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The Threat of the Continuous Shuffling Machine
The Continuous Shuffling Machine
Blackjack card counters are the bane of casinos. If only there was a sure way to get rid of them! Well, now there is, it seems. Enter the evil work of genius (as far as card counters are concerned) known as the Continuous Shuffling Machine. This device was invented mainly to frustrate blackjack card counters. And it does just that.
The shuffling machines of various manufacturers may differ, but generally the discarded cards are returned into the shuffler. An elevator-like part moves up and down and cards are inserted back into the shoe at random. This lets used cards re-enter the decks. It also eliminates the need for the dealer to pause the game now and then to shuffle the cards.
Benefits for the Casino
The Continuous Shuffling Machine is hailed to benefit the casino in three ways:
- It renders card counting and shuffle tracking useless - It hastens shuffling and thus allows more hands to be played - It saves on operation costs since fewer decks need to be used
It should be obvious why card counting and shuffle tracking become a pointless exercise with this machine. After each hand dealt, the cards are returned to the continuous shuffling machine instead of being discarded to a tray like in traditional blackjack. No cards ever come out of play, and the decks are not penetrated into.
Because the shuffling is done by a machine, the process is faster than with a human dealer. More hands can be played per hour which equates to bigger profits for the casino.
Finally, since the Continuous Shuffling Machine eliminates the threat of blackjack advantage playing, only four decks are used instead of six or eight. With fewer decks to use, casinos save on money.
The Continuous Shuffling Machine isn't cheap. It is said to be in the five-digit price range (US dollars).
Effects of the Continuous Shuffling Machine
Surprisingly, the Continuous Shuffling Machine actually decreases the house edge by a fraction, from .034% for a standard four-deck game to a mere .014%. But this is deceptive. About 20% more hands are played per hour, so the player risks and loses more money in the long run.
This new device is generally bad news for advantage players and should be avoided as much as possible. In fact, we should all hope that all blackjack players boycott casinos that use this machine so that they won't be used anymore. A few players claim that a small running count can still be made with a fair degree of success, but this cannot be relied and nothing has been proven yet about it. Until there is a sure way to predict these mechanical shuffles, it is better to look for traditional blackjack games instead.