Dictionary of Blackjack Terminology
AShort for an Ace.
AC Acronym for Atlantic City, NJ, the city  Acronym for Anthony Curtis, author and publisher.
Ace Card with value one or 11  One dollar  A swell guy
Ace AdjustmentUsually refers to a side count of aces kept in addition to the main count. An ace adjustment is commonly used to vary strategy and bets based upon both the main count and the number of aces counted.
Ace Neutral CountAny counting system that doesn't assign a value to aces.
Ace PoorA point where more aces have already been dealt than expectation would dictate. The deck, pack or shoe is then considered to be ace poor.
Ace Reckoned CountAny counting system which includes aces as a part of the main count.
Ace RichWhenever there are more aces in the deck, pack or shoe than normal expectation would dictate.
ActYour act is the persona you portray in a casino, what you do to make the people watching you think you are a gambler and a loser.
Action Amount of money bet or "put into action" by a player during entire playing session. Ten bets of ten dollars each is $100 of action  Large amount of checks or cash being bet, "I've been dealing to action all night"  Game in progress
Advanced Omega Ii SystemA Level 2 card counting system described in Bryce Carlson's book, Blackjack for Blood. It is a balanced count which assigns the values of plus one to 2s, 3s and 7s, plus two to 4s, 5s and 6s, minus one to 9s and minus two to ten valued cards.
AdvantagePlayer's or more rarely the casino's expected rate of win or loss, usually given as a percentage of total money put into action. A player may be said to have a 1% advantage in a certain game. This means that the player can expect to have a 1% return on all of the money bet in that game.
AgentA player working with a floorman or dealer to cheat a casino
Anchor / AnchormanThe player closest to the dealer's right which is to receive the last card before the dealer. "I'll be the anchorman or play third base". If you are new to Blackjack you may want to avoid this position. Other players will sometimes blame the anchorman for giving the dealer an advantage by not hitting or standing in the same way they would. If you're card counting, this is the best place to sit.
AO IIAn abbreviation for the Advanced Omega II System
APCThe acronym for Advanced Point Count, a counting system associated with Ken Uston.
ApronSmall half-circle of heavy cloth imprinted with the casino name and logo, worn around the waist. The function is to cover the pockets so no chips can be stolen and to protect the dealers clothes from wearing out as they rub against the table.
ASThe acronym for Arnold Snyder, author and publisher.
AuditionA "try out" at a gaming table in a casino where a dealer must exhibit his or her dealing skill and sophistication to the management before being hired.
Back CountingCounting cards while standing behind the players at a table and not playing. This technique is particularly useful with multiple-deck shoes.
Back OffTo ask a player to not play Blackjack. This occurs when casino personnel, usually a manager or a pit boss asks a blackjack player to no longer play the game of blackjack in that casino. It can also refer to less harsh anti counter measures, such as restricting a player to flat betting or a very small bet spread, such as a 1-2 spread.
Balanced CountAny counting system which has an exact balance between plus cards and minus cards. A card counting system is balanced when the sum of the card point values for the whole deck is equal to 0. An unbalanced count is when the sum of the point values is anything other than 0. Balanced counts include Hi-Low, Halves, Zen etc. Unbalanced counts include Red 7, K-O and Uston's Unbalanced Zen count.
BankThis usually refers to the total amount of money a team of players and/or investors has set aside for blackjack play. It can also refer to a single player's bankroll.
Bar / BarringTo exclude from play at certain tables, such as blackjack for counting or Poker for being obnoxious or cheating. Some people are "barred" from the whole casino. See also "86.",,,When a player has been prohibited from playing blackjack in a casino, usually under the threat of arrest if he tries to continue playing. Does not necessarily imply cheating or illegal activity. Not legal in Atlantic City.
Barber PoleA bet consisting of varying colors of chips. "Barber poles are to be broken down and paid color for color." Dealers must make sure the smallest value chip is on the top to discourage "capping" of the bet.
Basic StrategyA playing system defining the optimum play for any given situation. A set of rules that enables one to obtain the best possible advantage for a neutral deck situation using a given set of rules. Also called the "Zero-memory strategy" or just "Basic". Playing perfect basic strategy gives the casino between 0.5% and 1.5% advantage depending on the casino rules. If the rules or number of decks are changed, the basic strategy is also likely to change. Basic strategy is not based upon the count, but rather upon the total of the player's hand and the dealer's up card.
BC The acronym for Betting Correlation.  The acronym for Bryce Carlson, the author of Blackjack for Blood.  An abbreviation for Barbary Coast, a casino.  An abbreviation for Back Count.
BCAThe acronym for a software program called Blackjack Count Analyzer
BEThe acronym for Betting Efficiency.
BeefAn argument with a customer or a boss, a complaint. "He had a beef about the way I turned my hole-card."
BepThe acronym for Break-Even Point.
Bet SizingA system of varying one's bets according to the advantage that he has in a given situation.
Bet SpreadA reference to the amount of a player's minimum bet and maximum bet while playing blackjack. A 1-4 spread would mean the player's maximum bet is four times the size of the player's minimum bet. If a player spreads to two hands, the bet spread may be described as 1 - 2X4, which would mean one hand at one unit to two hands of four units each.
Betting Correlation / BcA term used to illustrate the efficiency of a counting system's ability to inform the player when to increase or decrease his bet. It is usually expressed as a decimal, such as 0.95. This would mean that a count with a 0.95 betting correlation is correct 95% of the time in determining the proper bet size.
Betting Efficiency / BeMeasure of how accurate a card counting system is for choosing the optimal time to raise your bets in relation to the true count. In other words, how well a card counting system can exploit the favor ability in the deck when using a fixed playing strategy. Betting efficiency is typically measured on a scale between 0.0 and 1.0, where 1.0 is best.
Betting HandleThe total amount of money that a player bets during a session or more extended period of time
Betting LimitsEstablishes the minimum and maximum amounts that can be wagered on one bet.
Betting Ratio / Betting SpreadThe range of bets which one makes while playing. If a player sizes his bets between one and ten units, then his betting spread is one to 10.
Betting True CountThe value of the true count, adjusted to reflect the number of aces, rich or poor.
BettorA customer who places wagers at any of the casino gaming tables.
Big Player / BPSomeone who plays in conjunction with a team of counters. A counter at a table keeps track of the count and secretly signals the big player when the count is high enough for the big player to enter the game and make a large bet or series of bets. The Big Player is signaled to come to a table by a subordinate member of the team who has been placing minimum bets and counting down the deck. When the count is very positive, the Big Player or "BP" will come to the table and place maximum bets until the deck returns to a neutral of negative condition.
Big SixThe large, vertical wheel of fortune type apparatus normally set near the main entrance of a casino.
BJ An abbreviation for Black Jack, the game.  An abbreviation for a two-card total of 21
Black & WhitesThe traditional dress worn by dealers while job hunting and often after being hired. It consists of white shirt or blouse, black trousers or pants, and black shoes.
Black Action or Black PlayTerms often used to describe using $100 units or a bettor who bets in amounts greater than $100.
Black ChipA $100 chip.
Blackjack / 21 / Twenty-One Name of the game in which a player makes a bet, plays his cards and tries to get closer than the dealer to a count of 21, without going over.  To deal an ace and a ten-count card as the first two cards, also called a "Snapper" or "Natural." Blackjack usually pays 3/2, meaning you win $3 for every $2 bet.
Blackjack TableThe Blackjack table typically has between 5 and 7 playing places. The position to the leftmost side of the table ( closest to the Dealer ) typically is referred to as the First Baseman.
Blacks$100 table checks. "I've been dealing to blacks all night."
BleedTo worry about a player winning on a gaming table
BleederA person, usually a pit boss or a floorman who worries or gets upset if a player is winning.
Blow itTo lose a bet for the dealers. "I've blown every bet they've made for me tonight."
Body LanguageA set of non-verbal signals radiated by a dealer, which can be distinguished by the player; (i.e. a dealer standing at an empty table with his arms folded across his chest is telling the player that he doesn't want to deal.) One reason some casino's do not allow the dealer to look under a 10-value card for a Blackjack is that the dealer may inadvertently give information about the value of the hole card to an astute player (i.e. if the dealer looks at the hole card and then looks back again to double check, then the value of the hole card is probably a "4."
BonusLarge pay-off for a specific rare hand, as in paying 5-1 for 6-7-8 suited, provided by some casinos, temporarily as promotions, or permanently as part of house rules. Payoffs for bonuses are very high - but mostly do not affect significantly, if at all, the house advantage.
Book the ActionTo accept a bet for play.
