What is a ‘Multiple Deck’?
A multiple deck is when more than a single pack of 52 playing card
s is used in a game. Casinos use multiple decks to give them a house edge
and in some cases to make it harder for players to count cards.Multiple decks are dealt from a shoe which can hold up to eight decks of shuffled cards. In some cases, multiple decks are kept in a continuous shuffling machine (CSM) which replaces the shoe and continually shuffles the deck. In this type of machine used playing cards are fed back in to be shuffled.There are many types of card game which can be played with multiple decks, with the most popular being Blackjack and Baccarat
. Some card games, however, can NEVER be played with multiple decks. A good example is poker, where using multiple decks would destroy the odds of winning each hand thereby eliminating the skill involved in playing the game.
‘Multiple Deck’ Explained
The most famous game played with multiple decks of cards is Blackjack
. Blackjack was originally played with a single deck, and can still be played with a single deck, usually in low stakes games.However, using a single deck of cards makes it very easy for players to count the cards remaining in the deck. This gives so-called “card counters” an unfair advantage in the game.For example: if a player knows that the deck is heavily weighted with high-number cards (Aces and 10s) he can modify his betting accordingly. Because statistically a deck weighted with high-number cards benefits the player more than the dealer
, a player can significantly increase his betting size when the card count shows the deck is in his favour.To prevent card counters, casinos use multiple decks of cards. In most casinos, Blackjack is played from a standard shoe which contains six decks of cards, but it can also be played with five or eight decks. If a CSM machine is used, these typically contain four decks, but the odds of winning with a CSM are slightly lower than a standard shoe which contains six decks, because the cards are continuously shuffled.