Blackjack Dictionary


A: (abbrev). Ace.

AC: (abbrev). Atlantic City.

Ace side count: (n). A side count of only Aces that is kept in addition to the main count when counting cards.

Ace Neutral Count: (n). A counting system which does not assign a value to aces.

Ace rich: (adj.). When there are more Aces in the deck than a random probability would dictate.

Action: (n). 1. A bet 2. A large amount of betting.

Advantage: (n). The theoretical expected rate of win or loss, usually given as a percentage of total money put into action.


Back Counting: (v). Counting cards while watching a table but not playing.

Balanced Count: (n). Any counting system which has an exact balance between plus cards and minus cards. A card counting system is balanced when the sum of the point values for the whole deck is equal to 0.

Bankroll: (n). The amount of money a player has to play with. Bankroll can refer to a "session bankroll" which is the amount of money a player has access to in a particular session or a "total bankroll" which includes all sources of money a player has access to.

Bar: (v). To ban a player from playing in a casino.

Basic Strategy: (n). A playing system that defines the optimum play for any player given the player's hand, the dealer's up card, and the rules of the game.

Beat the Dealer: (n). A book written by Ed Thorp that was the groundbreaking work in card counting.

Bet Spread: (phrase). The ratio between the amount of a player's minimum and maximum bets while counting cards. A 4-1 bet spread would mean the player's maximum bet is four times the size of his minimum bet. The spread can also be referred to as simply '4'.

Betting Efficiency: (n). A measure of how well the betting strategy used in a card counting system can exploit the profit potential of the system.

Big Player: (n). A key player on a card counting team. A counter at a table keeps track of the count and secretly signals the big player when the count is favorable enough for the big player to enter the game and make large bets.

BJ: (abbrev). Blackjack.

BJFB: (abbrev). Blackjack For Blood - a book by Bryce Carlson.

Black Chip: (n). A $100 chip.

BP: (abbrev). Big Player.

BR: (abbrev). Bankroll.

BS: (abbrev). Basic Strategy.

Burn card: (n). A card taken off the top of the deck at the beginning of a new deck or shoe that is placed with the cards in the discard pile or at the bottom of the deck.

Bust: (v). To go over 21.


Cage: (n). Where the cashier is located in a casino.

Camouflage: (n). Something a player does to hide that he is counting cards.

Card Counter: (n). A blackjack player who analyzes the probabilities of receiving certain cards in the future based on all of the cards that have been dealt already - and betting accordingly.

Checks: (n). Chips.

Cold: (adj). A bad run of cards.

Color Up: (adj). To exchange smaller denomination chips for larger denomination chips. This is sometimes done when a player leaves a table so he doesn't have as many chips to carry.

Comp: (n). Complimentary services or goods that are offered by the casino to reward or encourage play.

Counter: (n). A card counter.

Counting System: (n). A system which assigns values to the cards in order to calculate the probability of winning.

Cut Card: (n). A piece of plastic that is used to cut the deck after a shuffle in order to mark the last hand that will be dealt before another shuffle.


D'alembert: (n). A betting progression system where the bettor raises his bet one unit after each loss and lowers his bet one unit after each win.

DA/DA2: (abbrev.). "Double anything"/"double any 2". The ability to double down on any first two cards.

DAS: (abbrev). Double after split.

DD: (abbrev.). Double down.

Dealing Seconds: (phrase.). A method of cheating where the dealer deals the second card from the top of the deck.

Deck Penetration: (n). How deeply into the deck or shoe a dealer goes before shuffling. Penetration is sometimes expressed as the number of decks dealt out of the total (e.g. 5/6, which means 5 decks out of 6) or as percentage of decks dealt out (e.g. 66%, which would be 4 decks out of 6).

Device: (n). A computer or any other calculator that can be used by players to help them win.

Discards: (n). The cards which have already been used since the last shuffle. They are placed by the dealer in a discard tray on the left side of the table.

Double Only Any Two Cards: (phrase). A casino rule that allows a player to double down on any first two cards.

DOA: (abbrev). "Double on any" first two cards.

