Ask Ken, 07/14/2004

Do you have a preferred method for shuffling? Is there a commonly accepted method that the pros use?

We now return to our normal format here at Ask Ken. I’m your host, Ken Krouner. Let me know if you liked yesterday’s little diversion. I can do more of those if they please you. For now I am going to go to more serious matters: my little electronic mailbag.

Today’s letter comes to us from one of our brave servicemen, Sebastian J. Smith. Sebastian writes:

It seems to me that shuffling well before each game is extremely important, especially over a long tournament. It also seems as if there’s a direct correlation between the skill of a player and how thoroughly they shuffle. Do you have a preferred method for shuffling? Is there a commonly accepted method that the pros use?


Well Sebastian, at the risk of sounding trite, thank you very much for your hard work and devotion defending our country. I can’t say I agree with everything you are ordered to do, but I am glad you are here to protect us.

Most pros pile shuffle several times, but many, like Mike Pustilnik and myself, generally stick to riffling. I occasionally do pile shuffle and the one thing I keep in mind is to make piles that are not divisible into the number of cards in your deck. When a player does this, you should be suspicious. It is possible to stack your deck using piles like this.

One big reason I like to stick to riffling is that you only get a limited amount of time to shuffle and riffles actually randomize a deck just as well as piling if you riffle properly, carefully and thoroughly.

Whatever you do, don’t mana weave. Technically it is legal as long as you sufficiently randomize your deck afterwards, but it is a really bad habit to get into and it looks shadier than Trey Van Cleave sitting under a willow tree.

The source on sufficient randomization,


I can’t promise you a guest columnist for tomorrow. Recovery from the trip has been slow, but I will do my best. G’night Everybody!

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Today on a very special Ask Ken I am going to tell you some things I learned at Pro Tour: Seattle. I’m your host, Ken Krouner, and this was the best PT weekend of my life…

1. No matter how tragic the story, never ever ever ever believe Osyp Lebedowicz.

2. Sometimes individual records of 6-1, 6-1, 7-0 isn’t enough to win a teams LCQ.

3. Those carpet cleaners they rent at grocery stores really work.

4. No matter how hard you try to hang out with everyone, some people will always feel ignored.

5. Adam Chambers, Bill Stead, and Charlie Gindy will lead the charge of the U.S. comeback on the PT.

6. A fun team will always do better than a good team.

7. The Cheesecake Factory has amazing Pad Thai for a place called”The Cheesecake Factory.”

8. Aaron van der Beek is one of the true masters in this world. Not necessarily at Magic, but have a look at him sometime.

9. If you have never been on a four-man team with Mark Herberholz, Jordan Berkowitz, and Little”Paul Rietzl” Darwin, do it as soon as humanly possible.

10. Never attend an event without spending at least one night hanging out with both Josh”The Former Champ” Wagener and Mark Zadjner.

11. Some people you really need to hang out with to fully understand.

12. I drive a Dodge Stratus.

13. Krark is great.

14. That Hansel is so hot right now.

15. Never ever ever quit Magic: The Gathering!

That’s all I have for today kiddies. We’ll return to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.


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