Blackjack Glossary Rules And Terms

Shuffling Through Terms: The Complete Blackjack Glossary

page thumbnail
Updated on: 14 Mar 2024
Dean McHugh

Shuffling Through Terms: The Complete Blackjack Glossary

Have you ever been completely puzzled by the terminology thrown around at the blackjack table? Whether you are a new player or a veteran, you don’t want to get caught missing out on key information that could prove valuable to your betting. Blackjack has been around for centuries now and has built up a large vocabulary that players love to throw around. Be sure to check through this complete glossary of blackjack terms to elevate your knowledge and gameplay to the next level.

Ace Poor or Rich

A deck that is Ace Poor has had more aces drawn than is usually expected. There are, therefore, fewer aces in the deck than would be expected over a certain period of gameplay. An Ace Rich deck is the opposite, where fewer aces have been drawn than you would have anticipated.


When multiple players are seated at the table, there will inevitably be one who is last on the deal. This player is seated closest to the right of the dealer and is known as an Anchorman.


Your bankroll is your total real-money budget to spend on any given casino game. This term isn’t just used for blackjack but for all casino or sports betting activities. Managing your bankroll is a key aspect of any casino strategy.


Not just the name of the game but also the best hand available. The name of the game actually comes from the hand and not the other way around. You need to be dealt an Ace and a face card or 10 to score a blackjack. This combination automatically wins the round with an increased payout of 3 to 2.


The box is where you place your chips when making a bet in any game of blackjack. It gets its name from the rectangular box that is imprinted on the blackjack table.


In a game of blackjack, you are aiming to get a score of 21. A lower value than 21 can still result in a win if it is higher than the dealers. Anything higher than 21 will result in a bust, which automatically loses the round.


The buy-in is the minimum and maximum bet amount possible to make at a table. This amount can vary depending on the casino and the variation of blackjack being played.

Card Counting

Counting cards is a tactic that is used to predict the likelihood of certain cards appearing on the next draw. You can keep a count in your head to establish the possibility of the next draw being a face card or a 10, for example. Starting from zero, you will either add (+)1 or subtract (-)1 from the count depending on what cards are being drawn. The higher the number, the more likely it is that a 10 or face card has the potential to appear. Below, you can see the basic rules for card counting in blackjack.

  • A draw of 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 means adding 1 from your count
  • A draw of 7, 8, or 9 – does not affect the count
  • A draw of 10, Jack, Queen, King, or Ace means subtracting 1 from your count


A Charlie is a hand that has 5 or more cards without going bust. Some blackjack variants offer this as an alternative way for the player to win a round. Whether you need 5, 6, or 7 cards in your hand to reach this will depend on the table.

Chipping Down or Up

Chipping Down or Chipping Up refers to the trajectory of your gameplay over a number of rounds. It could either be going up, so you are building up a stack of chips from your winnings, or it could be going down as a result of some steady losses.


The Cut is a plastic card that the dealer can use to signify when a deck needs to be shuffled again. A player can choose where to cut the cards, which the dealer will keep track of with their plastic bookmark.


DAS is short for Double After Split. This is a game rule that can be found at certain blackjack tables, which allows the player to double their bet after splitting their cards. NDAS refers to tables where this rule isn’t allowed, also known as No Double After Split

Double Down

To Double Down or Doubling Down refers to a betting action where the player doubles their wager. This option is available after seeing your hand and requires that you then draw one more card and no more.

Double Exposure

Double Exposure Blackjack is a variant of traditional blackjack that requires the dealer to immediately show both of their dealt cards. This provides the player with the added advantage of knowing exactly what to beat with their hand. Double Exposure Blackjack comes with some drawbacks for the player to compensate for this advantage as landing a blackjack will only result in a 1 to 1 payout, and any draws that happen will result in the dealer winning.

Early Surrender

The Early Surrender option is available in some variants of blackjack. This allows the player to forfeit their hand before the dealer checks for a blackjack in their hand. Taking this option returns half of your stake.

Even Money

Even Money refers to the payout that comes with winning a round of blackjack with a standard hand and no side bets. Any winning hand that isn’t a blackjack will result in a 1 to 1 payout, meaning you earn double your stake.

Face Cards

Jacks, Queens, and Kings are all known as Face Cards. The name comes from the fact that each card depicts a person on them. 10s can also be referred to as Face Cards in blackjack, as their value is the same.

First Base

The First Base is the seating position opposite the Anchorman. Instead of being the last person to receive their cards, the person seated in First Base receives their cards first out of all the players on the table.

Five-Card Charlie

Some blackjack tables offer a Five-Card Charlie rule. This allows a player the chance to draw 5 cards, and if it doesn’t result in a bust, the outcome of the round will be a win for the player.

Flat Bet

A Flat Bet system is a betting strategy that requires the player to keep their bet amount the same no matter the results of any given round. The player chooses a baseline bet amount and sticks with that same amount during the entire session.

Hard Hand

Any hand that doesn’t contain an Ace or a hand where the Ace counts as a 1 is known as a Hard Hand. This is essentially the opposite of a Soft Hand.

Heads Up

Playing Heads Up means being seated at a table with no other players. Some prefer this as it allows for faster game rounds.


