Play Better Blackjack with John G
When it comes to playing correct blackjack strategy, players are faced with alot of decisions. The way you play them can effect your overall win percentage. So, know the number BEFORE you sit down.
Is playing at a multi-deck table that pays 6-5 on blackjack (which is not recommended) the same as playing a single deck table offering the same odds?
Find out what our Casino Guru John Grochowski has to say about it!
Question: I can understand your warnings to blackjack players not to play when blackjacks pay 6-5 instead of 3-2. You don’t want to settle for less than the usual payoff. But what about a single-deck game? I ‘d always heard single-deck was the best game. If blackjacks pay 6-5 but you’re playing with one deck, isn’t that a good tradeoff for players?
Answer: No, it’s not a good tradeoff. You lose far more with the 6-5 blackjack pays than you gain by playing with fewer decks.
Let’s take an ordinary set of rules. The dealer hits soft 17 (sadly, this is ordinary nowadays), players may split pairs up to three times for a total of four hands, players may double down on any first two cards and may double after splitting pairs. Aces can be split only once, and players get only one more card on each Ace. Blackjacks pay 3-2.
With six decks, the house edge against a basic strategy player is 0.59%. Put those same rules on a single-deck game, and it’s nearly an even game, with a house edge of 0.008%. Even in days of yore when blackjack games gave players a better deal than today’s games, this one would have been a rarity.
What happens if you make one adjustment to the single-deck game, and have blackjacks pay 6-5? The house edge soars to 1.40%.
Look at that house edge. It’s not just higher than that on the six-deck game, it’s more than double—a house edge 2.37 times as high as that on the six-deck game with the higher blackjack payoff. I don’t know about you, but I want no part of that game.
If all other rules are equal, you’re better off with fewer decks. The main reason is that blackjacks occur more frequently with fewer decks. Let’s say the first card we’re dealt is an Ace. In a single deck game, 16 of the other 51 cards are 10 values. That means 31.37% of the remaining cards will complete the blackjack. If six decks are in play, removing an Ace means 96 of the remaining 311 cards are 10-values. That’s 30.87%, meaning we have a lesser chance of completing our blackjack in a six-deck game than in a single-deck game.
Fewer decks also help in double down situations. Start with 6-5, and 32% of the other cards are 10s in single-deck blackjack, and 30.97% in six-deck games.
But if all other rules are not equal, you have to weigh the effects of the changes. And for players, the 6-5 blackjack rule is a weighty disadvantage indeed.
Author Bio: Syndicated gaming columnist John Grochowski has been covering the casino industry for 17 years in his weekly column distributed to newspapers, websites and magazines. He is also the author of six books, including The Slot Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. You can also find him online at CasinoAnswerMan.com.