Shuffle Master, the company behind Let It Ride Poker, has long been involved in many facets of the gambling industry and has consistently been named one of the best 200 small companies by Forbes magazine yet remains unknown to many.
Originally formed in Minneapolis but later relocated to the Las Vegas area, Shuffle Master was formed in 1983 after its founder, a former truck driver by the name of John Breeding, read a newspaper article about the ubiquitous problem of card counting in casinos.
Shuffle Master developed a mechanical card shuffler that would ensure a fresh deck for each new hand, however around the same time most casinos began using multiple decks, eliminating the need for such a device. Shuffle Master then developed Let It Ride Poker, a one deck game designed primarily to stimulate the demand for the mechanical shuffler. The game proved popular, especially with older players who preferred its slow pace, and by the mid-1990s was more profitable for the company than the mechanical shuffler itself.
The Shuffle Master company has also at various times been involved in the manufacture of slot machines. Their first go at this specialty was not profitable and Shuffle Master sold off this segment of the business, only to return to the slot machine industry after its 2006 acquisition of Stargames Limited, an Australian slot machine manufacturer.
In 2004, Shuffle Master also purchased most of BET Technology, a company responsible for the development of such games as Fortune Pai Gow and Casino War.
More recently, Shuffle Master has been in the news for having agreed to the purchase of the Ongame Network, a company that provides services to the online poker industry. The price of the sale, which is reported to be between $26 million and $39 million, is not finalized and will ultimately depend on the whether or not online poker will be legalized in the United States within the next five years.