Blackjack Glossary of Terms


The following is a list of commonly used blackjack terms:

Anchor – The last taken seat at the blackjack table to the dealer’s right. The first player to the dealer’s right.

Bankroll –  The total amount of money you have the intention of gambling with.

Blackjack – Total of 21 on your initial two-card hand. (same as Natural or Natural 21)
Example: Your’re dealt a King and an Ace. The King is worth 10 and the Ace is worth 11 for a total of 21. A Blackjack usually pays one and a half times your original bet.

Break – Exceeding the hand total of 21. (same as Bust)

Bust – Exceeding the hand total of 21. (same as Break)

Card Counting – Recording played cards in memory so as to establish a conditional probability advantage on the remaining cards against the dealer. Usually only possible with one or two decks.

Cut – To split the deck of cards before they are dealt. After the dealer shuffles the cards he will ask one of the players to Cut the shuffled cards.

Cut Card – Colored faceless plastic card used to cut the cards after the shuffle.

Deal – To give out the cards during a hand.

Discard – Tray A tray on the dealer�s right side that holds all the cards that have been played or discarded.

Draw – Adding a new card to your current hand. (same as Hit)

Double Down – Double your initial bet following the initial two-card deal, but you can hit one card only. In blackjack, it is the players option to double their original bet in exchange for receiving only one more card. To do this the player turns over their first two cards and places an equal bet alongside the original bet. (aka Doubling Down)

Early Surrender – Surrender allowed before the dealer checks for blackjack.

Even Money – Cashing in your bet immediately at a 1:1 payout ratio when you are dealt a natural blackjack and the dealer’s showing card is an Ace. This is the same as taking Insurance when you have been dealt a Blackjack.

Face Cards – Jacks, Queens and Kings.

Face Down Game – Your first card is placed face up while the second one is placed face down on the blackjack table.

Face Up Game – Your first card and your second card are both placed face up on the blackjack table.

First Base – First taken seat to dealer’s left. This is where the first card is dealt.

Hard Hand – A hand without an Ace, or with an Ace valued at 1 is said to be Hard in that it can only be given one value.
Example: A hand consisting of an 8, 5 and Ace would be a Hard 14. The Ace must be counted with a value of one. If the Ace were counted as an 11 the hand would be 24 which is a Bust. (aka Hard Total)

Heads Up – A head to head play with the dealer, no other players are involved. (aka Heads On)

Hit – Adding a new card to your current hand. (same as Draw)

Hole Card – The face down card that the dealer gets.

Insurance – Side bet up to half the initial bet against the dealer having a natural 21. Insurance is offered only when the dealers up card is an Ace. The insurance bet wins double if the dealer has a natural, but loses if the dealer does not.

Natural 21 – A two-card hand of 21 points. (same as Blackjack)

Pat – An unbusted hand worth at least 17 points.

Plug – A shuffling technique that is sometimes employed in card games like blackjack where the game is often dealt from a multi-deck shoe. When freshly shuffled cards are brought back into action a substantial portion of the cards are kept out of play by the insertion of a cut-card at the back of the deck or shoe. The placement of the cut card marks the place where play will be stopped and the cards are again shuffled. During the play, used cards are stacked in a discard tray. When the cut-card is reached, the game is stopped, and the remaining un-dealt cards are inserted somewhere into the middle of the cards that have already been stacked up in the discard tray. The cards so inserted are referred to as a Plug. Such action is called Plugging the deck.

Preferential Shuffling – Shuffling when the remaining cards are deemed favorable to the players.

Push – Both player and dealer have the same hand total, player keeps bet. (samae as Tie or Stand-off)

Shoe – A shoe is a device used for holding and dispensing the cards to be dealt.

Shuffle – The dealer randomly mixes up the order of the cards. When there are many decks being used this is usually done by an automated device.

Shuffle Up – Premature shuffling by the dealer to discourage card counting.

Soft Hand – A hand containing an Ace counted which may be counted as 11.
Example: A hand consisting of a 6 and an Ace is called a Soft 17. The Ace carries the value of 11.

Split – If your initial two cards are the same value you can double your initial bet and play each card as a seperate hand. A common split occurs when a player is dealt two 8s.

Stand – Not requiring any more cards, to refrain from taking another card. (same as Stay)

Stand-off – Both player and dealer have the same hand total, player keeps bet. (same as Tie or Push)

Standing Hand – A hand which hard-totals to 17 or more, which is very likely to bust if one more card is called and therefore the player is expected to stand.

Stay – Not requiring any more cards, to refrain from taking another card. (same as Stand)

Stiff Hand – Hand with little chance of winning. A hand that is not pat and that may bust if hit once. Stiff Hands include hard twelve through hard sixteen.

Surrender – To Give up your hand and lose half your initial bet. There are two types of Surrender, Early and Late.

Tie – Both player and dealer have the same hand total, player keeps bet. (same as Stand-off or Push)

Upcard – The dealer’s first dealt card, placed face up for all the players to see before they play their hands.