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Strategy for single-deck blackjack

One of the tips to succeed at blackjack is to play single-deck blackjack game. It is actually considered to be the most favorable option at blackjack offering an opportunity to apply all basic strategies efficiently. For example, composition strategy is most effective with the single-deck game as the house edge reduces when the number of decks is less.

Single-deck blackjack advantages

  • Single-deck blackjack is played with one deck of 52 cards. It makes the player's odds for winning considerably higher. For instance, in a deck of 52 cards the player's chances to get a 10-valued card is 16 out of 52, while in multi-deck games they are sure to be lower considering the overall number of cards.
  • Another advantage of single-deck blackjack games is the lower house edge compared to the multiple-deck games. House edge in a single-deck game ideally makes about 0.05% (meaning that the player applies correct basic strategy). With an efficient card-counting technique, the player is even able to get an advantage over the casino making about 0.5% to 1.5%.
  • Single-deck blackjack offers favorable conditions for applying card counting strategy. It is obviously easier to count cards in a single 52-card deck than in eight decks 52 cards each.

Single-deck blackjack games were widely used in 1960's-70's. Later on, for fear of card-counters, casinos introduced multiple-deck blackjack games, offering higher house edge but fewer opportunities to count cards, especially as the game itself became faster. The dealer now didn't have to shuffle the cards too often as the cards were dealt face-up from a shoe.

Nowadays single-deck games are back at blackjack tables, but the casinos have introduced slight blackjack variations that affect the house edge and reduce opportunities for card-counting:

  • There are tables that offer 6 to 5 payout instead of the traditional 3 to 2. Although it may seem unnoticeable, it in fact increases the casino advantage over the player by up to 1.5%. For example, with a traditional 3 to 2 payout the player gets $15 for "blackjack" if he bet $10. At a table with 6 to 5 payout, the player will get only $12. It is recommended to always avoid tables offering 6 to 5 payout.
  • Dealer hitting/standing on "Soft 17". When the dealer decides to hit after reaching the "Soft 17" hand (composed of a six and an Ace), the house edge increases by approximately 0.2%.

To be able to make progress at blackjack, one should be very accurate in the choice of a basic strategy. In fact, basic strategy charts differ according to the type of a game. One should always make sure to use an appropriate strategy chart. It is also important to search for the ideal blackjack location offering the most favorable rule variations for playing single-deck blackjack. The player who makes use of these simple tips will be able to decrease house edge significantly and eventually to get advantage over the house.