I’ve got a running list of things that drive me crazy or are just plain wrong at blackjack tables. Some examples include rude players, 6:5 payouts, and boring dealers – this trip to Vegas I added the continuous shuffle machine.
I understand why casinos use it – saves time, makes the dealer’s life easier and ultimately makes the casino more money by dealing more hands per hour. I actually don’t mind that smaller casinos or even the bigger places use them at lower limit tables.
What I don’t like is when higher end places use them and use them liberally at tables with $15 – 25 limits. My case in point is Aria Las Vegas. On my most recent Vegas trip I was lucky enough to stay at the Aria Sky Suites and was looking forward to playing some blackjack at their casino. I was disappointed to learn that there were no tables at or below $25 without a continuous shuffle machine.
If you don’t know what I mean by a continuous shuffle machine look for the big black wheel device which looks like a handheld vaccuum attached to what would be a normal shoe of cards. The vaccuum is an accurate analogy since it will be sucking up your chips in a hurry.
My top preference is a 6 deck shoe with a manual dealer shuffle, my secondary preference is the auto-shuffle machine which shuffles one 6-deck shoe while you are playing the other shoe.
My main gripe with the continuous shuffle machine is that you aren’t able to count on the normal ebb and flow of cards and get a feel for where you stand. Getting on a run is almost impossible and you never know if a shoe starts or ends so you are left holding the bag at nearly every turn. This tilts the advantage even further into the house and makes walking away a winner nearly impossible.
My advice to you as a player is to walk away when you see the continuous shuffle machine and my advice to Aria is to get rid of at least some of these machines and make your blackjack tables more attractive to your guests.