Heads-Up Blackjack allows you to demonstrate your skills at basic strategy and card counting. Have you got the edge over other players? Play through multiple hands of Blackjack from the same shoe of cards as your opponent. At the end of the match, the player with the most chips wins the pot.
Choose from a variety of two-player Cash Games and regular multi-table tournaments held daily at William Hill Skill Games.
Match Play is a game with a fixed number of rounds, such as 5 Round and 10 Round.
Who wins the match?
You will start every Blackjack match with a stack of virtual casino chips denominated in dollars. After all players have completed the required number of hands, the player with the biggest chip stack wins the pot.
Do standard Blackjack rules apply?
Yes. You can HIT, STAND, SPLIT or DOUBLE on each hand dealt to you during the match. Just like in casinos, Blackjack pays 3 -2. You may also make INSURANCE bets or accept EVEN MONEY when the Dealer's up-card is an Ace. The Dealer will always hit until their cards total has reached 17 or more and then will stand.
BLACKJACK - An initial two-card hand consisting of an Ace and a 10 (or card of value 10 i.e. a jack, queen or king). The total value of the hand is therefore 21.
HIT - you request that the dealer deal another card to your hand.
STAND - you confirm that you do not want any further cards dealt to your hand.
SPLIT - if you are dealt two cards of the same denomination and want to split them to form two different hands to play, you can do so, and a bet must be placed on each hand. Refer to the Basic Strategy table below for information on when to split.
PUSH - A hand that is of the same value as the Dealer's hand.
BUST - A hand worth more than 21 is called Bust.
DOUBLE DOWN- after being dealt your first two cards, the option to Double Down will appear. This gives you the opportunity to double your original bet and receive one more card to your hand. Refer to the Basic Strategy table below on advice on when to play this feature.
EVEN MONEY - Offered instead of Insurance when the Dealer's face-up card is an Ace, and the player has been dealt Blackjack. If taken, the Player accepts a winning bet at the normal 2:1 level instead of the 3:2 for Blackjack.
FACE-UP CARD - The face-up card is the first card dealt to the Dealer. The player can use it to judge how strong the Dealer's hand is and alter their strategy accordingly.
INSURANCE - Offered when the Dealer's face-up card is an Ace. Insurance is a side bet of half the original bet which pays out if the Dealer has Blackjack, so that the Player breaks even overall on the hand.
MAX ALL/MIN ALL - Betting the maximum/minimum possible at each position.
REBET - Betting the same stakes as the previous round.
Is there a Minimum/Maximum Bet limit?
Yes. For every Blackjack match maximum and minimum individual bets apply.
Who plays first?
There is an initial deal of a single card to each player at the start of the match. The player dealt the lowest card will be on 'First Base' and has to act first during each stage of the round. The order of play alternates after each round. A black button is displayed on the table next to the relevant player to indicate who is on First Base. This First Base button shows who is first to act. The order of dealing cards is not affected.
When does the match end?
There are different types of Blackjack matches available. Choose to play a 5-round match (i.e. 5-hand match) or even a 40-round
s match of Blackjack, and once both players have completed the required number of hands, the winner is automatically declared.
What if I run out of chips?
If either player runs out of chips during the match, they lose the match instantly.
What if there is a tie?
If players are tied at the end of the match they will enter a sudden death playoff. The players continue playing with their chips until one of them finishes a round with a chip lead. As soon as a chip leader is established that player is declared the winner. If both players are bankrupt, an amount equal to the minimum betting stake will be credited to each player's chip stack so that they can enter the playoff until a winner is declared.
How many chips do I start each game with?
For all Matchplay games you start the first hand with $1000 in virtual chips. This will go up or down depending on your cards and decisions.
How many decks of cards are used?
4 decks of cards are used.
How and when are the cards shuffled?
We use state-of-the-art random number generation to ensure the cards dealt to players are perfectly shuffled, every time.
A 'cut-card' marker is randomly placed towards the back of the cards at the start of the game. As they are used up, the cut-card will eventually come to the front. When this happens, the current round is completed as normal and the cards are then replaced with 4 completely new and shuffled decks. Players will be notified with a message and a shuffling sound when this occurs.
What is the First Base chip for?
