Blackjack Dictionary


A: (abbrev). Ace

Ace side count: A side count of only Aces that is kept in addition to the main count when counting cards.

Ace Neutral Count: A counting system which does not assign a value to aces.

Ace Poor: A point where less aces than normal expectation would dictate have been dealt. The deck, pack or shoe is then considered to be ace poor.

Ace Reckoned Count: Any counting system which includes aces as a part of the main count. For example, hi-lo is an ace reckoned count, but Hi-Opt I is not.

Ace Rich: When there are more Aces in the deck than a random probability would dictate.

Action: 1. A bet 2. A large amount of betting.

Advanced Omega Ii System: A Level 2 card counting system described in Bryce Carlson’s book, Blackjack for Blood. It is a balanced count which assigns the values of plus one to 2s, 3s and 7s, plus two to 4s, 5s and 6s, minus one to 9s and minus two to ten valued cards.

Agent: A player working with a floorman or dealer to cheat a casino

Anchor / Anchorman: The player closest to the dealer’s right which is to receive the last card before the dealer. “I’ll be the anchorman or play third base”. If you are new to Blackjack you may want to avoid this position. Other players will sometimes blame the anchorman for giving the dealer an advantage by not hitting or standing in the same way they would. If you’re card counting, this is the best place to sit.

Advantage: A player’s theoretical expected rate of win or loss, usually given as a percentage of total money put into action.

Audition: A “try out” at a gaming table in a casino where a dealer must exhibit his or her dealing skill and sophistication to the management before being hired.


Back Counting: Counting cards while watching a table but not playing.

Balanced Count:  Any counting system which has an exact balance between plus cards and minus cards. A card counting system is balanced when the sum of the card point values for the whole deck is equal to 0.

Bank: This usually refers to the total amount of money a team of players and/or investors has set aside for blackjack play. It can also refer to a single player’s bankroll.

Bankroll: The amount of money a player has to play with. It can refer to a “total bankroll” which is used in the long-run or “session bankroll” which is the amount of money a player is prepared to bet in any individual session.

Bar: To ban a player from playing in a casino.

Barber Pole: A bet consisting of varying colors of chips. “Barber poles are to be broken down and paid color for color.” Dealers must make sure the smallest value chip is on the top to discourage “capping” of the bet.

Bet Sizing: A system of varying one’s bets according to the advantage that he has in a given situation.

Basic Strategy: A playing system defining the optimum play for any given situation which is based on the total of the player’s hand and the dealer’s up card.

Beat the Dealer: A book written by Ed Thorp that was the groundbreaking work in card counting.

Bet Spread: A reference to the spread between the amount of a player’s minimum bet and maximum bet while counting cards. A 1-4 spread would mean the player’s maximum bet is four times the size of the player’s minimum bet.Sometimes the spead would be referred to as simply “4”.

Betting Correlation: A term used to illustrate the efficiency of a counting system’s ability to inform the player when to increase or decrease his bet. It is usually expressed as a decimal, such as 0.95. This would mean that a count with a 0.95 betting correlation is correct 95% of the time in determining the proper bet size.

Betting Efficiency: A measure of how well the betting strategy can exploit the profit potential of a card counting system.

Betting Handle: The total amount of money that a player bets during a session or more extended period of time

Betting Limits: Establishes the minimum and maximum amounts that can be wagered on one bet.

Betting Ratio / Betting Spread: The range of bets which one makes while playing. If a player sizes his bets between one and ten units, then his betting spread is one to 10.

Betting True Count: The value of the true count, adjusted to reflect the number of aces, rich or poor.

Bettor: A customer who places wagers at any of the casino gaming tables.

Bib: The acronym for Blackbelt In Blackjack, book by Arnold Snyder

Big Player: Someone who plays with a team of counters. A counter at a table keeps track of the count and secretly signals the big player when the count is high enough for the big player to enter the game and make a large bet or series of bets.

BJ: (abbrev). Blackjack.

Black Chip: A $100 chip.

Blackjack: [1] Name of the game in which a player makes a bet, plays his cards and tries to get closer than the dealer to a count of 21, without going over. [2] To deal an ace and a ten-count card as the first two cards, also called a “Snapper” or “Natural.” Blackjack usually pays 3/2, meaning you win $3 for every $2 bet.

Blacks: $100 table checks. “I’ve been dealing to blacks all night.”

Bleed: To worry about a player winning on a gaming table

Bleeder: A person, usually a pit boss or a floorman who worries or gets upset if a player is winning.

Blow it: To lose a bet for the dealers. “I’ve blown every bet they’ve made for me tonight.”

Body Language: A set of non-verbal signals radiated by a dealer, which can be distinguished by the player; (i.e. a dealer standing at an empty table with his arms folded across his chest is telling the player that he doesn’t want to deal.) One reason some casino’s do not allow the dealer to look under a 10-value card for a Blackjack is that the dealer may inadvertently give information about the value of the hole card to an astute player (i.e. if the dealer looks at the hole card and then looks back again to double check, then the value of the hole card is probably a “4.”

Bonus: Large pay-off for a specific rare hand, as in paying 5-1 for 6-7-8 suited, provided by some casinos, temporarily as promotions, or permanently as part of house rules. Payoffs for bonuses are very high – but mostly do not affect significantly, if at all, the house advantage.

Book the Action: To accept a bet for play.

Box the Cards: Part of the shuffling procedure where portions of 5-12 cards are taken off the top of the deck and set down on the table in order to rearrange the deck. Also “box shuffle” and “strip the cards.”

Boxed Card: A card that is face-up in the deck as the rest of the cards are face down. It is usually treated as if it were non-existent in the sequence as the cards come out of the deck.

