Popular Blackjack Terms

Blackjack jargon might be perplexing for beginners. Can you ask the dealer for extra cards? How do you tell the dealer to stop giving you cards?

If “no” to both questions, we have a guide for you!

Discover the most common blackjack words below. We then teach you the language you need to start playing this popular table game from A-Z!

A-C Blackjack Terms


Anchorman is the final player before the dealer.

Balanced Card

A card counting system with a perfect plus-minus balance. Adding all the cards in the deck yields 0.

Strategy Basics

The most famous blackjack technique. Detailed instructions for handling each game condition.


This is your gambling budget. If you invest $100 in a casino game, your bankroll is $100.


Blackjack is the name of the game, but it also refers to a natural 21.

Burn Card

The dealer sets aside the first card of a deck before dealing. Thus, no one knows the first card or how it affects betting.


Blackjack busts occur when you exceed 21 points. Such a condition guarantees loss.

Bust Card

Cards that take your hand above 21 and trigger quick loss.

A Cold Deck

Constantly losing hands deck. This is not a hot deck.

Color Up

Colouring up involves asking the dealer to trade numerous lower-denomination chips for a few higher-denomination chips.

Continuous Shuffler

A mechanism that shuffles cards after rounds. Players hate it.

Blackjack Terms: D-F


A discard is a previously dealt card. There it will stay until a new shoe is made with reshuffled cards.

Doubling Down

double down is double your hand bet. Only do this if you might win. Avoid doubling down to lengthen game sessions.

Money Even

Even money in blackjack is insurance. The dealer can display an ace and you can take a 1:1 payout before revealing their following card if you have a natural. You can also bet and get double insurance if the dealer has a natural blackjack.

First Base

Name of the first spot beside the dealer. Cards usually go to this person first.

Five-card Charlie

Blackjack games with five cards and no busts award a win. Other games consider this an extra win.

Flat Betting

Flat betting is when you bet the same amount repeatedly.

Blackjack Terms: G-L

Tough Hand

A hand with little chance of busting if hit again.


In blackjack, you say “hit” to request another card.

Hole Card

Until all bets are made, the dealer card is face-down.

House Edge

A casino’s game advantage. Blackjack typically has a 2% house edge. You can cut it to less than 1% with game knowledge.


Some blackjack games allow you to wager on the dealer having blackjack when the dealer exhibits an ace. The insurance bet pays 2:1 and should cover your losses, but it’s not recommended because it can quickly lead to higher losses.

Late Give Up

Some blackjack games allow you to surrender before the dealer shows their cards. You get half your stake back.

Blackjack Terms: M-R


Multiple decks are used in most blackjack games. Even classic blackjack has 8 decks. Single deck games are easier to beat since you can count cards.


A natural is a blackjack with your first two cards. A 21-value hand.


Penetration is the ratio of cards dealt prior to those still in play.


Blackjack tables are called pits.

Pitching Game

This blackjack is dealt from the dealer’s hand. The game usually requires two decks.


This ties. Any hand where you and the dealer score the same.

Blackjack Terms: S-Z


An apparatus for storing cards.

Shoe Game

A shoe-dealt blackjack game. Games involving more than two decks are usually shoe games.


Soft hands are worth 11 instead of 1.


You can split two cards of the same rank in most blackjack variations. You can then play them independently for two chances to win.


Stop asking for extra cards and stick to your hand.


A hand where one more card can take you over 21. Any score above 12.


See late surrender. Giving up your hand early to get half your stake.

Third Base

Left-most dealer slot. Last player to act in a multi-player game.


A toke is slang for “tip”. Feeling generous? Tip your dealer.

Up Card

When dealt their hand, the dealer gets one face-up card. This prevents you from seeing their other card until the round ends.

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