Your guide to the blackjack terms that you need to know – Part 1

When it comes to playing blackjack, you’re going to come across terms that you just won’t find with any other casino games. While learning every possible one may be a bit of a nightmare, you certainly need to get to grips with the basics before you start to play for real money.
There are blackjack terms that crop up at the table itself but then there are others that seem to be buried within the rules. The more of these that you understand the better. Let’s take a look in our Blackjack Terms Guide. 

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Blackjack Terms Guide

Basic strategy – Blackjack Terms Guide

This is something that we make plenty of reference to across our articles. In essence, basic black strategy is a set of recommendations. It tells players what the best move is when looking at their starting hand and the dealer’s up card. When you’re looking to take advantage of the low-house edge that blackjack has to offer, you can only truly do this by using basic strategy.

Blackjack – Blackjack Terms Guide

Of course, blackjack is the name of the game but it also has another meaning. It is used to refer to a starting hand that makes up 21. This means that it includes an ace and any card that’s worth 10. This is the best possible hand and leads to you beating the dealer. The only exception here is if the dealer also has 21 and then the hand is a push.

Bust – Blackjack Terms Guide

This is when a hand goes beyond 21. If a player goes bust then they have lost their hand. At this point, the dealer’s hand becomes irrelevant. If it’s the dealer that goes bust then the remaining players win.

Chips – Blackjack Terms Guide

Made from plastic, a type of clay or ceramic, chips are what are used in land-based casinos to represent cash. You will find that each denomination has its own color scheme and that the name of the casino, as well as the value, will be printed on each side.

Continuous shuffle machine (CSM) – Blackjack Terms Guide

When you playing a game of blackjack that has multiple decks, a CSM is often used to ensure that the pace of play isn’t affected. The machine will automatically shuffle cards that have been discarded and place them back in the shoe at random. This allows players to enjoy more hands per hour, and it also boosts revenue for the casinos.

Cut card – Blackjack Terms Guide

A blank plastic card, usually red, is used when playing live blackjack. It is used to cut the deck between the shuffle and the deal. Using the card means that the dealer has a clear indication of when it’s time to shuffle again. 


These stand for double after split and no double after split. If you’ve split a pair of cards, depending on their value, you may want to double down. seeing DAS or NDAS lets you know if that’s an option.

Double down

Practically all blackjack tables will offer you the chance to double your bet and be dealt just one more card. You need to check the blackjack rules of the table as some will allow you to double down on any starting hand while others may restrict you.

Even money 

This allows a player the chance to take a guaranteed 1:1 payout. If you don’t take this and continue to play, and win, you can expect to be paid 3:2 (or, as is becoming increasingly common, 6:5). When looking at if even money is worth accepting, it’s worth noting that the outcomes and the mathematics are identical to insurance.

Face cards

This refers to cards in the deck that feature a face on them. That means jacks, queens and kings. Face cards can also refer to any card that’s worth 10.

First base

You may well recognise this term from baseball as that is indeed where it originates from. In blackjack, it refers to the seat that is to the immediate left of the dealer. The player sitting here is the first to receive their cards and the first to act.

Flat bet

This is a betting strategy that is commonly used by blackjack players. It sees them making the same-sized wager on every hand regardless of whether they win or lose. 


This means that the dealer has on soft 17. This is an important rule to be aware of as it tells you what a dealer must do. The table itself will usually tell you if the rules are H17 or S17. The latter means that the dealer stands on soft 17. 

Hard hand

Hard hand refers to any hand where there isn’t an ace. It can also be used to refer to one where there is an ace but it’s being used as a 1. An example would be if you were dealt 9-8, this would be hard 17. However, being dealt ace-6 is soft 17 as this could be valued as either 7 or 17 depending on how the ace is being used.


This is when you take another card from the dealer. The value of that card is added to the total that you already have. if you’re playing live blackjack, rather than say hit, you’ll usually find that players tap the table.

Hole card

When playing American blackjack, the dealer has both cards from their starting hand. One of these cards will be face up and the other will be face down. The card that is faced down has its value hidden and is known as the hole card. European blackjack differs as there is no hole card. Instead, after all, players have taken their turn, the dealer’s second card is dealt face up. 

Ready for part 2?

With so many of these terms to get to grips with, we thought it best to split this article into 2 parts. When you’ve studied the ones that we’ve just covered, it’s time to move on to part 2 and discover the remains terms that you’ll need to know. 

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Blackjack Terms Guide