US20110012303A1 - Shuffler for playing cards - Google Patents

Shuffler for playing cards Download PDF

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Publication number
US20110012303A1
US20110012303A1 US12/502,339 US50233909A US2011012303A1 US 20110012303 A1 US20110012303 A1 US 20110012303A1 US 50233909 A US50233909 A US 50233909A US 2011012303 A1 US2011012303 A1 US 2011012303A1
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Prior art keywords
cards
chute
shuffler
means
longitudinal wall
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Abandoned
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US12/502,339
Inventor
Michael Kourgiantakis
John Tsiambouris
Konstatinos Trichas
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Fairplay Inc
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Fairplay Inc
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Priority to US12/502,339 priority Critical patent/US20110012303A1/en
Publication of US20110012303A1 publication Critical patent/US20110012303A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F1/00Card games
    • A63F1/06Card games appurtenances
    • A63F1/12Card shufflers

Abstract

A shuffler for playing cards provides a complete and random shuffle. The shuffler includes a chute and means for biasing cards toward a longitudinal wall in the chute. A preliminary urging means is positioned adjacent the card receiving end of the chute for urging the playing cards to travel to the distal end of the chute. A cut restricter removeably extends into the chute to stop the travel of a portion of the playing cards. There is a further means for advancing the remaining cards towards the distal end of the chute where they will come to rest along the longitudinal wall of the chute. There is also provided means for returning the remaining cards toward the card receiving end of the chute to intermingle those cards with the stopped portion of the cards.

Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates generally to a shuffler for playing cards, and more particularly to a shuffler for providing a complete and random shuffle.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Many card shufflers are known for shuffling packs of playing cards. Many of the common shufflers employ a technique of separating the cards into two stacks, each in a separate magazine, and then simultaneously ejecting them into a receptacle at a pre-determined rate. There is a possibility that if ejection of cards occurs at a constant and pre-determined rate, that the order of the shuffled cards might be predictable or determinable if the positions of the cards in the deck are known before the shuffle. In such instance it is not certain that a shuffle executed by such a shuffler could be truly random, in that the exact placement of the cards is subject purely to chance and cannot be predicted. Card players traditionally look upon cutting the deck in the shuffling process as a reliable way to ensure that cards have not been sequentially placed in order to cause a predetermined shuffle and a dishonest deal of the cards.
  • The technology in card shufflers is becoming increasingly complex as improvements are made to ensure the integrity and completeness of a shuffle. With such increasing complexity there comes increasing manufacturing and development costs. The increasing costs put the purchase of a shuffler beyond what a recreational card player would consider reasonable. There is a need for a reliable, random and inexpensive card shuffler. The shuffler should also be capable of completing a thorough shuffle of the cards quickly. In order avoid unduly delaying a card game, it is desirable that a shuffling session to completely randomize the cards ready for another round of play should take no longer than about one minute.
  • It is an object of the present invention to provide card shuffler that produces a random shuffle.
  • It is a further object of the present invention to provide a card shuffler that has a shuffling motion which is analogous to a manual shuffle.
  • It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a card shuffler which will complete multiple shuffle cycles to result in a thorough shuffle.
  • It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a card shuffler which will complete completely randomize the cards in a very short time.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • There is disclosed a shuffler for playing cards comprising a chute having a first longitudinal wall and a second longitudinal wall, a card receiving end and a distal end. A means is provided for biasing the cards toward the first longitudinal wall in the chute. A preliminary urging means is positioned adjacent the card receiving end of the chute for urging the playing cards to travel toward the distal end of the chute. A cut restrictor removably extends into the chute to stop the travel of a portion of the cards. A means for advancing the remaining cards toward the distal end of the chute where they will come to rest along the first longitudinal wall of the chute. A is provided means for returning the remaining cards toward the card receiving end of the chute to intermingle with the stopped portion of the cards.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a card shuffler according to the present invention holding a deck of cards.
  • FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a card shuffler of FIG. 1 shown from above, without a deck of cards, and having a portion of a wall cut away.
  • FIG. 3. is a cross-sectional view taken along line 3-3 of the shuffler of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 4. is a longitudinal sectional view taken along line 4-4 of the shuffler of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 5 is a top view of the shuffler of FIG. 1 showing a deck of cards shown at the receiving end of the chute.
