Automatic card shuffler


Is there such a thing as a decent automatic card shuffler which doesn’t run into tens of thousands, or even hundreds? From what I’ve seen you either get a casino refurb or you get cheap crap for a tenner.

Is there nothing in-between?


Not that I know of. Magic the Gathering players, Poker players (and now Dominion players) have been looking for a good card shuffler for years. Doesn’t seem to exist (outside of the incredibly expensive ones you mentioned).


Why are they so expensive? Does the quantum random number generator cost so much cause it’s from the future?


I once had a mechanical card shuffler with a little hand crank on the side. Worked quite well and was rather cheap!


Shufflemaster has pretty hardcore patents on them, so they can charge huge amounts. For a long time, they wouldn’t sell them at all, even to casinos, doing a lease instead.


My grandmother had one of these cheap ones and it worked fine.


The thing is, you generally want one that’s completely unattended other than “put unshuffled deck in” then “take shuffled deck out.” That way you use two decks and continue play with one deck while the other shuffles, then switch for the next hand.

Otherwise, it’s really no faster or more effective than just hand shuffling.


Well, unless you’re dealing with a person who’s lousy at hand shuffling. (I am-- I tend to either make a mess or not actually shuffle the cards very well.)


That’s true. I guess I just assumed that anyone interested enough in card games to want to spend on an automatic is interested enough to practice a hand shuffle a bit*. I wasn’t very good at it 'til I started playing a lot of poker, but I read up on technique a bit and practiced. I’m still no great shakes, but I’m passably proficient for home games and such.

  • Obvious exceptions for those with physical limitations that interfere.


Is damage to cards a concern with these machines? If you’re just shuffling normal playing cards, it wouldn’t matter, but if those are Magic cards and you’re using a machine to ensure a “fair” shuffle, that’s quite important.


Even with the best machines, damage can and does happen. A card will get caught up in the works and jam it, resulting in a bend or tear. Now, whether it’s more or less often than someone being a bit careless hand-shuffling, I don’t know. Also worrying for something like Magic cards is the wear patterns that will get introduced on the backs from the shuffler.

That’s part of why casinos use plastic cards for poker tables. They’re far more durable under the constant abuse of the machines (and players). Table games still use paper cards, but cycle in new decks orders of magnitude more often.

Do MtG players not use the plastic card protectors anymore? Those would completely gum up any shuffling machine.


You nearly have to use card sleeves if you are playing with MtG. And even though the cards are less valuable than they used to be, they are still more valuable than regular playing cards.