Introduction: How to Shuffle Cards

About: Made in Canada, I grew up crafting, making, and baking. Out of this love for designing and creating, I pursued a degree in product design from Parsons School of Design in NYC. Since then I've done work for Mar…

My Grandpa showed me how to 'fancy' shuffle cards when I was 4 years old. My parents helped me practice until at age 5, I finally mastered it. (Thanks Pops) My favorite thing about investing that time is that, like riding a bike, my muscles never forget how to do the fancy shuffle no matter how long I go without touching cards.

For the pure satisfaction of looking like you know what you're doing when you sit down to play any card game (read: How To Look Like a Card Shark), I highly suggest taking the time to learn. You won't be sorry! And don't worry, you won't take as long as I did to learn. I blame it on the tiny hands... : )

NOTE: Card selection plays a huge role in how easy or hard this type of shuffling can be. If your cards are really sticky or too slippery, shuffling will be harder. I recommend getting either Hoyle or Bicycle brand cards.

Step 1: Practice Makes Fancy

Before you dive in to learning the nuts and bolts of fancy, or 'bridge', shuffling, take a few minutes to practice what's called 'rifling'. This means letting the cards cascade down one at a time towards the table (or your hand), controlling the speed and flow with your thumb, which sits on the top edges of the cards. (like pictured)

To get started, true up (aka straighten up) your stack by holding the deck between your thumb and middle+ring fingers (the front card of your stack will snug up right behind the pads of your middle & ring), while clamping down on the top with your index finger. Bang the stack against the table a few times to get them aligned.

Holding cards for successful rifling is exactly the same finger placement as above, with one exception: Take your index finger off of the top (long) side of the deck and bend it in, placing it on the middle back of the deck.

Now pull back and slide along the top of the cards with your thumb as you push in with the back of your index finger, releasing the top of the cards down one at a time in a 'cascade'. The pads of your 3rd & 4th fingers will 'just' curl around the bottom of the deck and hold onto the cards so they don't go flying.

Doing this without dropping the cards in clumps takes practice, so don't be discouraged if the cards aren't delicately 'cascading' right away.

Practice this with both hands until you get a feel for it.

*Sometimes the cards get a little bent from the pressure of the bend. Not to worry! Stack them all together again and just bend them in the opposite direction. They will straighten out without creasing your cards.

Step 2: Making Two Stacks

Holding the deck in your right hand, rifle half the deck onto your waiting left hand, creating two equal(ish) stacks.

Using the same finger placement as for truing up the deck, hold one stack in each hand with the tops of the cards facing you. Put the left stack on the table, the right stack on top of the left at an angle, and bang them both down a couple of times to straighten 'em up for the next step.

Step 3: Double Rifle = Shuffle

Moving the fingers of both hands into rifling position, cascade the cards of both stacks down so that their tops overlap by about 3/8", alternating every few cards from each side as they fall. This effectively mixes or shuffles the cards.

Now to connect the two halves into one stack again, press your thumbs onto the deck where the two top cards overlap. Create pressure inwards by curling middle, ring, and pinkie fingers around the bottom edges of both stacks and bend the cards up into an arch.

Step 4: The Final Fancy

Straighten your curled fingers. Push in from the base of your fingers and down with your thumbs, cascading the cards down in the final fancy move of the shuffle.

Repeat the whole shuffle 3-4 times to ensure that the cards are thoroughly mixed.

After your final shuffle, true up your cards one last time before dealing them out.

That's it! For a quick video of my fancy shuffle in action, see the next step.

Step 5: Action!