How to Play Blackjack and a Handy Cheat Sheet

Blackjack is one of the most popular card games in the world and a staple of any live casino —  be it in a casino hall or online. The reason Blackjack is so popular is that it is easy to play and understand.

In Blackjack, the aim is to beat the dealer’s hand in a points-based card game where you add up the numerical value of your cards. Each player tries to reach 21 but if they exceed this, they go bust!

Blackjack is fast-paced and easy to understand. Games can be over in seconds, while others last a lot longer as the tension builds.

Basic Blackjack uses the normal 52 cards from a pack, without jokers. It is certainly popular but in recent times new modifications to Blackjack have occurred, to make the game even more fun!

In this guide we will take you through the basics of Blackjack, how to play Blackjack correctly and how you can use tactics to help your game. You’ll understand when the next time to stick or hit is, when you should go for the big time and when it’s best to back away.

blackjack cheat sheet

How Blackjack works — the rules

Blackjack is a simple game whereby the player can compete against the dealer and other players on the table. When playing Live Blackjack here at Unibet, you will be allocated a table and you wait for the next game to begin. The dealer will deal out two cards per person, with the cards facing upwards. Everyone can see everyone else’s cards. The dealer will also have two cards: one facing up, one facing down.

You will make your first bet judging the value of your two cards. Each card holds its number between 2 and 10, with Jack, Queen and King also counting as 10. An Ace can be either 1 or 11. Add up your two cards to see what you have. The suit of the card does not hold any significance in Blackjack.

If you think your hand will beat the dealer’s already, then you can stick. If not, you can hit and request a third card. You can then request and fourth, a fifth card and so on. Remember, if you exceed 21 then you are bust and the dealer wins.

The aim, of course, is to hit 21. But you can win Blackjack hands with anything from 15 and above. It’s always a risk hitting when you’re close to 21 — but the risk can be worth it if you receive a low card!

For example: You bet 5 coins on the game and are drawn 7 and 6. That equals 15. You decide to hit and a 5 emerges. That’s 20! The dealer reveals their hidden card. They have 10 and 9 = 19. They will lose the game unless they twist, which they do. A Jack emerges and the dealer is bust. You win the game and 10 coins.


Hitting and standing in Blackjack

This is a key tactic in Blackjack and one you will master the more times you play. Because you don’t know what the next card will be in the pack, you have to make a value judgement as to whether or not you hit or stand. If you stand, you’re effectively backing on the dealer having a lower combination than you or going bust.

The dealer is likely to hit on any hand 16 or lower. So if you have 17 or less, your chances of winning are much lower unless the dealer goes bust.


How to Double Down in Blackjack

Double Down is a method of betting in Blackjack whereby you effectively double your bet — and in doing so double your liability. For example, you draw a 4 and 3. You decide to double down and take a hit, which comes up as an Ace. You now have 18 and the dealer busts. You win double your bet back. We suggest doubling down on any hand totalling 11.


Is 11 a good hand in Blackjack?

Yes. obviously, having a hand that totals between 19 and 21 is better. But if you have a low hand like 11 then it’s a good time to Double Down. This is because there is no card you can receive that will cause you to be bust. Yet there could be a four-in-14 chance that a card worth 10 emerges when you next hit. That’s why 11 is a tempting hand to Double Down on, as is 10.


What is Blackjack splitting?

Splitting in Live Blackjack can only occur when you’re dealt a pair. Here, you can decide to split and effectively play two hands — although you will have to match your bet on both hands. The split means you play two independent hands and the dealer will provide you with accompanying cards for each of the split cards.

You may ask why not just start with two hands? Well, the point of splitting is to save a bad hand that you’re initially dealt with.

Most Blackjack players split when they get a pair of Aces or pair of 8s. This is because an Ace on its own carries great weight as an 11 or 1. If you split Aces and land a 10, J, Q or K on one of the hands, that’s a winning hand. Equally, if your other hand lands a 9, 8 or 7 that is still a strong hand. So splitting Aces is a worthy tactic.

Likewise with 8s, they are good to split because two 8s total 16 — and this is not a good number as the dealer could well beat it. So you split the 8s and hope for another high card, say 9, 10, J, Q, K or A to fire you close to 21.


Blackjack Live Behind betting explained

Blackjack is a popular game in online gambling and sometimes our live tables become full. When this happens you can still watch the table and wait for a seat. And what better way to wait than to bet on someone else’s hand! In Behind betting, you place bets on other players’ hands while you wait for a seat at the table.


The reason Bet Behind is so good is because:

  • You can bet behind while you’re waiting for a place at one of 7 main seats at the table so you don’t have to wait to play.
  • You can still bet behind even when you’re seated at the main table.
  • Bet Behind offers lower stakes meaning that new players can easily join in the fun without risking much.


When to stand in Blackjack

Blackjack is a game of timing and judgement — and the biggest one of all is knowing when to stand. It’s always tempting going for another card but sometimes it isn’t worth it. In general, experienced Blackjack players will stand at 19 or above. Some will even push to 18 if they are feeling lucky.


Of course, if you have 11 or lower on the table then always hit, as you cannot go bust at this stage. But from 12 to 17 things get tricky, as there is always a threat of going bust. Most people will hit from 12 to 14, with some deliberating over 15.


How to get better at Blackjack

Blackjack is a game of chance and skill combined, so there are definite ways in which you can improve your game and get better at Blackjack. The main method is to play plenty of hands. If you’re starting out on Blackjack you can bet very low amounts and even watch others play, so you can get to grips with the game.

It is always worth experimenting with special features such as Doubling Down, in order to see if they work for you. Strategy is important and sticking by your guns key. So if you set yourself a limit not to hit on any hand higher than 17, then stick to it. After all, there’s nothing more frustrating that going against your initial plan and then going bust.

Understanding card values is also essential here, which is why we’ve created the Blackjack Cheat Sheet to ensure you know exactly what you’re doing!

There are also some betting strategies like the Oscar's grind system in Blackjack.


Cutting mistakes in Blackjack

Stopping mistakes in Blackjack is key to becoming a successful player. You need to keep attentive to make sure you’re calculating the cards right — and working out what card may come next. Of course, there is luck involved here and you cannot eradicate every bad situation. But making sure you’re calculating your chances correctly will greatly help with winning hands at Blackjack.

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