The number of decks a casino uses in card games like blackjack has been a controversial topic for a long time. Many people think that the casino should have as many decks as they like, since the game will be more fun if there is a larger selection to choose from. Yet this can have a downside. If a casino uses the number prescribed by the manufacturer for optimum performance, then they may not be able to afford to constantly replace the decks. This means that they will lose money on Blackjack, Baccarat, and other games, as there is no way to ensure that the casino has that many decks available at all times.
So how many decks do casinos use in blackjack? In an average casino, the standard is usually around six to eight decks. However, if there is less than twenty people at the table, or the games are being played for high stakes, then there may be only four or five decks available.
In some blackjack games, such as Texas Holdem, there is a ‘high roller’ or VIP dealer. These dealers always have a deck with a higher value face on it. They know how many hands there are likely to be and adjust the betting strategy accordingly. When a new player enters the game, the dealer may refuse to deal with the blackjack if he thinks there might be a chance of the player losing money. This is because a VIP dealer is better equipped to handle losses, because they always have more money in the bank than the average player. There is also a limit on the number of cards dealt per round, so that a player can only try to get that many cards dealt (the number by which the dealer will pick a card).
Then there is the ‘regular deck.’ A regular deck is dealt almost the same way as a regular casino deck. In a live blackjack game, regular decks are dealt only once, and you can bet on multiple cards if you wish. The main disadvantage of this type of deck is that a player may not know beforehand how many cards he has, and may often end up getting more than he intended, when his hand is actually better than the cards in the hand of another player. It’s also possible to beat a regular deck at blackjack.
The second type of deck, the Jackpot deck, is used in the high stakes games like Texas Holdem. In a Jackpot game, there is usually only one player. Thus, there is only a single card dealt per round, plus the dealer may choose to do any number of cards in one turn. The jackpot is not printed on the card, but rather written on a special scratch paper provided by the casinos.
How many decks are used depends on the game being played. In a live blackjack game, you may see that the dealer deals three cards face down and then looks at the ten cards in the middle of the table. He then places his ten fingers on top of these cards, indicating how many additional cards come out of the deck. For multi-table poker games, the dealer will deal five cards to each table, followed by the twenty-two remaining cards. In either case, you will have no chance to see the actual numbers before the final deal, though you can approximate the number of cards left by following the rule of thumb: the number of times the dealer Knows the card number on the front of the card – in his right hand, if the card is a high card (Jacks), it will stand out well, making the final count much higher; the number of times the dealer Knows the card number on the back of the card – in his left hand, if the card is a low card (King), it will stand out very badly, making the final count lower.
The exact method for counting the number of decks dealt is not known, but some rules have been proposed based on the theory of probability. It is believed that a casino might add one or two cards to each hand, when considering the overall deck. This does not mean that the dealer is providing any extra card – he is just balancing the deck. Many times this “shuffling” procedure is done without counting, because the dealer believes that there is not much chance that anyone will bring a new card to the table. If, however, a person does bring a new card, there is a better chance that casino staff will count the number of cards before bringing out new cards.
In addition to the above, the casino might also “triple” the deck, if it is short. The dealer looks at the card and then says three times, indicating that the dealer believes there are at least three decks in the hand. These are “triple” hands, because the dealer considers the third card to be part of the main and second ranges. These “triple” hands are harder to evaluate. One way of getting around this problem is for the dealer to indicate to the players that he has reached his maximum of seven cards before adding a “third” deck. In Blackjack Texas Holdem, you should always assume that there are at least three decks in the hand before looking at the hand, because otherwise it is possible that a dealer is simply trying to make the best possible deal.