How to play Blackjack: The Cheat Sheet


Blackjack is one of the most popular table games in any casino, especially if you’re playing live Blackjack online. So much so, Blackjack also appears in many films, books and other forms of popular culture. A long time ago, people started to try and beat the dealer in Blackjack by attempting to calculate the possibility of winning each hand. It’s led to players pioneering tactics and strategies, but one of the most famous is the cheat sheet.

Edward O. Thorp is known as the man who started it all. After writing his book Beat the Dealer, strategies started popping up everywhere on the gambling scene. Card counting grew in popularity as players attempted to make their millions. Yet, players still struggled with success.

Thorp noticed his strategy was inaccurate so enlisted the help of fellow mathematician, Julian Braun and together, they created a new strategy that saw a lot more success. Lawrence Revere, however, recognised the strategy was still too complex for the average player to understand. Revere and Braun then worked together to solve the issue which in turn, created the Blackjack cheat sheet.

The cheat sheet is designed to tell players what their initial move should be after receiving their hand. Players often have five options to consider: surrender, split, double-down, hit or stand, and knowing which move to make can be difficult.

The first of the questions you need to ask yourself is, should I surrender? Not all casinos allow this option, but those that do will only allow it as your first move, which is why it is your first question.

The second question you should ask yourself is, should I split? Again, casinos might limit you on the cards you can split, which is why you should ask yourself this question early on. You should only split on a hand when you have a pair or two face cards (Jack, Queen, King).

The third question to ask is, should I double-down? This involves doubling your initial bet and receiving another card. Your hand should contain lower value cards, meaning your odds of winning should have increased, but it all depends on what card the dealer is showing as to how much.

The final question to ask is, should I hit or stand? On a low-value hand, you should hit, which means to receive another card, but if you receive a high-value hand you should stand. This is the final question you ask yourself as it is the one you repeat until you either win the game or go bust.

After you have asked these important questions, you can pursue your game, but the cheat sheet helps in answering those questions for you. Based on your hand and the face-up card from the dealer, the cheat sheet will give you firm suggestions as to what your first move should be. After your initial move, it’s down to you, but using the cheat sheet has helped many people win many hands in Blackjack.

Over the years the sheet has developed, using hard and soft hands as well as receiving a pair. Of course, you couldn’t take the cheat sheet into a casino and use it so blatantly, which is why studying it at home is just as important as using it. If the cheat sheet isn’t quite enough information for you, you can always pick up one of the many Blackjack books that have been published by players, dealers and mathematicians around the globe.

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