Break: [1] To have a final card total which exceeds 21. Also called “Bust” or “Go over”. [2] A period of time during his shift in which a dealer is not responsible for a table. Usually a period of 20-30 minutes during which a dealer may eat, smoke, use the restroom, etc.

Breaking Hand: A hand that will go over 21 with a one-card draw, such as 12, 13, 14, 15, or 16. Also called a “stiff hand.”

BP: (abbrev). Big Player.

BR: (abbrev). Bankroll.

BS: (abbrev). Basic Strategy.

Burn card: A card taken off the deck at the beginning of a new deck or shoe that is placed with the cards in the discard pile or at the bottom of the deck.

Bust: To go over 21 and lose the hand. You cannot go bust on the initial deal. If you go bust you always loose, even if the dealer ends up busted as well. When the dealer busts, all players who have a valid playing hand ( hand total not exceeding 21 ) automatically win. Also “Go over” or “break.” The fundamental advantage, which the casino has over the player in 21, arises from this fact.

Buzz: To hustle or ask for a bet for the dealer.


Cage: In a casino, where the cashier is located.

Call Bet: A bet made without money or chips. Must be approved by a floor person or pit boss. Usually allowed only for customers with casino credit already approved, or with money on deposit in the casino cage. This procedure is highly irregular and may be illegal in some states.

Call For Insurance: To announce that the dealer has an Ace showing and pause to allow the players make an insurance bet, then the dealer will check the hole card and if it is a 10-value card the hand is over and the bets and side bets are settled, if it is not, the side bets are collected and the play of the hand continues.

Camouflage: Something a player does to hide that he is counting cards.

Card Counter: A blackjack player who makes money by analyzing the probabilities and betting accordingly.

Card Counting: A method of keeping track of the cards by assigning a value to certain cards in the deck to determine if the remaining cards in a deck or shoe favor the player or the dealer. For example, the hi-lo counting system assigns a value of plus one to cards 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 and minus one to tens, jacks, queens, kings and aces.

Card Down: An announcement to the floor person that a card has gone off the table. A dealer never reaches down to pick up a card, as that would expose their tray to stealing.

Card Eating: Using up cards quickly. A player may spread to more than one hand to accomplish this. For example, if the count is low, a player may spread to two or three hands at a minimum bet to hasten the shuffle.

Casing the Layout : Taking a brief look at the bets on the table prior to starting to deal the cards. Take particular note of the bets on first and third base because they are the most likely to be pinched or capped. If a player has been betting every hand and is still present at the table but doesn’t have a bet in his circle, it is a dealer courtesy to bring his attention back to the table and confirm whether he desires to bet or not.

Check (Money) Down: An expression used by a dealer to inform the floor person that a chip has fallen on the floor, a situation, which requires his immediate attention.

Checks: Chips.

Chips: These are tokens that the Casino uses, in place of cash, to represent a certain monetary value for making bets. You buy chips at the table. You cash chips in at the Cashier’s Cage. Chips may bought in various denominations, $2, $5, etc. Players exchange cash for chips at the tables and then cash-in their chips at the cashier’s cage. Also “Checks”.

Chunking: When the dealer wins the bets of several or all of the players and collects the bets by just stacking them together in one hand, rather than collecting each bet separately, before returning the chips to the tray.

Circle: The place on the layout where the player must place his or bet for it to be valid. Also, “betting circle” or “square.”

Clean Money: Checks which the dealer hands out of the tray to pay a bet. “Dirty” money is checks from a losing players bet used to pay the bet of a winning player.

Cold: When a run of cards has been bad or will be bad.

Cold Twenty (Turkey): Two 10-value cards as a starting hand. “I would never split cold twenty against a nine showing.”

Color: Each denomination of chip has a distinctive color. The standard colors are: $1 -> blue or white; $5 -> red; $25 -> green; $100 -> black.

Color For Color: The proper pay-out procedure for a dealer to pay a stack of multi-colored chips. It is faster, has less chance of a mistake, and is easier to verify by the floor person or eye-in-the-sky.

Color Up: To exchange many smaller denomination chips for a few large denomination chips. This is done as a player is preparing to leave and he may have too many chips to handle.

Comp: Complimentary services and goods that are offered by the casino to encourage and reward play.

Convert : To break down the bet and then pay using higher denomination checks. (i.e. for a $45 dollar bet pay with two $25 checks and take one $5 check for change or for a $20 blackjack pay with two $25 checks and take the $20 dollar bet for change)

Cooler: Colloquial expression for the pack of pre-arranged cards (usually in 6- or 8-deck games) with which a cheating team, through collusion with pit crew members and especially the dealer, replaces the original casino cards, just before their insertion in the shoe. Extremely profitable for the cheaters if they can pull it off and a most serious felony for everyone involved.

Cop: Palming a chip off the top of a stack of chips (to cop a chip).

Count: 1. To put a value on each card other than face value and to keep a running total of that value as an aid in betting and playing the cards. 2. An inventory of the chips in a dealer’s tray usually at the end of the shift or when the drop boxes are changed.

Count Down: To put the chips in your tray into regulation size stacks (20 chips is a stack) so the floor person can count them without interfering with the play of the game.

Count Down the Deck: Systematically remembering what cards have been played so that you know what is left in the deck.

Counter: A card counter.

Counting System: A counting system which assigns values to the cards in order to calculate the probability of winning.

Coupon: Promotional material given for free by a casino in order to attract customers. Coupons entitle the player to certain amenities like free dinner for 2 or special (and favorable) rules at games like getting 2-1 payoff in case of a natural. Coupons are given to the player in order to entice him to the casino, while comps are given after he plays there.

