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Ben Horlock

Blackjack terms are a key part of understanding one of the most popular casino games. There are plenty for us to get through, but luckily, they are pretty easy to understand.

So, to explain blackjack terms properly and ensure you have your base of information firmly cemented, we take a brief look at the short descriptions of some of these terms and then get into the finer details of these blackjack terms and meanings.

What Are Blackjack Terms?

Blackjack is the second most popular casino game for players across the world visiting online gambling sites. The point of the game is to try to get as close to 21 as possible with the cards that you are dealt without going over it. If you have a better hand than the dealer, you win the round.

There are obviously more nuances to the game, which is why we need to discuss the various blackjack betting terms that you need to know so that you fully understand how the game works. Slang like ‘early surrender’, ‘soft total’ and ‘flat bet’ can all be heard at a no ID verification casino, and here are some more to help make things clearer.

blackjack terms games list

A Glossary of Blackjack Terms

If you want to actually play blackjack and try to win at some of the top casino apps, you will need to understand a decent amount of the blackjack terminology. There are also a couple of blackjack slang terms that you should get to know as well but hey, that’s what we are here for. Let’s get into some of the more prominent terms in blackjack.

  • Basic Strategy: It’s the mathematically optimal way to play blackjack based on the player’s hand and the dealer’s up card.
  • Blackjack: The best hand in the game, consisting of an Ace and a 10-value card.
  • Burn Card: The first card dealt face down and discarded before dealing in a blackjack game.
  • Bust: This is when the player goes over 21 and loses the hand.
  • Cut Card: A plastic card that’s inserted into the deck to indicate when it’s time to reshuffle.
  • Dealer: The person or software for online casinos that deals the cards.
  • Double Deck: A blackjack game that uses two decks of cards.
  • Double Down: Doubling the value of the bet and getting another card.
  • Face Cards: These are cards that are either Jacks, Queens, or Kings and are valued at 10 points each.
  • Five-Card Charlie: A “Five-Card Charlie” is a rare blackjack hand where the player draws five cards without busting.
  • Fourth Street: “Fourth Street” refers to the fourth card dealt in a blackjack hand.
  • Hard Hand: A hand without an Ace or a hand where the Ace must be counted as one to avoid busting.
  • Hit: Ask for another card to try and improve the hand’s value.
  • Hole Card: The dealer’s facedown card in blackjack.
  • House Edge: the advantage casinos have over the player.
  • Insurance: if the dealer has an ace, insurance can protect the player against the dealer potentially getting a blackjack.
  • Multi-Deck: A blackjack game that uses more than two decks of cards.
  • Natural: A “natural” in blackjack is a two-card hand totaling 21 points, consisting of an ace and a ten-value card, representing the strongest hand and often resulting in a higher payout.
  • Push: When the player and dealer have the same hand total, resulting in a tie and the return of the player’s bet.
  • Shoe: A device used to hold and dispense multiple decks of cards in blackjack.
  • Shoe Game: A blackjack game where cards are dealt from a shoe.
  • Side Bet: These are bets that a player can place on the side on specific outcomes like specific pairs showing up.
  • Single Deck: A blackjack game that uses only one deck of cards.
  • Split: When you get two of the same card, you can split them and run two separate hands against the dealer.
  • Soft Hand: A hand containing an Ace that can be counted as either one or 11, depending on the situation.
  • Stand: Decide to stay with the hand already dealt.
  • Surrender: Give up before the hand ends to recoup half of the player’s initial bet.
  • Up Card: The dealer’s face-up card is in blackjack.

Blackjack Terminology Explained

There are a number of different blackjack terms and phrases that you will encounter when you start playing. Plus, a couple will pop up more regularly, which is why we wanted to touch on them in a little more detail to make sure you understand them before you get cracking.

Basic Strategy

A basic strategy in blackjack is when you follow simple mathematics procedures with the information you have in front of you. There are charts that you can check out that will help you to understand how to implement the basic strategy based on what you have been dealt with and what the dealer’s up card is.


