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Terminology

There are plenty of buzzwords and acronyms for the game of blackjack and if you are serious about playing blackjack, I recommend that you become familiar with the following terminology.

Action: This is a general gambling term which refers to the total amount of money bet in a specific period of time. Ten bets of 15 dollars each is $150 of action.

Burn Card: A single card taken from the top of the deck or the first card in a shoe which the dealer slides across the table from his/her left to the right, and is placed into the discard tray. The card may or may not be shown face up (which can affect the count if you are counting cards). A card is burned after each shuffle.

Basic Strategy: A playing system that provides the long-run, optimal way to play, based on the players cards and the dealers exposed cards.

Cut Card: A solid colored card, typically a piece of plastic which is given to a player by the dealer for the purpose of cutting the deck(s) after a shuffle.

Hole Card: Any face down card. The definition most often refers to the dealer's single face down card however.

Shoe: A device that can hold up to eight decks of cards which allows the dealer to slide out the cards one at a time.

Hard Hand: A hand in which any Ace is counted as a 1 and not as an 11, or a hand without an Ace. Example: If your hand consists of an Ace, 7, and a 9, you have a hard 17.

Soft Hand: A hand in which any Ace is counted as an 11 and not as a 1. Example: If your hand consists of an Ace and a 6, you have a soft 17.

Pat Hand: A hand with a total of 17 to 21.

Stand: To decline another card.

Hit: To request another card.

Bust: When a hand's value exceeds 21....a losing hand.

Push: A tie between the player and the dealer.

Surrender: A casino rule which allows a player to discontinue play after receiving the 1st two cards by losing half of the amount wagered.

Pair: When a player's first two cards are numerically identical (ie, 8,8).

Anchor or 3rd Base: The last player to the dealers right at the blackjack table.

1st Base: The first player on the dealers left at the start of each hand.

Counter: Someone who counts cards.

Point Count: The net value of the card count at the end of a hand. (A card counting term.)

Running Count: The count from the beginning of the deck or shoe. The running count is updated by the value of the point count after each hand. (A card counting term.)

True Count: The running count adjusted to account for the number of cards left in the deck or shoe to be played. (A card counting term.)

Rich Deck: A partial deck that has a disproportionately high percentage of face cards and aces.

Bankroll: The available money a player plans to bet with.

Unit: The dollar amount of a basic bet; one chip.

Flat Bet: A bet which you do not vary ie, if you are flat betting five dollars, you are betting $5 each and every hand without changing the betting amount from one hand to the next.

Black Chip: A $100 chip.

Green Chip: A $25.00 chip.

Red Chip: A $5.00 chip.

Foreign Chip: A chip that is issued by one casino and is honored by another as cash. A casino is not necessarily obligated to accept them although many in Las Vegas do.

Settlement: The resolving of the bet. Either the dealer takes your chips, pays you, or in the case of a push, no exchange of chips occurs.

Toke: To "toke" the dealer is just another word for tipping the dealer.

Marker: An IOU. A line of credit provided by the casino to a player.

Junket: An organized group of gamblers that travel to a casino together. Junkets are usually subsidized by a casino to attract players.

Comp: Short for complimentary. Based on the amount of money you play at a table, the casino (hotel) may give you things like a free room or free food, etc.

Shuffle Up: Prematurely shuffling the cards to harass a player who is usually suspected of being a counter.

Pit: The area inside a group of gaming tables. The tables are arranged in an elliptical manner, the space inside the perimeter is the pit.

Pit Boss: An employee of the casino whose job is to supervise BlackJack players, dealers, and other floor personnel.

House: The Casino.

Cage: Short for cashier's cage. This is where chips are redeemed for cash, checks cashed, credit arranged, etc.

House Percentage: The casino's advantage in a particular game of chance.

Drop Percentage: That portion of the player's money that the casino will win because of the house percentage. It is a measure of the amount of a player's initial stake that he or she will eventually lose. On average this number is around 20 percent.

Head-On: To play alone at a BlackJack table with the dealer.

High Roller: A big money bettor.

Grinder: A small money bettor.

Mechanic: Someone who is elite in regards to manipulating cards, typically for illicit purposes.

Shill: A house employee who bets money and pretends to be a player to attract customers. Shills typically follow the same rules as the dealer which makes them somewhat easy to spot (ie, they don't Double Down or Split).