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Blackjack Terminology: A Complete Glossary

Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games due to its simplicity. However, there are many different terms used in blackjack that may go over your head if you are a new player. Have a read through our glossary to ensure that you understand all of the blackjack terminology you need to know.

21+3 – A Blackjack side bet that is won if the player’s two cards and the dealer’s face-up card form certain poker hands.

Ace – An Ace in Blackjack can be worth either 1 or 11. They are worth 11 by default but change to 1 if your hand is going Bust (exceeding 21).

Ace Rich – A term used when referring to the deck or shoe of the table as not many aces have been dealt, they are all in the shoe.

Action – The total number of bets that were made over a specific time period.

Anchor/Anchor-man – A term used to describe the last player to act who is closest to the dealer’s right.

Banker – The Dealer.

Bankroll – The money used for playing blackjack.

Basic Strategy – The mathematically optimal way to play any hand in blackjack based upon the player’s cards and the dealer’s up card.

Bet Spread – The ratio used for the maximum to minimum bet.

Betting Spot – The box or circle that is right in front of the player where they should place their chips.

Blackjack– Not only is this the name of the game but it is also what happens when either the player or dealer is dealt an Ace and 10-value card. This takes the hand total to 21 with just two cards. It is an automatic win, unless the dealer has blackjack as well, in which case it is a push. Blackjack typically pays out at 3:2.

Break– Also known as bust, this refers to when a hand’s value goes above 21.

Bust – The term used for a hand that exceeds 21.

Camouflage Play– A term used to describe seasoned players that are hiding their experience.

Burn Card– This is the first card that is removed by the dealer and placed face down in the discard tray. It is not used.

Bust Card– The individual card that is responsible for the player or dealer’s hand exceeding 21.

Card Counting– A blackjack strategy that is used to keep track of the cards left in the shoe. This may increase the player’s chances of winning but is frowned upon at all casinos.

Cold Deck– A bad run of cards resulting in a greater loss than expected.

Comps– A shortened term for complementary, this refers to anything that a casino gives to players for free. Examples of comps include food, drinks and hotel rooms.

DAS– An abbreviation used for Doubling After Split - when a player Double Downs after a hand has been split. 

Dealer– The casino employee who deals the cards and ensures the game is played correctly.

Dealer Peek– Where the dealer checks if they have blackjack, given their face up card is either a 10-value card or Ace.

Deck Penetration– The percentage used to express how much of the deck has already been dealt before the deck is shuffled.

Discard Tray – A tray in which the dealer places cards that have already been dealt.

Discards– A term used to describe the cards that were played in a round and are now in the discard tray.

DOA– An abbreviation of Double on Anything, meaning Double Down is allowed on any initial two cards.

Double Down – When a player doubles their bet after receiving their initial cards and then one, and only one, more card is dealt to the hand.

Early Surrender – The option a player has to surrender before the dealer checks for blackjack.

Edge – The mathematical edge which the house has over the player.

Elimination Tournament– A Blackjack tournament in which players with the most chips advance to the next round whereas players with the least chips are knocked out.

Entry-Level Card Counting system– An easy to learn and use blackjack card counting system.

Even Money – The term used for a standard 1:1 pay-out. Also can be used to refer to a wager when the player has blackjack and the dealer’s face-up card is an Ace.

Face Card – Also known as a Paint, this refers to a Jack, Queen or King.

Face-Down Game – A blackjack game type where the first two cards dealt to the player are face down.

Face-Up Game– A blackjack game type where the first two cards dealt to the player are face up and players are not allowed to touch the cards.

First Base/First Baseman – The first player to take any action who sits on the dealer’s left.

Five Card Charlie – A hand of 5 cards that doesn’t bust.

Flat Betting – Placing the same wager for each hand.

Going for the High– Betting enough chips in a tournament to ensure that if all players win the hand, then the player will still have the most chips.

Going for the Low– This is the term used when a player holds back one more chip than is in the competitors’ un-bet stack of chips in a tournament and hoping that the dealer beats the table. 

Hard Hand – Hand without an Ace or with an Ace that has a value of 1.

Heads Up – Playing against the dealer with no other players involved.

Heater – A run of cards advantageous to the player.

Hit – Ask for an additional card to the player’s hand.

Hit 17– The rule that means dealers must hit on all 17s, both soft and hard. This is often abbreviated to H17.

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

Insurance – A side bet that can only be made when the dealer’s face-up card is an ace. Players can wager half their initial stake and will receive a 2:1 pay-out if the dealer has a blackjack.

Monkey– A term used for 10, Jack, Queen and King.

Pat – A hand that is worth at least 17.

Perfect Pairs – A side bet in blackjack that is played with the players hand and the dealer’s face-up card. If the three cards match, the side bet pays out. There are three different types of pay-outs, a Mixed Pair, Colour Pair and a Perfect Pair.

Push – The player and the dealer both have hands of the same value.

Re-splits– A blackjack game that allows players to split an already split hand. This can take their total to three or four hands.

Shoe/Sabot – The device used by the dealer to store the card decks on the blackjack table.

Sit and Go– This is a fast-paced Blackjack tournament that is usually found online. 

Six Card Charlie– Having six cards without going bust. Some blackjack games will automatically consider this a win – except if the dealer has blackjack.

Soft 17– The rule that means dealers must stand on all 17s, both soft and hard. This is often abbreviated to S17.

Soft Hand – Hand that contains an ace counted as 11.

Split – The option a player has after receiving two cards of the same value or paint (a King and King can be split but Queen and King cannot). Splitting the cards will see both of them take an additional card, starting two new hands. In order to split, the player must place another bet equal to the original wager.

Standing Hand – A hand that totals 17 or more, becoming very likely to go bust if another card is dealt.

Stand or Stay – When a player chooses to receive no more cards to the hand.

Stiff Hand – A hand with a very small chance of winning.

Surrender – The option a player has to forfeit their hand and reclaim half their initial bet.

Ten Card Charlie– Having ten cards without going bust. Some blackjack games will automatically consider this a win – except if the dealer has blackjack.

Tie Bet – Similar to a push, this is when both the dealer and player have the same value at the end of the round.

Up Card – The dealer card which is dealt face up so everyone can see it.

Whale – A high roller.

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