21 - The optimal score in most forms of blackjack. Also, the common name for traditional blackjack games.
Anchor - Seat on the dealer’s immediate right, and it’s usually the last seat that gets filled.
Blackjack - The amount of money that a person has available to play blackjack with.
Basic Strategy - Standard blackjack strategy that’s seen fit by the casino; can be used to lower the house edge to 0.5% in a six-deck game of 21.
Bust - When a player’s point total exceeded 21. A player loses the hand when they bust.
Card Counting - Keeping tabs on cards that have already been dealt to gain an advantage over the house. When a large number of high cards are still left in the deck, card counters bet more. This practice is looked down upon by casinos because it takes their house advantage away when used successfully.
Card Sharp - Either used to describe a blackjack expert, or a blackjack player who cheats to wi
Dealer - The person who deals cards to each player, and determines winning and losing hands. The goal of blackjack is to beat the dealer’s hand.
Double Down - Doubling an original bet because you are fairly confident that your hand will win. After doubling down, you will only receive one more card.
Draw (Hit) - Asking the dealer for another card to improve your hand.
Early Surrender - Some casinos allow this rule, which enables you to surrender your bet before a dealer checks to see if they have a blackjack.
First Base - Seat to the dealer’s immediate left; this is the first seat to receive a hand.
Hard Total - A hand with an ace that’s only worth 1. This is the opposite of a soft total.
Hit - The same as drawing, or asking for another card to improve your hand.
Hole Card - The face-down card that the dealer gets.
Insurance Bet - This is a wager made on whether or not the dealer has a natural blackjack when their face-up card is an ace. Assuming the dealer has a natural blackjack, the insurance bet is paid at 2:1; if the dealer doesn’t have a natural blackjack, you lose the bet.
Late Surrender - Rule where players can surrender after seeing the dealer’s hole card; only allowed when the dealer doesn’t have a blackjack.
Natural Blackjack - If you are dealt a 21 right away, this is called a “natural blackjack,” and you are either paid 3:2 or 6:5 (depending on the game’s rules).
Push - Otherwise known as a tie between the player and dealer. In the event of a push, the player is given back their original wager and nothing else.
Shoe - Box used to hold the blackjack deck(s) that’s being dealt.
Shuffle - Either the dealer or a machine shuffles the cards to promote randomness in the deals.
Soft Total - Hand where the ace is counted as 11 points, but could be changed to 1 to prevent a player from going over 21.
Split - The act of splitting two cards of equal value (i.e. 8’s) to form two separate hands. A new bet must be placed on the second hand when splitting.
Spooking - Cheating method where a person stands behind the dealer to see their hold card, then relays the hole card value to a player through signals.
Stand - Keeping your current hand total intact by not drawing for any more cards.
Tells - Trained blackjack players can spot dealer tells that give away their hole card range.
Tilt - When a player starts making poor plays while trying to recoup losses from a bad losing streak.
Upcard - The one dealer card that’s exposed in blackjack. Also, all of the players’ cards are upcards because they are exposed.