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 ten dollars each is $100 of action.

Bankroll: The stake (available money) a player plans to bet with. basic strategy a playing strategy that is designed to minimize the house edge as much as possible without using techniques such as card counting, shuffle tracking, or dealer tells. Basic strategy is used as a foundation for card counting, but is also used by many non counters.

Black Chip: A $100 chip. burn card(s) cards that are discarded without being dealt to the players. After the cards are shuffled by the dealer and cut by one of the players, one or more cards are “burned” before any cards are dealt to the players.

Bust: After a “hit”, the player is said to “bust” if the new card causes the player’s total to exceed 21.Cage Short for cashier’s cage. This is where chips are redeemed for cash, checks cashed, credit arranged, etc.

Card counting: Asystem for improving the player’s edge by assigning “weights” to each card face and summing the card weights as each new card is turned face up. The “count” indicates when the game is favorable for the player, so that the player can place larger bets and/or make changes in playing strategy.

Comp: Short for complimentary. If you wave lots of money around, the casino may give you things like a free room or free food, hoping you’ll keep losing money at the tables in their casino.

Counter: Someone who counts cards.

Cut card: A (usually colored plastic) card that is used to cut the cards after they have been shuffled by the dealer.

Double down: To double the initial bet and receive exactly one more card. The option to double is often allowed on the players first two cards only, although some casinos allow doubling after splitting a pair. Many Northern Nevada casinos allowing doubling only with a two-card total of 10 or 11. It is very rare to find games that allow doubling of hands that have more than two cards.

Double for less: 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.

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. That is, on average, Joe Gambler will lose $20 of every $100 he begins with.

Early surrender: Surrender which is allowed even when the dealer has a natural. Very valuable to the player, but rarely offered by the casinos.

Even money: Taking insurance when holding a blackjack results in a net gain of one bet. Some casinos will allow the player to be paid without actually placing the insurance bet. This is called “taking even money”. (See “insurance”)

First base: The first player at a table to act on his/her hand is said to be sitting at “first base”.

Flat bet: A bet which you do not vary ie, if you are flat betting ten dollars, you are betting $10 each and every hand without changing the betting amount from one hand to the next.

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.

Green Chip: A $25 chip.

Hard hand: Any hand that is not a soft hand.

Heads up: Playing at a table that has no other players.

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

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

High Roller: A big bettor.

Hit: Drawing a new card to add to the player’s or dealer’s hand.

Hole card: The dealer’s card that is placed face down.

House: The Casino of course.

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

Insurance: A side bet, of up to 1/2 the original bet, that is offered when the dealer’s upcard is an ace. This bet pays 2:1 if the dealer has a natural 21. (Also see “even money”)

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

Late surrender: surrender which is only allowed when the dealer does not have a natural. If the dealer has a natural 21 (blackjack), the player’s bet still loses in its entirety. If the dealer does not have a blackjack, the player loses half the bet and doesn’t play the rest of the hand.

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

Mechanic: A manipulator of the cards, typically for illicit purposes.

Natural: Ahand that totals 21 on the first two cards.

Nut: The overhead costs of running the casino.

Over/Under: a rare bet that the first two player’s cards will total over 13, or under
13, when aces are counted as one.

Pair: When a player’s first two cards are numerically identical (ie, 7,7). Pat Hand A hand with a total of 17 to 21.

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.

Preferential shuffling: Shuffling when the deck is favorable to the players, while avoiding a shuffle when the deck is unfavorable to the players.

Push: A tie hand, the original bet is returned to the player.

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

Red Chip: A $5 chip.

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.

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.

Shoe: A “box” for holding the undealt cards, usually used in multi-deck games.

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).

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

Soft hand: Any hand that includes an ace that can be counted as 11 without having the value of the hand exceed 21. It is always possible to draw one card to a soft hand without busting.

Split hand: Hands that start with two cards of the same rank can be split to form two independent hands. This option is exercised by adding a new bet to the second hand, and these hands are played independently.

Spread: To place more than one bet before the cards are dealt.

Stand: To stop drawing cards.

Stiff (hand): Any hand that has a small chance of winning regardless of how the hand is played (usually 12 – 16).

Surrender: The option to give back the player’s first two cards in exchange for a refund of 1/2 of the original bet (rarely allowed). Some hands, such as 16 vs. dealer’s 10, are so bad that surrender is less costly than playing the hand.

Third base: The last player at a table to act on his/her hand is said to be sitting at “third base”.

True Count: The running count adjusted to account for the number of cards left in the deck or shoe to be played.

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

Tough Player: A player who can hurt the casino monetarily with his or her intelligent

Play upcard: The dealer’s first card, dealt face up. The correct playing decision often involves some consideration of the dealer’s upcard.