The ultimate Blackjack terms glossary

Blackjack is a legendary game with massive popularity and through the years players have developed their own slang and jargon, especially those who have been playing the game for decades. Whether you are new to the game or a veteran, it’s always good to be familiar, not only with the blackjack terms, but also with words and phrases players created in order to make the game experience more fun and exciting! On this guide we are going to cover all the official terms and player slang which is related to blackjack, starting with the most basic ones.

Blackjack Terms For Beginners

Objectively speaking, if you want to play blackjack you need to be aware of the following terms, as they consider to be pretty basic whether you are playing on a land-based casino or online. So let’s explain the most important blackjack terms for beginners:

  • What is an ace in blackjack?

The ace is the most powerful card in blackjack. Except the fact that you need an ace and a 10 for a blackjack, it’s the only card with a double value, 1 or 11, unless that would give a player or the dealer a score over 21.

  • Betting Spot

It’s the square spot on the table where players place their bets.

  • Blackjack

It’s the best hand. A combination of an Ace with a 10-value card which most of the time pays 3/2 on your bet.

  • Break

Simply, when a hand exceeds 21. When it’s busted.

  • Burn Card

This is a term in blackjack referring to the first card of a new deck after the shuffle and cut. The dealer usually puts the first card face down in the discard tray. In some cases, a card is burned when a new dealer comes in.

  • What does bust mean in blackjack?

When a player’s or dealer’s hand exceeds 21.

  • Bust Card

The last card that resulted in a player’s or a dealer’s hand to exceed 21.

  • Chip

A token representing a significant amount of money.

  • Chip Counting

Chip counting is a blackjack terminology that refers to the amount of chips that a player has in a specific moment.

  • Cut Card

A plastic card that is used by the player to cut the decks in a shoe of blackjack.

  • What is DAS in blackjack?

This means Double After Splitting and it’s the option some casinos give players to double after having split a pair.

  • Dealer

The casino employee who is responsible for dealing the cards.

  • Deck

The sum of the cards. There are 52 cards in a deck and depending on the house rules, blackjack is played with 1-8 decks.

  • Deck Penetration

The percentage of cards played out of a deck or a shoe before reshuffling.

  • Discards

The cards that have already been dealt and are discarded until the next shuffle.

  • Discard Tray

It’s the half-shaped box where the dealer puts the cards played out of a deck.

  • DOA

In the blackjack glossary, it means “double on anything” and it’s the option some blackjack games offer to double down at any time you want during the hand.

  • Early surrender

When a player receives their first two cards and decides to give up but before the dealer checks for a blackjack. In this case, the player loses half of their bet.

  • Even Money

When a player has a blackjack, and the dealer has an Ace face up card, that player may request and receive an 1:1 payout on his hand without risking an upcoming blackjack from the dealer which in this case, will be a “push”.

  • What does “hit” mean in blackjack?

When a player decides to add another card to his current hand.

  • Hand

The sum of cards are dealt to the player/dealer.

  • Hole Card

That’s the definition for the dealer’s second card which is dealt face down and is not exposed during the deal.

  • Late Surrender

When a player receives their first two cards and decides to give up but after the dealer checks for a blackjack. In this case, the player loses half of their bet.

  • Live Money Tournament

A live tournament of blackjack played with real money.

  • Pair Splitting

When a player receives a pair and decides to split it in two separate hands adding another bet of the same value.

  • What does it mean to push in blackjack?

When your hand total is the same as the dealer’s you push and no one wins.

  • Resplits

Another one of the blackjack terms. It’s when you split your hand after an initial split.

  • Shoe

It’s a dealing device used to hold all the decks that are being used in the game.

  • Stand

When a player is satisfied with his hand and doesn’t want to receive another card.

  • Upcard

It’s the first card of the dealer which is visible to the players.

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Other terms you should know

In this section, we will dig a little bit deeper into the blackjack terminology explaining significant terms and glossary that you will definitely hear at a blackjack table. Let’s check them out!

