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Old 05-15-2010, 11:56 AM   #1
NimhOfJoy
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Mechanical Card Shuffler

I'm looking into starting my own home game. I want to do the dealing myself with 2 decks to keep the game running quickly, and I was curious about using a mechanical card shuffler to allow me to deal one deck while the other one is getting shuffled.

First, how much does these cost? I saw some online for like $15. Is that even worth it?

Second, do they shuffle cards decently? Should I run it through the suffler a few times?

What are your thoughts on using one of these in your home game?
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Old 05-15-2010, 12:48 PM   #2
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Re: Mechanical Card Shuffler

What's wrong with your hands? A good shuffler costs about $500 or so. Read this.
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Old 05-15-2010, 01:10 PM   #3
NimhOfJoy
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Re: Mechanical Card Shuffler

Nothing. I just figured it would be easier to play and deal, and not have to shuffle another deck at the same time. I also don't want other people touching the decks, except to cut.
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Old 05-15-2010, 01:13 PM   #4
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Re: Mechanical Card Shuffler

We had a [cheap] shuffler, it wasn't brilliant and was very loud. It's probably best to run them through the shuffler a couple of times.

I think you'd be better off shuffling with your hands, it's good practice anyway
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Old 05-15-2010, 04:16 PM   #5
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Re: Mechanical Card Shuffler

the $15 shufflers are completely worthless, by all reports.

I've played at a table with a shuffletech, and it worked fine -- essentially equivalent to a casino. If you can't afford those, though, don't bother. Certainly get your game started before you even contemplate equipment like this.

Shuffling for poker should only take a few seconds. I think a shuffltech is more a cosmetic improvement than a practical one.

Are you using two decks? Have the big blind shuffle one deck while the other is dealt. That's how 95% of home games work.
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Old 05-17-2010, 10:40 PM   #6
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Re: Mechanical Card Shuffler

^^^+1, except the button shuffles at our games. Or should I say over shuffles. Randomness can be easily accomplished with a riffle, riffle, strip, riffle, riffle. With a little practice this takes what 15 or 20 secs.

If cost is not a factor, it might be kinda cool to have a ShuffleMaster or a Shuffle Tech. If cost is a factor I would build/buy a nice table/chairs first, then buy nice chips before I even considered a shuffler.
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Old 05-19-2010, 04:11 PM   #7
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Re: Mechanical Card Shuffler

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^^^+1, except the button shuffles at our games. Or should I say over shuffles. Randomness can be easily accomplished with a riffle, riffle, strip, riffle, riffle. With a little practice this takes what 15 or 20 secs.
I was always told it was 7 shuffles for random.
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Old 05-19-2010, 05:26 PM   #8
Johnny Douglas
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Re: Mechanical Card Shuffler

Purchased a plastic shuffler (10 - 15$) a few years ago. Not even worth buying the 9 volt battery for. Experiences:

- Noisy as HELL. Very little can be done by way of modifications to quiet it. Will drive everyone at the table crazy. You can't talk over the top of it.
- Takes up too much room on the table. Could work if you have a side table / dinner table to keep it off to the side.
- Will occasionally jam -- not a big deal to clear, but any time savings are lost.
- You'll still probably want at least one proper strip/riffle by hand even with the shuffler, since if the deck isn't cut evenly you'll end up with no shuffling on top.

We used it for one orbit before we realized we were gaining nothing and went back to hand shuffling.

If you find an extra $500-$600 in your pants you can pick up a ShuffleTech, but hand shuffling is fine imo. No one is expecting a shuffling machine.
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Old 05-19-2010, 09:48 PM   #9
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Re: Mechanical Card Shuffler

The $500 shufflers are nice. But they are slower than shuffling by hand, especially if you have a two-deck system.

If you have a two-deck system, then here's what's involved: pass the deck. A two-deck home shuffling system is as fast as a casino grade shuffler.

The $10k casino shufflers involve pushing a button, inserting the old deck, and removing the new deck. That's it. The machine opens, closes, and shuffles automatically, and there are never two decks on the table simultaneously.

The $500 home shufflers involve opening the lid, removing the new deck, inserting the old deck, closing the lid, and pushing a button.

This may seem like not much difference, but it really is. With a casino shuffler you can press the button as you're squaring up the mucked deck. Once you pick up the fresh deck you can cut and deal as the machine automatically closes and starts to shuffle. With the home shuffler you need to manually do everything (which means you can't multi-task as the machine opens or closes), and you have to go back and forth with the decks you're handling, which no only takes up more time, but increases the risk of exposing a bottom card.

Granted, you could enlist others to help out, but now you have to get two people working together and remembering to pay attention every hand. And isn't the whole point of this to make it less work and bother?

