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Single Deck Blackjack Rules

Players who are looking for ‘better’ odds, should definitely try the Single Deck blackjack variant. Playing with only one deck gives the player an unprecedented opportunity to (count cards) be in tune with the game and follow its development more closely. Not many casinos like playing with only one deck; which is why there are very few land casinos that still have Single Deck tables on their floors. You can always play Single Deck blackjack online, but first a quick glance at the rules.

Naturally, playing with a single deck puts the house at a great disadvantage. That is why there are some ‘compensatory’ rules that were created just for these types of situations (to level the field so to speak). But instead of going over each of these individually, let’s talk about the general/standard rules that all blackjack games have in common, and try to point out the new stuff as we go along.

The Hands

The dealer will place 2 cards, face-up, in front each player. He will deal 2 cards for himself as well, but keep one card face-down (This is called a Hole Game, and the dealer can peak under his hidden card). You count your sum total (total for short) by adding the value of both cards. If you have an 8 and a 3, your total is 12. You have 12.

The Deck

By now you should know that most Blackjack variants use 4, 6 or even 8 decks in a single game. Single Deck blackjack uses only 1 standard, 52 card deck. There are four suits – clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades (suits don’t matter at all). And they go A, 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,J,Q,K. An Ace can be either 1 or 11 and all face cards (King, Queen, Jack) are 10 in value – the rest are counted as indicated by their respective number.


Basic Moves

Hit – A hit is when you ask the dealer to hand you another card. You can hit as many times as you wish, as long as you stay below the 21 mark. *Note that drawing any additional cards will change your sum total, so be careful not to bust.

Stand – You are not obligated to draw (hit) any additional cards if you don’t need/want to. Once you are done making changes to your total, you can simply stand and let the dealer know not to give you any more cards.

Double Down – You can double down after being dealt your two cards, but before you hit or stand. According to Single Deck rules, in order to double you must have a total of 9,10 or 11; otherwise it is forbidden. Put a second bet next to the original (Single Deck rules state that it must be of equal value) and point one finger down like you are looking for something in the dictionary. The dealer will give you 1 additional card, and you will be denied any more hits for the duration of the game. If you win – you double your winnings, if you lose – you double your losses.
*Players cannot double down after a split

Split – When a player has two cards of equal value (either a pair or two 10 cards), he can choose to ‘split’ said cards into two separate hands. The dealer will then hand out one additional card to each hand, so there are 4 cards total (2 hands respectively). According to single Deck rules, a player can split only once, and he cannot double down after a split. Splitting Aces will result in one additional card only.

The object of any Blackjack game is to get a blackjack (natural, 21). The number 21 refers to the player having a sum total of 21 in his hand without going over (a blackjack, and an automatic win for the player). If the dealer hits 21, then the house wins automatically. If there is a tie (both player/players and dealer have an equal total; also known as a push) the bets are returned without there being a winner/loser. *If a player scored a total of 21 after a split; the event is not considered a blackjack, just having 21. the difference is that in Single Deck Blackjack, a real ‘blackjack’ (having a total of 21 in your original hand) pays 3 to 2, whereas a 21 after a split will only pay even money.

If the dealer has a 10 card (Jack, King, Queen), or an Ace showing, he can peak under his card. If he has a total of 21, he wins (or pushes). You can insure yourself against situations such as those by betting that the dealer has a blackjack in his hand. The dealer wont announce his second card until the game is over, but he will allow you to wager whether or not he has a blackjack. If he has a blackjack, then the player is paid 2 to 1 his side wager *Note that this is not an independent bet, but rather a side bet that you put next to your original bet. You still get to play your original bet, regardless of any side bets. If the dealer doesn’t have a blackjack, then you lose your side bet and keep playing with your original hand.

More Articles Covering Blackjack

Blackjack Basics
Blackjack Rules
Blackjack Variations
Multi Hand Blackjack
Single Deck Blackjack Rules
Vegas Downtown Blackjack
Vegas Strip Blackjack Rules
Atlantic City Blackjack
How to Hit a Hand
Splitting Hands in Blackjack
Insurance in Blackjack
Surrender in Blackjack
Standing a Hand
Blackjack Double Down
Splitting Hands in Blackjack
Blackjack Odds
Blackjack Strategy for Playing Hands
Blackjack Cards and Hands Value

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