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This automated machine shuffles and deals cards so you don’t have to

Arduino TeamJanuary 2nd, 2024

Shuffling and dealing is very serious business when you’re playing any card game that puts money on the line, like poker. Even when the stakes aren’t that high, poor shuffling or dealing can drive a family apart. If you’re tired of being criticized for your card-handling skills, maybe you should build this automatic card dealer and shuffler designed by VUBGROUP1.

VUBGROUP1 consists of electromechanical engineering students at Bruface (The Brussels Faculty of Engineering) and this machine was a project for a mechatronics course. It is capable of both shuffling and dealing cards. Both of those subsystems work in a similar manner: DC motors spin wheels that grip the top card and push it out.

To shuffle, the user splits the deck and loads the two halves. The machine then pushes the cards together in semi-random order into the pre-deal area. That probably isn’t enough for a true shuffle, so it might be worth running the deck through a few times. From the pre-deal area, the machine spits out a selected number of cards, pivots on a stepper motor, and the repeats until all hands have been dealt. 

An Arduino UNO Rev3 board controls that entire process according to user parameters set through a simple interface consisting of a 16×2 character LCD and push buttons. The enclosure is laser-cut MDF held together by M3 screws and there are a handful of 3D-printed parts, such as the gears attached to the motors.

We think it is safe to say that the students received an A+ on this project.