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Do Blackjack Dealers Shuffle The Deck After Every Hand?

Do Blackjack Dealers Shuffle The Deck After Every Hand?

Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games worldwide, known for its captivating gameplay and strategic depth. One question that often arises among players, especially those interested in card counting or advantage play, is whether blackjack dealers shuffle the deck after every hand. In this article, we will explore this topic in detail, taking into account various factors such as the type of blackjack game, the casino's shuffling policies, and the impact of shuffling on card counting.

Single Deck vs. Multiple Deck Games

Blackjack games can be categorized into two main types: single deck and multiple deck games. Single deck games involve only one deck of cards, while multiple deck games use several decks shuffled together. The frequency of shuffling in blackjack games largely depends on the type of game being played.

Single Deck Blackjack

In single deck games, it is more likely that dealers will shuffle after every hand or after a couple of hands. This is because there are fewer cards in play, and shuffling ensures randomness in dealing cards. Card counting is relatively easy when playing single deck blackjack, which is why casinos often increase their shuffle rate in such games. However, it is important to note that single deck blackjack games are becoming increasingly rare in casinos due to their susceptibility to advantage play.

Multiple Deck Blackjack

In multiple deck games, usually involving 6 or 8 decks of cards, shuffling typically occurs less frequently. The shoe will often be shuffled when between 40% and 60% of the cards have been used. This shuffle ratio depends on the casino's policies and the specific game variant being played. The increased number of cards in multiple deck games makes it more challenging for players to count cards and gain an advantage over the house.

Casino Shuffling Policies

Different casinos have different shuffling policies to ensure fairness and randomness in their blackjack games. Shuffling policies can range from hand shuffling to using automatic shuffling machines or continuous shuffling machines (CSMs). Let's take a closer look at these various methods.

Hand Shuffling

Hand shuffling is the traditional method where the dealer manually shuffles the cards at the table. This may occur after a certain number of hands have been played, or when the draw pile gets very small. The frequency of hand shuffling largely depends on the casino's house rules.

Automatic Shuffling

Automatic shuffling involves using a machine to mix the cards, typically following the same pattern as hand shuffling. This means that shuffling usually occurs when a game ends or when the majority of the cards have been used. Automatic shuffling tends to produce a more random array of cards compared to hand shuffling, reducing the likelihood of consecutive hands having similar card combinations.

Continuous Shuffling

Continuous shuffling is a method where used cards are instantaneously re-inserted into the pile of cards available for use. This is typically done using a machine, although some casinos may employ a human dealer for this task. Continuous shuffling makes card counting extremely difficult, as discarded cards are immediately returned to the draw pile, making it harder for players to predict which cards are coming up next.

Impact of Shuffling on Card Counting

Card counting is a strategy used by skilled blackjack players to gain an advantage over the house by keeping track of which cards have been dealt and using this information to make more informed decisions about future bets. The frequency of shuffling in blackjack games can significantly impact the effectiveness of card counting.

Frequent Shuffling

Frequent shuffling, whether through hand shuffling, automatic shuffling, or continuous shuffling, makes card counting more difficult. With more frequent shuffling, it is harder for players to keep an accurate count of the cards, rendering card counting strategies less effective. This is especially true in games using continuous shuffling machines, as cards are constantly being reshuffled, making it nearly impossible for players to maintain a reliable count.

Less Frequent Shuffling

In games with less frequent shuffling, card counting becomes more viable as players have a better chance of keeping an accurate count of the cards. However, casinos are aware of this and will often implement measures to counteract card counting, such as increased shuffling frequency or swapping out shoes more regularly.

Playing Blackjack in a Casino

Casinos have adapted their shuffling processes over the years to counteract card counting and other advantage play techniques. This includes using more decks per game, increasing the frequency of shuffles and shoe changes, and employing shuffling machines or continuous shuffling machines.

Automatic Shuffling Machines

Many casinos now use automatic shuffling machines to shuffle the cards, either in front of the players or by swapping out the shoe for a pre-shuffled one. These machines provide a more random shuffle than hand shuffling, making it harder for card counters to gain an advantage. Some casinos also offer tables with hand shuffling for players who dislike machine shuffling, although this may result in fewer hands being played per hour.

Continuous Shuffling Machines

Some casinos use continuous shuffling machines to keep the cards shuffling all the time, eliminating the need for shoe changes or deck shuffles. This makes card counting virtually impossible, as the constant reshuffling prevents players from maintaining an accurate count of the cards.

Playing Blackjack Online

Online blackjack games use different shuffling methods compared to live casinos. There are two main types of online blackjack games: Random Number Generator (RNG) based games and live dealer games.

RNG Based Games

In RNG based blackjack games, the cards are shuffled using a computer algorithm after each and every hand. This makes card counting impossible, as every hand is played with a freshly shuffled deck or shoe. The software running these games knows the number of decks being used and can calculate the statistical chances of each card being drawn, ensuring a fair and random game for both the player and the casino.

Live Dealer Games

Live dealer blackjack games, available at many online casinos, use real cards and a human dealer in a studio setting. The shuffling and dealing process in these games is similar to that of a brick-and-mortar casino, with the dealer using either an automatic shuffling machine or hand shuffling the cards. The cards are typically shuffled when around 50% of the cards have been dealt, making card counting difficult but not impossible.


Ultimately, whether or not blackjack dealers shuffle the deck after every hand depends on the type of game being played and the casino's shuffling policies. Single deck games are more likely to involve frequent shuffling, while multiple deck games typically involve less frequent shuffling. Regardless of the specific rules, casinos will take steps to ensure fairness and randomness in their blackjack games, making it challenging for card counters and advantage players to gain an edge.