Blackjack Card Shuffler

When discussing blackjack game accessories it would be appropriate to also give a brief mention to the blackjack card shuffler, which is also called the “Continuous Shuffling Machine”, abbreviated as CSM. The first ones came out around the year 2000 being manufactured by Shuffle Master. They vigorously promoted these to land based casinos to do away with the standard blackjack show & as a way to try to eliminate card counting.

Not surprisingly these have become unpopular with some players who treat the machines with some suspicion. They have a complicated process of arranging the cards using an internal elevator with individual shelves that randomly place cards from finished hands back into the machine. This means in principle, that some of the cards just used in one round could potentially reappear in the next.

How they are viewed.

As already emphasized this new technology has not been too popular. Firstly some casinos may be put off by their price tag. At up to $10,000 a time these are not cheap, plus they require regular maintenance. While they do generally speed up the game considerably due to the fact that no breaks are required for the normal reshuffling, machines have had a habit of frequently breaking down, damaging or even ripping cards. These breaks are offset against the machines speed & could lead to down time for the casino, as well as frustration amongst the players. Also casinos need to ask themselves if their obvious unpopularity with players will ultimately assist the casinos ends, after all, they want to keep the customer happy.

Surprisingly, the dealers themselves are not overly enamored with the new technology either. Dealing in blackjack does require a good deal of concentration & the croupiers enjoy the momentary break that shuffling the cards allows them. These breaks also give them opportunity to talk with the customers & build up some rapport; something important to dealers as they like to build relationships with repeat customers for the obvious tips they can later receive. Furthermore, because used hands are immediately placed back into the card shuffler this requires the dealer to continuously turn to re-insert cards rather only than having to do this a few times when implementing the card shoe.

But most of all, the negativity comes from the side of the players. These devices whose internal workings cannot be outwardly seen are therefore viewed with distrust. This is not helped by the fact that some machines come with a card scanner, which begs the question, why a perfectly random system needs to view the cards it is shuffling? Many players also miss some of the friendly atmosphere that is lost during the relaxation periods during the dealer’s shuffle.

The House advantage.

The overall consensuses amongst players when these were first introduced was that it would considerably increase the house advantage & prevent card counters from employing their skills. This is not entirely the case though.

Analysts have found that a blackjack card shuffler often produces its own tendency, which can also be monitored. Add to that the fact that many use only four card decks rather than the usual eight decks employed in a blackjack card shoe. This makes for a slight reduction in the house advantage although as the game is played slightly quicker, you will play more!

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