Aside from being easy to learn, blackjack offers a slew of variations with different odds and bets. Some are played with a single deck of 52 cards, while some feature six or eight decks, increased chances of winning, and many moves to choose from.
The two such variations are single-hand and multi-hand blackjack. Although the rules are the same for both, there are slight differences you should be aware of. If you’re unsure which variation to go for, let’s explore them together and find out which one offers the best chances of winning.
- Single-Hand Blackjack
- Multi-Hand Blackjack
- Which Gives You Better Odds?
- Advantages and Disadvantages of Single-Hand Blackjack
- Advantages and Disadvantages of Multi-Hand Blackjack
Single-hand blackjack is played with only one deck of 52 cards. It was referred to as the holy grail or golden standard for blackjack before card counters stepped on the scene. Many casinos started adding more decks to get in the way of card counters’ strategy, and some even stopped offering this game. Still, it is possible to find it in some land-based and online casinos.
The rules are pretty straightforward. The goal is to get a hand value of 21 or as close as possible to 21 without going bust. You need to place your wager before the game starts, and then the cards are dealt. The player is dealt two cards face-up, while the dealer is dealt one face-up and one face-down. Based on the cards you get, you need to decide whether to hit, stand, split, or double down. Some formats also allow a surrender option.
There is only one bet you can make. You can place a wager from the minimum (usually $1 in online casinos) to the maximum ($100 per game). Unless you’re doubling down, you can bet only before the cards are dealt. This blackjack game allows you to double down on any two cards.
Other notable rules of this game include that the dealer hits on soft 17, you can split a hand up to three times, and you can split aces and get one card for each without the possibility to re-split them. It is not considered a blackjack if your hand is composed of a split ace and a ten.
The blackjack payout for this variation is 3:2, while the winning insurance bet pays 2:1. All other winning hands pay 1:1.
As for the house edge, you can reduce it to as low as 0.15% by learning and applying the optimal single-deck blackjack strategy. If you make a mistake in your strategy, it will result in a bigger edge, and there is no way to reduce it strategically except by counting cards.
As its name suggests, multi-hand blackjack allows players to play more than one hand simultaneously, making the game more exciting. Online versions of this game are more common than brick-and-mortar ones as players can contemplate their moves without rushing, which is more complicated in a casino setting.
You don’t have to worry about the rules since they are the same as in the classic blackjack variation. The aim is to form a hand total of as close to 21 as possible without surpassing it. However, this version differs from the original in that players can place more bets and make different moves by playing more than one hand. Depending on the software vendor variation, they can play up to five hands simultaneously.
Players don’t need to wager the same amount on each hand during the session. No matter how many hands are involved, each hand is treated separately. The hands are played sequentially, starting at the first-base spot and moving left. The game generally involves six or eight decks, with a payout of 3:2.
It is hard to pinpoint specific rules of this blackjack variant as they greatly vary from casino to casino. In some of them, dealers are bound to stand on soft 17, while in others, they must hit. Surrender is allowed in some, and players can take insurance against the dealer’s ace in others. Additionally, some versions of the multiple-hand format allow doubling down on any two-card hands, whereas others restrict it only to nine through 11 totals.
Due to so many specifics, it is best to double-check them before choosing what multi-hand blackjack variant to play.
Interestingly, many players prefer online variants of this game since they don’t have to worry about the number of available seats. Additionally, software vendors provide these games with top-notch graphics and several dealing card speed levels. Plus, some display the dealer’s last ten hands, the number of bets you placed per session, and your maximum win.
Which Gives You Better Odds?
Blackjack may be a game of chance on one hand, but on the other, it is a very strategic game played with a mathematical approach involving probabilities. Naturally, the odds and probabilities vary and depend on the number of decks in the shoe and the side bets.
Many casinos offer single-deck blackjack at a payout of 6:5, which increases the house edge significantly. At the same time, multi-deck blackjack gives out a payout of 3:2. Also, single-hand blackjack has a house edge of 5.9% on insurance, compared to 5.8% of multi-hand blackjack. It is advisable not to buy insurance in multiple hands unless you have proficient card counting skills.
