Blackjack Terminology

Blackjack Terminology
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Understanding the terminology is crucial for anyone looking to master blackjack, a game that combines skill, strategy, and a bit of luck. This classic card game, popular in casinos worldwide, has its own language, which can seem like a barrier to newcomers. However, getting familiar with the basic terms can significantly enhance your gameplay and enjoyment. Here’s a guide to essential blackjack terminology.


To “hit” means to request another card from the dealer. Players typically hit when they believe an additional card will bring them closer to a total of 21 without exceeding it.


To “stand” is to hold your total and end your turn. When you’re satisfied with your hand, or if you’re concerned that another card will push you over 21, you’ll stand.

Double Down

Doubling down allows you to double your initial bet after receiving your first two cards. You’ll receive one more card to improve your hand. This move is a bet on the quality of your original hand, indicating you believe one additional card will secure you a win.


If your first two cards are of the same value, you can opt to “split” them into two separate hands, each with its own bet equal to your original wager. This can double your chances of winning or losing.


Insurance is a side bet offered when the dealer’s upcard is an Ace. It’s a wager that the dealer has a blackjack. Insurance bets pay 2:1 if the dealer does indeed have a blackjack, but you lose your insurance bet if they don’t.


Some blackjack variants allow you to “surrender” your hand after the initial deal if you think you have little chance of winning. You’ll forfeit half your bet but retain the other half.

Soft Hand vs. Hard Hand

A “soft hand” contains an Ace counted as 11 without busting. A “soft 17,” for example, could be an Ace and a 6. A “hard hand” either does not contain an Ace or the Ace can only be counted as 1 to avoid busting.


A “push” occurs when both the player and dealer have hands of the same value. In this case, you don’t win or lose, and your bet is returned.


To “bust” means to exceed a total of 21, automatically resulting in a loss.


A “blackjack” is the best hand in the game, consisting of an Ace and a 10-value card (10, Jack, Queen, King) dealt as the initial two cards. A blackjack usually pays 3:2.

Dealer’s Upcard

The “dealer’s upcard” is the one card dealt face-up to the dealer at the beginning of a round. Players base their strategies on the value of this card.


The “shoe” is the device that holds and dispenses the cards being dealt.


A “chip” is a token used to represent money. Players exchange cash for chips to place their bets.

By understanding these terms, players can navigate the game more effectively, making strategic decisions that enhance their chances of winning. Blackjack is a game of both chance and strategy, where knowledge is power. Whether you’re sitting down at a blackjack table in a casino or playing online, familiarity with these terms will make you a more confident and potentially successful player.