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Table of contents:

Blackjack Terminology


#21 is one of the other names for Blackjack. It gets this name from one of the game rules. This rule states that a player needs about 21 cards without surrendering. Another name for Blackjack is Pontoon.

21 + 3

21 + 3 is a side bet in Blackjack. This side bet is famous in online casinos and is made using two of their cards and the dealer’s upcard. A player needs his cards to form a straight flush, a flush, or three of a kind.



An ace in Blackjack is worth either 1 or 11 and is the most relevant card in the game. A player gets Blackjack when he lands an ace and a card of 10 value. Where the ace card gives the player a value over 21, the ace is worth 1.

Ace Poor

Ace poor in Blackjack refers to a situation where the quantity of aces in the game is below average. This counting term is used when more aces than expected are dealt. At this point, the deck is ace poor.

Ace Rich

Ace rich in Blackjack refers to the point where the aces in the game are over the average expectation.


Action refers to the cumulative amount of money placed as a bet at a specific point of the game. Action can mean the collective money used to bet by all players at the table or one player.

Advanced Omega II System

Advanced Omega II System is a counting system developed by Bryce Carlson. His book ‘Blackjack for Blood’ explains the system as a highly accurate and efficient system.


Advantage in Blackjack means the competitor’s edge over other players in the game. In casinos, this advantage is called a house edge and card counters can give undue advantage to players. Advantage also means the hypothetical value of a player or casino in a game. Where a player has a 2% advantage, it means the player will likely win 2% of the total money.

Advantage player

An advantage player places bets when the mathematical advantage is on their side.


Anchor is the position of the last player to act before the dealer. This position gives no advantage in the game. This term can be used interchangeably with the term Anchorman.

Automated Shuffling Machine

The Automated Shuffling Machine shuffles cards when the shoe runs out.


Back Count

Back count is a term that refers to counting cards while not playing the game.

Back Off

Back off is used when casino staff stops a player from playing a specific game. It usually starts with the security or pit boss asking for a player’s ID.

Balanced Count

Balanced count refers to the part of a counting system that places the same value on positive and negative cards. It occurs when the end of the deck has a zero-value running card. The negative and positive cards are balanced to reach a total of zero at the end of the count.


Bank refers to the funds allocated for playing Blackjack specifically. It is the funds that players will use in placing their bets.


A bankroll is the cumulative amount of funds that a player can use in gambling. The bankroll can rise and fall as the game progresses so it is best to use an endpoint to minimize avoidable losses.


Barred refers to when a player is restricted from entering a casino. It can be because of cheating or inappropriate behavior in the casino.

Basic Strategy

Basic strategy is the series of careful decisions made by a player to get the best return. It is based on the total the player has in hand and the upfront cards of the dealer. Basic strategy can include skills of knowing when to hit, use insurance, or split.

Bet Behind

Bet behind is the bet placed by a spectator who can either have a seat at the table or not. The wager is placed next to a player’s bet funds and comes under the effect of the player’s decisions.

Bet Spread

Bet Spread is the difference between a player’s maximum and minimum bet in a game. For example, a 2-4 bet spread means the player bets four times his lowest bet value as the maximum.

Big Player

A big player in Blackjack is the player that relies on the counter’s signal to him for when to join the game and make big bets.


Blackjack is the name of the game. Blackjack also refers to an ace and a card of ten-value which is the best starting hand in the game.

Blackjack Bonuses

Blackjack bonuses are promotional offers given as incentives to participate by online casinos. It usually comes as a bonus to your deposit. Players should note that these bonuses can come with some requirements and conditions.


The Box is the area where players place their bets. It is the space in front of each player with outlines for the chips and cards.


Burn is the act of discarding the card at the top of the card deck. This is done at the beginning of the game. The card discarded is called a burn card. After the burn card is discarded, the dealer starts dealing. This act serves as a safety measure as it keeps the identity of the first card dealt secret from the players.


Bust refers to when a player’s total hand is over 21. It is also called a break. When this happens, the player loses the bet or game. Where the dealer busts or breaks, the game or bet is a win.


