The Overhand Shuffle

Force a spectator to choose a pre-determined card

Overhand shuffle

 The Spruce / Wayne Kawamoto

An Introduction to the Overhand Shuffle

The Overhand Shuffle is legitimate shuffle that mixes the cards in a deck as well as a sleight of hand move that can maintain the order of part of the deck or control a playing card.

In this lesson, you’ll learn how to perform the basic Overhand shuffle, both in step-by-step instructions. The Overhand Shuffle mixes cards in bunches and rearranges their order. You can also watch a video that demonstrates how to perform the overhand shuffle.

Overhand Versus Dovetail

The Dovetail Shuffle is the one that comes to mind when most people think of shuffling playing cards. The Dovetail Shuffle divides a deck into two sections and then by "riffling"— releasing the cards against each other, the cards are interlaced and mixed together. The top section is mixed into the bottom section.

Dovetail Shuffles are flashy and fun to watch. While they are a legitimate shuffle, they can also be something of a flourish to demonstrate skill with cards. You can learn a dovetail shuffle via step-by-step instructions.

Overhand Versus Hindu Shuffle

Unlike the Hindu Shuffle, which is rarely used by non-magicians, the overhand shuffle is commonly employed by the layman as well as magicians. The Hindu Shuffle is much like an Overhand Shuffle because it breaks the deck into groups of cards and then rearranges their order. The Overhand Shuffle looks more natural as the cards seem to fit into the way that one would normally hold cards. Unlike the Hindu Shuffle, which is performed with the cards in a somewhat awkward and unnatural position.

Hold the Deck

Overhand shuffling step two
The Spruce / Wayne Kawamoto

Begin by holding the deck with your right hand. Notice how the deck is gripped by the thumb and fingers of the right hand on the top and bottom (short sides) of the deck. Also, the deck is gripped from below.

Note: these instructions are geared towards right-handed magicians. If you are left-handed, please reverse the directions.

Grab Some Cards

Overhand shuffling step three
The Spruce / Wayne Kawamoto

Using the thumb and base of the fingers of the left hand, grab a group of cards from the top and prepare to move them towards the left.

Move the Cards in the Left Hand

Overhand shuffling step four
The Spruce / Wayne Kawamoto

Continue to move the group of cards towards the left. Notice how the cards are held by the thumb and base of the fingers of the left hand. Drop the group of cards into the left hand.


Overhand shuffling step five
The Spruce / Wayne Kawamoto

While holding the cards in the palm of the left hand, return to the right hand to separate and grip another group of cards from the top of the deck and move them towards the left.

Repeat the steps until you’ve exhausted the deck and moved over all of the cards.

As mentioned earlier, the Overhand Shuffle can be used as a false shuffle (much like a false cut but with a shuffle). Most of the sleight of hand moves that employ an Overhand Shuffle only maintain a portion of the cards, usually the top section. However, there are variations on a false Overhand Shuffle that maintain the order of the entire deck.

There are many fun sleight of hand moves with cards you can learn.