One of the actions available to you on your turn is to tell the dealer to Hit. This signifies that you wish to have another card drawn and added to your hand.

Hit 17

Hit 17 is a specific rule available at certain blackjack tables. It requires the dealer to Hit when they’ve drawn a soft 17. This is in contrast to a Stand 17 blackjack table.

Hole Card

The face-down card in the dealer’s hand is referred to as a Hole Card. This card will only be revealed after all players have finalised their betting decisions during a single round.

House Edge

The house edge refers to the statistical advantage the casino has over the player. In a standard game of blackjack with no side bets, the house edge is around 2%.


A side bet option that is available with some blackjack variants is Insurance. This option pays out at a rate of 2 to 1 and is available when the dealer’s face-up card is an Ace. The Insurance side bet pays out if the dealer’s hand results in a blackjack.

Late Surrender

Similar to the Early Surrender surrender option, this can be used after the dealer has checked their face-down (Hole) card. Taking this option forfeits your hand and pays you half of your stake back.

Match the Dealer

Another popular side betting option that looks to predict that either one of your cards will be the same as the dealer’s face-up card. This is known as a Match the Dealer side bet. The payouts for winning with this side bet will depend on how many in-play decks are being used.


Any game of blackjack that is played with more than 1 deck is known as Multiple-Deck Blackjack.

Natural Blackjack

Scoring 21 with only 2 cards is known as a Natural Blackjack.


Non-Resplit Aces (NRSA) and Resplit Aces (RSA) refer to different game rules available at a blackjack table. This determines whether the player is allowed to split the Aces in their hand after already splitting once.


Paint is another term used for Face Cards. This includes Jacks, Queens, and Kings.


A hand with 2 cards of the same value is known as a Pair.

Pat Hand

It is usually not recommended to Hit while having a hand with a value of a Hard 17 or higher. Any hand like this is known as a Pat Hand.

Perfect Pairs

Perfect Pairs are a blackjack variant that enables the player to win if the first 2 cards they draw are of the same value.

Power Double

Power Blackjack is a specific variant of blackjack with additional rules that allow the player to discard and replace their double-down card. This is usually only allowed when the player has a hand with a value of 9, 10, or 11.


When both the player and the dealer have hands with the same total value, it becomes a draw, otherwise known as a Push.


Resplitting is allowed in certain blackjack variants and allows the player to split after having already split. Some variants allow the player to split their hand up to 3 times, enabling them to play with a total of 4 hands.

Royal Match

An additional side betting option, The Royal Match, requires the player to draw a King and a Queen in the same suit and on the first 2 cards drawn to win.


The Shoe is a device or compartment that stores all of the decks used at the blackjack table.

Shuffle Tracking

An alternative to card counting, Shuffle Tracking instead follows how the cards are being shuffled to determine the likelihood that certain cards will be drawn in the upcoming round. This is done by steering slugs of high-value cards to the front of the deck.

Side Bet

Many different blackjack tables offer a variety of Side Bets. These are additional betting options that offer a separate payout when certain conditions are met. This could be betting on specific cards to be drawn into your hand, for example.

Soft Double

Doubling down on any Soft Hand is known as a Soft Double.

Soft Hand

Any hand that has an Ace that can be counted as either a 1 or an 11 is known as a Soft Hand. This is in contrast to what is known as a Hard Hand.

Spanish 21

A specific variant of blackjack, Spanish 21 offers more betting options and the potential for bigger prizes at the cost of a larger house edge.


If the first 2 cards you are dealt have the same value, you have the option to Split. This means separating the cards into 2 separate hands and being dealt an additional 2 cards. Some blackjack variants allow you to Split multiple times in a round.

Split and Double After Split (Surrender SAD)

A blackjack table may offer the option for you to Double Down after committing to a Split. An option can also be available at some tables to allow you to Surrender even after deciding to Double.

Splitting Pairs

A Split and Splitting Pairs are essentially the same thing. It allows you to Split your hand into 2 while drawing an additional 2 cards. This is only possible when the original 2 cards are both of the same value.


When you decide that you don’t wish to have any further cards dealt, you tell the dealer that you have decided to Stand.

Stand 17

As opposed to the Hit 17 rule, any blackjack table that includes the Stand 17 rule requires the dealer to make the Stand decision when drawing a Soft 17.

Standing Hand

A Standing Hand is one where you have chosen not to draw any further cards after the initial 2 received at the start of the round.


A draw in a game of Blackjack is also known as a Stand-Off. This is where you and the dealer both have the same total value of cards after deciding to Stand.


A hand with values of between 12 and 16 is known as a Stiff. This is generally an unfavourable hand for the player. It can also refer to a dealer’s face-up card being either a 2, 4, 5, or 6.


Players can use the Surrender option instead of deciding to Hit or Stand. This forfeits the hand but returns half of the stake back to the player.

Tie Bet

A Tie Bet is when both you and the dealer have a hand of 21. This results in a draw, otherwise known as a Push, where the stake is returned to the player.


In a standard game of blackjack, the dealer will give themself a face-up and a face-down card. The card that is face-up is also known as the Upcard.

More from