

How can you learn to shuffle cards?

The most important thing in learning how to shuffle cards is, of course, practice. It’s best to start with a simple technique like overhand shuffling. Then you can slowly increase and practice more challenging shuffling techniques. Practicing is easiest with a new pack of playing cards. There are many video tutorials on the Internet for various shuffling techniques.