Multiple Deck Blackjack Rules & Odds

In the old days, Blackjack was a simple game that utilized a single, 52-card deck of playing cards. In modern times, the most common versions of blackjack are played with 4, 6 or 8 decks of cards. The obvious question for blackjack players is this: What is the difference in rules and odds for 4, 6 and 8 deck blackjack games?

It is not necessarily the number of decks being used, but the rule variations that affect the odds of a blackjack game. But if we travel from one region to another, the rule variations tend to change with the time zones.

In Las Vegas, for example, 4 Deck Blackjack is most common (though…more and more are starting to use 6-8 decks). Atlantic City casinos favor 6 Deck Blackjack. 8-Deck Blackjack is also offered at some casinos, though its availability isn’t necessarily regional. Another blackjack variation known as Spanish 21 includes the use of 8 decks of cards, and a much wider range of rule variations.

Not all 4-Deck and 6-Deck Blackjack games have the same rules, but for the sake of argument, we’ll use the standard Vegas/Atlantic City rules for the purpose of comparison.

Of course, there are also many other types of Blackjacks you can find online. Most Microgaming casinos, such as Royal Vegas (you can read more on Royal Vegas casino on Kiwi’s site) will offer additional types such as Bonus Blackjack or Multi-hand version of the Spanish one. So read on for our focus on the basic games of Blackjack.

Vegas Strip 4-Deck Blackjack Rules

-All standard rules apply
-Dealer Hits Soft 17: No
-Double any two cards: Yes
-Double after Split: No
-Resplit: 2x (up to 3 hands)
-Surrender: No
-House Edge: .48%

By these rules, the odds, or house edge is 0.48%. Working to the player’s favor is that the dealer must Hit any 17 and may Double on any 2-card combination. The disadvantage is that the player cannot Double after Splitting or Surrender a hand to minimize expected losses.

Atlantic City 6-Deck Blackjack Rules

-All standard rules apply
-Dealer Hits Soft 17: No
-Double any two cards: Yes
-Double after Split: Yes
-Resplit: No
-Surrender: No
-House Edge: .42%

These 6-Deck Blackjack rules also allow the player an advantage since the dealer cannot Hit a Soft 17 and the player can double on any two cards, even after splitting. A player may only split once, which could be argued as an advantage or disadvantage, since many players will resplit just because they can, often lowering their odds of winning. When you calculate the odds and probabilities of effectively resplitting, these rules actually convert to a slightly better house edge of 0.42%, as opposed to the 0.48% house edge in Vegas Strip 4-Deck Blackjack.

Spanish 21 8-Deck Blackjack Rules

-All standard rules apply
-Dealer Hits Soft 17: Yes
-Double any two cards: Yes
-Double after Split: Yes
-Resplit: No
-Surrender: Yes
-Surrender after Doubling: Yes
-5+ Card 21: Yes, bonus payouts for 5, 6 and 7 card 21, only before Double/Split.
-All 10’s removed from deck (not Face Cards, just 10’s).
-House Edge: .42%

Spanish 21 is not the only 8-Deck Blackjack game, but it does offer the most diversity in rule variations, as well as the lowest house edge of 0.42%, compared to other 8-Deck Blackjack games. Unfortunately, while it would seem the multiple variations and potential bonus payouts would give Spanish 21 the best house edge, it is actually equal to the odds of Atlantic City 6-Deck Blackjack. Casinos achieve this by removing the 10’s from the deck, lowering a player’s odds of getting Blackjack, or doubling/splitting to 20 or 21.

Standard 8-Deck Blackjack Rules

-All standard rules apply
-Dealer Hits Soft 17: No
-Double any two cards: Yes
-Double after Split: Yes
-Resplit: 2x (up to 3 hands)
-Surrender: No
-House Edge: .44%

Common standard 8-Deck Blackjack rules do not vary much from 4-Deck Blackjack. The only difference is that the player is allowed to Split after Doubling, which decreases the house edge minimally from 0.48% to 0.44%.

Conclusion

There is very little difference in the odds of 4, 6 and 8 Deck Blackjack games, simply because the casinos always adjust the rules to stay between a .4% to .5% house edge. Be sure to check the rules of various Blackjack games, noting in particular whether the dealer Hits or Stands on soft 17. When the Dealer Hits Soft 17, the house edge is slightly higher; when the Dealer Stands on Soft 17, the house edge is slightly lower.

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