February 1st, 2022—
If you’ve ever dealt cards the “wrong way” among serious poker players, then you know that some people do not take the dealing process lightly. You must deal cards in the proper order, one to each player before starting back at the first, without ever showing a card. If that sounds like a hassle, you can build this card-dealing robot designed by Mr Innovative.
This simple robot accepts a standard deck of playing cards and deals a preset number of cards to a preset number of players. We would like to see it have some sort of interface to select the number of players and how many cards they receive, but that would be easy to add to the design. It is small enough to fit on any card table and can deal at a fast pace without flinging cards too far.
An Arduino Nano board controls the robot. Mr Innovative used that with a custom multipurpose PCB that he designed for his many projects. In this case, it lets the Arduino drive both a stepper motor and a DC motor. The stepper motor rotates the entire upper assembly on a Lazy Susan-like turntable to point at each player position. The DC motor spins a gripper wheel that flings the top card of the deck. The stepper motor gears and the deck hopper are 3D-printed. A rubber band provides tension to keep the gripper wheel against the cards.
Sadly for those of us lacking in card handling skills, this robot cannot shuffle the cards before dealing.