A buy-in is the funds a player wagers in online Blackjack games. Players should always take note of the minimum for buy-in wagers before making a bet.



The cage is the space where the cashier is positioned to exchange the player’s money or chips.


Camouflage in Blackjack refers to an action aimed at hiding an advantage play. It is also used when trying to hide an ongoing card counting. Camouflage betting is a skill that helps in card counting. It works with players raising their bet on good counts and they do it by giving a recreational play outlook.


Cap is when a player tries to add to a bet after getting a card. This sneaky behavior is an act of cheating in Blackjack.

Card Counting

Card counting refers to monitoring the track of cards in the course of the game. It is done to gain an advantage over the other players. Players mentally take note of the card progression in the game while looking out for an advantage.


A check is a casino chip.


A chip is a casino token that has monetary value.

Chip Down

Chip down is a measure of playing it safe. Players can reduce their wager from the bet placed in the last hand.

Chip up

Chip up involves increasing the wager from the bet in the last hand.


Civilian refers to the average casino player who has limited knowledge of advantage play.


Clump refers to a series of cards that have the same value in the shoe. It also refers to cards put together that highly favor the house or the player.

Cold Deck

A cold deck refers to when the show keeps giving unfavorable cards which causes players to lose a lot.

Color up

Color up involves changing lower chips for higher valued chips. Players engage in good etiquette when they colour up before leaving a game. It helps make lower-valued chips available for dealers.


Count refers to the total points at any moment in the game.


Cover is a technique players use to hide card counting. It can involve betting on the wrong strategy deliberately for short periods.

Credit Line

Casinos provide a form of credit to which players raise markers to the established limit. It is used to purchase chips to play. The credit must be cleared before a player returns to the casino. A casino can also give the grace of time for clearing this credit.


A crossroader means a hustler, cheat, or scam artist.

Continuous Shuffling Machine

CMS is a machine that shuffles cards from the box to the deck. It shuffles used cards back to the card deck.

Casino Verite Chapter X

CVCX is a card counting system created by Norm Wattenberger. He is the author of ‘Modern Blackjack. This software helps simulate bet spreads in land-based casinos.


Cut refers to the act of dividing cards into two parts after shuffling by the dealer. It is usually done by putting a plastic card in the deck. After the cut, the dealer reverses the two parts from front to back to prevent cheating.

Cut Card

The cut card is a plastic card used by the dealer to cut the deck. The dealer reshuffles after the cut.



D9 is a rule that allows plates to double when their hands have a value of 9, 10, and 11.


DA2 allows players to double on two cards. It can be any two cards on hand.


The dealer is the player’s opponent in Blackjack. The dealer has two purposes which are to deal cards and serve as the opponent in the game.


A deck is a set of 52 cards. A deck is the set of cards from which the dealer shuffles and deals.

Deck Penetration/Protection

Deck penetration refers to the quota of cards that must be dealt from a deck or shoe before the dealer can reshuffle.


A deviation is a shift from the basic strategy. It depends on the count of cards the dealer is dealing.


Discards are cards dealt in previous rounds that have been abandoned. It is not present in online or free games but is present during live dealer Blackjack.

Discard Tray

A discard tray is where the dealer puts cards that have been dealt from the deck.


Double on Any allows players to double on any of their first two cards.

Double Down

Double down means when a player doubles their bet for an additional card. While the player can’t hit anymore, the wager is doubled if he wins. It is usually best done when the player’s hand has the values 9, 10, or 11.

Double Exposure

Double exposure is a style of Blackjack where the dealer's cards are dealt facing up. It allows plates to make easier decisions but removes the options of insurance and surrender.


Draw is another term for a hit.


Early Surrender

Early surrender is a rule that enables players to surrender after getting their cards. It can only be done before the dealer checks his cards for a 21. The player loses half his bet when this happens.


Edge describes the level of advantage a player or casino has.

Entry-Level Card Counting System

This system is the simplest card counting system and is usually used by new card counters. it involves giving a zero value, positive, or negative value to the cards.


Expected value is an equation that helps maximize bets and capture trends during play.