But they do look cool.

http://www.howtoshuffle.com/ ... Spend 10-20 minutes on this and you'll be able to shuffle as quickly as it takes someone to muck about with the auto-shuffler. Best of all, you can use it at other games, and it's free.
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Old 05-20-2010, 08:53 AM   #10
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Re: Mechanical Card Shuffler

When i first started playing live poker, i learnt to shuffle just by having a deck in front of me whilst i watched HSP, now when i play the occasional local self dealt tourney everyone presumes im a poker dealer
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Old 05-20-2010, 08:02 PM   #11
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Re: Mechanical Card Shuffler

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Originally Posted by pfapfap View Post
If you have a two-deck system, then here's what's involved: pass the deck. A two-deck home shuffling system is as fast as a casino grade shuffler.

...

Granted, you could enlist others to help out, but now you have to get two people working together and remembering to pay attention every hand. And isn't the whole point of this to make it less work and bother?
I'm not sure you can list the inability for two people to coordinate their actions as both a pro and a con for automatic shufflers versus a two-deck hand shuffled system.

I'll likely go bump the shuffler thread with questions about how best to handle two-decks in it. I agree that the door not being automatic is a downer to your dealer swapping it -- and I do think the shuffler is best with a set dealer -- but a simple procedure for where to place the decks when removing them to the cut card could make the time between hands for a home-game-with-dealer run nicely with a shuffletek.
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Old 05-20-2010, 09:06 PM   #12
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Re: Mechanical Card Shuffler

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I'm not sure you can list the inability for two people to coordinate their actions as both a pro and a con for automatic shufflers versus a two-deck hand shuffled system.
Someone else shuffling can do it at a time of convenience, and it's usually done at the edge of the table. If the "assigned" shuffler can't do it, it's easy for someone else to step in. This is a little different than getting two people to choreograph multiple steps simultaneously. Most home dealers have a hard enough time getting the rhythm of dealing a hand or pushing a pot while clearing the board, and that's done solo. See what I mean?

I know most people hate shuffling, and it's a long campaign of mine to get everybody in my home game doing it properly. Every few weeks we get another convert (often someone who had been strenuously resisting), and the convert invariably comments on how easy it was to learn and how much nicer and faster and smoother shuffling is in general.

http://www.howtoshuffle.com/

For those who don't shuffle this way, this method is easier and faster than the way you do it now. Spend a few minutes up front to save endless time and stress in the long run. The reasons you don't want to learn are the reasons you should.
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Old 05-20-2010, 10:57 PM   #13
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Re: Mechanical Card Shuffler

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I was always told it was 7 shuffles for random.
I've heard that too. I use the r/r/s/r/r method because afaik that is what the dealers handbook says to do and because that is what the auto shufflers do. Again, afaik.
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Old 05-21-2010, 12:59 AM   #14
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Re: Mechanical Card Shuffler

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Originally Posted by The Palimax View Post
I'm not sure you can list the inability for two people to coordinate their actions as both a pro and a con for automatic shufflers versus a two-deck hand shuffled system.

I'll likely go bump the shuffler thread with questions about how best to handle two-decks in it. I agree that the door not being automatic is a downer to your dealer swapping it -- and I do think the shuffler is best with a set dealer -- but a simple procedure for where to place the decks when removing them to the cut card could make the time between hands for a home-game-with-dealer run nicely with a shuffletek.
I can vouch for what Pfap says about his experience with the shuffletech because I was sitting across from him at the table while he dealt and used it. I thought I was fast and smooth but he put me to shame.

I do think his expectations, for himself, are slightly higher than what one would typically find at a home game. For example, since I know no other routine, not being a pro dealer, or having used any other shuffler, I do not find any awkwardness in the routine.

The newer Shuffletechs also have an auto start feature so there is no need to press the button. Lid still needs to be closed manually however.

The Shuffletech is NOT a means to get in more hands per hour. IT is not a necessity. It is a nice tool / toy that adds to the "wow" factor.
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Old 05-21-2010, 04:24 AM   #15
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Re: Mechanical Card Shuffler

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I can vouch for what Pfap says about his experience with the shuffletech because I was sitting across from him at the table while he dealt and used it. I thought I was fast and smooth but he put me to shame.
I don't mean to disparage your machine. It's a wonderful asset to an already killer table. And you're right, for most people it's faster. I just thinking spending 10 minutes is worth $500, and your hands have the bonus feature of portability. But for a casual game with people who can afford it and really really really don't want to shuffle, it's a pretty slick setup.
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Old 05-21-2010, 12:30 PM   #16
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Re: Mechanical Card Shuffler

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I can vouch for what Pfap says about his experience with the shuffletech because I was sitting across from him at the table while he dealt and used it. I thought I was fast and smooth but he put me to shame.

I do think his expectations, for himself, are slightly higher than what one would typically find at a home game. For example, since I know no other routine, not being a pro dealer, or having used any other shuffler, I do not find any awkwardness in the routine.

The newer Shuffletechs also have an auto start feature so there is no need to press the button. Lid still needs to be closed manually however.

