Single Deck Blackjack - Rules & tips

Single deck blackjack is a highly player-friendly variant of blackjack. And that is probably why it isn’t offered by many casinos, at least not without some key modifications. This game of blackjack is known for having a record low house edge of 0.15. Additionally, using one deck makes it much easier for the players to count the cards in blackjack. And that’s the reason why players prefer playing it. However, one should not forget that this blackjack version requires just as much skill and a good blackjack strategy to master as any other variant. So, let’s dive into this guide about single deck blackjack and try to understand this variant and its depth.

Single deck Blackjack

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About the Single Deck Card counting strategy

The card counting is an important strategy in blackjack that yields the best results when used for the single deck version of blackjack. However, the basic principle for single deck blackjack card counting is similar to that for the multi-deck blackjack. This means that the number of high and low-value cards will always be the same.

Choosing a card counting system also requires some adjustments as in many cases, the first two cards you are dealt face down. So, One ideal system for single-deck card counting is the Hi-Op I system in which cards valued 3,4,5,6 count as +1, cards 2,7,8,9, A count as 0, and cards 10, J, Q, K count as -1.  

Therefore, the beginning is usually tough, especially if you are accustomed to other shoe games. However, you need to add or subtract the value of all the visible cards that are dealt on the table. Like this, you’ll have to continue establishing a running count. And this will help you size your bet. However, the troublesome part is the initial face-down cards of other players.  

There can be instances where the counting may become hectic, like when the dealer gets a blackjack and all the players spread their hands face-up. Here your speed and accuracy will be tested as you’ll have to count all the visible cards before the beginning of the next round. And this is something that requires a lot of practice.

How to play single-deck blackjack?

Understanding how to play a single deck blackjack game isn’t that big of a deal, provided you know the rules of a standard blackjack game. The basic gameplay remains the same only a few rules are different, which may also vary from casino to casino. 

Before the game begins, the player needs to place a bet. Then both the player and the dealer are dealt their cards. The dealer is dealt one face up and another face down. The player’s both cards, however, are dealt face- down unlike the other versions. 

Overall, the primary objective of single deck blackjack games is to either get a hand value of 21 or a value as close to 21 as possible, without going over 21. This should be done before the dealer. The player can alternatively choose to stand and let the dealer bust.

Based on the cards dealt with the player and the dealer’s face-up card, the player can decide whether he/she wants to stand or stop pulling out cards, hit or pull out more cards, double down or split the cards, or place a new wager. 

Single deck blackjack rules

Single deck blackjack is one of the most preferred games when it comes to winning big in casinos. And due to the advantages that it offers the players, most casinos do not offer this game. The single deck blackjack house edge is the lowest among all the variants (0.15). So, usually, the casinos do apply some restrictions and adjustments in order to make it a bit more challenging for the player. Also, the game follows the same set of rules when you play classic blackjack. Therefore, you can only master this game if you know the basic blackjack rules. Other than that, some of the major rules of single deck blackjack are:-

  • In some single deck blackjack games, the players’ initial two cards are dealt face down instead of the original face up. 
  • When a single deck is used, the player is permitted to split a single hand up to a limit of 3 times max. 
  • The dealer in this blackjack variation will always hit on soft seventeen (a move that favors the casino)
  • Also, the player is not allowed to re-split the aces. They can only split them.
  • The deck is subjected to shuffling before the beginning of each session of the game. 
  • A hand consisting of a split Ace and a card valued at 10 is not considered a blackjack.
  • Blackjack in this variant has a payout of 3 to 2. Some, however, pay 6 to 5 to increase the house edge. Such variants should be avoided. 
  • Winning insurance bets has a payout of 2 to 1.
  • Other winning hands have a payout of 1 to 1.

Single-Deck Blackjack Strategy

When you play at live blackjack casinos, you would surely notice a large number of cards shuffling around. So, in that case, you need to implement the best Online Blackjack strategy to reduce the house edge even further. And single deck blackjack game is considered as one of the simplest blackjack games and a potentially most efficient variant of all. So, let’s explore the single deck blackjack strategy

  • Always keep an eye on the tens number and picture cards while playing. This will give you a more significant return on a hand and will enhance your profit margin.  
  • Remember that every single card that is being played in a single-deck game will directly impact the distribution of the remaining cards in the deck. So always pay attention to the cards being played. 
  • Make sure to use blackjack cheat sheets to figure out the effective play round for your hand. 
  • Never take insurance because it offers a house edge of 5.9% on one deck. 
  • If there is no row for the splitting of fives and tens, then think of your hand as a hard total of 10 or 20.
  • If you still can’t split it due to restriction on re-splitting, then think of your hand as a hard total, except for aces. Unlikely, if you have a pair of aces that can’t be split and drawing of split aces is not permitted, then double against a 5 or 6, otherwise hit.  

Single-deck v/s Multi-deck Blackjack

Single deck blackjack is actually pretty similar to the multi-deck one. The basics of both the games are the same, yet, there are a few minor changes that should be paid attention to, so that the player can maximize their chances of winning. 

Single deck blackjack

Multi-deck blackjack

Advantages and disadvantages of using Single deck Blackjack cards

Single deck blackjack games have always been considered as standard blackjack games, mostly because it gives players a fairer chance to boost their skills as well as the bankroll. 

If you compare with other blackjack games that consist of only one or few decks usually have a lower house edge than a multi-deck or double-deck blackjack game. 

Here in the case of single deck blackjack, you will get a house edge of 0.15%  which makes the game even more interesting. But there are few drawbacks too. 

Advantages

Disadvantages

FAQ's

Although many casinos introduced single deck blackjack games, but that doesn’t guarantee better odds. In fact, many casinos offer a 6:5 payout in a single deck , whereas in multi-deck it offers 3:2. 

Both multi-deck and single deck blackjack game works similarly, players are dealt with two cards each, with the dealer getting one up and one down.

Yes, you can. While card counting players are allowed to keep a track of which cards are in play. This gives players a chance to understand the game properly and reduce the house edge accordingly. 

Conclusion

Until you watch out for tables that offer excellent outcomes, playing a single deck blackjack game will always be in your favor. It is one of the most inclusive opportunities for card counters, as one deck makes the whole counting process much more simpler and easier to conduct. Even though the game offers an optimal house edge, you must know how the card counting system works, and its basic strategy in order to take advantage of it. So try your hand at the table with this action-packed game.