Home Casino GamesBlackjack What is Multi-hand Blackjack? Plus: Tips for Winning
Vibrant blackjack table with playing cards and chips, featuring a smiling coin character and 'Black Jack Insurance' banner above.

What is Multi-hand Blackjack? Plus: Tips for Winning

by

Normally, when a person plays blackjack, they play a single hand at a time. They’re dealt two cards, play the round, and then wait for the next deal.

But some folks want more action than that.

Multi-hand blackjack enables players to play more than one hand at a time. You still make decisions and take actions (e.g. hitting or standing) on each hand in sequence. The difference between this and standard single-hand blackjack is that you have multiple hands to manage in each round of dealing.

<h3>Why play multiple hands of blackjack? Isn’t one enough?<h3>

The big reason to play multi-hand blackjack is that it allows players to get in more hands per hour. Each round of blackjack has a few mandatory steps:

  1. the dealer deals out two cards to each active player,
  2. the dealer checks the downcard,
  3. each hand is played,
  4. results are managed and all cards are collected,
  5. wagers are solicited, and finally,
  6. a new round commences.

If you only play a single hand, this all plays out and you only get results on that one hand. In contrast, multi-hand players pack in a few hands in each of these rounds, making play more efficient and leading to more hands played per round. Persistent players can significantly increase their play volume using this method.

Blackjack table showing three hands: one with a winning blackjack, one bust with a total over 21, and one totaling 20.

Becoming a blackjack machine: how to win

Winning blackjack multi-hand games is actually no more complicated than winning single-hand games. Use the same optimal strategy that is effective in standard blackjack, following the same decisions in each of the hands you are responsible for in a round. These powerful guidelines include:

  1. Split those aces and 8s. The odds are too good to pass up the split opportunity. The reason is that each ace gives you a chance for a blackjack. As for the 8s, both of them paired together give you a total of 16, which is a very tough hand to deal with.
  • Double down when you have 11 and the dealer has 2 to 10. You have a good shot to draw a ten and win. This can also work when you have an ace and a card from 2 to 6, where you can double down or simply take a hit.
  • Stand when you’ve got between 12 and 16, and the dealer is showing 2 to 6. This indicates a likelihood of a dealer bust.
  • Hit when you have 12 to 16 and the dealer shows 7 on up to an ace. The dealer’s hand is too strong for you to stand pat.

Even if you are attempting to count cards, playing multi-hand style is no different than sitting at a table with other players involved in their own hands. You will still see the same cards.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is the amount of time you need to make decisions. Blackjack multi-hand games are best for people who are seasoned players, and who have a quick feel for what actions they want to take. If you are playing live dealer blackjack, you won’t want to soak up all the table time while you puzzle through your decisions. Stick to single hand play until you’ve got things down a bit more efficiently. This will also give you time to watch other players and learn from them, as well as provide some opportunities for breaks while play passes around the table.

Does it matter how many decks are in play?

One of the key facts about a live blackjack game that influences your strategy is the number of decks in play. A single deck is the most player-favorable, with a house edge that can go as low as .014%. Add in a second deck, and this increases to .34%. Here are the remaining edge percentages:

4 decks: .5%

6 decks: .55%

8 decks: .58%

These percentages are most relevant for those attempting to count cards. A single deck makes it quite easy to get a handle on how many face cards are available in a deck.

However, in online blackjack, the deck is shuffled after every round using a random number generator algorithm. This means that, as rounds progress, a single deck is not being emptied out. Rather, it is as if a new deck is presented in each round. By the time you add in multiple decks, the effect is increased.

The takeaway is that counting cards will not likely be of much benefit, and you can simply stick to a basic effective blackjack strategy regardless of the number of decks.

Online blackjack game interface showing three hands of cards, betting options, and chip denominations on a virtual green felt table.

Blackjack rules variations (these change your strategy)

In blackjack, there are many variations on the game’s ruleset, each with an accompanying adjustment to house edge.

  • If the dealer hits a soft 17, it favors the player.
  • If players are restricted from doubling down on certain cards, it favors the house.
  • If players can double after splitting, it favors the player.
  • If players can split any pair, it favors the player.
  • If aces can be resplit, it favors the player.
  • If aces only get one card after splitting, it favors the house.
  • If surrender is unavailable, it favors the house.
  • If blackjacks are paid 6:5, it favors the house.

Keep an eye on these rules and adjust strategy accordingly. Or use these rules to pick which games to play and which to avoid (e.g. 3:2 payout on blackjack is usually considered a must-have).

Easy reference: strategy charts for multi-hand blackjack

Blackjack multi-hand strategy charts can be a helpful reference to guide decision-making during games. If you’re not sure what to do when faced with a certain hand, just consult the chart. Your holding is on the left column, and the dealer’s upcard is found along the top row. For example, if you have a 14 and the dealer has a 4, you should stand. If the dealer has a ten or an ace, you’ll need a hit.

There are also reference charts for hard hands, soft hands (i.e. hands that include an ace), and pairs. You can use these for an even simpler reference in certain common situations. Familiarize yourself with these charts before playing so that you’ll know what each of the abbreviation mean. A legend is provided at the bottom of the charts in case you forget. After many rounds using them, the optimal strategy charts will become second nature and you’ll be a competent blackjack player ready to take on any table, so give them time to work.

Multi-hand blackjack games at mBitcasino

mBitcasino offers multiple versions of multi-hand blackjack online games. Here are some of our games and the differences between each:

  • Multi-hand Blackjack from BGaming. This version offers players the ability to play 3 hands at once. Players can double down on 9, 10, and 11. It’s a provably fair game with a return to player (RTP) of 99.23%
  • Multi-hand Blackjack Pro from BGaming. The Pro version of multi-hand blackjack from BGaming builds on the basic version, adding the ability to make bonus bets. The bonus bet pays out if the player receives jacks. The payout is 11x for a single, 26x for a pair, and 101x for two jacks of spades.
  • Multi-hand Blackjack from Platipus. Platipus’s version of multi-hand blackjack features voice lines from a British dealer, enhancing the lifelike feel of the game. Insurance bets are also available for players who hate when the dealer gets a blackjack.
  • Multi-hand Blackjack from Pragmatic Play. With this game, you’ll get a nice jazzy lounge soundtrack and a soothing dealer voice. This version uses 8 decks, and features a theoretical RTP of 99.51% with optimal decisions from the player.

Now you’re playing with both hands

Multi-hand blackjack is a fun way to increase your amount of hands played per hour. How many hands can you handle? Can you reach over a 100 per hour? Give it a shot and see how much of a speed demon you can become.

Related Articles