Box the CardsPart of the shuffling procedure where portions of 5-12 cards are taken off the top of the deck and set down on the table in order to rearrange the deck. Also "box shuffle" and "strip the cards."
Boxed CardA card that is face-up in the deck as the rest of the cards are face down. It is usually treated as if it were non-existent in the sequence as the cards come out of the deck.
BPThe acronym for a Big Player in a team effort.
Brain LockTo have your mind go blank and not know what to do next. Practicing the procedure over and over until it ingrained in your mind will prevent this condition.
Break To have a final card total which exceeds 21. Also called "Bust" or "Go over".  A period of time during his shift in which a dealer is not responsible for a table. Usually a period of 20-30 minutes during which a dealer may eat, smoke, use the restroom, etc.
Break Down the BetTo separate a stack of chips into individual piles by color.
Break Down the DeckTo shuffle the cards.
Break it DownTo place chips into countable piles or to separate them into colors.
Break-in (Dealer) To get on-the-job training after passing an audition or otherwise. "I broke-in on a Riverboat."  A beginning or novice dealer.
Breaking HandA hand that will go over 21 with a one-card draw, such as 12, 13, 14, 15, or 16. Also called a "stiff hand."
Bridge the ChipsTo place the odd chip so that it covers part of two chips.
Bump intoTo push a larger stack of chips into a smaller stack of chips and take the excess off so that the stacks are equal. The proper way to pay a Blackjack is to break down the bet into two stacks and bump into it three times. Also "Cut into" or "Size into".
BurnThe dealer's act of removing the first (or more) cards after the shuffle and placing the card(s) in the discard pile or at the bottom of the deck.
Burn JointSlang for casino with nearly unbeatable rules.
Burn/Ing CardA card taken off the deck - at the beginning of a new deck or shoe after it has been shuffled and before you start dealing or when a new dealer comes on duty or in the middle of a hand if a card comes out of the shoe by mistake- which the dealer slides across the table from his/her left on the right and puts into the discard rack face down or sometimes merely placed under the deck face up. This card is discarded "burned". The card may or may not be shown face up (which can affect the count if you are counting cards). It is procedure to burn a card when you are relieved to go on break. In hand-held games it is never shown. In multi-deck games it may be shown on request at some casinos.
Bust CardThe bust cards are 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 and usually refer to the dealer's up card. If the dealer has to take a hit on hard totals of 12-16 there is a chance he'll go bust. Of course the odds get progressively better from the 2 to the 6 since there are progressively more cards that will bust him.
Bust/Busted ("Too many")To exceed the count of 21 on a hand (You go bust). You cannot go bust on the initial deal. If you go bust you always loose, even if the dealer ends up busted as well. When the dealer busts, all players who have a valid playing hand ( hand total not exceeding 21 ) automatically win. Also "Go over" or "break." The fundamental advantage, which the casino has over the player in 21, arises from this fact.
Bust-Out DealerA dealer who cheats for the casino.
Bust-Out JointA casino that cheats to survive.
Button (Marker Button)A laminated plastic disk with a white number painted on it used to keep track of markers. Also "lammer".
Buy-inTo exchange cash money for chips.
BuzzTo hustle or ask for a bet for the dealer.
CageArea of casino where cashier is based and chip buying and selling takes place. Usually surrounded by metal bars or other high security measures. In many ways, the cage resembles a bank.
Call BetA bet made without money or chips. Must be approved by a floor person or pit boss. Usually allowed only for customers with casino credit already approved, or with money on deposit in the casino cage. This procedure is highly irregular and may be illegal in some states.
Call for InsuranceTo announce that the dealer has an Ace showing and pause to allow the players make an insurance bet, then the dealer will check the hole card and if it is a 10-value card the hand is over and the bets and side bets are settled, if it is not, the side bets are collected and the play of the hand continues.
CamouflageAn action which is intended to hide the fact that a player is counting cards.
Cap/Ing, Capping of BetsTo illegally add money / placing extra chips to a winning bet after you receive at least one card while the dealer is distracted (To cap a bet). Easy to detect with video surveillance.
Card CounterA person who card counts by assigning numerical values to the cards ( see Card Counting )
Card CountingA method of keeping track of the cards by assigning a value to certain cards in the deck to determine if the remaining cards in a deck or shoe favor the player or the dealer.
Card DownAn announcement to the floor person that a card has gone off the table. A dealer never reaches down to pick up a card, as that would expose their tray to stealing.
Card EatingUsing up cards quickly. A player may spread to more than one hand to accomplish this.
Carpet JointA colloquialism for an upscale casino, derived from the days when many casinos did not have carpet. If a casino had carpeted floors, it was considered to be an indication that it was a fancier place than the usual.
Carpet StoreA higher class casino than a "sawdust joint", because it has carpet on the floor.
Case BetA bet with the player.
Case CardThe last card of a denomination left in the deck. Usually used as a poker term.
CashierA person who works in the cage who handles monetary transactions with players. It is similar to what a bank teller would do in a bank.
Casing the LayoutTaking a brief look at the bets on the table prior to starting to deal the cards. Take particular note of the bets on first and third base because they are the most likely to be pinched or capped. If a player has been betting every hand and is still present at the table but doesn't have a bet in his circle, it is a dealer courtesy to bring his attention back to the table and confirm whether he desires to bet or not.
CasinoA building in which legalized gambling is the main source of income to the management. There are many euphemisms for casino such as: "house," "store," "shop," etc.
Casino HostA casino employee who is responsible for dealing with casino patrons and answering queries about casino comps and other amenities.
Casino ManagerThe person who manages all phases of the casino operations.
Catch (Heat / Card)1. To catch "heat" is to get reprimanded by a superior for an infraction of casino policy. 2. To catch a card is to get a hit card that is either good or bad. "I split Aces and caught toe deuces."
Cecil (C-Note)A $100 bill
CheatingIllegal gain of advantage, technically defined as "altering selection criteria of a casino game." Includes card marking, capping bets, loaded dice, various sleight of hand techniques and so forth. Does NOT include card counting or capitalizing on house errors.
Check (Money) DownAn expression used by a dealer to inform the floor person that a chip has fallen on the floor, a situation, which requires his immediate attention.
ChecksRound, flat objects used by casinos to represent money. Several reasons casino's insist on using chips are: 1. they are faster and easier to handle than cash, 2. they help the management keep track of the drop, and 3. customers may lose more money because they don't "think" of the chips as cash and therefore are looser with chips than with cash.
Checks PlayA term often used by dealers to notify the pit boss that a player has made a significantly large bet. The amount of a bet that will trigger such a response varies wildly from casino to casino. It could be a bet as small as five red chips ($25) in some casinos or a bet with several black chips in other casinos.
Chip RunnerA person who carries chips from the cage to the table.
ChipsThese are tokens that the Casino uses, in place of cash, to represent a certain monetary value for making bets. You buy chips at the table. You cash chips in at the Cashier's Cage. Chips may bought in various denominations, $2, $5, etc. Players exchange cash for chips at the tables and then cash-in their chips at the cashier's cage. Also "Checks".
ChunkingWhen the dealer wins the bets of several or all of the players and collects the bets by just stacking them together in one hand, rather than collecting each bet separately, before returning the chips to the tray.
CircleThe place on the layout where the player must place his or bet for it to be valid. Also, "betting circle" or "square."
Clean MoneyChecks which the dealer hands out of the tray to pay a bet. "Dirty" money is checks from a losing players bet used to pay the bet of a winning player.
ClerkSlang term used for a dealer. (Like a clerk in a store.) Usually a competent and efficient dealer. Opposite of a '"Lumpy dealer."
Clock-in (Out)To start or end your shift by reporting to the time clock to record your hours of work. "I forgot to clock out last night and I got a pink slip."
Clump1. Cards of the same value, massed together in the shoe 2. cards in a sequence that favors heavily the house or the player.
Clumper / ClumpingCards sticking together, which is what clumpers think cards do. Card Clumpers look at what cards have come out of the current shoe and, based on this information, predict (read guess) the denomination of the next card(s) to be dealt from the current shoe. Clumping is not a way to get an edge over the casino. Clumping is not the same as shuffle tracking.
Cocktail WaitressCasino employees who distribute free mind-altering beverages to blackjack players.
ColdTerm used to describe a losing cycle of hands.
Cold Twenty (Turkey)Two 10-value cards as a starting hand. "I would never split cold twenty against a nine showing."
ColorEach denomination of chip has a distinctive color. The standard colors are: $1 -> blue or white; $5 -> red; $25 -> green; $100 -> black.
Color for ColorThe proper pay-out procedure for a dealer to pay a stack of multi-colored chips. It is faster, has less chance of a mistake, and is easier to verify by the floor person or eye-in-the-sky.
