How Many Decks Are Used in Blackjack? Key Facts for Gamblers
Have you ever wondered how many decks are used in blackjack and why some variations use multiple decks? This is a significant variation that can substantially impact your odds of winning.
How Many Decks are Used in Blackjack?
Blackjack games can use anywhere from one to eight decks, which is true for both online and offline variations of the game. The decks are loaded into a shoe, and the dealers take them out one card at a time.
Why Do Games of Blackjack Use So Many Decks?
Traditionally, blackjack used a single deck of cards, and some variations of classic blackjack still use a single deck. However, as card counting became more prevalent and casinos like Atlantic City were banned from outlawing the act, they began to balance the odds by introducing more decks.
To understand why this makes a difference, just think about a game played with a single deck at a table with four players. You’re sitting on a score of 11 with a 5 and 6, and the dealer shows a 9. The other players all have low hands, and there are no 10 cards on display.
There are four cards worth ten in every suit, equating to a total of 16 per deck. That means you have a more than 30% chance of getting a potential winning hand if you hit. However, those odds are based on a deck of 52 cards and the assumption that no other cards are displayed. Nine other cards are on the table; if none are worth ten, you have a 16/43 or 37% chance.
This is essentially how card counting works. Counters will keep a running total in their heads that changes every time they see a low or high card. When they reach a position with many low cards, they’ll increase their wager or start betting, as the odds of hitting a blackjack or a big hand are higher.
This is still possible with multiple decks, but the odds are much smaller. In the above example, a game with six decks would have 96 cards worth ten. They offer the same 30% chance of hitting. But the nine low cards on the table only increase those odds by about 1%.
How Many Decks are in a Blackjack Shoe Online?
Online variations, like BetUS blackjack games, also use up to eight decks. In live blackjack, these decks are added to a shoe for the dealer to use. In virtual blackjack, where you play against the computer and outcomes are determined by RNG, the number of decks also differs. In this case, however, it doesn’t always matter how many decks the game uses.
Online Blackjack and Card Counting
Card counting works because dealers will take cards from a shoe and discard them at the end of the hand, giving card counters an idea of how many of a specific card type remain. So, if you’re playing a game with a single deck and you see the ace of spades, you won’t see it again until the deck has been shuffled and all cards have been reintroduced.
Virtual blackjack is different as these games often contain software that shuffles the cards after every hand. Seeing the ace of spades during your first hand doesn’t mean it won’t appear during your second, so there’s no point counting which cards have appeared.
This is usually different for live dealer blackjack games, as they work on the same principle as land-based blackjack. You can check for this by paying attention to what happens to the cards when the hand is over.
How Do Blackjack Decks Change the House Edge?
The number of decks significantly changes the house edge, with a giant leap when you go from one to two and a much smaller increase from there. See below to discover how much the edge changes when more decks are added:
Decks |
Changes in House Edge |
2 |
+0.34% |
3 |
+0.45% |
4 |
+0.50% |
5 |
+0.53% |
6 |
+0.55% |
7 |
+0.56% |
8 |
+0.57% |
How Many Decks for Texas Hold’em?
Texas Hold’em poker is always played with a single deck, unlike blackjack. It reduces complications regarding hand quality and means it’s harder for two players to have the same hand. If that weren’t the case, having seven of the same value and creating a five-of-a-kind hand would be possible.
In many casinos and card rooms, dealers will prepare two decks to use one while the other is being shuffled, but only one is used during a single game.
Summary: How Many Decks Do Casinos Use in Blackjack?
Now that you know how many decks are used in blackjack, it’s time to explore some other facets of this game, ones that make it the most popular card game in the casino and the one with the lowest house edge. Check out the blackjack guide at BetUS.com.pa to discover more.
Blackjack Common Queries
How does the number of decks in blackjack affect the house edge?
Yes, it increases it by as much as 0.57% when you move from a single deck to eight decks.
What is the typical number of decks used in blackjack in casinos?
Many casinos use between six and eight decks, with the former being the most common.
How does playing with a single deck differ from playing with multiple decks in blackjack?
You have a higher chance of winning, and it’s also much easier to count cards in a single-deck game. As noted in our guide above, you don’t need to keep a running total, as simply paying attention to the table can give you an idea of which cards are left and your chances of hitting a specific number.
Are there variations of blackjack that use a specific number of decks?
Yes, as the name suggests, Single Deck Blackjack uses a single deck of cards.
Why do casinos use multiple decks in blackjack games?
It increases the house edge slightly and makes it harder to count cards.
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