Stock control shuffles, or stacking the deck, is a card cheating method used at blackjack and poker. Card cheating expert Sam Case discusses stock control shuffles, and shows how to detect dealers who stack the deck to cheat at cards.
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Stock Control Shuffles for Stacked Decks

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How to Stack the Deck with Stock Control Shuffles

By Sam Case (with photos by Ron Hunter)
(From Blackjack Forum Vol. II #4, December 1982)
© 1982 Blackjack Forum

I must be the world's pickiest card player. I always study a dealer before sitting down. Although there are more ways to cheat while shuffling than there are cards in a game of Blackjack II, there are several important things to watch for to avoid most cheating poker or blackjack dealers.

One thing that I look at is the quality of the shuffle. I don't want a perfectly even shuffle, but neither do I want to see clumps of cards falling together. In either case, the dealer may be false shuffling. That clump that you see may be a card stock, selected cards that the cheating dealer wants to put in or keep out of play.

This type of cheating was documented way back in 1902, in S.W. Erdnase's Expert At the Card Table (p. 34-39). I'll explain the methods of stock control shuffles and the uses of this type of cheating technique.

Stacking the Deck in Your Neighborhood Poker Game

Suppose you've stacked the deck in your neighborhood poker game, and you do not want those stacked cards shuffled with the rest of the deck. Or, suppose a blackjack dealer decides to keep several tens on the bottom of the deck. This would have a very nasty effect on your game.

Tip-off #1: If you're a card counter, you'll keep getting high counts near the end of the deck. However, poker players won't get this tip-off, and waiting to find this out in a blackjack game can be expensive. I'll explain how this stock control shuffle is done, and the only other tip-off you can watch for.

Place three or four tens on the bottom of the deck. Cut the top half to the right, and get ready to shuffle. Lift the inner long sides slightly, then run those three or four cards from the left-hand side before dropping any from the right-hand pack. Continue the shuffle in a normal riffle fashion. Square the deck. A cheating dealer who does this three times before offering you the cut keeps that card stock intact on the bottom. All he has to do is nullify the cut and you're in trouble.

This running of cards can be used to control a stock at any point in the deck, but the bottom of the deck is the easiest place to use. The top of the deck is the next easiest place, but since the top of the deck is the easiest place to watch, some cover is needed. Now try this: put the card stock on top of the deck, and cut the top half to the right The idea is to do a similar shuffle, except start off shuffling evenly, but drop the top stock last to keep it in place.

Notice how easy this would be to spot (see photograph above, exaggerated for clarity). No dealer would leave this uncovered. What a dealer might do is hold back the top card of the left-hand packet (as well as the right-hand card stock), drop the right-hand stock and then the left-hand top card.

From almost any position, this makes the block of cards more difficult to spot, especially when you consider the speed with which most dealers shuffle. If you suspect an uneven shuffle you might try sitting low in your seat to view the deck edge on.

Why doesn't that top card get in the way? By using a crimped card, say the bottom one of the stack, the dealer could bring the stack to the bottom with one cut (see "The Gamblers Crimp", link at the left, for details).

The dealer, however, would probably want to keep a top stock on top. After you cut, in a head-on blackjack game, if the cards were in the following order: ANY CARD, ANY CARD, 10, ANY CARD, ACE, after the burn the dealer would beat you with an ace-down blackjack.

The following stack—ANY, ANY, 5 or 6, ANY, 5—would be a very nasty percentage play in blackjack (dealer 10 or 11 with low card showing). A larger stack could force you to split 8s vs. a dealer 21, etc., depending on the dealer's stacking abilities and possibilities. And I'm sure you can imagine the possibilities in poker.

So, the moral of the story is to watch for even shuffles, especially at the top and bottom of the deck. Next time I'll explain how a card stock is set up during a riffle shuffle. Till then remember: you want to play with stacked women, not stacked decks! ♠

For more information on methods of cheating at poker and blackjack, see Steve Forte's Gambling Protection Series (3 DVD Set).

For more articles on cheating at blackjack and poker, see the Professional Gambling Library.

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