Single Deck Blackjack

 Single Deck Blackjack

Single-deck blackjack is a different game than the multiple deck version, requiring some strategy adjustments if you’re going to get the most out of the game. That includes some extra double down situations, one of them coming when you have an 8 and the dealer has a 5 or a 6 face up.

I once played a single-deck game in which I had two-card 8s against a dealer’s 5 or 6 three times within a six hands or so, twice in the last few hands before the cut card, then on the first hand after a shuffle. I double down every time, which apparently irritated a man a couple of seats to my left. A friend of his stopped by and asked how the table was running, and he said, “All right, except this guy keeps doubling on 8.” I smiled and nodded, and kept playing single-deck basic strategy.

Single-deck strategy is different because each card removed from play has a greater impact on the composition of the remaining deck. If you’re dealt a 5 and a 3 and the dealer has a 6 face up, then 32.7 percent of the other 49 cards are 10 values in single-deck blackjack, while only 31.1 percent of the other 309 are 10 values in a six-deck game.

That difference means a dealer with a 6 face up will bust more often and you’ll get a 10 to make an 18 out of that 5 and 3 more often in a single-deck game.

Bottom line: In single-deck blackjack double down on 8 if the dealer shows a 5 or 6. In a multiple-deck game, just hit.


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