G The Las Vegas Variation

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As a refinement of the riffle stack, the Las Vegas variation uses the same principles learned so far, but the position of the hands while culling and riffling is different. For culling, the thumbs riffle and split the deck along the sides of the cards, as shown in Figure 20, instead of at their ends. This method of culling has the advantage of concealing all the moves from opponents with your hands and fingers. Also, after several hours of practice, the Las Vegas variation cull becomes faster and smoother than the regular riffle cull. Note the position of both thumbs in Figure 20; the moment the culled ace drops to the top of the lower deck half the left thumb is ready to split the deck. Then the two deck portions can be promptly riffle shuffled together while keeping the culled ace on top.

Figure 20

Riffling and Splitting the Deck at the Sides in the Las Vegas Variation

Figure 20

Riffling and Splitting the Deck at the Sides in the Las Vegas Variation

With the Las Vegas variation, the cards are completely shielded by the fingers of both hands while being stacked as the deck lies flat on the table (see Figure 21). After interlacing, the split deck portions are then pushed together and squared with the palms of both hands. Because the cards are shielded, the riffling process can be slowed not only for greater accuracy while culling and stacking but for greater ease while memorizing the value and sequence of everyone's hole cards.

Figure 21 Shielding the Deck from Opponents with the Las Vegas Variation

The Las Vegas variation works especially well for false riffling. Because of the shield created by the hands and fingers, you can easily keep two-thirds of the deck intact without suspicion. Experiment for awhile with this variation to see if you prefer it to the regular riffle stack and false riffle. Switching over to the Las Vegas variation requires several hours of practice, but the technique will look smoother and offers more flexibility and control over the deck.

The advantage of the Las Vegas variation ironically produces its only disadvantage: ostensibly the cards are shielded to keep them from flashing -- that is why dealers in casinos commonly use this variation. In naive company, however, or in neighborhood games, the Las Vegas variation may appear too expert or professional, and the shielding may appear to be done for questionable purposes. (Which it is!)

Against such opponents, the regular false riffle and riffle stack may be preferable because their maneuvers appear more amateurish, open, and natural.

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