Difference Between Single-hand and Multi-hand Blackjack

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By Elizabeth Reed.

If you have never played multi-hand blackjack, you might wonder whether to try it or just stick to regular single-hand blackjack. Single-hand blackjack is quite common online and in some land-based casinos because of its simplicity and potentially higher chance of beating the dealer.

However, we believe one of the best ways to enjoy any casino game is to try the different variants available. This article will discuss the difference between single-hand and multi-hand blackjack variants. We shall also discuss the skills required to play these games and win real money.

The terms single-hand and multi-hand are a bit confusing.  They are often confused with regular single-deck and multi-deck blackjack.  They are not quite the same.  So, read on if you wish to understand how multi-hand blackjack differs from single-hand blackjack.

What is Single-Hand Blackjack?

Single-hand blackjack is a classical game requiring you to wager on the single hand dealt to you from one deck of 52 cards. Therefore, you get one hand per round. This includes the first two cards you’re dealt with and any cards you receive later, no matter how many cards you have in hand. The game has traditionally had a lower house edge compared to other casino games, however, if the game only pays 6 to 5 on a blackjack the casino edge is much higher.  Essentially, this variant forces you to play only one hand per round.

What is Multi-Hand Blackjack?

You can decide how many hands you receive when you play multi-hand blackjack online. Some games allow you to play 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 hands per round. Each hand is usually dealt with the same bet size, however, you may find some casinos that offer you the option of different bet sizes. For example, if you wager $5.00 per hand and play five hands per game, your overall initial wager will be $25.00. Starting with the left-most hand, you can play one hand after the other. 

Difference between Single and Multi-Hand Blackjack

The goal of both single-hand and multi-hand blackjack are the same… to beat the dealer.  You do this by either getting a hand total closer to 21 than the dealer or getting the dealer to bust.  However, both games have differences in strategy and game-play.

Comparing Single and Multi-Hand Blackjack

  • A single-hand game uses just one 52-card deck, whereas multi-hand games use four, six, or eight decks, each with 52 cards.  Essentially, we are referring to a single-deck game where you can only play one hand per round. 
  • The house edge for single-hand / single-deck blackjack games is 1.45%, while the house edge for multi-hand blackjack games typically ranges from 0.46% to 0.65% depending on the rules of the house. 
  • While multi-hand blackjack games pay out 3:2 in many casinos, single-hand blackjack games pay out 6:5.
  • Single-hand / single-deck blackjack has a house edge on the insurance of 5.9% as opposed to almost 7.5% for multi-hand / multi-deck blackjack games. 
  • Betting limits for the single and multi-deck variant games may be different.
  • The basic strategy for single-hand / single-deck blackjack is slightly different from the basic strategy for multi-hand / multi-deck games.
  • Playing multiple hands on one round of blackjack will definitely increase your fluctuation in the game.  In other words, be prepared for some big wins and/or losses, especially if you are betting multiple hands at max levels.

How to Play Single-Hand Blackjack

A few single-hand blackjack strategies can boost players’ chances of winning. You must first remember that in a single-hand blackjack game, every card significantly influences how the other cards in the deck are distributed. This can benefit you and emphasizes the need to pay great attention to how the cards are dealt and used.

The double-down and splitting rules are distinct for a single-hand game and merit careful consideration. As an example, if the dealer presents a 2 or 3, rather than merely 4 through 6, you can be more aggressive by splitting a pair of 3s if doubling after splitting is allowed. Similarly, you should only surrender when it is the best course of action.  Refer to the basic strategy for more information.

How to Play Multi-Hand Blackjack

The main rules of multi-hand blackjack are the same as those of traditional blackjack.  Of course, you will be making decisions based on the dealer’s up card and the total of a given hand, using basic strategy as your guide.

Unlike single hand blackjack, players can play multiple hands, allowing them to make various moves and stake more money. So, instead of having a maximum of one hand, in this variation, players are given the option to choose exactly how many they want at the start of the game.

Conclusion

A single-hand / single-deck blackjack game might seem more straightforward and easier to play but, surprisingly, it can be more intricate.  This is because there are several “fine points” to the basic strategy of single-deck games.

Playing a multi-hand blackjack game can definitely get exciting from time to time.  Imagine having 5 hands that you completed without busting.  You may have split and doubled on a few too.  Now, the dealer has a 6 up and turns over a….

If you take time to learn and understand how these games differ, you might find one is more rewarding.  You can try any of these games on many online casino platforms. However, checking the website’s rules before playing is essential to ensure there are no additional changes. So, which blackjack is ideal for you?

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