blackjack shoe

The blackjack shoe is an invention bought into land-based casinos back in the 1960s. Today, you’ll find that every casino, whether online or land-based, will feature some sort of shoe. This can be either automatic or manual. By making use of these card shuffling machines, it makes the job of counting cards in blackjack totally redundant. With up to 8 decks being constantly added to the shoe, and with many being replaced before a complete deck is dealt out, the card counter has no hope.

The Blackjack Shoe 

If most non-gamers were standing around a blackjack table, watching the game in progress, they probably wouldn’t even notice the shuffling machine or blackjack shoe. On the other hand, if you’re a veteran or pro blackjack player, then you’ll know that these items are essential just like the chips, the dealer, and the wagers. In this article, we’re going to look into exactly what shuffling machines and deck shoes are. We’ll take a deep dive in order to see how they affect the casino table game of blackjack.

Many of the casino games today haven’t changed all that much from when they first originated and started to spread out over the world. Back then many of these gambling games were about brain-power, skill, and luck. It’s true that the very first casinos were really playgrounds for the extremely wealthy and those belonging to high society. But as gambling and gambling games worked their way downwards through the general population, then gambling dens and other more informal gambling establishments opened for the working people.

Blackjack Dealing Styles – Shoe, Machine, and Handled Decks

In spite of the ease with which you can play blackjack online, many blackjack players still prefer to go to the traditional land-based casino. They find that the whole playing experience is part of the overall enjoyment of playing this table game. Also, by playing in a real casino, they’re able to practice their strategy and skills to a greater extent than when playing online. Of course, there are always other benefits of going to a real brick and multi-casino. As you’re well aware, many of these include comps such as free drinks, free hotel rooms, and free meals.

blackjack shoe
Picture Source: PxHere 

If you were to ask, many veteran players will tell you that the ambiance of a real casino is a huge driving force. They will point out something as small and subtle as touching the fibers on the blackjack table. Or watching how the dealer shuffles an 8 deck blackjack shoe. They will tell you that is an experience that you cannot recreate online. We are certainly many of these same veteran players will try their hand at online blackjack for fun, even the live dealer games. But, nevertheless, they always return to the real casino.

The Same Out-Come

Having a blackjack shuffling machine allows the game to continue for longer. This is because the cards are being dealt with faster by the dealer. You may well find that some casinos, especially those with private blackjack rooms, where they play high stakes games for high rollers, prefer the old-fashioned hand-shuffled and dealt cards. What is true though is that whether the cards are dealt by the dealer or by a shuffling machine, the outcomes are exactly the same. In other words, how the cards finally find themselves on the gaming table is immaterial to your blackjack variation or your perfect blackjack strategies. And ultimately, to your blackjack gaming experience.

Blackjack Shoe Inspiration

What’s interesting is that the earliest card deck shoes look very similar to a woman’s high heel shoes. In fact, the boxes were even painted in red or black. Though the appearance of the blackjack shoe evolved over time, there are certain essential elements of the shoe that remain the same. For example, the colored divider shows when the next shuffle will be. This divider is often of an aesthetically pleasing material. Something that works well with the color scheme of the casino.

blackjack shoe
Picture Source: PxHere

Another interesting fact is that the mechanics of the shuffling machines appeared a long time before the first card deck shoe was even created. In Las Vegas casinos during the 1960s, they began using a simple box with a card divider and a discard tray for the used cards. The main purpose of this innovation was for both safety and convenience. As well as ensuring fair play for the players at the casino. Take a look at the traditional manual-card shuffle. It’s the very essence of the card-shoe. After all, this is the moment when everybody stares in fascination at the fast-moving heads of the dealer as he prepares the next decks for the players.

Number Of Decks Used In Blackjack

In blackjack, you’ll find that there are games with 1, 2, 4, 6, and even up to 8 decks in the blackjack shoe. The exact number of decks is very much dependent on both the casino and the most popular blackjack types. You will be able to see many examples if you play at live dealer casinos like 22bet Casino. Once the dealer has shuffled the decks then he’ll place a card divider. This will indicate when the next shuffle will take place. It’s only at this point can the games begin.

blackjack shoe
Picture Source: Flickr


If you’re a regular real casino player then you probably notice that most casinos have a policy of shuffling the blackjack shoe when there are about 25% of the initial cards left before the divider. By doing this, they can ensure that a full inventory of cards will never be in play at the same time. As you can imagine, this is to discourage players from counting cards. It’s impossible to keep a running count if the shoe is being constantly broken up. having said that, there are some players who claim to be able to use card shuffle tracking. But we think this is just hot air.

Blackjack Card Shuffling Machines

The blackjack shuffling machine and the card deck shuffler are special machines that were created to shuffle one or more decks of playing cards. Their invention came about as it means to prevent inside jobs by both dealers and casino employees. Especially those thinking of working in collaboration with cheating players. Of course, for the casino, there’s a positive side effect. This is the ability to add more decks to the game. Every turn serves to decrease the dealer’s interaction with the playing cards. Although today you’ll find that in the vast majority of casinos, the most commonly used machines, will feature eight to six decks of blackjack cards.

Manual Deck Shuffling Machines

Of the manual deck shuffling machines, there are two types. These are manual and automatic. By nature, manual machines are much harder to break. They have very few components and operate with simple mechanics. Another factor in their favor is they don’t need electric power.

blackjack shoe
Picture Source: MaxPixel

This makes them much cheaper than the alternatives. You’ll also find that this type of card shuffling machine is one step ahead of the blackjack shoe. Here they mix the cards well. So much so, that it’s impossible to catch the dealer’s tells in a game of blackjack.

Automatic Blackjack Card Shufflers

Automatic blackjack card shufflers are better known as “random”, “batch”, or automatic shuffling machines. You’ll find that they’re incredibly popular in all land-based gambling establishments and casinos. With this type of machine, the cards are shuffled once and the machine only stops when the cards are dealt. It’s normal that the dealer then puts the used cards from the discard tray back into the machine. Or he will insert another new deck. Much will depend on the casino’s table games policy.

Casinos with Blackjack Shoes

In some ways, it’s not surprising that casinos introduce the blackjack shoe and blackjack shuffling machine. That’s because they make the life of the dealer a little easier. But they are also in place to prevent blackjack card counting. After all, counting cards is very simple if there are only one or two decks in play. By keeping a running count, a skilled blackjack player can predict the winning cards. He does this by decreasing the house edge ever so slightly. So casinos introduced blackjack shoes and shuffling machines as a means of discouraging card counting activity.

Land-Based Casinos & Gambling Rooms

Today, every gaming room in every land-based casino will make use of a blackjack shoe. The number of decks inserted is normally 8, though this will certainly depend on the operator’s policy. They will follow a stipulated timetable or have a percentage policy concerning the number of decks in play. This would also include how often the dealer shuffles the decks. And how many decks are going into every shuffling machine? As previously mentioned, many of these countermeasures aim to prevent any players from conspiring with the dealers in order to win better prizes.

Online Casino Blackjack

Both Netent and Evolution Gaming are considered the main live dealer casino games providers among gambling software developers. Looking at their live games, we can see that the dealers are working with either six or eight decks of cards. You can find many videos online which show how to shuffle the shoe. For sheer convenience, it’s hard to beat a live dealer online game of blackjack at an online casino like 22Bet Casino. It doesn’t matter where you are. Whether on the toilet near the trading floor of a corporate bank. Or camping out in the woods. Or spread out on your sofa. Whipping out your phone, and hitting up your favorite mobile blackjack game application, allows you to happily participate in an enjoyable game of blackjack online at any time.

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