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Master Blackjack Terms for Enhanced Game Strategy

Master Blackjack Terms for Enhanced Game Strategy

Still on your journey to learning how to play Blackjack? Well, you’ve come to the right place! In this glossary, we’ll be providing the most common Blackjack terms you ought to know. Use this guide as a little cheat sheet and keep them handy any time you’re practicing demos for a game or two.

With that, let’s dive into some of the most common Blackjack terminologies below!

A to C: Blackjack Terms

21. The highest hand in blackjack, totaling exactly 21 points.

86’d. An abbreviation for being kicked out of a casino with the threat of arrest if you return.

Ace Poor. A situation where fewer Aces have been dealt than expected.

Ace Rich. A situation where more Aces have been dealt than expected.

Ace. One of the most important Blackjack terms to know. It’s a card valued at either 1 or 11.

Action. The total amount of money wagered over a specific period, whether on a single hand or throughout an entire blackjack session.

Advanced Omega II System. A Level 2 card counting system from Bryce Carlson’s Blackjack for Blood. It assigns +1 to 2s, 3s, and 7s, +2 to 4s, 5s, and 6s, -1 to 9s, and -2 to 10s.

Advantage Player. A player who bets only when they have a mathematical advantage over the opponent.

Advantage. It’s typically one of the Blackjack terms used to describe expected value in a game. It can apply to both the player and the casino. It’s often expressed as a percentage. For example, if a player has a 1% advantage, they can expect a 1% return on all money bets in that game.

Anchorman. They are the last player to act before the dealer. This position allows the player to gather valuable information from the actions of others, such as hitting, staying, splitting, or doubling down.

In Blackjack terms, an automated shuffling machine is an apparatus used in land-based casinos to shuffle the cards after a shoe is finished.
In Blackjack terms, an automated shuffling machine is an apparatus used in land-based casinos to shuffle the cards after a shoe is finished. | Image Credit: blackjackapprenticeship.com

Automated Shuffling Machine. This is a machine used in some Blackjack games to shuffle cards after the shoe is finished. Card counters can still identify advantageous situations, but shuffle trackers cannot. Casinos benefit by reducing downtime by using two shoes: one being dealt with while the other is shuffled.

Back Count. Counting cards while not playing.

Back Off. Casino staff may ask you to stop playing because your play is too strong for a particular game. For example, it’s too strong for 21, and staff may ask you to play any other Blackjack game except for that.

Balanced Count. One of the Blackjack terms for a card counting system. It has an equal number of plus and minus cards. When the entire deck is counted, the sum is zero.

Bank. The total amount of money set aside for play.

Bankroll. The amount of money a Blackjack player has set aside for gambling.

Barred. Being permanently prohibited from entering a casino.

Basic Strategy. The optimal way to play each hand is based on the player’s total and the dealer’s up card.

Bet Behind. Betting on another player’s hand.

Bet Spread. Known as the difference between the minimum and maximum bets. For example, a 1-5 bet spread means a player bets up to five times their minimum bet.

Big Player. A player who places large bets based on signals from card counters.

Blackjack terms - Blackjack is a hand totaling 21 with an Ace and a 10-value card.
Blackjack terms – Blackjack is a hand totaling 21 with an Ace and a 10-value card.

Blackjack. A hand totaling 21 with an Ace and a 10-value card.

Box. The area on the table where players place their bets.

Burn Card. The top card of the deck is discarded by the dealer after shuffling or switching to ensure the first player doesn’t know it.

Bust. One of the Blackjack terms for a hand that exceeds 21 points, resulting in a loss.

Buy-In. The amount of money a player uses to enter a game.

Cap. Cheating by adding to a bet after seeing the initial cards.

Card Counting. A strategy used to keep track of high and low cards dealt to gain an advantage.

Chipping Down and Up. In Blackjack terms, chipping down means lowering your wager from the previous round, while chipping up means increasing your bet when you feel lucky.

Civilian. A regular player with no card-counting skills.

Clump. This refers to (a) cards of the same value grouped together in the shoe, or (b) sequences favoring the house or the player.

Color Up. Exchanging smaller denomination chips for larger ones.

Cooler. A pre-arranged deck used to replace the original deck.

Count. The running total in a card counting system.

Cover. Techniques used to hide the fact that one is counting cards.

Credit Line. A line of credit provided by a casino to a Blackjack player.

Crossroader. In Blackjack terms, it’s another word for a cheat or scam artist.

Cut Card. A plastic card used to cut the Blackjack cards deck.

Cut. Splitting the deck of Blackjack cards after shuffling.

D to M: Blackjack Terms

DA2. A rule allowing doubling down on any two cards.

DAS. Double/Doubling After Split is a rule allowing doubling down after splitting a pair.

