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Blackjack Shuffle Tracking for Beginners

Richard Marcus 04/26/2016 Blog 1,263 views

Okay, you’ve become a sufficient card counter and now you’re ready to take the next step up the advantage-play ladder….

Wait a minute! You’re not a sufficient card counter but you want to learn shuffle-tracking anyway? Can you do it?

Yes, you can, but it would be much harder, and you’d be prone to making hand-play mistakes. At the very least you’ll need a mastery of basic-strategy blackjack.

The Basics of Shuffle-Tracking

The idea is to track slugs of cards that contain lots of ten-value cards and aces. These are the two most favorable cards for the player.

The first step is to keenly observe the cards as they’re dealt from a card shoe on the chosen blackjack table. You have ample time to do this because multi-deck shoe-games are dealt face-up. You’ll see all the cards on each deal including the dealer’s.

You also keep watch of the table discard rack where the dealer places the played cards face-down after each hand. Doing so will give you a “visual” of your slug.

When you identify a slug of high cards, you now have your play-zone for the NEXT shoe. You also identify two or three “key cards” that are located just before the beginning of the zone, which you’ll use to spot the zone in the upcoming shoe.

Now you watch the dealer carefully as he shuffles the cards to see that he doesn’t do anything to disturb the zone. Normal shuffling procedures will change card-positions in the new shoe but will not alter the positive play-zone.

Also note that if the dealer is using an automatic shuffling machine, you should not attempt to shuffle track at that table.

When the dealer finishes the shuffle and offers the cut-card to a player, you closely observe where the player cuts and where your slug of cards gets positioned in the new shoe. If you’re the player doing the cutting, you cut the cards so that the zone will land at the top of the new shoe. This allows you to make your big bets right off the top of the new shoe, contrary to what casinos are looking for to detect card-counters, who never make their large bets off the top of the shoe.

One key reason for mastering card-counting before shuffle-tracking is that keeping the count greatly aids you when shuffle-tracking.

For example, suppose you’re counting the cards deep into the shoe and hit a big positive count. But unfortunately, the cut-card appears and the dealer shuffles up. As a counter you lose that chance for a ripe advantage. But as a shuffle-tracker, you’re in business!

How? Because you can cut those unplayed cards, usually about a deck and half of the six decks, so that they appear at the top of the next shoe. And then you bet big right off the bat!

Team Shuffle-Tracking

It is advantageous to track with one or more players. This is because one of you will get the cut-card a bigger percentage of the time, allowing the team to control the position of the play-zone in the new shoe, which should be right at the top.

If shuffle-tracking is done correctly, you’ll make much more money than simply counting the cards. And when you do both, it gets even better.

But, remember, it’s difficult to master the art of accurately following and memorizing play-zones, and mistakes are easily made. So you must be patient and disciplined before going up against the casinos.


This article was written by former professional casino cheater, Richard Marcus. Richard Marcus is also the author of American Roulette, a controversial book that reveals how he and other professional cheaters ripped off casinos.

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Also read our section about various methods and strategies of Card Counting.

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