machines that shuffle cards automatically have recently
been introduced on an experimental basis at mini-Online
Baccarat Games in some casinos. When the pack of cards
has been dealt, the dealer gathers up the discards
and places them inside the machine, where they are
shuffled more thoroughly and more quickly than any
human dealer could manage. Casinos hire these devices
to get more hands dealt per hour by reducing shuffling
time. The more hands that are dealt, the more money
they make, and the less risk they run. Also, players
tend to leave the games during a shuffle. The faster
the shuffle, it is less likely players will leave.
The devices do not affect the odds of the games in
any way. Players are naturally suspicious of the machines,
believing they may be programmed to help the house
in some way. It is difficult to see how this could
be achieved. In fact, it is more likely that the thorough
shuffling creates a game that is more random, and
therefore more "honest," than a human shuffle
The devices do not appear to be particularly well
designed; frequently they jam, and sometimes they
break down altogether. The dealers generally hate
them, perhaps because they feel they are being replaced.
The machines can also ruin the atmosphere. If you
do not like playing with a shuffling machine, vote
with your wallet and go elsewhere; there are plenty
of casinos that do not use them.
tactic can be offset by simply verifying that players
turn in the same number of cards as they're dealt,
which is easy in the straight-up games that I describe
in this book. Also, you should periodically count
the deck to make sure it contains all fifty-two cards.
All this should be a matter of routine, not only as
protection against cheating, but to check for honest
misplacement of cards.
Alternatively a cheat could easily take a card out
of the deck and toss it under the table, as if it
had fallen there by accident. Taking an ace out of
an Omaha game would be a particularly effective tactic
because it would allow the cheat to play a wider assortment
of low hands. Again, this kind of cheating can be
thwarted by counting the deck now and then.