How Players and Decks affect Blackjack Odds

Two aspects of blackjack that are often overlooked by beginning players include the amount of people on the table, and the amount of decks used in the game. Now many blackjack players pick up the latter concept when they first start learning blackjack strategy, but the number of players at a table is still an afterthought. In any case, we’ll do our best to cover how each of these aspects will affect your long-term blackjack profits.

As for the amount of players in the game, this is very important because the more people there are at the table, the less hands you’ll be dealt. For instance, if you have six other people at the table, you might only be dealt 45-50 hands per hour in live blackjack, which means you’re exposed to the house edge much less. However, if there are only two other players sitting with you, there could be 75-80 hands dealt per hour, which puts you at more of a risk when dealing with the house edge.

In regards to the deck amounts, the fewer you have to deal with, the lower the house edge becomes. For example, let’s say that you play eight-deck blackjack; here the smallest you can make the house edge is 0.58%. However, when you cut the amount of decks in play to two, you’ll only be facing a 0.35% house edge. So basically, you’re almost in an even money scenario when playing two deck blackjack.

You can also take advantage of an even lower house edge by factoring other favorable rules into the equation. If there’s either early or late surrender, doubling down after splitting pairs, and doubling down on any two cards, you will be lowering the house edge down even further. 

So the overall point here is to look for blackjack games with non-crowded tables, less than eight decks (less than six decks if you can find it), and other favorable rules that were just mentioned. Above all, you have to make sure that the house pays out 3:2 on natural blackjacks rather than 6:5. Sure this might not sound like that big of a deal, but playing at 6:5 blackjack payout tables increases the house edge by around 1.5%! With odds like these, you might as well just go play roulette, which doesn’t involve much strategy at all.