Double Deck Blackjack or “Pitch” is a 2-deck blackjack variant allowing participants to pick up cards dealt face-down. The variant uses two decks instead of standard six and eight, opening possibilities for better RTP (99.77%) and lowering the house advantage.
If you are new to this variant, you’ll find the BestCasinos team’s carefully crafted guide to double deck blackjack quite useful. We’ll show you the benefits of 2 deck blackjack online, rules, and tips for real money play. You will see answers to questions like “Is double deck blackjack better?” and learn how to count cards in blackjack.
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What is double deck blackjack?
We get this a lot from our readers. They mostly want to know how using 2 decks affects gameplay. But here is the thing – this is a slight variation of the original game. Like the original, the Pitch version is easy to learn and play. Most of the rules remain in place, with only a handful of alterations which we’ll explain shortly. Our team took the time to compile a studious step-by-step guide for teaching you how to play Double deck blackjack.
Before we get to actual online blackjack real money play, we first have to go through double-deck rules. The variant’s main characteristic is using only two decks (hence the name, double deck). In other words, you play with 2 standard decks of 52 cards in each round (104 in total).
Another notable trait of Pitch is the face-down approach to dealing. Each player receives two cards face-down, meaning they are hidden from other players and the dealer’s eyes. You can pick them up with one hand only and look at them before making a move. This is mostly tied to live gameplay at brick-and-mortar venues. In online terms, this trait is not emphasised as much.
In online casinos, the variant is accessible via Single-Player and Multi-Player modes. The Single-Player option lets you play alone without worry and hurry. If you are more into social games, the Multi-Player lets you chat with other punters during the session.
In double deck blackjack, players must memorise game rules before they start playing for real money. The most important things to remember are:
As you can see, most rules remain intact. You only get used to the fact that cards are hidden from view, meaning you cannot see what other players get.
But if you are playing blackjack for real money online, you will still need some time to get used to the changes.
Here is a step-by-step guide for playing double deck blackjack online.
As there is no Surrender option, most players would opt for Insurance, but that is not typically advised.
Blackjack is a game of skill, and the Pitch variant is no exception. To advance and achieve actual results, you will need a solid strategy suitable for your gaming preference. Luckily, BestCasinos has a good double deck blackjack strategy to offer.
We must note that not all casinos apply identical double deck blackjack rules, such as Double after Split and standing on soft 17. However, you should always opt for double-deck tables where these rules apply.
If the dealer stands on soft 17, we suggest:
For 2 deck tables that accept the hard 17 stand rule, the following moves are the best:
Use them together with the tips in the upper list. Together, they combine into a powerful basic double deck blackjack strategy which will significantly lower the house edge and increase your winning chances. We also recommend always using the basic strategy as it increases your odds and lowers the house. You can consult blackjack cheat sheets to memorise the right moves for all particular situations and hands. Also, before you start using real cash, we suggest playing blackjack online free. Free play lets you experiment with bets and try out different moves without risking real money.
Online blackjack real play is a fun endeavour practised by millions of players worldwide. Considering its multifaceted nature, understanding why is not hard – an online player gets heaps of benefits!
One of the biggest benefits of playing double deck blackjack online is the reduction of the house edge. In general, traditional six or eight-deck blackjack tables have a higher edge, around 1%. Rules affect the edge, so if you have an 8-deck table with a 6:5 payout for Blackjack, you are not looking at a good place for fair playtime. However, fewer decks translate into better winning chances, as you can keep track of the cards at play easier. Throw in the Double after Split rule, the soft 17, and you get a great game – especially if it features only two decks!
Double deck blackjack offers a 0.23% house advantage in most cases (it can go lower, more on that later), which is better than most available variants.
However, the current online casino norm is either six or eight decks. Most RNG and live dealer tables’ software providers go for more decks to increase the edge and ensure the house. As we will see shortly, the best variant with top winning chances is the 2-deck variant.
Moreover, if you play with fewer decks, the chances of scoring 21 go up (from 4.75% to 4.82%). Furthermore, the odds of obtaining a good card after a double down are also higher, which means you have better odds to win than with more decks.
Another important advantage is card counting accessibility. It is easier to keep track of 104 cards than 416! If the game rules are more player-oriented, punters have better deck penetration, leading to predictions being more accurate and easier to form.
