Single Deck Blackjack

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The golden rule when it comes to blackjack is 'the fewer decks that are used, the more advantageous it is to the player.' When real world casinos began to offer blackjack as a game, they soon realised that although they were making a profit, it was not a significant one. Someone then came up with the idea of playing the game with more than one deck. Casinos these days typically use between six and eight decks in one dealer shoe. The table below shows how the house edge rises when a different number of decks are used:

Decks Used House edge
One 0.59683%
Two 0.84336%
Four 0.96226%
Six 0.99770%
Eight 1.01645%

For the purposes of this table, a standard number of other assumptions are made, such as blackjack paying 3-2.

A one percent house edge may not seem that significant, but out of every dollar spent at a casino, the casino is 'guaranteed' to win one cent. That is only, however, with 'perfect play'. Not every player entering a casino comes armed with the knowledge of when to hit and when to stand.

When it comes to online blackjack, it also pays to play with as few decks as possible, and here NetEnt's game allows you to play with just fifty-two cards. It's not all 'reasons to cheerful' though. NetEnt have made some restrictions – such as only being able to double down on totals of ten and eleven, and not being able to double down on a split hand. That keeps that house edge as favourable to the house as possible.

The important stuff you need to know, then:

  • The deck is shuffled before each deal
  • Dealer must stand on all hard 17s, and hit on all soft 17s
  • You can only double down on two card totals of ten and eleven
  • You can only split once, and split aces only receive one more card
  • An ace and a ten or face card from a split hand counts as 21, and not blackjack
  • Insurance is available if the dealer's up card is an ace, and pays 2-1
  • If you have blackjack and the dealer's up card is an ace, you can take even money which pays 1-1

Note: never take insurance or even money.

The game controls will be second nature to you if you've ever played RNG blackjack before. Just select your chip size then click on the betting square. Click 'deal' when you're ready to see what the dealer has in store for you. The rest of the controls are self-explanatory.


In NetEnt's help file they claim that the theoretical house edge is as low as 0.17 percent, but we actually get it closer to 0.6 percent.

This game is well up to NetEnt's usual standards when it comes to RNG casino games. The images are superb and the card animation is set just at the right speed. If it is still too fast for you, you change it and select one of nine speed options.

A wonderful effort by NetEnt. If you like playing RNG blackjack, then this is the version you really ought to be playing.

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