Color UpTo exchange many smaller denomination chips for a few large denomination chips. This is done as a player is preparing to leave and he may have too many chips to handle easily. "May I color up those reds for green before you leave, sir." Then, inform the floor man. "Color up, red for green." (It also allows the floor man to see how well or poorly the player did financially.)
ComdexA huge computer convention that uses up all the hotel rooms in Las Vegas, sending room rates sky-high. Avoid Las Vegas during Comdex.
Comp"Comps" refers to complimentary services and goods that are offered by the casino, a complimentary gift given by a casino to encourage and reward play. Comps can range from the most common, free drinks while playing, to meals, rooms, trips to resort locations and tickets to the Super Bowl.
Complimentary"On the House".
Composition Dependent StrategySimilar to basic strategy, but the proper play is based upon the exact cards dealt to the player rather than just the total of the player's hand. It is most commonly used for single deck games.
ConvertTo break down the bet and then pay using higher denomination checks. (i.e. for a $45 dollar bet pay with two $25 checks and take one $5 check for change or for a $20 blackjack pay with two $25 checks and take the $20 dollar bet for change)
CoolerColloquial expression for the pack of pre-arranged cards (usually in 6- or 8-deck games) with which a cheating team, through collusion with pit crew members and especially the dealer, replaces the original casino cards, just before their insertion in the shoe. Extremely profitable for the cheaters if they can pull it off and a most serious felony for everyone involved.
CopPalming a chip off the top of a stack of chips (to cop a chip).
Count1. To put a value on each card other than face value and to keep a running total of that value as an aid in betting and playing the cards. 2. An inventory of the chips in a dealer's tray usually at the end of the shift or when the drop boxes are changed.
Count DownTo put the chips in your tray into regulation size stacks (20 chips is a stack) so the floor person can count them without interfering with the play of the game.
Count Down the DeckSystematically remembering what cards have been played so that you know what is left in the deck.
CounterA player who uses a counting system to keep track of the cards played in order to determine whether the deck is favorable or unfavorable to the player.
Counting SystemFirst Level: A counting system in which the cards are given point counts of +1, -1, or 0 as they are dealt. Multi-Parameter: A counting system which assigns values to the cards which a greater than or less than +1 or -1.
CouponPromotional material given for free by a casino in order to attract customers. Coupons entitle the player to certain amenities like free dinner for 2 or special (and favorable) rules at games like getting 2-1 payoff in case of a natural. Coupons are given to the player in order to entice him to the casino, while comps are given after he plays there.
CouponomyThe wise and most advantageous use of coupons, so that the player extracts maximum value from them. A term coined by Peter Griffin but which came of age through its use by Las Vegas Advisor publisher Anthony Curtis.
CoverThe use of various camouflage techniques to disguise the act of counting. It could include anything from the use of the wrong playing strategy or apparently improper bet sizing to very sophisticated maneuvers designed to fool casino personnel who may be attempting to discover whether or not a player is counting cards. Used by counters to disguise the fact that they are counters from casino personnel, such as "cover bet" and "cover plays".
Cover BetA bet made by a "counter" in an attempt to mislead the floor person into believing the player is a novice.
Cover PlayTo play a hand in such a way that you will mislead the floor person into believing you are not a counter when you are, in fact, counting.
Cover the BetTo accept a bet for play. "Book the action".
Credit LineAn amount of credit established for a player at a given casino. A player with a credit line can take a marker for any amount of money up to the amount established in his credit line and use it to purchase chips at the tables. The player is normally expected to repay the marker before the end of his visit to that casino. A credit line can be established in advance of a casino visit in much the same fashion that a loan from a bank would be obtained.
CrimpTo put a bend in the cards in order to mark them for the purpose of cheating.
CritterSee Pit critter.
Cross RoaderTerm for a professional card cheat. Also "cheat", "hustler", "con man" or "scam artist".
CroupierA French word for dealer.
CSMThe acronym for Continuous Shuffling Machine. A machine that mixes used cards back into the pack continuously instead of keeping them aside round after round to be shuffled all at once.
CTRThe acronym for Currency Transaction Report.
CutTo divide a deck into two parts after the dealer shuffles the cards. Generally, this is done by a player. The dealer then takes the two parts and reverses them, front to back. In most casinos, the cut is made by inserting a plastic card known as the cut card into the deck or the pack.
Cut CardA solid colored card typically a piece of plastic which is given to a player by the dealer for the purpose of cutting the deck(s) after a shuffle and then is used by the dealer to mark the last hand to be dealt from the deck by placing it near the end of the deck in the shoe. When it comes out of the shoe, the dealer announces, "Last hand out of this shoe."
Cut ChecksThe process of using one hand to hold a stack of chips and break the stack into a series of equal smaller stacks by using the index finger, or thumb. There is also the drop cut method as used mostly in dealing Craps.
Cut intoTo put a stack of chips next to a smaller stack and take the excess off so that both stacks are equal. Also "bump into" or "size into".
Cut the DeckAfter a dealer has shuffled a deck, it must be cut in two by a player and the first card(s) must be burned before a hand may be dealt to insure the integrity of the game. The dealer will usually rotate the player to cut from left to right.
Cut TokesTo divide the tokes made by the dealers in an equitable manner.
Cut-Off(s) CardsThe cards behind the cut card in the shoe that are remaining when the dealer starts the shuffle sequence. When the cut card is out, the dealer will deal out of the cutoffs as many cards are necessary to finish the round and then he'll shuffle.
CWAn abbreviation for Cocktail Waitress.
D'alembertA betting progression. It is a system where the bettor raises the bet one unit after each loss and lowers the bet one unit after each win. A series of numbers equidistant from one another is established, such as 1, 2, 3, 4. The player starts out by betting 1 unit. If he wins, he continues to bet one unit. If he loses, he cancels out the 1 and moves to the 2 and adds one unit to the last number, now having a series of 2, 3, 4, 5. At any point in the series where the player wins his bet, he reduces his bet by one unit. If he wins enough bets to return to a one unit bet, he starts over. If he loses during the series, he cancels out the last number he played and adds another number to the series. This system has many variations. It has never been proven to win, and in fact, cannot win in any game with a negative expectation.
DASAn abbreviation for a rule that allows the player to double after splits. See double after split.
DaubA paste or fluid used to mark cards for the purpose of cheating.
Day ShiftCasino workers on day shift generally start at 10 AM, but may start a couple of hours earlier or later than that.
DaysA work shift usually starting between 8:00 a.m. and noon.
DeadNo action or very slow activity. "The casino is dead on Graveyard (shift)."
Dead TableA table with no players. "You can't go home until there is one more dead table."
DeadwoodUsed cards from previous hands
DealThe distribution of the cards to the players during the play of the game.
Deal AroundTo deliberately not give cards to a player even though he has a bet in place. "If he swears at you again deal around him."
DealerAn employee of the casino who handles the gambling apparatus, cards, dice, tiles, roulette wheel, etc., makes the payoffs, and enforces the house rules at his table.
Dealer SchoolA tuition-charging training facility which teaches students the theory, standard methods, and rudimentary practice of dealing one or more of the games offered by a typical casino.
Dealing SecondsA method of cheating in which the dealer peeks at the card on the top of the deck and deals the second from the top if the first is beneficial to the player. The use of the shoe virtually eliminates the possibility of dealing seconds.
Decision / Play Decision1. The option you are given on your particular turn. Play decisions include hitting, doubling down, standing, splitting, insuring and surrendering 2. A ruling by a floor person or supervisor when an error in procedure has occurred at a gaming table
Deck52 playing cards, the same as is used in poker. Commonly, blackjack players refer to a deck when discussing a single deck game. If a game uses more than one deck, but is still handheld by the dealer, such as a two deck game, the cards are often referred to as a pack.
Deck StackingA method of cheating in which cards favorable to the player are clumped at the end of the deck or shoe thus removing them from play.
DeliveryMethod of getting cards to the players. "In the single deck game we pitch the cards to the players."
Depth-ChargingA method of play described by Arnold Snyder in his book Black Belt in Blackjack, in which a player would either make flat bets or bet the table minimum on the first round of play after a shuffle and then raise his bets regardless of the count as play continues until the next shuffle. It is dependent upon the player seeing as many cards as possible, counting them using a counting system and making strategy variations based upon the count. In order to be successful, this method of play requires a count with a high playing efficiency and a deeply dealt single deck game.
Designated ShufflerThe designated shuffler will shuffle the cards on a small area attached to the back of the blackjack table while the dealer deals from the one in use on the table. A method of speeding up the game of Blackjack by using two sets of cards at a table (one in play and one on the side).