Couponomy: The wise and most advantageous use of coupons, so that the player extracts maximum value from them. A term coined by Peter Griffin but which came of age through its use by Las Vegas Advisor publisher Anthony Curtis.

Cover: The use of various camouflage techniques to disguise the act of counting. It could include anything from the use of the wrong playing strategy or apparently improper bet sizing to very sophisticated maneuvers designed to fool casino personnel who may be attempting to discover whether or not a player is counting cards. Used by counters to disguise the fact that they are counters from casino personnel, such as “cover bet” and “cover plays”.

Cover Bet: A bet made by a “counter” in an attempt to mislead the floor person into believing the player is a novice.

Cover Play: To play a hand in such a way that you will mislead the floor person into believing you are not a counter when you are, in fact, counting.

Cover the Bet: To accept a bet for play. “Book the action”.

Cut: To divide a deck into two parts after the dealer shuffles the cards. Generally, this is done by a player. The dealer then takes the two parts and reverses them, front to back. In most casinos, the cut is made by inserting a plastic card known as the cut card into the deck or the pack.

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 and then is used by the dealer to mark the last hand to be dealt from the deck by placing it near the end of the deck in the shoe. When it comes out of the shoe, the dealer announces, “Last hand out of this shoe.”

Cut Checks: The process of using one hand to hold a stack of chips and break the stack into a series of equal smaller stacks by using the index finger, or thumb. There is also the drop cut method as used mostly in dealing Craps.

Cut into: To put a stack of chips next to a smaller stack and take the excess off so that both stacks are equal. Also “bump into” or “size into”.

Cut the Deck: After a dealer has shuffled a deck, it must be cut in two by a player and the first card(s) must be burned before a hand may be dealt to insure the integrity of the game. The dealer will usually rotate the player to cut from left to right.

Cut Tokes: To divide the tokes made by the dealers in an equitable manner.

Cut-Off(s) Cards: The cards behind the cut card in the shoe that are remaining when the dealer starts the shuffle sequence. When the cut card is out, the dealer will deal out of the cutoffs as many cards are necessary to finish the round and then he’ll shuffle.


D’alembert: A betting progression system where the bettor raises the bet one unit after each loss and lowers the bet one unit after each win. A series of numbers equidistant from one another is established, such as 1, 2, 3, 4. The player starts out by betting 1 unit. If he wins, he continues to bet one unit. If he loses, he cancels out the 1 and moves to the 2 and adds one unit to the last number, now having a series of 2, 3, 4, 5. At any point in the series where the player wins his bet, he reduces his bet by one unit. If he wins enough bets to return to a one unit bet, he starts over. If he loses during the series, he cancels out the last number he played and adds another number to the series. This system, like all progressions cannot win in any game with a negative expectation..

DA/DA2: (abbrev.). The ability to double down on any first two cards.

DAS: (abbrev). An abbreviation for a rule that allows the player to double after splits. See double after split.

DD: (abbrev.). Double down.

Dealing Seconds: A method of cheating whgere the dealer deals the second from the top if the first is beneficial to the player.

Deck Penetration: How deeply into the pack or shoe a dealer goes before shuffling. Penetration is sometimes expressed as the number of decks dealt out of the total (eg 5½/6, which means 5½ decks out of six) or as percentage of cards dealt out (e.g. 60%, 75% etc).

Deal: The distribution of the cards to the players during the play of the game.

Decision / Play Decision: 1. The option you are given on your particular turn. Play decisions include hitting, doubling down, standing, splitting, insuring and surrendering 2. A ruling by a floor person or supervisor when an error in procedure has occurred at a gaming table

Deck: 52 playing cards, the same as is used in poker. Commonly, blackjack players refer to a deck when discussing a single deck game. If a game uses more than one deck, but is still handheld by the dealer, such as a two deck game, the cards are often referred to as a pack.

Delivery: Method of getting cards to the players. “In the single deck game we pitch the cards to the players.”

Depth-Charging: A method of play described by Arnold Snyder in his book “Black belt in Blackjack”, in which a player would either make flat bets or bet the table minimum on the first round of play after a shuffle and then raise his bets regardless of the count as play continues until the next shuffle. It is dependent upon the player seeing as many cards as possible, counting them using a counting system and making strategy variations based upon the count. In order to be successful, this method of play requires a count with a high playing efficiency and a deeply dealt single deck game.

Desirability Index: A term coined by Don Schlesinger in his book Blackjack Attack. It is a number derived by dividing the win rate by the standard deviation for the particular game being examined and multiplying the result by 100. The lowest desirability index number given in Schlesinger’s book is -0.52 and the highest is 16.04. The higher the number, the better the game. In general terms, a player would look for a desirability index of 6.6 or higher to find game which would be considered to be playable to most counters.

Deuce: An expression used for a card numbered two (2)

Device: A computer or any other calculator that can be used by players to help them win.

Discards: The cards which have already been played since the last shuffle. They are placed by the dealer in a discard tray on the left side of the table from the player’s perspective.

Double Only Any Two Cards: Casino rules that allow for doubling on any two playing cards.

DOA: (abbrev). Casino rules that allow for doubling on any two playing cards.

Double after Split: Casino rules that allow doubling down after the players has split any pair.

Double Deck: A form of 21 where two decks are shuffled together and dealt out of the hand. The forms of 21 are: single deck, double deck, and four, six, or eight deck shoe.

