27 December 2023
If you’re an avid poker fan and have had a chance to visit live casinos, you would have noticed some having two decks at each poker table. They use these to speed up the entire process because while one deck is being played, the other one is being shuffled by the machine. But, in fact, poker can only be called poker if it’s played with a single deck. This is because using more than one deck will change the odds, probabilities, and outcomes of the game, leading to a complete change in its rules. A single deck will be more than sufficient for 9 or 7-card stud players, 22 hold’em players, and 8 or 11 Omaha players, depending on the number of cards.
A single deck consisting of 52 cards allows players to enjoy a wide range of games as well as table sizes. When there are more players than a single deck can handle, the trend is to divide these players into smaller groups.
Using more than one deck will mean that the added cards will change the outs for drawing hands. Take this as an example: A single deck will allow you a 19% chance of hitting a flush, while using two decks will increase your odds to 22%. This difference isn’t insignificant.
The chances of hitting a straight also change depending on whether you’re playing with a single or double deck. With a single deck, you’ll have a 17% shot, while hitting a flush using two decks will be reduced to 16%.
Two decks equal your percentage of hitting a draw and the number of outs. For instance, if your odds of getting a gutshot and flush draw is 28%, then your number of outs will also be 28. The same holds true for all the different types of draws.
Two decks will alter hand combinations, leading to trouble with hand rankings. There’s a certain logic to rankings in poker which will no longer be the case with more than one deck. For instance, making 5 of a kind with a flush will be much easier than, say, a royal flush or a flush with two pair. Hence, two-deck rankings might seem completely bizarre to you.
If you’re worried that a single deck won’t accommodate many people at a time, you shouldn’t be. In fact, you can have as many as 22 players playing in a single instant. Poker is meant to be enjoyed on a single deck because otherwise, it will become a little non-sensical, and you might as well play other games that can be played with two decks, such as blackjack. Professional players might consider experimenting with two decks to see how different the game can be from normal poker. If you’re a novice, you might want to learn a few rules for playing poker.
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