Desirability IndexA term coined by Don Schlesinger in his book Blackjack Attack. It is a number derived by dividing the win rate by the standard deviation for the particular game being examined and multiplying the result by 100. The lowest desirability index number given in Schlesinger's book is -0.52 and the highest is 16.04. The higher the number, the better the game. In general terms, a player would look for a desirability index of 6.6 or higher to find game which would be considered to be playable to most counters.
DeuceAn expression used for a card numbered two (2)
Device"computers" or any other calculating or note taking instrument that can be used by players. Casinos are using "devices" (i.e. computers) freely so far, in Nevada and elsewhere, to identify counting play, track customers, recognize faces etc. You cannot use a device to play Blackjack in Nevada by law. Also in most other places, in the US and abroad. The definition of "device" has not been determined exactly through legal precedent.
DIThe acronym for "Desirability Index".
Discard Holder / Discard Rack / Discard Pile / Discard TrayA plastic holder to the right of the dealer attached firmly to the table. It is used to store the discards until they are ready to be re-shuffled. Red plastic is commonly used so that any marks on the cards will be amplified enough to be noticed by the floor man.
DiscardsThe cards which have already been played since the last shuffle. They are placed by the dealer in a discard tray on the left side of the table from the player's perspective.
DOA (Double Only Any Two Cards)Casino rules that allow for doubling on any two playing cards.
Double after Split (Das)Casino rules that allow doubling down after the players has split any pair.
Double DeckA form of 21 where two decks are shuffled together and dealt out of the hand. The forms of 21 are: single deck, double deck, and four, six, or eight deck shoe.
Double Down / Doubling DownTo double the size of one's initial bet before taking one more card. Once a player doubles down, the player may receive only one more card. Usually, but not always, a player may only double down after receiving the first two cards. Occasionally, a casino may allow players to double down after receiving three or more cards. Normally, the player places a bet equal to the size of the original bet next to the original bet in the betting square to let the dealer know he wishes to double down. He does this by placing an amount which may be less than, or equal to (but may not exceed) the original stake, behind his initial bet. In some casinos the player may double down after splitting and in some casinos the player may only double on 10 or 11. The blackjack chart tells you when this is a good idea.
Double Exposure 21A blackjack game in which both dealer cards are shown to the player (before) he plays his hand. Other house rules are usually changed, such as players losing pushes, and blackjacks are paid even money to restore the advantage the house loses by exposing the dealer's hole card.
Double UpTo 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.
Doubling for LessPlacing an additional bet that is less than one's original wager and receiving only one additional card. Dealers must inform the floor man and receive confirmation
Down / Down TableA table with no player, which is to be closed. "After 2:00 a.m., we close any table that goes down."
DowntownThe area of Las Vegas which begins north of Sahara Blvd. and continues to Stewart Avenue on the north. It is bounded by Main Street to the west and Maryland Parkway to the east. Some of the casinos considered to be downtown would include the Stratosphere, the Golden Nugget, the Horseshoe, the Lady Luck, Main Street Station, and the El Cortez, to name a few.
Drag / DraggingUsually refers to an illegal move by a player in which he takes back some chips from his bet after he sees his cards. It is why the smallest denomination chip must be on the top of a bet and the dealer must be able to see all the bets all the time.
Draw / Hit / Draw Card / Hit CardTo obtain additional cards to the original two card hand
Drop1. The total amount of money and markers cashed in by players. 2. Term used to describe the total amount of money wagered in a casino. At table games, a drop box is used to collect the money.
Drop BoxA box affixed to a playing table to store the money and markers exchanged at the table for chips.
Drop CutThe technique of holding a stack of chips in one hand, touching them to the table, then lifting them, leaving a small stack of chips in the desired amount. Usually used on the Crap table.
Drop the DeckIn a single deck game the dealer may reshuffle after any hand is over and may be told by the floorperson to drop the deck for some reason.
Dropping / Putting DownPutting tokes in the toke box.
DukeA very good hand, a long winning hand at craps.
Dummy Up and DealA common expression spoken to dealers to remind them to keep their mind on their game and refrain from talking to the customers (too) much.
DumpingTo lose a large amount of the casino's bankroll to a player in a short amount of time. "I dumped over two grand to him in less than an hour."
Dumping TableA table where the dealer is losing frequently and the chip tray is constantly being refilled.
Early SurrenderPlayer may give up or surrender after receiving first two cards but before dealer checks for an Ace in the hole. If surrendered, only 50% of bet is lost, instead of entire sum. Excellent method for controlling player losses and therefore not allowed in most casinos.
Early-OutBeing allowed to leave work before the end of the shift. "I need an early-out to go to the dentist."
EchoA response from the floor person when the dealer makes an announcement. When the dealer hears an "echo" the floor person is aware of the transaction and has given his approval. It keeps the dealer from turning around to look for the floor person and exposing the dealer tray unnecessarily.
EdgeA term used to describe the percentage of advantage either the casino or the player has on a certain game.
Eighty-Six1. To exclude a person from having any more alcoholic beverage. 2. Sometimes to completely expel a customer from the casino. Also "Barred".
End PlayA style of playing Blackjack in which the player takes advantage of his knowledge of the last un-played cards at the end of the deck. Happens when the player, through an increase in number of hands at the right moment and/or card-eating, manages to force the dealer to run out of cards and deal the rest of the round (or start anew) from the re-shuffled discards, whose composition is favorable to the player. Extremely rare now, it was mostly practiced by self-educated advantage players in the pre-Thorp days, when single deck games were often dealt very deeply, if not completely. Nearly all casinos try to avoid the possibility of end play by cutting off some of the cards at the end of the deck or the shoe.
EorThe acronym for Effects Of Removal.
ESThe acronym for Early Surrender.
European no-Hole-Card RuleA rule used in blackjack where the dealer does not take a hole card. The dealer hand gets a second card only after all player hands are finished. If the dealer gets a blackjack, a player who has doubled down or has split loses not only his original bet but all additional bets. The name of this rule is derived from the fact that many games in Europe and abroad are played with this rule in effect. It is not the norm in most American and Canadian casinos.
EVThe acronym for Expected Value.
Even Money1. A bet which returns the same amount in winnings as was wagered by the player if the bet is won. 3. A phrase which is used by players and the casino when a player decides to take insurance on his blackjack when a dealer has an Ace showing. If the player takes this option, he is paid even money on his blackjack regardless of whether the dealer has a blackjack or not.
ExpectationA reference to what a player or the house can statistically expect to win or lose on a given bet or game.
Expected ValueA reference similar to the term expectation. Often, when using the term expected value, players also include the additional value that may result from comps earned during play.
Expected WinAnother term similar to expectation or expected value. Generally, this term is used to describe what a player or the house may expect to win over a certain period of play.
Extra BoardA list of dealers hired and processed by the casino, who have not been assigned a permanent work shift. They are allowed to work as needed until a regular position becomes available. "I was on the extra board for a month before a shift opened up on graveyard."
Eye1. A colloquial term for the cameras used to watch the gaming areas in any casino. 2. Reference to the casino employee(s) viewing the video screens or employee(s) watching play directly from an unseen vantage point. Also: "Eye in the sky."
Eye in the SkyA video camera, usually mounted in a bubble on the ceiling, used by surveillance personnel to observe dealers and customers to catch them if they are stealing or cheating. In some casinos almost every hand of Blackjack is recorded on video to detect cheaters as well as counters.
Fab FourA term coined by Don Schlesinger used to describe the top four surrender plays that vary from basic strategy based upon the hi-lo counting system.
Face CardThe face cards are the Jacks, Queens, and Kings. They all have a value of 10. So including the face cards there are sixteen 10-value cards per deck.
Face Down (Game)Dealing Style. In face down game, player's first card is up, second card is down. There is Face up game as well. Each style has slightly different table etiquette of play.
Face Up (Game)Dealing Style. In face up game, both cards are dealt up and cards are not touched by player - presumably to prevent cheating. Each style has slightly different table etiquette of play.
False ShuffleThe shuffling action by a cheating dealer which preserves the original order of the cards or some pre-arranged order of cards that the dealer has set up while shuffling for a certain purpose (ie to deal himself a natural, to deal a winning hand to an accomplice etc).
FibonacciAny series of numbers in which the two preceding numbers totaled together equals the next number in the series.
Fill1. The replenishing of chips by the casino at a table game. 2. To replenish the money or tokens in a slot machine or other kind of gaming machine.
First BaseThis is the first player to receive cards when the dealer deals the cards. This is the player's seat farthest to the right at a blackjack table, from the player's viewpoint.
