Blackjack Basic Strategy for Single Deck Blackjack

blackjack basic strategy

Blackjack is the best known and most widely played card game in the world. It is defined by a set of specific rules that are easy to understand. Pretty much anybody can take a seat at a live casino and pick up blackjack basic strategy in minutes. It also has probably the lowest house edge of any casino game which makes it an attractive option.

The downside is that due to the low house edge, blackjack using just one standard deck of 52 cards is not frequently offered by online casino operators. They prefer to offer multi deck games with ridiculous side bets giving them a much bigger advantage.

A brief overview of the game of Blackjack

The game of Blackjack is simple and easy to understand. There are only a few rules. This makes it great for beginners who want to play a game they can pick up quickly with little effort required from their side in order to win some money!

In the single deck game only one deck of cards is used (obviously!). This does have the slight disadvantage of requiring the deck to be shuffled after each hand, unless an automatic shuffler is used. The other basic rules you need to know are…

  • Object of the game is to get as close to a count of 21 without going over 21 (bust!)
  • All numbered cards use their face value. Picture cards count as 10, and an Ace can be 1 or 11.
  • Players will put down an initial bet before any cards are dealt.
  • Each player gets dealt two initial cards. The dealer also gets two cards, one face up, one face down.
  • Players may take additional cards if required and should base their decision on the card the dealer shows.
  • After taking extra cards if the player’s hand goes over the count of 21 then they lose, and their initial stake is forfeited.

Those then are the basic rules of blackjack. However, we still need to cover basic strategy blackjack and how to incorporate a successful playing strategy into your game. The most important thing to know is that the dealer MUST take cards according to a rigid set of rules. Playing strategies for the players however are far more flexible.

  • The dealer must hit (take a card) on soft 17 (ace and a 7).
  • Blackjack (Ace and any ten valued cards) pays 3:2.
  • Any other winning hand is paid at even money (1:1)
  • If the player’s hand and dealer’s hand are the same dealer this is known as a Push (stand-off), this means the player neither wins nor loses.
  • Insurance pays 2:1, and will only be offered if the dealer shows an Ace.
  • There’s no surrender option in the single deck game.
  • Players may split any hand of two equal value cards. After splitting aces you will only receive one card, and there’s no re-splitting of aces. A split ace and a ten-value card is not considered a blackjack.
  • Players can ‘double down’ on any initial 2 card total but receive only one card.
  • The one hand deck is reshuffled after each hand.

Basic Blackjack Strategy

In single deck blackjack, basic strategy is as important as it is for multiple decks. Single deck basic strategy provides the actions that have been mathematically calculated to yield the highest expected value from a single deck of cards.

Basic strategy applies equally well for online blackjack as it does for live blackjack games. There is no major difference between single deck blackjack at a live blackjack table and single deck blackjack online except that online you are paid out automatically. This one single factor does not change any basic strategy available to use because basic strategy is based solely on the totals of the cards dealt and the order in which they are dealt from the shoe.

Reading Single Deck Strategy Chart:

The single deck blackjack strategy chart below is simply a table that includes all the single deck blackjack basic strategy options in a single grid. The card value in single deck blackjack is based on a single digit number (Ace = 1, 2-9 valued at face value, 10-K valued at 10) and not on whether they are a 10, Jack, Queen or King.

This basic strategy chart may look confusing at first but it is very easy to learn. You do need to bear in mind though that whilst using correct basic strategy will help you to play and understand the blackjack game it won’t make you a card counter or help you to overcome the house advantage at the best online casinos.

This basic blackjack strategy is based on a single deck consisting of 52 cards and not one composed of four or more decks. That single difference means that you will see basic strategy charts consisting of rows and columns. This makes reading the basic strategy chart very simple to read and understand.

For the single deck blackjack game, the rows represent the dealer’s up card and the columns reflect the player’s hand. From this we can see that whatever card the dealer is showing, the correct play is highlighted in the corresponding cell, by tracing the dealer card across the grid. Where there are two numbers of equal value shown then these reflect the basic strategy for splitting pairs.

Single Deck Blackjack Strategy Chart:

How to play single deck blackjack

Once you have memorized basic blackjack strategy you are ready to play blackjack. All you need now is a successful betting strategy and some experience before you move onto advanced blackjack strategy. Remember to frequently refer to the blackjack charts in order to ensure a consistent playing strategy. It may also help when you are playing online blackjack to keep a copy of this strategy card with you for reference.

Before trying to beat blackjack at the casinos and win more money, always remember these important points…

  • One deck blackjack is not played at many casinos.
  • Correct basic strategy is a very important tool in playing one deck blackjack well. This basic strategy chart will show you the best course of action for every single play.
  • Blackjack strategy is a lot more about playing smart than it is about sheer luck.
  • Playing correct basic strategy is NOT a great way to win tons of money. It is though the best playing strategy to increase you enjoyment and see more consistent wins.
  • Combining correct basic strategy with a reliable and consistent betting strategy, will over time, ensure that you win more money far more often than if you don’t use any blackjack strategy.
  • also the easiest kind of blackjack to learn for new players because there are no extra rules, exceptions or strategies.
  • In basic strategy terms the best playing strategy is about having a smart defense and not a strong offense.
  • If you want to play blackjack at the best Canada casinos check out our list of the Top 10 Canadian Online Casinos. If you are looking to play roulette at the best casinos in Canada we have a page for that too!

Learn more about the game of Blackjack here