One of the biggest myths in blackjack is about the house edge for the casino for games that use a Continuous Shuffle Machine (CSM). Recreational blackjack players are surprised to learn that the house edge doesn’t go through the roof compared to when cards are dealt from a shoe.
House Edge Of CSM Versus Shoe Blackjack Games
It’s true that it’s impossible to count cards when playing a blackjack game that uses a CSM. It’s not true that the house edge for those games is affected. A 3:2 blackjack game using six decks and typical rules has a house edge of about 0.43% when using a shoe. The same game when cards are dealt from a CSM has a house edge of about 0.41%.
The house edge calculator assumes that blackjack players are using correct basic strategy for both games. In the short term, anything can happen. However, the house edge for a casino game is derived from playing millions of games.
Blackjack Players Despise Continuous Shuffle Machines
The math says there isn’t much difference between the two games. So why do blackjack players hate the CSM so much? Personal preference and psychology both play a large role in why blackjack players don’t want to play using the continuous shuffle machine.
To be perfectly honest, I hate playing at a table that uses a CSM. First of all, this isn’t the blackjack game that I grew up with. Second, it feels like I won’t be able to count – even though I don’t try to count. I usually drink when playing blackjack and my count is as good as my memory that gets a bit fuzzier as the night goes on.
I’m not the only person who doesn’t like playing blackjack games that use a CSM. Professional blackjack players won’t touch the game. Plenty of recreational blackjack players that also feel the CSM gets in the way of the game.
Casinos like the CSM because they make the game move quicker. The more times a game with a house edge is dealt, in theory, the more profitable it will be. One of the problems blackjack players have with the CSM is the speed.
There’s never a break in play since the cards are continuously shuffled. Gamblers can take a break but there’s always a fear of missing out on a series of good hands. The break with shoe games isn’t very long anymore since most casinos don’t have the dealers shuffle by hand anymore. That said, the two minutes is still a nice break.
Playing Blackjack With Continuous Shuffle Machines
Continuous Shuffle Machines are typically used for low limits blackjack games. There are some casinos that use a CSM only for blackjack games with a minimum bet below $25. Most recreational gamblers usually play these games. There are some ways to make the best from a blackjack game that uses a CSM.
The CSM doesn’t affect the house edge in blackjack as much as the rules of the game. Look for the best blackjack rules within the games that are offered. Always look to play a game that pays 3:2 when dealt a natural blackjack. Other rules to look for include dealer staying on 17, double and splitting rules, and surrender.
Playing blackjack games that use a CSM isn’t always optimal so make the best out of the situation.