How to riffle shuffle like a pro

Riffle shuffle
Posted on: January 11, 2023 06:00 PST

Performing a riffle shuffle is one of the best and most impressive ways to randomize a deck of cards. While many people associate the technique with magicians, the reality is that you can do it at the poker table, and it’s a really effective way of ensuring the deck is nicely mixed up.

But how do you perform a riffle shuffle? What’s the best technique to master this skill? Read on to find out everything you need to know about riffle shuffling and how to perform it like a professional dealer at your next poker home game.

Riffle shuffle: the basics

One of the main reasons why a riffle shuffle is so popular with casino dealers is that it prevents cards from being seen by the players and genuinely randomizes the deck. It’s also relatively easy to get right and doesn’t require much skill or experience.

If you’ve ever played a game of poker, the chances are that you’ve seen a riffle shuffle in action. You begin by splitting the deck into two roughly even piles before “riffling” up the side of each pack of cards as you knit each bundle together. As a result, the cards will slot into new positions within a deck, mixing them up nicely in the process. A dealer might go through the exercise two or three times between every hand.

You can perform this shuffle on the table or in your hands – it’s entirely up to you. Using a table to help you is easier and prevents players from looking at the cards in your hand. But how exactly do you perform a riffle shuffle? Let’s look at the steps you need to follow to shuffle a deck of cards like a pro dealer.

How to riffle shuffle a deck of cards: step by step

The good news is that shuffling a pack of cards isn’t as tricky as it looks, and with a bit of practice, you can shuffle a deck of cards like a pro. Here are the steps that you need to follow to riffle shuffle at the poker table:

Step 1: Split the deck

Your first job is to split the deck into two even piles. You can then place each pile face down on the table next to each other.

Step 2: Hold the stacks

Pick up the evenly split stacks and hold one in each hand. It’s easier to riffle shuffle when the long edge of the cards is facing you, but you can have them how you see fit if you prefer a different method. Make sure the cards are face down and close to the table so nobody can see the bottom two cards when you're dealing a poker game.

Step 3: Position the stacks

Move the two stacks near each other so that the short edges touch. At this stage, it’s easier to rotate the stacks slightly away from you, ensuring that the two corners closest to you are the ones touching.

Step 4: Shuffle

Now it’s time to perform the shuffle. You do this by bending the closest, long edge of the stack upward with your thumbs. The other side of the cards should remain on the table. To riffle shuffle, move your thumbs upward at the same time along the edge of each deck, releasing the cards when done so that they snap back onto the table.

Step 5: Bring the decks together

The easiest way to bring the shuffle to a close is to push the overlapping stacks together into one. Make sure you do this with the cards facing you (or face down) so as not to show them to the players at the table.

Step 6: Repeat

It’s a good idea to repeat the riffle shuffle several times before dealing, ensuring that the cards within the deck have been thoroughly shuffled.

Tips for riffle shuffling

Although the riffle shuffle looks impressive and complicated, it’s an easy and efficient way to shuffle playing cards. To riffle shuffle like a pro, use these tips to help you:

• Practice: You shouldn’t attempt a riffle shuffle for the first time during a real-life poker game. You should practice the above steps in your own time and perfect the skill before performing a riffle shuffle in a real game.

• Guard the cards: It’s really important to guard the cards when performing any type of deal, and a riffle shuffle is no different. Make sure the cards are always face down and don’t show them to any players at the table.

• Don’t bend the cards: One mistake that newbies make when shuffling is that they bend the cards. However, you don’t need to apply much pressure when shuffling a deck, so allow the cards to move through your hands relatively slowly to avoid damaging the deck.

• Use the table to help you: While some prefer riffle shuffling in their hands, it’s best to use the table to help you, particularly when you’re new to this type of shuffle. As you become more experienced, you can always transition to a riffle shuffle in your hands.

Recap: How to riffle shuffle like a pro

As you can see, performing this shuffle isn’t as difficult as it may seem. The key is to follow the steps outlined in this article and to practice before performing a riffle shuffle during a real-life poker game.

So, follow these tips and practice in your spare time, and you will be able to shuffle like a pro in no time at all.