Double Down: To double the size of one’s initial bet before taking one more card. Once a player doubles down, the player may receive only one more card. Usually, but not always, a player may only double down after receiving the first two cards. He does this by placing an amount which may be less than, or equal to (but may not exceed) the original stake, behind his initial bet. In some casinos the player may double down after splitting and in some casinos the player may only double on 10 or 11.

Double Exposure: A blackjack game in which both dealer cards are shown to the player (before) he plays his hand. Other house rules are usually changed, such as players losing pushes, and blackjacks are paid even money to restore the advantage the house loses by exposing the dealer’s hole card.

Double Up: To double down with less than 2X the original bet. Generally, when doubling is allowed, the player does not have to actually double his bet, but may increase it by any amount up to (but not more than) the original bet.

Doubling For Less: Placing an additional bet that is less than one’s original wager and receiving only one additional card. Dealers must inform the floor man and receive confirmation

Draw: To obtain additional cards to the original two card hand.

Drop: The total amount of money wagered in a casino.

DS: (abbrev). Double after split.

Duke: A very good hand, a long winning hand at craps.

Dummy Up and Deal: A common expression spoken to dealers to remind them to keep their mind on their game and refrain from talking to the customers (too) much.

Dumping: To lose a large amount of the casino’s bankroll to a player in a short amount of time. “I dumped over two grand to him in less than an hour.”

Dumping Table: A table where the dealer is losing frequently and the chip tray is constantly being refilled.


Early Surrender: Player may give up or surrender after receiving first two cards but before dealer checks for an Ace in the hole. If surrendered, only 50% of bet is lost, instead of entire sum. Excellent method for controlling player losses and therefore not allowed in most casinos.

Edge: A term used to describe the percentage of advantage either the casino or the player has on a certain game.

End Play: A style of playing Blackjack in which the player takes advantage of his knowledge of the last un-played cards at the end of the deck. Happens when the player whose composition is favorable to the player.

ES: (abbrev). Early Surrender.

EV: (abbrev). Expected Value.

Even Money: 1. A bet which returns the same amount in winnings as was wagered by the player if the bet is won.

Expectation: A reference to what a player or the house can statistically expect to win or lose on a given bet or game – usually expressed in % terms.

Expected Value: A reference similar to the term expectation.

Expected Win: Another term similar to expectation or expected value. Generally, this term is used to describe what a player or the house may expect to win over a certain period of play. For example, if a card counter is playing with a 1.5% advantage over the house and has an average bet of $100, it may be said that his expected win per 100 hands would be $150.

Extra Board: A list of dealers hired and processed by the casino, who have not been assigned a permanent work shift. They are allowed to work as needed until a regular position becomes available. “I was on the extra board for a month before a shift opened up on graveyard.”

Eye in the Sky: A video camera, usually mounted in a bubble on the ceiling, used by surveillance personnel to observe dealers and customers to catch them if they are stealing or cheating.


Face Card: The face cards are the Jacks, Queens, and Kings. They all have a value of 10.

False Shuffle: The shuffling action by a cheating dealer which preserves the original order of the cards or some pre-arranged order of cards that the dealer has set up while shuffling for a certain purpose.

Fibonacci: Any series of numbers in which the two preceding numbers totaled together equals the next number in the series. An example would be 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55. There are a number of betting progressions which utilize a Fibonacci series.

Fill: 1. The replenishing of chips by the casino at a table game. 2. To replenish the money or tokens in a slot machine or other kind of gaming machine.

First Base: This is the first player to receive cards when the dealer deals the cards. This is the player’s seat farthest to the right at a blackjack table, from the player’s viewpoint.

Five-Card Charlie: Any five-card blackjack hand that totals 21 or less.

Flat Betting: To wager the same amount of money on each bet made during a playing session or a portion of the playing session.

Floating Advantage: The concept whereby, in multi-deck games, the advantage we associate with every level of a True Count (TC) floats down the TC, the deeper getting into the pack of cards dealt, i.e. the deeper into the shoe the respective TC is encountered. The FA is of more theoretical than practical importance, because as a pack is depleted, the same True Count garners extra advantage, said advantage becoming especially interesting at those levels where the shuffle is most likely to occur.

Fluctuations: This word describes the ups and downs of your bankroll.


Gorilla: Term for the Big Player who is ignorant of any advantage technique, sometimes even of Basic Strategy, and just follows the other team member’s signals on how to play & bet on his hands. 2. Not very accurately, it’s also used for the knowledgeable Big Player who plays & bets on his hands strictly according to directions.

Grand Martingale: A betting progression in which the player doubles his bet and adds one unit after each loss until a win occurs.

Griffin Book: A series of books by Peter Griffin which identifies card counters and suspected card counters.

Griffin Investigations: An investigator firm hired by many casinos to identify and track cheats. They also identify and track card counters.

Grind: 1. To make money in small increments while gambling. 2. To eke out a profit over the long run.


H17: An abbreviation used to signify that the rules of a particular blackjack game include requiring the dealer to hit a soft seventeen.

Hand: 1. The cards held by a player or the dealer to form a complete play. 2. A reference to a completed round of play. 3. A completed play at other table games, such as craps.

Hard Hand: Hands without an ace, or with an ace valued at 1 are said to be hard in that they can only be given one value, as opposed to “soft” hands.

Hard Total: The total of any hand not containing Aces or the total of a hand where the Ace is counted as 1. For example: a 10 and an 8 is a hard total of 18, or a hard 18. An Ace and a 7 is a hard total of 8..

Heads Up: Playing one-on-one against the dealer. No other players at the table.

Heat: The pressure a casino puts on a winning player, typically someone who is suspected of being a card counter.

Hi-Lo Count: A balanced level one counting system which values the 2 through 6 cards as a plus one and the tens, face cards and aces as a minus one.