  • FIG. 6 is a top view of the shuffler of FIG. 1 showing the deck of cards split at the cut restrictor and the remaining advanced toward the distal end of the chute.
  • FIG. 7 is a top view of the shuffler of FIG. 4 showing the deck of cards split at the cut restrictor and the remaining cards positioned at the distal end of the chute.
  • FIG. 8 is a top view of the shuffler of FIG. 4 showing the deck of cards interleaving at the receiving end of the chute.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
  • Referring now FIGS. 1-8 of the drawings a shuffler for playing cards is shown generally by reference numeral 10. A chute 12 may be mounted on a base 22, which also provides a platform for supporting an electric motor or motors, a gearing system, a transmission, a power source, and a switch, all of which are conventional.
  • The chute 12 has a first longitudinal wall 14, a second longitudinal wall 16, a card receiving end 18 and a distal end 20. The chute 12 is preferably slightly wider than the deck 15 of cards which is to be shuffled. The width of the chute must be sufficient to allow the cards to agitate and spread apart from one another to permit cutting of the deck and interleaving of cards, but not so wide as to allow single cards to slide laterally apart from the deck, fall flat, or angle over so as to block the progress of neighboring cards. The chute 12 should be about two and one half standard card lengths long, in order to permit a portion of the deck to cut completely away from the remaining deck and become lined up end to end in register with the remainder of the deck. Preferably the chute has a height which is somewhat greater than the height of the cards when at rest on their side edges therein. A loading notch 17 can be provided in the longitudinal walls 14, 16 to allow a user to reach into the chute 12 and grasp the deck 15 of cards before and after shuffling. A colored masking card can also be slid into the chute 12 along the loading notch 17 in order to cover the bottom card in the shuffled deck to hide the bottom card in the deck to prevent exposure upon removal of the shuffled deck from the shuffler.
  • The present invention can be adapted to shuffle multiple decks by providing multiple chutes side by side in series. It may be possible to increase the width of the chute somewhat to accommodate two decks, but there are limitations upon the functional width of a single chute, as discussed above.
  • A deck of playing cards is shown by reference number 15. At times during the shuffling process, the deck of cards 15 will be shown split into a stopped portion of the deck 15A and a mobile portion of the deck 15B.
  • The shuffler 10 has a preliminary urging means 24 adjacent the card receiving end 18 of the chute 12. This preliminary urging means 24 urges the deck 15 of cards to commence travelling toward the distal end 20 of the chute 12. The preliminary urging means 24 may take many forms, including a roller, a rotating drum, rotating shaft or spindle, a powered belt or conveyor which frictionally engages the deck of cards and carries it along in the desired direction. In any event, the preliminary urging means requires sufficient surface area to frictionally engage and move the deck 15 of cards. The preliminary urging means may operate from above, below or on either side of the deck 15, as routine variations of the present invention. In the preferred embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-8, the preliminary urging means is a unidirectional rotating roller that is positioned below the deck 15 in supporting relation to edges of the cards for frictional rolling engagement with the cards to move the cards in the direction of the distal end 20 of the chute. The shuffler 10 could be adapted to permit the cards to stand so that the shuffle is an end to end shuffle, but with the cards standing vertically. A cut restrictor 26 is provided to removably extend into the chute 12 to stop the travel of a portion 15A of the deck of the cards. The cut restrictor 26 can be oriented to extend into the chute from either side, to project up from the bottom of the chute 12, or to descend into the chute 12 from above. The cut restrictor 26 could take the form of a guillotine, a pop-up barricade, a spring-loaded divider etc.
  • The cut restrictor 26 could be electrically powered and switched for timed operation with the other motorized elements of the device. More than one cut restrictor could be used together in order to effect multiple smaller cuts of the cards and permit multiple smaller portions of cards to advance, while stopping multiple smaller portions of cards.
  • The cut restrictor may also have a contact switch attached to it so that when the rollers on are moving the cards in the direction towards the receiving end; they would be pushing the cut restrictors flap up so they can pass through underneath. As this flap is being pushed up, it would activate a switch that would keep the rollers spinning in that direction and then once the cards have all made it past, the flap would then swing back down deactivating the switch, which would change the direction of the rollers once more to move the cards to the distal end.