In Blackjack, the player who places their bet and plays their hand first (known as being on 'First Base') is at a slight disadvantage. Therefore, players take it in turns to be on First Base. Each round the chip will move to the next player to indicate this. Before the game starts each player will be dealt a card. The one with the lowest card starts on First Base.
Why did I lose the game when I still have money?
You must have enough money to meet the minimum bet. For example, if you have $50 left and the minimum bet is $100 then you lose the game. Players are strongly advised to take this into account when betting in round!
What is the Ace worth to the Dealer?
Aces are always worth 11 to the Dealer, unless this makes the hand Bust, in which case they will count as 1. The Dealer will 'Stand' as soon as any of the 2 possible hand totals is greater than or equal to 17.
Why is Double Down/Split unavailable?
You must have sufficient money to be able to afford to take these options! Double Down and Split cost the original bet over again. You can only choose to Double Down at the start of the hand (when there are 2 cards). You can only choose to Split when these 2 cards are of the same face-value (for example, a Jack and a 10 are both of the same face-value).
I Split a hand and was dealt Blackjack. Why have I not won the bet accordingly?
Blackjack is only valid on the initial deal. If you split a hand and then get 21 this does not count as Blackjack.
When is Insurance and Even Money offered?
Insurance is offered when the Dealer's face-up card is an Ace (and hence they may have Blackjack). You must also be able to afford it: it costs half of the original bet amount. If you have made Blackjack already you will be offered Even Money instead. For an explanation of Insurance and Even Money, please see above.
Can I Hit more than once on Split aces?
Can I Double Down on Split hands?
Can I "Surrender" the hand?
What is the 'Shoe' of cards?
The Shoe is the box on the table next to the Dealer's chips - where the cards come from.
Can I try to count the cards?
Yes. Card-counting is not permitted in casinos but permitted here. When you play Blackjack you might be able to gain a slight edge over your opponent in the event you are capable of keeping a running count of the cards. The game uses a single 4-deck shoe (i.e. box) of 208 cards shuffled at the start of each match. In the likely event the cards in the shoe are exhausted a new 208 card shoe will be shuffled to replace the existing one. Players will be notified of any shuffled replacement shoe during the match. The opportunity to count cards increases with the number of hands dealt to players in each match. The further through each shoe you get, the more relevant card counting becomes!
There are two key things to know about card counting; firstly, it helps you to win at Blackjack. Secondly, it really isn't that hard.
Card counting works by keeping track of the relative number of high cards left in the deck. A large proportion of high cards is good for the player, whereas low cards are favourable for the dealer.
You should play basic strategy initially and play the minimum bet. Then follow our card counting guide to gain the advantage.
Step 1 - The Count
You do not need an amazing memory to count cards. You simply need to keep track of one number, called the count.
To work out the count, cards are assigned values as follows:
As cards are dealt you need to keep a running count. For example, if the first six cards dealt are J,5,7,10,K,A the count will be +1-1+0+1+1+1 = +3
Step 2 - The True Count
The true count is reached by dividing the count by the number of half-decks remaining.
At the start of a blackjack game there are 4 full decks, hence you would divide by 8 (4 x ½). Once 26 cards had been dealt, there would now be just 7 half-decks left.
If the count at this point was 14, then the true count would be 14/7 = 2
Step 3 - Betting
The key to profitable play is to raise your stakes when the true count is favourable. Follow the guide below to alter your stakes:
Note that depending on your chip stack at the time, you should lower your bets to allow the option of splitting or doubling down.
The following section gives a brief overview, first of basic Blackjack strategy, then a number of Blackjack tips for each of the tournament types we offer.
Much of Blackjack strategy boils down to a few key decisions you have to make on:
And most of these will depend on what cards you hold and what face card you can see for the dealer. The following table is a summary of the recommended strategies for playing basic Blackjack strategy.
Y = Split, N = Don't split.
H = Hit, S = Stand, D = Double
H = Hit, S = Stand, D = Double
How do I leave a table?
To leave the table, click the Resign button on the right of your screen. You will be asked to confirm your decision. Clicking 'No' will return you to the game. Clicking 'Yes' will take you out of the game straight away. You may incur a penalty if bets have been placed in the game.
What is the penalty for leaving a game during a hand, or for timing out?
