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Multi-Deck Blackjack Vs Single Deck Blackjack

Differences between Multi Deck and Single Deck Blackjack

Multi-Deck & Single-Deck Differences

Blackjack is one of the easiest casino table games to learn and relies on skill a lot more than some games such as Roulette or Slots.

Many casino sites now offer a full range of Blackjack options, from Single-Deck right up to those that use 8 Decks – or Shoes.

Although the rules are the same for both Single-Deck and Multi-Deck Blackjack, there are a few minor differences that you should be aware of in order to maximize your chances of winning.

How to play Blackjack

Back when Blackjack was first launched, it was only played with one deck of cards. The aim of the game – as it is now – is to get closer to 21 than the Dealer without going over this total and ‘Busting’.

It quickly became obvious in land-based Casinos that you could get an advantage over the House by ‘Card Counting’. This is where you make a mental note of how many cards with the value of 10 – to 10, Jack, Queen and King – have come out of the deck.

The more that comes out, the less chance there is of getting Blackjack or a 10 when you ‘Hit’ – request an extra card from the Dealer.

Casinos soon cottoned onto this and started to look at ways of keeping their House Edge as high as possible. One of the main ways they did this was to introduce extra decks to the game, thus making it harder for some counting cards to keep track of the number of 10’s that had been dealt.

In both versions of Blackjack, winners get paid even money unless they get Blackjack – An Ace and card worth 10 in their first 2 cards – in which case they win their bet at 3 to 2 – although in some versions of Single-Deck Blackjack, you get paid only 6 to 5 so keep an eye out for that and avoid when you can.

Multi-Deck VS Single-Deck Strategies

The key difference when playing Single-Deck Blackjack as opposed to Multi-Deck Blackjack is when to Hit, when to Stand and when to Double.

Like all versions of the game, we recommend that you avoid Insurance whenever it is offered (this only applies when the Dealer’s upturned card is an Ace) as this is a worse bet than many side-games and has a much better House-Edge than the game itself. You may win in the short-term but the more they play the more likely it is that you will lose. See our separate article on Insurance for more details.

There are plenty of times when the optimal move is the same for both Single-Deck and Multi-Deck variations.

For example, if you have 11 or less then you cannot Bust so at no time would the correct move be to Stand – the only choice is when to Double when the Dealer has a poor card and you have 8 or above.

In both variations, if you have 17 or above, it is always advisable to Stand as the risk of Busting is too high, irrespective of what the Dealer may have.

Single DeckPlayer Up Card
Player Below2345678910A
2HHHHHHHHHH
3HHHHHHHHHH
4HHHHHHHHHH
5HHHHHHHHHH
6HHHHHHHHHH
7HHHHHHHHHH
8HHHDDHHHHH
9DDDDDHHHHH
10DDDDDDDDHH
11DDDDDDDDDH
12HHSSSHHHHH
13SSSSSHHHHH
14SSSSSHHHHH
15SSSSSHHHHH
16SSSSSHHHHH
17SSSSSSSSSS
18SSSSSSSSSS
19SSSSSSSSSS
20SSSSSSSSSS
21SSSSSSSSSS

 

Multi DeckPlayer Up Card
Player Below2345678910A
2HHHHHHHHHH
3HHHHHHHHHH
4HHHHHHHHHH
5HHHHHHHHHH
6HHHHHHHHHH
7HHHHHHHHHH
8HHHHHHHHHH
9HDDDDHHHHH
10DDDDDDDDHH
11DDDDDDDDDH
12HHSSSHHHHH
13SSSSSHHHHH
14SSSSSHHHHH
15SSSSSHHHHH
16SSSSSHHHHH
17SSSSSSSSSS
18SSSSSSSSSS
19SSSSSSSSSS
20SSSSSSSSSS
21SSSSSSSSSS

H = Hit
D = Double
S = Stand

As there are more cards available in Multi-Deck Blackjack, it is harder to determine your odds when Doubling. Therefore, the main difference that you will see between the charts above is that there are more instances where you should Double in Single-Deck Blackjack.

