How Many Decks to Play Poker?

As a poker player, one of the basic decisions you need to make when setting up a game is how many decks of cards to use. While most casino games are played with a standard six or eight decks, home games often use fewer decks. This article will explore the pros and cons of different deck quantities so you can choose the right number of decks for your games.

Number of Decks to Play Poker

  • 2 Decks
  • 3-4 Decks
  • 6 Decks
  • 8+ Decks

Sitting at a poker table at an online casino, the first thought that many players have is related to the number of decks. Whether you like to play with 6 decks or two, you need to know their pros and cons to start playing. Here is the information about all number of decks and why you should choose one of them:

2 Decks

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Using just 2 decks is common for stake home games since it reduces the costs of cards and allows hands to play out more quickly with fewer discards between hands. However, 2 decks provide less randomization than more decks. Savvy players may gain an edge during betting by tracking cards already played.

Manually shuffling 2 decks takes less time than shuffling more decks, but the reduced randomness could mean more knowledgeable players have an advantage.

3-4 Decks

Three to four decks strike a good balance between randomness and game pace. Enough cards are in play that skilled players need help effectively track.

But shuffling and dealing still move at a reasonably quick clip compared to six decks or more. For casual poker games with friends where winning or losing a few bucks isn’t a big deal, three to four decks provide a nice middle ground.

6 Decks (casino standard)

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Online casinos almost always use six decks because they provide sufficient randomness to take ability out of the equation. With 312 cards in play after the shuffle, players can only realistically track cards well enough to gain an edge from memory.

Six decks ensure that the outcome of each hand is determined by close to pure luck. However, more decks mean slower gameplay and longer intervals between hands, as extra time is needed to shuffle the massive stack.

8+ Decks

Playing with eight or more decks is overkill for most games; it simply slows the action down too much between hands. Unless very high stakes are involved or a tournament pays big prizes, more casual games only require partially removing all skills. Stick to six decks or fewer unless you’re playing professional tournament poker, where absolute randomness is paramount.

How Many Poker Decks You Should Go For?

I recommend 3-4 decks for low-stakes home games, which provide a nice balance of randomness and game pace. If money is tighter or you want games to move quickly, 2 decks work fine, too.

Stick to 6 decks or casino standards if winning or losing matters more than the speed of play. Unless you’re a pro, don’t bog games down with more than 6 decks, providing perfect randomness without overkill.

In summary, choose the number of decks based on your desired balance of randomness, game pace, and stakes. But 3-4 decks strike the best compromise for casual home play.


Written By


Madiha is an expert writer about casinos and gambling. For the last 6 years, she has studied how players enjoy games like slots, roulette, and poker. Furthermore, she likes to learn about new games and technologies in casinos. She gives tips to help players make the most of their time and money at casinos. She is the first who will tell you about any new changes or updates in the gambling industry.

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