Even Money

Even money allows players to take an insurance bet which ensures an even money return on the player’s hand. It applies when the dealer shows an ace or ten while a player has a #21.


Face Card

Face card refers to any card including Queen, King, or Jack.

Face Shuffle

Face shuffle refers to when the dealer uses a particular order for dealing the cards. It is an act of cheating when shuffling by the dealer.

First Base

The first base is the seat on the far left of the dealer that receives the hand first dealt.


First-basing refers to being able to identify the cards reaching the dealer from the first base.

First Baseman

The first baseman is the player directly on the left side of the dealer. The first baseman is first to act when the dealer is done dealing.

Five Card Charlie

Five-card Charlie is a rule where a player wins automatically when he draws five cards without busting. In the situation of a draw, an equal hand with fewer cards is lower than a five-card Charlie.

Flat Betting

Flat betting refers to when players place the same bet in all rounds of the game.


The floor man is the supervisor of the pit in a casino.



Half-show refers to the dealer cutting the shoe penetration by half. This destroys the edge a counter might possess.


Hand refers to cards each player or the dealer holds.

Hand Spreading

Hand spreading means playing two hands simultaneously. It doubles the number of playable hands per hour but leaves the odds unchanged.

Hard Hand

Hard Hand refers to a hand with an ace value of 1 or no ace.

Hard Total

Hard total refers to the complete value of cards in hand where aces are counted as 1.

Heads up

Heads up is a game played between the dealer and a player. It is usually present in online games.

Hi-Lo Counting

It is a famous and simple counting card technique. Each card is assigned a value that players track through the game.


Hit is a playing strategy that makes the dealer deal another card to a player’s hand.

Hit 17

It is a rule that states that a dealer with a hand value of 17 must hit.

High Roller

A high roller is someone who places large bets.

Hole Card

A hole card is the dealer's card facing down.


It involves the ability to see the hole card and use the information to inform your betting strategy. When done successfully, it presents a very high advantage edge.

Hot Deck

A hot deck is the opposite of a Cold deck. It involves consecutive dealing of favorable hands to players in the game.

House Advantage

House advantage is the guessed percentage of a casino’s winning against players.


Illustrious 18

Illustrious 18 refers to 18 styles of Blackjack playing strategies. It was introduced by Don Schlesinger.

Index Number

An index is the numbers on a deviation chart that helps players decide when to shift from their basic strategy.

Insurance Bet

An insurance bet opens up when the dealer has an Ace upcard. It is a side bet that secures a player’s loss and is usually half of the original bet.


Kelly Betting

Kelly betting is also called Kelly Criterion. It is a formula that experienced players use to calculate the ideal bet size at any moment during the game.

Knock Out Count

It focuses on running count and not the true count. It considers multiple decks in counting and is a good method to learn how to count cards.


Late Surrender

Late surrender states that a player can surrender and lose half of his wager. It can only be done after the dealer inspects for Blackjack.

Live Dealer

It involves playing Blackjack in an online casino with a casino dealer streaming simultaneously.

Loaded Deck

A loaded deck consists of high valued cards which give the player in possession a high chance of winning the game.


Martingale System

Martingale system refers to when additional wagers are placed to win the previous bet and losses.


It is a term used for face cards and is usually used by Asians.


The shoe usually features more than one deck in Blackjack. It reduces the possibility of card counting. With more decks, it becomes more tasking to count the cards being dealt.



It describes a player whose first cards are a 10 and an Ace. such a player has a natural Blackjack hand.


No Doubling After Splitting refers to a disadvantage against players that have a loaded deck.

Negative Counting

Negative counting refers to when the complete card count is below zero.

No Win

A no-win refers to when the round is won by the dealer.


It means No Resplitting Aces. The second pair of aces cannot be split when dealt after splitting aces.



Paint is a term used to refer to 10 value cards.


A pair refers to two cards with identical values. The cards can be split to allow the player to play two different hands.

Pat Hand

A pat hand refers to a hand that values between 17 and 21. Such a hand doesn’t need a hit.

Perfect Play

Perfect play refers to when a player plays the most common Blackjack move.


The pit is where the players sit during the game. A casino employee called the pit boss monitors the pit while the game is ongoing.