  • In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the cut restrictor, shown generally by reference 26, takes the form of a hinged flap mounted from above the chute 12 to alternate between a lowered position extending into the chute 12 to stop the travel of a portion 15A and a raised position clear of the chute. The cut restrictor 26 is mounted to a support arm 28 attached to at least one of the longitudinal walls 14, 16. The support arm 28 may be attached to both walls 14 and 16 to provide additional stability. It has been found to be particularly preferable to construct the cut restrictor 26 in a “T” shape having a hinged mounting above the joint of the arms of the “T”. Gravity will force first arm 32 of the “T” to extend down into the chute 12, leaving the shorter arm 30 to rest below the underside of the support arm 28. When the deck 15 of cards is urged forward by the preliminary urging means 24 and comes into contact with the first arm 32 it will hold fast against the onslaught of playing cards, cutting the deck in to a stopped portion 15A in physical contact with the cut restrictor 26, and a mobile portion 15B which pass by beyond the extent of the cut restrictor 26.
  • A means 34 is provided for advancing the remaining cards in the deck 15B toward the distal end 20 of the chute 12. A means 36 also is provided for returning the remaining cards 15B to the card receiving end 18 of the chute 12. As with the preliminary urging means 24, the means for advancing 34 and the means for returning 36 could take many take forms, including a roller, a rotating drum, rotating shaft or spindle, a powered belt or conveyor which frictionally engages the deck of cards from any desired orientation and carries it along in the desired direction.
  • In accordance with the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the means for advancing 34 and the means for returning 36 are positioned below the deck 15 in supporting relation to edges of the cards. It is preferred for both means 34 and 36 to comprise rollers for frictional rolling engagement with the cards. Separate unidirectional rollers could be used to fulfill each of the advancing and returning functions. They could be independently mounted, and operated systems whose control is synchronized to engage and disengage from the cards at the appropriate time to perform the advancing and returning functions. It is preferred; however, for the means for advancing 34 and the means for returning 36 the deck of the cards to comprise bidirectional rollers rotated in a first direction to advance the cards and rotated in a second direction to return the cards. While it may be possible to use a single bidirectional roller to complete the advancing and the returning functions; it is preferred to use a plurality of bidirectional rollers in series, so as to provide smoother and more effective transportation of the deck 15B. The chute 12 may be provided with a floor, through which the upper surfaces of the rollers project. Alternatively, if the rollers are spaced sufficiently close together to permit the cards to glide freely above the rollers without binding, it is not necessary to have a floor, per se, and instead the cards can simply be supported on the rollers. Alternatively, partial sections of floor may be provided between the rollers to bridge any gaps.
  • Although the advancing 34 and returning 36 rollers may rest under a portion of the entire deck 15 of cards, movement of cards resulting from the frictional engagement with the rollers will only occur in respect of cards which have not been stopped by contact with the cut restrictor 26. The effect of the contact between the advancing means 34 and returning means 36 on the stopped portion 15A of the deck of cards causes the stopped portion 15A to be agitated or “dance” in place.
  • There are provided means for biasing the deck 15 toward the first longitudinal wall 14. The means for biasing could be provided in several different ways, alone or in combination. Examples of biasing means which could be employed in the present invention are described briefly in the following paragraphs.
  • In a first example, the longitudinal walls 14, 16 of the chute 12 could be oriented at an oblique angle. The effect of angling the chute 12 would be to cause the cards to lean toward the longitudinal wall 14, and as they move through the chute would cause the cards to bias toward the longitudinal wall 14.
  • A second example of a means for biasing would be to orient the chute 12 on its base 22 at a slight transverse downward slope toward the first longitudinal wall 14 of the chute 12. Such a downward slope could be providing a thickened area causing the base of the shuffler to tilt on a slight downward slope toward the first longitudinal wall 14. Alternatively, one or more adjustable feet could be provided on the base 22 to provide an adjustable tilt, capable of biasing the cards toward the first longitudinal wall 14.
  • A third example of means for biasing the cards could be accomplished by positioning the urging means, the advancing means and the returning means on a slight transverse downward slope toward the first longitudinal wall 14. If the chute 12 has a floor 38, then the floor cold also be tilted on a slight transverse downward slope toward the first longitudinal wall.
