Learning how to shuffle cards properly can prove invaluable for any serious card player, not only because it helps to ensure a fair game, but also because, well, let’s face it:
It can also look pretty cool and make you seem like a master of the 52 deck the next time you sit down for a fun night of cards.
Still, there’s just one problem:
Whenever you watch the pros do it, they make it look effortless, cutting and splicing and shuffling that deck around at speed in such a way that it seems like the easiest thing on earth. Then, when you try to replicate that, the whole deck goes everywhere and you’re left with a mess.
Don’t worry, we’re here to help.
Below, we’ll take you step-by-step through some of the most common card shuffles and offer some expert tips and tricks on how to shuffle cards like the pros.
Before we do that though, there’s something you should know:
Shuffling Cards is Easier With a New Deck
That well-worn deck of playing cards you’ve had for years will still shuffle pretty well, but if you’re practicing your shuffle technique you’ll benefit from buying a brand new pack as these tend to be both firmer and slicker than a used pack, making them easy to shuffle.
If you really are just going for the cool factor, these Bicycle Premium Stargazer Collection Playing Cards will do a great job of impressing your friends.
That said, they’re a little difficult to read, meaning they’re not too great for playing actual games like Poker or Euchre, so if you have more practical intentions, you might do better sticking to a good old fashioned pack of regular playing cards.
How to Shuffle Cards Like a Pro
The Overhand Shuffle
Let’s begin with the basics. The overhand shuffle is just about the easiest card shuffle to master and is a great place to start for beginners.
Here’s how it’s done:
1. Square the Deck
Quite simply, this means getting the cards into one neat and tidy stack so that they’re easier to shuffle.
2. Hold the Deck Horizontally
Using your dominant hand, pick up the cards by placing your thumb on the edge nearest to you, your index finger on the top edge, and your middle, ring, and pinky fingers on the side furthest away from you.
3. Move the Deck into Your Open Palm
Lay your free hand down with the palm facing up and place the bottom side of the deck into that open palm.
Make sure the cards remain in a neat stack before moving to the next step.
4. Pick up the Cards
With the deck resting in your open palm of your non-dominant and the thumb of that hand resting against the front of the deck for support, use your dominant hand to pick up roughly half of the deck.
5. Move the Cards
Next, take just the front half of the cards you’re holding in your dominant hand and place them down to the front of the deck in your non-dominant hand, making sure to move your thumb out of the way.
You can then place the remainder of the cards at the front of the deck and repeat this process several times until the entire deck is sufficiently shuffled.
The Riffle Shuffle
Sometimes known as the Dovetail shuffle, this one may require a little more practice to perfect, but spend some time with it and you’ll soon be shuffling like the pros.
1. Square and Cut the Deck
Once again, begin by getting that deck into a nice, neat stack then cut it in half.
To do this, you want to just lightly grip the bottom half of the deck with your non-dominant hand and lift up the top half with your dominant hand.
Place this half down on the table and ensure both stacks of cards are squared before continuing.
2. Grip the Cards
Both stacks of cards should by lying horizontally next to each other.
Place your thumbs on the two inside bottom corners and then place your middle and ring fingers on the opposite (outside top) corners. You should be able to draw a diagonal line between the two corners where your fingers are placed.
Be sure to take a relatively firm hold, but don’t grip too tightly as you may end up spraying the cards everywhere.
3. Bend the Cards
Easy does it with this step. Use your thumbs to draw the inside edge of the cards upwards while using your other fingers to hold the outer edge of the deck to the table.
You’ll know when you’ve done this correctly when only one edge of each stack of cards is touching the table and the middle of both stacks bends inwards.
4. Let Them Fall
Here’s where things start to get a little tricky.
Bring both decks closer together and gently raise your thumbs from the top of each stack, one card at a time.
This will allow the inside edges of each stack to fall into one another to create a shuffled deck.
By now, you’ll still have 2 stacks of cards loosely connected. Just push them back together and repeat this process to create a more thorough shuffle.
The Hindu Shuffle
Finally, we come to The Hindu Shuffle, the one that looks the most impressive but requires the most amount of practice.
Here’s how it works:
1. Grip the Cards
After squaring the deck, hold it face-down in your non-dominant hand. You’ll want to use a gentle grip here with your thumb and middle finger extended over the deck.
2. Grab a Stack
Using your dominant hand, lightly take a portion of the cards from the bottom of the deck. Aim to take about three-quarters of the deck, leaving the other quarter in your non-dominant hand.
3. Move the Cards
Bring the cards in your dominant hand closer to the other stack.
With that stack resting between the thumb and ring finger on your non-dominant hand, use the tip of your thumb and middle finger on that hand to pull a few cards from the top of your dominant-hand stack so that they fall on top of the stack in your non-dominant hand.
Repeat this process until you run out of cards, then repeat steps 1 – 3 several more times to get those cards suitably shuffled.
Remember: Practice Makes Perfect
If you really want to learn how to shuffle cards like the pros, it really does pay to practice. After all, we doubt that the best card players in the world picked up a deck for the first time and immediately began wowing onlookers with their super shuffling prowess.
These things take time, patience, and perseverance, but once perfected, can really improve your card game.
For the best results, maybe start with the simple overhand shuffle. Once you’ve got that down to T, you can then progress to more complex shuffles like the rifle and Hindu.
With these new skills in place, you’ll find they make a big difference to your next game night.
And if they don’t?
Well, at least you’ll look pretty cool, right?