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How many decks of cards are used in Blackjack?

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Simon Young

November 11th, 2021

When you play blackjack at home, whether you call it pontoon, 21, or something else, the chances are you use one deck of cards. After all, most of us only have one 52-card pack of cards in the house.

When you play at a casino, you might wonder how many decks are used in blackjack. Just like at home, you could find a table using one deck of cards, but it’s far more common for between six and eight cards to be in play at a live casino venue. The same applies to online platforms like TwinSpires Casino.

To most of us, that makes very little difference. We still get two cards, see what the dealer’s upcard is, and can then play out our hand in the usual way. There is strategically nothing you should do differently, except perhaps try and keep an eye on the number of tens and picture cards that have been in play.

Why Casinos Change How Many Decks Are Used in Blackjack

There are two good reasons why casinos tend to prefer using six to eight decks of cards at a blackjack table.

Firstly, with a single deck game, the dealer must shuffle the deck after every round, and that takes time. And as you will appreciate, that’s the time when the casino isn’t making any money. A casino not making cash is not a good proposition (for the casino owner, that is). However, if six to eight decks are in play, you can play many blackjack hands before the dealer must shuffle the decks once more.

The second reason why how many decks are used in blackjack is important is that the house edge is ever so slightly better for higher deck games. One thought behind this is that it makes it much harder for players at the table to keep track of cards that have been seen. It’s card counting to you and me – not illegal, but frowned upon by casinos.

When you play with multiple decks, you will note the dealer cuts the cards with a blank colored card before placing them all in the shoe. Therefore, not all the cards will be used in the game because once the dealer gets down to the cut card, the decks are reshuffled. So, not only do you have to keep track of more cards between shuffles, you don’t actually know how many tens or picture cards are in play.

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How Many Decks in Online Blackjack?

At traditional online blackjack tables, which use random number generators to shuffle the animated cards, you might think that it doesn’t matter how many decks are in play. You’d be right in that there is no time needed for the virtual dealer to shuffle after every hand of play. And you generally play these tables solo, so you cannot see other cards at the table.

But online casinos like to be authentic and offer tables with six to eight decks, too, although these will be shuffled automatically each hand.

What about live dealer tables online?

How many decks in blackjack games on live dealer tables online is an interesting point. It’s almost always six to eight. Just like in real casinos, the house doesn’t want their studio dealers tied up shuffling a deck after every hand.

Very rarely, you might come across a single deck game in a live studio setting. In this case, there will be an automatic card shuffler on the table. As one deck is in play, another will be shuffled, and they swap over as play progresses. This only adds minimal delays.

Play Blackjack at TwinSpires Casino

You can try various blackjack games at TwinSpires Casino – both traditional random number generated online blackjack games and blackjack games in the live casino section. Sign-up for your account, make a deposit, and explore the blackjack games for yourself. Good luck!