How many decks of cards for poker

The Basics of Poker: How Many Decks of Cards for Poker?

How many decks of cards for poker and what else do you need for a game? What happens to the game when you play with two decks and how does it impact the play?

If you have questions, we have the answers. At CoinPoker, we’re breaking down one-deck and two-deck poker games, how they work, and all the probabilities and hand rankings in between. So let’s get into it.

How Many Decks of Cards for Poker?

So how many decks of cards for poker? Well, according to the rules, traditional poker in all of its variants is always played with a single, 52-card deck poker. If there are too many people who want to play at a table, the general rule of thumb is to split the players into two or more tables.

That said, there is a common practice in live casinos when they use two decks to speed up the game. But more on that later.

Now the question becomes how many decks of cards for poker are too many decks? Most poker experts agree that the number is two. Of course, there’s absolutely nothing and no one to stop you from playing a game with multiple decks. It’s just that you would have to make up new rules to do this.

How Much Does One Deck Cover?

Even though it might not look like it, a single, 52-card deck can cover a wide variety of games and table sizes. In fact, with just one deck you could have up to 22 Texas Hold’Em players and 9 7-Card Stud players. You could also have 11 people at a 4-Card Omaha game and 8 people at a 5-Card Omaha.

There are particular rules in place in case the deck runs out of cards. For example, in Triple-Draw, you can reshuffle the discarded cards and in 7-Card Stud, the river can be a community card that everyone would share.

However, as we mentioned earlier, in scenarios where there are a lot of players all potentially sitting at the same table, the best solution is to split them up into several tables.

How Many Decks Do Live Casinos Use for Texas Hold’Em?

Live casinos typically use two decks per poker table, but that doesn’t mean that the game is played with two decks. Players will still only use one deck for playing, while the machine shuffles the other deck in the meantime.

Once the hand is over, the decks get switched, and so on. However, if there’s a dealer manually shuffling the cards, then just one deck should be enough.

Using two decks instead of one in the game speeds up the entire process, which equals a bigger hourly rate for both you and the casino.

What to Consider When Playing With Two Decks

Now that you know how many decks of cards for poker (one), the next question is raised. What happens if you want to play with two decks?

Well, if you were to play poker with two decks, you would change all the odds and probabilities built into the game. That would essentially mean you were playing a different game altogether.

Multiple Decks Alter the Odds

With more decks, players would have to change their entire strategy for every situation. Most notably, you would have to rethink your understanding of how the additional cards affect outs for drawing hands.

For example, if you have a two-card flush, with two decks, you’ll have 22 outs instead of 9. When playing with one deck, the odds of hitting a flush on the next card is 19%. However, in two-deck poker, your chances would now rise to 22%.

Another example you should consider is if you have an open-ended straight draw as with two decks, you have 16 outs instead of 8. When playing with one deck, the odds of hitting a straight on the next card is 17%.

Draws Become Easier to Figure Out

When playing with two decks, your odds of hitting your draw are the same as the number of outs you have. 

For example, you have a 34% chance of getting an open-ended straight flush draw and the number of outs is 34. The same principle applies no matter the type of draw you have.

Probabilities and Hand Rankings When Playing With Two Decks

Since your hand combinations are now different with two decks, you’re bound to run into some issues when trying to determine hand rankings. As the odds change, so does your ability to make certain hands. As an example, it would be much easier to make 5 of a kind than a straight flush. That is all to say that hand rankings with two decks now look like this:

  • 5 of a Kind with a Flush
  • Royal Flush
  • Five of a Kind
  • Straight Flush
  • Flush with Two Pair
  • Four of a Kind
  • Flush with One Pair
  • Flush with No Pairs
  • Full House
  • Unflushed Straight
  • Three of a Kind 
  • Two Pair
  • One Pair
  • High Card

You can also expect the combinations with these hands to see a tremendous increase. For example, in two-deck poker, there are 128 potential Royal Flush combinations but over 40 million one-pair combinations.

Strategies for Playing With Two Decks

From what you’ve read so far, you might have noticed that playing with two decks sometimes feels quite similar to playing Omaha. That’s because you would have two hole cards instead of four and draws go up in value.

While the rules and hand rankings might be difficult to keep track of at all times, at least there is a huge amount of action every hand. That said, some general strategies to consider are: bluffing less, playing tighter, and upgrading your requirements for continuing.

Since there are so many potential hand combinations out there, fold equity will be quite low, making it more difficult to bluff. Also, for those same reasons, you’ll need a much better hand to call a raise or value bet. So a good rule of thumb is to upgrade one tier for every situation.

To Sum Up: How Many Decks of Cards for Poker?

When it comes to answering the question of how many decks of cards for poker, the only answer is one deck. As soon as you start playing with two decks, you won’t be playing traditional poker anymore and the rules, rankings, and odds become increasingly difficult.

If you want to experience what real poker is all about – download CoinPoker today. With our game variety, tournaments, and features, we’re sure to have something for everyone.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *