It isn’t uncommon to see blackjack players playing more than one hand on the same table. Most online casinos also offer this feature to players. Why is this and is there any advantage to be gained by the player in playing multiple blackjack hands?
Blackjack, like all casino games, is mathematically stacked against the player. The exact house edge varies depending on the specific rules employed at the casino, as well as the strategy employed by the individual player. But for the sake of argument, let’s assume that the casino has a 1% over a hypothetical player.
This hypothetical blackjack player is playing alone against the dealer, just one hand at a time. His bet is £10 and the dealer is giving him around 200 hands per hour. This means that, in theory, the player is going to lose £20 in the next hour. Why?
The house edge over this imaginary player is 1% and he is playing 200 hands per hour, at £10 per hand. 200 hands at £10 a hand is £2,000 and 1% of that – or £20 – is going to be eroded by the house edge.
Okay, so let’s say he splits his his £10 across two spots and takes two blackjack hands a time, for £5 a game. The dealer will now have more work on – due to the extra cards to be dealt and payouts to make, plus the extra decisions of the player – and so will be dealing somewhere around 140 hands per hour.
As our hypothetical blackjack hero is playing both splots, he will be dealing with 280 hands per hour, instead of the 200 when playing just one spot. That’s 280 hands at £5 per play, making for a total of £1,400 in blackjack wagers and therefore the house will be taking 1% of that, which is £14.
£14 is obviously less than £20 and therefore, playing multiple blackjack hands can be seen as a good thing. One’s bankroll will decline at a much lower rate and when playing for fun, the more hands that you see, the more fun that can be had!
Of course, had our hero played two hands at the same stake as when playing just one – £10 – his bankroll would be even more exposed than before. 280 blackjack hands at £10 a time means a total of £2,800 wagered, and a theoretical house cut of £28 – greater than the £20 lost by playing just a single blackjack hand, so it is important to spread your wager when playing multiple blackjack hands.
The real advantage of playing multiple blackjack hands though, is for those who are able to count cards. A good card counter can actually completely remove the house edge and shift the long term advantage in his or her favour. If this is the case, then the more hands played, the better!
Imagine it is the player that holds the 1% edge, not the casino. The above figures now represent theoretical wins, rather than losses. By playing £10 in one spot at a time, the player can earn £20 an hour at the blackjack table. By spreading that across two hands – £5 a time – that rate is reduced to just £14 an hour and by playing two hands for £10 a time, the player’s theoretical profit is £28 per hour.
If the count is strongly in your favour, then it makes even more sense to play multiple hands, as you are giving yourself more chance to hit those high value cards than the dealer – you will have two, three or maybe even four hands against the one hand of the dealer!
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