Double after Split : (n). A casino rule that allows a blackjack player to double down after splitting a pair.

Double Deck: (n). A blackjack game that uses two decks.

Double Down: (v or n). To double the size of one's initial bet before taking one (and only one) more card. He does this by placing the bet, which may be less than or equal to (but may not more than) the original bet, behind his initial bet. Usually, but not always, a player may only double down after receiving the first two cards. In some casinos the player may double down after splitting and in some casinos the player may only double on 10 or 11.

Double Exposure: (n). A blackjack game in which both dealer cards are shown to the player before he plays his hand. Since this gives the player an advantage, other house rules are usually changed to offset this advantage, such as players losing pushes and blackjacks are paid even money.

Downtown: (n). The downtown area of Las Vegas - as opposed to the Strip.

Draw: (v). To take another card.

Drop: (n). The total amount of money wagered in a casino. This is a metric used by a casino to measure how much customer activity there has been.

DS: (abbrev). Double after split.


Early Surrender: (n). An option where a player may give up ("surrender") the hand after receiving first two cards but before dealer checks for an Ace in the hole. If surrendered, only 50% of bet is lost, instead of entire sum. This rule is favorable to the player and therefore is not offered in most casinos.

Edge: (n). A term used to describe the percent advantage either the casino or the player has on a certain game.

End Play: (n). A situation when a blackjack dealer has reached the end of the deck and the player can now ascertain what the remaining unplayed cards are based on the ones already played.

ES: (abbrev). Early Surrender.

EV: (abbrev). Expected Value.

Even Money: (n). A bet which returns the same amount in winnings that was wagered.

Expectation: (n). The amount that a player or the house can statistically expect to win or lose on a given bet or game - usually expressed in percentage terms.

Expected Value: (n). The theoretical financial value of a blackjack move or hand.

Eye in the Sky: (n). A video camera, usually mounted in the ceiling of a casino, to observe and catch dealers or customers who are stealing or cheating.


Face Card: (n). Jacks, Queens, and Kings.

False Shuffle: (n). A "fake" shuffle that a cheating dealer pretends to do which preserves the current order of the cards.

First Base: (n). The player's seat that is furthest to the right at a blackjack table - and the first player to receive cards when the dealer deals.

Flat Betting: (v). To wager the same amount of money on each bet.

Fluctuations: (n). The variation in a player's bankroll.


Griffin: (n). Peter Griffin, blackjack author of Theory of Blackjack.

Griffin Book: (n). A series of books kept by Griffin Investigations that casinos use to identify suspected card counters. The "book" includes profiles and photographs.

Griffin Investigations: (n). An investigator firm hired by many casinos to identify cheaters and track card counters.


H17: (n). A rule that signifies that the dealer is required to hit a soft seventeen.

Hard Hand: (n). A hands where an ace is valued at 1.

Hard Total: (n). The total value of a hand where the Ace is counted as 1.

Heads Up: (phrase). Playing one-on-one against the dealer with no other players at the table.

Heat: (n). The pressure a casino puts on a player they suspect is counting cards.

Hi-Lo: (n). A counting system which values the 2 through 6 cards as a +1 and the tens, face cards, and aces as a -1.

Hi-Opt I: (n). A counting system included in The World's Greatest Blackjack Book which assigns the value of +1 to 3 through 6 and -1 to tens and face cards.

High Roller: (n). A player who makes large bets.

Hit: (v). To take another card.

Hole Card: (n). Of the two cards that is dealt to the dealer, the one that is dealt face down so the player can't see it.

Hot Deck: (n). A deck that is favorable to the player.

House Edge: (n). The percentage advantage a casino has over the player.


Index Number: (n). A number calculated by counters to identify the count in order to know when to deviate from strategy.

Insurance: (n). A rule that allows the player to place an additional wager if the dealer's up card is an ace. When you place an insurance wager, you are betting that the dealer has Blackjack. To make an insurance bet, place an amount, up to one half your original bet in the insurance spot when the dealer calls for insurance. If the dealer has Blackjack you are paid 2-to-1 on your insurance bet, but lose your original bet. If the dealer does not have Blackjack, you lose your insurance bet and the game continues. The insurance bet has a high house advantage.


