The top nine blackjack terms you need to know

Want to play blackjack in land-based casinos and online casino games?

Casinopedia's top tips for success at the Blackjack table
Casinopedia’s top tips for success at the Blackjack table

If you do, then you ought to make sure that you are familiar with the card game’s rules, strategies, and blackjack terms as well as properly managing your bets and earnings while playing the game.

Being knowledgeable about all of them will guarantee that your play will become as smooth as possible.

But among the many aspects of blackjack, the vast idiosyncratic lingo that is associated with the game is perhaps the most enjoyable–and the most difficult for beginners to pick up.

First base and third does not pertain to the popular American sport of baseball nor does it imply the current state that you have with someone you are dating.

It refers to which seat you take at the blackjack table. And when someone says that there is a problem with the “shoe”, don’t look down because it doesn’t have to do anything about footwear.

So if you want to be an educated blackjack linguist, whose actions and decision are swift and precise every time a dealer or another player utters a certain blackjack related word, then you will want to know these nine need-to-know blackjack terms.

Hit and Stand

Hit and stand are the two most basic words that you need to be familiar with in the game of blackjack.

When you say “hit”, it means that you want the dealer to deal you another card. If you say “stand”, this means that you are already content with your current hand of cards and don’t want to be dealt another one.

Aside from saying these words, you can also signify the same meaning of actions through hand gestures.

A simple tap of the table means that its hit and a wave of the hand over your card denotes that you want to stand or stay.


A ‘natural blackjack‘ is the best hand that a player can get in a game of blackjack.

Normally, this kind of hand would consist of two cards – an Ace plus any card that has a value of 10 which includes the 10 card, King, Queen, or Jack.

If you have blackjack, this means an automatic winning hand and there is no need to make another hit.


This blackjack term refers to a situation in the game where in both the player and the dealer end up having hands of equal value.

In this case, there is no winner and loser and what results is an automatic draw and the original bet will be handed back to the player.

A special case involving a push would be when both player and dealer have blackjacks.

In such an instance, the dealer is automatically declared the winner.


In the world of blackjack, the shoe is the mechanism that houses the deck of cards as they are being dealt in the game.

In addition, it can also be a term that is popularly used to illustrate a round of blackjack, i.e., the entire hands dealt in between shuffles.

For instance, a consecutive run of winning hands that came from one shuffle would be called a “good shoe” or a “hot shoe”.


The key to playing blackjack is understanding when to stand or hit. You want your set of cards to be as close enough to 21 to beat the dealer’s score.

However, the closer you get to 21 and the more hits you make, the greater the risk of drawing a card that will take you over the limit.

When your hand is more than 21, then it becomes an automatic bust.

When you bust, you lose your bet and are eliminated from the rest of the hand.

Double Down

The term refers to an action where you wager a second bet on top of your first (typically doubling the amount of that initial wager).

When doubling down, you will only be dealt with one additional card to complete your hand.

It’s important to note, however, that not all casinos allow this kind of action although there are those that permit what is known as “doubling for less” where your double down bet can be as little as half of the original wager.


If you are dealt with two of the same cards and opt to put a second bet that splits those cards off into two distinct hands, the term of the action is called splitting.

Once you decide to split both cards, the dealer will then put another card on each of the two and you will have to decide whether to hit or stand on each card.

Soft 17, or a Soft Hand

A soft 17 or soft hand is when you or the dealer has been dealt two cards with one card being an ace.

The ace is a unique card in blackjack because it can be valued at one or 11 depending on the other cards that you mixed it with in your hand.

Because of this distinct trait, the ace is strategically flexible or “soft” in a blackjack game.

A soft 17 happens when someone has been dealt an ace and a six. There are casinos and gambling places that require the dealer to hit on a soft 17 and there are those that require them to stay.


Back counting is an action in which you count cards while standing adjacent to a table and not playing.

This is action is typically executed when a player is searching for an advantageous count at a table before deciding to sit down or is preparing to signal a partner to start playing when the count becomes favorable.


Check out our Blackjack expert guide, so you know when to hit, when to stand and where to play online blackjack

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