How Many Decks In Blackjack?
Blackjack is a fast-paced, entertaining casino game that is easy to learn and fun to play. If you take some time to watch what’s happening at the blackjack tables, though, you may notice that there’s more than one way to play this popular game. You’ll see that there are different blackjack versions and variations, so it’s important to know what you’re getting into when you jump into a blackjack game. One of the things that varies between games is the number of blackjack cards in play. This is because the game can be played either using a single blackjack deck, or with multiple decks.
Decks in blackjack
Why do some blackjack games involve more decks than others? This is mainly because more decks make it a more complex game, and casinos prefer that. Traditionally, blackjack was played with a single standard 52-card deck, and single-deck blackjack is still the preferred version of the game for many players. It’s how we all tend to play if we’re just playing the game at home for fun.
However, it is possible to play blackjack with a double deck, and it is not unusual to play it with 6 or even 8 decks. Technically speaking, there’s no limit to the number of decks you could play with in blackjack. The game just becomes more complex, as you might expect, the more cards are in play. This, of course, is why so many casinos like to offer customers multi-deck blackjack games.
Whether you’re playing blackjack with a single deck, a double deck, or multiple decks, the rules are the same, though they do depend on the exact version of the game you’re playing. Some casinos offer European Blackjack, Blackjack Switch, Spanish 21, and Super Fun 21, for example.
Single deck vs double deck
Casinos prefer you to play double-deck blackjack, or even better, 6-deck blackjack, or even 8-deck blackjack. The more complicated the game is, the more likely the house is to win. There are a couple of reasons for this. For a start, multiple decks make card counting harder. Card counting can improve your odds of winning, and although experts suggest that it only gives you a small edge in blackjack, this doesn’t stop the casinos wanting to guard against it.
Most casinos now offer mainly multi-deck blackjack, with at least 2 decks shuffled together, and you’ll find the use of 6, 8 or even more decks quite common. This makes it much harder for players to keep track of the cards in the deck and increases the house edge. You’ll notice that in real-life and live online casinos, few dealers deal by hand. They use a plastic box called a ‘shoe’, because it’s just too difficult to shuffle that huge, multi-deck pile of cards manually.
How many decks in blackjack is best?
The short answer is the fewer decks, the better for the player, but that answer is perhaps a little too simple. More decks make card counting harder, and this means an advantage for the casino. More cards in play also changes the odds of getting the card you need, just a little. The odds of any player getting the perfect card are lower with double-deck blackjack games than with single-deck ones and get a little lower with every pack added. Let’s take a quick look at why that is.
You probably already know that with blackjack, you are aiming to get cards with a face value of 21. Let’s say you’re dealt an Ace for your first card, with a value of 11. Ideally, you want a 10 or picture card next to make the magic 21. With one deck, 16 of the other 51 cards are 10s or pictures, which is 31.4%. In a 6-deck game, 64 of the other 311 cards are 10s or pictures, or 30.9%, so there is a slightly lower chance of getting one.
It is important to remember that this also applies to the dealer, so the house edge really doesn’t increase that much. You should also keep in mind that blackjack actually has one of the lowest house edges of any game in the casino, at around 0.25% for single-deck games and around 2% for a 6 or 8-deck game. Although the house edge gets a little bigger with each deck that is added to the mix, it’s a very small increase in the overall scheme of things.
In a game that’s primarily a game of chance, many players would say that the change in odds as more decks are added is not really something to worry about. As a player, you also lose any advantage you may have gained by card counting, but if like the majority of players, you’re not a card counter anyway, then this will make no difference.
Most players enjoy blackjack as a game based mostly on luck but lightly influenced, of course, by their own decisions. As such, they’re unlikely to be too bothered by the slightly increased house edge provided by extra decks.
Does the number of decks matter?
This depends on how seriously you’re taking the game. If you are a player who likes to follow a strategy, then yes, you might find that your 6-deck blackjack strategy differs from your single-deck strategy. Even if you’re not a card counter, you may find that you can mentally keep track of which blackjack cards have come up and which are still in the pack with a single-deck game. This is much harder to do with a 6 or 8-deck game.
You might also care about the higher house edge that comes with a higher amount of cards, but remember that blackjack is mostly a game of chance. You can win big in an 8-deck blackjack game and lose consistently with a single-deck game. There’s so much luck involved that it’s impossible to predict what will happen.
The number of decks you like to play with is also, to a certain extent, about personal choice. There are players who prefer a double-deck blackjack game to a 6-deck game, and vice versa. If you play regularly, you’ll soon work out which type of game appeals most to you, or you may simply find that you don’t really have a preference.
For the majority of players, blackjack is a fun casino game, and the details don’t matter that much. The game is easy to learn, entertaining to play and has a low house edge, so the number of blackjack decks used doesn’t matter that much to many players. Whatever version of blackjack you pick, and no matter how many decks are used, the main aim of the game is to have fun.