First BasemanTerm used to describe the player sitting closest to the shoe, on the Dealer's left hand side, and receiving the first card dealt.
Five-Card CharlieAny five-card blackjack hand that totals 21 or less.
Flat BettingTo wager the same amount of money on each bet made during a playing session or a portion of the playing session.
Flea or Slot FleaThis is the casino's expression for someone who flits from machine to machine playing only those with positive expectations.
Floating AdvantageThe concept whereby, in multi-deck games, the advantage we associate with every level of a True Count (TC) floats down the TC, the deeper getting into the pack of cards dealt, i.e. the deeper into the shoe the respective TC is encountered. The FA is of more theoretical than practical importance, because as a pack is depleted, the same True Count garners extra advantage, said advantage becoming especially interesting at those levels where the shuffle is most likely to occur.
FlooringA practice which reduces every "precise" index number to just an integer (Floored indices, or indexes). When Flooring, all the index numbers are taken down ("floored") to the nearest smaller integer.
FloormanA casino executive who supervises a portion of a pit, usually under the direction of a pit boss.
FluctuationsThis word describes the ups and downs of your bankroll. Sometimes abbreviated as "flucs".
Foreign ChipA chip from another casino you are playing in. In Las Vegas many of the larger casinos will cash smaller denomination chips from other casinos as a favor to their customers but they are certainly not obligated to do so.
Front Loader1. A dealer who exposes his hole card to a player seated at the table. 2. A player who intentionally manages to see the dealer's hole card and uses this information for his own play or relays it to a confederate playing at the table.
Front LoadingTo glimpse the dealer's hole card and use the information for playing your hand.
GCBThe acronym for Gaming Control Board, the Nevada agency that regulates the state's casinos.
GeorgeThe dealer's name for a good tipper.
GomThe acronym for Groaner Of the Month
GorillaTerm for the Big Player who is ignorant of any advantage technique, sometimes even of Basic Strategy, and just follows the other team member's signals on how to play & bet on his hands. 2. Not very accurately, it's also used for the knowledgeable Big Player who plays & bets on his hands strictly according to directions.
Grand MartingaleA betting progression in which the player doubles his bet and adds one unit after each loss until a win occurs.
Graveyard ShiftCasino workers on the graveyard shift generally start at 2 AM, but may start a couple of hours earlier or later than that. Generally the least-experienced dealers work graveyard.
Green ChipA $25 chip.
Griffin InvestigationsAn investigator firm hired by many casinos to identify and track cheats. They also identify and track card counters, as well as perform other investigative tasks for their clients.
Grind1. To make money in small increments while gambling. 2. To eke out a profit over the long run.
Grind JointUsually refers to a low roller casino which caters to small bettors.
H17An abbreviation used to signify that the rules of a particular blackjack game include requiring the dealer to hit a soft seventeen.
Hand1. The cards held by a player or the dealer to form a complete play. 2. A reference to a completed round of play. 3. A completed play at other table games, such as craps.
Hard HandHands without an ace, or with an ace valued at 1 are said to be hard in that they can only be given one value, as opposed to "soft" hands.
Hard TotalThe total of any hand not containing Aces or the total of a hand where the Ace is counted as 1. So a 10 and an 8 is a hard total of 18, or a hard 18. An Ace and a 7 is a hard total of 8.
Heads UpPlaying one-on-one against the dealer. No other players at the table.
HeatThe pressure a casino puts on a winning player, typically someone who is suspected of being a card counter. It can range from very mild forms, such as a pit boss intently watching a player, unnecessary comments to more overt forms, such as a pit boss counting down the cards in the discard tray, particularly after a player has raised his bet, accusations of counting cards, intent scrutiny of your game by the pit bosses or other casino personnel. Most counters consider heat to be a warning sign that the casino suspects they are counting.
High RollerA person who makes large wagers in the casino. What constitutes a high roller in one casino may be very different from one casino to another one.
High-Low LightCard counting system similar to Red Seven, but slightly more powerful. Recommended for those having mastered Red Seven.
High-Low Pick-UpThe way the dealer picks up the players' or his cards from the table, is rigidly set down by each casino. "High-low pickup" is when the dealer, while pretending to follow house rules, picks up in separate slugs (small amount of cards) a pack of high cards (like face cards) and low cards, and then proceeds to control these slugs in the shuffle for a certain purpose (ie dealing high cards to a confederate at the table, dealing himself stiff hands etc).
Hi-Lo CountA balanced level one counting system which values the 2 through 6 cards as a plus one and the tens, face cards and aces as a minus one. It has become the universal language of card counters, in the sense that many of the standard references to the count in games use the Hi-Lo count as a basis, such as the Illustrious 18. Often, when there is no other frame of reference, if someone refers to a count number, it is assumed that the reference is based on the Hi-Lo count. The most comprehensive guide to the Hi-Lo count can be found in Stanford Wong's book, Professional Blackjack.
Hi-Opt IA balanced level one counting system included in Humble and Cooper's book, The World's Greatest Blackjack Book. It assigns the value of plus one to 3's, 4's, 5's and 6's and minus one to ten valued cards.
Hi-Opt IIA balanced level two counting system which is sold separately from the Hi-Opt I system. It assigns a value of plus one to 2's, 3's, 5's and 6's, plus two to 4's and 5's, and minus two to ten valued cards.
Hit / Hitting ( Draw / Drawing )A decision by the player to take another card. The request is almost never made verbally. In a hand-held game, it is made by scratching the cards against the felt, and in a face-up game, it is made by tapping the felt when it is the player's turn to either refuse or accept another card.
Hit Card1. A card requested by the player during play. 2. Additional cards the dealer must take to complete a hand.
HoldThe amount of money won by the casino, often expressed in terms of the percentage of total wagers made in the casino. It can also be expressed as a monetary amount.
Hole CardDealer's first card dealt, always face down. Always assume it is a ten-value card.
Hole Card PlayTo play blackjack with the knowledge of the dealer's unexposed hole card.
Hopping the DeckThe action of a cheating dealer in single deck blackjack with which he nullifies the player's cut of the cards and returns them to their pre-cut order.
Hot DeckPlaying situation with a high count value, very favorable to player.
House Advantage / House EdgeThe term "house edge" refers to the percentage advantage of casino over the player.
Illustrious 18A term coined by Don Schlesinger to describe the 18 most advantageous deviations from basic strategy, based on the Hi-Lo count. The 18 plays described equal about 80% of the gain that could be had from playing the full set of indexes in more complex strategy tables.
Implied CountAn educated guess used to modify play strategy as to the value of unseen cards in other players' hands based on the value of the dealer's card and cards taken or not taken by other players.
Index NumberA term often used by counters to identify the count for specific strategy deviations.
InsuranceIf the dealer's up card is an ace (or ten as up card), he or she will call for insurance. When you place an insurance wager, you are betting that the dealer has Blackjack. To make an insurance wager, pace an amount, up to one half your original bet on the insurance line when the dealer calls for insurance. If the dealer has Blackjack you win your insurance bet, but lose your original bet. If the dealer does not have Blackjack, you lose your insurance bet and the game continues. Taking the insurance bet is highly advantageous to the house, unless the player is card counting.
Insurance Correlation (LC)"Insurance correlation" indicates how well the point count is able to convey information regarding when one should take insurance.
Insurance Efficiency (LE)A system's "Insurance efficiency" is the measure of how much the card counting system can gain if one follows its recommendation to take insurance in comparison to what could be gained by always taking insurance at the proper time.
IRCacronym for Initial Running Count.
JokerSome casinos, as a bonus to the players, have one or more jokers inserted into the deck, to be used by the players as any value card, as an instant 21, etc.
JunketAn organized group of gamblers that travel to a casino together. Junkets are usually subsidized by a casino to attract players.
Kelly BettingBetting a proportion of your bankroll equal to advantage divided by the variance of the possible outcomes. This style of betting is intended to minimize the risk faced by a bettor and most betting schemes recommended by serious blackjack experts are a modification of this style of betting.
Knock-Out CountAn unbalanced level one counting system which counts the 2 through 7 cards as plus one and the tens, face cards and aces as minus one. It was developed by Olaf Vancurra and Ken Fuchs and is featured in their book, Knock-Out Blackjack.
KOSee Knock-Out Count.
LabouchereA betting progression, also known as the cancellation system. A bettor chooses a series of two or more numbers which add up to the profit he intends to make. He then bets the total of the two outside numbers in the series and cancels those numbers if he wins. He continues betting the two outside un-cancelled numbers until he has completed the series. If he loses a bet, he adds the amount of his loss to his series as a single number. He must therefore cancel out two numbers for each number added. This system is a good way to lose good money fast.