  • Action

This phrase is commonly used when referring to a player who places a large bet and someone else calls out “action”.

  • Back Betting

When someone is betting behind another player and plays his hand without making any decision.

  • Bankroll

A basic terminology not only in blackjack. The amount of money you are willing to spend on a gambling session.

  • Buy-In

It’s the amount of cash you spend in order to get a significant number of chips, or a ticket to participate in a blackjack tournament.

  • Face Down Games

It’s a blackjack variation where players can actually touch the cards which are dealt and make them not visible to the other players and the dealer. Of course, the outcome is no different.

  • Face Up Game

In this blackjack variation, both the dealer and player’s cards are dealt face-up, giving players double the information.

  • Flat Bet

This one belongs to the general betting glossary. It is the strategy where you bet the same amount of money in every hand no matter what the outcome of your previous bets is.

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Phrases you will hear in a land-based casino

If you are an old school player and you prefer playing in a land based casino probably you are familiar with the blackjack lingo in the casinos. Just in case, your blackjack terminology is a little bit limited, here are some phrases you should definitely know:

  • Ace Rich

Players use that phrase to indicate that there are many aces in the remaining shoe.

  • Backed Off

When the casino kindly asks you to stop playing blackjack at their tables. Most of the times they tell you that “your game is too strong for us” and that “you are welcome to play any other game except blackjack”.

  • Back Counting

Blackjack lingo when a second player is standing behind a blackjack table and keeps counting cards for a player who is playing at the same time.

  • Barber Pole

This is the bet which contains a pile of different chips not only in value, but also in colour.

  • Black Chips

It refers to the $100 casino chips.

  • Casino Credit

It’s the casino department which is responsible for extending credit to players

  • Cold Deck

Another blackjack lingo. It means that a specific deck or a shoe is giving many losing hands to players.

  • Color Up

When a player gives the dealer many chips of low value in order to get less of higher value.

  • Comps

Comps called the complimentary gifts and offers that casinos give to players to thank them for their loyalty.

  • Degen

Slang for the compulsive gambler. Comes from the word degenerate.

  • Eighty-Six

Means that someone has been caught counting cards. This results in them being banned from the casino or at least getting blacklisted. The old days card counters would be driven 80 miles out to the desert napped down 6 feet.

  • First Base

It refers to the first player on the left of the dealer who acts first.

  • Five Card Charlie

Blackjack lingo refers when a player reaches 21 with 5 cards is referred as Five Card Charlie and some variations offer a bonus for that combination.

  • Flasher

Refers to a dealer who accidentally exposes or “flashes” the player by showing them their face-down card.

  • Floorperson

The person who works the floor and deals with the players. Basically, the floor manager.

  • Greens

Are called the casino chips which are usually valued at $25.

  • Going for the high

In a blackjack tournament, to go for the high means to wager a large amount of chips.

  • Going for the low

In a blackjack tournament, to go for the low means to hold back chips.

  • Griffin Investigations

It’s a book that major casinos share which contains the names of cheaters, card counters and generally players who are not welcome in a casino.

  • Heat

It’s when a pit boss or floorman instructs the dealer to shuffle up on you, or to center-cut the next shoe.

  • Heater

A successful run of winning hands.

  • King Kong

Another slang for the Blackjack.

  • Marker

When a player asks for a marker, simply he asks for a loan, in order to keep playing. That means that before that, he has to establish a credit line with the casino.

  • Monkey

Basically, it’s lingo for the winning card. Most of the times players who have just doubled down, or their first card is an Ace, are calling for a “monkey” meaning, they want a ten value card.

  • Novice

It is the amateur blackjack player who has no experience of the game.

  • Natural

It’s one more phrase for blackjack, most of the time used for getting a ten and a jack.

  • Nickels

This term is used in american casinos to describe the $5 chip.