Hi-Opt I: A balanced level one counting system included in Humble and Cooper’s book, The World’s Greatest Blackjack Book. It assigns the value of plus one to 3’s, 4’s, 5’s and 6’s and minus one to ten valued cards.

Hi-Opt Ii: A balanced level two counting system which is sold separately from the Hi-Opt I system. It assigns a value of plus one to 2’s, 3’s, 5’s and 6’s, plus two to 4’s and 5’s, and minus two to ten valued cards.

High Roller: A person who makes large wagers in the casino.

High-Low Light: Card counting system similar to Red Seven, but slightly more powerful. Recommended for those having mastered Red Seven.

Hit: To take another card.

Hit Card: 1. A card requested by the player during play. 2. Additional cards the dealer must take to complete a hand.

Hold: The amount of money won by the casino, often expressed in terms of the percentage of total wagers made in the casino. It can also be expressed as a monetary amount.

Hole Card: Playing situation with a high count value, very favorable to player.

Hot Deck: To take another card.

House Edge: The term “house edge” refers to the percentage advantage of casino over the player.


Implied Count: An educated guess used to modify play strategy as to the value of unseen cards in other players’ hands based on the value of the dealer’s card and cards taken or not taken by other players. For example, if the dealer has a stiff and a player hits a large card one can imply two extra low cards to modify play strategy.

Index Number: A term often used by counters to identify the count for specific strategy deviations. For example, the proper index number for standing on a hard 16 versus a dealer’s 10 is 0, using the Hi-Lo count.

Insurance: If the dealer’s up card is an ace (or ten as up card), he or she will call for insurance. When you place an insurance wager, you are betting that the dealer has Blackjack. To make an insurance wager, pace an amount, up to one half your original bet on the insurance line when the dealer calls for insurance. If the dealer has Blackjack you win your insurance bet, but lose your original bet. If the dealer does not have Blackjack, you lose your insurance bet and the game continues. The insurance bet is highly advantageous to the house.

Insurance Efficiency: A system’s “Insurance efficiency” is the measure of how much the card counting system can gain if one follows its recommendation to take insurance in comparison to what could be gained by always taking insurance at the proper time.


Joker: Some casinos, as a bonus to the players, have one or more jokers inserted into the deck, to be used by the players as any value card, as an instant 21, etc.

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


Kelly Betting: Betting a proportion of your bankroll equal to advantage divided by the variance of the possible outcomes. This style of betting is intended to minimize the risk faced by a bettor and most betting schemes recommended by serious blackjack experts are a modification of this style of betting.

Knock-Out Count: An unbalanced level one counting system which counts the 2 through 7 cards as plus one and the tens, face cards and aces as minus one. It was developed by Olaf Vancurra and Ken Fuchs and is featured in their book, Knock-Out Blackjack.


Labouchere: A betting progression, also known as the cancellation system. A bettor chooses a series of two or more numbers which add up to the profit he intends to make. He then bets the total of the two outside numbers in the series and cancels those numbers if he wins. He continues betting the two outside un-cancelled numbers until he has completed the series. If he loses a bet, he adds the amount of his loss to his series as a single number. He must therefore cancel out two numbers for each number added.

Las Vegas Strip Rules: Rules referring to a game of Blackjack with a single deck, dealer standing on all 17’s, double allowed on the two first cards dealt and no doubling after splitting permitted.

Late Surrender: A blackjack rule which allows the player to forfeit half of his bet after seeing the dealer’s up card, unless the dealer has a blackjack, in which case the player loses his entire bet.

Level: 1. A reference to the number of values assigned to cards in a card counting system. A level one system, such as Hi-Lo, assigns one value, plus or minus one, to the cards. A level two system would assign two values, such as plus and minus one and two.


Martingale: 1. One of the oldest betting progressions in existence. It requires a player to double the size of his bet after a loss and to continue doubling his bets until a win is achieved, resulting in a profit equal to the size of the original bet. It is impossible to win in the long run using this system.

Mechanic: A dealer who cheats.

Money Management: How a player manages their bankroll. To non counting system player(i.e. stop-loss , risk of ruin, or standard deviation.)

Money Plays: A rule that says a player can bet dollar bills instead of chips.

Monkey: A face card, probably a corruption of “monarchy.” Shouted by players from far east (Vietnam, Laos, etc) when asking for a good hit from dealer when doubling down.

Muck: To remove small cards from the deck and replace them with ten valued cards and aces. It is cheating. The word can also be used to describe the opposite, which would be for a casino to remove high cards from the deck.

Multiple Deck: A phrase used to describe games, usually blackjack, in which more than one deck of cards is used.


Natural: When an Ace and a 10 value card are dealt as the first two cards totaling 21 in value. This hand typically pays 3:2 odds and can also be referred to as a Blackjack.

Nickel: A $5 chip.

No: The number of hands (sometimes expressed in hours of playing time) theoretically required to be played with a certain set of rules and strategy (count, spread etc.) before the player reaches his goal to be ahead by at least one standard deviation. It has been supported as a main measure of every situation’s (rules & strategy) assessment mostly by Brett Harris. It is expressed as N0 = Var / EV^2.

No Double after Split: Casino rules that do not allow doubling when the player has split two cards.

No Hole Card: This describes any blackjack game in which the dealer does not take a second card until after all player hands are finished. If a player who has doubled down or split loses only the original bet to a natural by the dealer, the player’s strategy and edge are the same as if the dealer took a hole card and checked it. If the player loses all on doubles and splits against a natural, the game is generally called “European no hole card”.


