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Blackjack Glossary and Terminology 


An alternative name for blackjack. Blackjack is referred to as #21 since players need to have close to 21 cards without going over.


A side bet in Blackjack. 21+3 is quite popular in online Blackjack games. Players can make a 21+3 bet using the dealer's upcard and two of their cards. To win a 21+3 bet, the cards must form three of a kind, a straight flush, or a flush.


This is the most useful card in Blackjack, and it's worth 1 or 11. Get a Blackjack by landing an ace and a 10-value card.

Ace Poor 

A Blackjack is ace poor when there's a less than average number of aces in the game.

Ace Rich 

A Blackjack is said to be ace rich when there's an above average number of aces in the game.


This is the total amount of cash that is placed as a bet in Blackjack. An action may refer to money placed by a single player or all the players on the table.


In Blackjack, this is an edge a competitor has over others. An advantage is also referred to as a house edge in casinos. In some cases, card counters can give players an undue advantage over others.


An anchor/anchorman is the last player to act before the dealer. Note that being an anchorman does not give you an advantage in Blackjack.

Balanced Count 

An aspect of a card counting system that values both negative and positive cards as the same. Thus, a balanced count occurs if the running card at the end of a deck of cards is zero.


This is the total amount of money which you can gamble with. Note that your bankroll may rise or fall as the round progresses. It is advisable to have an endpoint to avoid unnecessary losses.

Basic Strategy 

These are actions that are guaranteed to bring the best odds in a Blackjack. A basic strategy may include knowing when to split, hit, or use insurance.

Bet Sizing 

Bet Sizing occurs when a player adjusts the bet money depending on a strategy. For example, players can double their bet money due to direct betting strategy.

Bet Spread 

The gap between a gambler's highest and lowest bet values.


Players get a Blackjack when their two cards consist of any 10-value card and an ace. Blackjack has a higher payout than a general win.


The space allocated to each player during blackjack. A box contains an outline for chips and cards.

Burn Card 

A burn card is discarded before the dealer starts dealing the cards. It's a safety measure since it prevents players from knowing the first card dealt from the deck.


A bust/break is when your total hand exceeds 21. Players lose the game or bet when their card number exceeds 21. However, a bust/break is regarded as a win if the dealer busts.


A buy-in is the amount of money wagered in an online blackjack game. Note that players must always check the buy-in minimum before wagering a bet.


This is a land-based casino term for card counting. Players camouflage their bets by pretending to play recreationally while increasing their bets when the count is favorable.

Chip Down 

Chip down is when you play it safe by lowering your wager from the bet money in the previous round.

Chip Up 

Players chip up by placing a bet higher than the bet in the previous round. This is a sign that the players has an advantage over other players.

Cold Deck 

This is a stack of cards that has dealt several unfavorable hands. A cold deck is an unpleasant experience for Blackjack players.

Color Up 

Exchanging lower domination chips for a higher-value one. It is considered good etiquette to color up before leaving a table, since it prevents dealers from running out of lower-value chips.

Count/Counting Cards

Counting cards is a strategy utilized by Blackjack players to predict future card trends. Players count cards by mentally recording previous cards and maintaining a count to predict future trends.

CSM/Continuous Shuffling Machine 

This is a machine used to shuffle used cards back into the deck.

CVCX/Casino Verite Chapter X 

A complex card counting software invented by Norm Wattenberger, the author of Modern Blackjack. Land-casinos use this software to simulate bet spreads.


In Blackjack, a D9 rule enables you to double on hands that value 9,10,11.


A DA2 allows players to double any two cards.


Referred to as a Double After Split, the DAS enables players to double down on a bet after splitting a pair in Blackjack.


The Dealer is your opponent in Blackjack. Blackjack dealers perform two functions - they deal the cards and act as your opponent.

Deck Protection 

This is the number of hands that are dealt before a dealer reshuffles the card deck. It is easy to count the cards if the deck protection is longer.


Discards are discarded cards that were dealt in previous hands. Discards are common in live dealer blackjacks.


Also referred to as Double on Any, DOA enables players to double any first two cards.

Double Down 

You can double down or double your initial wager if you feel lucky, have an advantage over the dealer, or a promising starting hand. With a down down, you can win twice your initial payout if the gamble pays off.

Entry-level Card Counting System 

This is the easiest level of card counting. Players can use the entry-level card counting system by assigning a positive, zero, or negative value to each card on the deck.

EV/Expected Value 

This is a mathematical equation that helps with spotting trends during a Blackjack game. 

Face Cards

Cards that contain the faces of characters. For example, King, Queen, and Joker are face cards.

Five-Card Charlie 

In Blackjack, Five-Card Charlie are five card hands thG not exceed 21. Note that a five-card Charlie is higher than an equal hands with less cards when there's a draw

Flat Betting 

This occurs when a player bets the same amount in every round.


