Single Deck Blackjack
The Ultimate Guide to Single Deck Blackjack
Play Single Deck Blackjack
If you’re looking for a casino card game that is easy to learn and fun to play, blackjack fits the bill. There are many variations of blackjack in casinos today, most of which feature multiple decks. Single deck blackjack is unique because it is only played with one 52-card deck. This aspect of the game means that you enjoy a lower house advantage when compared to other blackjack variations, but ultimately, winning a hand of blackjack is based on equal parts skill and luck.
Everything You Need to Know About Single Deck Blackjack
In this article, you will learn how to play single deck blackjack, what the rules are, and the top ten winning strategies that you can use to win. Then, you will explore the pros and cons of the game and get answers to some of our most frequently asked single deck blackjack questions.
How to Play Single Deck Blackjack
The basic goal of single deck blackjack is simple: get as close to 21 as you can without going over, which is called a bust. If you don’t hit blackjack, your card total must exceed the dealer’s to win. The game features a dealer and multiple players, all of which receive 2 cards at the beginning of each game. The deck is shuffled before each hand is dealt.
On the blackjack table, there are areas you should be aware of:
- Betting square: A rectangular-shaped square on the table directly in front of a player’s seat. This is where bets are placed at the top of each round.
- Insurance: On each blackjack table, there is a semi-circle-shaped section near the center that features the game rules and an area that says “insurance.” When a bet is placed here, the player’s bet is protected if the dealer hits a natural blackjack.
To begin the round, each player places their bet in the corresponding betting square. If you wish to place an insurance bet, they must do so at this time, and the bet must be equal to half the bet placed in the betting square. Once all bets are placed, the dealer passes out two cards to each player face-up and two cards to themselves, one face-up and one face-down.
Before you can make their first move, the dealer checks for blackjack. If the dealer doesn’t have 21, you can now decide how they want to move forward: hit, stand, double down, or split.
If you believe your hand can accommodate another card without going over 21, you should choose to hit, which means ask the dealer for another card. You can continue to hit on your hand until you get as close as possible to 21 or go over.
There are two scenarios in which you should stand in single hand blackjack: when you have already hit until you are comfortable with the value of your cards, or when the first two cards dealt to you have a high enough value that you are comfortable playing the hand without the help of extra cards. Standing indicates that you refuse to receive any additional cards from the dealer’s deck.
When you choose to double down on your hand, you place a second bet on the table outside of the betting square in exchange for one additional card from the dealer’s deck. You can only receive one card, so it’s important to choose wisely when you go this route.
If you are dealt two cards equal in value, you have the option to split your hand. This entails placing a second, equal bet on the table in exchange for treating each of your cards as their own hand. When you split, you choose to hit or stand individually until you are happy with each value.
Once all players are content with the value of their cards, the dealer reveals their face-down card. If the total is less than a soft 17, the dealer must hit on their hand until they reach a minimum of 16. There are no exceptions to this rule, and if an additional card needed to reach 16 causes the dealer to bust, all hands in play that didn’t also bust are paid out.
Single Deck Blackjack Rules
If you want to win single deck blackjack, you must understand the rules. Luckily, they are easy to remember, and the list is short:
- One 52-card deck of playing cards is used and shuffled at the beginning of each round.
- The dealer must hit on a soft 17.
- You can split your hand a maximum of three times.
- When you get blackjack, the payout is 3:1. Beating the dealer’s hand pays out 1:1, and insurance pays out 2:1.
- A pair of Aces can be split, if a ten-value card is dealt to a split Ace, it does not count as blackjack and is paid out 1:1.
- When you double down, you may only receive one additional card to your hand from the dealer.
- Splitting requires the first two cards the dealer hands out to be of the same value and face. For example, even though a 10 and a Q have the same value, they cannot be split. You must hold a pair, such as two 10’s or two Q’s.
Top Ten Best Single Deck Blackjack Strategies
Memorizing the rules and understanding how basic single deck blackjack is played is essential to a successful round. If you want to maximize your winnings, you need to implement a winning strategy based on the cards you are dealt.
