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For blackjack players there really isn’t anything to fear about shuffle machines. Shuffle Master, now a part of Bally Entertainment, controls the market in the United States and most casinos use their products. A standard machine in use is the MD or MD-2 shuffler. This is called a batch shuffler as it shuffles multiple decks of cards at one time.

Multiple Deck

The MD (Multiple Deck) uses a moving elevator inside the machine to take cards via rollers from one side of the machine to the other, back and forth at different intervals, to shuffle the cards. The MD-2 is simply an advanced machine with a digital screen that tells the operator about the configuration of the decks and about missing cards. The software used on the machine knows the composition of a deck and depending on the number of decks used, can tell the operator if cards are missing.

In fact, because the shufflers use optical readers, the MD-2 machine can tell it the actual cards that are missing. The machine cannot shuffle the cards in any particular order, so don’t worry that the dealer or any other person will know the cards as they are dealt.

The MD is used on multiple deck shoe games and while one set of decks is in use on the table, the other decks are being shuffled. Obviously this means that one set is one color and the other decks are a secondary color. There is no overall effect on players other than speed. Blackjack card counters can then count down each set of decks from the dealer’s shoe if they have the ability.

One-2- Six

The One-2- Six shuffler is a continuous shuffler, meaning the cards are being shuffled for continuous use. This machine can be used for a single deck up to six decks, depending on the operators’ game. Some casinos use one set of MD machines for six-deck shoes and the One-2- Six machine with four or five decks to distinguish their different blackjack games.

The One-2- Six uses an internal apparatus like a Ferris wheel that turns repeatedly, accepting cards into 38 slots from a feeder at the top of the machine. Previously used cards are placed in the feeder from a discard rack after each hand.

The machine will count the cards as they are played and during any pause it will react with a red light if cards are missing from the programed number of decks. At random, the spinning wheel inside the machine will dispense the contents of one slot into the bottom feeder for delivery to the players and the dealer.

Continuous shufflers are used for speed and also to thwart any card counting abilities by players. While players often complain about the continuous shufflers and their own luck on the tables where the machines are used, the truth is that the overall odds for the player are slightly higher on the machines. Player loss is likely due to the fact that more hands are delivered per hour than on other games, so the average player is at risk to lose more money based on more hands played.

Ideally the One-2- Six shuffler makes all cards available to the players after each round, so it’s like always playing off the top of the deck. This would be slightly better for the player than other machines. However, because cards are delivered from the bottom of the machine to players after each new batch of cards is dispensed, the cards that are ready to go are different than the cards that have just been used (the ones from the last hand have not been inserted into any of the 38 slots yet).

Therefore the contents of the last hand will have an impact on the current hands. Aces make up one card out of every 13 in a standard deck, but suppose the last hand used a total of 26 cards and none of them were aces? The machine would be ace-rich, improving the player’s odds. Obviously the same holds true for the opposite times when several aces come out.

These machines can also see a very tiny swing in probability for bonus wagers, based on previously seen cards in the last hand.

Ideal Machines

The Ideal shuffler is used for single-deck games, providing a new deck each time the dealer is ready for it without the fear of dealer errors in shuffling. This machine also has an optical reader and can sort the cards into original factory order. Don’t worry, it isn’t programmed to beat you at blackjack.

On the other hand, while casinos get freshly-shuffled decks in a timely manner, the speed isn’t any quicker than a dealer using a single-deck and shuffling themselves. However, casino operators don’t have to worry about ace-steering (as no cut is offered at most casinos that employ this machine for blackjack) and clumping and edge sorting are also eliminated.

Card counters will have the same chance to run-down the deck and will see little if any difference between a hand-shuffled deck and a pair of decks used in the Ideal machine that has one deck shuffling while the other is in use.




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