Device and method for continuously shuffling cards

part1

images

Shuffling cards

The present invention provides an apparatus and method for moving playing cards from a first group of cards into a second group of cards, wherein the second group of cards is randomly arranged or shuffled. The apparatus comprises a card receiver for receiving the first group of cards, a single stack of card-receiving compartments generally adjacent to the card receiver, the stack generally vertically movable, an elevator for moving the stack, a card-moving mechanism between the card receiver and the stack for moving cards one at a time into a selected one of the compartments, another card moving mechanism for moving cards from one of the compartments to a second card receiver and a microprocessor that controls the card-moving mechanisms and the elevator.

What is claimed is:

1. An apparatus for continuously shuffling playing cards, said apparatus comprising:

a card receiver for receiving a first group of cards

a single stack of card-receiving compartments generally adjacent to the card receiver, said stack generally vertically movable, wherein the compartments translate substantially vertically, and means for moving the stack;

a card-moving mechanism between the card receiver and the stack;

a processing unit that controls the card-moving mechanism and the means for moving the stack so that cards placed in the card receiver are moved into selected compartments;

a second card receiver for receiving cards from the compartments; and

a second card-moving mechanism between the compartments and the second card receiver for moving cards from the compartments to the second card receiver.


2. The apparatus according to claim 1, further comprising a second card moving means for emptying the compartments into the second card receiver.

3. The apparatus according to claim 2, further comprising a card present sensor operably coupled to the second card receiver.

4. The apparatus according to claim 3, wherein cards are moved from the compartments into the second card receiver in response to a reading from the card present sensor.

5. A card handler comprising:

a card staging area for receiving cards to be handled;

a plurality of card-receiving compartments, said compartments generally vertically stacked, and the card staging area and the compartments are relatively movable, wherein the compartments translate substantially vertically;

 

a card mover generally between the staging area and the compartments for moving a card from the staging area into one of the compartments;

a microprocessor programmed to identify each card in the staging area and to actuate the card mover to move an identified card to a randomly selected compartment, wherein the microprocessor is programmable to deliver a selected number of cards to a compartment; and means responsive to the microprocessor for moving the compartments.

 

6. The card handler according to claim 5, further comprising inputs operably coupled to the microprocessor for inputting information into the microprocessor.


 

7. A playing card handler comprising:

a generally vertically oriented stack of compartments for accumulating cards in at least one compartment, wherein the compartments translate substantially vertically;

a microprocessor programmed to randomly select the compartment which receives each card in a manner sufficient to accomplish randomly arranging the cards in each compartment, wherein the microprocessor is programmable to deliver a selected number of cards to a selected number of compartments;

a card staging area for receiving a stack of cards to be handled, wherein the stack of compartments is movable with respect to the card staging area;

a first card mover responsive to output signals from the microprocessor for moving cards between the staging area and the stack of mixing compartments; and

a second card mover for moving cards from the compartments to a second card receiver.

 

8. The apparatus according to claim 7, further comprising a data storage medium accessible by the processing unit, wherein the data storage medium has a program stored on it, and wherein the program is configured to cause the processing unit to cause the card moving means to move cards from the staging area to random compartments.

 

9. The apparatus according to claim 8, wherein the second card receiver includes a curved card way.

 

10. The apparatus according to claim 9, wherein the second card receiver includes a card guide means adjacent to the card way.

 

11. The apparatus according to claim 10, wherein the guide means comprises biasing means for urging cards into contact with the card way as the cards are moved from a compartment to the second card receiver.

 

12. The apparatus according to claim 8, further comprising means for monitoring, recording and displaying the use of the apparatus.

 

13. The apparatus of claim 12, further comprising at least one sensor for monitoring the movement of cards.

 

14. The apparatus according to claim 13, wherein the data storage medium is further configured to cause the processing unit to detect a card jam.


 

15. A method of substantially continuously replenishing a group of processed cards, said method comprising:

providing a card receiver for receiving cards to be processed;

providing a single stack of card receiving compartments generally adjacent to the card receiver, said stack generally vertically movable, and means for moving the stack;

providing a card-moving mechanism between the card receiver and the stack and moving cards from the card receiver to the compartments;

providing a second card receiver for receiving processed cards; and

providing a second card moving mechanism for moving cards from the compartments to the second card receiver.

 

16. The method according to claim 15, further comprising provided a processing unit for controlling the card-moving mechanism and the means for moving the stack so that cards in the card receiver are moved into random compartments.

 

17. The method according to claim 16, further comprising using the microprocessor to designate each card and select a compartment for receiving each designated card.

 

18. The method according to claim 17, wherein the designation and selection is performed before card moving operations begin.


 

19. A device for delivering shuffled cards comprising:

a card receiver for receiving at least one stack of unshuffled cards;

a plurality of individual compartments, wherein the compartments move in translation;

a first card mover for moving each card in the stack individually from the card receiver to a compartment;

a second card mover for moving cards from a compartment to a second card receiver upon demand; and

a processing unit programmed to control the first card mover and the movement of the compartments, wherein the processing unit randomly assigns each card in the stack to a compartment, and controls the second card mover.

 

20. A method of forming randomized cards comprising:

providing a group of unshuffled cards;

providing a plurality of mixing compartments, wherein the compartments move in translation;

randomly assigning each card in the group to a compartment, wherein each compartment receives a predetermined number of cards;

delivering each card in the group to its assigned compartment; and

delivering cards in a compartment to a dealer upon demand.

 

21. The method according to claim 20, wherein between seventeen and nineteen compartments are provided.

 

22. The method according to claim 20, wherein the group of cards is a deck of cards selected from the group consisting of a standard 52 card deck, a standard deck with one or more wild cards, a standard deck with one or more jokers, a special deck and a partial deck.

 

23. The method according to claim 20, wherein every card in the group is assigned to a compartment before the first card is delivered.

 

24. The method according to claim 20, wherein nineteen compartments are provided.

 

25. A card shuffling apparatus comprising:

 

(a) at least two card-receiving compartments, wherein each card-receiving compartment can receive more than one card; and

 

(b) a microprocessor programmed to randomly select the compartment which receives each card, wherein the processor controls delivery of a selected number of cards to a selected number of compartments;

 

(c) a card receiver for receiving a group of cards;

 

(d) a first card moving mechanism, operably connected to the microprocessor, for moving a card from the card receiver to a selected compartment; and a compartment moving mechanism, operably connected to the microprocessor, for translating the compartments.

 

26. The apparatus of claim 25, further comprising a second card receiver for receiving cards from the compartments.

 

27. The apparatus of claim 26, further comprising a second card moving mechanism, operably connected to the microprocessor, for moving cards from a selected compartment to the second card receiver.


 

28. A method for continuously shuffling cards with a card shuffling apparatus having a first card receiver, a plurality of card receiving compartments that translate, and a second card receiver, the method comprising:

 

(a) placing cards in the first card receiver;

 

(b) selecting a card receiving compartment to receive a card;

 

(c) moving at least one card in the first card receiver to the selected compartment; and

 

(d) unloading a compartment to the second card receiver when the compartment has received a predetermined number of cards.

 

29. A rack assembly for use in an automatic card shuffler, the rack assembly comprising:

 

(a) at least two card receiving compartments, wherein each compartment has a top surface and a card supporting surface and can receive more than one card;

 

(b) wherein each card compartment comprises a plate member that includes a beveled surface.