Object of Game: In Blackjack, to walk away from the table with more money than you started with, hopefully a lot more. Accomplished by beating the dealer consistently and not merely getting 21.

Oscar’s Grind: A conservative win progression described by Allan Wilson on pages 246-248 of The Casino Gambler’s Guide. After a loss, you repeat the bet. After a win, you bet whatever you need to show a total profit of one unit, subject to increasing your bet no more than one unit. Like all progressions, Oscar’s system does not change the casino’s edge.

Over/Under: Two side bets that can be made in blackjack. In the over bet, the player is wagering that his two card total will be less than 13. In the under bet, the player is wagering that his total will be more than 13. In either case, if the total is exactly 13 the player loses. Aces count as one in considering the card totals.


Pack: A reference to the total collection of cards in play. Usually, this is used to refer to more than one deck of cards, with it’s most common reference being use to describe a two deck game.

Paint: The face cards, i.e. Jack, Queen and King.

Parlay: 1. This is a reference to increasing the size of one’s bet by the amount won on a previous bet. 2. It refers to increasing one’s overall bankroll in a session or number of sessions, such as, “He parlayed his $1000 bankroll to $4000 after two months of play.”

Past Post: To cheat by placing or adding to a wager after the time that no new bets or bet changes are allowed due to there being information about the possible result, such as the player already having a card at blackjack.

Pat Hand: Any hand in blackjack which is a hard 17 or greater and would not require a hit.

Penetration: How deeply into the pack or shoe a dealer goes before shuffling – usually expressed as a %.

Per Hour: The expression “Hourly winnings (or losses)” (in dollars) of winnings or losses “per hour” is often encountered. This assumes “100 hands per hour” played, a figure arrived at through observation of dealers’ dealing & shuffling speed, combined with player’s speed in playing their hands etc. The win rate (or loss rate) per hour is straightforwardly calculated as W per hour = number of hands per hour * EV * average bet. It is admittedly on the arbitrary side but helps to give a good approximation of an expected win rate (or conversely, loss rate) in money.

Pit: The area in the casino surrounded by table games.

Pit Boss: Casino staff member who checks and monitors all of the casino play within his/her designated pit area.

Pitch Game: Expression referring to any single deck or double deck game. Because the cards in these games are usually dealt face down, the dealer doesn’t place them down on behalf of the players as he does in shoe games but, rather, throws them, i.e. pitches them to the players.

Pivot Point: The point in an unbalanced count where the player advantage remains the same no matter how many cards remain to be dealt.

Play All: Term for staying in a game through all the negative as well as the positive expectation situations. The term is mainly used for multi-deck games. The opposite of Wonging

Playing Conditions: The options that a casino has imposed on the game of blackjack at that casino e.g.. No double after split, double down on only 10, 11 etc. Table limits for betting, minimum bet and maximum bet.

Playing Correlation: Playing correlation” indicates the point count’s ability to convey information regarding how one should play. A higher playing correlation implies a greater playing accuracy.

Playing Efficiency: A description of the accuracy of any card counting system, usually expressed as a percentage or fraction. The closer to 1 the number is, the more accurate the system is in terms of indicating the proper strategy decision to be made.

Plus / Minus: A commonly used term to describe the Hi-Lo counting system.

Point Count: The net value of the card count at the end of a hand.

Preferential Shuffle: The act of intentionally shuffling the cards early in order to remove any possible advantage which may have been gained by the players. It is used to discourage counters and to eliminate their playing advantage.

Press:To increase one’s bet after a winning hand.

Profit Formula: Method for calculating expected winnings. Number of hands played per hour x average bet x hours played x gain = expected winnings.

Progression Betting: A form of betting which requires one to change the size of his bet based upon the results of the last hand or series of hands. Progressions can be negative, which usually means a bet is raised after a loss, or positive, which usually means the bet is raised after a win. No progression has ever been devised which can change the actual expectation in any given game.

Promotion; A special marketing device used by casinos to encourage play. It may take the form of a special rule, such as paying 2:1 for blackjacks or a special offer in conjunction with play, such as offering free show tickets or meals if a player makes a specified bet on certain games.

Push (“Stand Off”): Same as tie. Player’s hand equals dealer’s, assuming neither has 21. In a normal blackjack game, the player’s bet is returned to him when a push occurs. In double exposure games and in many charity games, the player loses on a push with the dealer.


Quarter: A $25 chip.


Rack: 1. The special place in the table where the dealer keeps the house chips, stacked horizontally in rows. Also Tray. 2. In some casinos, players can ask for racks to hold their chips.

Rainbow Bet: A bet, usually large, comprised of chips of various denominations, randomly arranged in a single pile, mostly in order to camouflage a bet increase.

Rainbow Blackjack: Variation of blackjack which identifies each player’s position at the table with a color. Each player has betting spots for each of the other colors, allowing him to bet on other players’ hands as well as his own. This game is not widely offered, seen mainly in southern Mississippi.

Rat Holing : When the player secretly sneaks a portion of his chips into purse or pocket in order to hide from the pit crew how much he’s winning.

Rated: Determination by house that a player’s skill level is on the professional level. A player’s rating may be stored by computer and communicated to the pit.

RC: (abbrev.) The acronym for Running Count.

Red Chip: A $5 chip.

Red Seven Count: An unbalanced counting system devised by Arnold Snyder and included in his book, Blackbelt in Blackjack, which strikes good balance between power and ease of use. It gets it’s name from the fact that the player counts only the red sevens as plus one and assigns a zero value to the black sevens. The other values assigned include plus one for 2’s, 3’s, 4’s, 5’s and 6’s and minus one for ten valued cards and aces.

