The one deck blackjack strategy is one of the most useful you can learn. If you are already a seasoned player then you already know why, and for the benefit of those of you that are newbies, single deck blackjack games usually offer the best house edge.
Each new deck of cards added to the shoe increases the house edge or lowers your RTP (Return to Player) depending on how you like to look at it. That said, some casinos and online casino game developers will buffer the lower house edge by using other rules that pull the house edge back in the casino’s favour.
In this guide, we will cover the one deck blackjack strategy and also cover rules on these blackjack tables that will decrease or increase the house edge so you know exactly how to fish out a single deck game with the best odds.
By the end of this article, we hope that you feel like a pro the next time you sit down at a single deck blackjack table!
Here is the content we cover in this one deck blackjack strategy guide:
- Comparing the House Edge According to The Number of Decks
- Liberal Rules That Reduce The House Edge
- What is the ideal One Deck Blackjack Table?
- Choosing The Correct One Deck Basic Strategy
- Practice Your One Deck Blackjack Strategy
Comparing the House Edge According to The Number of Decks
Here are the percentage pinned onto the house edge when the number of decks on a blackjack table increase. Just as a side note, and not to state the obvious, the lower the house edge the better so we use the ‘+’ sign below, but if you prefer to use RTP, then these figures would be subtracted from the RTP percentage.
- 2-Deck Blackjack = +0.34%
- 3-Deck Blackjack = +0.45%
- 4-Deck Blackjack = +0.5%
- 5-Deck Blackjack = +0.53%
- 6-Deck Blackjack = +0.55%
- 7-Deck Blackjack = +0.56%
- 8-Deck Blackjack = +0.57%
Although the difference is quite small, for a seasoned blackjack player every small percentage helps which is why the large majority of blackjack players will seek out single deck tables if the rules are liberal enough.
Liberal Rules That Reduce The House Edge
We will briefly cover the most important ones here in this one deck blackjack strategy guide, but for further reading, we suggest looking at the blog mentioned above. The blog applies to all blackjack tables regardless of the number of decks.
Dealer Stands on Soft 17
This rule is seldom available on a single deck blackjack table. It gives you a 0.22% house edge so if you are lucky enough to find a table that says ‘S17’ then play because the dealer must always count the Ace as an 11.
When looking for one deck basic strategy charts ‘S17’ means dealer stands on ‘soft 17s’ and ‘H17’ chart means dealer hits ‘soft 17s’
Double Down on Any Total
The best single deck blackjack tables do not restrict the total you can opt to double down on. Tables that do add restrictions can increase the house edge from 0.14% up to 0.79%.
If you can, avoid tables that only allow double downs on 11 because this gives the house a whopping 0.79% advantage
Double Down After Splits
Ask any avid blackjack player, and he or she will nearly always tell you that they love the double down after slit rule. It is a fun rule and gives you a 0.14% advantage over the house.
When looking for basic strategy charts (DAS) stands for ‘Double Down After Split‘ while (NDAS) means ‘No Double Down After Split‘
If a table does not allow splits whatsoever, it best not to play. Although rare these days, when a table does implement this rule, it gains an incredible 0.45% advantage over the player.
Some tables restrict splitting Aces which gives the house a 0.16% advantage reducing the advantage gained playing with one deck
Blackjack Pays 3-2
One sneaky way some single deck blackjack games try to pull the house edge back in their favour is by using the Blackjack pays 6-5 rules. This rule is even worse still when combined with further restrictive rules.
This rule may look harmless enough, but it increases the house edge by an unacceptable 2%. Avoid these tables at all costs
Single deck blackjack tables with an ‘early surrender’ rule will give you a welcome 0.61% advantage which is huge, while the ‘late surrender’ rule gives you much less with a 0.07% advantage.
It is quite a difference and you can find out more about ‘Blackjack Late Surrender Strategy’ on this detailed blog
Side Bets & Insurance
Insurance bets and side bets are irrelevant when choosing the ideal one deck blackjack table. Side bets which are there just for fun while insurance offers the house an added advantage.
Insurance bets put you at a 5.89% disadvantage while most side bets put you at 3% and over 5% disadvantage
What is the ideal One Deck Blackjack Table?
If you were ever lucky enough to find the ideal single deck blackjack table then the basic strategy chart you would use would be the ‘S17 DAS’ plus there will be some additional liberal rules.
- S17 – Dealer Stands on Soft 17
- DAS – Double Down Allowed After Splits
- Splitting any pair is allowed including Aces
- Blackjack Pays 3-2
- Early Surrender
Choosing The Correct One Deck Basic Strategy
- H17 DAS
- H17 NDAS
- S17 DAS
- S17 NDAS
You will notice that rules such as surrender, blackjack pays 3-2, or splitting pairs/Aces do not come into your decision. Adjustments for these rules are already in the basic strategy charts’ legends.
Note: You will need to ask the dealer or a staff member if you are at a brick and mortar casino to confirm the rules while at an online casino you can check the table rules. If you are playing a live dealer game and the rules are no obvious, then ask the dealer via the live chat.
Choosing the correct H17 Vs S17 basic strategy chart
H17: When the table says ‘Dealer Stands on 17’ or ‘ Dealer Hits on Soft 17’ they both mean that the dealer will hit on a ‘Soft 17’ or ‘Hard 17’. When you see ‘Dealer Stands on 17’ this can be confusing, but a ‘Soft 17’ hand on these tables always counts the Ace as a ‘1’ and never an ’11’.
S17: When the table says ‘Dealer Stands on 17’ or ‘ Dealer Hits on Soft 17’ they both mean that the dealer will hit on a ‘Soft 17’ or ‘Hard 17’. When you see ‘Dealer Stands on 17’ this can be confusing, but a ‘Soft 17’ hand on these tables always counts the Ace as a ‘1’ and never an ’11’.
Choosing the correct DAS Vs NDAS basic strategy chart
DAS: This table also means that it includes the rule ‘Double Down after Splits’ allowed. In some cases, the double down is restricted to 9, 10, 11 totals only, 10 or 11, or simply 11. If this happens, then follow the basic strategy chart’s legend that states ‘Double down if allowed’ o/w (otherwise) ‘hit’ or ‘stand’.
NDAS: This is a simple rule to follow even though it does increase the house edge. Quite simply, when you split, you will not have the options to double down.
Practice Your One Deck Blackjack Strategy
- Dealer Hits on Soft 17 (H17)
- Double Down After Split Allowed (DAS)
- Double Down on 10 and 11 total only
- We can ignore insurance and there is no surrender
- RTP total is 99.62%
- House Edge is 0.38%
As you can see, the rules are fairly liberal and you get a very good 0.38% house edge. However, you will only play this low house edge if you follow the (H17 DAS) basic strategy guide perfectly!