Blackjack Dictionary   

Blackjack (also referred to as 21 and twenty-one)

Blackjack is a table game of chance that is played against the house in a casino. The object of the game is to draw as close to a total score of 21 as possible without going over. Players bet and act on their hands before the dealer, and the dealer must draw if he or she has less than a total of 17 points.

Burn Card

A burn card is a card that the dealer draws and puts in the discard tray without showing to anyone or looking at it. Most casinos burn one card at the beginning of the game, but other casinos sometimes burn a card between each hand. Burning cards helps to diminish the effectiveness of counting and other forms of advantage play.

Bust (also referred to as going over)

Both the dealer and the player can bust. When you draw a card score that goes over a hard 21, you bust, automatically losing the hand and losing your bet. If the dealer busts, everyone who is still in the hand wins.

Double Down (also simply referred to as doubling)

A double down is an action that a player can take to make more money on a favorable hand. For instance, if a player has a 7 and a 4, he might place a bet equal to his initial wager in the hopes that he will get a large card. A jack, king, queen or 10 will give him a score of 21, so he will almost always double on a score of 10 or 11.

Flat Bet

A flat bet is a wager that is the same as the last. Players who flat bet make the same wagers every time and do not fluctuate bets during game play.

Hard Hand

A hard hand is a hand with a total amount of points that could potentially be busted in a single draw. While an ace can count as 1 or 11 depending on the circumstances, it becomes a hard card if the other cards in the combination would make the hand bust if it counted as a 1.

Hit (also referred to as a draw)

A player hits by tapping or thumping the table in a multi-deck game or by scratching his or her cards against the table in a come-hither motion in a single- or double-deck game. Hitting signals to the dealer that you would like to draw another card on the hand you are playing.

Hole Card (also referred to as the face-down card)

The hole card is a card that the dealer leaves face down until every player has acted. In most variants of blackjack, the dealer will check the hole card to make sure that he or she does not have a blackjack. In the event that there is a blackjack, the dealer will flip over the hole card and show everyone. Some games in Aruba and Europe do not use hole cards.


Insurance is a bet that a player can make equal to as much as half of his or her wager when the dealer may have a blackjack. If the dealer does have a blackjack, the players are paid twice the amount that they have insured, effectively resulting in a push with the dealer.


A natural blackjack is a card combination in which a player’s first two cards are an ace and a 10-point card. A natural typically pays out at 1.5 times the wager.

Push (also referred to as a tie)

A push is when a player and the dealer have identical point scores on their hands. In most casinos, your wager is returned to you if you push.

Soft Hand

A soft hand is a card combination that has two possible totals. Soft hands always include an Ace since it can be worth either 1 or 11 points and since the Ace is the only card in blackjack that can have two possible values. Soft hands cannot bust.


– A split is an action that allows the player to divide two cards of the same value and type. One splits by placing an equal wager next to the first. The dealer then deals a second card for each, and the two pairs are treated as independent hands.

Stand (also referred to as staying)

If a player is satisfied with his or her combination or is convinced that the dealer has a high likelihood of busting, he or she can choose to stand on the drawn cards. Standing signals to the dealer that one does not wish to draw any more cards.


You can surrender in some games if you think that the dealer has a high likelihood of winning the hand. When you surrender, you forfeit half of your bet instead of losing all of it. Early surrender is more in your favor because it allows you to surrender before the dealer checks for a blackjack.

Toke (also referred to as a tip)

You can tip the dealer by simply giving him the tip or by putting him in the hand with you. To put the dealer in the game, you place the chips you would like to tip with in front of your own wager. If you win, the dealer gets twice the amount that you tipped.

Up Card (also referred to as the face-up card)

The up card is one of the dealer’s two cards. Players act according to the up card under the assumption that the face-down card is a 10.