Blackjack odds: Affect of playing multiple hands

If you have sat at enough blackjack tables, you have probably seen players who play with more than one hand at a time. Aside from splitting pairs, your average player sticks to playing one hand, but often players will play multiple hands. This is usually an option when playing online blackjack as well. So what is the affect of playing more than one hand of blackjack?

The most obvious affect is that it causes you to play more hands within the same period of time. More hands usually means a loss of money, which is why I usually caution against playing with more than one hand. The house has a statistical advantage in blackjack, just like every other casino game. Playing more hands exposes your bankroll to the house edge even more. That means the casino will take more of your money. There are two exceptions, though.

The first exception is if you are counting cards. If you are counting cards, which is not possible online, you might want to switch to playing two hands when you know the count is in your favor. Be warned, though, that the dealer is trained to spot that behavior. A player who suddenly switches to two hands, gets dealt a lot of tens and goes on a winning streak is something that sends up a red flag in a casino and it can get their attention in a very negative way.

The other exception is if you split your bet. If you were going to bet $20 on one hand, you could instead play two hands, betting $10 on each hand. That way, you are still only betting a total of $20. Depending on your goal when playing blackjack, playing two hands in that situation can help you. Such a strategy makes your bankroll fluctuate less.

When you play with two hands, those hands are not totally independent of each other, because both are playing against the dealer’s same hand. Therefore, when the dealer has a great hand, both are like to lose and when the dealer has a bad hand, both are likely to win. However, if the dealer has an average hand, it’s quite possible that one of your hands could win and the other loose. Because of those times when you will split your bet, your bankroll is steadier when you play with two hands.

Assuming that you play 100 rounds per hour, blackjack odds say that if you bet $20 on one hand, you will lose $10 per hour. If you play two hands, betting $10 on each, you should lose $8 per hour. By lowering your losses per hour, you are actually able to play for longer with this technique.

On the other hand, if your goal is to reach a certain amount of winnings, your chances are lessened by splitting your bets among two hands. Because your bankroll is more stable, you won’t lose as much or win as much. Winning streaks that bring you to a milestone are less likely because often one hand will cancel out the other.

In the end, it all comes down to what your goal is when playing blackjack. If you want your money to last longer, splitting the same bet amount over two hands is a good strategy. If you want to play until you win a certain amount, it is better to play a single hand at a time.

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