Blackjack Terminology

Blackjack Terminology

Following is a glossary of terms for the game of blackjack including popular plays like hit, stand, double down, splitting and others.


First lets look at the object of the game.


Object of the game

The idea behind the game of blackjack is for the player or players to beat the dealer.  There are two ways this can be done:

First - If the player has a higher total than the dealer without exceeding 21.
Second - When the dealer's total exceeds 21 and the player's total has not exceeded 21.


In the event that the player and the dealer both hold the same total of 21 or less, the hand becomes what is called a 'push', and in this case nobody wins.


Now lets look at some of the terms used in the game of blackajck.


Busting or Breaking

If the player, upon drawing of additional cards to the initial two cards dealt causes their point total to exceed 21, then that hand is said to be busted, or an automatic loss. Busted hands are turned up immediately. Once the player has busted, his hand is lost, even if the dealer busts as well afterwards. If the dealer busts, all remaining players whos totals have not exceeded 21, automatically win their bets.



If a player's original two card hand contains an Ace with any 10, Jack, Queen or King, the hand is called a blackjack, or natural, and is an automatic winner and the player's bet is paid off at 3 to 2.

If the dealer gets a blackjack, all players lose their bets. (The dealer wins only the player's bet, not the 3 to 2 payoff the player receives for a blackjack.) If both the dealer and the player are dealt a blackjack, the hand is a push. Blackjacks should be turned up immediately.


The Payoff


All bets are paid off at even money where a$5 bet wins $5 and so on, except in cases where the player receives a blackjack which is a 3 to 2 payoff.  In this case a $5 bet wins $7.50.  An exception is when the player exercises an option that allows him to double his bet. In these instances, usually doubling and splitting, the payoff is equal to the new doubled bet.  In other words if a bet is doubled from $5 to $10, a win would payoff $10.


Card Values


Each card is counted at face value. 2=2 points, 3=3 points, 10=10 points. The face cards, Jack, Queen and King, are counted as 10 points. The Ace can be counted as 1 point or 11 points at the player's discretion. When the Ace is counted as 11 points, that hand is called soft, as in the hand Ace, 7 = soft 18. All other totals, including hands where the Ace counts as 1 point, are called hard, as in the hand 10, 6, A = hard 17.

The dealer must count his Ace as 11 if that gives him a hand totaling 17 to 21, otherwise he must count the Ace as 1 point. In some casinos the rules dictate that the dealer must draw on soft 17. In these casinos the dealer's Ace will count as 1 point when combined with cards totalling 6 points, and the dealer will have to draw until he forms a hand of at least hard 17.