Blackjack is one of the world’s favorite casino games. Though it may seem simple on the surface, there’s a lot to it, and learning a bit about the game can make you a better player. In order to act and sound like an online blackjack pro, you’ll need to do more than learn the odds and probabilities or how to interact with the dealer and your fellow players, you’ll also need to learn the language of the game. Playing online is a great way to hone your skills so you’re ready to win at the casino!
The Game of Blackjack
It’s possible to play blackjack without knowing all the ins and outs. But, if you really want to impress the other players and have a better chance at winning, then it’s smart to learn some more terms and concepts. Then, you can put them into practice in the online casino or at a live table to see how much it helps your game.
We’ve organized the terms by basic, intermediate, and advanced. If you’re starting from zero don’t worry—you’ll get there with practice! For you blackjack pros, we’ve included some advanced techniques that could help you get even better.
If you’re new to blackjack, it will help to read the basic rules and become familiar with them. You’ll come across some basic terms over and over again, so make sure you know them all so you can play a good game.
- Hit/Stay: These are the basic moves you can make in a game of blackjack. After you’ve been dealt your first two cards, you can choose to receive another (hit) or stick with what you have (stay). You’ll decide based on the total of the two cards’ point values—how close are you to twenty-one?
- Blackjack: The game takes its name from this lucky deal. Blackjack is the best possible hand in the game, which consists of an Ace (11 points) and a 10-point card (Face card or a 10), totalling 21.
- Bust: If the total of your cards goes over 21, you’ve busted and can’t win. Be careful not to choose to hit when your total high in order to avoid busting often.
- Push: A push is a tie in blackjack. If a player has the same total as the dealer, but neither of them have busted, then it’s a push.
- Shoe: The shoe is the device that holds the decks of card. There are usually multiple decks (between 4 and 8) to make card counting more difficult.
- Hole Card/Upcard: When dealing, the dealer will give himself one card face up (upcard) and one card face down (hole card). You only get to see the hole card after you’ve acted on your hand. Since you’re betting against the dealer, seeing one card in his hand helps you determine your move.
- Action: Your action is your choice of hit or stay.
Once you have a few wins under your belt and you have a hang of the basics, learn these intermediate terms to advance your game a bit.
- Double Down: After you’ve seen your two initial cards, you can choose to play Double. You’ll double your original bet and get just one additional card. Make this bet if you think you need just one more card to get 21, and you’re fairly confident you’ll win.
- Splitting: If you get two cards with the same value, like a King and a Queen, you can choose to play the two separately and bet on each hand.
- Insurance: If the dealer’s upcard is an ace, players have the option of playing insurance. It’s a side bet that can be up to half as much as your original bet, and it pays 2:1 if the dealer has blackjack.
- Surrender: If you decide to quit a hand without proceeding, you’ll get half of your initial bet back.
- Even Money: If you’re dealt blackjack and the dealer’s upcard is an ace, you can choose to take even money and get your original bet back.
- Bankroll: Your bankroll is simply the money you’re gambling with.
- Burn Card: The burn card is the card on top of a new shoe. It’s taken off the top of the deck and discarded so players are assured the game isn’t rigged.
- Cut Card: Before dealing, a player cuts the cards with a bright plastic card. When this comes up in the deck, the dealer re-shuffles.
- First Base/Third Base: The bases refer to players’ seats at the table. First base is to the dealer’s left, and gets dealt first and acts first. Third base is last.
- Soft 17, or Soft Hand: When your hand has an ace, this “soft hand” can be valued 1 or 11, allowing you to choose your strategy. If the dealer has a soft 17 (an ace and a 6), they are sometimes required to act a certain way depending on the casino.
Once you’re feeling really confident, look into these more advanced blackjack concepts that will have you ready to play alongside the pros. A lot of them have to do with counting or tracking cards.
- Ace-Neutralized/Ace-Reckoned: When you’re counting cards, you can count an ace as a zero (neutral) or count them (reckoned). This can make betting easier.
- Back-Counting: If you’re at a live casino and you’re not sitting down to play, back-counting is basically counting cards from nearby. It’s a way to choose a table with a favourable count.
- High-Low: This is the simplest form of card counting, which assigns low value (2-6) with a +1 value and ten-point cards and aces a -1. The higher the count, the higher your bets would be.
- Multi-Level Count/Multi-Parameter System: This counting system is more complicated than high-low, because you’re keeping several counts at once, usually counting aces separately.
- Wonging: This term is used when you’re only betting when there’s a high count. It’s not a very common technique, because it’s hard to keep the count going for that long, and because it will give away that you’re card counting. (Most casinos do not allow card counting.)
- Shuffle-Tracking/Ace-Tracking: Shuffle tracking is usually done to try to guess where the aces will be after a shuffle. By keeping an eye on where they’re played and how they’re shuffled back in, you may be able to get an idea of when they’ll be dealt.
Get Ready to Play
Once you know all the lingo, you’ll be ready to play with a new level of confidence. Whether you play in an online casino like Allslots or at an on-land casino, blackjack is a fun way to use strategy and possibly win some money. Watching the pros play or reading about the game to learn more can help you on your way to a better strategy.