Blackjack can be quite specialized when it comes to the terms used in the game. Whether you play for fun or using it as a regular source of income, one thing’s for sure. You definitely don’t want to be caught with your pants down not knowing basic lingo in the middle of a full-fledged play.
Knowing basic blackjack terms means you can follow the flow better and know what to do without looking like a rookie. Even if you’re just doing your homework reading up on strategies and systems to make the most out of your buck, it’s best if you familiarize yourself with the following.
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15 Blackjack terms that are vital to all players
Just observing a game of Blackjack as an inexperienced player you will probably come across words and phrases such as house edge, bust, hit, face cards and flat betting. What do all these terms mean anyway? Do you really need them to land big winnings? You definitely do. Knowing them will allow you to be more competitive in the game and also enable you to follow the reasoning behind more advanced blackjack strategies.
1. What is insurance in blackjack?
Insurance is one of the most common blackjack terms is when the dealer’s face up card is an ace and there is a risk that the dealer could have blackjack (21). The question is, should you take insurance in blackjack? Let us first explain the concept in a simple way, as when faced with this decision, the dealer will ask all seated players if they wish to “take insurance”. Taking insurance requires players to pay an amount equal to 50% of your original stake as insurance.
If the dealer is dealt blackjack, you will receive 2-1 on the amount you bet for the insurance wager. An example of this would be as follows: You bet $20, the dealer’s face card is an ace, you pay $10 for insurance, and the dealer’s face down card is a face card, thereby giving the dealer blackjack (21). If this occurs, you would receive $10 but lose $10 as your original bet would be lost, presuming you didn’t also have blackjack.
While some players feel safer taking insurance, we discourage people from choosing this option, as long-term you will end up paying more. Ultimately, one has to determine if it is favorable for the player, and experts all agree, it is not. The most common mistake with those that take insurance is the belief it protects their initial bet. However, that is not the case, as it is nothing less than a bet that the dealer will have a natural blackjack. When you consider there are only twelve face cards in a deck of cards, the odds are against the dealer, not for the dealer, and ultimately, that makes taking insurance a bad bet.
2. Blackjack house edge
The blackjack term “House edge” is the advantage that is built into the casino’s average profit based on any players bet. The blackjack house edge percentage is 3.5% for standard blackjack, but that changes depending on the rules of the variant being played. Such rules can be for example, if the dealer can hit on a soft 17 or if a player can double down after a split. In the case of a dealer being able to hit on a soft 17, the house edge increases by 0.2%.
Blackjack variations such as Blackjack Switch (Playtech variant) bring house edge down to 1.7% as it uses six decks, double splits are allowed, and the dealer hits on soft 17. Other variants to consider when it comes to the house edge include Pontoon 0,36%, Surrender 0,38%, Blackjack UK 0,39%, Perfect Blackjack 0,42%, Blackjack Pro 0,47%, Double Attack Blackjack 0,47%, Progressive Blackjack 0,47%, Blackjack Peek 0,58%, and 21 Duel Blackjack 0,61%.
3. Bust in Blackjack
If new to blackjack and wondering what bust means, it is, by definition when your cards exceed 21. All hands of blackjack begin with two cards with players having the option to be dealt additional cards to get 21 or as close as possible to 21 without going over. If the card total, based on the value of each card, exceeds 21, the hand is considered “Bust.”Best blackjack casino signup bonuses
4. Blackjack deck penetration
The term “deck penetration” is used to identify the percent of cards dealt in relation to the number of cards that remain prior to reshuffling. This is important to those that count cards as the percentage dealt and the percentage remaining will impact the accuracy of the card count. It will also influence determining if an advantage remains and ultimately the amount being bet on each remaining hand.
5. Double down in a game of Blackjack
Double Down is also among the common blackjack terms refers to placing a bet equal to the original amount staked prior to a blackjack hand being dealt. It’s best players do that if they feel chances are good of landing a 21 or close to 21. Electing to “Double Down” will see one additional card dealt, and the total of those cards will stand.
6. Face cards
The term “Face cards” refers to those cards that have a “face” on them. Those identified as face cards include the King, Queen and Jack. As there are four suits in a card deck, there are therefore four kings, four queens and four jacks for a total of twelve face cards in a standard deck of playing cards. For those wondering what are face cards worth in blackjack, each has a value of 10.
7. Flat betting
The term “Flat Betting” refers to placing an identical bet with each hand of blackjack played. It is a betting technique that is considered “safe” and allows for extended play versus the alternative, which is one that has players alternating the amounts they bet.
8. Griffin book
The term “Griffin Book” was coined as a result of a detective agency in the late 60’s that worked with the Las Vegas gaming industry to identify and report those players believed to be cheating or those who were winning against the game. Those identified had their picture taken and distributed to casinos who paid for the information.
9. What is a soft hand and a hard hand in blackjack
The difference between a “soft hand” and a “hard hand” is, in simple terms, a single card. If you are dealt an ace, it is considered a soft hand as the ace can be used as a value of 10 or 1. Based on the value of your second card, you then determine which value the ace will be.
10. Heads up
The definition of “heads up” in blackjack means two players playing off or against each other. This can occur with two players or one player and the dealer. The term heads up is also used in the game of poker and refers to two players playing against each other, either in cash games or tournament action.
The term “Hit” in blackjack by definition means to be dealt another card. When a game of blackjack is dealt, each seated player is dealt two cards. When it is their turn to play their cards and they want to be dealt another card, they announce that by saying “hit” to the dealer, who then deals a third card.
If you are unfamiliar with popular terminology and are curious as to what push means in blackjack, it indicates that both you and the dealer have identical hand totals. It results in the bet being returned to the player.
13. Up card
The “Up Card” in Blackjack refers to the card that is being shown in the dealer’s hand. When a game of blackjack is dealt, all players receive two cards face down, whereas the dealer displays one card face up (the up card) and one face down.
Recapping on the 13 blackjack terms we covered, it is imperative to become familiar with them and understand what each means. What’s even more crucial though is to understand how each applies to the game and how you can use them as a measure of strategy to help increase your win percentage.