If somebody leaves or times out before both players have bet, there is no penalty. However, at any point in the round after both bets have been placed, a penalty amount is calculated as follows:
Note that these instructions refer to Match Play games. Please see the Purse Play section above for the Purse Play variant of this game.
The object of the game
The object of the game is to amass a larger chip-stack than your opponent, in real-time.
Points are awarded in the form of casino chip 'dollars'. Beat the Dealer's hand of cards with as many of your hands as possible and build your chip-stack higher than your opponent!
To beat the Dealer's hand, your hand must be worth more in terms of combined face value, without going over a total of 21. This is classic Blackjack.
Both players start with an identical virtual chip-stack and play through a pre-set number of rounds, one hand per round.
Starting a round
There is an initial deal of a single card to each player at the start of the match. The player dealt the lowest card will be on 'First Base' and has to act first during each stage of the round.
The order of play alternates after each round. A black button is displayed on the table next to the relevant player to indicate who is on First Base. The order of dealing cards is not affected.
When it is your turn to bet, choose your stake by moving the betting slider. It will automatically limit the size according to the maximum and minimum stakes, and the funds you have available. Alternatively you can type an exact amount into the box.
When you are happy with this amount, click 'Bet'. To play the same amount you did on the last round, click "Last Bet".
Playing a typical round
Once all the cards have been dealt to the players, you play your hand in turn depending on where the First Base button is.
Your hand is highlighted by a glow, and its value is shown just to the left of it. The value is calculated by adding up all the cards. Jacks, Queens and Kings are worth 10. Aces are worth 1 or 11 (and in such cases the two possible totals are shown).
Depending what cards you have been dealt, you can do one of several things by clicking the buttons at the bottom of the screen:
Once both players have finished their hand (either by Standing or going Bust) then it is the Dealer's turn. The Dealer will always 'Hit' until their cards total has reached 17 or more, then they will Stand.
Finishing a round
Once the Dealer has finished playing, your hands will be resolved by comparing its total to the Dealer's total:
Exceptions to the typical round
The best hand you can be dealt is called Blackjack. This consists of an Ace and a 10 (or card of value 10 i.e. a jack, queen or king), which is worth 21.
If a player has Blackjack or it looks like the Dealer may have, then some special rules apply:
If the Dealer's face-up card is an Ace, then they may have Blackjack. In this situation the Player is offered the chance to buy 'Insurance' for their hand, assuming they have sufficient funds.
Insurance takes the form of an additional bet on whether or not the Dealer has Blackjack. If the Dealer does have Blackjack, then the player loses their original bet but wins twice the Insurance bet, thereby breaking even, and the hand is over. If the Dealer does not have Blackjack, the player loses their Insurance bet and the hand continues as normal.
After the Insurance stage, the next step is to check whether the player has been dealt Blackjack. If they have, the hand is immediately resolved and the player wins 2.5 x their bet.
In rare situations, the Dealer's face-up card will be an Ace and the player will have Blackjack. In this case the Player is offered the chance to take 'Even Money', as an alternative to Insurance. This basically skips the Insurance process, and if taken the player wins twice their bet straight away.
The cards will inevitably run out during the game, so there is a cut card/shuffle marker placed into the shoe at the start. Once this has been past the current round will be completed and then a new 208 card shoe will be shuffled up and replace the existing one.
The players will be notified in the dealer's message window each time this happens during the game (which will be between rounds).
Finishing the game
The winner of the game is the player who has the largest chip stack once all the rounds have been completed.
If the stacks are tied, play will continue until a winner emerges. If both players are bankrupt, an amount equal to the minimum betting stake will be credited to each player's funds so that they can continue.
All numbers stated below are in pounds sterling (£) unless otherwise indicated. Commissions remain the same no matter what currency you play in!
In calculating commissions paid please don't forget winners always receive back their own stake untouched by commission. Only the money won from your opponent will be subject to commission.
The tables below display the % commission payable on every two-player pot in Blackjack.
5 Round MatchPlay and 10 Round MatchPlay
|Stake||Total Pot||Commission||% Commission|
40 Round MatchPlay
|Stake||Total Pot||Commission||% Commission|
Blackjack is 100% guaranteed for fairness and integrity. Industry-standard software and hardware solutions guarantee fair cards deals for all players. Proprietary software systems actively scan all moves to ensure you can chat, play and stake real money fairly at all times against real opponents playing from around the world.