Junket: (n). A group of gamblers that travel to a casino together. Junkets are usually paid for by a casino to attract players.


Kelly Betting: (n). A mathematical formula which calculates the optimal amount to bet.

Ken Uston: (n). Author of The Big Player.

Knock-Out Count: (n). A counting system featured in the book Knock-Out Blackjack which counts the 2 through 7 cards as +1 and the tens, face cards and aces as -1.


Labouchere: (n). A betting progression, which is also called "the cancellation system". A bettor chooses a series of two or more numbers which add up to the profit he intends to make. For example: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8. He then bets the total of the two outside numbers in the list (1 and 8). If he wins, he cancels those numbers off the list and then bets the two new outside numbers (2 and 7). If he wins again, he continues until he has bet all of the numbers. If he loses a bet, he adds the amount of his loss to his series as a single number. For example, if he lost the first bet (1 and 8) then he would add a 9 and the new series of numbers would be 1 through 10.

Late Surrender: (n). A blackjack rule which allows the player to forfeit half of his bet after seeing the dealer's up card, unless the dealer has a blackjack, in which case the player loses his entire bet.

Level: (n). A reference to the values assigned to cards in a card counting system. in a "level 1" system, such as Hi-Lo, the values assigned to the cards cannot exceed 1 (+1, 0, -1). In a "level 2" system the value of a card can be up to '2' (such as +2, +1, 0, -1, -2).

LV: (abbrev). Las Vegas.


Martingale: (n). One of the oldest betting progressions in existence. It requires a player to double the size of his bet after a loss and to continue doubling his bets until he wins, resulting in a profit equal to the size of the original bet.

Mechanic: (n). A dealer who cheats.

Money Management: (phrase). The system a player uses to manage their bankroll.

Money Plays: (phrase). A rule that says a player can bet dollar bills instead of chips.

Multiple Deck: (n). A game that uses more than one deck of cards.


Natural: (n). When an Ace and a 10 value card are dealt as the first two cards totaling 21 in value. This hand typically pays 3:2 odds and is also referred to as a Blackjack.

Nickel: (n). A $5 chip.

No Double after Split: (phrase). A casino rule that does not allow doubling down after the player has split two cards.



Paint: (n). The face cards - Jack, Queen and King.

Past Post: (phrase). To cheat by placing or adding to a wager after the cut-off time for betting has passed.

Pat Hand: (n). Any blackjack hand whose value is a hard 17 or greater and therefore would not require a hit.

Penetration: (n). How deeply into the deck or shoe a dealer goes before shuffling - usually expressed as a %.

Pit: (n). The area in the casino surrounded by table games.

Pit Boss: (n). Casino manager who checks and monitors all of the casino play within their designated pit area.

Playing Conditions: (n). The rules that a particular casino has imposed on their game of blackjack (No double after split, double down on only 10, 11 etc., table limits for betting, minimum bet and maximum bet).

Plus / Minus: (n). A generic label for a level 1 counting system, like Hi-Lo.

Point Count: (n). An older name for the running count.



Rat Holing: (v). When a player secretly sneaks a portion of his chips into their pocket in order to hide from the casino how much he's winning.

Rated: (adj). When a player asks the casino to track how much money he has wagered in order to receive comps.

Raw Count: (n). Another name for the running count.

RC: (abbrev). The acronym for Running Count.

Red Chip: (n). A $5 chip.

Resplit: (abbrev). Splitting a pair right after splitting a pair.

Resplit Aces: (v). The unlimited ability to re-split aces. Many casinos limit the number of times that a player can split aces.

RFB: (abbrev). Complimentary "Room, Food, and Beverage".

RGB: (abbrev). Rec.Gambling.Blackjack, a usenet newsgroup.

Rider Bet: (n). A bet made by a player (the "Rider") behind another player's bet.

Risk of Ruin: (n). The mathematical probability that a player will lose his whole bankroll.

RNG: (abbrev). Random-Number Generator.

ROR: (abbrev). 1. "Risk Of Ruin". 2. "Rate Of Return".

