How to Deal Blackjack

Part 2: A Vegas Aces Guide

The Shoe

The shoe is available in the 4-deck, 6-deck and 8-deck varieties. The shoe is a plastic device that holds the cards until ready for delivery. There are some games, like Baccarat, that may have larger shoes.

The Face

This picture highlights the area of the shoe that is known as the Face

This is the plate at the front of the shoe that holds the cards in place making it ready for the dealer.

The Finger Slot

This picture highlights the area of the shoe that is known as the Finger Slot

There is an opening in the front of the shoe where the dealer places their finger to slip out the next card. There are a variety of openings out there, including the faceplate covers (trap door), and the skirts (brush).

The Wedge

This picture highlights the area of the shoe that is known as the Wedge

This is a heavy plastic trapezoid shaped object on wheels. It is placed behind the cards to help with movement.

The Lip

This picture highlights the area of the shoe that is known as the Lip

This is the plastic edge under the face that is extended forward.

The Chain

This picture shows the gold chain that's attached to the shoe

There will always be a chain attached to the shoe. This is to protect the shoe from being swapped or stolen.


As the dealer, you will shuffle when you have a new customer approach your dead game; when the cut card appears in the middle of dealing; when a new dealer takes over a handheld game; when a new deck is put into play; whenever the Floor requests it, and after all the players leave the table. It is good table protection to maintain physical and visual contact with the decks at all times and while the decks are out of the shoe.

Another method to keep people from cheating is to take the remaining deck, pick a random spot in the discard rack and place the cards in between before you pick up the full deck to shuffle.

The Cards

The first skill you need to learn is how to handle the cards. The only way you will get good is by hours of at-home practice.

Shuffling the Deck

When a dealer shuffles they not only riffle, but also strip, box and cutting the deck. Shuffling is the entire procedure that the dealers will spend much time on. Since every casino will have a different shuffle, we are going to teach you a basic shuffle you can use at an audition, but when you get hire you will have to learn a new shuffle. Remember to keep the deck as low as possible and be aware not to expose the bottom card.

Holding the Deck

This picture shows how I'm holding the deck

Use your forefingers and hold the top of the deck.

This picture shows how I'm holding the deck

With your thumbs hold the bottom of the deck.

This picture shows how I'm holding the deck

Slide your middle fingers against the edges of the deck. This makes the deck straight and ready to use.

Halving the Deck

This picture is of the dealer halving the deck

In order to shuffle you must be able to cut the deck in half. The procedure starts by you holding the deck. Now, place your right thumb slightly above the bottom of the deck. Use your left thumb to hold the bottom portion in place as your right thumb slightly lifts up, pulling the deck apart. This is called “halving” the deck.

Riffling the Deck

The proper hand placement when shuffling the deck

Most people think that riffling the deck is the same as shuffling the deck. They are two different things. Riffling is one step in shuffling. Shuffling involves many maneuvers put together in an exact way while riffling means you’re lacing the deck and then pushing it together. Lacing the cards is a term used to describe a deck after a riffle has occurred but before the cards are pushed in.

The proper hand placement when shuffling the deck

The people who have been in this industry for a long time will tell you that the quieter you riffle the deck the better. With your hands flat and thumbs out combine the tips of your forefingers and thumbs. This should make a letter A. Press your fingers down on the edges of the deck while letting the thumbs do all the work. Place your thumbs at the bottom corners of the deck and while firmly pressing on the cards lift up and let the cards fall naturally. After you have gone all the way up, the cards should be laced together and ready to be joined. After you feel comfortable riffling a single deck, slowly add more cards until you’re able to riffle a double deck. At most casinos, you will not have to riffle more than two decks.

Chunking the Deck

The deck has chunks in it and was not riffled correctly

Chunking is when multiple cards stick together leaving large spaces in a laced deck. Do not chunk because it prevents the cards from being properly riffled.

Stripping the Deck

the dealer is stripping the deck

This maneuver is normally added to a shuffle routine. You begin the procedure by holding the deck slightly above the table. Tilt one end very slightly and using your left hand hold the deck while the middle finger and thumb take a chuck of cards from the top of the deck and placing it on the table. Raise your right hand up and repeat the process 5 times. Depending on the casino you could strip a deck a minimum of 3 times to a maximum of 7 times. Then, finally, straighten the sides.

Boxing the Deck

the dealer is boxing the deck

This shuffling maneuver is done in various casinos. You start the procedure by holding the deck and then take 1/3 of the bottom portion and turn it 180 degrees. Then place it on the top of the deck.


Single Deck Shuffle

This is a simple shuffling procedure:

  • Strip

  • Riffle

  • Strip

  • Riffle

  • Box

  • Riffle

  • When you cut the deck, make sure to cut it at least 10 cards on either side.

  • Burn a card.

Double Deck Shuffle

To start the procedure:

  • Pick up the deck and break it in half.

  • Riffle the cards.

  • Strip the deck 7 equal times.

  • Take 1/3 from the top and put it on the bottom.

  • Riffle

  • Take 1/3 from the bottom, put it on the top.

  • Riffle

  • Break the deck in half and give it one more riffle.

  • Cut the deck with at least 20 cards on either side.

  • Burn a card.

4, 6, or 8 Deck Shuffle

To start the procedure:

  • Take the cards from the discard rack and put it in the center of the table.

  • Then break the stack into 2 equal stacks.

  • Take approximately 1/4 of the deck from each stack.

  • Then riffle.

  • Strip

  • Riffle

  • Then place the working deck in the center of the table, above the shuffling area.

  • Take approximately 1/4 of the working deck, with 1/4 of the deck from the left stack.

  • Riffle

  • Strip

  • Riffle

  • Then place these cards on top of the working deck.

  • Take a 1/4 stack from the right.

  • Then riffle.

  • Strip

  • Riffle

  • Repeat this pattern until all the cards are shuffled.

  • When your working stack holds all of the decks, separate the stack, again, into 2 equal parts.

  • Take 1/4 of a deck from each stack and riffle, leaving the cards laced.

  • After all the cards are shuffled, give an alert call to your floor.

  • You can now offer the cards to be cut.

  • Place the deck in the shoe.

  • Burn a card.

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