Las VegasSmall piece of Nevada desert - where gambling is legal - with mystic power to draw throngs of people and invite them into tossing coins into either holes made of metal or felt.
Las Vegas StripThe portion of Las Vegas Boulevard which extends roughly from Sunset Road to Sahara Boulevard. It includes many of the most well known casinos in Las Vegas, such as the Mirage, Caesar's Palace, the Flamingo Hilton, New York - New York, Circus Circus and the Bellagio, to name a few.
Las Vegas Strip RulesRules referring to a game of Blackjack with a single deck, dealer standing on all 17's, double allowed on the two first cards dealt and no doubling after splitting permitted.
Late SurrenderA blackjack rule which allows the player to forfeit half of his bet after seeing the dealer's up card, unless the dealer has a blackjack, in which case the player loses his entire bet.
Level1. A reference to the number of values assigned to cards in a card counting system. A level one system, such as Hi-Lo, assigns one value, plus or minus one, to the cards. A level two system would assign two values, such as plus and minus one and two. 2. In multi-deck games: number of deck played.
Low RollerA small better.
LSThe acronym for Late Surrender.
LuckImaginary substance believed by many players to aid in winning. Should not be relied upon in place of skill.
MAAn abbreviation for Multiple-Action blackjack. Your hand is played out once. The dealer's hand is played out multiple times, starting with the same up card each time. Standard blackjack strategy applies.
MarkerAn IOU to the casino signed by a player who has casino credit.
Martingale1. One of the oldest betting progressions in existence. It requires a player to double the size of his bet after a loss and to continue doubling his bets until a win is achieved, resulting in a profit equal to the size of the original bet. It is impossible to win in the long run using this system. 2. Often used as a term for any system which requires increasing a bet after a loss. It is not a winning method of betting in any form.
Mechanic1. Someone who can manipulate a deck of playing cards. 2. Slang for dealer who cheats, often by dealing "seconds," that is holding top card in reserve for later use.
MgmAn abbreviation for MGM Grand, a casino.
Money ManagementA phrase often used by gamblers to describe how they handle their bankroll. To non counting system player, it may mean establishing a stop-loss or win goal. To a card counter, it may mean considering things like bankroll, risk of ruin and the use of Kelly betting strategies.
Money PlaysCried by the dealer to alert the pit boss when a player puts down money as a bet without wanting to exchange them for chips. Also said by the player to the dealer, declaring that he doesn't want the money changed into chips.
MonkeyA face card, probably a corruption of "monarchy." Shouted by players from far east (Vietnam, Laos, etc) when asking for a good hit from dealer when doubling down.
MuckTo remove small cards from the deck and replace them with ten valued cards and aces. It is cheating. The word can also be used to describe the opposite, which would be for a casino to remove high cards from the deck.
Multiple DeckA phrase used to describe games, usually blackjack, in which more than one deck of cards is used.
NaturalWhen an Ace and a 10 value card are dealt as the first two cards totaling 21 in value. This hand typically pays 3:2 odds and can also be referred to as a Blackjack.
NBJAn abbreviation for New Black Jack, a different system, which black jack players describe as a nonsense system.
NickelA $5 chip.
No Double after Split (Ndas)Casino rules that do not allow doubling when the player has split two cards.
No Hole CardThis describes any blackjack game in which the dealer does not take a second card until after all player hands are finished. If a player who has doubled down or split loses only the original bet to a natural by the dealer, the player's strategy and edge are the same as if the dealer took a hole card and checked it. If the player loses all on doubles and splits against a natural, the game is generally called "European no hole card".
Nut1. A player's bankroll. 2. The overhead expenses of a casino or a player. 3. The best possible hand in a round of poker, given the cards that are dealt.
NynyThe acronym for New York New York, a casino
O/UAn abbreviation for over/under.
Object of GameIn Blackjack, to walk away from the table with more money than you started with, hopefully a lot more. Accomplished by beating the dealer consistently and not merely getting 21.
Oscar's GrindA conservative win progression described by Allan Wilson on pages 246-248 of The Casino Gambler's Guide. After a loss, you repeat the bet. After a win, you bet whatever you need to show a total profit of one unit, subject to increasing your bet no more than one unit. Like all progressions, Oscar's system does not change the casino's edge.
Over/Under (O/U)Two side bets that can be made in blackjack. In the over bet, the player is wagering that his two card total will be less than 13. In the under bet, the player is wagering that his total will be more than 13. In either case, if the total is exactly 13 the player loses. Aces count as one in considering the card totals.
P21A rule whereby you push if the dealer has a natural and you have 21 in three or more cards.
PackA reference to the total collection of cards in play. Usually, this is used to refer to more than one deck of cards, with it's most common reference being use to describe a two deck game.
PaintThe face cards, i.e. Jack, Queen and King.
PairTwo numerically identical cards (true pair), or two identical face cards (ten valued cards).
Parlay1. This is a reference to increasing the size of one's bet by the amount won on a previous bet. 2. It refers to increasing one's overall bankroll in a session or number of sessions, such as, "He parlayed his $1000 bankroll to $4000 after two months of play."
Past PostTo cheat by placing or adding to a wager after the time that no new bets or bet changes are allowed due to there being information about the possible result, such as the player already having a card at blackjack.
Pat HandAny hand in blackjack which is a hard 17 or greater and would not require a hit.
PBThe acronym for Pit Boss.
PC1. An abbreviation for percentage. 2. The acronym for Pit Critter.
PEThe acronym for Playing Efficiency.
PenetrationHow deeply into the pack or shoe a dealer goes before shuffling. In CBJN, penetration is expressed as number of decks left when the shuffle point is reached. Penetration is sometimes expressed as the number of decks dealt out of the total (eg 5½/6, which means 5½ decks out of six) or as percentage of cards dealt out (e.g. 60%, 75% etc).
Per HourThe expression "Hourly winnings (or losses)" (in dollars) of winnings or losses "per hour" is often encountered. This assumes "100 hands per hour" played, a figure arrived at through observation of dealers' dealing & shuffling speed, combined with player's speed in playing their hands etc. The win rate (or loss rate) per hour is straightforwardly calculated as W per hour = number of hands per hour * EV * average bet. It is admittedly on the arbitrary side but helps to give a good approximation of an expected win rate (or conversely, loss rate) in money.
PipThe spots on the cards that correspond with the value of the card.
PitThe area in the casino surrounded by table games. While it is often confined to one specific type of game, it can include any of the table games. It is the area where casino personnel track the games and the players, among other duties and is where employees such as pit bosses and floor men can be found. Casino patrons are not allowed access to the pit.
Pit BossCasino staff member who checks and monitors all of the casino play within his/her designated pit area.
Pit CritterA colloquialism which usually refers to a pit boss or a floor man.
Pitch GameExpression referring to any single deck or double deck game. Because the cards in these games are usually dealt face down, the dealer doesn't place them down on behalf of the players as he does in shoe games but, rather, throws them, i.e. pitches them to the players.
Pivot PointThe point in an unbalanced count where the player advantage remains the same no matter how many cards remain to be dealt.
Play AllTerm for staying in a game through all the negative as well as the positive expectation situations. The term is mainly used for multi-deck games. The opposite of Wonging.
Playing ConditionsThe options that a casino has imposed on the game of blackjack at that casino e.g.. No double after split, double down on only 10, 11 etc. Table limits for betting, minimum bet and maximum bet.
Playing Correlation (PC)"Playing correlation" indicates the point count’s ability to convey information regarding how one should play. A higher playing correlation implies a greater playing accuracy.
Playing Efficiency (PE)A description of the accuracy of any card counting system, usually expressed as a percentage or fraction. The closer to 1 the number is, the more accurate the system is in terms of indicating the proper strategy decision to be made.
PloppyA term coined by gambling author Frank Scoblete to describe a typical uninformed gambler.
PlugUsually describes the action of placing a portion of the un-played cards in the stack of discards prior to shuffling the cards. Can also be used to describe the clump of un-played cards themselves as they are placed in with the discards
Plus / MinusA commonly used term to describe the Hi-Lo counting system.
Point CountThe net value of the card count at the end of a hand.
Points to RememberWhen indicating your decision to stand or draw it is advisable to use the standard hand signals, i.e. flat hand above your cards to stand or point at your cards to draw. All other decisions should be indicated verbally. Only the dealer is allowed to handle, remove or change the position of the cards. Please do not hesitate to ask the dealer if there is anything that you do not understand. In the event of a dispute, the final decision rests with the Management.
PontoonA social card game with rules related to but different from Blackjack. Played mostly in the UK.