The Shuffletech is NOT a means to get in more hands per hour. IT is not a necessity. It is a nice tool / toy that adds to the "wow" factor.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pfapfap View Post
I don't mean to disparage your machine. It's a wonderful asset to an already killer table. And you're right, for most people it's faster. I just thinking spending 10 minutes is worth $500, and your hands have the bonus feature of portability. But for a casual game with people who can afford it and really really really don't want to shuffle, it's a pretty slick setup.
I see no disparagement. Just an honest opinion based on your experience.

But I didn't say it's faster. I don't think it is. Just like I don't think it's a necessity. A stance I've repeated at some point in the numerous threads on this topic.

Honestly, I struggled a lot with the decision to buy the shuffler. Had no trouble passing the shuffle for several years of home games. The main reason I built, rather than bought, my table is to minimize cost and adding the shuffler really added to the cost. I'm happy with the decision I made.

And for those curious about the table (unveiled brag)

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Old 05-21-2010, 02:19 PM   #17
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Re: Mechanical Card Shuffler

room looks awesome, smallfry! You are scoring high on the wow scale, indeed.

I love the curtains, wp.

no purple end tables, though?
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Old 05-21-2010, 02:22 PM   #18
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Re: Mechanical Card Shuffler

Dude, that "window curtain" is killer! That's new, right?
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Old 05-21-2010, 02:23 PM   #19
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Re: Mechanical Card Shuffler

That is a nice looking poker palace. I'm not going to be putting up any photos of mine for a while. (off-white former bedroom with cheapo table.)

What about lighting? I can't tell what you have, or that you have any.
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Old 05-21-2010, 02:24 PM   #20
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Re: Mechanical Card Shuffler

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Originally Posted by gedanken View Post
room looks awesome, smallfry! You are scoring high on the wow scale, indeed.

I love the curtains, wp.

no purple end tables, though?
Thanks.....They still exist. I just "upgraded" 5 of them
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Old 05-21-2010, 02:28 PM   #21
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Re: Mechanical Card Shuffler

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Dude, that "window curtain" is killer! That's new, right?
Yes, it's new...you didn't forget. As are the side tables. Slight upgrade there with them being taller and having wheels.

I went for the "picture window" aspect.

And believe it or not I have players (long time ones even) come in and are so focused on the tables, both poker and side, that they fail to notice the gigantic (floor to ceiling and 15' wide) wall covering.......lol
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Old 05-21-2010, 02:38 PM   #22
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Re: Mechanical Card Shuffler

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That is a nice looking poker palace. I'm not going to be putting up any photos of mine for a while. (off-white former bedroom with cheapo table.)

What about lighting? I can't tell what you have, or that you have any.
This is in one part of a 3 stall garage. It takes up a little less than half. The lighting is all just 4 foot flourescents at this point. I'm trying to decide if I want to put in some pendant lights over the table or go with recessed. Thansk to the builder I have serious power supply issues to the garage - only 20 amp breaker.

The "wall" on the left side of the photo is made up of storage cabinets I roll into place. I can roll them back against the wall so I can actually park two cars in the garage.

I add stuff as I win. You guys that came for Battle of the Bay set back my upgrades for a few months......
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Old 05-21-2010, 02:39 PM   #23
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Re: Mechanical Card Shuffler

Ha!
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Old 05-21-2010, 04:15 PM   #24
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Re: Mechanical Card Shuffler

I love that Vegas window, Small Fry. My poker room is a bonus room over my garage with angled walls, otherwise I would shamelessly steal your idea.
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Old 05-22-2010, 08:25 AM   #25
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Re: Mechanical Card Shuffler

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Originally Posted by pfapfap View Post
The $500 shufflers are nice. But they are slower than shuffling by hand, especially if you have a two-deck system.
That's true. If I somehow flip a card as I cut, I usually r/r/s/r and is done before the machine is done with the existing 3-shuffle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pfapfap View Post
The $500 home shufflers involve opening the lid, removing the new deck, inserting the old deck, closing the lid, and pushing a button.
Not any more. The newer ones (like bought in the last year I think) has an automatic mode where you open the lid, replace the deck and it automatically starts to shuffle and you close the lid.

Also, if you're using a two deck manual shuffle, the only time you get any benefits over the shuffler is when
a) the shuffler jams and you don't clear it out in time (usually I just have to poke the cards going into the center tray) or
b) heads-up

and for b) if it's the players shuffling, it might not be that much faster either.

What this did to our game was that one of the players are the designated dealer, controlling the pots and the action making the game run smoother. The players don't have to shuffle themselves, which they really love. And although pfapfap wants everyone to be a dealer, it is very hard when you run a single table with drunk friends. So even when we ran with two decks at our game (manual shuffle) it was sometimes slower as players forgot to shuffle, dropped cards on the floor while shuffling (because they don't know how to riffle), etc.
Finally you also lessen the risk of a card mechanic setting you up the bomb.
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