Playing More than One Hand

You are allowed to play more than one hand at a table, provided that there are two empty spots adjacent to each other. If there's a spot in front of you and a spot on either side that's vacant, you can play two hands at once. You can even play more than two hands. You can play three or all the spots at a vacant table.

The rules of this vary from casino to casino and in a casino, from table to table. Most casinos will allow you to play two or more spots if you bet double the table minimum on each spot. For example, if you are at a $5 table, it will cost you $10 in wagers per hand you play. If you play three or more hands at once, the casino will usually let you play for the same amount per hand.

Once you play two hands at once, even if another player comes along and wants to play one of those spots, he can't. It belongs to you. But if you play two hands, then switch to one and then switch back again, the dealer or floorman may insist that you give up one spot to a new player.

When playing two hands at once, you can only look at the cards in one hand and play that hand out before seeing what your other cards hold. Of course, that's when the cards are dealt face down. When they're face up, you can simply observe all the cards that have been dealt, but you must still play one hand at a time in the order in which they've been dealt.

When cards are dealt face down, and the dealer shows an ace as his upcard and asks the players at the table if they want insurance, you can look at all of the hands that you were dealt.

Is it worthwhile playing two hands at once? Well, you'll win more money if the cards run good, or you'll lose more if the cards aren't good. That makes it a guessing game. There are times, however, when you might consider playing two or more hands at once, switching from the usual one hand you've been playing.

Let's assume that you want to deplete a bad deck fast. You're at a $5 table and have been winning, and now your neutral bet is $25. The deck turns sour right away, with 10s and aces leaving it. You now play two hands at $10 a hand and try to run out the deck as soon as possible. Betting $20 in this way, reducing your bet from a flat $25, doesn't look as though you're really dropping your betting limits that fast.

Or conversely, the deck is super-favorable, with all the aces in the deck, and you're afraid you're getting one final round of dealing from this dealer. By playing two hands with big bets out on each, you're putting a lot of money on the table in a way that doesn't appear as though you're skyrocketing your bets. For example, you're at a $25 table, and have been able to bet six units or $150 on one hand without drawing heat. Now, with the super-rich deck, you make two bets of $150 each. You have $300 out there and are getting more cards, cards that would ordinarily be shuffled up after one more round of play.