Blackjack Glossary

The following is a list of common terms used in the game of Blackjack and their meanings.  Familiarise yourself with these terms, the rules of the game, and basic strategy and you’ll be ready to take on the game of Blackjack.


The amount of your wager either on the current round of betting or a cumulative total of all the bets that have been placed during a given session.


The seat positioned immediately to the dealers right.  This position is also referred to as third base and the person in this position is the last to play their hand before the dealer.


The dealer serves as the banker in blackjack.  They are the one that collects money and pays out winning bets.


The total amount of money that a player is willing to risk on any particular visit to a casino.  The budget one has set aside for gambling.

Basic Strategy:

A method of playing based on statistical analysis and designed to give players the highest probability of improving their hand or allowing the dealer to bust.

Betting Circle:

A space marked on the table where a player places their wager.


Also known as a natural, this is when a player or the dealer receives a two card total of 21.  If the dealer receives a blackjack they automatically win and take all the bets without an opportunity for the players to hit and improve their hands.  When players receive a blackjack they also win automatically and will be paid off at 3:2.


When a hand exceeds a total of 21.  Also known as a bust.

Break/Bust Card:

The received card that causes the player or dealer to bust.

Burn Card:

The card from the top of the deck or shoe which is placed face down in the discard pile following a shuffle or a cut and prior to the first card being dealt.

Double Down:

The placement of an additional wager which matches the amount of the original wager.  A double down bet can be placed after the first two cards are dealt and the player would then receive one additional card.


To receive an additional card.

Early Surrender:

A rule that allows players to forfeit their hand in exchange for losing 50% of their wager rather than risking 100% of their wager on a poor hand.

Even Money:

A wager that pays off at 1:1

Face Card:

Jacks, Queens, and Kings are known as face cards and are given a value of 10 in the game of blackjack.

Hard Hand:

Any hand without an ace or a hand in which the aces must be counted as one.  A hand with a value of 12 or more where a hit could potentially result in a busted hand.

Heads Up:

Playing one-on-one with the dealer.


To receive an additional card after the first two have been dealt.

Hole Card:

A face down card.


The Casino.


A side bet that can be placed when the dealer shows an Ace up.  The insurance bet equal to half of the original wager may be made to protect the original wager if the dealer does in fact have a blackjack.  If the dealer does have a blackjack the insurance wager would be paid off at 2:1.  If the dealer does not have a blackjack the insurance bet would be taken away and the hand would be played out as usual.

Money Management:

A method of determining how much one can afford to wager on any given hand or during any given session of play based on table limits and the player’s starting bankroll.


Another term for a Blackjack, a two card total of 21.


Two cards of the same value.


The player’s hand and the dealer’s hand are of the same value resulting in a tie.  No money is won or lost when this occurs.

Second Base:

The seat directly across from the dealer.


A box containing the decks from which the cards are dealt.


The act of randomly arranging the order of a deck of cards.

Soft Double Down:

Placing a double down wager on a hand in which one of the first two cards dealt is an ace.

Soft Hand:

A hand containing an ace that can be counted as 11.


The option to separate a pair, place an additional bet, and play the divided pair as two separate hands.


The decision to not hit a hand or receive any additional cards.

Standing Hand:

A hand where the dealer is not allowed to take any additional cards.  Usually with a total of a hard 17 or greater.


A hand with poor chances of winning and one in which a hit may result in a bust.  A total of 12 through 16 is often referred to as a stiff.


A rule that allows the player to forfeit their hand at a cost of half of their original wager after receiving their first two cards.

Third Base:

The playing position to the dealers immediate right.  This position is also known as the anchor and the player and this position is the final player to act before the dealer plays their hand.


Another name for the game of Blackjack.


The size of the minimum bet. 

Up Card:

The dealers face up card that the players are allowed to see.

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