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Single Deck Blackjack – Rules & Tips

Single Deck Blackjack has 0.15% house edge that puts you almost on a even playing field with the casino.

Single Deck Blackjack has a 0.15% house edge that puts you almost on a even playing field with the casino.

Blackjack is a popular casino game of luck and skill combined and it is frequently played in land based, online and mobile casinos. The biggest reason for the popularity of the game is that it has one of the lowest house edges of all casino games and with basic or optimal blackjack strategy players can increase their advantage over the casino. Even though luck also plays a role, with appropriate skills they can indeed make a profit. Nowadays blackjack has many different variants suitable for different types of blackjack players. One of it is Single Deck Blackjack and, as the name implies, it is played with one deck of playing cards. The variant offers the best house edge for players and if they are familiar with a basic blackjack strategy, they are ready to play.

How to Play Single Deck Blackjack

The main objective of Single Deck Blackjack is to get a hand value of 21 or as close as possible to 21 before the dealer without busting or going over. An alternative is to stand and have the dealer bust. Before the game starts, you place a bet. Then you and the dealer are dealt cards. The dealer is dealt one face up card and one face down. You are dealt two face up cards. Based on the cards in front of you and the face up card of the dealer you decide whether to stand or stop drawing cards, hit or draw more cards, double down or place another bet or split cards.

The Rules

The following are the rules for playing Single Deck Blackjack:

  • Only one deck of cards is used. It is shuffled before the beginning of each gaming session.
  • The dealer hits on soft 17.
  • The player can split a hand up to three times.
  • Aces can be split and the player gets only one card to each Ace. They cannot be re-split.
  • A hand comprised of a split Ace and a card with a value of 10 is not blackjack.
  • Blackjack pays 3 to 2.
  • Wining insurance bets pay 2 to 1.
  • Other winning hands pay 1 to 1.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Single Deck Blackjack

Many blackjack fans consider Single Deck Blackjack as the holy grail of standard Blackjack mainly because it gives played the best chance to increase their bankroll. As a rule of a thumb, blackjack games that are played only with one or a few decks have lower house edge than Multi Deck Blackjack games. In Single Deck Blackjack, the house edge is just 0.15%. This may seem quite tempting, but the game also has a few disadvantages.


As already mentioned, the biggest advantage of Single Deck Blackjack is that it has the lowest house edge. However, to take advantage of the low house edge, players should understand the game and its rules as well as use good blackjack strategy. Otherwise, the house edge will increase no matter how many decks the game has.

Single Deck Blackjack is also a favorable variant for card counters. When playing blackjack with six or eight decks players wait longer till they get favorable counts. With Single Deck Blackjack, they can get a favorable count fast. However, it should be noted that card counting works when playing the game in brick and mortar casinos, because on the Internet card are shuffled after each hand.


Single Deck Blackjack also has a few disadvantages. Even though it has low house edge, some casinos modify its rules so the house edge of the variant may end up being higher than that of eight deck blackjack. For example, some casinos pay 6 to 5 for blackjack instead of 3 to 2 increasing the house edge from 0.15% to 1.45%. Having in mind that you can maintain a house edge of around 0.5% with both single and multi deck blackjack games, it might not be worth the effort to search for Single Deck Blackjack games.

Another disadvantage is that casinos usually don’t give many comp points for playing the game because in the long run, due to the low house edge, they won’t win much money from it. Therefore, they aren’t very generous with comp points.

In Summary

Having in mind that Single Deck Blackjack has the lowest house edges of all casino games and that it is based on both luck and skill, it gives casino fans big changes to win money. However, players must know the rules and understand and use appropriate blackjack strategy to keep the house edge to a minimum. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter if you play blackjack with one or many decks.

In addition, before playing, make sure you pick a Single Deck Blackjack game that has favorable rules. For example, avoid the one that pay 6 to 5 for blackjack, but, instead, stick to the Single Deck Blackjack game that pays 3 to 2.

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