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Single Deck Blackjack

Blackjack is probably the only casino game that can parry poker in popularity. It’s the favorite game of thousands of professional players and if you ask us, it’s much more exciting than poker. Single-deck blackjack was first, multi-deck blackjack came later to beat card counters - with the increased number of decks, winning became a lot harder.

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Single Deck Blackjack is still popular today due to the fact that it has the lowest house edge of all blackjack variations. It is especially popular among card counters who can track a single deck of cards easily.

Of course, the low house edge means you don’t get to see it in casinos that often, and you should also keep in mind that casinos have rules in place that help them gain an advantage over the gamblers.

Single-Deck Blackjack
Playing blackjack with a beer means having fun

Single Deck blackjack is a challenging game regardless of the low house edge and the lower number of cards, so you shouldn’t expect to win every hand. In order to beat the dealer, you still need a solid strategy that will further reduce the house edge and improve your chances of earning some money.

The Rules of Single Deck Blackjack

The rules of single-deck blackjack are not at all different from standard blackjack. The only difference is that the game uses a single deck of 52 cards, which are shuffled after each round. Aces are still worth 1 or 11, while Jacks, Queens, Kings, and 10s are each worth 10 points. The dealer has one of his cards face-up and the objective is to beat his hand without going over 21, which is known as a bust.

Being tied with the dealer results in a push and the player gets his money back. Players have the option to hit (ask for another card) to improve their hand, stand if they are satisfied with it or split if they want to split a hand into two. Unlike other variations, single-deck blackjack allows splitting aces up to two times, with the player receiving one card per ace.

If your hand is pretty good and you think you have high chances of winning, you can double down, which is essentially doubling your bet to get one more card in the hope of beating the dealer. If you do, you’ll win twice your stake.

In case the dealer gets an ace with the face-up card, he may offer the insurance bet which pays 2:1 if he ends up having blackjack. Like all standard blackjack versions, a natural in this variant pays 3:2, while the insurance bet pays 2:1. All the other bets and side bets pay even money.

What are the Pros and Cons?

The most obvious advantage of single-deck blackjack is the low house edge. The house edge of 0.17% gives players great chances of winning, although one must use a solid basic blackjack strategy or card counting in order to benefit from the low house edge. Card counters love this variation of blackjack as it puts them in complete control of the game – after all, the running count can be handled much easier when there are only 52 cards in play.

On the negative side of things, many casinos give 6:5 payouts for a blackjack rather than 3:2. This brings the house edge all the way up to 1.45% and makes the game unfavorable for players. This is why it’s important to check the payouts and rules of any blackjack variation before you start playing.

Additionally, the low house edge of single-deck blackjack means that a land-based casino isn’t very likely to offer comps. If you like getting gifts and free stuff while playing the tables, single-deck blackjack probably isn’t a good choice.

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Strategies

Using a strategy is helpful in all blackjack variations including single-deck blackjack. Basic blackjack strategies can reduce the house edge slightly or drastically and give you control over the game so you actually win more often. Another thing to keep in mind is that the side bets, no matter how attractive they may look, are only there so the casino can get more money from you. Any serious blackjack player will tell you that you should never take the insurance bet or any other side bet for that matter. They may look good, but they aren’t profitable for you at all.

There are many basic blackjack strategy charts you can find online based on the H17 rule which will help you stay in the game for longer and hopefully win some money as well.

Card Counting in Single Deck Blackjack

Card counting is much more profitable when there are fewer decks in play, making single-deck blackjack a favorite among card counters. Thanks to the lower number of cards in play, they can keep the running count going easier than with multi-deck variations.

One of the most popular card counting systems for single-deck blackjack is the Hi-Op system. It has been proven as very reliable and can also be applied to multi-deck variations once mastered.

House Edge

There are many variations of blackjack which offer exciting rule changes that significantly raise or reduce the house edge of the casino. Of course, casinos won’t just let you win every round, so there are many rules that sway the odds in their favor. When it comes to blackjack, the fewer decks in play, the more favorable the game is for the player. Single-deck blackjack has a pretty low house edge (0.17%), which makes it very attractive for newbies and experienced card counters. But that doesn’t mean you’ll win every round – in the end, the casino always wins.

In order to neutralize the low house edge, the rules of Single Deck Blackjack allow the dealer to hit instead of standing on Soft 17. This rule is not favorable for the player as it raises the house edge for a bit, but you still have the highest chances of winning with single-deck blackjack than any other variation.

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