Single deck blackjack strategies

Profile Picture: Simon Young

May 5th, 2020

One of the fundamental joys of blackjack – aside from its simplicity to play – is that it has one of the lowest house edges in the casino, meaning your chance of making a profit in a given session is better than other games. A player following a solid strategy can reduce the edge even further, many experts say to as low as 0.5%.

Best of all, single deck blackjack is the easiest, and potentially most profitable, variant of all. Let’s explore why.

Single deck blackjack tips

When you play in a casino, or perhaps at one of our live dealer online casino tables, you will see a large number of cards in the shoe, the clear box the dealer takes the cards from when he is dealing. That’s because many games use eight decks of cards at a time.

While it’s true to say using eight decks means you have fewer times to wait while the dealer reshuffles and loads the shoe, it does make it harder to predict what might happen. That’s because blackjack single deck basic strategy is logically easier to follow.

Simple blackjack strategy dictates that it’s more likely the next card will be value ten since all tens, jacks, queens, and kings carry that value. If you are playing with one deck, and perhaps five other people are dealt into the same round, you have 13 of the deck’s cards exposed – that’s two face-up initially to all of the players, and one for the dealer.

How many tens or picture cards already in play, and then added to play when players to your right complete their hands, will dramatically increase or decrease the odds of your next card – or the dealer’s face-down card – being a ten.

All this means you can be a little more aggressive when it comes to how to play single deck blackjack. We don’t mean aggressive as in threatening, that’s the one-way ticket to being ejected from any casino. We mean doubling down or splitting more often, thereby placing more chips in play.

How to win at single deck blackjack

Studying any "cheat sheet" on how to bet will improve your chances of winning. It’s not strictly a cheat sheet since it’s entirely legal to have one of these with you when you play.

If you wish to learn how to play blackjack, look closely at one of these sheets. It’s clear that when the dealer has a poor value face-up card like a three, four, five, or six, you can be more confident in your next move. You can widen your range for doubling down – to as low as your starting hand being value 8 – because it’s more likely the dealer will bust.

Equally, if you have a weak starting hand like 13 through 16, you can be more confident in standing. And, if you have two of the same cards, you can generally split with a broader number of them, thereby doubling your stake and potential winnings.

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Single deck blackjack rules

While card counting, keeping exact track of which cards are in play, is not illegal, it is frowned upon by casinos. However, merely keeping track of the tens and picture cards in play is just common sense.

Casinos know it is easier for players to do this in single deck blackjack games. They understand, therefore, that players might reduce the casino house edge accordingly. So, it’s no surprise some casinos will tweak the house rules for single-deck games, to give them a little bit more of their edge back.

This "tweak" might be something as apparently insignificant as allowing the dealer to play on with a soft 17 (an ace and a 6). Ordinarily, the dealer must stand on soft 17, but being allowed to play on gives options to improve the final score.

It’s only a small margin improvement for the house. But blackjack edges are a long-term proposition.

Finally, and this applies to all variations of blackjack, never take the insurance when offered, because house insurance, even in single deck blackjack, comes with a house edge of 5.9%.

Solid strategy and count the tens

To conclude, the best single deck blackjack strategy is to keep an eye on the number of tens and picture cards in play and to be more aggressive with your doubling down and splitting strategy. It will mean you can get a more significant return on a hand that you have a higher chance of winning, and that will increase your profit margin.

If you wish to try these single deck blackjack tips for yourself, you can do so at BetAmerica Casino, at the table games with just you and the electronic dealer, or with other players at our live dealer casino tables. Remember to take advantage of the new player welcome bonus.

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