Resplit: (abbrev) Splitting pairs after splitting a pair for the first time if another like card is dealt.

Resplit Aces: The unlimited ability to re-split aces. Many casinos set a limit to the number of times that aces can be split.

RFG: (abbrev). An abbreviation for complimentary Room, Food, and Beverage.

RGB: (abbrev). The acronym for Rec.Gambling.Blackjack, a usenet newsgroup.

Rider Bet: The bet made by a player (the “Rider”) behind another player’s bet.

Riffle: The act of shuffling the cards by dividing them into two equal stacks and blending them together, accomplished by holding the cards between the thumb and the first two fingers of each hand.

Risk of Ruin: Describes the likelihood of losing all of one’s bankroll.

RNG: The acronym for Random-Number Generator.

ROR: 1.The acronym for Risk Of Ruin. 2. The acronym for Rate Of Return.

Round: A completed hand to all players at a blackjack table.

Rounding: A practice which reduces every “precise” index number to just an integer (Rounded indices, or indexes). When Rounding, all the index numbers are rounded to the nearest integer, following the mathematical rules which apply when rounding numbers. Examples: -1.50 becomes -2, -1.49 becomes -1, -0.50 becomes 0, +0.49 becomes 0, +0.50 becomes +1, +1.49 becomes +1, +1.50 becomes +2. Of course, an index number which has been calculated to be “precisely” an integer, does not change: +3.000000 remains as +3. Also Flooring, Truncating.

RSA: Resplit Aces.

Rule of Six: A policy followed by many casinos at single deck. They require a dealer to deal five rounds to one player, four rounds to two players, three rounds to three players and two rounds to four players. Some casinos carry this rule to the extreme and only deal one round to five or more players.

Running Count: The total number of points a card-counting system assigns to the cards seen from the beginning of the deck or shoe. The running count is updated by the value of the point count after each hand.


S17: (abbrev). An abbreviation for the casino rule which requires the dealer to stand on all soft 17s.

SD: (abbrev). 1. The acronym for Single Deck. 2. The acronym for Standard Deviation.

Safe Jack: A high-tech version of blackjack. Card values and bet sizes are read by sensors built into the table.

Sequencing: An advanced shuffle-tracking, team technique. The players identify certain cards (usually Aces, hence “Ace Sequencing”) in the shuffle and by controlling the table attempt to subsequently steer these cards to the team’s hands.

Session: The time you spent at a table.

Settlement: The resolution of the bet. The dealer either collects the player’s chips, pays the player or leaves the chips on the table in the case of a push.

Sharpe Ratio: A method of comparing risk and ruin, named after Nobel prize winner William Sharpe. It compares the difference in return and investment may have over a risk-less investment to the risk of the original investment.

Shill: A casino employee, usually hired to be a “starter” in casino games. This employee may play at otherwise empty tables in order to attract players.

Shoe Game: Casino rule which requires the dealer to stand on all soft 17s.

Shuffle Master: A reference to blackjack games which use a shoe to hold the cards.

Shuffle Tracking: A sophisticated technique that requires a player to count the cards, observe where groups of high or low cards are placed in the discard tray, follow them through the shuffle, and then cut the cards in such a way as to bring excess high cards into play.

Side Bet: A bet in blackjack that may be made in addition to the primary bet placed in the betting circle. It is similar to the proposition bets in craps, in that the player is betting that a certain circumstance will occur, such as receiving a pair or two cards of the same suit. Almost all side bets carry a large house advantage.

Side Count: An additional count to track certain cards. Common side counts include an ace side count.

Soft Hand: A hand that contains an Ace which is counted as 11. E.g. Ace-9 is soft 20. If later valued at 1, it becomes a “hard” hand.

Splitting Pairs: To double down on a hand with an ace as part of the original hand.

Soft Double: To double down on a hand with an ace as part of the original hand.

Split / Splitting Pairs: To split a matched pair of cards in blackjack and play each card as a separate hand. Usually, any pair of ten valued cards may be split as if they were a natural pair. You place an additional bet equal to your original bet on the separated card. In most casinos if the second card on either or both of these ‘new’ hands make another pair, you can split that hand as well. Some casinos do not allow Aces to be resplit. When splitting pairs, as with “Doubling Down”, if the dealer gets a “Blackjack”, only the original bet will lose.

Splitting Aces: If you receive a pair of aces on your first two cards, you may choose to split the aces. When you split aces, you will receive only one card on each ace. However, if you receive a second ace after you split, you may choose to re-split the aces.

Stand : The decision not to draw any further cards, or hits.

Standard Deviation: A statistical measure of the ariability of results. It is determined by finding the square root of the variance of a game.

Statistical Blackjack Analyzer: Counting software designed by Karel Janacek which can analyze counting systems and simulate play.

Steam: Usually used as a term to describe a person who begins to over-bet in an attempt to recoup his losses.

Stiff Hand: Any hand that could bust if drawn to. The stiff hands are hard totals of 12 through 16.

Stop Loss: An pre-set limit to the amount of money a player is willing to lose in any given session.

Strategy Number: The count number used to determine the point at which a variation from basic strategy may be made in the game of blackjack.

Streak: A series of wins or losses. A whole sector of blackjack-theory is devoted to the quest of identifying streaks before they occur, in violation of all natural & scientific laws.

Strip Rules: A set of rules, once prevalent in Las Vegas Strip casinos, where a Dealer stands on soft 17 (S17), Player is allowed to DOA ( double on anything), Player is not allowed to DAS ( no double down after split), Pair splitting is allowed up to 4 hands, No RSA ( no re-splitting of aces) allowed.

