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by Mark Billings

Mark Billings is the author of the book "The Ultimate Edge," which tells the little-known story of four men who became instrumental in changing the face of contemporary professional blackjack, winning the admiration of players the world over, and the disdain of casino bosses everywhere (available on

Note: This is Part 5 of a series on Shuffle Tracking. To read the other articles, click on: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

If you have been following this series of articles on shuffle tracking, by now you should understand the following:

1. There are shuffles that are trackable and shuffles that are not. Of those that are trackable, some are more trackable than others.

2. For the purposes of this article, a "trackable shuffle" is a shuffle for which two or more areas of the cards in the discard rack will make their way through the shuffle relatively intact. These two areas referred to as key packets will be grabbed, and will result in a packet that can be cut to the front or back of the shoe.

(If any of the above isn't completely clear, you might want to go back and re-read some of the previous articles in this series especially Part 3.)

3. You likely have noticed that in any given casino, the structure of the shuffle is the same at all tables. (This is usually but not always the case.)


You almost certainly will have noticed that dealers differ widely in how they accomplish the shuffle. There are dealers who are quite neat and consistent, and there are dealers who are not. Since you should by now know what to look for in terms of your key packets, you will be able to see quite quickly if these packets move through the shuffle consistently or not.

You should spend time scouting for dealers. You want dealers who are very consistent. The players about whom I wrote about in by book The Ultimate Edge told me that the dealers who were most consistent in their splits and their grabs are...

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