Blackjack guide - Blackjack glossary

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Ace can value either 1 or 11. An Ace is required for a Blackjack, together with a 10, Jack, Queen or King.

The total money that has been wagered during a session.

The seat to the dealer's right, and the last player to be dealt. (Aka Third Base.)

The person, who takes the bets, collects the money and pays winnings.

The total amount of money the player is going to bet.

Basic Strategy
A playing strategy focused at minimizing the house's advantage and representing the best plays based on the player's first two cards and the dealer's face-up card.

Betting Circle
The place on the Blackjack table right in front of each player where the player places his bet

Black Chip
$100 chip

Two cards dealt before any draws, totaling 21: an Ace and King, Queen, Jack or a 10.

A hand exceeding a total point value of 21, aka a bust.

Burn Cards
One or more cards discarded and removed from play immediately after shuffling and cutting the deck.

A hand exceeding a total point value of 21, aka a break.

Card Counting
A system of play intended to minimize the house edge and maximize the player's edge. Each face card is assigned a weight. The experienced card-counter can assess whether the odds are in his or her favour or the house favour and adjust bets accordingly.

Splitting the deck in two before dealing the cards.

Cut Card
A solid-coloured plastic card that used to cut the decks after shuffling.

Distribute cards.

Discard Tray
A tray that holds all the burned, discarded or played cards

Add a card to the dealer's or player's current hand.

Double Down
Rules on doubling down are different from casino to casino, but generally doubling down involves doubling a bet after the first two cards are dealt. The player turns over both initial cards, makes an additional bet equal to the original bet, and gets exactly one additional card.

Double for Less
When allowed, same as double down, except that the player may place an extra bet for less than the original wager.

Early Surrender
Early Surrender allows the player to lose half the bet when a dealer shows an Ace or 10 before he discovers he or she has a natural 21.

Even Money
Anytime a player gets 1:1, and wins nothing, but loses nothing. There are two examples when this may happen:

  • When a player is dealt a Blackjack, and the dealer is showing an Ace, the player has the option of taking 1:1 or even money before the dealer demonstrates his or her card.
  • When the player takes insurance and wins the insurance side bet (see Insurance).

Face Cards
A Jack, Queen and King, each with a point value of 10.

Face Down Game
The first or both initial cards are dealt face down, that only the player knows the value of his/her face down cards.

Face Up Game
Both first player cards are dealt face up.

First Base
The position at the table to the dealer's immediate left, the first player to get a card.

Flat Bet
When a player places the same amount of money on each hand without variation, he or she is making flat bets.

Green Chip
$25 chip

Hard Hand
A hand without an Ace, or a hand with an Ace where the Ace counts 1 point.

Head's Up
Aka heads on, playing Blackjack head-to-head with the dealer. A game with no other players at the blackjack table

To add an additional card to the hand after the first deal.

Hole Cards
Face down cards, the value of which is known only to the player or dealer holding the cards.


House Percentage
The house's advantage over the player

An additional side bet, up to half of the player’s original bet, available after the initial deal when the dealer shows an Ace. If the dealer turns up a natural 21, the player with insurance gets 2:1 on the insurance bet, but not the original bet. If a player bets half the original bet for insurance, and loses the hand, he or she wins even money.

Late Surrender
The player gives up his hand and only loses half the bet. Allowed after the first cards are dealt and the dealer determines that he or she has not got a natural 21.

A hand equals 21 immediately after the deal, an Ace and a card with a value of 10.

Two initially dealt cards of the same numerical value.

Pat Hand
A hand with a point value between 17 and 21.

Pair Split
When a player receives cards of equal numerical value, he or she can split the cards into two hands and place an additional bet equal to the original wager on the second hand.

If the dealer's up-card is an Ace, he or she 'peeks' at the hole card to see if the hand is a Blackjack.

Point Count
The total point value of the hand and the end of the hand

Tie hand where the dealer's hand and the player's hand have the same value and the bet is returned to the player. Also called a draw, tie, or stand-off.

Red Chip
$5 chip

At the end of the hand, when bets are resolved and either the player or the dealer takes the chips.

The box with the undealt cards.

Shuffle Up
Shuffling the cards to annoy and discourage suspected card counters.

Soft Hand
A hand with an Ace where the Ace is counted as 11 without exceeding a total point value of 21.

Split Hand
See Pair Split.

To refuse to take an additional card

The option allowing a player to give up his hand, losing only half your bet

Ten-Value Card
Any card with a value of 10: a 10, Jack, Queen, and King.

Third Base
The seat to the dealer's right; the last seat to be dealt

The dealer and the player have a hand with the same numerical value and no one wins or loses, aka push or stand off.

A face-up card