In blackjack, a “blackjack” is when the player is dealt a hand made up of a face card and an Ace, which adds up to 21. If you are dealt this combination of cards, it is an automatic win, irrespective of what the dealer is dealt.

blackjack terms blackjack

Burn Card

The burn card in blackjack is the first card dealt face down which is then discarded before the round starts. Burning a card helps prevent the player from gaining any advantage by tracking the order of cards in the shoe. The burn card is typically removed from play without being revealed at the table.


With our blackjack terms list, to bust is something you need to understand. When a player busts, it means that their hand total has gone over 21. If you go over 21, you immediately lose the round. This means you don’t wait for the dealer to see if they also bust.

Cut Card

A cut card in blackjack is a plastic card inserted into the deck by the dealer to indicate when it’s time to reshuffle. When the cut card is reached during the dealing process, the current round is completed, and the cards are reshuffled. The cut card helps ensure fairness by preventing players from predicting when the deck will be reshuffled. The cut card is made clearly visible by a live dealer at the best online blackjack instant payout casinos to ensure maximum transparency.


The dealer is the person who is running the show with a game of blackjack. They are dealing you your cards, taking the bets, enforcing rules and regulations, and more. If you are playing online, especially with live blackjack, there are dealers who are performing the same role that they would at brick-and-mortar establishments.

Double Deck

A double-deck blackjack game uses two decks of cards. Double-deck games have a slightly higher house edge compared to single-deck games but still offer better odds than games played with multiple decks. The use of only two decks makes card counting more challenging but not impossible. Plus, casinos most often use shoes to make sure there are multiple decks in circulation.

Double Down

Double down is a strategic move in blackjack in which a player doubles the original bet after receiving the first two cards and agrees to take one additional card. Players usually choose this option when they believe that one extra card will give them a strong chance of beating the dealer’s hand.

blackjack terms double down

Face Cards

Face cards in blackjack refer to the Jacks, Queens, and Kings in the deck, each of which has a value of ten points. In blackjack, face cards can play a big role in landing you a 21-valued hand. When combined with an Ace, a face card can form a natural (which we will touch on later) blackjack, the strongest hand in the game. Plus, when players are dealt face cards, they have a higher probability of reaching a hand total close to 21 without busting.

Five-Card Charlie

A “Five-Card Charlie” is a rare and advantageous hand in blackjack where the player manages to draw a total of five cards without going over 21. This hand automatically wins against any dealer’s hand except for a natural blackjack.

Achieving a Five-Card Charlie demonstrates a high level of skill and strategy as the player must carefully manage their hand to avoid busting while maximizing the potential value. Plus, the significance of a Five-Card Charlie lies in its rarity and the favorable odds it provides, offering players an additional avenue for success in the game beyond the traditional outcomes of winning, losing, or pushing.

Fourth Street

In blackjack, “Fourth Street” is a term used to describe the fourth card dealt in a hand. The first two cards are dealt face down to the player, the dealer’s first card is dealt face up, and then the player makes their initial decisions. The fourth card dealt, whether to the player or the dealer, is referred to as Fourth Street.

From here, players have information available to them to decide whether they want to couture by hitting or remain with what they have by standing.

Hard Hand

A hard hand in blackjack is a hand that either does not contain an ace or contains an ace that must be counted as one to avoid busting. Unlike soft hands, hard hands are not as flexible as the ace can only keep you from busting if it is counted as one and not 11. For example, a hand with an ace, a six, and a ten is considered a hard 17.


To hit in blackjack is to ask for an extra card from the dealer with the goal of bettering the total value of your hand. Players typically hit when they have a relatively low hand total to try and get themselves closer to 21 without busting.

Hole Card

The hole card in blackjack is the dealer’s facedown card, which is typically dealt to them before you make any decisions about your hand. The hole card remains hidden until the dealer shows it after all players have acted on their hands.

House Edge

The house edge in blackjack is the statistical advantage the casino holds over the players in a game. It represents the percentage of each wager that the casino expects to retain as profit over the long term. The house edge varies depending on factors such as the specific rules of the game and the player’s adherence to optimal strategy.


