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Shuffling

Shuffling is a procedure used to randomize a deck of playing cards to provide an element of chance in card games. Shuffling is often followed by a cut, to help ensure that the shuffler has not manipulated the outcome. A common shuffling technique is called the riffle or dovetail shuffle, in which half of the deck is held in each hand with the thumbs inward, then cards are released by the thumbs so that they fall to the table interleaved. Many also lift the cards up after a riffle, forming what is called a bridge which puts the cards back into place. This can also be done by placing the halves flat on the table with their rear corners touching, then lifting the back edges with the thumbs while pushing the halves together. While this method is more difficult, it is often used in casinos because it minimizes the risk of exposing cards during the shuffle. There are two types of perfect riffle shuffles: if the top card moves to be 2nd from the top then it is an in shuffle, otherwise it is known as an out shuffle which preserves both the top and bottom cards.

Riffle shuffling does, however, carry a risk of damaging cards from excessive bending. Casinos often replace their playing cards to prevent cheating from players that detect deformations in the cards. However, collectible card game cards are considerably less replaceable than playing cards, and CCG cards can be damaged from riffle shuffling, even when protected with card sleeves.

Because standard shuffling techniques are seen as weak, and in order to avoid inside jobs where employees collaborate with gamblers by performing inadequate shuffles, many casinos employ automatic shuffling machines. They also save time that would otherwise be spent shuffling, allowing several more hands per hour to be played and increasing the profitability of the table. These machines are also used to lessen repetitive motion stress injuries to a dealer. Note that the shuffling machines have to be carefully designed, as they can generate biased shuffles otherwise: the most recent shuffling machines are computer-controlled, though they have not yet fully been integrated into gaming.

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