  • Paint

It’s the ten value card (10-J-Q-K). Sometimes, players that got an Ace will shout “paint it” as they are waiting for a ten for blackjack.

  • Pat Hand

Belongs to blackjack terms. It’s the hand from 17 to 21 where you need to stand.

  • Past Post

It’s a method of cheating. When a player has just completed his hand and increases his original bet without being visible from the dealer.

  • Peeker

It’s the device the dealers use to check the hole card.

  • Pit Boss

Terminology for the casino employee who manages the dealers that are active within the pit.

  • Ploppy

Experienced players use this term to describe a newbie who has no idea of the basic blackjack strategy.

  • Rat Holing

When a player hides his chips from the table in order to deter the casino from calculating his winnings. 

  • Reds

It refers to the $5 casino chips.

  • Risk of Ruin

The mathematical probability of losing one’s entire bankroll.

  • Spooking

A hole-carding strategy where a player shares that info with his team.

  • Stiff Hand

It’s the hand which is one card away from busting. These hands are the ones valued from 12 to 16.

  • Trespassed

Again, another term for barring. When a player is asked not to play in a casino.

  • Third Base

It’s the seat to the dealer’s right and the player who acts last in a hand.

  • Token

The casino slang for the tip. A common phrase in american casinos is “tokes for the crew” meaning that those chips are tips for the staff.

  • Washing the Cards

It’s the shuffling method where the dealers spread and mix all the cards on top of the table in a sloppy way like a washing machine.

Blackjack Terminology about card counting

Card counting is still a very significant aspect for some people. If you are one of them, or consider to become one, you should be aware of the blackjack terminology used referring to card counting:

  • Balanced System

It’s the counting card systems which add the values of cards in play to the “running count”.

  • Betting Efficiency

The Betting Efficiency is a definition that measures how efficiently the count is directing your bet-sizing.

  • Betting Ramp

Betting Ramp is a blackjack terminology referring to the amount of the maximum and minimum bets a player is making during a blackjack playing session counting cards. In other words, the betting spread.

  • Camouflage

Any tactic or strategy that an experienced player applies in order not to be spotted by the casino. For example, he acts drunk, he disguises or behaves like a common gambler etc.

  • Card Counter

A player who is implementing a card counting strategy in order to reverse the inherent casino house edge.

  • Count

It’s the number in a specific moment after implementing a card counting system which dictates the bet size for the next hand.

  • Deviation

A playing deviation is changing from Basic Strategy at certain times based upon the count.

  • Entry Level Card Counting Systems

Are called the systems which allow players to breakeven or even have a slight edge against the casino. Such systems are: Speed Count, K-O rookie, Kiss count, Ace/10 Front count, Ace/Five count.

  • HI-LO

The Hi-Lo card counting system assigns a tag of +1 for the low cards (2, 3, 4, 5, and 6) and –1 for the high cards (10, J, Q, K, and A). The 7, 8, and 9 are assigned a tag of 0. The Hi-Lo is a balanced card counting system because there are equal numbers of +1 and –1 cards per deck.

  • Illustrious 18

Illustrious 18 is to stand on a 16 against the dealer’s 10, if you have a count of 0 or higher. And the third crucial play in the set is to stand on a 15 against the dealer’s 10, if you have a count of +4 or higher.

  • Index Number

In Card Counting, the Index refers to the integers indicated on the Deviations chart (S17 or H17). These indexes, when compared to the True Count, are used to determine when a player should deviate from Basic Strategy (if the True Count is equal to Index, then implement the deviation).

  • Negative count

When the count is negative. A negative count is bad and it means you should bet minimum, while a positive count is good and it means the odds are in one’s favor.

  • Positive Count

When the count is positive. A positive count is good and it means you should bet more than your average bet, as you have more probabilities of a positive outcome.

  • True Count

The True Count is the number of the Running Count divided by the number of decks remaining in the shoe. It’s the ultimate factor card counters use which dictates their bet sizing.

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