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Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game» Forums » General

Subject: Quick and good way to shuffle a deck rss

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Yuriy Matuhno
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Can anyone suggest me one?
There is a lot of shuffling in the game and I'm shuffling or very slow or very bad(in terms of randomization). Is there any good way to sufficiently and quickly shuffle a deck? Thanks.
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David Boeren
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Learn how to riffle shuffle. If you're a card game fan it's well worth the effort (which isn't much) and once you learn it it's yours for life. There are plenty of videos on Youtube that will teach the technique - just practice on a deck of normal cards first until you get it down.

Normally during a game you're taking a deck that's already randomized, inserting a few cards, and re-shuffling. This is rather different from shuffling a fully sorted deck and takes less effort. A couple quick riffles with maybe an overhand shuffle thrown in should generally be sufficient. The main point here is just to make the location of the newly added cards fairly opaque.

If a deck is fully sorted, then you'll want to do more riffles to fully randomize it. Personally I like to intersperse a few overhand shuffles as well. Each type of shuffle has its own characteristics and using more than one type will help the overall randomness.
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Carthoris Pyramidos
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Riffle and overhand shuffles are manual skills necessary to card game players. There's no substitute for practice, and it's something that you can work on while watching the tube or engaged with other passive entertainment. Get a cheap deck of playing cards so you don't wear out your nice gaming decks, if you're just looking to practice.

Five riffle shuffles should sufficiently randomize a played-out 50-card deck, although my habit is riffle-overhand-riffle-riffle-riffle-overhand-riffle-cut. When simply shuffling around the reintroduction of a single card, overhand-riffle-overhand-cut is good.

There are machines that shuffle, but unless you are a casino, they are cost-prohibitive.
 
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David Boeren
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One more thing to add, it's a LOT easier to riffle cards if they're not in sleeves. If you have to use sleeves (and you don't unless you're in a tournament which has a sleeving rule), the tighter fit the better for riffling. People I know who never learned to riffle claim you can sort of mush two piles of sleeved cards together to achieve a roughly similar effect but I doubt it's as good and personally I think it just makes you look like someone who never learned to shuffle cards.

Still better than the godawful thing some people do where they spread cards out on a table and sort of stir them around with their hands. That does an absolutely awful job of mixing the cards, it's slow as hell, AND it makes you look like some sort of brain damaged walrus waving your flippers around.
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Daniel Ach
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dboeren wrote:
AND it makes you look like some sort of brain damaged walrus waving your flippers around.


~I can't believe there was such a blatant insult to differently-abled sea mammals in this community.
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Jevon Heath
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dboeren wrote:
Still better than the godawful thing some people do where they spread cards out on a table and sort of stir them around with their hands. That does an absolutely awful job of mixing the cards, it's slow as hell, AND it makes you look like some sort of brain damaged walrus waving your flippers around.


This method, called "washing", is apparently one of the mathematically most effective methods of shuffling, which is why casino dealers do it with every new deck of cards. They riffle shuffle afterward simply because customers think that washing does an absolutely awful job of mixing the cards.
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David Boeren
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There may be some difference in technique and effectiveness between how trained card dealers do it and how the average joe tends to perform it? I suspect washing also depends on the cards being in very good condition to slide over each other cleanly to work well.

Well, even if it works well it's still slow and dorky looking
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PenumbraPenguin
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dboeren wrote:
One more thing to add, it's a LOT easier to riffle cards if they're not in sleeves. If you have to use sleeves (and you don't unless you're in a tournament which has a sleeving rule), the tighter fit the better for riffling. People I know who never learned to riffle claim you can sort of mush two piles of sleeved cards together to achieve a roughly similar effect but I doubt it's as good and personally I think it just makes you look like someone who never learned to shuffle cards.


In my opinion, one of the benefits of using sleeves is that it makes it possible to mash two piles of cards together, achieving an effect very similar to that of a riffle shuffle. =)
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Yuriy Matuhno
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I'm concerned that If I riffle shuffle these cards, eventually they'll bend or even worse, if I'm not good enough...
 