In blackjack, insurance is a side bet offered when the dealer’s face-up card is an Ace. You can place a separate insurance bet, up to half of your original bet, to protect yourself against the possibility of the dealer having a blackjack. If the dealer does have a blackjack, the insurance bet pays out at 2:1, which basically just covers your initial bet that you would have lost. Here is a detailed guide on what insurance is in blackjack.

blackjack terms insurance


A multi-deck blackjack game employs more than two decks of cards, typically six to eight decks. As we mentioned, multi-deck games are the most common variant found in modern casinos. While the increased number of decks makes card counting more difficult, multi-deck games offer higher house edges compared to single or double-deck games, which is not ideal for you, the player.


In blackjack, a “natural” refers to a two-card hand that totals exactly 21 points. This hand consists of an ace and a ten-value card (i.e., a 10, Jack, Queen, or King). A natural is also commonly referred to as a “blackjack.”

When a player is dealt a natural, it is the strongest hand in the game, automatically beating any other hand totaling 21 that wasn’t formed by just two cards. Plus, in some casinos a natural pays out at higher odds than a regular win, often at a ratio of 3:2.


One of the more common blackjack terms, a push, occurs when you and the dealer have the same hand total. In this situation, neither you nor the dealer wins, and your original bet is returned. Pushes are essentially ties and do not result in any loss or gain for the player.


It is a device used to hold and dispense multiple decks of cards, which allows for faster and more efficient dealing, especially in games with more players. Plus, the shoe ensures that the cards being dealt are randomized properly to avoid players being able to count cards.

Shoe Game

A shoe game in blackjack refers to a game where cards are dealt from a shoe containing multiple decks, as we just touched on. Most land-based casinos will use these shoes. The best online casinos, on the other hand, already use RNG (random number generators), so the cards could not be more randomly dealt if you tried.

blackjack terms shoe

Side Bet

A side bet in blackjack is where you place an additional, mostly smaller, bet on the side of your original bet on specific outcomes in the round. Side bets offer you the opportunity to win extra money over and above the standard blackjack payouts, but they do come with higher house edges. Common side bets at the fast payout online casinos usually include betting on pairs, the number of cards in a player’s hand, or the dealer’s up card.

Single Deck

A single-deck blackjack game is just one that uses only one deck of cards. It is that simple. While there is a lower house edge with a single-deck game of blackjack, they are few and far between as single-deck games leave the casino vulnerable to card counters.


When you split in blackjack, you divide a pair of cards into two separate hands, each with its own bet. This option is available when your first two cards are of the same rank. Once split, you play each of these hands against the dealer.

Players usually split lower numbers and often want to avoid splitting face cards. Playing at the best crypto casino sites allow you to wager big on such splits as the crypto sites usually have higher wagering limits.

blackjack terms splitting pairs

Soft Hand

A soft hand in blackjack is just when you have an ace that is valued at 11 in this instance. Soft hands offer you flexibility since the ace can be counted as either one or 11 without causing your hand to bust.


As far as blackjack sayings go, standing in blackjack means declining any extra cards and playing the hand with your current total. You will choose to stand when you are happy with your hand total or if you think an extra card will almost certainly push you over 21.


Surrendering is one of the many blackjack strategies, where you are able to quit your hand prematurely and recoup half of your original bet. This option is usually chosen when you believe your hand is weak and unlikely to beat the dealer’s hand. Surrendering is useful when you think your hand is doomed and you want to mitigate some of your losses.

Up Card

On the other side of things, the up card is the one card that you can see that the dealer is holding at the start of a round. This is the card that you need to base your own initial decisions on, whether you hit or stand. Once you have finished deciding, only then is the hole card revealed.

Blackjack Terms: Questions And Answers

When it comes to blackjack terms and rules, there are many that you need to familiarize yourself with. Plus, despite there being a bunch of blackjack terms to know, they are easy to grasp. Let’s also look at a few questions that gaming fans who are looking to start playing blackjack usually ask before they get started,

Why are blackjack terms important?

What is the 21 term in blackjack?

What is the term blackjack?

What is a shoe in blackjack?

What is the 17 rule in blackjack?



Ben Horlock

Ben is an experienced news and features writer who specializes in providing expert guides on all aspects of online and in-person gambling. Ben has over ten years experience writing for web-based audiences and has strong expertise in casinos, online cryptocurrency gambling platforms as well as slots and table games. Ben has been published across a number of english international news outlets, including InstantCasinos and BitcoinCasino. As well, Ben has worked in social media for four years in the sports gambling industry.