RSA: (abbrev). An abbreviation for "Resplit Aces".

Running Count: (n). The total number of points a card counting system assigns to the cards seen since the beginning of the deck or shoe.


S17: (abbrev). A casino rule which requires the dealer to stand on all soft 17s.

SD: (abbrev). 1. The acronym for "Single Deck". 2. The acronym for "Standard Deviation".

Session: (n). The time you spent at a table.

Shill: (n). A casino employee, whose usual purpose is to be a "starter" in casino games. The shill may play at otherwise empty tables in order to attract players. Shills are more popular in poker than blackjack.

Shoe Game: (n). A blackjack game where the dealer uses a shoe to deal the cards.

Shuffle Master: (n). A machine that does a "continuous shuffle" and allows the casino to have a game of blackjack where the cards are shuffled after every hand.

Shuffle Tracking: (v). A sophisticated technique where a player observes where groups of high or low cards are placed in the discard tray, follow them through the shuffle, and then cut the cards in such a way as to bring excess high cards into play.

Side Count: (n). An additional count to track certain cards. Common side counts include an ace side count, which is used in the High-Opt I system.

Soft Hand: (n). A hand that contains an Ace which is counted as 11 (e.g. Ace-8 is soft 19). If the Ace is later valued at 1, then the hand then becomes a "hard" hand.

Splitting Pairs: (phrase). To split two cards of the same value and play them as 2 separate hands.

Soft Double: (n). To double down on a hand with an ace as part of the original hand.

Splitting Aces: (v). Splitting a pair of Aces.

Stand: (v). The decision not to draw any further cards.

Standard Deviation: (n). A statistical measure of the variability of results. It is determined by finding the square root of the variance of a game.

Stiff Hand: (n). Any non-pat hand that could bust if you hit it. The stiff hands are hard totals of 12 through 16.

Stop Loss: (n). A self-imposed, pre-set limit to the amount of money a player is willing to lose in any given session.

Surrender: (n). A casino rule which allows a player to sacrifice half a bet without playing the hand.


Team Play: (n). A group of card counters using a group bankroll who all have separate roles in the card counting process (counting the cards, betting large, scouting other tables, watching for casino heat) and signal each other to let them know what to do.

Third Base: (n). The player seat at a blackjack table which is the farthest to the left. It is the last person to receive the cards during a round of play.

Thorp: (n). Author of Beat The Dealer - the seminal work in card counting.

Tie: (n). When the player and the dealer have the same hand total and the player keeps bet. Also called a "push".

Toke: (n). A player tip to the dealer.

True Count: (n). Dividing the running count by the number of decks left in the shoe.


Up Card: (n). The dealer's first dealt card, placed face up.

Unit: (n). A card counter's minimum bet. When a counter is spreading $10 to $100 and says he won 10 units, that means he won $100.

Unbalanced Count: (n). A counting system in which the number of plus and minus cards is not equal.


Var: (abbrev). "Variance".

Variance: (n). A statistical measure of the variability of the returns on a game.

Vig: (abbrev). The house advantage or fee on a game. In older times, it was used to describe the interest charged by loan sharks. It is short for "vigorish".


Wonging: (v). To back count the cards dealt at a particular table and then jumping in and playing at that table only when the count favors the player. Named after the poker author Stanford Wong.

Win Rate: (n). The theoretical speed at which one is expected to win at a game, commonly expressed as profit (percentage or in dollars) per hour or profit for a specified number of hands (usually 100 hands).

Whale: (n). A term used by casinos to refer to someone who bets very large amounts.


X: (n). 1. A symbol used to denote a card with a valued of 10. 2. A symbol used to denote a variable. For example, a bank roll of $x,xxx would be a bank greater than $1,000 but less than $10,000.



Zen Count: (n). A counting system described by Arnold Snyder in his book, Blackbelt in Blackjack. It assigns a value of +1 to the 2s, 3s and 7s, +2 to the 4s, 5s and 6s, -1 to the Aces and -2 to the ten valued cards.


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Blackjack Info - Dictionary

HPG ADMIN on March 1, 2013