We’ve seen that playing with only two decks has a great impact on your RTP and the house advantage. But what about the single-deck variant? Can single deck blackjack prove to be better than its 2-deck counterpart? And if it is not better, how do they compare?
The main difference between these two variations is revealed in their names – the first uses only one deck, while the other uses two. Both have exceptional house edge percentages, with a single deck boasting a brilliant 0.15% advantage over its 0.23% counterpart! Its nature affects gameplay in practical terms, as you get a different feeling from standard blackjack.
Aside from a difference in edge, the single and double variants do not have other differences. Both are great for players as they offer better winning odds and a more precise card counting overview. However, casinos employ many techniques to turn the tide in their favour.
Although single-deck games sound better than multi-deck games, they might include rules that favour the gambling houses more — for instance, a 6:5 payout for hitting 21. The common practice is to have 3:2, but some websites use the 6:5 payout to increase the edge.
Another important aspect is availability. Multi-deck games are more common than single-deck and double-deck variants. And if they do exist, they might include unfavourable rules such as Hard 17 and no Double after Split.
Before you start playing any of these variants, make sure you have checked the rules thoroughly and established that they indeed offer only the optimal gaming conditions for you.
Experienced players know very well that a great deal of things affects gameplay in online blackjack. A slight change in rules, even one rule out, might completely change the course of the session. But nothing affects gameplay more than changing the number of decks.
The main reason why most players prefer playing single and double deck blackjack games is the house edge. Simply put, this changes the house edge, or more specifically, it lowers it.
Regular 8-deck tables where the dealer hits on soft 17, there’s no Surrender, and you can Double after Split (DAS), and players use optimal blackjack strategy, have a 0.64% edge. A table that uses the same rules but has 6 decks offers a 0.61% edge. But here comes a kicker – an identical set of rules at a 2-deck table will lower it to 0.37%!
So, how many decks are best for blackjack?
The answer is, the fewer, the better. With only one or two packs, players have more chances of drawing natural Blackjack as there are fewer cards at play. Moreover, the dealer has fewer chances of drawing a natural 21 (10+Ace) against your natural 21, which lowers the chances of having a tie, which would result in a push.
A player’s best option is a 1 or 2 decks table with No Surrender, DAS, dealer stand on soft 17, 4-hand Re-Split, and 3:2 payout. Such a table offers you a chance to play with a 0.22%-0.12% house edge. Such a range might not look brilliant, but using optimal strategy affects the edge as well – in your favour, of course.
Card counting is widespread, especially in land-based gambling. However, casinos generally dislike card counting and often consider it a form of cheating. Therefore, they include many rules to thwart card counting attempts. The best example is the pitch dealing in double deck blackjack, as it prevents players from seeing their opponents’ hands and keeping track of cards left in the deck.
How do you count cards in double deck blackjack?
The count is easier if you have fewer cards to play with. You can track the dealt and undealt cards more easily, which gives you a natural advantage over the house. Deck penetration is crucial if you have fewer cards, as casinos often instruct dealers to place the cut card between two packs (50% of the entire 2-deck). This is done to lower your counting chances. Cut cards and shuffling at 50% are not as beneficial as 60% or 75%. If you can, avoid tables with shuffles after the first full deck.
With only 104 cards to play with, the true count might go positive after only a handful of rounds. However, it can go negative just as quickly. To remain in balance and not lose money excessively, don’t increase wagers until you reach the penultimate draw before the cut card.
Is double deck blackjack better than its 6 and 8-deck counterparts? In general, it is, but it depends on the rules and the number of used decks. Although double-deck games offer lower house advantages and better card counting odds, the use of unfavourable rules might dampen the experience and make 8-deck games more profitable.
But, as we have seen, you can still salvage your chances if you pick tables with good rules. You will need a solid blackjack strategy, blackjack cheat sheet consultations, and blackjack online free practice too. Before you start playing blackjack for real money, make sure you’ve checked all rules thoroughly for the double-deck blackjack table you intend to join.
BestCasinos team consists of online casino experts dedicated to spreading their knowledge and experience to a wider audience, all in effort to help even the most inexperienced players gain their footing in this exciting industry.