Blackjack Strategy: Games With 4 To 8 Decks

Blackjack is one of the most popular games in a casino, but many rookies fail to make one key observation before they sit down and play: checking how many decks are in the game. That’s important to note because the number of cards in the deck changes the odds for every type of hand. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how to play four-deck versus eight-deck blackjack based on the odds. But first, we’ll start off with a quick explanation as to why the amount of decks is so important.

Why Should You Note the Amount of Decks?

It might not be something you’ve thought about a lot in the past when playing blackjack, but this one should be easy to understand. Let’s work with a basic example of one-deck blackjack.

Let’s say you’re playing in a game with one deck and 52 cards, and all of the sudden you’re dealt an Ace and a 6, and the dealer is dealt an Ace and a 3. Right off the bat, you know that there are now more than two aces in the rest of the deck (and the dealer possibly has one with his face-down card). Knowing that will give you an edge both in the current hand and in other hands going forward.

Now let’s say you’re playing four-deck or eight-deck Blackjack, it’s much harder to keep track of things like Aces and face cards. That means it’s harder to do the math and to calculate the odds as to what you should play. That goes to show that the more decks in the game, the harder it is to get that edge on your side.

Dealer shuffling decks

The Rules to Stick to:

If you’re playing four to eight deck blackjack, there’s a strict discipline that you want to stick to as this stringent regiment increases your chances of winning. It’s just a matter of playing the odds. Here is the optimal strategy to stick to in every situation when playing this game.


In terms of splitting cards, you’re always going to want to split aces and eights, but you never want to split fives and 10’s. You’ll split twos and threes if the dealer has fours to sevens and you’ll split sevens if the dealer has 2-7. You’ll split nines if the dealer has 2-6 or 8-9.

You can also split fours if you’re allowed to double after splitting, and if the dealer shows a five or a six. If double after splitting is allowed, you’ll also split sixes against a dealer 3-6 and against a two.


In terms of doubling, you’ll want to double down hard on a nine versus the dealer if they’re showing a 3-6. You’ll also do the same on 10 – except if the dealer has a 10 or 11 – and on 11, except if the dealer has an ace.

For 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17, you’ll double soft in certain scenarios. For 13 and 14, it’s if the dealer is showing 5-6. For 15 or 16, it’s if the dealer is showing a 4-6. For 17 or 18, it’s if the dealer is showing a 3-6.

When to Hit or Stand

While the rules that you want to play by are hard to memorize for doubling down and splitting, the good news is it is a bit more straightforward when it comes to hitting or standing.

Starting off with hitting, you’ll always want to hit hard on 11 or less. You also always ask for another card on a soft 17 or less.

In terms of standing, you’ll stay with what you’ve got if you have a hard 17 or more and a soft 19 or more.

Now if the dealer is showing a 2-6 and you have a hard 13-16, then you stand. Otherwise, you hit. If the dealer is showing 4-6 and you have a hard 12, you’ll stand. Otherwise, you’ll hit.

On a soft 18, you’ll want to stand on a soft 19 or more.

Other Basics

A couple of other things to keep in mind is that you’ll want to avoid insurance always. If the game allows surrendering, you’ll want to surrender in two scenarios: on a hard 16 – as long as it’s not a pair of eights – when the dealer is showing nine, 10 or an Ace. The second scenario is when you have a hard 15 and the dealer has a 10.

Dave Golokhov

Dave Golokhov

Dave has a long history in the media. His career began at The Score Television Network. He’s since been a radio host on Sirius Satellite Radio, made numerous television appearances as a panelist, and has written for publications like FOX Sports, and The Baltimore Sun. He’s interviewed hundreds of celebrities in both sports and entertainment, ranging from Shaquille O’Neal, to Floyd Mayweather, to The Mannings.

As a travel/adventure writer, Dave has written a number of destination stories covering some of the most unique destinations, such as Bilbao (Spain), Tel Aviv (Israel) to Iceland. He’s also (been lucky to) had the opportunity to review the experience of eating at some of the world’s best restaurants, including Noma (Copenhagen), Amber (Hong Kong) and Eleven Madison Park (New York). All of those stories can be read on, The Daily Beast and The Globe & Mail.


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