The number of cards you're holding in a round of Blackjack.

Hand Spreading 

This allows players to play double hands at once.

Hard Hand

A hard hand does not contain an ace card. Thus, a hard hand has only one possibility amongst the cards.

Heads Up 

This is a Blackjack game between one player and the dealer. Online casinos mostly play the heads up Blackjack version.

High Roller 

High rollers are players with large funds. Players in this category can afford to bet big amounts without worrying about losing.

Hi-Lo Counting 

One of the simplest and most popular ways of counting cards. Players must assign a value to each played card as the game progresses. A majority of card counting strategies are variations of Hi-Lo Counting.


The choice to take up another card if you think the dealer has the upper hand.

Hole Card 

The hole card is a dealer's card and it is not revealed to players until the players reveal their move.

Hot Deck 

A hot deck is a series of good card outcomes which most players call a "lucky streak." In Blackjack, a hot deck is the opposite of a cold deck.

House Edge 

A casino's expected advantage in a game. The house edge is a bit over 1 percent if the player has a basic knowledge of Blackjack strategies. In other words, the players lose at least one percent of their bet money.

Illustrious 18

These are the 18 variations of Blackjack strategies. Invented by mathematician Don Schlesinger, players can make use of these strategies to gain the upper hand in Blackjack.

Index Number 

These are variable numbers for changing strategy in card counting.

Insurance Bet 

Insurance bet is a side bet that's worth half of the original bet. Players place an insurance bet when the dealer reveals an ace card.

Kelly Betting 

Kelly betting is a betting formula that enables players the right amount to wager at any stage during a blackjack game.

Knock Out Count 

A simple and effective way of learning card counting. 

The Knock Out count focuses on accounts with multiple decks.

Loaded Deck 

A loaded deck contains high-value cards. Players with a loaded deck have a higher potential of winning in Blackjack.

Martingale System 

This system involves placing additional bets after a loss in the hopes of getting back the initial wager and losses.


Another name for a face card. In Blackjack, the term "monkey" originated in Asian culture.

Multi Deck 

Some versions of Blackjack have multi decks, as opposed to using the conventional one deck of cards.

Natural Blackjack 

A natural Blackjack contains an ace and a 10-value card. Most varieties of Blackjacks have a higher payout for natural blackjacks.


NDAS or No Doubling After Splitting is a disadvantage for players with a loaded deck.

Negative Counting 

This occurs when the total card count is less than zero.

No Win

In online casinos, a no win occurs when the dealer wins a round.


A term for face cards with a value of 10.


Two cards that contain the same value. Players may choose to split the cards and play two separate hands.


This is the place where players sit during blackjack. Most times, the pit is monitored by a casino employee, also referred to as pit boss.


A term for beginners or inexperienced players in Blackjack.


Poor deck refers to decks with low high-value cards.

Positive Count 

A positive count occurs when card counters start betting higher due to a higher potential to win.

Progressive Betting 

A strategy for doubling a bet each time you lose. Progressive betting is a great option for those with high spending power.


A draw between the dealer and player. Players get to keep their stake without any winnings.


This occurs when players split their cards twice.

Rich Deck 

Unlike a poor deck, a rich deck contains a large number of high-value cards.


This is a Blackjack strategy that allows players to resplit aces.

Running Count 

A running count occurs when players are trying to get a positive or negative count by counting both high and low-value cards.


This is a box used by the dealer to keep and deal cards in Blackjack.

Side Bet 

This is a bet made on a current blackjack game. For example, 21+3 is a side bet placed on a player's two cards and one of the dealer's cards.

Single Deck 

A single deck game happens when gamblers play with only one deck of cards in the shoe.

Sit and Go 

A Sit and Go is a Blackjack tournament that requires a certain number of players.

Soft Double 

A soft double happens when a player doubles a hand that contains an ace.

Soft Hand 

This occurs when a hand contains an ace, and can be valued at 1 or 11.

Soft Total 

The value of a hand that contains an ace.


Players with two cards of the same value, can choose to split by doubling their initial wager. Thus, a split play enables players to play two separate hands.


A choice to not take an additional hand.

Stand 17

A Blackjack rule that requires dealers to stand if the value of their hand is over 17, regardless of the player's card value.

Stand Off 

A stand off occurs when the player has the same hand value as the dealer.


A player whose hand is close to exceeding 21, especially if another card is drawn. A stiff occurs when the hand value is between the 12 to 16 mark.

Surrender/Late Surrender 

Players can surrender their hands in some Blackjack versions. You will only get a portion of your stake when you surrender.

Third Base

Another term for an anchorman.

Unbalanced Card-Counting System 

This card counting system attaches different values to negative and positive cards.


An upcard is the dealer's only visible card. Players may choose to stand or hit depending on the upcard's value.


These are big budget players who can afford to stake huge amounts in Blackjack.