Guide to Single-Deck Blackjack
Right now, someone, somewhere is playing blackjack like a champ. Outside of poker, blackjack is the casino game with the most professional players. Even though blackjack players are fairly commonplace at casinos, watching the true connoisseurs in action is mesmerizing. They make all the right moves and carry themselves with restrained confidence. Despite their seemingly natural skills on the felt, it’s important to remember that they also started from scratch.
If you’re new to the noble game of 21, you have a very exciting road ahead of you. The first step is learning the rules of the game.
Single Deck Blackjack Rules
Single Deck Blackjack is played with one deck of cards that’s shuffled after each round. Before the cards are dealt, you place a bet on the felt in front of you. With Café Casino’s Single Deck Blackjack, you can bet between $25 and $300 per hand.
Then you’re dealt a two-card hand, face-up. The dealer’s two-card hand consists of one face-up and one face-down card. The value of your hand is shown beside your bet, but for the sake of learning card values, take note:
- Aces are worth 1 or 11
- Twos to Nines have face value
- Tens, Jacks, Queens and Kings are worth 10 points
The goal of the game is to get a higher score than the dealer without exceeding 21, which results in a bust. Likewise, if the dealer busts, you win the round. If both you and the dealer have the same score at the end of the round, it’s a push, and your bet is returned.
- You can improve your score by choosing to Hit and getting another card.
- Or you could choose to Stand and face off with the dealer with your current hand.
- If your odds of winning are high, you may want to Double Down. Double your wager (which gives you double the payout) and get one more card.
Under certain circumstances, you can also:
- Split your hand. Your original hand needs two cards of equal value to split. This option takes each card and creates two individual hands out of them. You can split up to two hands with Single Deck Blackjack. When splitting Aces, your hands receive only one additional card.
- Buy Insurance. When the dealer’s visible card is an Ace, there’s about a 33% he has blackjack. You can buy Insurance for half the cost of your wager. If the dealer has a blackjack (an Ace and a 10-rank card for a perfect score of 21), your Insurance bet pays 2:1.
We know insurance bets pay 2:1, but what about the other payouts? The best payout possible in traditional blackjack is 3:2 for being dealt an Ace and a 10-rank card in your initial two-card hand (blackjack). All other wins result in the standard even-money payout.
Single Deck Blackjack Strategy
Knowing how to play blackjack doesn’t necessarily mean you know how you should play – you need strategy charts for that. There are three strategy charts for playing Single Deck Blackjack. The first chart tells you the best way to handle soft hands (hands that contain an 11-point Ace). The second chart tells you the best way to handle splittable hands, and the third chart covers everything else.
To use the charts, compare your hand, which is found in the left column, with the dealer’s upcard, which is found in the top row. These charts are based on the dealer hitting on soft 17, which is consistent with the rules of our Single Deck Blackjack.
H is for Hit, S is for Stand, D is for Double, and Sp is for Split.
Now that you know the rules of the game and basic strategy, put in a few practice rounds to get the hang of things. Once you can play smoothly enough, you’re ready to switch over to Real Play mode to start playing blackjack for money. It takes a lot of practice to get to that point, but if you work hard enough, eventually, you’ll be that blackjack connoisseur, making everything look easy.