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Blackjack Glossary

The following glossary of blackjack terms have been compiled to help you understand the terms used in both online and land-based casinos around the world.

This glossary should be considered a work in progress, new terms will be added as we stumble across them. If you have additional terms which are not included in the glossary please contact us and let us know.

A multi-parameter system that counts aces as zero to increase playing efficiency.
A system that incorporates aces into its primary count to simplify betting.
The total amount of money bet, for example, one hundred bets of five dollars each is five hundred dollars in action.
Counting the cards without playing, usually with the intent of signalling in a Big Player.
backed off
A milder form of barring, without being trespassed from the property.
balanced count
Any counting system in which the respective card count values balance out to zero.
Total amount of funds available for gambling.
Permanently prohibited from playing blackjack at a casino.
basic strategy
The optimal computer devised playing rules for a player who is not tracking cards. Also called zero-sum strategy.
The player's wager on a particular hand.
bet sizing
Optimally betting in relationship to your advantage.
bet spread
The ratio between a player's minimum and maximum bets.
big player (BP)
Big bettor for a blackjack team.
black book
A book listing the individuals who are barred from entering casinos.
A two-card hand of an Ace and 10-value card that is normally paid off as a premium bet. This is an automatic casino winner if untied with another blackjack.
Chips in the $100 denomination are commonly coloured black.
burn card
Usually a single card from the top that is removed from play before the dealer begins dealing after a shuffle.
Draw enough cards so that the total exceeds the maximum of 21.
bust card
The individual card that brings the hand's total over 21.
The transfer of cash for chips at the table.
card counting
A system used to keep track of the cards that have been played that will give players an advantage over the house.
cashier's cage
The money transaction area in each casino where chips are cashed out.
The tokens, unique to each casino, that are used for making wagers.
chip tray
The rack that drops into the blackjack table to hold the various rows of chips for the dealer to distribute to the players who win.
A player who keeps track of the cards played through counting the number of cards by categories and playing accordingly.
The casino employee who deals cards.
discard rack
A clear plastic device screwed into the table to hold the used cards after play.
double down
Doubling the original bet and receiving only one additional card typically done on a total of 10 or 11.
draws the paint
Receiving a ten-valued card when hitting.
Bar an individual from playing in the casino.
The player's expected value, expressed in terms of win/loss.
Turning over a card so that its value can be seen.
face cards
Any ten-valued card (jack, queen, or king).
first base
The seat farthest to the right of the player (and at the left of the dealer), which is dealt to first and must play first.
Seeing the dealer's hole card from the first-base position.
flat bet
Betting the same amount from hand to hand regardless of the play of cards.
free roll
A situation in which there is absolutely no risk
Seeing the dealer's hole card from the front of the table as they tuck it in under their upcard.
griffin agency
Detective agency hired by many casinos to identify potential threats to the casino vaults.
handheld game
A blackjack game in which the dealer holds the cards in their hand rather than in a shoe.
hard total
A hand value in which no Ace is counted as an 11.
Playing alone against the dealer.
Whenever a cad counter has his play scrutinised closely
One of the simplest and most popular counts in the world
Asking for another card from the dealer.
hole card
The dealer card that remains face down (or undrawn) until all the player hands have been resolved.
hole-card play
Taking advantage of sloppy dealers who unknowingly show their hole card
A casino employee who caters to high betting customers
illustrious 18
The 18 most important matrix numbers for varying your play from basic strategy
If a dealer shows an Ace up, any player can take insurance if he thinks the dealer might have blackjack and will get paid 2:1 of any winning bet
Short gambling trips subsidised by the participating casinos
kelly system betting
A method for optimal betting in relationship to your perceived edge on any given hand.
loaded deck
A deck (or decks) that has extra cards deliberately placed or removed to distort the correct proportion.
An IOU the player signs at the table in return for casino chips.
martingale system
Best known of the progressive betting systems where you double your bet after each loss.
A mathematical chart of index numbers showing the correct number at which to deviate from Basic Strategy for card counters.
A person who is adept at manipulating cards; normally a cheat.
Multi-level count
Any system in which the count values are higher than plus or minus one.
multi-parameter system
A counting system that keeps track of at least two separate counts, usually a main count and a side count of aces.
Another word for a blackjack. A two-card hand of an Ace and a 10-value card that is paid at a premium.
Chips in the $5 denomination
The deck, or any undealt proportion thereof.
Any picture card
Any two cards of the same rank, including all tens and face cards
pat hand
A hand value of 17 or greater.
pays the table
Usually means the dealer has busted and every player at the table wins.
The process of looking at a card. Normally, the dealer is said to peek when looking for a possible natural with an Ace or 10 up card. A cheating dealer will try to peek to determine the value of the top card of the undealt deck.
How deeply the cards are dealt before shuffling.
pit boss
A supervisor for table games.
The deck is said to be poor in certain values or cards. If there is smaller than normal percentage of that card value present.
positive count
A situation in which the remaining decks contain more high cards than low cards and favours the players rather than the house.
preferential shuffling
When a dealer constantly shuffles away most positive counts.
During the hot streak, many gamblers increase or “press” their bets.
progressive betting system
Non scientific and bogus methods to gain an edge over the house without counting cards, by changing your bets in a fixed manner.
A situation in which the player and dealer attain the same hand value. In the casino game it is a tie; in the no-house game the dealer wins the tie.
The deck is said to be rich in certain values of cards if there is a larger than normal percentage of cards present.
Chips in a $25 denomination
The running count. Overall count, unadjusted to decks remaining.
Chips in the $5 denomination and generally coloured red.
Complementary room, food and beverage.
Each complete hand of play for everyone at the table.
Risk or Ruin the mathematical risk of losing every last dollar in your bank roll.
Standard deviation from the expected result.
selective memory
Affliction that distorts an accurate recollection of previous results.
Casino are usually open 24hrs, with 3 separate 8 hour shifts (day, swing and graveyard)
A casino employee who plays in order to simulate interest and betting in the game.
The device positioned to the left of the dealer that is used to hold multi decks of cards.
Following cards through the shuffle process to determine their approximate location in the next shoe.
One dollar chip are often silver-coloured metallic tokens, evoking the day when actual silver dollars were used in the casinos.
six-deck shoe
The most common version of blackjack today with six decks dealt from a shoe.
Slang for a blackjack when the first two cards consist of an Ace and a ten.
soft hand
Any blackjack hand that counts an Ace as an eleven.
soft total
Any hand value in which an Ace is counted as 11.
Players (but not dealers) have the option to split any two equal-valued cards by matching their original bet. Then each hand is played separately.
Spying the dealers hold card from across the pit.
A team mate who counts down a shoe for the Big Player.
Receive no more cards from the dealer.
Betting higher than normal to chase losses.
A hard hand totalling 12 to 16.
Casino executives.
A rule that allows you to forfeit half your bet by throwing in your hand.
True Count (RC/remaining decks). Number derived when the RC is divided by the number of remaining decks.
third base
The seat farthest to the left of the player (and right of the dealer), which is dealt to last and must play last.
A tip given directly to or bet for the dealer.
unbalanced count
Any counting system in which the card count values are unbalanced and do not add up to zero.
up card
The up card is the card in the dealer's hand that is face up.
Placing bets only during positive counts (named after Stanford Wong)
A tax form given out to casino slot patrons when they hit a jackpot over $1,200.