Single Deck Blackjack

Check the Rules

Blackjack board
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In a blackjack game, the number of decks used will change the house edge. If the rules of the game are the same, a single deck game will have lower house edge than an eight-deck game. In the 1960’s and 1970’s single deck games were common, but this changed when it was proven that a player could beat the blackjack games with card counting. In an effort to thwart card counters, many casinos switched to multi-deck games that are dealt out of a shoe.

They also found that dealing a multi-deck game made the game faster because the cards were dealt face up and the dealer did not have to shuffle as often. This increased their profits from the blackjack games.

Over the last few years, some casinos have started offering single deck blackjack games again. Many novice players get excited about these games because they have heard that the single deck games are better to play. However, many of these single deck games being offered are not better because the casino has made a few rule changes that will increase the house edge.

Instead of paying you 3 to 2 for a natural blackjack the casinos are paying 6 to 5. If you are betting ten dollars a hand you would normally be paid $15 dollars for a blackjack. Instead with a blackjack paying 6 to 5 you will only be paid $12 for your natural blackjack. This one rule variation increases the house edge by 1 ½ percent.

That, however, is not the only rule variation that is incorporated into many of these single deck games. The dealer hits soft 17 which adds an additional .20 percent to this game. The house now has almost a 2 percent house edge on this game.

The regular multi-deck blackjack games have a house edge of about a half of one percent if the player follows basic strategy play.

Many players don’t take the time to learn to play basic strategy correctly so they give up an even larger percentage to the house. Those players will be giving up a lot more on this single deck game that pays 6 to 5.

If you want to play blackjack you should always look for the best games in your area. It is important that you know how to play basic strategy perfectly otherwise you are giving the house an edge you don’t have to. If you want an edge you should consider learning card counting.

Cards Dealt Face Down
In a 6 or 8 deck blackjack game, the cards are dealt out of a shoe face up on the table. The players are not allowed to touch the cards. With a single deck game, the dealer holds the deck and deals them face down to the player. The player gets to pick up the cards. When they want to hit they scratch the cards towards them on the layout. To stand they place tuck their cards under their chips in the betting circle.

Some blackjack players who have never had the opportunity to play a hand dealt game may want to try this game just for the thrill of playing something different. But before you sit down to play, make sure you ask the rules. Knowledgeable blackjack players will avoid any game that does not pay 3 to 2 for a natural blackjack.

Don’t get fooled by these single deck games.