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Blackjack Terms – Glossary of Slang & Terminology

blackjack terminology

Do you need a helping hand with Blackjack terminology? We at King Casino have created a detailed Blackjack glossary so you can learn the lingo and gain a better understanding of this popular casino classic!


21 is another name for Blackjack. 

21 + 3

This is a Blackjack side bet made using your 2 cards and the dealer’s up card. If the cards form a winning poker hand, such as a 3-of-a-kind, a straight, a flush, or a straight flush, the bet wins. 


An ace can be worth either 1 or 11 in Blackjack. 

Ace Poor

A card counting term meaning more aces have been dealt so far than the statistics suggest, so the deck has fewer aces or is ‘poor in aces’.

Ace Rich

Less than an average number of aces have been dealt with so far, so the deck has more aces and is considered ‘rich in aces’. Just like Ace Poor, it’s a card counting term. 


This is the amount of cash that has been bet on a hand or complete session. 


This is the edge that one competitor has over another. For casinos, this is the house edge. 

Anchor / Anchorman

This is the last player to act at a table before the dealer, sat to the dealer’s right. 

Balanced Count

A part of a card counting system. It’s a balanced count if the running count at the end is 0.


This is the money you have to bet with. 

Basic Strategy

A basic strategy helps players know when to hit, split, use insurance, or stand. 

Bet Sizing

This is when you adjust the value of your bet according to your strategy. 

Bet Spread

The difference between your highest and lowest bet.


A Blackjack occurs when you have two cards that form a total of 21. 


The area where bets are placed (in front of each player). 

Burn Card

It is a safety measure in which the dealer discards the top card before dealing.


When your hand exceeds the maximum total of 21, you go bust/break and lose your bet. 


Placing your first bet in Blackjack to play. 


Associated with card counting, camouflage betting is raising your bet when the count is good without giving it away. 

Chip Down

This is when you lower the wager you placed in the previous hand. 

Chip Up

This is when you raise the wager you placed in the previous hand. 

Cold Deck

This is a deck of cards that is dealing bad hands constantly. 

Colour up

This is when you exchange your lower-value chips for the higher-value ones. 

Count / Counting Cards

This technique allows you to maintain a count to determine the probability of future cards being high or low. 


CSM (Continuous Shuffling Machine) is the machine casinos use to shuffle used cards back into the deck. 

Cut Card

This is used to cut the deck and is a solid-colour plastic card. 


CVCX (Casino Verite Chapter X) is a card counting software used to help simulate bet spreads and more. 


This rule means you can double on hands that value 11, 10, or 9. 


This rule means that you can double any 2 cards.


DAS (Double after Split) means you can double down on a bet after you split a pair. 


In Blackjack, the dealer is the casino worker that deals the cards and is your opponent. 

Deck Penetration

This is the number of hands dealt before the dealer reshuffles the deck


These are discarded cards that were dealt in previous hands. 


DOA (Double on Any) means players can double any first 2 cards. 

Double Down

This is when you double your bet for another card. 

Double Exposure

A blackjack variant in which the dealer’s cards are dealt face up. 

Early Surrender

Sometimes offered, if the dealer’s first up card shows a 10-point card – you can forfeit your hand and halve your bet before the dealer’s second card. 

Entry-Level Card Counting System

The easiest form of card counting. It involves assigning a positive, negative, or zero value to each card. 


EV (Expected Value) is an equation that can help you potentially maximise your bets. 

Even Money

If you have a Blackjack and the dealer has an A, you can take a 1:1 payout on your bet. 

Face Cards

Cards with faces, such as J, Q, K. 

First Base

This is the first player to receive cards from the shoe on a hand, the player to the dealer’s left. 

Five-Card Charlie

This is a Five-card Blackjack hand that does not exceed 21. 

Flat Betting

This is when you bet the same amount for each hand over a long time. 


The cards you hold for a Blackjack round. 

Hand Spreading

When you play 2 hands at once. 

Hard Hand

A hand without an Ace. 

Hard Total

The total value of the hard hand is the hard total. 

Heads Up

A game between 1 player and the dealer as opposed to multiple players. 

High Roller

Big spenders are High rollers. They have big bank balances. 

