How Many Decks Are Used in Blackjack?

If you are playing blackjack at home, you’re probably playing with just one deck of 52 cards. However, when playing online blackjack, this might not be the case. In fact, it’s a lot more common that a blackjack game is played with between six and eight decks of cards. But why? And what difference does it make?

Well, in this guide, we’ll look at how many decks in blackjack, the number of cards in a deck, how the decks of cards work, the games with multiple decks of cards - and how you choose which one is best for you.

Understanding the Deck in Blackjack

In blackjack, understanding the deck of cards is vital if you want a better experience when you come to play blackjack. The game uses a standard deck of playing cards - made up of 52 cards. However, it's important to know that often, several decks are used in casino blackjack games.

Single Deck Blackjack Composition

So, firstly, how many blackjack cards are in a deck? Well, a standard deck of blackjack playing cards consists of four suits - hearts, diamonds, clubs, and spades, with each suit containing 13 cards - making a total of 52 cards in the deck. These cards are divided into ranks: standard numbered cards (2 -10), face cards (J, Q and K) and the Ace.

The Advantages & Disadvantages of Single Deck Blackjack


Better Odds: Single-deck blackjack usually offers better odds with a lower house edge - with fewer cards in play, it's easier for you to track the composition of the deck and make better decisions.

Simplicity: Single-deck blackjack is simpler - making it a great option for anyone new to the game.


Shorter Games: Single-deck games often have shorter rounds since the deck will need to be reshuffled more. This can mean a faster-paced game - which some players may prefer but others may not like as much.

Multiple Deck Blackjack

However, in most casino blackjack games, you won't encounter one single deck, but several decks shuffled together. The number of decks used can vary. It could be one-deck blackjack, four-deck blackjack, six-deck blackjack, eight-deck blackjack, or even more, depending on the variant you play and the casino you’re playing at. That being said, it’s worth being aware that using more decks affects many aspects of the game, including how you play and the odds.

The Advantages & Disadvantages of Multi Deck Blackjack


Longer Games: Multiple-deck blackjack games usually offer longer rounds based on the way blackjack decks are used.

Makes Card Counting Harder: Multiple decks make card counting harder, potentially leading to more of a balanced game that some players may prefer.


Slightly Higher House Edge: As mentioned above, multiple deck games usually have a slightly higher house edge - and although this difference is pretty small, some players may not like this.

More complex: With multiple decks, you may come across more complex situations that require more thoughtful decision-making, which can make deciding how to play your hand trickier. It can even influence the blackjack strategy you decide to use.

Blackjack Games with Multiple Decks

When you head out to a casino, you’ll notice that in many variations of blackjack, multiple decks of standard playing cards are used. The use of multiple decks will mean that there are important differences in gameplay that you will need to consider - compared to single-deck blackjack games. Six to eight decks are often the most common to find at blackjack tables. So, let’s take a look at how and why multiple decks are used in blackjack games and what this means for you as a player:

Why Multiple Decks are Used

There are several reasons multi-decks are used in casinos and blackjack games:

Longer Playing Time: One of the main reasons for using multiple decks is to make the game last longer. In a single-deck game, the cards can be quickly reshuffled, which can lead to shorter rounds. However, multiple decks tend to slow down the game - making it better for both players and casinos.

Card Counting: Some players attempt card counting techniques to try and gain an advantage in blackjack. Multiple decks make card counting a lot more difficult because trying to track the cards used is a lot harder than keeping track of a single deck of cards - and this usually discourages professional card counters.

How Does the Amount of Decks Used Impact Blackjack

Based on the number of decks used in your blackjack game, there are certain aspects that will vary. This includes:

Higher House Edge: Games that use more decks usually have a slightly higher house edge. This means that, on average, you may have a slightly lower probability of winning when compared to a game with fewer decks. However, this effect is minor.

More Complex: Playing a multi-deck game can lead to more complex decision-making in some situations. For example, you may need to consider the composition of multiple decks when you’re deciding whether to hit, stand, double down or split.

Fewer Variables in Card Distribution: The distribution of cards tends to become more uniform - for instance, it's less likely that you’ll see long streaks of high or low cards.

The Blackjack Shoe

In multi-deck games, the live dealer normally uses a shoe (that holds and dispenses cards) to deal out the cards to players. The cards from all the decks used are shuffled together before the dealer places them in the shoe. During the game, the cards are drawn from the shoe, and after every round, they are usually put in a discard tray. When a certain percentage of the cards have been dealt, the dealer will then reshuffle the cards from the discard tray back into the shoe, where they will be played again.

Ultimately, several numbers of decks in blackjack can make the game more unpredictable - and more difficult for players. Although it can slightly alter some elements of the game, the basic blackjack rules and objectives are exactly the same - you need to beat the dealer without going over 21.

Take Time to Think | BeGambleAware.org | 18+

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