Blackjack Terminology/Glossary

Blackjack Terminology/Glossary

One of the most popular games at any casino today is undoubtedly blackjack. Also known as ‘twenty one’ or ‘pontoon’, Blackjack is based on the old French game called vingt-et-un. The game was changed to suit the taste of American players, although a European version is still played on the Continent.

Although there are many versions of Blackjack to be found in the gambling world today, most of them are based on what is known as Classic Blackjack. Classic Blackjack is played with one standard deck of cards that is usually shuffled before the commencement of each game.

Gamblers are attracted to blackjack for its simplicity and the classic blend of luck and skill to make it one of the most desired gambling games around. Plenty of media attention in the past years has also contributed to the popularity of blackjack. Millions of people play the game at land-based and online casinos, entering tournaments or playing solo against the dealer.

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Blackjack Terms

The last player seated to the dealer’s right.

The total amount of money a player can bet with.

Basic Strategy
A simple method which can be memorized which is a set of plays that maximizes a player’s advantage.

The total of 21 on a player’s original two cards dealt.

Breaking Hand
A hand that will go over 21 with a one card hit. Such as a hard 12-16.

Burn Cards
Taking cards from the top of the deck and placing them in the discard tray after shuffling and cutting.

To go bust – card totals exceeding 21; losing the game.

Card Counting
The ability of a player to mentally count and memorize the cards which have been played and to judge how many (usually high) cards are remaining in the deck. By counting the cards, a player can establish a conditional probability advantage on the rest of the cards against the house.

To split the deck of cards after shuffling, before being dealt.

To hand out the cards.

Discard Tray
A tray located on the right side of the dealer which holds all the cards already played.

Double Down
An option to double the original bet, but only getting a one-card hit. Usually this is a good move when a player feels confident that with only one card he can win the round.

To request additional cards for one’s current hand.

Early Surrender
Surrender which is allowed before the dealer checks his hand for a blackjack.

Even Money
Cashing in a bet immediately at an exact ratio when a player is dealt a natural blackjack, but the dealer is showing an Ace.

Face Cards
Jack, Queen and King.

Face Down Game
When the first card is placed face up, but the second card is placed face down.

Face Up Game
Both cards are placed face up.

First Base
The first seat to the dealers left, where the cards are first dealt.

Hard Count
The true face value of the cards.

Hard Hand (Total)
A hand with no Ace, or with an Ace that can only be counted as a 1 because of the other cards’ values.

Heads Up
A game between only one player and the dealer.

To request another card from the dealer.

Hole Card
A face down card, usually relating to the dealer’s single card placed face down.

A side bet up to half the total of a player’s original bet against the dealer having a natural 21. This option is only offered when the dealer has an Ace exposed and pays double if the dealer does have a natural, and loses if not.

Late Surrender
Surrender which is allowed only if the dealer does not have a blackjack.

A two-card hand totaling exactly 21 points. This is an automatic win which pays 3-2.

A hand totaling between 17 – 21.

Point Count
Used in card counting systems, referring to the net value of the card count at the end of a round.

To increase the amount of a wager.

When both the player and the dealer have the same total. The player ends up keeping the bet.

Running Count
Used in card counting indicating the count from the beginning of the deck; the running count is adjusted to the value of the point count after every hand.

A wooden box or case used to hold and dispense the cards to be dealt.

Shuffle Up
Premature shuffling by the dealer used to deter the practice of card counting.

Soft Hand
A hand of cards containing an Ace that can be used as a 1 or an 11.

Split Hand
The option of splitting a two card hand (of same face cards) and playing them separately.

Standing Hand
A hand which has a hard total of 17 or more, and is very likely to go bust if hit with another card – the player ‘stands’.

Not taking any more cards.

Stiff Hand
Hand with a small chance of winning.

Giving up a hand and only losing half of the bet.

Third Base
Last seat taken at the dealer’s right hand side.

A tip given to the dealer.

True Count
In card counting systems whereby the running count is adjusted to suit the number of cards remaining in the deck still to be played.

Up Card
The dealer’s first dealt card, placed face up for the players to see.

Posted by CCJ Team

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