As there are fewer cards with the value of 10, it is harder for you to go Bust in Single-Deck. It follows that in Multi-deck Blackjack you have more cards to hit and therefore a bigger chance of hitting a 10-value card.

We recommend that you Double on an 8 when the Dealer has a 5 or 6 in the Single-Deck variation, again due to the lower number of cards available the chances are less than the Dealer will make a winning hand and is more likely to Bust.

Conclusion

It is clearly easier to keep track of the cards that come out the deck in Single-Deck Blackjack, even when playing online.

However, you will find that the House Edge is higher on Insurance at around 5.9 as there are fewer 10’s in the deck. As mentioned above though, we do recommend avoiding Insurance at all costs.

You will find it easier to play Multi-Hand Blackjack online as there are far more variations and the House-Edge is better when following the above strategy in Multi-Deck Blackjack than the Single-Deck variation.

Related Blackjack Articles:
Blackjack Rules, Strategy & Tips
Basics of Card Counting

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FAQ

faq

What is Single-Deck Blackjack?

Single-deck Blackjack, as the name implies, is blackjack played with only one 52-card deck. Once upon a time, single-deck blackjack was the standard. However, nowadays, most casinos implement multiple decks for their blackjack games.

faq

What is Multi-Deck Blackjack?

Again, as the name implies, multi-deck blackjack is a blackjack game played with multiple decks of 52 cards. This is the most common way to play blackjack nowadays.

faq

Why is Multi-Deck Blackjack Popular?

As we said, once upon a time, single-deck blackjack was the standard. However, at some point casinos began introducing multi-deck blackjack in an attempt to combat card counters. Usually, two decks are used. However, casinos have been known to involve four, six, or even eight decks for one game.

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Is it Better to Play Single-Deck or Multi-Deck Blackjack?

There is no way to answer this question properly. Both games have their benefits and both come with a few drawbacks. The best way to answer this question is to take a look at the pros and cons of both variations on the game, so that you can come up with your own decision as to which you think is best.

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What are the Pros of Single-Deck Blackjack?

The biggest benefit of playing single-deck blackjack, is that it is much easier to reach the number 21. If you are a player, playing single-deck blackjack is especially beneficial, since it significantly lowers the house’s edge, dropping it to only 0.15%.

faq

What are the Cons of Single-Deck Blackjack?

It isn’t much of a con, however, the main reason that some blackjack players might move from single to multi-deck blackjack is the fact that in single-deck games the payouts are quite a bit lower. However, it is also much more likely to win in single-deck blackjacks. It is for this reason that most people like to stick to single deck games.

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What are the Pros of Multi-Deck Blackjack?

The pros of multi-deck blackjack we have already sort of covered. Simply put, because the risk of multi-deck blackjack is bigger, the payout is also bigger. So, by winning a multi-deck blackjack game, you will get a bigger payout than if you were to win a single-deck blackjack game.

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What are the Cons of Multi-Deck Blackjack?

Again, we already sort of covered this. A four game blackjack game will usually give a win once in 21 hands. In other words, the odds of winning a game of multi-deck blackjack are much lower than the odds of winning a single-deck game. However, some professional gamblers still prefer multi-deck blackjack, as the risk not only does not detract from, but adds to the reward.

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How Many Decks of Cards do Casinos Usually Use for Blackjack?

It might shock some to find this out, but casinos tend to use six decks for blackjack. The reasons for this are simple. One, the odds of a player winning a multi-deck game of blackjack are much lower. And the more decks are introduced to the table, the lower the odds drop. The second reason is to combat card counting. The more decks are introduced to the game, the harder it becomes to count the cards. However, some professional gamblers still manage to crack the code and overcome the number of decks.

faq

Should I Try My Hand at Single-Deck Blackjack?

It is impossible to give a suggestion to someone as to what game they should play in the casino. However, the best we could do is say this. If you are determined to try your hand at blackjack, then it is best to start out playing single-deck games. Once you’ve mastered the game, and have gotten good at it, then you can try to move up to multi-deck games, as winning at those takes quite a bit of work.

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