The other day a reader here at CountingEdge asked “does a player generally have a slight edge when playing with just one deck?” We feel it would be best to make a small post about it so other readers could more easily find it.
This is a great question. If you can find a single deck game, by all means play it! The advantages of single-deck or double-deck blackjack for the player can be huge if you are skilled at card counting and basic blackjack strategy. Single-deck blackjack cuts the house edge to roughly 0.15%! That puts you almost on an even playing field with the casino and makes every hand almost like a coin flip. But, imagine a coin flip where you had some input in determining which side of the coin comes up! That’s what a sound understanding of basic blackjack strategy does for you. Also, if there are several players playing you can get a pretty good count, especially if you use another tactic called position.
In a single-deck game you want to try and sit in the third base seat, the seat just to the dealer’s right. In this position you will have the advantage of seeing every other player act on their hand before you do. You’ll also see more cards from the deck as they are dealt and can get a better count. This is a HUGE advantage. Also, in a single-deck game it is much easier to track the aces. There are only four of them, so keeping track is much easier. Of course, a single-deck game is shuffled after each hand so you’ll need to start a new count.
The original card counters made a killing at single-deck and double-deck games. If you know which play to make according to basic strategy, use the power of position, and can count with accuracy, a single-deck game can offer you the chance to make some very nice profits.
Of course, there are some drawbacks. One of them is that you’ll be placing your bet BEFORE any cards are dealt and your count begins. That means varying bet size based on the count is going to be fairly ineffective. But, this evens out if you use a good money management and betting progression system.
Another thing about single-deck games is that they are very much like what you encounter in an online casino since the deck is shuffled after each hand. In other words, each hand starts with a brand new deck instead of multiple decks in a shoe which gives a player longer to make a running count.
Keep reading and good luck at the tables!