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Shuffle Tracking: Stutter Shuffle and Dealer Pick Randomness

shuffle tracking Complexity

Just how do you track shuffles? It is not as hard as you may think. Actually it only gets as complicated as the shuffle. If you try to track a very thorough shuffle, you are setting yourself up for a lot of work. The more elementary the shuffle, the easier it is. Naturally you cannot expect to find very simple shuffles nowadays. But you must not settle for complex ones either. If tracking a particular shuffling style is driving you nuts or your results are inaccurate, you should leave the table and find an easier game to exploit.

Stutter Shuffles and Dealer Pick Randomness

There are many different shuffling styles used by casinos. Some are more thorough than others. Casinos used to not bother with thorough shuffling since it only ate into the time which could otherwise be spent playing more hands and thus taking more bets from the player. But card counting and now shuffle tracking make them feel it is necessary.

One type of complex shuffle is the stutter shuffle. In a stutter shuffle, piles of cards are split, riffled and stacked several times in different ways. Shuffled and unshuffled cards, discards and unused, are mixed together over and over. Obviously this is not what we want for shuffle tracking.

Another shuffling style is the dealer pick shuffle. The dealer splits the shoe into piles and then randomly picks units to plug into various sections of the shoe. This isn't as dreadful as the stutter shuffle though. Even a conscientious dealer is bound to fall into some habit doing the same thing everyday. The shuffle tracker will notice such a pattern. All you have to do is follow along wherever the good and bad regions go to and cut them accordingly.

With the dealer pick method, you must take into account the error factor of the dealer's unit picks. If they are instructed to pick 1 deck out of 8 decks, you can't expect them to lift exactly 52 cards each time. Allow for an error margin of 6-8 cards. So there will be an error in your tracking too, depending on the size of the shoe.

A Brief Example

To illustrate, we will give an example of a dealer pick shuffle.

Suppose it is an 8-deck game. We represent the cards as A1, A2, B1, etc. with the last deck D2 unplayed.

D2 D1 C2 C1 B2 B1 A2 A1

The dealer can tale B1 and D2 and plug them into other places as follows:

D1 B1 -- here C2 C1 B2 D2 -- here A2 A1

If the dealer were to riffle up the units like below:

D1 + B2 B1 + D2 C2 + A2 C1 + A1

and then grabbed clumps, riffled and re-stacked them over and over, then the shuffle might get too complicated to be used practically. The stutter shuffle or one where the shuffled and unshuffled cards are mixed thoroughly is particularly difficult to work with. The dealer pick, on the other hand, can at times be serviceable.