When it comes to blackjack games, you’re always seeking to reduce the house edge to the lowest percentage possible. Blackjack is famous for being perhaps the best game offered at a casino because, with the right blackjack basic strategy, you can bring the house advantage to a level that is lower than any other game. This means that the casino’s edge can go below one percent (!), depending on player decisions and the specific blackjack rules used by the house, like when dealer hitting is required.

No, we’re not talking about reaching across the table and smacking the dealer when he flips over yet another blackjack and you didn’t get insurance. We’re talking about which hand totals require the dealer to hit or stand. A good blackjack strategy guide will tell you what to do no matter what, but here we’re talking about double deck blackjack.

deck of cards spread out using hand

The History of Double Deck Blackjack 

Like we said, players want the house edge to be as low as possible. One of the ways to reduce it is to work with fewer decks. Most blackjack tables use a standard six-deck set, meaning six individual 52-card decks are shuffled together and then dealt out. Originally, however, blackjack was played with a single deck. The problem is, players are smart and want to make money, so they invented card counting. 

Card counters – immortalized in the movie 21 about the MIT blackjack team – go way beyond blackjack basic strategy, and kick things up a notch. 

By counting how many face cards have been dealt out, they can calculate with a higher degree of accuracy the probability of certain cards coming off the dealer’s shoe (card holder). If a casino only uses one deck and no face cards have been dealt out, and the stack of cards is dwindling, a player knows blackjacks are coming. They can then adjust bet amounts and shift to an adjusted blackjack strategy guide.

The result can be painful for the house!

For that reason, the standard is to use six decks. But with double deck blackjack, we can bring things closer to the wild western days of early blackjack, giving you a better advantage and giving counters a chance to pit their skills and mental calculators against Ignition Casino to come out on top.

The Difference Between Standard Blackjack and Double Deck Blackjack 

In double deck blackjack, the main difference is that, instead of six decks, we only work with two. There’s another big difference in that our dealer will stand on a soft 17, meaning a 17 made with an ace. Because aces can count for one or 11, hands containing aces are referred to as “soft.” Let’s get more into the rules so we can really break down the differences here.

Double Deck Blackjack Rules

With double deck blackjack, two decks are in play. One interesting rule change is that dealers stand on soft 17s. In standard blackjack, dealer hitting is required there, and dealers have a chance to catch low cards like 2, 3, or 4, to make a strong hand. So this double deck rule favors the player by an incremental percentage, about .22%, over the blackjack ruleset offered in most casinos.

You’re welcome!

Payouts are also important to keep in mind. Player blackjack pays 3 to 2, while any other winning hand is paid 1 to 1, and insurance pays 2 to 1. There is no opportunity to surrender (not a word in your vocabulary anyway, right?). Split aces are treated a little differently, too. They only receive one card, and cannot be re-split. In addition, a split ace and a ten-value card is not a blackjack.

So, what’s the right strategy? Let’s lay it out!

Double Deck Blackjack Strategy 

Blackjack basic strategy has to be altered a little to take into account the fact that dealer hitting no longer occurs on a soft 17. For comparison, here’s our standard blackjack strategy guide:

Now, in double deck blackjack, we want to double down on soft totals of 13 to 18 if the dealer is showing something weak like a five or six.

As for split aces, you can only hit once, but you need to be on the lookout for unfavorable totals in the 12 to 16 range.

Other Types of Blackjack Besides Double Deck

Blackjack basic strategy is for a standard 6-deck game, but with Ignition, you can sail a sea of blackjack variations for you to play. Hang on to your blackjack strategy guide, Captain – we’re going into the uncharted waters of special blackjack games at Ignition Casino to have some real fun!

Our first variation is European Blackjack, where the dealer doesn’t peek for blackjack. If you double down and the dealer flips a blackjack, it’s a bummer. Doubling down is only available on hard 9s and 11s, but the dealer will stand on a soft 17. 

Then there’s Perfect Pairs, where you have a chance to add a little “poker seasoning” to your blackjack meal. There’s a side bet that pays out up to 25 to 1 if you hit a pair on your initial two-card hand. You might forget what game you’re playing, but it’s a lot more exciting to watch those cards come out when you can nail multiple bets at once with a single deal. Let’s see a pair!

Hate troubling hands? Zap ‘em! Zappit Blackjack lets you eliminate hands of 15, 16, or 17 by simply pressing the “zap” button. To compensate for this change, the dealer hitting 22 is a push, not a bust. Now, the next time you see those weak cards trying to wreck your stack, you can shoot a hole through them and send them into the muck pile.

Double deck blackjack is the game of the day, though. If you’ve been watching cards come out on the table and wondering when all that time spent practicing counting methods is going to pay off, now’s your time to shine.