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 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.