Single Deck Blackjack Strategy

Monday, 21st August 2017

Single-deck blackjack as a reputation as being the ‘holy grail’ of blackjack games. This comes from live casinos, and the days when card-counting was rife. Online you will not be able to count cards – as the deck is shuffled after each deal. However this version of blackjack does have a very low house edge, and makes an entertaining change from the usual 6-deck games.

This article explains the unique rules of single-deck blackjack. You will also find information on the pros and cons of playing this variation, and some tips on how to keep the casino edge to a minimum while playing. At the end of this article you will find information on some more variations on the blackjack theme which can help to keep this game fresh and entertaining.


What Makes This Game Unique?

In a brick and mortar casino, the initial cards are dealt face-down. This allows each player to look at their own hand and muck or play as needed, and may also have given advantage players the opportunity to scratch or mark the cards.

Online this can’t happen of course, though there are still some minor rule variations to keep in mind. Firstly, the dealer will ‘hit’ on a soft 17 (most other games the dealer stands on a soft 17). This adds a small percentage to the house edge. You will generally only be paid 6:5 for Blackjack in this game (usually this is 3:2), this unfortunately increases the house edge a little more.

You will also find that splitting and doubling is more restricted than in the 6-deck game. You can only double with 9, 10 or 11 and splitting aces means only one more card gets dealt for each – with 21 not counting as ‘blackjack’ if you do spike a 10.


Pros and Cons of Playing Single Deck Blackjack

This game is fast, fun and the different rules do make a refreshing change from the same old formula. You will also not be distracted by side-bets, this is a simple blackjack variation at heart and you can focus on the action.

However a combination of the hit on soft 17 and the 6:5 payout for Blackjack – along with the restricted double-down rules – means that you end up giving a little more of a house edge than you would do playing the multi-deck variants.


How to Reduce the House Edge

The first thing you can do to keep the house edge to a minimum in this 1-deck game is to make sure you know the perfect strategy. This means you will be playing a mathematically perfect game, doubling splitting and standing in line with the odds down to 2 decimal places.

You should also look at some different casinos and play a game where blackjack pays 3:2 rather than 5:6. This makes a significant difference to the amount of profit the house takes, and is a good enough reason to shift casinos all on its own.

Bonus payments can also make a big difference when you are playing single deck blackjack. This is more than just the welcome bonus offered by online casinos – you really should find a casino that offer you regular reload bonuses and promotions on top. Most casinos put minimum play through of 20x for their blackjack players. This may seem like a lot, but it will quickly add up – and when combined with perfect strategy – and the odd lucky streak, you’ll find bonuses, comps and promotions to be a great way of keeping your bankroll nicely topped up.


Some More Cool Blackjack Variations

This great casino game has enough variations to keep even the most hardened fans interested, here is a selection of the games you might like to try.

Live Dealer Blackjack: You’ll experience a live casino from your own home, with a live croupier dealing the cards through a video-link. This is as close as online blackjack gets to the real thing. See this article on Live Dealer Blackjack for more.

Pontoon: You’ll need to make sure you understand the rules of this blackjack variant, which comes from a British card game – as the dealer’s strategy can change depending on what the player shows. One excellent quirk is that you get paid 2-to-1 for making a 5 card hand of 21 or under.

Progressive Blackjack: This game has a fun side-bet which can lead to a huge jackpot prize. You have the option to bet separately to your main hand, and if you get dealt 4 aces of the same suit (from a 6-deck shoe) then you’ll scoop the prize. Many casinos also give smaller prizes for other combinations of suited and off-suit aces. See our article on Progressive Blackjack for more on this cool variant.