Here are ten of the best single hand blackjack strategies out there:
#10: Never Split Two Tens
It can be tempting to split tens in blackjack, especially since it seems like you have double your chance at hitting 21. However, in most cases, the soft 20 that you have with double tens is a stronger hand than the possibility of hands you could get by splitting. Save your bet and stick with the soft 20 unless the dealer has a strong chance of hitting blackjack.
#9: Double Down on Hard Eleven
When you are dealt a hard 11 in your first two cards, it is an auspicious hand. Since almost any card you can get when you hit results in a favorable outcome, it’s a good idea to double down to increase your chances of winning a larger payout.
#8: Never Skip Splitting Aces
A pair of Aces by themselves is equivalent to 2 or 12, neither of which is considered a great hand. When you split Aces, though, you increase your chances of hitting blackjack, and since soft hands are considered to be more flexible than hard hands, you give yourself a lot more wiggle room to hit.
#7: Double All Eights Against Dealer’s Five or Six
In most cases, a hand of eight is considered a weak hand and has the capability of busting relatively easily. However, when the dealer’s face-up card is five or six, the dealer has more of a chance of busting than you do. For this reason, you should always double down in this scenario to secure your best chance of winning the hand.
#6: Split a Pair of Sixes Against Dealer’s Seven
Generally, the obvious choice would not be to split a pair of sixes. When the dealer’s face-up card is a seven, though, it changes the circumstances. Since seven is a neutral card that has a pretty good chance of beating most soft or hard hands under 17, you can’t afford to stand on a pair of sixes. Hitting them, though, runs too high a risk of busting. Splitting the hand instead gives you the upper hand.
#5: Avoid Splitting Twos Against Dealer’s Three
Most blackjack strategy charts advise that you always split twos, but in single deck blackjack, you should avoid doing so when the dealer’s face-up card is a three. Since a face-up three does not bode well for the dealer, you should try to get the most out of the small hand you’re dealt.
#4: Double Down on Eleven Against Dealer’s Ace
This strategy only applies if the single deck blackjack game you play requires the dealer to hit on a soft 17. When the dealer’s face-up card shows an Ace, they will likely have to hit one or two times to get to 17, which makes them more likely to bust. An eleven, on the other hand, has a strong chance of becoming part of a high hand that does not go over 21, leading to a win for you.
#3: Only Split Pairs of Four Against Dealer’s Four
You may not be used to splitting pairs of four in traditional blackjack since it doesn’t do much for your hand in traditional, multi-deck games. However, when the dealer is likely to bust with a low card showing, such as a four, you should split your hand. There isn’t much to lose.
#2: Split a Pair of Threes Against Dealer’s Eight
The name of the single deck blackjack game is beating the dealer. If you can master that, you will find success in playing the game. Splitting a pair of threes against the dealer’s eight is always a good idea if you want to use a strong strategy in your gameplay. Don’t be afraid to go off the beaten trail. Trust us - it’s worth it.
#1: Never Take Insurance
Even though single deck blackjack games feature the option to take insurance, which protects your bet when the dealer hits blackjack, you should never take it. Simply put, taking insurance risks is more of your bet when the odds are already stacked against you. It’s a waste of money.
Pros and Cons of Single Deck Blackjack
Single deck blackjack is easy to learn, simple to play, and fun for people of all different ages and backgrounds. Just like any casino game, though, there are advantages and disadvantages that you should be aware of.
Single deck blackjack is a version of blackjack that features the lowest house edge in the game at just .15%. Because of this, you have a higher chance of winning since this is the closest to an even playing field that you can get.
On the other hand, if you don’t know a solid blackjack strategy, it doesn’t matter how favorable the odds are to you. You must still have a level of skill to be able to win consistently. Some casinos also tip the scales in the casino’s favor in other ways, such as changing payouts and requiring antes.
Frequently Asked Questions
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