Single-deck Card Counting

Blackjack is one of the most played casino games of all times due to the fact that it requires not only luck but also skills and knowledge. What also makes it so interesting is the fact that it has many variations which players can choose from. With such a wide range of different versions, the game is very appealing to the majority of the casino players as each time they can try a new one.

However, it is very important to remember that prior to playing they should always take their time to get familiar not only with the casino but also with the table rules. In some places they differ and this is the reason why it is essential to have a look at them beforehand. Moreover, players should also bear in mind that some casinos have restrictions on certain moves such as surrender or re-splitting, which can significantly influence their overall strategy.

One of the most famous versions is when the game is played with only one deck and it is commonly known with the name Single-deck Blackjack. This is one of the most searched variations as it provides players with moderately good chances of winning in the first place. Moreover, card counting works really well in such cases as the whole counting process is significantly easy, even for beginners. However, this is the reason why it is also very hard to find such a table in which the game is played with only one deck as many places are aware of the benefits this variation offer.

Advantages of Single-Deck Blackjack

One of the biggest advantages of the single-deck version of Blackjack is that the house edge is approximately 0.15% which is the lowest possible edge a casino can have. This is the reason why this variation is considered to be very beneficial for the players, providing that they apply the basic strategy and a card counting system correctly. Keeping track of the cards as well as calculating them in accordance with the assigned values of a particular card counting system is no longer a tedious task.

When only one deck is included in the game, players can draw accurate conclusions from the already dealt cards for the upcoming ones, something which is very difficult to be done if the game was played with six decks, for example. Having in mind that the composition of the deck is always the same – 52 cards with 13 different types, the counting process is much easier to be conducted. Single-deck Blackjack gives them the valuable opportunity to successfully employ their chosen strategy and manage to gain advantage over the casino.

Disadvantages of Single-Deck Blackjack

One of the major drawbacks of single-deck Blackjack is that it is really hard to find a casino which offers it. The reason why is quite obvious – this variation of the game is extremely beneficial for the card counters and as such, not many places are reluctant to provide it. However, if players get lucky enough and find single-deck Blackjack, they shouldn’t rush to sit on the table. They should always check the rules first as many of the casinos tend to change them in order to increase the house edge.

In some cases, players end up being in a worse position and losing more, even though the game is played with only one deck as the rules are altered drastically. For instance, some casinos impose restrictions on certain moves which of course would disturb the whole strategy of the players. Another very important consideration they need to make is that there are also cases where the payout will be different than the standard one of three to two.

Rules of the Single-deck Blackjack

As already mentioned, many casinos still offer a single-deck Blackjack which can have some restrictions or some adjustments. However, the main rules of the game cannot be changed and players need to be familiar with them in order to manage to prepare themselves in advance. One major difference is that players’ first two cards are dealt face down instead of face up.

When only one deck is involved, players are allowed to split one hand a maximum of three times. Also they should bear in mind that the dealer always hits on soft seventeen which is in favour of the casino. Another specification is re-splitting is not allowed when it comes to aces, they can only be split. Before each session begins, the deck is subjected to shuffling.

Card Counting Systems and single-deck Blackjack

Card counting systems are extremely beneficial for the players if only one deck is included. Even if a particular method is designed for a single deck, it can be always applied for multiple ones and vice versa as the number of the high and low values cards will be always the same. Therefore, it is not an obstacle to use a particular card counting system.

However, their chosen system might need some adjustments as in most cases the players’ first two cards are dealt face down. One very good card counting system for single-deck is the Hi-Op I system as it has proven to be very efficient and reliable. Prior to sitting on the table, players need to take into account the rules of the variation and decide whether they are favourable or not.

Hi-Opt I Card Counting System
Card ValueCount
3, 4, 5, 6count +1
2, 7, 8, 9, Acount 0
10, J, Q, Kcount -1


The bottom line is that as long as players watch out for tables which offer highly unfavourable rules, playing a single-deck Blackjack remains one of the best variations of this game. It can be especially beneficial for card counters as one deck makes the whole counting process extremely simplified and much easier to conduct. Despite the fact that this version gives players a good edge over the casino, they need to remember that they should know their chosen card counting system besides the basic strategy backwards and forwards in order to take advantage of it.

Even though most of the times players won’t be able to play this variation, they should still get familiar with its basic rules beforehand. The reason why, is that there are still places where such versions can be found and if players are lucky enough to bump into them, they should know how to make the most of it. Playing single-deck Blackjack can be very profitable only on the condition that they know what it takes to win.