Stripping: The dealer’s shuffling action whereby he holds a pack of cards in one hand and with the other he picks up (“strips”) a small number of cards from the top and places them on the table, successively, one on top of the other until a new pack is formed but with the order of cards grossly reversed. The smaller the number of cards he picks (“strips”) from the original pack, the stronger the reversal. Of course, the perfect reversal would be achieved by picking up (“stripping”) the cards one by one, but that is not desirable by the casino since it eliminates the action’s randomness.

Surrender: Surrender is the only option of not playing a hand after receiving your first two cards. When you exercise the option of surrender, the dealer will pick up your cards, and you will lose one half of your bet.


Table Hopping: Moving from one table to another in rapid succession while playing. Often used in conjunction with wonging.

Tap Out: Losing your whole bankroll.

Target: An alternative system, originally formulated by Eddie Olsen and Jerry Patterson, to beat multi-deck Blackjack. TARGET’s basic premise is that casino shuffling routines are non-random and tend to create biases in shoes, sometimes favoring the player (5% of the time) but mostly favoring the house (70%). The player must therefore identify and play in tables that show evidence of excess players’ wins while avoiding tables which are “dealer-biased”. A set of table-selection rules is provided, which focus on signs of players crowding the table (a lot of cigarette butts in the ashtrays, etc), for specific card sequences (“clumping”) observed, etc. The system has been totally and convincingly shown to be pure snake oil, by a number of blackjack authors, through computer simulations, statistical analysis & logical arguments.

Team Play: A term for a group of players who play using one bankroll, usually provided by the player’s themselves and other investors.

Tell: A dealer’s give-away expression, gesture, mannerism or overall attitude which gives to the alert player enough information about the dealer’s hole card. Tells exist only in games where the dealer checks under tens for a natural. To guard against tells, and also dealer-player collusion, most casinos have installed automatic hole-card checking machines or switched to the no-peeking-under-tens rule.

Tell Play: Observing the dealer and trying to detect subtle body language and expressions that show his hand.

Third Baseman: The seat at a blackjack table which is the farthest to the left. It is the last person to receive the cards during a round of play. Also Anchorman.

Tie: Both player and dealer have the same hand total. Player keeps bet. Also Push or Stand-Off.

Toke: A player tip to the dealer or to any other casino person providing service to the player.

True Count: The true count is derived from the running count divided by the number of decks left in the shoe.

Truncating: A practice which reduces every “precise” index number to just an integer. (Truncated indices, or indexes). When Truncating, we simply take away (truncate) the decimal part of the index number, leaving only the integer part. Examples: +2.95 becomes +2, +2.15 becomes +2, -0.99 becomes 0, -3.05 becomes -3. Of course, an index number which has been calculated to be “precisely” an integer, does not change: +3.000000 remains as +3. Also Flooring and Rounding.


Unbalanced Count: A count in which the number of plus and minus cards is not equal. For example, the KO count has one more plus valued card than minus valued card, which makes it an unbalanced count.

Unit: This generally means a card counter’s minimum bet. When a counter is spreading $25 to $200 and says he won 10 units, he means he won $250. Although if he is spreading $50 to $200 with only an occasional $25 bet, he might be talking about $50 units.

Unbalanced Count: A count in which the number of plus and minus cards is not equal.

Up Card: The dealer’s first dealt card, placed face up.

Uston Advanced Plus / Minus Count: A level one counting system described by Ken Uston in the book, Million Dollar Blackjack. It is a balanced count which values the 3 through 7 cards as a plus one and the tens, face cards and aces as a minus one. It also utilizes a number of strategy variations based on the count.

Uston Advanced Point Count: A level three counting system described by Ken Uston in the book, Million Dollar Blackjack. It assigns the value of plus one to 2s and 8s, plus two to 3s, 4s, 6s and 7s, plus three to 5s, minus one to 9s and minus three to 10s.

Uston Simple Plus / Minus Count: See Uston Advanced Plus / Minus Count. It uses the same tag values but does not include the strategy variations on the Advanced Count.


Var: (abbrev).An abbreviation for variance.

Variance: A statistical measure of the variability of returns on a game.

Vig: (abbrev).The house advantage or fee on a game. It was used to describe the interest charged by loan sharks and is short for vigorish.


Wager Requirement: A wager requirement is a restriction that an online casino puts on their bonuses that states a player must play a certain amount of bets/ hands before they are able to cashout the bonus.

Warp: If the dealer bends the cards while checking under 10s and shuffles gently, the cards might take on warps that make them readable while face down. For more information on using warps, see Basic Blackjack.

Wash: To mix a deck of cards by placing them face down on the table and mixing them by using a washing motion. This is commonly done whenever new decks of cards are brought to a table.

Whale: This is casino-speak for a high-roller of the biggest sort.

Win Rate: The speed at which one is expected to win, commonly expressed as a percentage or in dollars per hour or per a specified number of hands.

Wonging: 1. To back count the cards dealt at a particular table and to then join play only when the count indicates the game has swung to the player’s advantage, and then to leave when the count indicates the game has turned unfavorable. Named after the poker author Wong.

Win Rate: The speed at which one is expected to win, commonly expressed as a percentage or in dollars per hour or per a specified number of hands.

Whale: This is casino-speak for a high-roller of the biggest sort.


X: Sometimes used to denote card with a valued of 10.


Zen Count: A level two counting system described by Arnold Snyder in his book, Blackbelt in Blackjack. It assigns a value of plus one to the 2s, 3s and 7s, plus two to the 4s, 5s and 6s, minus one to the Aces and minus two to the ten valued cards.