Blackjack Dictionary: All Important Blackjack Words, Terms and Phrases Explained

Joe A.
30th August, 2020

If you are a newcomer to the game of blackjack you might feel at times that you need a dictionary to understand all the special words, terms and phrases uttered during this exciting casino game. Understanding a new game can always be challenging, although blackjack is actually a very easy game to learn, and that includes understanding all the vocabulary used by both players and dealers.

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Popular casino game

Blackjack is known across the world as one of the most popular casino games of all time and is a beloved pastime of many gamblers. For a select group of people who mastered blackjack skills and techniques such as card counting it is even possible to beat the house on the long-run – something which is rather unique in the world of casinos where the house normally always commands an advantage.

Although the game is easy to understand and playing is not difficult, knowing some blackjack terms is very useful while playing. We’ve put together a list of terms so you can better understand the game. Especially when you are planning to play at a land-based casino – or want to opt for a live blackjack game at an online casino – knowing these blackjack terms and phrases is certainly useful. We put them below in alphabetical order from A to Z.

blackjack dictionary

A game of blackjack in a casino. ©Screenshot

Blackjack dictionary

– Blackjack: A two-card hand containing an ace and ten – with a total of 21 points. This bet usually pays out 3 to 2, but many casinos also offer a payout of 6 to 5. It is the best hand you can get in blackjack!

– Box: The area on the table in front of the player where bets are placed.

– Bust: When you go over a total of 21 this is called a ‘bust’ or ‘going bust’. You automatically lose your hand and bet.

– Count: A count is a rolling number that you keep track off in your head to determine whether it is beneficial to increase your bet, asking for another card, or whether you might be better off to stand. Card counting is a way to increase the odds of winning and even beat the house. It is one of the few strategies that really works in the casino.

– Double Down: The Double Down option is to double the bet. It depends on the blackjack variant you play whether or not you can double. In some games it is possible to double with a total of 9, 10 or 11, while for example Double Exposure Blackjack it is allowed to double the bet with whatever total.

– Hard Hand: A hard hand does not contain an ace, which means that the hand can only have one value. It is also the case that you call it a hard hand if the ace counts as 1 and cannot be used as 11 because otherwise you will go over 21. For example, a hand with a king and 9 is a hard hand. The opposite of a hard hand is a soft hand.

– Hit: The Hit option means you take an extra card. After receiving your initial two cards you can use this option.

– Hole Card: In many blackjack variants, the dealer has one card face up (and thus visible to you) and one card face down. The card which is not visible for you is known as the Hole Card.

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– Insurance:
An Insurance is a bet/wager which basically buys you an insurance policy during the play. We do not recommend insuring your hand unless you can count cards and know that the remaining cards within the deck are mostly disadvantageous high cards. The insurance bet comes with a high house edge and is generally unfavourable for the players. If you are playing for fun and want to take more risk then you can of course to take out insurance. In the short term it does not have much effect on profit or loss. But if you are a seasoned blackjack player or planning to become one, you are better off not dealing with insurance in most cases.

– Perfect Pair: The Perfect Pair is a side bet on blackjack. You will be paid extra money for similar cards if you have wagered money on this option. If the cards are of the same suit, you will receive a higher payout.

– Resplit: Re-splitting cards is splitting cards for a second time after you have already split before with the same cards. Not all blackjack variants allow you to split again after an initial split.

– Shoe: The shoe is a slipper from which the cards are dealt by the blackjack dealer. When multiple decks (up to 8) are used, dealers use such a shoe to place the cards in.

– Soft Hand: A Soft Hand contains an Ace that counts as 11, which means you can safely take another card as you cannot go bust. For example, a hand containing an ace and a 4 is a soft hand. If you hit and get a 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 – you will improve your hand (a 6 will mean you will have a score of 21, 11+4+6). But even if you get a higher card – let’s say a jack – you will not go bust as in this case the ace will revert to a score of 1 instead of 11 (1+4+10 = 15).

– Split: Splitting of cards if you have two cards of the same rank. You are basically creating two hands out of your original one hand. For the newly created hand, you need to place another bet on the table – which must be the same value of your original bet. For example, if you have two aces you can split them into two hands – which is a very beneficial move as you now have two chances to get a natural blackjack (21).

– Stand: One of the most common options in blackjack is to stand. When you are happy with your hand you can opt to stand and will no longer receive any cards. You just wait for the showdown with the dealer’s cards to see who has the better hand.

– Surrender: In some cases it is better that you take back half of your bet and give up the hand. This is called surrendering your hand and could be a safe way out of a very bad hand versus a promising open card of the dealer. For example, if you have a total of 16 and the dealer has a ten as his open card.

blackjack dictionary

Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games in the world.


Now that you are more familiar with some blackjack terms, you can visit an online casino site and try blackjack for free or start betting some real money. As a new player, you often receive a free welcome bonus when you first register at an online casino and deposit money to your online bankroll. Check out our list of recommended online casinos and start playing now!

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