Six deck blackjack is one of the most common forms of blackjack available to players, both online and in live casinos. Six deck blackjack is really just the same game as standard blackjack; however, with six decks in play, it’s a slightly better deal for the player than eight deck blackjack or (as some online casinos offer) infinite deck blackjack.
How to Play Six Deck Blackjack
Six deck blackjack starts with each player making a bet. Each player is then dealt two cards face up, while the dealer gets one face up card and one face down card (the hole card).
Players must attempt to make the best hand by totaling up their cards and reaching a score as close to 21 as possible without going over. Each card has a value that contributes to the hand’s score. Numbered cards count as their number, while face cards count as 10. Aces count as 11 unless that would force a hand to go over 21, in which case they count as one point.
The best possible starting hand for the player is an ace and a ten-point card, which is known as a blackjack. This hand is an automatic winner, unless the dealer also has blackjack, in which case the hands push. Blackjacks usually pay out a premium to the player, typically paying 3-2 odds.
If the dealer’s up card is an ace or a ten, the dealer will also check to see if he has a blackjack. If the dealer does have blackjack, all players lose (except for player blackjacks, which push). If the dealer has a ten showing, he will offer insurance to the players before checking for blackjack. This bet costs half of the initial bet, and pays 2-1 if the dealer has blackjack; the net result is that, if the player takes insurance and the dealer does have a blackjack, the player comes out of the hand even instead of losing the initial bet.
Assuming the dealer doesn’t have a blackjack, players may then play their hands using a variety of options. Players can stand at any time, meaning they’ll no longer take any more cards. They can also hit, meaning they’ll take a new card in an attempt to improve their hand. If the player has two cards of the same rank to start a hand, they may split those cards into two distinct hands, each of which must be played for a full bet. Finally, if the player is in an advantageous position to start the hand, the player can choose to double down on their initial two card hand, making a second bet equal in size to the initial bet, and receiving just one more card, after which they must stand. If a player ever reaches a total of 22 or higher, the player immediately busts and loses all bets.
When all players have finished playing their hands, the dealer flips over his hole card. The dealer will have specific blackjack rules he must follow when playing his hand. Typically, the dealer will have to hit on all hands of 16 or less, and stand on hands of 17 or greater. If the dealer hits and goes over 21, the dealer busts, and all players still in the hand win even money on all of their bets.
If the dealer stands, all player hands are compared to the dealer hands. Players with higher hands win even money on their bets. Players who tie the dealer push their bets. If the dealer beats the player, the player loses all bets on that hand.
Six Deck Blackjack Strategy
The strategy for six deck blackjack is essentially the same as for any standard online blackjack game. Basic strategy charts exist which can show the differences between six and eight deck blackjack games, but these changes are rare, and only occur on very marginal hands. In total, six deck blackjack cuts about 0.02% off of the house edge when compared to an eight deck game.
Six Deck Blackjack is quite popular in Europe. Be sure to read our European Blackjack article for further information.