Shuffle Tracking in Blackjack

Shuffle Tracking in Blackjack logo

Almost everyone in the blackjack scene even the newest of newbies have heard of card counting. There is another technique though being used that get a lot less publicity and is relatively unknown. The technique is called Shuffle Tracking. So what is shuffle tracking?

The web definition for shuffle tracking is “a system to predict which sections of the deck/shoe will be favorable to the player, based on the locations of favorable sections of the previous deck/shoe, and on studying the method used to shuffle the cards.”

The definition simply means that shuffle trackers watch dealers as they shuffle the cards and by that are able to determine or at least predict what kinds of cards there are on different portions of the deck. By being able to predict where the cards are shuffle trackers can then also predict what kind of card (whether it is a high or low card) that the dealer will deal out. Shuffle trackers then are able to make their calls depending on what they expect the dealer will give them next.

Shuffle trackers of course depend not only on their skill but also on the dealer’s actual shuffle to be able to make good calls. Shuffle trackers consider a shuffle to be a “good” one if it leads to the cards being very well mixed. This means that shuffle trackers don’t like clumps. Hence it is better if the deck is cut equally and shuffled several times instead of just one or two times.

Shuffles that leading to clumping are of course considered to be “bad” shuffles. The Unbalanced Shuffle where the dealer cuts the deck of cards into two unequal stacks results in a bad shuffle. This is because either the bottom or the top of the stack with the greater number of cards will surely be left untouched and unmixed. Casino’s knowing this benefits them often require the dealer to do the Unbalanced Shuffle, which for this very reason is also known as the House Shuffle. Surprised? Of course casinos know all about shuffle trackers too and as usual have ways built in to hopefully beat shuffle trackers in their game.

To be able to compensate for the dealers various methods and make more accurate predictions a shuffle tracker needs to learn more about the different shuffling methods used by dealers.  When it comes to beating shuffle trackers casinos rely on their dealers to be able to use various shuffling methods depending on which method seems to work in the casino’s favor at that time. Some of the shuffling methods are Zone Shuffle, Strip Shuffle, and Stutter Shuffle. Of the three the Zone Shuffle is the most commonly used by dealers.

Shuffle tracking might not be very popular but its theory is pretty to understand as you can see. However, as in any system it requires further studies and plenty of practice. If you don’t work in a team though shuffle tracking might be a good option for you.