Blackjack Glossary of Terms

Listed below are terminologies and definitions of words relating to Blackjack. Players of this game use a lot of terms, including slang. Running across unfamiliar terms or hearing other players say them might confuse you. Familiarizing yourself with some of these terms may help you improve your game as you come to even standing with players who are already aware of these words.


Ace side count – when counting cards, a side count of Aces is kept on top of the main count

Ace neutral count – a kind of counting system where no value is assigned to the Ace

Ace rich – when there are far more Aces than possible in the deck or shoe (container)


Anchorman – is the player sitting by the dealer’s farthest right side. The anchorman is the last to take a turn in the game.


Back counting – those who are not players but who count the cards when watching the blackjack table.

Bankroll – the amount of money a player is willing to bet with. It may be referred to as total bankroll or session bankroll

Barring a Player – when a casino refuses to allow a player to the blackjack table.

Big Player – a player with a team who counts for him; The counters keep track and even send out secret signals to the big player for him to enter the game and make big bets

Black chip – a black chip is worth $100

Blackjack – a winning card. Blackjack has an Ace and any ten-valued card. This winning hand equals to 21.

Burn card – this refers to the card removed from the deck at the start of a new deck. This card may be placed at the bottom of the deck or discarded altogether.

Bust – when a player has more than 21 on his hand and automatically loses the game; also known as break


Cage – is what is usually referred to as the cashier’s place inside the casino.

Camouflage – when a player pretends or hides that he is counting the cards.

Card Counter – a player who tracks the cards when they are dealt on the table

Card Counting – the act a card counter does

Checks – also known as chips

Cold – when a player gets a bad card or a bad run

Color up – asking to change chips with small denomination for a larger denomination, especially when the player has too many chips.

Cut Card – a thing, usually plastic, used to cut the deck of cards.


Dealer – an employee of the casino who takes care of dealing the cards to the players in the blackjack table

Dealing seconds – this is a method used for cheating that may actually benefit the player; the dealer takes the second card from the top in this case.

Deck – 52 cards, standard deck, used in blackjack

Deck Penetration – this is when the dealer goes deeply into the shoe or pack before he shuffles the cards

Device - a thing, like a calculator, a computer or PDA, which players use to help them win.

Discards – this refers to the cards that were already used in the shuffle; the dealer places discards on a tray located on the left side of the table.

DOA – a rule in the casino that means doubling any two cards is allowed.

Double down – when a player is given an option to double the bet he or she has made with only one hand given.

Double exposure – this is a game in blackjack where some rules may be changed or some rules may not apply. In double exposure, both cards of the dealer are shown to all the players even before they play the game.


Draw a Card - when a player draws an extra card on top of the ones originally dealt to him


Early surrender – an option for a player to give up half the bet he has made as the dealer verifies for blackjack. This way, the loss is controlled but this is usually not encouraged in many casinos.

Edge – this term is used for describing the percentage advantage of the casino or the player in some games.

End Play – this is a style when playing the game of blackjack. Here, the player may take advantage of knowing the last un-played card in the end of the deck.

Even money – when a player’s bet is the same amount as his winnings.

Expectation – this term is used in reference to what the player or the casino may expect to win or lose before the start of a game. This is based on statistics and is usually percentage estimation.

Expected value – this is similar to expectation

Eye in the sky – this refers to the cameras posted or mounted all over the casino ceilings; the cameras are used for surveillance to observe both the player and dealer, to see if anyone is cheating.


Favorable Deck – when cards in the deck are in favor of the player.

First Baseman – is the player sitting by the dealer’s far left; he is the first to take the turn in playing the game.

Flat Bet – when players bet with the same amount in every hand.

Floorman – the supervisor of the casino who checks on the dealers

Face card – these are cards with the 10-value. These are the Jacks, Queens and Kings.

False Shuffle – this is the act by which a cheating dealer pretends to shuffle cards in a deck, but has actually pre-arranged the actual order of it.


Hand – the first cards dealt to every player

Hard Total - a hand where the ace counts as 1 or there is no ace at all.

Head to Head – when there is no other player on the table aside from one playing against the dealer; also known as Heads up or Heads down

Heat – when winning players are sometimes pressured by the casino, as in the case of players who are suspected of card counting.

High roller – a player who makes very large bets.

Hit – to draw another card aside from the original hand

Hit me – asking the dealer to deal another card

Hole card – the unseen card of the dealers

House – also known as Casino


Insurance – when the dealer’s card shows an ace, the player can place an optional bet as insurance


Late surrender – is another rule in blackjack where the player may forfeit fifty percent of his bet, after he sees the dealer’s card is up. If the dealer has a black jack, the player stands to lose his entire bet.


Marker – what a player signs when he takes on casino credit; IOU

Mechanic – this is what dealers who cheat are called

Mucker – a cheater; usually adds cards in the deck that are in favor to a player

Multiple-deck – is a game that consists of many decks of cards

Money plays – this is a rule that allows players to bet using real money instead of casino chips


Natural – this is the slang for blackjack, or a hand with 21 points instantly

Nickels – this is the slang for $5 chips issued by the casino


Paint – any picture card (Jack, Queen, King)

Pat hand – when the original card points amount to 17 and above.

Penetration – the number of cards dealt before the dealer shuffles the deck.

Pit – the area where blackjack tables in the casino are present.

Pit boss – the head who oversees the entire blackjack pit.

Push – when the player’s card and the dealer’s card is a draw. Nobody wins or loses in this case.


Quarters – this is the slang for $25 chips issued by the casino


Rider bet – this is when the player rides on the bet of another player


Session – is the amount of time you spend at the table.

Shill – this is an employee of the casino. Shills are usually starters in many games. Shills are used to attract other people to play on an otherwise empty table.

Shoe – is the box where the deck of cards are contained

Shuffle – to mix the cards before dealing

Snapper – slang term for blackjack

Soft Total – when a player has an ace on his hand and values this at 11.

Stand – when a player decides not to receive any more deals; also known as stand pat

Stiff card – any card from 2 to 6 that forces a dealer to take another hit

Surrender – this is when the player gives up his hand; if he does so, he also loses half his bet.


Team play – this is a group of players whose money comes from the same bankroll, normally pooled by the players themselves or some other investor or benefactor

Tell play – when player observes the dealer’s body language or expression, which could help win the game

Third Baseman – see Anchorman

Toke – a toke is also known as a tip from any dealer or anyone who is working on the casino that helps the player in his game.

Twenty-one (21) – another term for blackjack


Upcard – the exposed card of the dealer


Whale – this is a casino term for high rollers, the biggest of high-rollers.

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