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The Preferential Shuffle

9 December 2001

The preferential shuffle is a legal cheating technique used by many casinos.

When a dealer in a pitch game, instead of dealing some fixed number of rounds, seems to vary his shuffle point widely, be very suspicious. He may be counting the cards and dealing out more rounds when an excess of low-valued cards remain to be dealt, which puts the player at a huge disadvantage. This is the same as stripping the deck of aces and tens. Strangely, that would be illegal, but preferential shuffling is not.

This behaviour is obvious to card counters, but most of the general public do not know about it. The only clue for the non-counter is the wide variation of the shuffle point. The dealer, like some counters, may also give away some signal that he is counting. It is very difficult to count and deal without it affecting your behaviour. Watch for dealers who move their lips as they deal the cards, or who study the card faces intently. Counting dealers tend to talk less also.

If you suspect the dealer is using the preferential shuffle, do not play at that casino again and encourage your friends to avoid it. Preferential shuffling is a holdover from the days of the mob when it was difficult to get an honest game--and one best consigned to the past.

John May
John May is one of the most feared gamblers in the world. He has developed "advantage play" techniques for many games that are considered unbeatable.

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John May
John May is one of the most feared gamblers in the world. He has developed "advantage play" techniques for many games that are considered unbeatable.

Books by John May:

> More Books By John May