Casino Name
Online blackjack articles 16

Blackjack Terminology

Blackjack Glossary of Terms

1st Base

The player sitting to the dealer's left which is also the first player to receive hands.


The desired total of blackjack, can be used as a nickname for blackjack as well.

3rd Base

See Anchor.

5/6/7 Card Charlie

When totaling 21 or less with 5, 6 or 7 cards.



In blackjack an Ace card has two values – 1 or 11, which depends on your choice.

Ace Side Count

A term used by card counters when counting only Aces that have been played.

Ace Neutral Counting System

A card counting system that doesn't allocate special value to Aces.

Ace Rich

A term used to describe a deck of cards with more Aces than usual (more than the probable amount).


Used to describe the total bets placed in the pot by a player.


The player sitting to the dealer's right thus he receives his cards last.


Automatic Shuffle Machine.


Back Counting

A blackjack card counter that doesn't play at a blackjack table but instead he counts the cards played at the table he watches. He joins that table only when he thinks he has a good shot for winning. In order to avoid such cases casinos do not allow blackjack players to join a table before the cards are shuffled again.

Backing Up

A player may ask the dealer to take out the cards from the discard rack which were his past hand when he thinks the dealer made a mistake while calculating his card value.

Balanced Count

All counting systems that have the same amount of "plus points" and "minus points", as mentioned in our Card Counting article, which means that the total of the points is 0 = "balanced".


The initial amount of cash a players has when he sits at the blackjack table.


When casinos reject blackjack players from playing if the casinos suspect them as card counters. Casinos bar such players.

Barber Pole

A wage containing different set chips that vary is value. For example a bet of a $1 chip, $5 chip and a $10 chip which are staked together.

"Beat the Dealer"

The name of the book written by Ed Thorp, the mathematician that re-invented card counting systems.

Bet Spread

A phrase used to describe the difference between a card counter's minimum bet and maximum bet: A 1-3 spread means that the player's maximum bet is three times bigger than his minimum bet.

Betting Efficiency

A numerical figure that describe the success of a blackjack counting cards system.

Big Player

A highly ranked card counter that uses a team of small-ranked blackjack counters. By team work card counters can be more successful as they have more "processing power", which is used by them to pick the most favorable table in the casino.

Basic Blackjack Strategy

A blackjack playing system by which a player must act. Blackjack basic strategy calculates your odds for winning according to your two face up cards and the dealer's face up card. This system helps to minimize the house edge. For example, if your two face up cards are 3 and 2 and the dealer's face up card is 5 then according to blackjack basic strategy you shout hit.

Betting limits

the maximum and minimum bets a player may place on the blackjack table. Blackjack tables' limits vary from a $1/$5 limits table to a $10/$50 limits table. For example, at a $5/$10 limits table a player may not place a bet bigger than $10 and no less than $5.

Betting Ratio

A system used by casinos to spot card counters which increase their bets when the cards are in their favor. This system compares low/high bets on the table round after round and identifies suspicious high bets made by card counters.

Bottom Dealing

A technique for cheating applied by the dealer. In Bottom Dealing the dealer deals one-two cards from the bottom of the deck instead of its top if the upper cards are unfavorable.


A hand totaling 21 which is made by only two cards – an Ace and a 10 value card such as a K, Q, J or a 10. Blackjack traditionally pays 3:2.

Burn Cards

A term used to describe when the dealers finishes to shuffle the decks and the removes the top cards from the shuffled decks and puts them in the discard tray.


When your total exceed 21. For example when you have a 7 and a 5, you then hit and receive a Q – your total is 22 and you 'bust'.


See Break.

Card Counting

Memorizing played cards, usually face cards, in order to calculate the probabilities of the remaining cards in the deck at the blackjack table, meaning it is used to calculate favorable odds.


Card Sharp

A professional card player.


A behavior of some sort taken by card counters to mislead the casino from their doings, as for to avoid getting "bar" from the casino.

Card Counter/Counter

A blackjack player that uses card counting systems.

Counting System

A system used to predict the winning odds of each deck by assigning 'points" to cards and then counting these cards.


A term used to describe when the deck is split after being shuffled.

Cut Cards

Colored plastics cards being used to cut the deck after it has been shuffled.


D'Alembert System

A progressive betting systems used by blackjack players. Moew info you can find in our D'Alembert System Article.


When renouncing the cards during a hand.

Deck Penetration

A figure used to describe how much of the decks the dealer uses before shuffling. For example, a dealer that uses 3 out of 6 decks before shuffling had 50% deck penetration or 3/6 deck penetration.

Discard Tray

A plate near the dealer in which he puts the played cards after each round.


See Hit.

Double Exposure

A blackjack Variant, mainly played at online blackjack casinos

Doubling Down

After your two initial cards are dealt, you can choose to take one last card while doubling your original bet. This option should be taken when you have a total of 9 to 11.


