How-To Guides

Single Deck blackjack: fewer card decks – better chances for the players

If you have ever visited a land-based casino then you must have noticed the huge variety of tables offered for blackjack, one of casino’s most popular and exciting games. In previous articles on this website we have reviewed how can someone win -or otherwise eliminate the chances to lose – over the edge of the house on blackjack. Players can do this by applying the principles of the so-called Perfect Strategy of Blackjack. With the current article we will review and evaluate one of players’ most favorite variation of the game, Single Deck blackjack. A game that is becoming increasingly popular among those who are looking for more than just having fun in a casino, while at the same time it becomes less popular for the operators themselves. The game itself is exactly what its name states: a game of blackjack played with only one deck (Single Deck). Unlike most blackjack tables that use 4 or even 6 decks, on a single deck blackjack table, the dealer wont open and use more decks and in most occasions wont even use a shuffler. The dealer will simply shuffle when the deck reaches a red card that is use for the “cut”.

Single Deck Blackjack rules
Single Deck Blackjack table action

Why is Single Deck Blackjack better for players?

This blackjack variation is very popular among player regardless if they play online or at a land based resort. The reason for this is rather obvious: There is only one deck on the table (exactly 52 cards) which is not shuffled by an automated shuffler, increasing this way the chances of a player to win over the house. The edge for the house is reduced to 0.15% (compared to a mere 0.5% on a regular blackjack game) hence if a player decides to study and apply the principles of the perfect strategy  this will immediately become the game with the highest winning chance in the entire casino game collection.

Play Single Deck Blackjack at Bet365 >>


Just think about it: in single deck blackjack, a player needs to calculate the probabilities with a deck of cards that consists of 52 cards compared to the 208 or 260 cards that are shuffled each time on the regular versions of the game. In addition, these 52 cards are not placed back on the deck after each round of the game. This means that statistically there are no re-occurring probabilities and this is a fantastic edge for the player.

Of course, we don’t encourage players to count cards or follow any strategies that are strictly prohibited. At the end of the day, especially if you play at a land-based casino – these strategies can be easily revealed by the casino management and may lead to a temporary or permanent disqualification from the game or even from the entire casino venue.

But for the recreational player, this game builds the feeling of playing on even terms against the house. Something that rarely happens with any other casino game. This is why during a visit in the two global capitals of gambling, Las Vegas and Macao, people with immediately realise that Single Deck blackjack remains very popular. This goes against the trend in European casinos where the game is almost extinct. This is mainly happening because in these two cities players will gamble mainly for recreational purposes hence the casinos will have little to no fear at all for losing. Smart betting and casino syndicates are very common threats for casino owners and shareholders these days and they wouldn’t allow a game such as single deck blackjack to further reduce their profits.

However, we have personally experienced a few visits in Las Vegas and we played the same good, old fashioned Single Deck BJ at the casinos located by the old Stripe. After spending several hours in there we can confirm that the feeling of sitting opposite a dealer that only holds one deck cannot be compared to that of playing against a dealer using a shuffler at a regular BJ table. The game is also much faster when using one card deck and of course more exciting since the element of limited edge for the casino is no longer there.

Disadvantages of Single Deck Blackjack

The main disadvantage on this great game is that many casinos will sooner or later (if haven’t already done so) change the terms of the game to match their interests. Especially the pay-out ratio level can be dramatically amended so that the house edge returns to its standard level. The one defined by the game on a regular table.

We have also noticed that, in a number of casinos around the world (Las Vegas inclusive) the player’s win ratio on Single Deck Blackjack can get as low as 6 to 5. This means that the house edge won’t just align to that of a regular blackjack table (where the edge is at 0.5%) but in certain occasions it can also reach a mere 1.5%. A setting like that would automatically cancel the mathematical advantage that the players have on a single deck blackjack game which leaves behind only the recreational element which, although still important, can’t always subsitute the excitement of a potential casino win.

We need to mention of course that the game is becoming increasingly hard to find in casinos these days.  Especially when it comes to land-based settlements our experience and visits in many of those proved that such tables are offered mainly in large resorts where the house can absorb more easily the losses it can incur by offering a game with significantly lower margin as as that of Single Deck blackjack. In some occasions you might have to travel a long way in order to spot the closest casino that will offer the game. For this reason it is important that you pick a good online casino that will most likely have it available. At the moment you can enjoy playing single deck blackjack at the following online casinos:

  • Bet365 casino
  • Unibet casino
  • Betway casino
  • Royal Panda Casino
  • PlayOJO
  • Paddypower Casino
  • Mr Green Casino



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