Single Deck Blackjack
Single Deck Blackjack is designed to give the player more of an edge and is considered a card counters dream.
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When blackjack first appeared in French casinos around the year 1700, all games were played with a single deck of cards. However, casinos quickly realised that this favoured the punter too much as it only gives the house a theoretical advantage of as little as 0.17%. It also makes it much easier for card counters to keep track of which cards are still in the deck.
Ultimately this led to more and more decks being introduced to swing the advantage further in the favour of the casino. Today it’s not uncommon to see Blackjack tables using as many as 8 decks of cards, which increases the house edge to a whopping 1.01645%.
So, you might be thinking that playing a single deck blackjack game over an 8 deck game is a no-brainer…. But you’d be wrong. Whilst single deck blackjack remains popular, the casinos have moved to implement various restrictions which inches the house edge back up, often to higher levels than with multiple deck games.
So, what exactly have NetEnt done to increase their house edge on this single deck blackjack game? Well for starters, the deck is shuffled before every deal, making card counting almost impossible. You can only double down on two card totals of ten and eleven and you can only split once. Also an ace and ten or face card from a split hand counts as 21 rather than blackjack. All of these rules help to increase that house edge back up to a more profitable level for the casino, in fact, we estimate the house edge is actually around 0.6% with all the rules taken into account.
That said, single deck blackjack is still an enjoyable game to play. Having only one deck makes it much easier to know exactly which cards are still left in the deck and how that may affect your chances of winning any given hand. This really helps if you are still perfecting your blackjack strategy and coming to terms with the various calculations you need to do to decide whether to hit or stand.
The gameplay itself is very straightforward, NetEnt haven’t tried to do anything fancy so you can concentrate just on enjoying the game rather than being distracted with unnecessary animations and quirky twists. There are different speed options available for the card animation and everything works smoothly, making this a good choice for the purists as well as those still new to the game.
Single Deck Blackjack has always been the holy grail for blackjack players. The fact that only one deck is in play should mean it’s easier to predict the likelihood of the next card being high or low.
But, it’s not. The fact the casinos have moved to tweak the game slightly to put the odds back in their favour make it a less appealing option for more experienced players.
This shouldn’t put you off though, the odds are still relatively favourable compared to most other variations of the game and so, overall, it’s still a game worth your time.
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Author: Tom M.
Tom has been creating online content for over 10 years now starting way back as a small, impressionable 16-year-old. Tom mainly writes about sport and gambling, but every now and then also delves into fleshier subjects like politics and psychology. When he was 18 he created HungarianFootball.com and over the last few years he's written on a freelance basis for ESPN, WorldSoccer, Goal.com, among many others.