26 March 2015

"Smooshing" cards is an efficient way to shuffle

A Stanford University mathematician explains some of the nuances of shuffling playing cards.  Most of it is standard math (7 shuffles adequate, more superfluous), but the comment that "smushing" (1:00 in the video) works quickly and effectively was new to me.


  1. I've seen people smush the cards at a start of a game but never during a game. It might get yuo shot in a poker game ;-)

  2. I find it irritating that the presenter says, "probably what you mean by shuffling" and demonstrates a riffle shuffle, then shortly afterwards says, "there's another way that people shuffle" and demonstrates an overhand shuffle.

    This smacks of elitism, because outside of the casino practically *everyone* uses the overhand shuffle, and one would have to be curiously out of touch with society not to know that. Anyone who has played card games in private homes with friends knows it. I personally use a riffle shuffle -- on the table as demonstrated at 4:10 -- but I'm an exception, and I adopted the method because I couldn't get the hang of the overhand method that everyone else uses.

    I could add some more information about my shuffling habits but that would make a much longer comment.

  3. Smooshing is effective, which is why they do it in casinos, but takes too long. A Riffle is somewhat dangerous because doing it very well (alternating one card at a time on each side) an even number of times means the deck is still in the same order. Overhand done poorly just reorders chunks of cards.

    I personally Riffle, then Overhand, a few times. However, I also did street magic for a few years, so regardless of how anyone wants to shuffle, if they want to cheat or control a number of cards, they can do it with very little effort.


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