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Adrian Hague
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Also see this thread for non-destructive shuffling techniques:

Non-destructive shuffling techniques? How do you SHUFFLE?
 
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Ah, thanks for starting this thread _here_!

I noticed quite a while ago that I suck at shuffling cards and this thread (and the linked threads) has been quite instructive.

But there is one particular problem I noticed that I didn't see addressed:
Whenever I acquire a new expansion for a card game if I don't sleeve them, after a few rounds of shuffling the new cards tend to separate themselves from the old ones.

Looking at the stack of cards from the side you can also immediately tell the new cards from the old ones.

I think it has something to do with the way the cards are cut: The new cards are slightly compressed at their borders and it take a while for them to 'expand' again.

Does that make any sense to anyone, i.e. has anyone noticed the same thing?
 
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David Boeren
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TrueLolzor wrote:
I'm concerned that If I riffle shuffle these cards, eventually they'll bend or even worse, if I'm not good enough...


You're worried about something you haven't done before. That means two things. First, because you haven't learned this skill yet it seems difficult. Once you learn it and practice this will go away. Second, the thing you're afraid of is based on misinformation. A correctly performed riffle shuffle barely bends the cards at all. As a test, I just stopped myself about to do the riffle so I could look at the cards from the side. They're "bent" maybe 2 millimeters or so. By watching movies or people trying to imitate what they've seen without understanding - you're probably envisioning some sort of wild super-bendy technique which doesn't actually exist.

Now it's true that when you start out you may need a little more bend, but it's still going to be a small amount, not enough to alter the cards.

Just practice on a deck of regular poker cards until you're comfortable with it and only move on to your Cthulhu cards when you feel ready.

If somehow you do mess up, riffle WAY too hard, and put a slight bend in the cards - you can undo it by turning the cards over (face-up) and doing another similarly forceful riffle that way. The two slight bends will cancel each other out and you'll have flat cards again.
 
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David Boeren
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jhaelen wrote:
But there is one particular problem I noticed that I didn't see addressed:
Whenever I acquire a new expansion for a card game if I don't sleeve them, after a few rounds of shuffling the new cards tend to separate themselves from the old ones.

Looking at the stack of cards from the side you can also immediately tell the new cards from the old ones.

I think it has something to do with the way the cards are cut: The new cards are slightly compressed at their borders and it take a while for them to 'expand' again.


I haven't noticed that here. Can you take a picture?
 
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Magnus Davies
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Here is an in depth article about shuffling, written for L5R but broadly applicable to any card game:

http://dojooflies.com/?p=692
 
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David Boeren
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Interesting, but their bit about the Hindu shuffle (a close relation to the more common overhand shuffle) seems off. My question is, how many cards are you taking off at a time? Big chunks? Small chunks? Variable sizes? If this is not known, you cannot make the claims they are trying to make about poor randomization.

Besides which, I don't know anyone who claims that an overhand/Hindu shuffle should be your only shuffling technique so why are they making a big fuss about it not being suited to that purpose?

At least they eventually come around to the usual conclusion that it's a good practice to intersperse some other sort of shuffle with your riffles. They are correct to note that cards near the top of a riffle tend to stay there - that is what the interspersed overhand/hindu/pile shuffles are there to correct. Each shuffle type has its own artifacts, and mixing them breaks up those artifacts and increases the unpredictability.

Also, why are they concerned with what happens after several hundred to a thousand consecutive riffles? Who the heck just sits and riffles that many times (personally I often see 5-7 riffles claimed as a good number)? All the other techniques show something like from 1-12 shuffles but this one is labelled 100-1000 for no apparent reason. I also take exception to their claim that riffling damages cards. A really badly performed riffle could do this, but not if you shuffle properly.
 
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dboeren wrote:
(personally I often see 5-7 riffles claimed as a good number)?
I've read that the 'optimal' number is the square root of the number of cards you'd like to randomize, so for a 50 card deck it's about seven times since sqrt(49) = 7.

Regarding my comment about mixing new and old cards: It's not actually something I noticed in CoC, but it's very noticable in Arkham Horror which, I think, uses thicker stock. Maybe I should repost the question there...
 
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