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  Blackjack 101: The Terminology

  by Chris Miller, Dealer - 3 Aces Casino Parties


Blackjack is one of the most popular games in the casino and is often the first table game players try. It is also one of the most popular games offered by 3 Aces Casino Parties. 


Not only are 3 Aces games fun but our dealers are well trained in professional dealing and play strategies and can serve as a tutorial and practice run for an upcoming Las Vegas or other casino trip. One of the first steps to becoming an excellent blackjack player is learning the terminology of the game:

  • 3:2 table: A blackjack table that pays the traditional 3 to 2 for a blackjack

  • 6:5 table: A blackjack table that pays 6 to 5 for a blackjack. This is becoming the standard payout at the lower stake blackjack games on the Las Vegas strip.  Our advice is to avoid 6:5 tables whenever possible.

  • Action: The total amount of bets in a session.

  • Balanced count: Any counting system where the count values balance out to zero.

  • Basic Strategy: The optimal strategy for playing specific hands against specific dealer up-cards.

  • Bet Sizing: Changing the amount of bets to optimize advantageous situations.

  • Bet Spread: The range of a players minimum and maximum bets

  • Blackjack:  When the first two cards are an Ace and any 10 or face card.

  • Blacks: $100 chips 

  • Burn Card: The top card of the shoe that the dealer removes from play prior to the first deal from the shoe. 

  • Bust: When the player’s or dealer’s hand total exceeds 21.

  • Bust Card: The card that makes the hand total exceed 21.

  • Card Counting: Any of a variety of systems used to keep track of the cards that have been  played, giving the counter an advantage.

  • Counter: A player that keeps tracks of the cards played.

  • Dealer Ace: A 4. A 4 is  called the “dealer ace” because when the dealer peaks at the hole card the “4” can often look like the top of an Ace, causing the dealer to lift the card slightly higher to accurately tell the rank of the card.

  • Double Down: Doubling your original bet and receiving one additional card.

  • Early Surrender: When the player surrenders his hand before the dealer checks for a blackjack.

  • Face Cards: A Jack, Queen or King; all face cards have a value of 10

  • First Base: The seat immediately to the left of the dealer. 

  • First-Basing: When the first base player can see the dealer’s hole card

  • Flat Bet: Betting the same amount on every hand

  • Greens: $25 chips

  • Handheld Game: A 1 or 2 deck game dealt from the dealer’s hand, not a shoe. 

  • Hard Total: A hand total which has no Aces counted as 11. An ace/6 is a “soft 17”. A 10/7 is a “hard 17.” A 10/6/ace is a “hard 17.”

  • Hit: To take another card from the dealer.

  • Hole Card: The dealer card that remains face down until players have finished their hands. In some countries the “hole card” is not drawn until the players have completed their action.

  • Insurance: A wager offered if the dealer is showing an Ace. Insurance bets pay 2:1. If a dealer shows an Ace up, any player can take insurance if they think the dealer might have blackjack and will get paid 2:1 of any winning bet

  • Martingale System: A progressive betting system where you double your bet after a loss.

  • Mechanic: A master at card manipulation. Mechanics are normally considered to be cheats.

  • Natural: Blackjack

  • Nickels: $5 chips

  • Paint: Any Jack, Queen or King; also a picture card.

  • Pair: Any two cards of the same rank. Any two cards valued at 10 each, even if not the same rank are considered a pair.

  • Pat hand: A hand of 17 or more.

  • Pay the Table: When the dealer busts and every player at the table wins.

  • Peek:  When the dealer checks to see if they have a blackjack.

  • Positive Count: When more high cards than low card remain in the pack.

  • Press: To increase, usually by double, a bet.

  • Push: When the dealer and player have the same hand resulting in a tie.

  • Reds: $5 chips

  • Shoe: Plastic device that holds the multiple decks used in the game, usually holding 6 decks.

  • Soft Hand: Any hand where the Ace counts as 11. Ace-6 is as a “soft 17”.

  • Split: Taking the option to split any pair by matching the original bet and playing two separate hands. When you split aces you can only receive one additional card for each hand.

  • Stand: To receive no more cards from the dealer.

  • Stiff: A hand totally a hard 12 to 16. 

  • Surrender: To throw away your hand by forfeiting one half of your bet.

  • Third Base: The last set on the left of the table or the seat immediately to the dealer’s right.

  • Toke: A tip given to the dealer.

Remember: don't gamble on your next event, call 3 Aces Casino Parties!

Questions or comments? You can reach Chris here

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