  • In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the means for biasing the cards toward the first longitudinal wall 14 is provided the orientation of the preliminary urging means 24 toward the first longitudinal wall 14. The preliminary urging means 24 remains in the same vertical plane as the rollers which comprise the advancing means and the returning means 34, 36. The preliminary urging means 24 does not need a downward slope or tilt. Instead, the preliminary urging means is oriented at an angle transverse to the first longitudinal wall 14. The angle of orientation is preferably less than 30°. In most instances an orientation of between 1° and 10° is sufficient to achieve the desired biasing. It is most preferred that the angle of orientation be 2°-3° degrees. The shuffler can be provided with an mechanism for adjusting the angle of orientation, in order to optimize the strength of the biasing force to operate with playing cards of weights and sizes. The transverse orientation of the preliminary urging means 24 is illustrated in FIG. 2. Each of the rollers 34, 36, 37 and 24 are shown having a plurality of parallel hatch marks suggesting the surface and orientation of the rollers. It will be noted that the hatch marks on the roller which functions as the preliminary urging means 24 are oriented transversely toward the first longitudinal wall 14 to illustrate the transverse orientation of the urging means 24. The angle of the hatch marks shown in FIG. 2 is for illustrative purposes only, and is not intended to be shown to scale. As the preliminary urging means 24 spins, in frictional engagement with the deck 15, it will bias the deck toward the first longitudinal wall 14 as they move toward the distal end of the chute. The impact of the biasing means is applicable to the portion of the deck 15A which is stopped against the cut restrictor and the mobile portion 15B of the deck as it travel through the chute 12. This adjustment of the angle of tilt will permit selective adjustment of the biasing force which urges the cards toward the first longitudinal wall 14, thereby allowing the shuffler to be adjusted for use with cards that may have different weights and densities. The result of this biasing is that the cards will rest against the first longitudinal wall 14 when the entire deck 15 is at the receiving end 18 of the chute 12. When the deck 15 is moved by the urging means 24, it will tend to move forward along the first longitudinal wall 14. As the remaining cards in the mobile portion of deck 15B move past the cut restrictor 26 will also they will experience a further biasing toward the first longitudinal wall 14 even as they are advanced toward the distal end 20 of the chute 12. A guide 40 is positioned on the second longitudinal wall 16 to direct the remaining cards toward the first longitudinal wall. The guide 40 projects into the chute 12. The cards in the mobile portion 15B of the deck will contact the guide 40 and be further biased toward the first longitudinal wall 14
  • Both the receiving end 18 and the distal end 20 of the chute 12 may be provided with bumpers 42. The bumpers 42 can be constructed from any suitable sound and motion absorbing material. Felt and rubber have been found to be suitable materials from which to construct the bumpers. The bumpers serve cushion the motion of the moving cards, enabling them to decelerate more gently, thereby reducing wear and tear on the cards. The sound absorbing quality of the bumpers 42 also acts to baffle the noise of the cards impacting upon the ends of the chute 12.
  • The shuffler can be fitted with a removable cover that will fit over the longitudinal walls of the chute. The cover will restrain any cards which may kick up during the shuffling process and dampen the overall sound of the shuffler in operation. If the cover is made of opaque material, it will hide the motion of the cards during the shuffle process. This will insure that users and other card players cannot observe the positioning of any particular card during the shuffle.
  • In use the shuffler functions to shuffle a deck of cards as follows. The deck 15 of cards are placed into the shuffler 10, adjacent the receiving end 18 of the chute 12 resting against the first longitudinal wall 14 of the chute 12. The shuffler is switched on, activating preliminary urging means, which by frictional rolling engagement with the deck, cause the deck to move toward the distal end 20 of the chute. When the deck 15 of cards is urged forward by the preliminary urging means 24 and a portion of the deck 15A comes into contact with the cut restrictor 26 and is stopped in physical contact with the cut restrictor 26, and the remaining cards in the mobile portion 15B of the deck pass by beyond the extent of the cut restrictor 26.
  • The advancing means 34 is activated, being the rollers rotating in a first direction, and, by frictional rolling engagement advancing the cards remaining mobile portion 15B of the deck toward the distal end 20 of the chute 12. The stopped portion 15A of the deck of cards remain blocked from forward motion by the cut restrictor 26 and are agitated or “dance” in place. The mobile portion 15B contact the guide 40 and are biased while in motion, coming to rest against the bumper 42 at the distal end of the chute 12, resting against the first longitudinal wall 14.
