Glossary of Blackjack Terms

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86’d:  Being thrown out of a casino usually due to suspected advantage play.

21:  Having a hand that adds up to 21 but is not a blackjack.

21 (Game): The game of blackjack can also be referred to as 21.

A

Ace: The Ace card in blackjack is counted as a 1 or 11

Ace Poor: A point in the game where more aces than anticipated have been dealt. The deck is now considered ‘ace poor’.

Ace Rich: A point in the game where the number of aces in the pack/deck/shoe is more than expected.

Action: The total amount of money that a player has bet at a particular point in the game.

Advanced Omega II System: A counting system devised by Bryce Carlson in his book ‘ Blackjack for Blood’.

Advantage: Used to describe the expected theoretical value for the player or the casino in a given game. Example, A player may be said to have a 1% advantage in a given game, which means that he/she is expected to win 1% of the all the money.

Advantage Player: Someone that strategically bets only when there is a clear mathematical edge present in their favor.

Automated Shuffling Machine: A machine that shuffles cards after the shoe is finished.

B

Bet Behind: A bet placed by a spectator that has seat at the table or chooses not to take one.  This wager is placed next to a player’s bet and is subject to the decisions taken by that player.

Back Count: Counting cards while not actually playing

Back off: This occurs when a player is asked to stop playing a particular game from one of the Casino’s employees.  Read this post for an example of how this can happen.

Balanced Count: A counting system where the plus and minus cards balance each other out. If a deck were to be counted out to its end using this system, then the resultant total would be zero.

Bank: The total amount of money that has been set aside by a team of players for playing blackjack.

Barred: When a player has been prohibited entry to a casino.

Basic Strategy: These are the optimal decisions that a player makes in order to maximize the return based on the total in the player’s hand and that of the dealer’s upfront cards.  See our basic strategy engine.

Bet Spread: This refers to the difference between the minimum and maximum bet of a player. For example a 1-5 bet spread would indicate that a player bets five times his minimum bet as his maximum.

Big Player: A player who relies on the counters to signal to him when to enter the game and make some big bets.

Biometrica: A service utilized by casinos to help them identify advantage players.  Their website is located at https://biometrica.com/

Blackjack: Refers to the name of the game and the name of the best starting hand with an ace and a ten value card.

Blackjack Bonuses: These are promotions offered by online casinos as incentives to play.  Usually the come in the form of offering to match your deposit with a bonus amount.  Be wary that these often come tied to wage requirements.

Burn: To discard a card from the top of the deck/shoe/pack at the start of the game

Bust: To have a card total that exceeds 21

C

Cage:  This is where the cashier resides to exchange your chips/money.

Camouflage: An action intended to hide advantage play or the fact that card counting is going on.

Cap: A form of cheating, this is when the player attempts to sneakily add to the bet after receiving a card.

Card Counting: Keeping track of the cards for the purposes of gaining an advantage.

Check: Refers to a casino chip.

Chip: A token at a casino that represents monetary value.

Civilian: A regular or average casino player who knows little or nothing about advantage play.

Clump: This term can be used to refer to a number of cards of the same value together in the shoe or cards that are bunched together which favor the player or the house heavily.

Color Up: When a player exchanges his lower value chips for higher denominations, usually before the time of leaving the table

Cooler: an expression for a deck of pre-arranged cards used to replace the casino’s original deck before being inserted into the shoe. It requires collusion with the pit crew and can be extremely profitable. It is also highly illegal and punished severely.

Count: The points total at any point in time is referred to as the count.

Cover: Camouflaging the fact that card counting is going on through the use of various techniques including deliberately betting using the wrong strategy for a short period of time.

Credit Line: The player can raise a marker for any amount up until the established credit and purchase chips to play with. This credit usually has to be cleared before the patron’s next visit to the casino. A casino may opt to give a customer a certain amount of time before depositing the check.

Crossroader: A colloquial term for a scam artist, hustler, or cheat.

Cut: To divide the cards into two different parts after the dealer has finished shuffling them. This is usually done by a player by inserting a plastic card into the deck. The dealer will reverse the two halves front to back after the cut has been performed to minimize any chance of cheating.

Cut Card: A plastic card that the dealer uses to cut the deck after finishing shuffling. The dealer will reshuffle the deck after reaching the cut card.

CVBJ: Acronym for Casino Vérité Blackjack which is software used to help you learn how to card count.

CVCX: Acronym for Casino Vérité Chapter X which is software used by card counters to run simulations.

D

DA2: Rule that outlines double on any two cards are allowed.

DAS: Rule that outlines double after splitting is allowed.

Deck: A set of 52 cards.

Deck Penetration: The percentage of cards that has to be played out of a deck or shoe before the dealer reshuffles.

Deviations: A playing deviation from the basic strategy based on the count of the cards being dealt.

Double Down: A playing decision which results in the player doubling their original bet. The dealer is then required to deal just one more card to the player’s hand.

E

Early Surrender: A rule variation that allows the player the option to surrender their hand after receiving their two cards but only before the dealer has checked his/her own cards for a blackjack. The player would lose half the bet in such a scenario. Explained in further detail here.

