Perfect Interlace Shuffle

Jon Racherbaumer

The action of perfectly alternating playing cards, 26 and 26, is not easily named if the goal is accuracy. Even the noun “shuffle” seems inexact because it suggests clumsy randomness and asymmetrical mixing. Sure, the relative positions of the cards change, but the changes are cyclically predictable and in this regard, perfect.
One can say with certainty that the “alteration of cards”—the one-for-one interlacing—is perfectly uniform, but it is not in the commonly accepted definition a “shuffle.” The cards are not jumbled together.

So, what noun best describes it?

“Interlace” seems to fit the bill.

Should the adjective then be “perfect”? Perhaps.

But there are two types of this kind of Interlace: The Faro Shuffle and what can be called a Volitional Faro Shuffle. The physics of the Volitional Faro Shuffle in terms of what happens with and to the cards is identical, but the means of making this happen is different. The Faro Shuffle is semi-automatic because the two 26-card sections are butted together in precise ways and the cards will then automatically alternate. The Volitional Faro Shuffle depends on the operator’s volition. He must will his thumbs to precisely and alternately release cards until all 52 of them are interlaced. This is not automatic. It is a matter of pure dexterity and unerring timing.

Richard Turner can execute a Volitional Faro Shuffle—formerly a fantasy in MacDouggal’s mind—is 8.1 seconds. His tabled Faro Shuffles are done in 1 or 2 seconds.

If you think this is easy, try making love while standing up in a hammock while juggling seven ice-cream cones.