Playing 6-deck blackjack 

One of the major attractions of blackjack is the fact that it’s a relatively simplistic game. It’s thanks to this simplicity that there is also flexibility and it’s this flexibility that means that we have a whole host of variants to choose from. In this article, we’re going to take a look at 6-deck blackjack and share with you all that you need to know about strategy.

While variants of blackjack all have their own quirks, the biggest difference between playing with a single deck, two decks, 6 decks or 8 is the impact that’s had on the house edge.

Let’s take a look at some of the best, and the worst, of the rules that you’re going to come across playing with 6 decks and let’s explore how to mitigate some of the latter.

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Six Deck Blackjack

The best and the worst – 6-deck blackjack rules

Whether you’re playing at an online casino or if you’ve visited a land-based one the 6-deck game is the most popular version of blackjack that you’ll come across. There is an instant positive when it comes to playing a 6-deck and that’s the fact that the rules are relatively liberal. That’s down to the fact that the casino has already increased its edge with each additional deck of cards in the shoe.

When you’re sat at a table with 6-decks, the rules that you’ll come across are:

  • S17 – dealer stands on soft 17
  • DAS – double down after split
  • RSA – re-splitting is allowed 
  • ES – early surrender permitted
  • DOA – doubt down on any total
  • A blackjack will payout 3:2

Now, this set of rules can be looked at as being attractive to a player. However, the thing is that it won’t always be these rules that apply. While it may happen at some online casinos you’ll definitely find at land-based ones that the rules get tilted massively in the favour of the house. This tends to happen in tourist hotspots where novices fall victim. The casinos know that these tourists are unlikely to be serious players and that they’re just happy playing regardless of the rules.

The worst 6-deck blackjack rules

If you go straying into some of these tourist hotspots, you’re more likely to come across rules such as:

  • S17 – dealer stands on 17
  • NDAS – no double down after split
  • RSA – no re-splitting 
  • NS – no opportunity to surrender 
  • D9 – players can only double down on 9
  • Blackjack pays out 6:5

The impact of the rules in this list is that they benefit the casino. They do this by increasing the house edge and making it that much tougher for players to win. The former list does quite the opposite and leads to the house edge coming down. The important takeaway here is that the rules of each table can have a serious impact on your chances of winning.

If you’re serious about your game avoid the above like the plague. Instead, keep your eye out for:

Double downs

  • Double down on 10 or 11
  • Doubling down on soft count (although this rule is rare)
  • Doubling down on three cards (possible but, again, rare)
  • Doubling down on any number of cards (even rarer)
  • The chance to redouble (rarer still)


  • Late surrender allowed
  • Surrender any number of cards
  • Surrender after double 


  • Surrender after split
  • Split at any time 
  • Multiple draws after split aces

What’s the worst hand in 6-deck blackjack?

If you’re a regular blackjack player then the answer here is hardly likely to be surprising. That’s because regardless of the vacant that you play, the hand that everyone dreads is 16. The thing with this hand is that the dealer could easily beat you but, at the same time, you’re so close to going bust. Players who lack experience start to get nervous and make some horrendous decisions.

If a player sees that the dealer’s upcard is anything from a seven to an ace, they decide to stand. The thing is, all that it takes is learning basic blackjack strategy and a player would realize that this is a wrong move. When you’re dealt 16 while playing 6-deck blackjack, these are your options:

  • Only stand if the dealer is showing cards from two through to six
  • If the dealer is showing seven or eight then you hit
  • With a nine, 10 or ace you should surrender 
  • If there’s no option to surrender then you should hit
  • If the dealer’s upcard is anywhere from two to 10 and you’ve been dealt two eights you should split
  • If you have two eights and the dealer is showing an ace you should surrender

A hand worth 17 or more

Making a decision when you’re so close to 21 can certainly be tricky. If you’re feeling a little edgy then the best course of action here is to stand. If you take a look at basic strategy you’ll find that, in almost every instance, stand is the right solution. The dealer’s upcard doesn’t really come into play or have any influence here. Here’s just what basic strategy tells you to do:

  • Total of 17 – You should stand or surrender. If surrender is not allowed then the only option is to stand
  • Total of 18 – If you have 9-9 and the dealer’s up card is anywhere from two to nine then you can split. For every other circumstance, you should stand 
  • Total of 19 – Always stand
  • Total of 20 – Always stand (don’t even be tempted to split 10-10)

Final thoughts 

Just like every other game of blackjack, playing with 6 decks comes with good rules as well as those that are less than favorable. By understanding which are wish you have the power to make better choices and to play at the tables that give you the best chances.

You have hopefully noticed that a big takeaway in all of this is the importance of basic strategy. Master this and regardless of the blackjack you’re playing, you can tip the odds back towards being in your favour. 

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