Following are the odds in the player’s favor depending on the number of decks
- Six decks are 0.02% in the player’s favor
- Five decks are 0.03% in the player’s favor
- Four decks are 0.06% in the player’s favor
- Two decks are 0.19 % in the player’s favor
- A single deck is 0.48% in the player’s favor
Advantages and Disadvantages of Single-Hand Blackjack
Single-hand blackjack seems like a perfect game with a very low house edge of only 0.15% and increased chances of making a profit. Despite many benefits, there are certain drawbacks to the game we will discuss below as well.
This blackjack variation features two significant advantages. We already mentioned the first one — low house edge. However, being given a low house edge is worth nothing if you haven’t learned the ropes of the game and mastered the basic blackjack strategy. Only then will your chances of winning increase.
Another benefit of this game applies to card counters. Counting cards is quite challenging when you have six or eight decks in the show because you have to wait longer to acquire the favorable count. Single-hand blackjack facilitates it since it is played with one deck only and allows card counters to bet big much sooner. However, it’s good to know that you can only do this at brick-and-mortar casinos because decks in online blackjack are shuffled after each hand.
There is one disadvantage that doesn’t come from the game itself but from casinos that include adverse regulations in single-deck games. We already stated that single-hand blackjack has a favorable variant. However, casinos will often boost it to be higher than in six- or eight-deck variations. They would pay 6:5 instead of 3:2, increasing the house edge from 0.15% to 1.45%. This is one of the reasons some players don’t even bother playing it.
However, this drawback is not the only one. Another one refers to online single-hand blackjack. Players who like getting comps and free stuff while playing will not enjoy this game variation. This is because casinos don’t earn much money from players in the long run.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Multi-Hand Blackjack
This game has grown in popularity over the years by offering players various moves to choose from. But it’s not all sunshine and roses, and this variation also has a few drawbacks.
One of the major pros of this game is the possibility of playing multiple hands and making a more significant profit by placing many separate wagers on each hand. Plus, they can double down and increase their odds of winning. This applies only if they make this move at the right time.
Besides being able to make many moves, online blackjack variants also allow players to think through their best moves without being under pressure from others or the dealer. This way, they can play their favorite game in a whole new way and get the opportunity to experience things they wouldn’t have if they only played one hand.
Card counters will not love this game as it eliminates their chance to count cards. Multiple decks in play make it harder for them to do it in land-based casinos, not to mention online platforms where the decks are shuffled after each hand.
Another disadvantage is that this game is a double-edged sword with the possibility of placing different wagers on each hand. You could find yourself in a situation where you lose more than you win. Thus, you must master a reliable and flexible strategy when playing multi-hand blackjack to make the most of this version.
Is multi-hand blackjack suitable for everyone?
As a general rule, players can switch to playing more than one betting spot only when their edge is higher than the house edge during the current round. However, it doesn’t matter if you play by intuition or basic blackjack strategy because the casino will always have the same advantage over you. But those who somehow manage to count cards and play at an advantage against the house can spread to two or more hands.
Another essential fact to keep in mind is that playing on several hands at the same time increases the game’s volatility. So, those with a faint heart and limited bankrolls should stay away from it.
What does multi-hand mean?
Multi-hand refers to the number of hands one player can play against the dealer at one time. This blackjack variation allows you to play three or five hands every round.
Are single-deck games better than multi-hand?
The days when it was easy to win at a single-hand blackjack due to a low house edge are long gone. Most gambling establishments offering single deck games nowadays only pay 6:5 instead of the usual 3:2. This increases the house edge, makes it less likely to win any tangible profits, and should be avoided. Thus, players are safer playing multi-hand blackjack.
How to play on the client?
You can play all contemporary online blackjack variations directly through a website or application. Thus, there is no need for you to download any software to your device.