How To Shuffle Cards – A Complete Guide

I have been practicing playing cards for over 20 years. Not a day has gone by where I haven’t had a deck of cards in my hands. Let’s just say I am somewhat obsessed. I have mastered every type of shuffle imaginable. I will teach you all the standard ways to shuffle cards plus the most amazing shuffle in the world, the Waterfall shuffle. I did some research and found it is not taught anywhere else.

  • RIFFLE SHUFFLE & BRIDGE
  • STRIP SHUFFLE (RUNNING CUTS)
  • WASH SHUFFLE
  • WEAVE SHUFFLE (FARO SHUFFLE)
  • WATERFALL SHUFFLE
  • HINDU SHUFFLE
  • OVERHAND SHUFFLE
  • ONE-HANDED SHUFFLE

These are the card shuffles you will learn in step by step detail. I’m right handed. If you are a lefty just switch what I write in the description. Here is a quick YouTube video demonstrating each of these shuffles.

YouTube Video of Me Doing These Shuffles
sleight of hand

Riffle Shuffle

In The Hands

With your right hand grip the deck from above, thumb at the short inner edge, 1st finger curled on top, 2nd and 3rd at the short outer edge, 4th (pinky) at the right longer edge. Notice the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th hang over the edge, this is important.

Riffle1

Place the very tips of your left 2nd and 3rd against the middle of the bottom of the deck. Flex the deck upward by pulling up with your right thumb and pressing down with the back of your right 1st. Let the cards fall one at a time (riffle) off your right thumb until you have split the deck about in half. Clip the deck momentarily between your left 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.

lever

With the pads of your right 2nd and 3rd lever the bottom half up into your left hand. Grip the cards in your left hand in the same grip as your right hand. It is important you hold the packets deep in your hands with your 2nd, 3rd, and 4th fingers hanging over the edges. This is so you don’t drop the cards. Your thumbs should not be deep and should rest right along the edge.

squeezen weave

Squeeze the halves flexing both packets upward. Move the edges close together and let one card at a time fall (riffle) off each thumb. Interlace the cards about 1/2″. You can finish by pushing the packets together. Or you can do the Bridge.

Check out this video and learn an amazing 4 Ace Trick which uses the riffle shuffle.

PRO TIP: The deeper you hold the packet in your hand, the more control you will have with the cards. For more control you can place your left 1st on the outer long edge instead of on top. This will make the bridge easier.

The Bridge

Move the packets deeper in your hands so they rest against the base of your fingers. Place your thumbs on top and your 1st fingers on the outer long edge. Press the right and left sides of the deck down so the deck bows upward. This creates tension. Keep your thumbs in place and slowly open your hands. The cards will weave together.

Bridge

On The Table

Start with the deck on the table. Grip the left side between your left thumb, 2nd, and 3rd. Grip the right side between your right thumb and 2nd. Curl both your 1st fingers on top. Square the deck between your left pinky and right 3rd.

Table

Lift up half the deck with your right thumb. Move the top packet to the right and the bottom packet to the left. Push the inner edge of the packets against each other. Press down with your 1st fingers. Riffle up the inner long edges with your thumbs. Let cards fall off your thumbs 1 at a time and interlace. Push the shuffled cards together.

Blackjack Shuffle

You might notice in the above table riffle shuffle you can possibly see the cards as you riffle them. Standard casino procedure uses a tighter shuffle. Instead of riffling the inner edges in the center, you riffle at the very inner corners of the packets. This also bends the cards less.

Blackjacks

PRACTICE TIME: It should take you 20 minutes to an hour to master the Riffle Shuffle.

The Riffle Shuffle is the most popular shuffle in the world. It is the standard procedure for casino shuffling and also the best way to mix the cards. It is important to mix the cards to be sure none of the players have an advantage. 4 shuffles is standard for casino blackjack. 7 shuffles is standard for casino poker. 2- 4 riffle shuffles is perfect if you are mixing the cards for a casual card game or card tricks.

Strip Shuffle

These are also called Running Cuts. This is the perfect thing to do after a table riffle shuffle. Square the deck between your your left pinky and right 3rd. Lift off a small group of cards from the top of the deck with your left thumb and 2nd. Grip the rest of the deck with your right thumb and 2nd and move your right hand diagonally forward and to the right.

