Blackjack Terms and Lingo

Ever walk into a Blackjack game, think you know it all, and suddenly realize that everyone at your table is speaking a completely different language?

We’re not talking about people speaking Chinese or French, we’re talking about people speaking their own Blackjack lingo. Well, fear not Blackjack experts, we’ve got some terminology for you to learn so you can finally find out if the other players at your table are talking trash about you.

1st Base
Definitely don’t trust your instincts on this one; it’s not what you think. A Blackjack player that’s playing first base is essentially the first player to receive cards. Generally if a table is playing to the optimal strategy, they’ll put the newbie at first base to keep him/her from screwing up their cards.

Nope, not Will Ferrell. The anchorman in Blackjack is one of the most important roles at a full table. This player will be seated closest the players right and is the player dealt last right before the dealer. Therefore, his choices can impact the performance of the dealer the most. Players get vex if the anchorman makes a dumb move that could help the dealer and hurt the whole table, regardless if they made money off it or not. If you ever hear a collective groan when you hit on 16 and the dealer’s showing 6, you’ll know that you’re the anchorman.

5 or 6 or 7 Card Charlie
We like to call this one “why does God hate me?” because it means five or six or seven cards totaling 21. We barely see a player pull a 21 like this. But the dealer? All the time. If this happens to you more than once during one sitting at a table kindly move elsewhere and call in a priest to exorcise that table and the dealer.

You won’t be able to bet a buck per hand at every casino you walk into, so we suggest knowing what the buy in is before you sit down and make yourself look stupid in front of a high roller’s trophy wife. You’ll generally see “Buy In: is $$$$” in front of every table, check it out if you have your limits.

Bust means you went over 21. Once that happens we suggest you stop asking for another hit.

Hit Me
If the first two cards the dealer gives you aren’t close enough to 21 tapping your finger near your cards or saying “hit me” to the dealer will make him give you another. Trust us; he won’t smoke you in the face (unless you’ve been a jerk).

Double Down
Doubling the initial bet and receiving one more card. No more hits can be taken after Doubling Down. Double Down is often restricted to the player’s first two cards. However, some casinos allow players to Double Down after splitting a pair. We feel the best time to double down is when you have a total of 11.

Dealers in some casinos will sometimes ask customers to cut the deck with a blank, plastic card before they start to deal.

Heads Up
A game of Blackjack where you play the game against the dealer one on one. Generally you have to pay a pretty buy-in order to get this opportunity.

A bet you place when the dealer’s face up card is an Ace. You place half of your initial bet against the dealer having a natural blackjack. If the dealer has a natural 21 the bet doubles, if not – it is lost.

When the two initial cards equal in value you may split them and play them as two separate hands.

We hope you know this one but thought it’d be good to finish with anyway. Blackjack is essentially when you get 21 but with an Ace and a face card, some casinos pay a little extra if you hit this, so hit it often.