Preferential ShuffleThe act of intentionally shuffling the cards early in order to remove any possible advantage which may have been gained by the players. It is used to discourage counters and to eliminate their playing advantage.
PressTo increase one's bet after a winning hand.
Profit FormulaMethod for calculating expected winnings. Number of hands played per hour x average bet x hours played x gain = expected winnings.
Progression BettingA form of betting which requires one to change the size of his bet based upon the results of the last hand or series of hands. Progressions can be negative, which usually means a bet is raised after a loss, or positive, which usually means the bet is raised after a win. No progression has ever been devised which can change the actual expectation in any given game.
PromotionA special marketing device used by casinos to encourage play. It may take the form of a special rule, such as paying 2:1 for blackjacks or a special offer in conjunction with play, such as offering free show tickets or meals if a player makes a specified bet on certain games.
Proportional BettingSee Kelly betting.
PSThe acronym for Preferential Shuffle.
PumpkinUsually means a $1000 chip, orange in color and often oversized. It can mean other denominations, but the chip is always orange and the denomination is always relatively high.
Purple ChipA $500 chip.
Push ("Stand Off")Same as tie. Player's hand equals dealer's, assuming neither has 21. In a normal blackjack game, the player's bet is returned to him when a push occurs. In double exposure games and in many charity games, the player loses on a push with the dealer.
QuarterA $25 chip.
Rack1. The special place in the table where the dealer keeps the house chips, stacked horizontally in rows. Also Tray. 2. In some casinos, players can ask for racks to hold their chips.
Rainbow BetA bet, usually large, comprised of chips of various denominations, randomly arranged in a single pile, mostly in order to camouflage a bet increase.
Rainbow BlackjackVariation of blackjack which identifies each player's position at the table with a color. Each player has betting spots for each of the other colors, allowing him to bet on other players' hands as well as his own. This game is not widely offered, seen mainly in southern Mississippi.
Rat Holing (Chips).When the player secretly sneaks a portion of his chips into purse or pocket in order to hide from the pit crew how much he's winning.
RatedDetermination by house that a player's skill level is on the professional level. A player's rating may be stored by computer and communicated to the pit.
RCThe acronym for Running Count.
Red ChipA $5 chip.
Red Seven CountAn unbalanced counting system devised by Arnold Snyder and included in his book, Blackbelt in Blackjack, which strikes good balance between power and ease of use. It gets it's name from the fact that the player counts only the red sevens as plus one and assigns a zero value to the black sevens. The other values assigned include plus one for 2's, 3's, 4's, 5's and 6's and minus one for ten valued cards and aces.
ResplitSplitting pairs after splitting a pair for the first time if another like card is dealt.
Resplit Aces (Rsa)The unlimited ability to re-split aces. Many casinos set a limit to the number of times that aces can be split.
RFBAn abbreviation for complimentary Room, Food, and Beverage. Also RF&B.
Rider BetThe bet made by a player (the "Rider") behind another player's bet. Most casinos allow two Riders max. The total amount of bets placed on the betting circle (spot) cannot exceed the table maximum. In most casinos, the player who has the original bet on the spot gets to direct how the hand will be played. The original bettor also gets to fill up the spot up to the maximum bet at any time, if he so chooses, leaving out anyone else who wishes to place Rider bets. In some casinos, the player who gets to direct the play of the hand is the player who has placed the largest bet, even if he's a Rider. If a Rider has the option of making the extra bet on pair splits, there are some variations to basic strategy that can help the rider. Also "Over-the-shoulder bet".
RiffleThe act of shuffling the cards by dividing them into two equal stacks and blending them together, accomplished by holding the cards between the thumb and the first two fingers of each hand.
Risk of RuinDescribes the likelihood of losing all of one's bankroll.
RNGThe acronym for Random-Number Generator.
Ror1. The acronym for Risk Of Ruin. 2. The acronym for Rate Of Return.
RoundA completed hand to all players at a blackjack table.
RoundingA practice which reduces every "precise" index number to just an integer (rounded indices, or indexes). When rounding, all the index numbers are rounded to the nearest integer, following the mathematical rules which apply when rounding numbers.
RPCThe acronym for Revere Point Count.
Rule of SixA policy followed by many casinos at single deck. They require a dealer to deal five rounds to one player, four rounds to two players, three rounds to three players and two rounds to four players. Some casinos carry this rule to the extreme and only deal one round to five or more players.
Running CountThe total number of points a card-counting system assigns to the cards seen from the beginning of the deck or shoe. The running count is updated by the value of the point count after each hand.
S17An abbreviation for the casino rule which requires the dealer to stand on all soft 17s.
Safe JackA high-tech version of blackjack. Card values and bet sizes are read by sensors built into the table.
SD1. The acronym for Single Deck. 2. The acronym for Standard Deviation.
SecondsDealing seconds is a cheating move by the dealer. Through a sleight of hand maneuver, the dealer peeks at the top card on the undealt deck and determines when he will deal the card and to whom. The rest of the players are dealt seconds, that is the second card rather than the top card. A dealer can use this move to help a confederate at the table or to cheat the players at the table.
SequencingAn advanced shuffle-tracking, team technique. The players identify certain cards (usually Aces, hence "Ace Sequencing") in the shuffle and by controlling the table attempt to subsequently steer these cards to the team's hands.
SessionA short period of time for recording results. A session might be the time you spent at one table, or the time you spent in one casino, or the time you spent playing blackjack between breaks away from the game.
SettlementThe resolution of the bet. The dealer either collects the player's chips, pays the player or leaves the chips on the table in the case of a push.
Sharpe RatioA method of comparing risk and ruin, named after Nobel prize winner William Sharpe. It compares the difference in return and investment may have over a risk-less investment to the risk of the original investment.
ShillA casino employee, usually hired to be a "starter" in casino games. This employee may play at otherwise empty tables in order to attract players. Typically they have a large amount of chips in front of them giving players the idea that the table is hot.
ShoeThis is the shoe box shaped transparent or wooden device that holds up to eight decks used in blackjack. It allows the dealer to deal one card off the top quickly and efficiently. Two, four, and six deck shoes are common.
Shoe GameA reference to blackjack games which use a shoe to hold the cards.
Short ShoeA shoe from which certain cards have been removed, usually as a means of cheating players. For instance, ten valued cards or aces may be removed from the shoe, which would give the house an unbeatable advantage. Sometimes, the reverse occurs, wherein cards are added to the shoe which would be detrimental to the player, such as five's and sixes.
ShuffleTo thoroughly mix the cards before dealing them to the players.
Shuffle CardA plastic card, usually the same as the cut card, which is inserted into a deck, pack or shoe to indicate when to break the deck and reshuffle the cards.
Shuffle MasterThe trademarked name of a mechanical device that some casinos use to shuffle the cards in multi-deck games, in order to speed up the game and defeat cheating and shuffle tracking.
Shuffle TrackingA sophisticated technique that requires a player to count the cards, observe where groups of high or low cards are placed in the discard tray, follow them through the shuffle, and then cut the cards in such a way as to bring excess high cards into play. It is a proven way to get an edge at shoe games.
Shuffle UpPremature shuffling by the dealer to discourage card counting or to harass a player who is usually suspected of being a counter. Also preferential shuffle.
Side BetA bet in blackjack that may be made in addition to the primary bet placed in the betting circle. It is similar to the proposition bets in craps, in that the player is betting that a certain circumstance will occur, such as receiving a pair or two cards of the same suit. Almost all side bets carry a large house advantage.
Side CountAn additional count to track certain cards. Common side counts include an ace or five count.
SlugA small number of cards, bunched together in the deck. Usually used to identify the cards that a cheating dealer pre-identifies, controls in his shuffling action and deals out accordingly.
SnapperA colloquial term for a natural or blackjack.
Soft / Soft Hand / Soft TotalA hand that contains an Ace which is counted as 11. E.g. Ace-9 is soft 20. "Soft" denotes that the value can be changed. If later valued at 1, it becomes a "hard" hand.
Soft DoubleTo double down on a hand with an ace as part of the original hand.
Spanish 21A version of blackjack in which the actual tens are removed from play. It carries a variety of favorable rules, but is considered to be an unbeatable game by most standard counting methods.
Split / Splitting PairsTo split a matched pair of cards in blackjack and play each card as a separate hand. Usually, any pair of ten valued cards may be split as if they were a natural pair. You place an additional bet equal to your original bet on the separated card. In most casinos if the second card on either or both of these 'new' hands make another pair, you can split that hand as well. Some casinos do not allow Aces to be resplit. When splitting pairs, as with "Doubling Down", if the dealer gets a "Blackjack", only the original bet will lose.