Deck Penetration. The percentage of the deck dealt before shuffling.

Double Down. Doubling the original bet in exchange for one additional card.

Double Exposure. A blackjack variant where both dealer’s cards are dealt face up.

Draw. Another term for taking a “hit.”

Early Surrender. a) A bet that returns the same amount as was wagered if won, or b) when a player takes insurance on their blackjack against a dealer’s Ace, resulting in an even money payout regardless of the dealer’s blackjack.

Even Money. A payout option where a player has blackjack and the dealer has an Ace.

In Blackjack terms, face cards are Jacks (as pictured), Queens, and Kings, which are valued at 10 points.
In Blackjack terms, face cards are Jacks (as pictured), Queens, and Kings, which are valued at 10 points.

Face Cards. Jacks, Queens, and Kings, each valued at 10 points.

First Baseman. In Blackjack terms, this is the player seated immediately to the dealer’s left and is the first to make a move.

Five-Card Charlie. A blackjack hand with five cards totaling less than 21, usually valued higher than an equal hand with fewer cards.

Flat Bet. This Blackjack term means betting the same amount on each hand.

Half-shoe. When a dealer cuts the shoe penetration to half, reducing the edge that a card counter might achieve. Typically done under supervision.

Hard Hand. A Blackjack hand without an Ace or with an Ace valued as 1.

Heads Up. A game between one player and the dealer.

Hit. Taking another card.

Hole Card. The dealer’s face-down card.

House Edge. The mathematical advantage the casino has over the player; also known as casino game odds.

Insurance. In Blackjack terms,  it’s a proposition bet that the dealer has a blackjack, independent of the main bet. This pays 2:1 when the dealer has an exposed ace on the table.

Late Surrender. This allows the player to forfeit half of their bet after seeing the dealer’s upcard, but if the dealer has a blackjack, the player loses their entire bet.

Martingale System. A betting system where you double your bet after a loss. Check out how it works as a strategy in Roulette.

Multi-Deck. This is when casinos use six to eight decks to make card counting difficult. A game with one deck is called a single-deck game.

N to Z: Blackjack Terms

Natural Blackjack. A blackjack dealt immediately with an Ace and a 10-value card.

NRSA. This stands for “No Resplitting Aces” and “Resplitting Aces” (RSA). If resplitting aces is allowed, you can split your aces again and potentially get more blackjacks.

Pat Hand. A hand valued at 17 to 21, not requiring a hit.

Peek. The dealer checking their hole card for blackjack.

Perfect Pair. A side bet on receiving a pair as the starting hand.

Preferential Shuffle. Also known as “early shuffling,” this is the act of intentionally shuffling the cards prematurely to eliminate any advantage gained by players, discouraging card counters.

Push 22. A rule where the dealer’s hand of 22 results in a push for all remaining hands.

Push. A tie between the player and the dealer in blackjack, where the player’s bet is returned.

Resplitting. Splitting a pair of Aces or other pairs multiple times.

Rummy. Rummy in blackjack is a side bet (flush, straight, or three-of-a-kind) made before the game starts. You win if your first two cards and the dealer’s up-card form a valid Rummy hand.

Running Count. The total count of high and low cards in a card counting system.

Shuffle Tracking. In Blackjack terms, it’s a sophisticated technique where a player counts cards, tracks groups of high or low cards in the discard tray, follows them through the shuffle, and then cuts the cards to bring excess high cards into play. It’s a proven method to gain an edge in shoe games.

Single Deck. A Blackjack round or game that uses only one deck of cards.

Soft 17. A hand with an Ace valued as 11 and other cards totaling 6.

Soft Double. Doubling down on a soft hand.

Soft Hand. A hand containing an Ace valued as 11 or 1.

In Blackjack terms, learning when to split in blackjack is crucial for a win. It is to separate cards into different hands.
In Blackjack terms, learning when to split in blackjack is crucial for a win. It is to separate cards into different hands. | Image Credit: casinoguardian.co.uk

Split. In Blackjack, it means splitting a pair into two separate/different hands.

Spooking. A strategy where one player observes and communicates hole-card information to their team.

Stand-Off. Another term for a push or tie. When you have the same hand value as the dealer, it’s a stand-off, and you receive your initial bet back.

Stand. To stop taking additional cards.

Stiff Hand. A hand totaling 12 to 16 points.

Surrender. In Blackjack terms, it’s forfeiting your starting hand and getting 50% of your stake back.

Third Base. Opposite of First Baseman, this is the seat at the blackjack table farthest to the left, receiving cards last during a round of play.

True Count. The count per deck, found by dividing the number of decks left in play into the running count.

Up Card. The dealer’s face-up card.

Wonging. To back count at a table and join in to place a bet when the situation favors the player.

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