Edge: Used to describe how much of an advantage a player (or the casino) has.su

Even Money: A wager where the bettor stands to win or lose the same amount of money.

EV: The “expected value” is the statistical theoretical value of a hand given an adequate amount of time.

F

Face Card: Any card that is a Jack, Queen or King.

False Shuffle: A cheating shuffling action by the dealer to maintain a certain order in which the cards are dealt.

First Base: The seat on the dealer’s far left which will receive the first dealt hand.

First-Basing: Being able to spot the cards that the dealer is getting from first base

Five Card Charlie: A rule where if a player draws 5 cards and doesn’t bust then they automatically win.

Flat Bet: Betting the same amount of money on successive hands of the game

Floorman: An employee of the casino which acts as a supervisor over the pit.

H

Half-Shoe: When the dealer is directed to cut the shoe penetration in half, effectively destroying any edge that a counter might have.

Hand: The cards held by a player/dealer.

Hard Hand: A hand with no Ace or one where the value of the Ace is 1.

Hard Total: The total numerical value of the cards in hand with Aces being counted as 1.

Hit: A playing decision requiring the dealer to deal another card to the player’s hand.

Hit 17: A blackjack rule where the dealer is expected to hit when dealt a soft 17.

High Roller: A person who makes large wagers.

Hole Card: The dealer’s face down card.

Hole-Carding: Being able to spot the dealer’s hole-card and then using it as a betting strategy. It provides one of the highest advantage edges if it can be done successfully.

House Advantage: The theoretical winning percentage of the casino against a player.

I-L

Index: In terms of card counting, the index refers to the integers on a deviation chart. The index helps a player determine when they should deviate from the basic strategy.

Insurance: This is a proposition bet that the dealer has a blackjack. It is independent of the main bet and pays 2:1 to the player. It is available when the dealer has an exposed ace on the table.

Late Surrender: Late surrender means that the player may surrender his hand and lose half his bet only after the dealer checks for blackjack

Live Dealer: Refers to playing blackjack online with a streamed video of a casino dealer.

N-R

Natural (blackjack hand): A player with an Ace and 10 value card as the first two cards dealt is said to have a natural blackjack hand.  This usually pays out 3:2 on the player’s bet although house rules can vary from casino to casino.

NDAS: This is a rule which mean you are not allowed to double after splitting any hand.

Preferential Shuffle: When the casino can decide to shuffle up the deck whenever they want. This effectively destroys any edge that has been built up through card counting.

Ploppy: A typical, average, sucker blackjack player who has no knowledge of card counting and is unable to employ any winning strategy.

Rebuy: Usually applicable to online blackjack tournaments only, if you have been eliminated early in a tournament, you can rebuy to reenter for a nominal fee.  You may or may not receive the same amount of chips that all players initially start with depending on the tournament rules.

Risk of Ruin: The mathematical chance of losing your entire bankroll.

Round: In Blackjack, a round begins when there are no cards on the table and the players have placed their bets. It ends with the hands dealt have been played through and the bets have been paid out.

Running Count: The total value of the count at any given time. This is the total which is used to arrive at the True Count.

S

Second Dealing: An action performed by the dealer to deal the second card instead of the top card in the shoe for the purposes of cheating.  Interestingly BetOnline was accused of doing this in Feburary 2017.

Seven Card Charlie: A rule where if a player draws 7 cards and doesn’t bust then they automatically win.

Shoe: A gaming device which holds multiple decks of cards. Used by dealers in the casino to deal cards.

Shoe Game: A Blackjack game, usually multiple decks, being dealt from the shoe. Single or double deck games are usually dealt by hand.

Shuffle: An action to mix the order of the cards thoroughly.

Shuffle Tracking: Refers to an advantage play for hand shuffled decks. The idea is to steer high-cards towards the top of the deck and bet big from the get-go.

Soft Hand: Hand with an Ace that can be either 1 or 11.

Soft Total: The total of the cards which can use Ace as an 11 value card without going bust.

Split: The playing decision to split the card is available when the player is dealt two cards of the same value.

Spooking: A hole-carding strategy where one player communicates the information about the cards being dealt to the team.

Spotter: A member of a team of advantage players whose job it is to identify a good opportunity to bet to the Big Player.

Stand: Refusing another card being dealt on the player’s hand from the dealer.

Stand 17: A blackjack rule requiring the dealer to stand on a soft 17.

True Count: The count per deck is called the true count. It can be calculated by dividing the running count with the number of decks still left to be dealt.

T-W

Two-round: When the casino instructs the dealer to shuffle the cards every two rounds. This effectively destroys any card counting edge.

Vig: A colloquial expression for the house advantage on a game or the amount of fees collected from the players to be able to partake in a game.

Wash: A form of shuffling where the dealer mixes the cards face down on a table in a washing motion.

Whale: A casino term to denote a high-roller.

Wage Requirements: Applicable to online casinos, this denotes the requirements you must fulfil before you can withdraw any bonus you have claimed.  These are often impossible to clear by playing blackjack only.  Read our blackjack guide for more information.

Wonging: To back count at a table and only join in and place a bet when the situation has begun to favour the player.

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