Ploppy is another term for new Blackjack players.


A poor deck is a deck that features low-valued cards.

Positive Count

A positive count refers to when a winning potential induces card counters to place higher wagers.

Progressive Betting

Progressive betting is a strategy for increasing a bet each time a player loses. It is increased in doubles and is best for players with higher spending ability.


A push is a draw between the player and dealer. The players keep their wagers with no winnings in this situation.



Rebuy is when an eliminated player in a tournament pays a nominal fee to reenter the game. The tournament rules determine whether the player gets the same starting chips as other players.


Resplits happen when a player spits cards twice.

Rich Deck

A rich deck features a high quantity of high-valued cards.

Risk of Ruin

It is a term that means the return to the player. This term refers to the chances of a player losing the game and his wager.


A round starts when players place their bets. It ends when all hands are dealt and bets are paid.


It is an uncommon rule that enables resplitting of Aces. It is not allowed in most casinos because it can lead to players landing unnatural Blackjacks.

Running Cost

Running cost involves players counting low and high-valued cards to get a negative or positive count.


Second Dealing

It refers to when the dealer deals with the second card in the shoe in cases of cheating.

Seven Card Charlie

This rule states that a player wins automatically when he draws seven cards without busting.


The shoe is the box which the dealer keeps the cards and deals from.

Shoe Game

A shoe game refers to a Blackjack game that’s dealt from the shoe. It usually applies to multiple deck games while single/double-deck games are dealt by hand


Shuffling is the act of mixing the card order adequately.

Side Bet

A side bet is a wager placed on an ongoing game of Blackjack. 21+3 is an example of a side bet in Blackjack.

Single Deck

In a single-deck game, the shoe has one deck of cards. The dealer deals with one deck of cards as opposed to multideck.

Sit and Go

It is a Blackjack tournament that needs a specific number of players to play.

Soft Double

It refers to when a player doubles a hand that has an Ace.

Soft Hand

A soft hand happens when a hand contains an Ace that can be valued at 11 or 1.

Soft Total

Soft total refers to a hand value that contains an Ace.


When players have two cards with identical values, they can split the cards. Splitting the cards is done by doubling the previous wager. When cards are split, it allows the player to play two distinct hands.

Split Play

It refers to splitting two cards of identical value and placing a wager on each of them. A win will double the bet but players can hit only once on each card.


It is a strategy where a player gives card dealing information to the team.


A spotter is a member of an advantage players’ team that identifies great betting opportunities for the big player.


It refers to a choice to reject an additional hand.

Stand 17

Stand 17 is a rule which states that when a player’s hand value is above 17, the dealer will stand. This rule is not subject to the value of the player’s card.

Standing Hand

It refers to a total of 17 or more.


A stand-off happens when the dealer and a player’s hands have the same value.


It refers to when a player’s hand is about to go over 21. It is particularly relevant when another card is dealt and happens when the player’s hand has a value between 12 and 16.


Players can surrender when their hand is not great. Surrendering will result in losing half of the wager.


Third base

The third base is another name for the anchorman.


Toke is a term used in casinos to mean a tip.

True Count

A complex counting system has a running count and a true count. The true count informs the running count on the remaining decks in the show. It prevents mistakes from false-positive counts.


Unbalanced Card-Counting System

This system gives different values to the cards. When the full deck is counted, it doesn't add to zero. This reason is why it is unbalanced.


The upcard is the dealer’s visible card.



Variance describes the behavior of the game. High variance games will pay big but at fewer intervals while low variance games give regular wins but low returns.


Vig refers to the advantage against the players or the wagers placed to play the game.



Wash is a shuffling technique where the dealer spreads the cards facing down on the table.


A whale is a term for a high roller.

Wage Requirements

It refers to conditions that must be met to claim and withdraw any bonuses. It applies to online casinos.


Zen Count

This count involves splitting positive and negative values such that a full deck count will add to zero.


As a Blackjack enthusiast, you are now equipped with the terminologies you will interact with when you are in a casino. Whether a land-based or online casino, the terms explained above have shed some light on some strategies you can adopt.