If you are playing blackjack in a live casino you will probably encounter games which use multiple decks. Do the number of blackjack decks matter? They do indeed. This is especially true if you are a card counter.
Blackjack games in a casino can use anywhere from one to eight decks of cards. The number of decks that are used can have a direct impact upon the house edge and how you should apply basic strategy. Here’s a look at what you need to know.
How Live Blackjack Games Are Dealt
In live casinos throughout the world it is common for blackjack games to be dealt from a shoe. The shoe is a plastic container which can hold up to eight standard decks of cards. Some shoes may be designed to hold six. The blackjack dealer first shuffles the cards, has a player cut them, and then adds them to the shoe. A single card is slid off from the front of the shoe.
There are also casinos which still offer blackjack games that use one or two decks of cards. A single deck game is becoming extinct. It is rarely found today. Double deck games are still used in many live casinos. They are sometimes referred to as pitch blackjack, and players are allowed to touch their cards.
When multiple decks are used and the cards are dealt from a shoe, players are not allowed to handle the cards. They can be asked to cut the decks once they have been shuffled. A yellow card is used to mark the spot of the cut. The same yellow card is then placed near the rear of the shoe, a little over ¾ of the way through. When this card is reached, the dealer must shuffle the decks again and replace them in the shoe.
Why Did Casinos Start Using Multiple Decks?
The answer to this question is very simple, and it has to do with the percentages that we will speak of shortly. More blackjack decks means a better edge for the casino. The casino began to use multiple decks because it is to their advantage to do so.
Do the number of blackjack decks matter? Yes. If they did not, the casino would not bother to use multiple decks of cards. The presence of more decks also helps to thwart the efforts of some card counters and advantage players.
Always remember this. When the casino makes a change to a game it is always in the casino’s favor. They may try to make the change attractive to the player and appear to be favorable. It is not. To this day it is still in your favor to play games with the fewest number of blackjack decks. Here’s why.
Fewer Blackjack Decks Means More Blackjacks
The most important thing that you need to glean from this article is that fewer decks means that you will get a blackjack more often. A blackjack more often puts you in a position to earn more profits from the game. Remember, you receive 3-2 for a blackjack instead of the 1-1 payout. Every professional blackjack player lives for the natural blackjack win because it pays more money. It also helps to hit it when you have a large bet on the table.
If you are lucky enough to find a blackjack game with a single deck, the chance that you will draw a blackjack on any individual hand is 4.83%. When you play a double deck game that percentage falls to 4.78%. By the time you reach six decks, the odds of drawing a blackjack have fallen to 4.75%.
That may not seem like a huge number, but it is a difficult one to overcome in blackjack. This is because the house edge is already against you. To overcome it you must be able to increase your chances in other areas like being dealt a blackjack.
Doubling Down Improves With Fewer Blackjack Decks
Being able to double down in blackjack is another way to improve your profits. You have to be able to do it at every turn. Not every double down will succeed. You need as many of them to succeed as possible.
This applies to a starting hand of 11. When you have a game with fewer decks you have a better chance to hit a ten for a total of 21.
Oddly enough, one area where you lose a little advantage with fewer decks is the PAT 10 hand. You will get fewer starting hands of 20 with fewer decks. The thing you have to remember is that the dealer is also affected by this, so the result is something of a push.
Why Online Blackjack Is a Good Choice
We are big on the advantages of playing blackjack online. Do the number of blackjack decks matter? If they do, then playing online would be a good choice. The reason? Most virtual blackjack games online use a single deck for each game. The deck is shuffled fresh after each hand. This is accomplished by the use of an RNG, or random number generator.
You are always playing single deck blackjack online unless you are playing at an online casino that offers a live dealer blackjack game. You will get more blackjacks when playing online than you will when you are playing in a multiple deck game in a live casino.
This should suffice to answer some of your questions about why the number of blackjack decks matter. If you are ready to try your hand at online blackjack we suggest trying out one of our recommended online casinos. You can play right from home, and you can even get free bonus money when you make your first deposit. You can read our Casino Max review, Miami Club casino review , High Country casino review, Cherry Jackpot casino review, or Roaring 21 review to name a few.