  • The rotation of the rollers is then reversed providing the returning means 36 which, by frictional rolling engagement with the mobile portion 15B of the deck, brings same toward the receiving end 18 of the chute 12. The cut restrictor is only capable of swiveling in one direction. The mobile portion 15B of the deck pushes against the flap 32 of the cut restrictor, swiveling it out of the way and allowing the mobile portion 15B of the deck to pass under the flap and travel to rejoin the stopped portion 15A of the deck. The reversal in direction of the rollers to cause returning means 36 also somewhat effects the stopped portion of the cards at the receiving end of the chute so that they do not crowd the cut restrictor 26. In essence, the stopped portion 15A of the cards are in a state of equilibrium. As can be seen in FIG. 3, the cut restrictor 26 is positioned ahead of the first roller 37 of the rollers which serve as the advancing means 34 and returning means 36. The first roller 37, when it rotates as the returning means 36, will counter the motion of the preliminary urging means 24 preventing the stopped portion 15A of the deck from moving towards the cut restrictor 26. The counter motion also causes the cards to agitate or “dance” at this point.
  • As the mobile portion 15B passes under the cut restrictor 26, the cards randomly interleave with the dancing cards of the stopped portion 15A of the deck, and the full deck 15 is reunited in the receiving end 18 of the chute 12, completing a shuffle cycle. The entire cycle is repeated a desired number of times to ensure complete randomized mixing of the cards.
  • It will be obvious to those skilled in the art that modifications of the shuffler of the present invention may be adopted without departing from the spirit of the present invention. For example the shuffler according to the present invention could be modified to operate on manually, using hand cranks to turn the various rollers to move and shuffle the cards. Changes may be made in the combination and arrangement of the various parts and elements, described herein without departing from the spirit and scope of this invention. It will be apparent that the scope of the present invention is limited only by the claims set out hereinbelow.

Claims (14)

1. A shuffler for playing cards comprising:
a chute having a first longitudinal wall and a second longitudinal wall, a card receiving end, and a distal end;
means for biasing the cards toward the first longitudinal wall;
a preliminary urging means, adjacent the card receiving end of the chute, for urging the playing cards to travel toward the distal end of the chute;
a cut restrictor removably extending into the chute to stop the travel of a portion of the cards;
a means for advancing the remaining cards toward the distal end of the chute;
and a means for returning the remaining cards toward the card receiving end of the chute to intermingle with the stopped portion of the cards.
2. The shuffler of claim 1, wherein the urging means, the means for advancing and the means for returning are positioned below the cards in supporting relation to edges of the cards.
3. The shuffler of claim 2, wherein the preliminary urging means comprises a unidirectional roller for frictional rolling engagement with the cards.
4. The shuffler of claim 2, wherein the means for advancing the cards comprises a roller for frictional rolling engagement with the cards.
5. The shuffler of claim 2, wherein the means for returning the cards comprises a roller for frictional rolling engagement with the cards.
6. The shuffler of claim 5, wherein the means for advancing the cards and the means for returning the cards comprise a bidirectional roller which is rotated in a first direction to advance the cards and rotated in a second direction to return the cards.
7. The shuffler of claim 1, wherein the cut restrictor is mounted above the chute.
8. The shuffler of claim 7, wherein the cut restrictor is a flap hingedly mounted to alternate between lowered position extending into the chute to stop the travel of a portion of the cards and a raised position clear of the chute.
9. The shuffler of claim 8, wherein the cut restrictor is mounted to a guide supported from one of the longitudinal walls of the chute.
10. The shuffler of claim 1, wherein the means for biasing the cards toward the first longitudinal wall comprises a guide positioned on the second longitudinal wall to direct the remaining cards toward the first longitudinal wall.
11. The shuffler of claim 1, wherein the means for biasing the cards toward the first longitudinal wall comprises the orientation of the preliminary urging means at an angle transverse to the first longitudinal wall.
12. The shuffler of claim 11, wherein the angle is less than 30°.
13. The shuffler of claim 12, wherein the angle is between 1° and 10°.
14. The shuffler of claim 13, wherein the angle is between 2° and 3°.
US12/502,339 2009-07-14 2009-07-14 Shuffler for playing cards Abandoned US20110012303A1 (en)

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