Blackjack Professor

Glossary of Terms & Blackjack Dictionary

Below you'll find several definitions of terms associated with blackjack, although it's not essential for you to know all these terms in order to play the game, they're still good to know. Some of the terms listed below are also used throughout so you may understand our site a bit better if you quickly skim them over.

Action: A general term in gambling, referring to the amount of money played in a specific time period. For example, if a player places five $10 bets, the total action for that player is $50.

Bankroll: The total amount of money that the player plans to gamble with. Also known as the stake.

Black Chip: A chip with a $100 denomination.

Burn Card: At the beginning of the game and after every re-shuffle, the dealer takes the top card of the deck or the first card in the shoe and places it into the discard tray. This card is the burn card. The burn card may or may not be revealed to the players.

Bust: When the total of the players cards is higher than 21… an automatic loss.

Cage: The cashier’s “cage” is where the player exchanges cash for chips, redeems chips for cash, arranges credit, etc.

Comp: Short form for complimentary. A casino may reward loyal players with gifts, such as, free rooms in their hotels, free dining experiences, complimentary drinks, etc., in hopes that the player will continue to gamble in their establishment.

Counter: A term used to describe someone who counts cards.

Cut Card: A colored plastic card that the dealer gives to a player after every shuffle. The player will use this card to cut the deck.

Drop Percentage: A measure (percentage) of a player’s initial stake that the casino will take because of the house advantage. On average, this number is about 20 %. So if a player begins with a bankroll of $100, he will eventually lose $20 of it to the house.

Flat Bet: A bet that the player keeps consistent. For example, if the player is flat betting $20, he/she is betting, without changing the amount of the bet, $20 for every hand played.

Foreign Chip: A chip that is issued by one particular casino, but can be redeemed for cash by a different casino. However, a casino is not obligated to accept foreign chips.

Green Chip: A chip with a $25 denomination.

Hard Hand: A hand in blackjack where an Ace is valued at 1.

Head-On: A game of blackjack where you and the dealer are the only two present at the table. There are no other players involved in the game.
Heads up: When you are playing alone at the table.

High Roller: A player who is betting large amounts of cash.

Hit: A request made to the dealer asking for another card to add to your current hand.

Hole card: Any card that is face down on the table. Typically this term refers to the dealers’ single card that is face down. The players at the table are unaware of its value until all their hands are complete and it’s the dealers’ turn to draw.

House: Another name for the casino.

House Percentage: The advantage that the casino has over the player in a particular game.

Insurance: A side bet in a hand of blackjack that the player has the option of purchasing (up to ½ of their original bet) if the dealers upcard is an Ace. This type of bet will pay 2:1 if the dealer draws Blackjack.

Junket: Usually organized by the casino, a junket is a group of gamblers who travel together to play at the casino. Organizing a junket is a great way for the casino to attract players.

Late surrender: A surrender by the player, which is allowed if the dealer does not have a natural 21 (blackjack). If the dealer does have blackjack the player will lose their entire bet. However, if the dealer is not holding onto a blackjack and the player believes they cannot win the hand, they can surrender, and the house will take half their original bet and does not play the remainder of the hand.

Marker: A line of credit provided to the player by the casino.
Pair: When the original two cards that the player is dealt are the same (i.e.: two 5’s, two Queens).

Pat Hand: A hand in blackjack that has a total from 17 to 21.

Pit: The area within the perimeter of a group of tables on the casino floor.

Pit Boss: A casino employee, the pit bit boss supervises all the players, dealers and other employees within a specific pit.

Play upcard: The dealers’ first card. This card is dealt face up, in order to aid the players in there decisions on how they will play out their hands.

Point Count: At the end of each hand, the point count is the net value of the cards played.

Push: A tie between the player and the dealer.

Red Chip: A chip with a $5 denomination.

Running Count: The running total of the point count, from hand-to-hand. The running count commences from the beginning of the deck or shoe.

Settlement: The exchange of the chips after each hand. The dealer takes the chips in a losing situation, pays you in a winning one or if the hand results in a push, no exchange is made.

Shill: A casino employee who is acting as a player in order to attract other players to the table.

Shoe: A device used by the dealer to deal the cards. Shoes can carry up to eight decks of cards. The dealer simply slides the cards from the bottom of the shoe one at a time.

Shuffle Up: When the dealer suspects a player of counting cards, he/she will prematurely shuffle the deck.

Soft Hand: A hand in blackjack where an Ace is valued at 11 (not as a 1).

Stand: When the player is satisfied with their card count they will stand (declines drawing another card).

Third base: Refers to the seat at which the last player to act at the table is sitting.

Toke: Another word for tipping the dealer.

True Count: An adjustment to the running count. The true count accounts for the number of cards remaining in the deck or the shoe that are still to be played.

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