How to Shuffle Cards Like a Pro

By Alex Smith, Last updated Nov 3, 2022

Do you want to be able to shuffle cards like a true professional? Well, of course you do, seeing as you’re on a page titled ‘how to shuffle cards like a pro.’ You’ll be pleased to know it’s not as difficult as you may think. With a little bit of practice and the proper technique, you can be shuffling decks in no time at all!

On this page, we’re going to give you a brief introduction to the most common type of shuffle used, the overhand shuffle. We’ll also be looking at some of the other shuffle techniques used throughout the world and at land-based casinos. Let’s kick off with a look at the overhand shuffle:

Step 1: How to Hold the Deck for the Riffle Shuffle

The first thing you need to do is hold the deck correctly. You want to hold the deck with your thumb on one of the short ends and your pinky, middle, and ring fingers around the opposite end. Your index finger should then curl in the middle, allowing your knuckle to push directly down on the face of the card.

Once you’re in this position and your middle finger is in the correct place for optimal control, you’ll want to hold the deck in your right hand, provided you’re right-handed. If you’re left-handed, simply reverse all of the instructions in this guide.

Step 2: Split the Deck

Once you’ve positioned your fingers and knuckles in the right place, it’s time to split the deck. To achieve this, you’re going to aim to cut half of the deck (it doesn’t have to be exact), and you achieve this by simply applying pressure through your thumb and middle fingers & pinky while pushing down with your index finger.

This move will cause the deck to bend, and you’ll then be able to riffle the cards off against your thumb by simply moving it up a bit and sliding it up on the deck. You’ll notice that the cards automatically go ‘straight’ when they leave the tip of your thumb, and simply keep this position until roughly half of the deck has been split.

You’ll now want to put your left hand in the middle of the split and make two piles, roughly equal in size. Simply hold the newly-created second deck just as you do the first deck, and proceed to the next step.

Step 3: Bend and Shuffle

Once you’re holding both decks of cards in both hands, you want to bend them gently. Hold the decks within around an inch and a half of one another and riffle both of them simultaneously. The goal here is to get the cards to overlap every two or three cards, and you simply complete this process until the entire deck has been shuffled within one another.

This riffle shuffle technique may seem pretty tough at first, and while you may think it’s just for magic tricks, learning this type of shuffle is much easier than you think. You can nail these first three steps in just two or three hours with a bit of practice!

Step 4: Waterfall

While the above steps are perfectly sufficient for shuffling a deck of cards, you can add in the waterfall if you want to show off your skills and make yourself look even more professional. If you choose to do this, you simply need to push the remaining cards together and square the deck together. That means you’ll be pushing all of the playing cards together so they’re all touching.

If you completed this step correctly, you’d then have a loosely interlocked deck of cards. You use your pinky, middle, and ring fingers underneath the decks on both sides, with your index fingers and thumbs standing by for the next step.

Note: this step may take a little bit of getting used to, so practice getting into this position before you head to the 5th and final step.

Step 5: Bend and Waterfall

Once the cards are overlapping with one another, use your three remaining fingers to bend the entire deck of cards in the middle. If you do this correctly, you’ll be forming a half-circle. Don’t apply too much pressure; otherwise, the cards can splash all over the room.

To control it, use your index fingers at the bottom of the deck. When you’re ready to waterfall, start to release the pressure by moving your hands slightly apart slowly. Once this is done, you simply need to square the deck of cards, and your riffle shuffle is then complete!  

The Hindu Shuffle

The Hindu shuffle is another type of shuffle, also known as the ‘Indian,’ the ‘Kattar,’ or the ‘Kenchi.’ While it may sound complicated at first, this isn’t a particularly challenging shuffle. You begin by holding the deck face down with your middle finger on one of the long edges and your thumb placed on the bottom half of the deck.

You then use your other hand to grab around half of the cards from the top of the deck, and you move these cards down into your palm; you complete this maneuver over and over until the deck is all in your second hand. The main difference between the Hindu Shuffle and conventional shuffling techniques is that you’re shifting cards from one hand to the other instead of mixing them together. Go to YouTube, Google, etc., if you want to find more examples of this technique.

The Corgi Shuffle

Another way to get a shuffled deck is the Corgi shuffle, also known as the Chemmy, the Irish, or the Beginner Shuffle. This is the easiest way of shuffling cards (although it doesn’t look particularly impressive). You simply spread all of the cards face down onto the table and slide them around using your hands.

Once you’ve mixed them together, you stack them up into a single stack, and you then cut this before intertwining the two stacks together. It’s pretty messy, and there’s not really any technique behind it, but it works!

The Mongean Shuffle

The Mongean Shuffle is one of the most unusual shuffling techniques you’re likely to encounter today, and you begin by holding the unshuffled deck of cards in your left hand. You then transfer the top card to the palm of your right hand. You then continue to take the top card from the left-most pile of cards and keep transferring it to the right. Then, you put the second card on the top, the third on the bottom, the fourth on the top, and so on, essentially alternating the cards as you go.

Due to the length of time that The Mongean Shuffle takes, it’s not really used. It doesn’t look overly impressive, either, so it’s not even a neat little party trick. Generally speaking, you’re best sticking to the main riffle shuffle we covered at the beginning of this page. It’s fairly easy to learn, looks great, and is surprisingly fun and satisfying to perform!

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