Strip

Drop the packet of cards in your left hand onto the table. Bring the deck back with your right hand and again lift off a small packet of cards with your left thumb and 2nd. Again move the packet diagonally forward and to the right and drop the left hand packet on top of the first tabled packet. There is a circular rhythm to this. Repeat this 5 or 6 times. Square up the deck.

PRACTICE TIME: It should take you 15 to 30 minutes to master the Strip Shuffle.

Running cuts look very nice and very professional. Your left hand doesn’t really move much. It is mostly your right hand that moves.

Wash Shuffle

Basically you are just moving the cards around the table with both hands. This isn’t a great shuffle and it is a pain gathering the cards into one deck again. I guess if you absolutely cannot shuffle the cards this is better than nothing.

Wash shuffle

PRACTICE TIME: None

Weave Shuffle

Hold the cards up in your left hand in what’s called a straddle grip, thumb at the middle of the long edge, 2nd and 3rd at the opposite long edge, 1st at the middle of the outer short edge, and your 4th at the middle of the inner short edge. This grip is important to keep the cards nice and squared up.

Weave pic 1

You will lift off the top half of the deck with your right hand. Press your right 1st against the top of the deck. Grip the deck at the bottom of the long sides of the deck with your right thumb and 3rd. Break off about half of the deck with your right thumb. Lift off and hold the top half tightly between your right thumb and 3rd. Place your right 2nd next to your 3rd. This will keep the top half nice and square.

Square

Press the front short edge of the top half against the bottom half to make sure it is nice and square. As you do this slide your right thumb, 2nd, and 3rd slightly forward along the edges and place your pinky along the short inner edge.

THE WEAVE

You will be weaving the inner corners together. You need to create a little bit of tension here on both halves of the deck. To do this press the inner corner of the bottom half with your nail of your left pinky and bow the top half slightly by pressing with the nail of your right 1st.

weavearrow

Bring the corners together. Keep the tension with your right 1st and let go with your left pinky. Press gently and rotate the top half slightly toward you. The cards will weave together.

BASIC ENDING

After you weave the cards push the packets together and square up the deck. Or you can interlace the cards together in a much more elegant way.

CASCADE FINISH

Push the cards together about an inch or two. Grip the cards from below with your left thumb at the inner long edge, 2nd at the outer long edge, 1st curled underneath. Open your right hand wide and grip the inner and outer short edges of both halves from above. Bend the deck downward with your right 2nd and 3rd keeping pressure with your left 1st. Slowly release pressure with your left 1st and open your left hand. The cards will cascade together.

cascade33

PRO TIP: The key is to keep both halves tight and squared up the whole time. Only press the corners together, not the whole bottom edge. Be gentle when weaving the cards.

PRACTICE TIME: It should take you 1 to 2 hours to master the Weave Shuffle.

This is also called the Faro Shuffle. This is a very elegant shuffle and it is great for card trick purposes. This shuffle will never be allowed in a poker game because you have to pick up the cards. There is something called a perfect Faro shuffle. This is when you split the deck exactly at 26 and do a perfect weave. It is pretty fun to do.

Waterfall Shuffle

YouTube Video of Me Teaching This Shuffle

The beginning of this shuffle is exactly the same as the Weave Shuffle above. For completeness I am including it here again.

Hold the cards up in your left hand in what’s called a straddle grip, thumb at the middle of the long edge, 2nd and 3rd at the opposite long edge, 1st at the middle of the outer short edge, and your 4th at the middle of the inner short edge. This grip is important to keep the cards nice and squared up.

Weave pic 1

You will lift off the top half of the deck with your right hand. Press your right 1st against the top of the deck. Grip the deck at the bottom of the long sides of the deck with your right thumb and 3rd. Break off about half of the deck with your right thumb. Lift off and hold the top half tightly between your right thumb and 3rd. Place your right 2nd next to your 3rd. This will keep the top half nice and square.

Square

Press the front short edge of the top half against the bottom half to make sure it is nice and square. As you do this slide your right thumb, 2nd, and 3rd slightly forward along the edges and place your pinky along the short inner edge.

THE WEAVE

You will be weaving the inner corners together. You need to create a little bit of tension here on both halves of the deck. To do this press the inner corner of the bottom half with your nail of your left pinky and bow the top half slightly by pressing with the nail of your right 1st.

weavearrow

Bring the corners together. Keep the tension with your right 1st and let go with your left pinky. Press gently and rotate the top half slightly toward you. The cards will weave together. Push them together a tiny bit, you don’t want them interlaced too tightly.

