Online Gaming - Shuffling and Dealing

I was wondering... Knowing that online casinos shuffle after every hand, making card counting impossible, I have found that there are, indeed, a few advantages.

A) You do not have to tip,
B) You can go one-on-one against the dealer (no other players),
C) You can play more hands (again, due to the lack of other players) per hour than in a real casino, and
D) you can enjoy a large betting spread without suspicion.

Do these factors make the online game advantageous in any way? Has any test been run on these systems? So far, I've done nicely -- in fact, I've done better online than in any real casino. What do you think? Any input is appreciated. Thanks!


You have already pointed out some of the advantages of online blackjack, as opposed to a physical casino. Unless you are card counting, it is to your advantage that they shuffle after every hand. In the land casinos they will usually play until a specific point is reached in the deck, finish that hand, and then shuffle. This works to the player's disadvantage because more cards will be dealt when the shuffle point is reached in a deck rich in small cards than one rich in big cards. In other words, in a physical casinos the player will see slightly more small cards than large cards over the long run, which is bad for the player. However, much more important is the fact that you don't have to feel obligated to tip in an online casino. The faster play, one on one play, and the larger spreads do not help nor hurt the casual player. I attribute your better results in online casinos to any combination of luck, better rules, and not having to tip.

Are these very fair rules:

  • The dealer deals from an infinite deck
  • Dealer stands on soft 17
  • No surrender allowed
  • Player can split any pair
  • Player can re-split, except for aces
  • Insurance offered only when player has two cards
  • Player can double down on any hand
  • Player can double after a split

These are the rules at 4 Aces casino, where I always seem to bust if I hit a 12 or 13 and the dealer wiped me out with a mind numbing over 40 21’s including twice 21’s four times in a row. They do allow late surrender even though it states otherwise in their rules. What is an infinite deck? If these are good rules could you point out a good strategy.

Douglas from Cumberland, Maryland

According to my blackjack house edge calculator, the house edge with these rules, assuming eight decks, is 0.45%. The effect of infinite decks, compared to eight, is 0.10% in the house's favor. So, the total house edge would be 0.45% + 0.10% = 0.55%.

You also seem to also imply that this casino is not dealing a fair game. Unless you provide some hard data I can't comment on that.

I recently started gambling online and like your site more than any other gambling site I've found. Somewhere I remember you wrote that every online casino you'd seen shuffled the decks after every game. By game to you mean hand? Also, if they shuffle after every hand, doesn't this minimize the benefit of card counting? Is there any significant benefit to card counting in that case?

Greg from Brighton, Massachusetts

Most online casinos shuffle after every hand. However, the six-deck game at Unified Gaming casinos shuffles at a random point in the deck. I have heard of other casinos that also penetrate more than one hand into a shoe, but I don't recall which ones. If the cards are shuffled after every hand there is no use in card counting, other than applying my composition dependent basic strategy exceptions.

I just wanted to know if there is an online casino which has single-deck blackjack and in which the cards are not shuffled after every hand.

Hugo from Santiago, Chile

I don't think so, I have never seen any.

I am playing blackjack with unified gaming software. They claim they do not shuffle after every hand especially in the six deck, yet I have never seen it stop to shuffle. When I called the company to ask they said it is indicated when shuffling but I have never seen anything written on the screen that it is shuffling. After playing for usually 45 minutes to an hour it does freeze up and one can not even use the exit..everything shuts down.

Janice from Muskego, Wisconsin

It is my understanding they shuffle after every hand in the single deck game. When I have played the six-deck game you can hear a shuffling sound and the bottom of the screen says "shuffling" from time to time. Perhaps you were only playing the single deck game. It seems like they do this at random times. The lost connection is a known annoyance with Unified Gaming software. I mention it myself in my review. Some people say if you disable your sound card it helps with this problem.

I read somewhere that online casinos may shuffle the deck after every turn and that card counting then would be of no value. How can I find out for sure if a casino is doing this?


You could test for how often the same card appears in two consecutive hands. Considering only the four initial cards dealt and assuming all four are different the expected number of those cards seen in the next hand is 16/52 = 0.307692, assuming the cards are shuffled after every hand. If you see fewer repeats than would argue that the cards are not shuffled after every hand. If the cards are not shuffled between hands the expected number of repeats seen would be 4*(4d-1)/(52d-4), where d is the number of decks. It is easier, but less reliable, to just ask customer support.

When I play online poker, are the cards 100% set (as they would be with a real deck of cards) when the hands begin or does the RNG keep ’spinning’ before each card is dealt and thus each card is random?

Andy from Indianapolis

Each card is random whether the RNG is ’spinning’ before each card is dealt or not. As for whether the RNG keeps spinning, I don’t know, but mathematically it doesn’t make any difference.

Dear Wizard, I have read your comments about online blackjack and the fact that the decks are shuffled after each hand. Is there a casino online that has less shuffling or if not, am I forced to play live dealer blackjack which has more decks stacked and at least I can be aware of when shuffling does occur. Cheers.

Ken from Oxford, UK

Perhaps you misunderstood the point I was trying to make in my blackjack appendix 10. The bottom line is that unless you are a card counter shuffling after every hand, as opposed to using a cut card, is a good thing. The house edge is reduced 0.02% in a 6-deck game, to 0.11% in a 1-deck game, by shuffling after every hand.