Detecting the Undercut

  • Suspect any dealer who repeatedly runs single cards off the deck just prior to overhand shuffling.
  • By detection methods described in Chapter IV, look for blind shuffles, false riffles, or false cuts that must follow any undercut-stacking maneuver.
  • The undercut can be done so swiftly that no one can see the top and bottom cards being pulled off individually, but the alert player can sometimes detect the snapping sound of cards being pulled together from the top and bottom of the deck.

Before proceeding to the next stacking technique, riffle culling must be examined in more detail:

c. Riffle Culling

Even in the strictest games with alert or fussy players, the Neocheater can usually cull a high pair and often three of a kind using one of the discard-gathering techniques taught in Chapter III. But assume he has been unable to cull a single card from the discards or no discards are available such as occurs when a new or different deck is brought into play. He must then work the deck cold in order to cull a favorable hand. One easy and effective method to cull directly from the deck is to use the riffle cull described below.

As in the technique described in Chapter II for cutting aces, pick up the deck, and begin parting the deck by riffling through the cards with your thumb. Stop the moment you spot an ace, and let that ace drop. Now separate the deck so that the ace becomes the top card of the deck-portion in your left hand. Then riffle shuffle the two deck halves together, but retain the top ace with your left thumb and drop that ace last on top of the shuffled deck. Now riffle again and locate a second ace -- or other desired card -- and place it on top of the first culled ace with another false-riffle shuffle, controlling the deck halves with your thumbs so the second culled ace falls on top of the first ace without any unwanted cards falling between them. Repeat the process for the third and fourth card, or until you have culled your desired hand to the top of the deck, ready for stacking.

With practice, you can riffle cull four aces to the top of the deck in less than twenty seconds. Four aces are merely an example. Actually you can riffle cull any desired cards or hands.

A Neocheater, however, seldom relies solely on riffle culling for stacking full or big hands, although he could. Instead, he usually uses riffle culling as an auxiliary to discard culling. For example, if he is able to cull only one ace to the top of the deck while squaring the discards, he can then quite easily riffle cull a second and third ace on top of that first ace. Whether he tries to cull the fourth ace depends on how long he took to cull the previous two cards, on the location of the final ace (it may be too close to the top or bottom of the deck), and especially on his objective. (Neocheaters can but seldom need to stack themselves blatantly powerful hands.)

After culling your desired cards to the top of the deck, run those cards quickly to the bottom of the deck in one overhand shuffle and stack them with the undercut or one of the other stacking techniques described later in this chapter.

A high pair can almost always be culled using discard squaring. One quick riffle cull should produce a third matching card in less than five seconds. After an hour's practice, you should be fairly adept at riffle culling. Remember always to keep the deck squared when riffle parting the deck so that the cards pass by individually, smoothly, and at the proper speed for quick selection.

When working a deck cold, you should be able to cull a pair of aces to the top with two riffles. And starting with a pair of aces provides an enormous advantage in draw poker and an even greater advantage in stud games.

A problem you will encounter when first practicing the riffle cull is flipping past your selected card by an extra card to leave an unwanted stranger on top of the culled card. If that happens, you have three options:

First, when interlacing the parted deck portions, retain both top cards (your culled card and the unwanted card) with your left thumb and drop those two cards last on top of the deck. Then execute a quick, single card overhand shuffle to get rid of the extra card by simply pulling it off the top with your left thumb and slipping it beneath the deck. And against alert or sophisticated opponents, the removal of that top card can be camouflaged by a subsequent blind shuffle.

Second, assume you have a pair of aces already culled on top of the deck and you have passed your third ace by one card while riffling through the deck. Just riffle shuffle that third ace right back into the deck, making certain the two aces in your right hand still fall last -- on top of the deck. Then make another attempt to cull that third ace during your next riffle.

Or, third, as you will learn in Chapter VI, use a split-second cut that instantly gets rid of any extra cards on top of your stack.

Spend thirty minutes practicing the riffle cull. See how fast you can get a pair and then three of a kind to the top of the deck. The riffle cull is a potent ally when used with discard culling. Also, riffle culling is the most practical method for culling a deck cold (or when discards are unavailable). But remember, Neocheaters keep their eyes in natural motion, glancing but never staring at the cards being riffled.

Used with or without other culling techniques, the riffle cull is a valuable asset in the Neocheater's repertoire. With even a minimal mastery of the riffle cull, he can control cards in any deck under most circumstances.

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