In our previous article you read about the changes you should make from the Blackjack Strategy Charts in a 6-deck game where the dealer stands at soft 17. In this article we will take a look at these deviations with the same ruleset, but using only a single deck of cards.
As in the previous article, T will stand for any card with a value of ten: tens, jacks, queens and kings.
Single Deck versus 6-deck
At first glance these games seems to be the same, but in fact there is a huge difference between the two. Why, you ask? Let's take a look at an example.
Let's say you play with 2 hands dealt. In one of your hands you have a 9 and 6, in the other a T and 6. With the 96 hand you are looking to spike a 6 to get to 21. What are the chances of that? In a 6-deck game you have 308 cards left in the shoe, from which 22 are good. Therefore the chances are 22/308 = 7,14%. Now in a single-deck game this looks very different. You have 2 outs from a 48 card deck, that is 2/48 4,16%. In a multideck environment you have almost double the chance of getting to 21 than in a single-deck game.
Given the above information, you might say that a 6-deck is game is more profitable then, since you have a bigger chance to spike your out. That is the exact opposite of the truth. Since most of the time we are looking not looking for an exact card (that has already been dealt two times), but more like a set of cards with which we don't bust, the ratios change, and the dead Ts and other high cards count much more. Therefore the house edge is much lower in a single-deck game than in a 6-deck game - to the degree of even being profitable for us playing perfectly.
So let's take a look at the deviations we should make from the Strategy Chart for us to gain even more of an edge.
Double and surrender
We are lucky in the doubling scene, since there are no changes in hands we should double originally. It makes sense, since if our second best option is hitting, which results in kind of the same scenario as doubling. Therefore we can easily come to the conclusion that most of our doubling action is not based on our hand, but the chances of the dealer busting.
However, we have some additional cases we want to double in: if we have 12 against a dealer 2 and we see 6 or more other Ts dead, we should double. The same goes for a dealer 3, 4, 5, 6. There are some extreme scenarios with higher dealer cards as well, but they have close to no chance of coming up.
Surrendering is a whole another deal. If you have T6 as 16, and the dealer has a T, you should hit instead of surrendering if just another T is dead. If you have 16 points with non-T cards, you should stand instead if a T is dead.
Against a dealer A T6 is a surrender, but 97 is actually a hit, so be aware of this even if you have no partners at the table. If a T is dead, all 16 hands become hit rather than surrender.
Hitting or Standing
Generally we want to hit 12 against a dealer 2, but if we see 4 Ts dead, standing is a better option.
There are some cases with 16 where you want to stand rather than hitting versus a high dealer card. Versus a dealer 7 6 tens, a dealer 8 or 9 5 tens have to be dead (inlcuding the one if our hand if we have T6) for standing to be a better option.
With soft 13 we want to double against a 4, but only if there are no Ts dead. If there is a single T dead, hitting is a better option. Against a 5 or a 6, 4 tens have to be dead for doubling be a worse option.
With soft 14 against a dealer 4 we hit if there are 5 or more tens dead, but always double against a dealer 5 or 6.
With soft 17 hit instead of doubling if a single low card (A-4) is dead versus a dealer 2. 3 low cards mean we don't double against a dealer 3. In all other cases doubling is right with soft 17.
With soft 18 versus a dealer 2 we generally stand, but if at least a T is dead, doubling becomes much better. Soft 18 versus a dealer 3 should be doubled, unless there is at least one low card dead, in which case we want to stand.
And finally soft 19, we only ever double soft 19 if there are no low cards dead. However, we can double soft 19 versus a dealer 5, 4, 3 if there are 1, 2, 3 tens dead respectively.
We want to split a pair of 2s against a dealer 8 with only 2 Ts dead. Against a dealer 9 this changes to 5.
We want to split a pair of 3s against a dealer 9 with 3 tens dead.
We split a pair of 4s vs a dealer 2 with 2 tens dead, against a dealer 3 is only 1 ten is dead.
You should also split a pair of 6s against a dealer 8 with at least 1 T dead.
Split 7s versus a deal 9 if there are 3 or more low cards dead. Against a dealer T or A if a single T is dead you should split.
You can see that a single-deck game is much more complex and has much more opportunities for deviating than a multideck game, making our edge on the house bigger and bigger. Sadly, this type of game is pretty rare in online casinos, but if you see one online or in your local casino, definitely jump in, since you can get a positive edge on the house playing well.