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Even professional blackjack dealers are known to make use of an automatic card shuffler, so there’s no reason you can’t use a card shuffler for your amateur tournaments and games at home as well. Particularly if you’re fond of card games requiring multiple decks, like blackjack, or if you’re simply not able to shuffle well on your own, automatic card shufflers can take a lot of irritation out of getting a game going. You don’t need a Vegas-ready shuffler, but there are still a couple factors we recommend considering.
How Does a Card Shuffler Work?
The best card shufflers are pretty simple, and most debate comes down to whether you want a manual crank-operated shuffler or an automatic battery-operated kind. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, including ease-of-use and tendency to jam. You also should take a look at the capacity of the shuffler, meaning how many decks it is capable of shuffling at once. Depending on the game, this could be a make or break factor.
Manual vs. Battery: If you’re looking for something really hands-free, a battery-operated shuffler does the job at the push of a button. In general, these can also handle several decks at once, which is a huge plus. That said, these machines are more likely to jam than manually-operated shufflers, potentially damaging the cards. Manual shufflers are operated with a crank, so as soon as you notice a card getting stuck, you can remove it. Using a crank also means you have more control of the speed of shuffling, so you can keep an eye out for problems. For the most part, this tends to lead to fewer snags.
Capacity: Card shufflers can generally handle anywhere from one to six decks at a time. If you’re fond of games like “Hand-and-Food,” for example, which require the use of several decks, a high-capacity shuffler could be life changing (nobody likes having to shuffle six decks of cards every hand). For games requiring only one deck, or maybe two, a six-deck capacity probably isn’t necessary.
1. Kangaroo Card Shuffler
This is a two-deck manual shuffler, which is operated by a hand crank. People note how smoothly and quietly it operates, as well as how efficiently it shuffles the two decks. Because it is a hand crank, it’s easy to back up and re-feed the cards in the event of a misfeed.
2. Hand Cranked Card Shuffler
This manual shuffler also handles two decks at a time, and while similar products, as well as hand-shuffling, have a tendency to bend or damage the cards, this item operates so smoothly it can actually extend the life of your cards.
Cheap or poorly-made card shufflers also have a tendency to break or stop working after a while, but users say even after daily use, this shuffler stays perfectly functional.
3. Manual Card Shuffler
Sometimes it’s the little details that make the biggest difference, as in the case of this two-deck manual shuffler, which comes with an extra crank handle in case you lose the first. As for functionality, people note how quickly and efficiently this device shuffles through multiple decks of cards, making it much less of a nuisance to play the dealer in games requiring several decks.
4. Brybelly Six-Deck Automatic Card Shuffler
If you do need a shuffler with the capacity to handle more than two decks and you’re interested in a battery-operated automatic model, this is the shuffler we’d recommend. It shuffles up to six decks of standard-sized cards in seconds, and as a bonus, is styled to mimic those you’d find in a professional casino.
Battery-operated shufflers have been known to malfunction, but users of this product say even when used several times a week, it still works perfectly.