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The number of decks in blackjack

3 June 2017

Playing blackjack in today’s modern casinos, you will find a variety of decks, ranging from one, two, four, six and eight. What is the difference and which is best?

Going back to the early 60s, all blackjack games in Las Vegas, Reno and other Nevada locations were played with a single deck. Around that time, Dr. Edward O. Thorp brought out his best-selling blackjack book “Beat The Dealer”. That book shook up casino management, and the first thing they did was change some of the rules for the game. That didn’t work so well, so they decided to add additional decks.

They started with two decks, then moved to four decks. As time went on card counting started to get very popular, and casinos started to standardize the game with six and even eight decks.

Today, you can still find single decks; however, if you look closely, you will find the game has very poor rules for the player. For example, a single deck will allow the player to double down only on 10 and 11, while at a six or eight deck game a player can double with any two cards.

Some six- and eight-deck games will allow double down after split while the single and double will not allow any doubling after a split. The same is true about splitting aces. With more decks sometimes you can re-split aces, while at tables will only one and two decks, they will not allow that specific move.

So it seems that the more decks a table has, it will offer more options for the player. The single and double desks have limited options for the player.

There are websites that report on game options for blackjack players at various casinos. Take some time to look them up. When in the casino, look closely at the placard on the table. It will tell you the minimum and maximum bets allowed and also list some, not all, of the player options for that specific table. The basic idea for most casinos is: the more limited the number of decks, the fewer options; while the more decks, the more options for the player.


BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW

• During World War II, the U.S. Playing Card Company had a secret deal with the U.S. government. They produced special decks of playing cards for American prisoners of war in German camps. When these cards were moistened, they peeled apart to reveal sections of a map indicating precise escape routes.

• Vingt-Et-Un Corporation developed a system called Blackjack II. It consisted of two separate dealing shoes holding six decks each. Depending on the color of the first card, red (diamonds – hearts) a card would be drawn from the red shoe. If black (spades – clubs) the second card would be drawn from the blue shoe. It was designed to prevent card counting, but it never caught on with casinos or the public.

• The U.S. Treasury Department reported in 1814 that 400,000 decks of cards were manufactured that year with a duty-imposed tax of 25 cents per deck.

• The new Aladdin hotel-casino (2000-2004) in Las Vegas reported it went through 300,000 decks of cards each year.

• In 1885 a card manufacture company introduces decks of cards called Tally-ho after an attractive carriage that was in vogue at the time. A small start-up competitor chose the recently developed high-wheel bicycle as its trade mark since they felt it was newer and faster then a carriage, hence the name Bicycle Playing Card Company.

• It is commonly believed that the four suits in a deck of playing cards — spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs, derive from French decks of cards. In French decks, the suits represent the four classes: Spades represent nobility, hearts for the clergy, diamonds for merchants, and clubs represents the peasants.

• The Playboy Club located in the Palms Resort Casino in Las Vegas reported it goes through 72 decks of cards every night.

• There are 96 10-value cards in a six-deck shoe. Each deck has four 10s, four Js, four Ks and four Qs. (Each deck has 16 face cards; 6 decks x 16 face cards = 96 cards with a value of 10.)

• The United States Playing Card Company, the largest manufacturer of playing cards in the world, sells more than 20 million decks to casinos every year.

• In November 2007, Liu Fuchang, a Chinese citizen, set a new Guinness World Record for owning over 11,087 individual decks of different playing cards.
Recent Articles
Best of John Marchel
John Marchel
John Marchel is an author, speaker, teacher and player -- what John plays are casino games. He’s been a casino player for over 25 years and has played successfully in Europe, Panama, the Caribbean, Canada, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, on Indian reservations, cruise ships and in over 350 casinos throughout the US. He is also the author of six books about gambling, and has written numerous magazine articles and is currently a columnist for three gambling magazines and one internet magazine.

Since 1988 John has combined his experience as a manager, teacher and player to present seminars and lectures about gambling. In addition, John has had an Internet website since 1995 that offers books, special reports and tips about gambling. He also publishes a monthly Internet gambling newsletter. The newsletter keeps subscribers alert to trends, information and winning techniques that allows them to be more successful when visiting casinos.

John Marchel Websites:

johnmarchelgambling.com

Books by John Marchel:

KISS Guide to Gambling

> More Books By John Marchel

John Marchel
John Marchel is an author, speaker, teacher and player -- what John plays are casino games. He’s been a casino player for over 25 years and has played successfully in Europe, Panama, the Caribbean, Canada, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, on Indian reservations, cruise ships and in over 350 casinos throughout the US. He is also the author of six books about gambling, and has written numerous magazine articles and is currently a columnist for three gambling magazines and one internet magazine.

Since 1988 John has combined his experience as a manager, teacher and player to present seminars and lectures about gambling. In addition, John has had an Internet website since 1995 that offers books, special reports and tips about gambling. He also publishes a monthly Internet gambling newsletter. The newsletter keeps subscribers alert to trends, information and winning techniques that allows them to be more successful when visiting casinos.

John Marchel Websites:

johnmarchelgambling.com

Books by John Marchel:

101 Casino Gambling Tips: Affordable Strategies & Techniques for Maximizing Profits & Reducing Loses

> More Books By John Marchel