The Waterfall

Rotate the packets up so they form a V shape. To keep cards from falling press the bottom card against the deck with your left pinky. Press the top card against the deck with your right thumb.

real water

For your right hand position press your right 2nd and 3rd against your palm and extend your 1st and 4th. Place the deck between your right 1st and 4th. So cards don’t fall press the bottom card with the tip of your left thumb and press the top card with the tip of your right thumb. Move your left hand beneath ready to catch the cards. Let go with your left thumb and let the cards fall into your hand.

PRO TIP: When you weave the cards together have the face card of the inner packet become the new bottom card. Now when you readjust your grip it is easier to keep cards from falling by pressing the bottom card against the deck with the very tip of your left pinky.

PRACTICE TIME: It should take you 2 to 3 hours to master the Waterfall Shuffle.

This is very similar to the Weave Shuffle, just a very nice ending. This shuffle is very impressive and my favorite shuffle to do. This is definitely the shuffle I use most. It doesn’t bend the cards and looks amazing. Plus this shuffle is fun to do.

Hindu Shuffle

Hold the deck from above with your right thumb and 2nd at the inner edge. Curl your right 1st naturally on top. From below you will take small packets off the top with your left thumb and 2nd. As you take packets let them fall into your left hand which acts as a cradle. Your right hand does all the moving. You can take off as many packets as you want. I recommend 5 or 6.

Hindu3

PRACTICE TIME: It should take you about an hour to master the Hindu Shuffle.

This is a very well known shuffle in India. It is pretty basic and good for card trick purposes.

Overhand Shuffle

Hold the deck in your right hand with your thumb at the inner short edge and your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd at the outer short edge. With your left hand from below use your left thumb to peel small packets off the top of the deck. Take them into your left hand.

Overhandshuffle

Take about 4 packets and then throw the rest on top.

PRO TIP: Go slow. This will help you avoid dropping cards.

PRACTICE TIME: It should take you about 30 minutes to an hour to master the Overhand Shuffle.

The Overhand Shuffle is great for card tricks. There are so many awesome things you can do with it.

One-Handed Shuffle

Make sure the cards are nice and squared up. Hold the cards face up in your left hand in what’s called a straddle grip- thumb at the middle of the long edge, 2nd and 3rd at the opposite long edge, 4th at the middle of the inner short edge, and your 1st curled underneath. This grip is important to keep the cards square.

One handed 1

With the tip of your left 1st break off the top half of the deck. Balance the bottom half at the tips of your left fingers on the nail of your left 1st. Grip the top half between your left thumb and 1st. Open your left hand and move the top half all the way over and next to the bottom half. Place your left 1st between the packets.

One handed 2

Pivot the corner of the left packet toward the corner of the right packet. Squeeze your hand and press the corners together. They will interlace. Move your left pinky to the side of the deck next to your left 3rd. Turn your left hand palm down, Squeeze the cards downward creating tension. Remove your left 1st, gently loosen your grip, and the cards will shuffle together.

PRO TIP: Before you begin slightly bend the face down deck downward a little bit by squeezing it at the sides. This will help with the weave. Start with the deck very high in your left hand so it is easier to clear the bottom packet.

PRACTICE TIME: It should take you about 5 hours to master the One-Handed Shuffle.

This is definitely the hardest shuffle here. I have very small hands and can still do it. Hand size doesn’t matter. With enough practice you will be able to do this. It is extremely impressive.

Final Thoughts

Once you master a shuffle, you won’t forget it. You will retain the muscle memory and always be able to do it when you pick up a deck. It is like riding a bike. I love this about card moves. I love practicing.

When you shuffle cards you should always follow up with a cut. A cut is when you lift off half the deck and place it underneath. This makes sure that nobody knows the top or bottom cards.

There are many ways to falsify these shuffles. That means it looks like you are shuffling yet you aren’t. This is great for cheating at cards and card tricks.

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Matt

Hi, I'm Matt Furman. I have been a full time professional magician for over 20 years, ever since I left medical school to pursue my passion of magic tricks. I have a ton of real world experience and I am constantly practicing and performing new mind blowing magic.