Your guide to the blackjack terms that you need to know – Part 2

If you’ve already taken the time to read part 1, you’ll now be familiar with some of the common blackjack terms that are used. At the end of our last look at these terms, we promised you a part 2 and here it is. Read on to carry on learning about the most common blackjack terminology that you need to master. Let´s take a look at some more terms in the second part of our guide to Blackjack terms.

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Guide to Blackjack Terms

House edge – Guide to Blackjack Terms 

This is a term that most blackjack players will be family with as it is the low house edge that makes the game so popular. It actually refers to a mathematical advantage that the casino has over the player. Expressed as a percentage, the house edge can vary depending upon the set of rules that are being followed.

When it comes to plating online, you’ll often see return to player (RTP) being mentioned. This is pretty much the same thing. Let’s say that you play at a physical table where the house edge is 1%. For every $100 you gamble you can expect to win $99 back. Likewise, if you play online where there is an RTP of 99% you can expect the same outcome.

The big point to take note of here is that the house edge and RTP only apply if you are playing perfect blackjack. That’s why it’s a must that you master basic blackjack strategy.

Insurance – Guide to Blackjack Terms

Insurance is a type of blackjack side bet. It’s only offered when the dealer’s up card is an ace. If you want to take advantage of the insurance offer then you need to place a second bet that’s worth half of your original one.

If the dealer then reveals that their second card is a 10, giving them a blackjack, then you get paid out on your half bet. The odds of the payout are 2:1.

Natural – Guide to Blackjack Terms

This means exactly the same as blackjack. It is a term used in the American game and rarely if ever, comes across while playing European variants.

Paint – Guide to Blackjack Terms

This is another term that is used to refer to face cards, so jacks, queens and kings. It is used because of the colors that are used on the cards.

Pair – Guide to Blackjack Terms

This is when you’re dealt 2 cards that are the same value as your starting hand. While the likes of 5-5 and 8-8 are obviously pairs, others may not be quite so clear. It’s worth remembering that any face cards paired with a 10 are also a pair as the face cards have the same value.

Pat hand – Guide to Blackjack Terms

This is a hand that’s worth 17 or more. Given the value of the hand, the expectation is that a player will stand.


When playing American blackjack, the dealer is allowed to check their hole card if their up card is an ace. They check to see if they have a 10, which would make a blackjack. The idea is to keep this a secret from the players and so it’s known as peeking.


This is an important blackjack term that refers to card counting. It describes how far into a shoe a dealer will deal before shuffling again. Let’s say that you’re playing an 8-deck shoe and that the dealer shuffles after 6.5 decks. In this instance, there is 6.5/8, or 81%, penetration.

This term is especially important for card counters. That’s because, as the end of the shoe is reached and there are fewer cards to deal, there is less uncertainty and luck involved.

Perfect pair 

This is another blackjack side bet. It offers fixed odds payouts that go as high as 30/1. This payout applies if you’re dealt a starting hand that contains a mixed, same color or identical pair.


This is how players of blackjack refer to a draw or a tie. It’s when your hand is the same as the dealer’s, meaning that there isn’t a winner.


These refer to re-splitting of aces allowed and no re-splitting of aces allowed. Let’s say that you’ve been dealt a pair of aces and you’ve split them, it could well be that you’re then dealt another ace. With RSA, you’d be able to split again if you wanted to.


This refers to part of the blackjack rules that specify how the dealer must play their hand. It means that the dealer stands on sift 17. That means that if the dealer’s hand is worth 16 or less then they have to hit. If they have 17 or more then they have to stand. S17 favours players over H17 as the house edge is just 0.2%.


When playing at a live blackjack table, the shoe is a plastic or metal container that the decks of cards. You’ll find that the shoe is always positioned to the left of the dealer.


This blackjack term can also be found in other games that involve the use of cards. It is the act of mixing up the cards so that the order becomes random. It can be done by the dealer or by using an automatic shuffling machine or a continuous shuffling machine. If you’re playing video blackjack online, it’s the random number generator (RNG) that is responsible for shuffling.

Soft hand

This is a hand that includes an ace. The ace can be counted as either 1 or 11.


If you’re dealt a pair of cards, you may be able to split them. When this happens each card then becomes the first in a new hand. This means that you’re then playing 2 hands. To do this, you’ll also have to place another bet to cover the additional hand.


This is when you’re happy with your hand and you don’t want any other cards.


Some blackjack tables have a rule that allows you to forfeit your starting hand and receive back half of your bet. There are early and late surrenders. Early surrender even allows you to surrender if the dealer is dealt a blackjack (when the dealer can peek). 

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Guide to Blackjack terms