Shuffle Master is quite probably one of the biggest names working in the casino industry, but there’s a good chance you won’t be familiar with the brand. That’s because its involvement is almost exclusively confined to the real world of bricks-and-mortar casinos, rather than their online counterparts. The company has produced a limited number of slots games for the online market, but this is only a tiny part of the organisation’s contribution to the gaming industry, which goes back a long, long way. Click here to read more.
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History of Shuffle Master
The clue is in the name. Shuffle Master was created with the aim of stopping ‘card counting’ in casinos. The founder was John Breeding, a former truck driver from Minnesota, who created the company in response to an article he’d read in the Wall Street Journal in 1983. Upon discovering that casinos regularly lost large sums of money to card players who used a ‘counting’ system, which enabled them to keep track of the cards in a deck, he started working on his idea for a single-deck automated shuffling system.
This continuous shuffling machine ensured that every single hand was to all intents and purposes dealt from a completely new shoe. An initial investment into the business of $30K enabled Breeding to concentrate on honing and refining his device, which was introduced into casinos in 1992 for the first time. And not surprisingly, it rapidly became popular with casino owners and managers, as it virtually put a stop to card counting for single-deck games. But unfortunately for Breeding, most casinos had taken to using up to five decks at a time for their Blackjack variants, and so his shuffler wasn’t adopted as widely as he’d hoped.
Immediately, he set about working on a multi-deck shuffling device, but he knew it was going to take a long time to bring to the market. It had taken him 10 years to develop his single-deck shuffler, so he was desperate to come up with a way of generating income in the meantime.
It was his wife who came with the answer. To facilitate sales of his single-deck automated shuffler, she challenged him to create a game that would rely on one deck of cards only. So that’s exactly what he did! He came up with Let It Ride, a five-card poker variant, in which players can decrease their bets if they don’t like the cards they’ve been dealt.
The game was an instant hit, with promotional literature heavily based on Breeding’s former truck-driving career. Shuffle Master was now firmly on the gaming industry’s map, and although Breeding himself retired, the company continued to go from strength to strength. Shuffle Master was bought out by Bally Technologies for well over a billion dollars in 2013. Bally was in turn bought for over five billion dollars by Scientific Games the following year, thereby acquiring ownership of the Shuffle Master brand, which also sometimes goes under the name SHFL.
Types of Shuffle Master games
Let it Ride, although only created to demonstrate the efficacy of the original single-deck shuffler, quickly became much more popular than the device it promoted, and was a massive hit in land-based casinos. But the multi-deck shufflers soon found their way onto the market, and they continue to be the product for which the company is best-known to this day. The devices are used for poker, blackjack and baccarat games in casinos around the world, and programmable versions can be customised for almost any card game imaginable.
Today, Shuffle Master has quite a diverse portfolio of products, including automatic chip sorters for roulette games. But it’s table games that now seem to be the company’s primary focus, with the gaming rights to Three Card Poker one of its earliest acquisitions back in 1999. It’s also the company behind other popular casino table games, including Casino War, Blackjack Switch and Caribbean Stud.
Shuffle Master slots games
From time to time during its history, Shuffle Master has created an occasional slots game, but its focus has always been far more towards table games. In the past, Shuffle Master has created some popular slots games that were quickly bought up by Bally and IGT, but these days the company, still turns out the occasional slot under its own brand.
Monopoly Grand Hotel
A beautifully-realised five reel, three-row online slots game, Monopoly Grand Hotel features all of the symbols you know and love from the board game, but thoroughly digitised for a modern world. Planes, boats and classic cars are joined on the reels by a pair of dice, a scruffy, but cute, dog and the game’s iconic Free Parking symbol. Mr Monopoly himself is the game’s wild, so he’ll stand in for all the other symbols, apart from bonus symbols and scatters, to help create winning combinations on your behalf.
Land three Go symbols to trigger a spin on the Go Wheel. You could win 6 free spins, during which the Free Parking bonus symbol can award between 2x and 2x your stake. Or you could spin up a cash prize, worth up to 20x your stake. Or you could spin up one of the four Jackpot cash bonus awards - there are Mini, Minor, Major and Grand Jackpot prizes to be won. The Grand Jackpot prize is worth 10,000x your total wager, so there are some huge rewards to be found across the reels of this exciting and innovative take on a popular family favourite board game.
88 Fortunes Megaways
Based on Shuffle Master’s original 88 Fortunes slots game, 88 Fortunes Megaways incorporates the hugely popular Megaways mechanic, under license from Big Time Gaming. This is a gorgeous game to look at, but the Megaways feature gives it an extra fascination, since there are up to 117,649 Ways to Win with every spin. And with a top prize that’s worth 10,000x your stake, high rollers are definitely going to be wanting to explore this online slots game. Cascading reels, free spins and changeable symbol values give players a great gaming experience.
Shuffle Master Slots FAQs
When was Shuffle Master established?
Shuffle Master has a long history in the land-based and online gambling industry, and they were first established back in 1983.
How did they start off?
In their early beginnings, Shuffle Master focused on developing an automatic card shuffler. This was sold to online casinos, and was designed to prevent savvy players from card counting - a strategy used in Blackjack that can actually tilt the odds into the player’s favour.
What games do they make?
Shuffle Master is credited with developing Let it Ride - a popular casino table game. They also offer a wide variety of other games, including slot machines and other casino table games like Roulette and Blackjack.
Who owns them today?
It’s been quite a journey for Shuffle Master. In 2012 they rebranded themselves to SHFL Entertainment. The following year they were acquired by Bally Technologies for a whopping $1.3 billion, and today, the company is part of the SG Gaming umbrella.
Do they have any popular slots worth playing?
Despite being a pretty old-school name, Shuffle Master is still developing slots. Some of their top games include 88 Fortunes, Dancing Drums, Golden Asia, Monopoly Grand Hotel and, more recently, 88 Fortunes Megaways.