Deck shoe

Shoe (cards)

A dealing shoe or dealer's shoe is a gaming device, mainly used in casinos, to hold multiple decks of playing cards. The shoe allows for more games to be played by reducing the time between shuffles and less chance of dealer cheating. In some games, such as blackjack (where card counting is a possibility), using multiple decks of cards can increase the house odds.


In Las Vegas casinos prior to 1961, all blackjack was being dealt from a single deck. John Scarne proposed to the Nevada Gaming Control Board that a state ruling be enacted such that Blackjack must be dealt from a shoe (Scarne's invention). While no such ruling was ever passed, most Nevada casinos now deal from a multi-deck shoe. (p.245) As gaming advisor to the Havanna Hilton, Scarne also introduced the shoe to Puerto Rico and Cuba. (p. 343)

In Use

Dealing shoes come in many colours and sizes, depending on the number of decks they are capable of holding (2, 4, 6, or 8 decks).

When the cards are placed in the shoe, the dealer will insert a blank plastic card, such as the red one seen in the photo on the right. When this card is drawn it indicates that the current game is the last one before a new shuffle. This helps mitigate player advantage via card counting, as a significant portion (usually about 25% (p. 357)) of the full inventory of cards never comes into play.


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