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Importance of single deck black jack

Apr 17, 2008
Black Jack has many different game versions and those can even vary in the number of decks used in a shoe. Card counters know the advantage is with the fewest decks in a shoe but many otherwise knowledgeable players, the kind that usually stick to basic strategy and play smart, do not have any idea just what a difference extra decks in the shoe can make.

Regardless of the version of black jack, the fewer the decks in the shoe the more your chances are of hitting a black jack. I will try to demonstrate to you the way I learned and I only wish I could give credit to my teacher but the plain fact is that I have read so many books on gambling that I can't remember which one it was that covered this aspect. This may not be exactly how it was taught to me since it has been many years now but I do know I can make the point that was made to me.

Lets say you are playing blackjack and it is a single deck game and a deck is made up of any three cards, an ace, a ten and a six. The dealer, who won't be getting any cards in this game obviously, shuffles the deck and deals an ace to you. That leaves two cards left in the deck. A ten which would give you black jack and a six which of course not be that kind of help. That means there is a fifty-percent chance you will be dealt a black jack.

Now lets make this a two deck game. Of course as before the decks will consist of three cards each. An ace, a ten and a six. Since there are now two decks in the shoe we have a total of six cards. Two aces, two tens and two sixes. The dealer shuffles, loads the shoe and deals you an ace. For purposes of this example, once again the dealer will not be taking any cards. You have an ace and there are two cards in the shoe that can give you a black jack. However there are now three cards in the deck that will not produce a blackjack. an ace and two sixes.

The odds of getting a black jack in our example dropped from fifty-percent (a one in two chance of getting dealt the ten), to two chances out of five which by my math is a 40% chance of getting dealt that ten. A considerable difference but nothing like the jump is going to be when you go from single deck black jack to a shoe holding eight or more decks.

If you ever thought that casinos had switched to the multiple deck black jack shoes to make life more convenient for the players then it is time to reconsider.

Single deck black jack is also much easier to count cards although the same principle is used for single or multiple decks. About the only down side to single deck shoes is the down time on shuffling because most casinos won't go much past the half mark on single deck nowadays because they are counteracting the card counters.

Single deck black jack is often found at online casinos which as just demonstrated is an advantage to the player. The only drawback about playing online is the deck is shuffled after every hand (no downtime however) and as such makes counting cards an unrealistic endeavor.
About the Author
Steve Briggs is the author of this article on single deck black jack. Find more information about the subject at www.bondedcasinos.com
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