There are several games that require you to pitch cards as you deal (poker, single or double deck blackjack, and gin rummy, to name a few), so knowing how to do so professionally and effectively is a must. Once you have your shuffle perfected (see previous entry) you can work on your pitch, or delivery, of the cards.
Holding the Deck
First, hold the deck in your non-dominant hand. Position the deck mostly in your fingers, resting the back of the deck in your palm, and the front outside corner between your pointer and middle fingers. Pull the other fingers of your hand just below the top card of the deck to avoid lifting cards up and exposing them as you pull them off the deck. Slightly fan the deck to make it easier to grab the top card, and angle it slightly downward towards the table, also to avoid flashing cards.
With the hand that’s holding the deck, lightly but firmly slide the top card with your thumb towards your other hand, which should palm up, fingers loose, ready to grab the top card. Take the card between your thumb and pointer of your dominant hand, and using your middle finger, gently flick the card toward the player to whom you are dealing. Use the deck almost like a ramp, and the edge of the card should be on your fingernail – your finger should be all that forces the card to move. A good pitch will not move your wrist or your elbow, and all the action comes from your middle finger.
Don’t try to pitch the card all the way to the player – try to land it on the table about a foot in front of them, and the card should slide face down the rest of the way to them. This can avoid situations when the player accidentally causes a card to flip up because the card was in the air as they moved their hands. If the cards slide on the table to them. there are obviously less chances for the card to flip over due to player interference. If the card doesn’t make it all the way to the player, take a quick moment to push the card to them before continuing on with the deal.
- Keep your elbows locked to your sides
- Don’t grip the deck or the cards too tightly, you can bow the cards and expose them to the players
- Don’t grab the top card by the corner, grab about 20-30% down the side of the card
- Leave both palms face up, wrists close together, like you’re wearing handcuffs
- If you need visual help with any of these points, there are a plethora of videos on the internet that will show you these concepts live
“It’s hard to walk away from a winning streak, even harder to leave the table when you’re on a losing one.”
― Cara Bertoia