In a quiet week on the earnings front I'm drawn to Thursday. That's when we'll be getting some hot casino action as Mandalay Resort Group (NYSE:MBG) and Shuffle Master (NASDAQ:SHFL) turn over their cards to reveal their quarterly hands.

Ever since Mandalay accepted a $7.9 billion marriage proposal from MGM Mirage (NYSE:MGG) earlier this year I'll admit to being disinterested. Go ahead. Elope. However, Shuffle Master is one company that has always made my heart skip a beat.

No, I've never owned it. That's unfortunate because the stock has been a 10-bagger over the past five years. Yet in the quest for Hidden Gems, how can you not like Shuffle Master? The company has nickel-and-dimed its way to Wall Street prosperity by providing card-shuffling equipment and game tables to casinos.

It may not sound glamorous, but it's been all aces when you consider how the casinos that it relies on have been expanding quickly. Back in May the company saw its fiscal second-quarter earnings grow by better than 30% as revenues surged to a staggering 50% improvement. So if you're wondering why the stock has been so popular on this side of the millennium, well, it's all about the face cards.

Yet Shuffle Master hasn't simply been the beneficiary of being in the right place at the right time. Its management has been crafty, too. Earlier this year, when the company recognized what it did best, it sold off its slot business to niche leader International Game Technology (NYSE:IGT).

The stock may not appear cheap, trading at nearly 40 times this year's projected earnings. However, the company's profit guidance indicates that it is also looking to grow its bottom line between 26% and 37% in fiscal 2005. That new financial year is now just two months away, and if you look at those prognosticated profits it drops the company's P/E multiple to as low as 27.

Given the company's speedy growth spurt that is certainly a reasonable valuation. With other factors such as the popularity of televised poker thanks to Lakes Entertainment's (NASDAQ:LACO) World Poker Tour no doubt drawing casinos to fit more card games into their seas of slot cacophony, Shuffle Master has to like the hand that its future will be dealt.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz may live dangerously, but that doesn't mean that he will hit on 20 in blackjack. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story.