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AUTHOR: Matt GD · Updated: 26th Apr 2019

Single Deck Blackjack

Blackjack is one of the most established and well-known casino games in the gambling industry and as such, there are now a range of variations to the underlying rules. One such example of this is to play Single Deck Blackjack. In its simplest form, this particular variation does exactly what it says on the tin – it is a game of blackjack that uses just one deck of cards. Interestingly, land-based casinos would allow you play Single Deck Blackjack until the 1960s.

Play Single Deck Blackjack overview

This was until the art of ‘Card Counting’ became a thing. For those unaware, card counting is the act of taking a mental note of each and every card that has been dealt by the dealer in real-time. If the individual is able to keep tally, the card counter is able to perform a mental calculation of what cards are likely to be dealt in upcoming hands. As single decks have just 52 cards in operation, it makes it significantly easier to card count.

Therefore, very few, if any, land-based casinos allow you to play Single Deck Blackjack within their premises. However, there are now a range of online casinos that now allow you to play, albeit with lower-odd payouts. So now that you know the basics, in the next section we are going to show you how to play Single Deck Blackjack.

How to play Single Deck Blackjack?

Whilst there may well be some variation in the underlying rules in comparison to other blackjack versions such as American Blackjack or European Blackjack, the fundamentals remain valid. First and foremost, the aim of the game is to outscore the dealer. You are allowed to score a maximum of 21, although if this number is surpassed, the hand is ‘Bust’. In doing so, you lose the game.

Each card is represented by its own value, with picture cards representing a 10. This includes the standard Jack, Queen and King range. Ace cards can represent either 1 or 11, depending on the circumstances of the hand. For example, if you land a 10 and an Ace, then you be obviously utilise the Ace as an 11, as it would give you 21!

At the start of the game, the dealer will deal cards out in a clockwise fashion starting with the player. Each player gets two face up cards. The dealer gets just one, meaning that unlike American Blackjack, they are unable to check whether they have blackjack, should the face up card show an Ace.

Once the player has his two cards, he can decide whether to ‘Stick’ or ‘Hit’ By sticking, the player does not take any more cards from the dealer, and then the game either moves on to the next player, or the dealer. If the player instead decides to Hit, then they get another card from the dealer. Although there is no limit to amount of times a player can hit, if they breach 21, they Bust.

Once the player(s) sticks, it is then over to the dealer. Unlike the player, the dealer does not get to choose what they do. Instead, the dealer must continue to hit until they hit at least 17, or they Bust. Moreover, when the dealer has 17 or more, they must automatically stick. In this sense, the player gets to control their hand, whilst the dealer doesn’t.

At the end of the hand, if the player has a greater score than the dealer, then they win the game. In most cases, when you play Single Deck Blackjack you will get odds of Even money for a win. However, it is likely that the casino will only give you odds of 6/5 for landing a Blackjack, as opposed to the standard 6/4.

Blackjack is achieved when 21 is made from the initial two cards. Take note, if you play Single Deck Blackjack and both you and the dealer get Blackjack from the opening two cards, then by default, the dealer wins. On the contrary, any other score that ends in a draw results in a ‘Push’, meaning that the stake is returned to the player.

So now that we’ve shown you how to play Single Hand Blackjack, in the next section we are going to clarify the main rules.

Rules of Single Deck Blackjack

Doubling Down

First and foremost, there are some clear rules when it comes to doubling down. If you didn’t know, doubling down means that the player doubles their opening stake. In doing so, they can only receive one more card from the dealer. Players do this when they feel that they have a much stronger opening hand than the dealer.

For example, if the player gets a 6 and a 4, and the dealer’s face up card is a 5, then the player should double down, as a 10-value card will give the player an ultra-strong hand. When you play Single Deck Blackjack, players can only double down when the opening two cards make a combined value of 9, 10 or 11. This is in stark contrast to American Blackjack, which lets you double down on any starting hand.


Although when you play Single Deck Blackjack you are able to split, there are certain conditions to consider. Firstly, splitting is not valid when two different 10-value cards are in possession. For example, whilst splitting two Kings is allowed, splitting a King and a Jack isn’t. Furthermore, when you play Single Hand Blackjack and split two Aces, you can only receive one more card. It is also worth mentioning that when you play Single Deck Blackjack you can only split once. Finally, you cannot double down on a split hand.


When you play Single Deck Blackjack, players cannot utilise the surrender option. This is where the player can decide to quit the hand based on the two opening cards that were dealt, at a stake loss of 50%. Other variations such as American Blackjack allow this.


In summary, although when you play Single Deck Blackjack you do get the advantage of better understanding the statistical percentage of what cards remain in a deck, there are some clear pitfalls to consider. First, most casinos that facilitate Single Deck Blackjack will offer lower odds when a blackjack is hit.

Moreover, there are strict limitations on doubling down, as well as splitting. Ultimately, you need to consider the all-round statistic edge as to whether you should play Single Deck Blackjack, or consider an alternative. The good thing about extensive online casinos is that most blackjack variations are available, meaning you can choose the best game that best meets your needs.

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