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Gambling for Beginners: Single-Deck Blackjack + FAQs

Ready to take on a classic casino game? From its origins to step-by-step instructions, we’ll give you a crash course in single-deck blackjack!

If you’ve leveled up from casual games of chance like slots and are ready to take on a classic casino game, single-deck blackjack is a great option.

It’s a straightforward game with simple rules, and the odds are some of the best in the casino. In this article, we’ll give you a crash course in single-deck blackjack, from its origins to step-by-step instructions on how to play. Let’s get to it!

History of Single-Deck Blackjack

The game of blackjack has been around for centuries, with the first recorded mention in a Spanish book called Don Quixote de la Mancha. But it wasn’t until the early 1800s that single-deck blackjack started to gain popularity in the United States.

In those days, casinos were often run by mobsters and single-deck blackjack was used as a way to skim money from unsuspecting players. The rules were rigged in the house’s favor, and dealers would use all sorts of sleight-of-hand tricks to cheat.

Fortunately, single-deck blackjack has come a long way since then! These days it’s one of the most popular games in casinos, and the rules are fair. For more on online casinos, check out The Insider Secrets of Online Casinos.

Single-Deck Blackjack: Rules

Single-deck blackjack is played with a standard 52-card deck. The dealer will deal you two cards, face up. They’ll also deal themselves two cards, but one of theirs will be face down.

The game’s objective is to get a hand with a value as close to 21 as possible, without going over. The value of each card is as follows:

  • Ace: 1 or 11
  • King, Queen, Jack: 10
  • 2 through 10: Face value

If the first two cards dealt to you add up to 21 (an ace and a 10, for example), that’s called a blackjack. Blackjack beats any other hand with a value of 21, and pays out at 3 to 2 odds.

If your hand is less than 21, you can choose to hit (take another card) or stand (keep your current hand). If you go over 21, that’s called a bust and you automatically lose.

Once all the players have either busted or chosen to stand, the dealer will reveal their face-down card. If their hand is 16 or less, they must hit. If it’s 17 or more, they must stand. The dealer continues hitting until they reach 17 or higher, at which point they’ll stand.

If the dealer busts, all the players who are still in the hand win. If the dealer does not bust, the players compare their hands to the dealers. The player with the higher hand wins, and if it’s a tie, it’s a push (nobody wins or loses).

Single-Deck Blackjack: Betting and Odds

In single-deck blackjack, you can bet anywhere from the table minimum to the table maximum. This means that if the minimum bet is $5, you can bet $5, $10, or $15, all the way up to $500 (or more) if the maximum bet is high enough.

The odds in single-deck blackjack are some of the best in the casino. The house edge (the casino’s advantage) is only about 0.15%. This means that if you bet $100, you can expect to lose about 15 cents on average.

To put that in perspective, the house edge in roulette is about 5%, and in slots, it’s anywhere from 2% to 10%. So single-deck blackjack is a great game for players who want to minimize their losses.

Single-Deck Blackjack: Step-by-Step Instructions

Now that we’ve gone over the rules and odds of single-deck blackjack, let’s walk through a hand step-by-step. We’ll use an online game as an example, but the same principles apply in a casino.

Step 1: Find a Reputable Online Casino

Since we’re playing for real money, it’s important to find a reputable casino that offers single-deck blackjack. Do some research and read reviews to make sure the casino is legitimate and has a good reputation.

We recommend going to Pragmatic or Pgsoft. They have tons of games like slots, single-deck blackjack, and more. Plus, their customer service is excellent in case you have any problems. Check out How to Spot Fake Casino Apps: The Definitive Guide to learn more.

Step 2: Create an Account and make a deposit

Once you’ve found a reputable casino, you’ll need to create an account and make a deposit. The casino will likely offer a welcome bonus, which is a percentage of your deposit that’s added to your balance.

For example, if the casino offers a 100% welcome bonus of up to $500, and you deposit $500, they’ll add $500 to your balance for a total of $1000.

Step 3. Choose Your Stake

Once you’ve found single-deck Blackjack and logged in, it’s time to choose your stake. This is the amount of money you want to bet per hand. You can usually bet anywhere from $1 to $500 (or more).

In single-deck blackjack, we recommend starting with a small stake like $5 or $10. That way, you can get a feel for the game and how it works without risking too much money. Remember, the house edge is only 0.15%, so you’re unlikely to lose much money even if you make a few mistakes.

Step 4: Place Your Bet

Once you’ve chosen your stake, it’s time to place your bet. Just click on the chips at the bottom of the screen and then click on the betting area to add your chips.

If you want to bet $5, just click on the $5 chip and then click on the betting area. Your bet will be placed and the game will start. There is also a “clear bet” button if you want to remove your chips from the betting area.

Step 5: The Dealer Deals the Cards

The dealer will now deal with the cards. They’ll deal two cards to each player and two cards to themselves, one face-up and one face-down. The face-down card is called the “hole” card and the face-up card is called the “up” card.

Step 6: The Player Takes Action

Now it’s time for the player to take action. In single-deck blackjack, the player has a few options:

  • Hit: Take another card.
  • Stand: Keep your hand and take no more cards.
  • Double down: Double your bet and take one more card.
  • Split: If you have two of the same card, you can split them into two hands.
  • Surrender: Give up half your bet and end your hand.

In single-deck blackjack, we recommend always hitting on anything below a hard 12 (excluding a 10 or an ace, which is a soft 13). The reason for this is that the dealer is likely to bust more often than not when they have a low up-card.

Step 7: The Dealer Takes Action

Once all the players have taken action, it’s time for the dealer to take action. The dealer will always hit on anything below a soft 17 and stand on a soft 17 or higher.

If the dealer has a hard 16 or lower, they will always hit. If the dealer has a hard 17 or higher, they will always stand. If the dealer has a soft 18 (an Ace and a 7), they will hit if the player has a 9, 10, or Ace and stand otherwise.

Step 8: The Hands Are Compared

If the dealer doesn’t bust, the hands are compared and the player with the higher hand wins. If the hands are tied, it’s a push and no one wins or loses. If the dealer busts, all players who are still in the hand win.


Q: How often does the dealer bust in Single-deck blackjack?

The dealer will bust about 28% of the time when they have a low up-card and about 22% of the time when they have a high up-card.

Q: What’s the Best way to play single-deck blackjack?

The best way to play single-deck blackjack is to always hit on anything below a hard 12 (excluding a 10 or an Ace, which is a soft 13) and to stand on a 17 or higher. If the dealer has a 7 or higher and you have a hard 16 or lower, you should surrender.

Q: Is Single-deck blackjack better than other blackjack games?

Single-deck blackjack has a lower house edge than other blackjack games, so it’s generally considered to be the best game for players.

Q: Can I count cards in Single-deck blackjack?

Yes, you can count cards in single-deck blackjack. However, it’s not as effective as in other blackjack games because the deck is shuffled after every hand.


Players who want to try casino table games but don’t want to risk too much money should give single-deck blackjack a try. It’s a fun and easy game to play and it has a relatively low house edge. Good luck!

Written By

Tonia Trujillo, a blogger and self-proclaimed lover of food. When not writing, she enjoys exercising and exploring the outdoors with her dogs.

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