How to Shuffle Cards Like a Pro

A deck of playing cards about to be shuffled

Emilija Manevska / Getty Images

Whether you're performing card magic or just playing a card game, you'll want to know how to shuffle a deck of cards. This basic shuffle with a bridge will serve you well. After you learn this shuffle, you'll have a foundation for your card sleight of hand, and you'll be able to learn beginner card flourishes.

To start your shuffle, hold the deck in your right hand (if you prefer starting with the left hand, simply reverse the instructions going forward) on the short edges with your fingers on the bottom and your thumb on the top. Note the position of the right first finger that's pressing into the middle of the back of the deck. 

While pressing with the right first finger, which bows the deck, run the cards off of your thumb and into the left hand. Note how the left hand is positioned to receive the cards on the fingers. When you have run approximately half of the cards, stop this action. 

Left Hand Takes the Cards

Next, reposition the deck in your left hand. The left hand grabs half of the deck and holds its half in the same manner as your right hand by grabbing the rightmost side of the deck with your thumb. Note how the fingers of the right hand assist with this by levering the half of the deck up into the left hand.

The right hand maintains its grip on its half of the deck. 

One half of the deck of cards is in each hand
Trevor Williams / Getty Images

Bow the Cards

Begin to bow both halves of the deck by squeezing them between your thumb and fingers. Notice that the bend of the bow is towards the table. Again, note the position of the right and left first fingers that are pressing into the middle of the back of each half-deck, which causes them to bow.

Bow the cards before as you're about to shuffle
Ingram Publishing / Getty Images

Shuffle the Cards

Release the cards from your thumbs allowing the cards to fall and interlace. Try not to release the cards in blocks but instead, one by one—allowing the cards from both hands to fall in-between each other. With lots of practice, you'll get faster and more efficient at the process. 

The dealer shuffles a deck of poker cards
Roy Hsu / Getty Images

The Cards Are Shuffled

After shuffling, your hands and cards will be in this position. The cards from the halves in each hand are interlaced approximately halfway down the length of the cards. 

The dealer is about to bow these shuffled cards
Bryan Hainer / Getty Images

The Bridge

Grab the cards with your fingers along the short edges of the cards and let your thumbs rest on top, and arch the interlaced cards. Most of the work when arching the cards is performed by the fingers. Once the interlaced cards are arched, you can release the fingers, so the cards come together and fall into a single heap. This is known as bridging the cards.

The bridge step of shuffling cards
Wayne Kawomoto

Let the Cards Fall

Let the cards fall. You're trying to allow the cards to fall on top of each other, maintaining the interlace of the cards. 

Once all the cards have fallen, straighten out the cards into their original stack. Your shuffle is now complete. Most dealers and performers repeat this process at least twice before performing a trip or starting a game. 

Now that you've learned a basic shuffle learn more sleight-of-hand moves with step-by-step instructions.

Falling playing cards after the shuffle and bridge
Margarita Sarri