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Blackjack Terminology — Everything You Need to Know, Explained

Blackjack is among the easiest card games to master. However, inexperienced players are often perplexed by the technical terms used throughout the game. While you won’t have trouble playing blackjack online, coming down to a local casino requires a deeper understanding of the game and terminology.

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Image of Blackjack Terminology and Glossary

The following guide will walk you through essential terms you should know. Nail these, and you’ll sound like a pro wherever you sit down for a blackjack game.

Let’s dive in! 

Important Blackjack Terms

Here are all the terms that will help you understand the game and its inner workings.


This term is used for players thrown out of a casino, usually because of suspected foul or advantage play.


The game of blackjack is often referred to as 21.


This card can count as one or 11 in blackjack.

Ace Poor/Rich

An instance where a higher/lower number of aces has been dealt. If more aces have been dealt then it’s ace poor. Alternatively, if a game has gone through fewer aces, then it’s ace rich.


It refers to the total amount of money a player has wagered at a certain point in the game.


Describes the theoretical value a player or a casino has during the game.

Advantage Player

This term describes a player who only bets when the mathematical advantage is in their favor.


Anchorman is the last player to act before the dealer.

Automated Shuffling Machine

Most casinos use these machines to shuffle cards after the shoe is finished.


The total amount of money you use for gambling is called a bankroll.

Bet Behind

This is a side bet not participating players use. You can bet behind a player on their hand.

Back Count

The process of counting cards while not playing the game.


The name of the game and the best starting hand you can receive — an ace and a ten.

Burn Card

The first card the dealer takes and places face-down is called the burn card. There’s no way of knowing which card it is until the dealer reveals it.


When you bust, it means your hand exceeds 21, and you automatically lose the bet.

Card Counting

Card counting is a popular strategy used in blackjack to gain an advantage. Essentially, it entails following the cards and knowing which ones have been dealt.

Cold Deck

If the shoe gives away low-value cards one after another and causes players to lose too much money, it’s known as a cold deck.

Color Up

It refers to a moment when a player asks to exchange his low-value chips for several high-value ones of a different color.

Cut Card

It’s a plastic card the dealer utilizes to cut the deck after shuffling. Once players reach that card, the dealer reshuffles the deck.


The deck is a set of 52 cards.


All played and dealt cards are called discards. Once the game is over, they are re-introduced and shuffled.

Double Down

A player can double down to double the winnings. At that moment, the dealer introduces another card to the player’s hand.

Early Surrender

This option allows players to surrender their hands only before the dealer checks their cards. In this case, the player loses half the bet.

Face Card

Face cards are Jacks, Queens, and Kings.

Five Card Charlie

If a player draws five cards and doesn’t bust, they automatically win.

Flat Bet

If a player wagers the same amount hand after hand, it’s called flat betting.


A hand is a combination of cards held by the dealer/player.

Hard Hand

This is a hand without an ace or when an ace has a value of one.

Hard Total

This term refers to the total value of cards in hand when the ace is valued as one.


You hit when you want the dealer to give you another card.

Hit 17

This notes a blackjack rule when the dealer should hit on soft 17.

Hole Card

This card represents the dealer’s face-down card.

High Roller

A high roller is a player that wagers large sums. Sometimes, high rollers are called whales.

House Edge

The theoretical winning percentage a casino has against a player.


You can place an insurance bet when you think the dealer has a blackjack. You can only place it if the ace is the upcard. It pays 2:1.

Late Surrender

This rule allows players to surrender their hands after the dealer checks for blackjack. In this case, you’d also lose half your wager.

Martingale System

This popular betting system allows you to double your wager on a loss.

Natural (Blackjack)

If a player/dealer has a natural blackjack, their hand has an ace and a 10-value card.


The pit is the area of the table you sit at while playing blackjack. The pit boss overlooks it.

Preferential Shuffle

A casino can shuffle cards at any moment during the game, minimizing the opportunities for card counting.


A ploppy is a weak player that doesn’t apply card counting or any other winning strategy to their gameplay.


A round of blackjack begins when no cards are on the table after the players have placed their wagers. It ends when the winnings have been paid out.

Second Dealing

This refers to a moment when the dealer picks the second card, not the top one, from the shoe. It’s used for cheating.

Seven Card Charlie

Players automatically win when they draw seven cards and don’t bust.


A shoe is a device that can hold multiple decks of cards. Dealers use it to deal cards.


Shuffling is the process of mixing cards before the game begins.

Soft Hand

A soft blackjack hand is a hand with an ace that can be one or 11.

Soft Total

This refers to the total value of the cards that use an ace as 11 without going bust.


Split is a blackjack rule that lets the player split their hand if they have two cards of the same value.


You can choose to stand if you like your hand and don’t want an additional card.

Stand 17

This blackjack rule requires the dealer to stand on soft 17.


An upcard is the only dealer’s card you can see. It’s dealt face-up.

About the Author

Author Hi all! My name is Jayson Peter, and I am the Chief Editor here at Casino USA. I have always been a huge fan of casinos, but I noticed that there are not a lot of websites out there that discuss the gambling industry in enough detail, so that’s how the idea for was born. With my extensive knowledge of the industry and the help of my team, I am ready to give you an insight into the exciting world of casino gambling in the United States.