Many players often wonder whether it is better to play two hands in blackjack rather than with one. Though playing more than one hand is not so common, it is also not unusual. After several hours of playing blackjack, you will probably see some players holding at least two hands at a time. It might seem that this way of playing blackjack is more rewarding, but the truth is it doesn’t influence the gameplay much.
Sometimes, the player will commence playing with one hand, and then change their tactics and spread their game on two hands. Some gamblers will play this way from the very start. When you do so, you will receive more cards per hour. That also means you will play more rounds, which is not a very smart thing to do, considering the house edge.
How to Play Two Hands at a Time?
So each hand will come with a house edge, and if you want to participate in a long-term play, that will sweep up your bankroll so quickly you will not know what hit you. So how can you benefit?
The only strategy that can actually be of use is card counting. The tactics you can apply is known as Hi/Lo. This is a card counting strategy in which you will need to assign +1 value to cards of lower value, which are those from 2 through 6. Cards from 7 to 9 will have 0 value, and 10 trough Ace will be -1. Your goal here is to have a positive score, which means — the more low cards are on the table, the higher chances that the next card will be either 10, Jack, Queen, King, or Ace.
When your card count is negative, you should spread your play on two hands. That way, you will have a chance to clear the low cards out of the way. Once the table total becomes positive, you can go back to playing with a single hand.
Betting on Two Hands While Card Counting
The first thing you could do is to divide the amount of your one hand bet on two hands, and you should do so only when the count is positive. That will lower the variance and the risk that comes along. The other way is to, for example, bet 35 dollars on each hand instead of 50 on one, meaning your wager can be about 70% of the amount you would make on one hand. So, though the risk will be the same, your expectations will be higher — if you’re not the only one at the table.
If the count is negative, you can play on two hands by betting the minimum amount. This way, you can remove small cards and increase your wagers once those higher start showing up. And, if the count is positive in a two-decks game, spreading on two hands should happen before the dealer comes to the cut card.
Benefits of Two Hands Play
One of the first things you notice when you play with two hands is that you get more action. For example, if you were to play 80 rounds in one hour with one hand, it would be 160 hands per hour with two. Still, since you will have to bet on each hand separately, you will have to be ready to either win or lose more.
Playing more than one hand can sometimes even out your bankroll since there is a funny possibility for one hand to win while the other loses. However, if you are aiming to land large amounts, this will not be beneficial to you. But your chances for massive losses will also be lower. And whether you see this point of gameplay as an advantage or not depends on your expectations.
Nonetheless, the only way you can really benefit from playing two hands is if you include card counting in the equation. A card counter can play two hands, so the low cards would get drawn quicker and go back to one hand once the odds of drawing a high card are bigger.
You have to be aware that the strategy of switching from one to two hands might not be easy to exploit, since camera or casino stuff may pick up the pattern you are applying. The dealer will be able to quickly figure out what you’re doing, and they may suggest that you should change the game you’re playing for a while.
The Influence It Has on Your Etiquette
When playing blackjack at the casino, you should always pay attention to your etiquette. Playing multiple hands should fasten the pace of the game. However, if you take some extra time to contemplate about each hand other players will get irritated.
Also, you should play this way only on neighboring spots. Still, it is not a good idea to ask other blackjack players to switch seats for this reason. Even though the seating arrangement doesn’t affect the game results, it can get tense if the co-player whose place you took starts to lose at their new position. If a new player wants to join the game, and there is no place at the table, you should make room for them by giving up one among multiple hands you play.
So even though playing two hands may seem like a good idea to possibly even out your bankroll, the difference related to single-hand play is not big when you consider the winning odds.
Since you will have to bet on each hand separately, it would be smart to make minimum table bets. Of course, if you aim for massive prizes, you will have to risk. However, two hands will clean your bankroll swiftly.
Again, you could use the card counting technique and change the number of hands you’re playing with. Nevertheless, you will have to be careful not to get caught.
Taking it all into consideration, it is questionable whether this way of playing is beneficial or not. Professional blackjack players might be able to pull it off, but beginners will most likely go home with empty pockets.