Early Surrender

An option that allows you to surrender before the dealers checks for a blackjack.

End Play

A method for playing blackjack by which the player plays the final hands before the decks are shuffled, but only if he noticed some advantage in his favor during the first part of the hands.

Even Money

A payout of 1:1 which means that your winning money equals your bet. For example, if you place a bet of $20 and you win you then receive your $20 and an additional $20 as well.


Face Cards

All the cards with a 'face meaning the Jacks, Queens and Kings. Face cards are about 23% of the cards in one deck (12 face cards out of 52 cards in the deck).

Face Down Game

A blackjack game in which your second card is put face down (unlike in the traditional blackjack).

Face Up Games

In these blackjack games all your cards are placed face up.


Griffin Investigations

A firm that works for many casinos, they expose card counters. They also printed a book about exposing card counters.


Hard Hand

A hand total without an Ace card, or a total hand above 11 with an Ace (in such cases an Ace card would be valued only as 1).

Heads Up/On

A blackjack session in which you compete solo against the dealer, no other players are taking part of the session.

Hi-Lo Count System

A counting system used by card counters in which the cards 2-6 are valued as +1 points and face cards are valued as -1 points..

Hi-Opt I

A balanced counting system that uses similar methods of the Hi-Lo count system but it doesn't assign the 2's any value. Ken Uston used this system in the beginning of his career as a card counter.


Call for another card to be handed to you by the dealer. This term doesn't refer to your two initial cards. For example, if your two initial cards are 9 and 5 (your total is 14) you may call for another card by saying "hit", then the dealer would deal you another card.

Hole Card

A term used to describe the dealer's face down card. It is an expression taken from Stud and Hold'em poker.



A bet you place when the dealer's face up card is an Ace. You place half of your initial bet against the dealer having a natural blackjack. If the delaer has a natural 21 the bet doubles, if not – it is lost.


Ken Uston

The famous blackjack player that won millions of dollars at blackjack tables during the 70's and the 80's. You can find the complete history on him in our Ken Uston article.


Late Surrender

An option to surrender during the game if the dealer doesn't have blackjack.

Las Vegas Strip Rules

Rules for a blackjack game in which double on your first two cards, you may not double after a split and dealer stands on Soft 17.


Multiply Deck

A term used to describe blackjack games in which there is a use of more than one card deck.



When you reach a total of 21 using only two cards – blackjack.



A hand with at least 17 in total.


A term used to describe face cards.


A term used to describe the Hi-Lo System.

Point count

A method used by card counters to calculate the net value in the end of a hand.


When the player's total equals to the dealer's total, subsequently the players keeps his bet.



A term for splitting again after you already split your hand.

Running Count

A term used by card counters to describe the long run state of the current played deck. It's updated by 'point counting', which takes place after each bet.



A cheating device used by blackjack players in order to pip at the dealer's hole card.


A piece of equipment used to dispense cards; it is usually a plastic or wooden box.

Shoe Game

A term to describe the house rule of dealer standing on all Soft 17.

Soft Hand

A hand that contains an Ace card that is counted as 11 such as hand of an Ace and 6 which totals to 17 (Soft 17).

Soft Double

When a player Doubles with a hand that has an Ace card in it.

Split Hand

When the two initial cards equal in value you may split them and play them as two separate hands.


A term used to describe when a player stands behind the dealer at a blackjack table while trying to have a glance at his hole card, the player then signals to his partner which sits and play at the table.

Stand Hand

A term for a hand with a total of Hard 17 or more which is likely to bust if you hit one more time – that's why the player 'stands' and take no further actions.

Stand Off

See Push.


When a player doesn’t wish to hit anymore and he decides to remain with his hand.


A term used to describe a blackjack player that lost control of himself during a game, caused by repeated loses at the blackjack table. "Steaming" happens mostly to novice players that doesn't know how to control themselves and they haven't yet mastered the issue of money management.

Stiff Hand

a name that describe a hand that has little chances for winning such as a hand with a total of 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16. These are likely to bust if the player would hit, but they might still lose to the dealer's hand otherwise.


an option given in some blackjack variants such as MatchPlay 21 and in the traditional blackjack. This option allows you to quit the current round of hands while losing only half of your initial bet.



See Push

Thorp, Ed

See "Beat the Dealer".

True Count

A term used in card counting systems to fine tune the Running Count according to the cards left on the table/shoe.



When a player "back counts" until he thinks the table is "favorable" for him, only then he join the table and bet.


Zen Count System

A counting system in which Aces are values as -1 points, faces cards and tens are valued as -2 points. 2's, 3's and 7's are valued as +1 points and 4's, 5's and 6's are valued as +2 points. This is a Value 2 counting systems since it uses two levels of values.