THE SHOES ARE A WHOLE DIFFERENT BALL GAME
by Fred Renzey
Note: Fred Renzey is an "advantage" blackjack player and author of the highly rated "Blackjack Bluebook II – the simplest winning strategies ever published", a vividly detailed 217 page handbook for casino "21". To order a copy of Renzey’s best-selling book at a special BJI discount click here.
Forty years ago when card counting first thundered its way onto the blackjack scene, most games were dealt with a single deck. With those games, it wasn’t that uncommon to get halfway into the deck and find that with the cards that were left, you had a 4% advantage.
With today’s six deck shoes however, it’s a different story. When you’re dealing with six times as many cards, it’s much harder for them to get that far out of balance – proportionally speaking. In the shoe game, a 1½% advantage comes along only about as often as that 4% advantage came with a single deck.
As a byproduct of that, in a typically cut shoe-game, the player has the advantage only a shade over 20% of the time, whereas in single deck play he would have the edge about 33% of the time. With such sharply contrasting profiles, the shoe game is much inferior and a lot tougher to beat – if you play it the same way as single deck.
However, since shoe games outnumber hand held blackjack today by such a dominant ratio, most advantage players strive to optimize the characteristics that are unique to multi-deck blackjack.
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