Are Continuous Shuffle Machines Making Card Counting Obsolete?

Are Continuous Shuffle Machines Making Card Counting Obsolete?


I received an email recently with a fairly common question, so I thought I’d share it, along with my opinion and the opinion of a few other famous card counters…

Dear Colin,

I am VERY interested in card counting both as a hobby and a potential second income. I expect the training to take a good few months before I become sufficiently expert and have saved a substantial bankroll. My problem is that I suspect that more and more casinos will start to use continuous shuffle machines (CSMs), thereby making card counting obsolete and my training and saving all to no avail. What are your views ?


First, let’s define a few terms:

1. The Shoe:

blackjack six deck dealing shoe
Any blackjack game with more than 2 decks will be dealt from a shoe. Shoe games are completely beatable by card counting. The increased number of decks DOES decrease the advantage of the game, but that is often counterbalanced by other factors like better rules and more tolerance. The card counting system we teach works for any number of decks dealt… and the majority of the nearly $4M our teams have won was at 6 and 8 deck games.

2. Random/Automatic Shuffle Machines:

Blackjack Automatic Shuffle Machine
A random shuffle machine that takes all the cards (i.e. all 6 decks or 8 decks) and shuffles them together. Then the dealer takes the full stack of cards, has a player cut, and puts it into a shoe and deals. Since the game includes all of the cards, these shuffle machines are great. They speed up the game and having nothing that a player should fear.

3. Continuous Shuffle Machines (CSM’s)

Blackjack CSM
If a dealer deals out a few rounds, then takes the used cards and puts them into a machine that he is continually taking cards out of, then he is using a CSM. These machines continually shuffle together 3-5 decks, making it impossible to predict what types of cards are left in the shoe. Thus, it’s impossible to count a CSM game.

So, Are Continuous Shuffle Machines making card counting obsolete?

No! Here’s why: players don’t like them and they are expensive for casinos to maintain. But rather than just sharing my opinion, I thought I’d ask a few other pros (and Blackjack Hall of Fame members).
Here’s what Tommy Hyland and Richard Munchkin had to say:

I certainly haven't seen any signs of "CSM's taking over." To me, it seems like the same old story; some casinos put them on their smaller tables, and customers don't seem to mind all that much, but when they put them on the high tables, there is significant patron resistance. I have not seen many casinos in the US that use them exclusively on their $50 minimum tables and up.

— Tommy Hyland

Are CSMs taking over? I don't think so. Some places seem to be adding them while others are taking them out. I have been hearing that blackjack is almost dead since I started playing in 1978. In my experience every year brings more opportunities so I wouldn't sweat the CSMs.

— Richard Munchkin

I’ve been a card counter for 15 years, and I side with Tommy and Richard.

Every year things change. A great game disappears, but a new opportunity arises. CSMs come and go, but there are so many opportunities for EV in this great country (and around the globe)!

I have more friends making upper 5-figures or 6-figures from card counting than I did 10 years ago, in large part because there are more opportunities for card counting than there were 10 years ago.

Make sure you know everything it takes to beat the game, how every rule and option affects your edge, then start beating blackjack for yourself!


If you’re interested in learning the skills necessary to beat casinos for profit, start our Card Counting mini-course now…

Blackjack Expert Colin Jones

Meet Colin Jones

Colin is the founder of Blackjack Apprenticeship. Colin has been counting cards for over 15 years, and ran a multi-million dollar blackjack team. You may have seen his team featured in the documentary Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians, and has been covered by New York Times, CNN, and The Colbert Report. For more training from Colin, check out the Blackjack Apprenticeship YouTube Channel.