Understanding Black Jack

Posted by & filed under blackjack.

Image via Flickr by Travis Isaacs


Black Jack looks like a simple game with simple rules. Once you get involved, though, you might find that other players use terms you haven’t heard before. This list of Black Jack terms should help you understand the game so you can keep up with everyone else.

Advantage Player – A player who uses mathematical strategies to gain an advantage over the house. This requires exceptional skill. Most casinos ban advantage players because they are “cheating.”


Image via Flickr by Travis Isaacs

Ante – A bet required of all players to enter the game.

Bankroll – The amount of money that a person has to bet. It could refer to the total amount, including any money currently involved in a wager, or the amount of money the player still has to bet with.

Black Jack – The highest hand in the game: an ace paired with a 10, jack, queen, or king.

Burn Card – A card that gets pulled from the deck to help prevent cheating. It’s usually the first card of a deck after it has been shuffled and cut. Some casinos also burn a card each time a new dealer takes over a table.

Bust – Going over 21. The person who busts automatically loses the game.

Bust Card – The card that causes a dealer or player to exceed 21.

Double Down – This is when a player doubles her original bet to get another card. In certain circumstances, it’s a smart move that can double a player’s winnings.

Edge – Also known as the House Edge. It’s the statistical advantage that dealers, or the house, has over the players.

First Base – The player sitting at the dealer’s left. She receives cards first.

Hit – Means that you want another card.

Insurance – A betting strategy where players will wager money that the dealer has a Black Jack.

Last Base – The person sitting to the dealer’s right. She always receives cards last. Last Base is also called the Anchor.

Pat – A hand with at least 17 points. It could potentially win the game, but taking another card will almost certainly lead to a bust.

Push – When the dealer and a player have the same points. In this case, the player does not win any money, but she does get to keep her bet.

Stand – When a player wants to keep her cards without receiving any additional cards.

Split – When a player is dealt a pair. She can choose to split the cards into two separate hands, but she must place another wager to do so. Most experts advise that players always split when they can.

Stiff – A difficult hand that cannot win without another card but will likely bust if another card is added. For instance, a player with a 9 and 6 has 15 points in her hand. This almost certainly cannot win the game. Any card valued over 6 points, however, will put the hand over 21 points.

Have you heard other Black Jack terms that aren’t listed here? Ask about them and a more experienced player will certainly help you understand the term better.

  • Comments are closed.