In Part I we covered some basics of dealing Blackjack, and now we are going to discuss the difference in dealing the main two different types of Blackjack – Single/Double Deck and Multiple Deck (usually 4,6, or 8 decks). There are subtle and obvious differences between the two, and it’s becoming more and more rare to find single or double deck Blackjack in the casinos today, but you should still know how to deal either.
Single/Double Deck – Start with the decks together in a square pile. Halve the deck, and riffle the stacks together. Repeat this two or three times (depending on house rules), alternating with stripping the deck (hold the cards in one hand between your fingers like an eagle claw, and grab a portion of the top of the deck, sliding sections of the cards down onto the table, until the deck is re-stacked on the felt). Box the deck and offer the cut to a player.
Multiple Decks – If there are cards in the shoe, take them and place them in the middle of the just finished stack. Take this stack of cards and place it in two equal stacks to either side of the table, to your right and left. Take approximately 1/4 of each stack, bring them to the middle of the table, and riffle, strip, riffle. Place it above the area used for shuffling, onto a cut card. You should now have three stacks, one small one in front of you and one to each side. Take 1/3 of the cards from the stack in front of you, and 1/4 from the stack the the left. Riffle, strip, riffle, and place on the middle stack. Repeat this step, alternating between the two outside stacks, but always using the middle stack, until you end up with one stack. Divide this in half again, and bring the two stacks together 1/4 at a time, riffling once, but keeping the deck unboxed and laced. When the entire stack is laced, carefully turn it over to its side, cut card facing you, top of the stack facing the players. Square the cards against the shoe. Place the cut card on top and offer the cut to a player, making sure not to pass the insurance line.
Cutting the Deck
Single/Double Deck – When offering the cut to a player, extend the deck to the player no further than the insurance line and parallel to the table, while keeping it on the felt. Keep your hand on the deck with your index finger holding the cut card on top of the deck, protruding out in front. The player should take the cut card and slide it into the deck. Bring the deck back in front of you, and bring the bottom portion under the cut card to the top, placing it on top of the other half of the deck, so that the cut card is now on the bottom.
Multiple Decks – When offering the cut to a player, extend the stack with the top card facing the player, no further than the insurance line, while keeping it on the felt. Keep your hand on the stack with your index finger holding the cut card on top, protruding out in front. The player should take the cut card and slide it into the stack. Bring the deck back in front of you, and bring the bottom portion under the cut card to the top, placing it on top of the other half of the deck, so that the cut card is now on the bottom. Place a second cut card approximately 1/3 up from the bottom of the stack.
Single/Double Deck – Hold the deck firmly in your non-dominant hand, into your palm and lightly spread, with the top against your forefinger. Use your thumb to push off the top card, while grabbing the card between the thumb and forefinger of your right hand. Hold the deck at stomach level and pitch the cards face down to each player (for proper pitch technique, see the IHP blog entry How to Properly Pitch Cards When Dealing Casino Games“), and deal your first card face down, second card face up. Some houses require a “tuck”, which is when the first card to the dealer is face up and the second card is quickly slid under the face up card.
Multiple Decks – Multi-deck Blackjack is dealt using a shoe.
This is the plastic or wooden device that holds the large stack of cards, which the dealer uses to pull single cards at a time.
You use the first two fingers of your left hand to slightly push the deck up and pull the first card out. It’s a motion that will quickly become natural, because the card simply won’t come out if you’re doing it incorrectly. Transfer the card from your left hand to your right while flipping it face up in front of the player’s bet. Deal all the players’ cards face up, making sure to place the top card on the bottom left side of the first card so that both of the numbers on the card and all the pips (especially the center one) are showing. When dealing to yourself, the first card is face down, until the second card is dealt. Then you use your right hand to flip the first card, while using your left hand to pull the second card face down under the now face up first card.
Single/Double Deck – Players are only allowed to hold their cards with one hand, and they use the cards to signal their actions. Scraping the corner of the cards twice on the felt signifies a hit, while sliding the corner of the cards under the bet signifies a stand. When a player doubles down or splits, he or she flips their cards over, face up, and you as the dealer will take over handling the cards for them. Handle them as if this were a multi-deck hand for the remainder of the hand.
Multiple Decks – In multiple deck Blackjack, the players never touch the cards. All cards are dealt face up in front of their bet. All actions must be non-verbal in a casino (for the cameras) and must not take place over the bet (also for the cameras). While dealing IHP events, verbal declarations will suffice. The players give their actions, offering up additional chips as needed for Splits or Double Downs, but you as the dealer are responsible for handling the cards and chips on the felt.
Dealer actions mostly don’t change from single to double to multi-deck blackjack. The one exception is when dealing single or double deck, and it comes time to check the hole cards of the players who chose to Stand. Flip their cards with your non-deck hand, and payout/kill their hand accordingly.
“Rude people will now & then ask me why I think I know so much about Politics. I tell them it’s because I’m smart…but that is a lie: The real reason is because I’m an incurable Gambling addict.”
Hunter S. Thompson