F Riffle Stacking

If you have practiced riffle culling and can perform the false riffle with any degree of smoothness, then you already know the moves required for riffle stacking. For example, look again at Figure 2 on page 26. Notice that four cards are retained by the right thumb while the single ace is retained by the left thumb. That picture suggests a shortcut method for stacking your first ace: Instead of dropping that ace last, drop it first and then drop the four cards from the right thumb on top of the ace and, presto, that ace is stacked for you in a five-handed game. In other words, the first ace has been culled in one riffle and the right thumb simply retains and then releases four cards on top of the ace in order to stack it for a five-handed game. Each additional ace or card to be stacked for the dealer's hand must be culled and singly passed to the top. Then as explained in Step 1 below, the left thumb subsequently builds the stack by releasing the required number of cards on top of each card culled to the top of the deck.

Beginning with a completely shuffled deck, you can riffle stack aces back-to-back for yourself in stud poker while knowing what every opponent has in the hole by taking the following two steps:

Step 1 --Place the deck in your right hand. Using your right thumb, riffle the deck until you spot an ace. Let that ace drop and immediately stop riffling. Then pass that lower portion of the deck with the ace on top into your left hand; and as in Chapter II when culling an ace, riffle shuffle the left and right hand cards together, but retain the ace with the left thumb in order to drop that card last on top of the deck. Again part the deck by taking the top portion into your right hand and passing the lower portion into your left hand for another riffle shuffle. But do not cull another ace yet. Instead, execute a false riffle; and with your left thumb retain and drop at least two, preferably three or four cards on top of your ace. Begin practice by retaining and dropping only two cards at a time from your left thumb. Practice until you can easily drop with accurate control four or more cards on top of your ace.

Suppose you cull an ace. Execute two false riffles while each time dropping on that ace two cards retained by your left thumb. You then will have four cards on top of your first ace. If you are playing in a five-handed game, your first card is stacked. If more than five are playing, you must drop the required number of additional cards on top of the ace so that it will be dealt to you.

Although your first riffle-stacking attempts may be awkward, you can with an hour or two of practice do the riffle stack with relative speed and ease. Keep in mind that you are essentially executing a false riffle but striving to get more than one card on top of the stack with each riffle shuffle. Quickly square the edges of the deck with your thumbs and fingers before each riffle for better control.

Step 2 -- Cull your second ace exactly as you did your first, retaining it in your left thumb while protecting your stack with a false riffle. Drop that second ace on top of your stack as the last card. Should you fail to cull a second ace during that riffle, simply execute a false riffle which will leave an extra card on top of your stack. For now, remove that card with a blind shuffle. In the next chapter, you will learn an easier method to remove extra cards accumulated during false riffles.

After culling your second ace, you must riffle the required number of cards on top of that ace to stack it while protecting your first stacked ace. Proceed with the same method used to stack your first ace by riffle shuffling the proper number of cards onto that second ace while protecting the stack. But when playing stud, remember to bend the top cards upward with your left thumb 26 1 in order to briefly glance at and remember their sequence while riffling them onto the stack above your second ace. By remembering those cards, you will know everyone's hole card in addition to dealing yourself a pair of aces.

Remembering opponents' hole cards is easy: Assume a six-handed game of five-card stud in which you have already stacked your first ace and culled your second ace on top of those stacked cards. Now with your next riffle, say you drop two cards on top of your stack while bending those cards slightly upward with your thumb and noticing they are, for example, a jack and a four. Your mind registers J-4. You riffle again dropping two more cards onto your stack while observing they are a king and a ten. Your mind registers K-10-J-4. Another riffle and you drop a single card, a nine, to complete your stack. Now you know the other players' hole cards will read clockwise 9-K-10-J-4 around the table, and you will be dealt aces back-to-back. ... For seven-card stud or hold'em, execute the riffling process twice while remembering both sets of cards stacked above each ace. You will then know both hole cards of each opponent.

Your thumb will gradually become accustomed to retaining and controlling batches of three and four cards to be dropped on your stack while mentally counting them (and, when advantageous, remembering them). Your goal is to smoothly cull and accurately stack with a minimum number of riffle shuffles.

You can cull and stack four of a kind or pat hands with riffle stacking. But usually stacking such hands is easier done by combining the riffle stack with other stacking techniques. For example, the riffle stack is especially convenient for adding the third or the fourth-of-a-kind card to a pair or three of a kind already culled and stacked from the discards.

Still, the riffle stack alone is often ideal for five-card stud, seven-card stud, and hold'em since you can cull and stack a high pair for yourself while knowing everyone's hole card (or cards) in fifteen seconds or less. In draw poker, however, using the riffle stack alone to stack four of a kind or a pat hand is generally not as easy or practical as using a combination of other stacking techniques.

Another stacking variation consists of initially culling all your cards in consecutive riffles. This method gets the culling out of the way first. For example, cull two kings, then proceed to stack them by retaining the top king with your right thumb and injecting the required number of cards between the top and second king with a couple of riffles. When that move is completed, riffle shuffle the required number of cards on top of your second king to complete the stack.

Neocheaters normally avoid the repetition and time required to riffle stack three or more cards by combining two or more culling and stacking techniques. (See Combination Stacking later in this chapter.) Various combinations can provide safer, easier, and faster routes to stacking four or five cards. As pointed out in Chapter XI, however, the pure Neocheater finds maximum advantages in the simplest and easiest maneuvers -- he seldom has to stack more than one or two cards for himself. And often he does not stack any cards for himself, but simply remembers his opponents' hole cards while riffling (or he simply follows what-to-do signals from a colluding dealer, especially from a colluding house dealer in a casino) to gain unbeatable advantages.

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