How do you tell the difference between 6 and 8 decks when you're walking up to a table? If the table min. and max. is the same for both decks, how do you know which one is which? Asking seems to suspicious.
I agree that asking seems suspicious. But you could casually say,"wow, there must be about 10 decks of cards in that shoe!" They usually respond with the correct number. With experience you should easily be able to tell the difference between 6 and 8 decks.
One other thing to keep in mind: some brands of cards are "thicker" than others. 8 decks of "skinny cards" looks pretty close to 6 decks of "fat cards."
I agree that if a table has a 6 deck discard tray, then it must be a 6 deck game.
However, some casinos have 8 deck trays on their 6 deck games. You can tell that, because when all the cards are placed in the tray, there is room for 2 more deck at the top.
For Nat: I would not be concerned about asking how many decks they have. If he says 8 decks, ask if they have any 6 decks. It sounds like you a beginner, and I would not worry about being �suspicious� right now.
The casinos offer 6 deck games because they know a lot of ploppies would rather play 6 decks than 8 decks.
A while ago I was in Vegas, went through MGM Grand quickly, backcounting shoes a couple of times.
Then, a week later, I was talking to someone about the trip, and mentioned playing their 8D games. To which he responded "MGM Grand only has 6D games". I even called up the Grand and asked, and yep, 6D only. It was a pretty horrible mistake, but at least it only caused me to underbet when I wonged into the shoes.
I think I was putting too much stock on the discard trays, and not enough on the cards themselves.
If you're not sure, just ask. I don't think it is suspicious at all. If you ask, and the dealer says "it's an eight deck game," just ask where the six deckers are to be found. If a lot of ploppies didn't prefer six decks over eight decks, all the games would be eight deckers.
Sometimes, I'll aak just to give a subtle message that at least one player prefers six deckers over eight deckers.