In a casino in Vegas or online, the Single Deck Blackjack table is always a tempting offer. One deck instead of seven gives people a lot of ideas, and that’s just the point. In all actuality, the single deck version of blackjack does have a low house edge, and this is what gamblers should be looking for. However, while casinos, online or otherwise, will offer the game, they have other ways of leveling the playing field or even tilting it to their favor. After all, this is a casino we’re talking about and it is for this reason that Single Deck Blackjack is best to be avoided. This game is more of a gimmick than anything else and if you like money, don’t play it.
Taking Away House Edge
As mentioned, Single Deck Blackjack does carry a low house edge, and all any gambler wants to find is a low house edge. However, looks can definitely be deceiving because there are several ways the house, whether online or in the real world, can alter the game to eliminate that edge or lack thereof. This shouldn’t be a real surprise as every game in the casino is stacked against the player and for the house, and Single Deck Blackjack is no different.
The first way they do this is by changing the payouts. You should know that the payout in blackjack when a player is dealt a blackjack that wins is 1.5 to 1. So, on a $10 bet, a player scoring a blackjack is paid out $15. However, with Single Deck, the house will simply change the payout to even, meaning that a blackjack is just another win for the player and a $10 bet is paid $10. While the house edge hasn’t necessarily changed, the payout has, and this will affect your bottom-line.
The house can alter the rules of the game, too. When walking up to a Single Deck Blackjack table, it is very important to notice the rules and payouts on the board. When is the dealer required to take a hit? Is insurance available and at what price? The house will alter some if not all of these rules to eliminate the house edge you were looking for in the first place, and you’ll end up playing a completely different game than you were expecting.
In any game or version of blackjack, there is no greater myth than that of card counting. If you spend any time researching, playing, or even talking about blackjack, you will inevitably hear hundreds of cliches concerning the skill—how it is not illegal, only frowned upon; how card counting is the only way to be successful over any stretch of time; how card counting is much easier in Single Deck Blackjack. Of course, only the first statement is true, and it’s more of a half-truth because if you are caught or even suspected of counting cards, you will be removed from a casino or kicked off the site.
Card counting is a special skill, and not many people can do it. It takes a long time to perfect, and even when you do, it still is not a guarantee to win more often than you lose for quite a few reasons. First of all, the only way to effectively use card counting is to play unsafe blackjack, which will either backfire or show that you are counting the cards. If you change your wager size too much, people notice. If you split tens, people notice. If you take extra hits, people notice. Secondly, card counting still doesn’t mean you know what the next card is. You only know what it might be. At the end of the day, there is only one strategy that works in any form of blackjack. You play by the book, raise your wager size when you are ahead, lower it when you are down and walk away once you are up. It takes timing and luck to be successful a blackjack, not to mention the discipline to walk away.
Single Deck Trap
The real trap of Single Deck Blackjack is that, just like regular blackjack, it seems so beatable. You think since you are a good blackjack player you’ll be able to sit at any Single Deck Blackjack spot and make a killing. This, of course, is far from true. Yes, you can win with Single Deck. Yes, there will be hot streaks, and if you are disciplined, you will be able to walk away with some chips in your pocket. However, it won’t be because you are getting better odds (because you won’t) and it won’t be because counting the cards is easier (because it isn’t). Blackjack is blackjack, no matter how many decks are in the shoe and while it may seem that Single Deck gives you an advantage, it is actually the house taking it away.