Hi-Lo Counting

This is a simple and popular way to count cards, assigning a value to the card based on whether it is high or low. 


‘Hit’ is the option to take another card if you don’t think your hand is enough to beat the dealer. 

Hit 17 / H17

If the dealer’s hand value is 17, they must hit. 

Hole Card

The dealer’s face-down card is the Hole card. 

Hot Deck

When a deck is dealing several great hands consecutively, it is known as a hot deck. 

House Edge

This is the advantage the house (casino) has over players. 

Illustrious 18

These are the 18 different Blackjack strategies developed by Don Schlesinger. 

Index Number

It’s a variable number used by card counters to change strategy. 

Insurance Bet

This is a side bet which is only applicable when the dealer’s first card is an A. It may secure your loss against a Blackjack from the dealer. 

Kelly Betting

A betting system developed by J.L. Kelly Jr. This system helps players determine the perfect bet size. 

Knock Out Count

It’s a card counting system that focuses on a running count instead of a true count. 

Late Surrender (LS)

After the dealer checks for Blackjack, you can surrender your hand and halve your bet. 

Loaded deck

A deck filled with high-value cards. 

Martingale System

A betting system that requires you to double your bet after every loss. 

Money Management

This is making sure you don’t bet cash you can’t afford to lose! Be responsible with your money. 


Popularly used in Asian culture, it’s a term for a 10 or face card in Blackjack. 


When there’s more than 1 deck in the shoe, it reduces the ability to count cards. 

Natural Blackjack / Natural

When you get Blackjack with an A and a 10-point card. 


NDAS (No Doubling after Splitting) means you can’t double down after splitting. 

Negative Count

When the count is less than 0 while card counting. 

No Win

When either the dealer wins or you get your bet back. 


NRSA (No Re-splitting Aces) means that you can’t split aces again once you split them. 


This is a face card with a value of 10. 


This is a 2-card hand that has equal value cards. 

Pat Hand

A solid hand (17-21) that doesn’t require a hit. 

Perfect Play

When you play your hand according to Blackjack strategy. 


The area on the casino floor with the Blackjack table and more. 


Beginners or less experienced players are known as Ploppies. 


When a deck is low on high-value cards, it’s poor. 

Positive Count

When the count is more than 0 while card counting.

Progressive Betting

A strategy in which you double your bet every time you lose until you win in blackjack


A draw between the dealer and you. 

Re splits

When you split your cards twice. 


When a deck is high on high-value cards, it’s rich.

Risk of Ruin (RoR)

How likely you are to lose while playing a hand. 


RSA is a rule that allows you to re-split aces. It isn’t allowed in most casinos. 

Running Count

When you count the cards to get a negative or positive count, it’s known as a running count. 


The box on the table where the cards are placed and dealt from. 

Side Bet

A wager made on a Blackjack game but not in the Blackjack game, e.g., 21+3. 

Single Deck

When there is only one deck of cards in the shoe. 

Sit and Go

Casual tournaments with a range of buy-in amounts. 

Soft Double

When you double a hand with an Ace in it. 

Soft Hand

When your hand has an A, it’s a soft hand as there are 2 possible values in that hand. 

Soft Total

The total value of the Soft hand is the Soft total. 

Split Play

When you split 2 cards of equal value and add a bet against each. 


When you don’t want any more cards, you stand. 

Stand 17

If a dealer’s hand hits 17 or more, they must stand. 

Standing Hand

A hand you should never hit on, e.g., J, 9 (19) or 10, K (20). 


When you have the same hand value as the dealer. 


When your hand is about to go over 20, especially if you get another card. 


When you get a bad hand, you can forfeit half of your bet and get the other half back. 

Third Base

The last player who is dealt cards, i.e. the player to the right of the dealer.


When you tip the dealers to thank them for their service. 

True Count

A true count will adjust the running count for the number of decks remaining in the shoe. 

Unbalanced Card-Counting System

In this system, you attach different values to positive and negative cards. 

Up card

This is the one visible card the dealer has. 


This describes the game’s behaviour, keeping payouts in mind.


Players with very big bank balances who bet high every time. 

Win Rate

A percentage that shows you how likely you are to win a certain game. 

Zen Count

Another card counting system in which the positive and negative values don’t match but are split in a way that counting them all would add up to 0.