Splitting AcesIf you receive a pair of aces on your first two cards, you may choose to split the aces. When you split aces, you will receive only one card on each ace. However, if you receive a second ace after you split, you may choose to re-split the aces.
SpookingThe practice of standing somewhere away from a blackjack table to identify the dealer's down or hole card and then secretly signaling the value of the card to a player at the table. An illegal form of cheating. A court has ruled however that a seated player may use hole card information if obtained because of a dealer error or mishandling.
Stand / StayThe decision not to draw any further cards, or hits.
Standard DeviationA term which describes how far one may stray from the expected value of a game in either direction. It is determined by finding the square root of the variance of a game.
Stand-OffBoth player and dealer have the same hand total. Player keeps bet Also tie or push.
SteamUsually used as a term to describe a person who begins to over-bet in an attempt to recoup his losses.
Stiff / Stiff Hand1. Any hand that could bust if drawn to.
Stop LossAn pre-set limit to the amount of money a player is willing to lose in any given session.
Strategy NumberThe count number used to determine the point at which a variation from basic strategy may be made in the game of blackjack.
StreakA series of wins or losses. A whole sector of blackjack-theory is devoted to the quest of identifying streaks before they occur, in violation of all natural & scientific laws.
StripSee Las Vegas Strip.
Strip RulesA set of rules, once prevalent in Las Vegas Strip casinos, where a Dealer stands on soft 17 (S17), Player is allowed to DOA ( double on anything), Player is not allowed to DAS ( no double down after split), Pair splitting is allowed up to 4 hands, No RSA ( no re-splitting of aces) allowed. It is of course assumed that the other common rules also apply: Insurance offered, Dealer collects only original bets, Split aces receive only 1 card, Ace-Ten after splitting aces counts as simple 21. "Strip rules" can be used for brevity when describing a casino's distinct rules, as in "Casino X has Strip rules with DAS".
StrippingThe dealer's shuffling action whereby he holds a pack of cards in one hand and with the other he picks up ("strips") a small number of cards from the top and places them on the table, successively, one on top of the other until a new pack is formed but with the order of cards grossly reversed. The smaller the number of cards he picks ("strips") from the original pack, the stronger the reversal. Of course, the perfect reversal would be achieved by picking up ("stripping") the cards one by one, but that is not desirable by the casino since it eliminates the action's randomness.
SurrenderSurrender is the only option of not playing a hand after receiving your first two cards. When you exercise the option of surrender, the dealer will pick up your cards, and you will lose one half of your bet. This is done before the dealer plays out his hand. Shooting Star Casino is the only casino in Minnesota to offer surrender. The surrender option offered at Shooting Star Casino is called "late surrender", which means you may surrender only after the dealer has checked for Blackjack. Also Late Surrender and Early Surrender.
Swing ShiftThis is the busiest shift in casinos. Swing-shift workers generally come to work at 6 PM, but may start a couple of hours earlier or later than 6.
Table HoppingMoving from one table to another in rapid succession while playing. Often used in conjunction with wonging.
Tap OutLosing your whole bankroll.
Target / Target 21 / T.a.R.G.E.T.Acronym for Table, Research, Grading and Evaluation Technique. An alternative system, originally formulated by Eddie Olsen and Jerry Patterson, to beat multi-deck Blackjack.(70%). The player must therefore identify and play in tables that show evidence of excess players' wins while avoiding tables which are "dealer-biased". A set of table-selection rules is provided, which focus on signs of players crowding the table (a lot of cigarette butts in the ashtrays, etc), for specific card sequences ("clumping") observed, etc. The system has been totally and convincingly shown to be pure snake oil, by a number of blackjack authors, through computer simulations, statistical analysis & logical arguments. [References: See Break the Dealer 1986 and BJ: A Winner's Handbook 1990, both by J. Patterson, for the system's presentation. Also see the comprehensive Sims on biased shoes in Blackjack Essays by Mason Malmuth, 1987. Also see Abdul Jalib's analysis of biases in his "In Search of Clumping" post archived in bjmath.com. See also Professional Blackjack by Stanford Wong 1994, for simulations and exhaustive analysis of streakiness & bias resulting from various shuffling procedures.]
TCThe acronym for True Count.
Team PlayA term for a group of players who play using one bankroll, usually provided by the player's themselves and other investors.
TellA dealer's give-away expression, gesture, mannerism or overall attitude which gives to the alert player enough information about the dealer's hole card. Tells exist only in games where the dealer checks under tens for a natural. To guard against tells, and also dealer-player collusion, most casinos have installed automatic hole-card checking machines or switched to the no-peeking-under-tens rule.
Tell PlayObserving the dealer and trying to detect subtle body language and expressions that show his hand.
Third Base / Third BasemanThe seat at a blackjack table which is the farthest to the left. It is the last person to receive the cards during a round of play. Also Anchorman.
ThorpThe father of card counting, Edward O. Thorp. His Beat the Dealer is the first book to explain card counting.
TieBoth player and dealer have the same hand total. Player keeps bet. Also Push or Stand-Off.
TobAn abbreviation for The Theory Of Blackjack, a book by Peter Griffin.
TokeA player tip to the dealer or to any other casino person providing service to the player.
Tough PlayerA smart player who can make money against the casino in the short run.
TrayThe special place in the table where the dealer keeps the house chips, stacked horizontally in rows. Also rack.
TropAn abbreviation for any of the casinos named Tropicana.
True CountThe true count is derived from the running count divided by the number of decks left in the shoe. The running count adjusted to account for the number of cards left in the deck or shoe to be played. The total number of decks can be estimated to the nearest deck or half deck.
TruncatingA practice which reduces every "precise" index number to just an integer. (Truncated indices, or indexes). When Truncating, we simply take away (truncate) the decimal part of the index number, leaving only the integer part.
Twenty-OneAnother name for the game of blackjack.
UBZAn abbreviation for Unbalanced Zen card-counting system.
Unbalanced CountA count in which the number of plus and minus cards is not equal.
Unbalanced ZenAn unbalanced version of Arnold Snyder's Zen Count.
UnitThis generally means a card counter's minimum bet. When a counter is spreading $25 to $200 and says he won 10 units, he means he won $250. Although if he is spreading $50 to $200 with only an occasional $25 bet, he might be talking about $50 units.
Up CardThe dealer's first dealt card, placed face up.
Uston Advanced Plus / Minus CountA level one counting system described by Ken Uston in the book, Million Dollar Blackjack. It is a balanced count which values the 3 through 7 cards as a plus one and the tens, face cards and aces as a minus one. It also utilizes a number of strategy variations based on the count.
Uston Advanced Point CountA level three counting system described by Ken Uston in the book, Million Dollar Blackjack. It assigns the value of plus one to 2s and 8s, plus two to 3s, 4s, 6s and 7s, plus three to 5s, minus one to 9s and minus three to 10s.
Uston Simple Plus / Minus CountSee Uston Advanced Plus / Minus Count. It uses the same tag values but does not include the strategy variations on the Advanced Count.
VarAn abbreviation for variance.
VarianceThis can be determined by subtracting the expected value from each possible outcome in a game or hand, squaring the differences and multiplying each square by its probability of occurring and then summing the total of the product.?!
Vig1. A colloquial expression for the house advantage on a game. 2. Used to describe any fee collected for play. It derives from a gangland term for the interest charged by loan sharks and is short for vigorish.
W / LAn abbreviation for win / loss.
WarpIf the dealer bends the cards while checking under 10s and shuffles gently, the cards might take on warps that make them readable while face down. For more information on using warps, see Basic Blackjack.
WashTo mix a deck of cards by placing them face down on the table and mixing them by using a washing motion. This is commonly done whenever new decks of cards are brought to a table.
WhaleThis is casino-speak for a high-roller of the biggest sort.
Win RateThe speed at which one is expected to win, commonly expressed as a percentage or in dollars per hour or per a specified number of hands.
Wong / Wonging1. To back count the cards dealt at a particular table and to then join play only when the count indicates the game has swung to the player's advantage, and then to leave when the count indicates the game has turned unfavorable. 2. Playing in any favorable situation in a number of different games. It is named after blackjack author and BJ21 webmaster Stanford Wong, who popularized this method of play.
XSometimes used to denote a ten-valued card.
Zen CountA level two counting system described by Arnold Snyder in his book, Blackbelt in Blackjack. It assigns a value of plus one to the 2s, 3s and 7s, plus two to the 4s, 5s and 6s, minus one to the Aces and minus two to the ten valued cards.
Complete list of specific games we cover in our dictionary of gambling slang and terminology