Gambling A-Z: Blackjack Terms
Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games at both land-based and online casinos. It’s a card game that is quite easy to get started with, but that requires a deeper understanding and strategy to truly get the best house edge and beat the dealer. In order to enjoy the game fully and win, it is important to understand all aspects of the game. There are many blackjack terms that are unique to this game and in this guide, we are uncovering them all.
No matter if you are new to blackjack or a seasoned player, we are sure you can learn something from the following overview of common blackjack terms from A to Z and what they all mean. Please note that for additional rules such as bonuses and insurance, they might not be available in all games.
Common Blackjack Terms & Their Meaning
Ace: The A card in a deck that can be valued at 1 or 11 in blackjack.
Action: The amount of money that has been bet.
Anchor/anchorman: The player that acts last on the table, before the dealer.
Balanced count: Any counting system that has an exact balance between plus and minus cards.
Bankroll: The funds you have available to gamble with.
Bet sizing: A strategy where you are adjusting how much you wager.
Bet spread: The difference between a player’s highest and lowest bet values.
Blackjack: The name of the game, as well as the term for the perfect hand. A blackjack (hand) gives 21 exact from one ace and one card valued at 10 (10, J, Q or K).
Black book: A term describing a list or database of banned players.
Burn card: The first card of the deck which is thrown out (placed to the side, face down) by the dealer. This is to ensure that it is not possible to cheat by knowing what the first card is.
Bust: If your hand totals more than 21, you are bust.
Bust card: The card that gave a hand a sum of more than 21.
Card counting: A system of various strategies where player’s somehow count the cards that have been played and are in play to get an overview of which cards are left to be played.
Chips: The (physical or virtual) chips you use to place bets on the blackjack table, with different colours to show their moneterial worth.
Cold deck: If the cards given are all cold and causing the players to lose, the deck is called cold.
Colour up: The act of exchanging lots of low-value chips to fewer high-value ones.
Cut card: A card used to cut the deck once it is shuffled.
Cutting: The act of cutting the shuffled deck in two with a plastic card to minimize the chance of cheating.
Dealer: The person dealing the cards and your opponent.
Deck: A set of 52 cards.
Discards: All cards that have been dealt in previous rounds are discards until a new shoe is needed.
Double down: The act of placing an additional bet (equal to the original bet) and drawing just one more card. This can be done if you see that your first two cards are a very good starting point and you believe one more card will give you a win.
Early surrender: The act of abandoning your hand for half your bet back. This act can only be done as your first action, not after drawing more cards.
Even money: A type of insurance where players can opt to get paid an even money odds (1:1) right away if the dealer’s up card is an ace and the player has a blackjack.
Face cards: One of many names used to describe the picture cards (J, Q and K) as they feature a face.
First base: The first player to receive cards and make an action. The betting spet on the dealer’s left side.
First-basing: Being able to see the dealer’s hole card from the first base position.
Five card Charlie: A bonus when a player has a hand of five cards that has not gone bust.
Flat betting: The act of betting the same amount consistently, hand after hand.
Hand: The term for the cards you are holding.
Hard hand: A hand that either does not have an Ace, or that has an Ace but needs to use it for value 1 as to not go bust.
High roller: A player that spends a lot of money.
Hit: The act of asking the dealer for another card.
Hole card: A term for the dealer’s card that is face up. The dealer starts with two cards like all players, but one of them is down and not revealed until the player’s are done with their acts.
Hole-carding: Being able to see the dealer’s hole card.
House edge: The advantage of the house/casino over players. In blackjack, you can use strategy to lower the house edge as the game is not purely based on luck.
Insurance: If the dealer shows an Ace on their up card, players can choose to place an additional side bet. This can be worth up to half the value of the original bet and if the dealer has blackjack, it pays 2:1.
Live dealer: A dealer in live casino games – a real dealer that players can interact with, streaming from a live studio.
Martingale: A popular betting strategy where you double your bet to win it back after a loss.
Multi deck: Most blackjack games are played with more than one deck to make it difficult to count cards etc. Normally, six to eight decks are used, but anything more than one deck is known as multi deck.
Natural: A natural blackjack is a blackjack made up of two cards only (Ace + 10, J, Q or K).
Pair: A term for when the starting hand has two cards of the same value. This hand can sometimes be split into two hands.
Penetration: The number of cards or decks that will be dealt before a shuffle, in contrast to the number of cards or decks in play. A number expressed as a percentage or fraction.
Pit: If you play blackjack in person, the pit is the name for the table area where you sit while playing.
Push: The term for a tie in blackjack. When the dealer and a player has the same value (of less than 22) on their hands.
Round: A round of blackjack starts before the first cards are dealt and bets are placed, until all actions are done and potential wins are paid out.
Shoe: The device that holds the cards or decks and where cards are dealt from (one at a time).
Shoe game: A blackjack game using a shoe to store and deal cards, typically used for games with multiple decks.
Soft hand: A hand that includes an Ace valued as 11 (opposite of a hard hand).
Split: The act of splitting your hand into two hands. This can only be done if you receive two cards of the same value and you will add the same wager to your second hand as for your first.
Stand: The act of not taking any more cards from the dealer. When you are happy with your hand, stand.
Stiff: The term for all hard hands where drawing another card comes with the risk of exceeding 21 (value 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16).
Surrender: The act of abandoning your hand for half your bet back. This act can only be done as your first action, not after drawing more cards.
Toke: Another term for tip. Especially for landbased gambling, it is quite common to tip the dealer if you stay for a long game or win a big amount. It is also possible to tip the dealers in some live casino games online.
Third base: Another term for the position to the dealer’s right, the last player to act.
Up card: A term for the dealer’s card that is face up. The dealer starts with two cards like all players, but only one of them is facing up for you to see.
Wagering requirements: In online casino bonuses, there might be a requirement to wager your deposit and/or bonus funds x amount of times. Sometimes, blackjack does not contribute 100% towards the wagering requirement.
Wash: A type of shuffling where the dealer mixes the cards, while face down, on a table in a way that creates sort of a washing motion.
Whale: A term for a high-roller player.
21: An alternative name for the game of blackjack, as the aim is to get value 21.
86’d: When a player is removed from the casino due to suspected advatage gambling.
Basic Blackjack Terms You Have to Know
While all the terms listed above are used in Blackjack and can be good to know if you want to become a pro, it might feel a bit overwhelming – especially if you are a beginner in the game. Therefore, to conclude, we want to highlight what we believe are some of the most important blackjack terms that you need to understand:
- Dealer: The person dealing the cards and your opponent. In blackjack, you don’t play against the other players on the table but just the dealer.
- Hit: The act of asking the dealer for another card.
- Stand: The act of not taking any more cards from the dealer. When you are happy with your hand, stand.
- Natural: A natural blackjack is a blackjack made up of two cards only (Ace + 10, J, Q or K)
- Up card: The dealer’s card that is face up and visible to you.
Become a Pro with these Blackjack Terms
Do you feel ready to play some blackjack? Browse our top lists of the best blackjack sites for British players and find a site to register at. Open the game selection and start playing!