Blackjack Terms:

Basic Strategy: A proven system of playing that increases your odds of winning.  This should not be confused with card counting.

Blackjack: The name of the game, as well as the name given to a winning hand which consists of an ace and any ten point card such as a Queen, or King. This is the best possible hand that a player can receive. It is impossible to win if the dealer gets a blackjack, but it is possible to push, if both player and dealer receive this same hand. 

Bust: A player or a dealer may bust if the accumulative points of all the cards is any number over 21. A bust automatically equals a lost hand. If the dealer busts, the player automatically wins.

Card Counting: This often frowned after method of playing involves a player analyzing and memorizing all previous cards which were played. Based on which previous cards have been played, the player may increase or decrease his future bet, based on his perceived odds of winning. 

The process of counting cards slightly increases the odds to the player, and if played perfectly may give him an edge over the house. In land based casinos special cameras above blackjack tables are in place to monitor suspicious player behavior which might indicate a card counter.

Double Down: If the player has the opinion that his odds of winning are high in the next hand, the player may double down. This allows the player to double his bet with the placement of his next card. After this next card the player must stand. 

Hard: A hard hand is one in which there is not an ace, or where the ace is only worth one point. Contrast to a soft hand.

Hit: If a player desires another card he is requesting a hit. The other option is to stand. Dealers must always hit when the card total is less than 16.

Hole Card: The card belonging to the dealer of which a player cannot see until it is flipped over at the end of a hand.

House Advantage: This is the numerical advantage (odds of winning) that a dealer or the casino has over a player. By playing basic strategy this advantage is reduced but the house always has an advantage in the long run. Errors made by the player only increase the house advantage.

Insurance: The option given to players if the dealer has an ace has the up card and the player suspects a blackjack once the hole card is flipped. Insurance is offered for half the price of the initial bet. If the dealer gets a blackjack the player wins the insurance bet. If the insurance bet is won players will break even over the entire game. (since they lose the initial bet)

Push:  When neither the player or dealer wins, and both parties have hands of the same value. No money is lost or won. 

Shoe: The instrument which holds the cards of which the cards are dealt. 

Soft: A hand that includes an ace that still counts as 11 points.

Split:  A strategy whereby if the player receives two cards of equal value (two 4s for example) the player may split their cards and can now play 2 hands of blackjack. If the first two cards they receive are of the same rank. If they do, the player makes a second bet. Each hand is its own seperate game and one hand winning or losing does not affect the other.

Stand: This is when the player decides he will no longer take any more cards. His total card points will not increase from this point forward. Dealers must stand at 17 or higher. 

Surrender: In some versions of blackjack, if the player feels it is hopeless to win, he may surrender and only lose half his bet..

Blackjack Tournaments:  Players compete against one another versus the house, and the winner takes it all. © All rights reserved