Blackjack Terms

We’ve compiled a list of common blackjack terms and definitions to help you get a better idea of what regular blackjack players are talking about when they use certain slang terms relating to blackjack. It seems every casino game comes with its own special lingo, known to the recurrent players, and as you’ll see, blackjack terms are no different!

Anchor: This blackjack term is used to identify the player seated closest to the dealer’s right; the last player to be dealt cards.

Bankroll: This is the amount of money a player brings with them to spend at the casino.

Blackjack: Refers to a “Natural 21”; when the player is dealt exactly 21 in two cards, consisting of an Ace and a 10 or Face Card. Blackjack has the best payout of 1.5:1 (or 3:2), therefore is also the name of the casino card game.

Blackjack Strategy Chart: A strategically developed chart used by blackjack players to make the best decisions, probability wise, based on their own hand’s current value and the dealer’s up card.

Burn Cards: After the dealer shuffles and cuts the cards, the top card is turned over and revealed to all players. This card is then placed face-up on the bottom of the deck, known as the Burn Card. If this card is an Ace, another card will be burned.

Bust: To exceed a value of 21, automatically resulting in a loss in the game of blackjack (a.k.a. Break).

Camouflage: A blackjack term used to identify a player’s action when attempting to deceive the casino’s watchful eyes. This could include acting drunk, belligerent or otherwise emotionally charged in an effort to keep the casino from noticing that you are winning a lot of money, often by counting cards.

Card Counting: A blackjack strategy used by many pro blackjack players that involves keeping a memorized count of certain card values. Card counting is used to determine when it is best to make a large wager, as the probability of getting Blackjack is higher. Or, in reverse, to make a small bet when there are fewer Aces/10s left in the deck.

Captain Motorboat Blackjack: Known to split paint and even a dealt blackjack.

Cut: To split the cards in half, placing the top half on the bottom of the deck. This is done after the dealer shuffles, but before the Burn Card or Deal.

Cut Card: A plastic, indescript card used to Cut the deck.

Deal: The process of giving each player, and the dealer, their cards at the beginning of, and during a hand of blackjack.

Double / Double Down: An option given to the player after receiving their first two cards. To Double means to double your initial wager, and to accept one more card – no more, no less – automatically Standing on the total afterwards. If the hand Busts, it is an automatic loss.

Draw: (See “Hit”)

Even Money: Some blackjack rules will allow a player who has Blackjack to win even money instantly if the dealer is showing an Ace, rather than winning 1.5:1 if the dealer does not have blackjack, or tying the dealer if he does.

Face Card: Jacks, Queens and Kings are called Face Cards, each worth an equal value of 10.

Face Up Card: (See “Up Card”)

First Base: The player seated closest to the dealer’s left; the first to receive cards.

Five Card Charlie: A blackjack rule variation where a player automatically wins by receiving 5 cards without Busting.

Hard Total: A hand that contains an Ace counted as 1, because counting it as 11 would result in a bust.

Heads Up: When a single player is competing with the dealer, one on one. This occurs if there is only one player at the table, or if all other players have Busted.

Hit: To be dealt one additional card from the deck, added to your hand after the initial deal.

Hole Card: In card games, any face-down card seen by the player, but not by any other player, is referred to as a Hole Card. The dealer’s face-down card in blackjack is a Hole Card.

Insurance: An optional side bet that is available when the dealer’s up card is an Ace.

Late Surrender: the same as “Surrender”, but only allowed if the dealer has already checked for Blackjack, and does not have it.

Perfect Pairs: An optional side bet in the Perfect Pairs variation of Blackjack where players can make a separate wager on whether their first two cards will be paired.

Push: When the player and dealer tie, having the same hand value, it is called a Push. Neither hand wins or loses. The player’s bet is returned.

Shoe: A box, often made of wood, that holds and dispenses all cards when dealing.

Shuffle: To mix the cards before the start of a new game.

Soft Total: A hand that contains an Ace counted as 11, because if Hit, the Ace can be reduced to a 1 to prevent busting.

Split: When dealt a pair, the player is allowed to split those two cards into two separate hands, each containing one new card, and one of the paired cards. The player must place another bet on the new hand, equal to the original bet.

Splitting Paint: Splitting JJ, QQ or KK and where allowed blackjack, made famous by Captain Motorboat.

Spooking: A form of cheating where one person walks behind the dealer in an attempt to see the Hole Card, then inconspicuously communicates the card to a player.

Stand: To accept your current total value of cards, taking no more cards and ending your turn.

Standing Total: A hand that will more than likely bust if the player takes a Hit; total of 17 or more.

Stand Off: (See “Push”)

Steaming: A blackjack term used to identify a player who has lost control of their emotions due to substantial and/or frequent losses. This kind of player will often make larger, haphazard bets in an effort to recover losses.

Stiff Total: A hand that is not likely to win, but is likely enough to bust if Hit; a total of 12-16.

Surrender: To forfeit a hand from the beginning in the belief that the player will not be able to win. The player loses only half of their bet.

Third Base: (See “Anchor”).

Tie: (See “Push”)

Up Card: The dealer’s face-up card.

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