Basic Blackjack Terms and Rules

Here are some Blackjack terms and rules:

Cut Card: A plastic card that the dealer inserts into the decks after the cards are shuffled. In a six-deck shoe, the cut card cuts off about two decks. This is done to thwart card counters.

Double Down: To double your original bet after you have been dealt your first two cards. Suppose you are given a 6 and 3 as your first two cards. If the dealer’s up card is a 3, 4, 5, or 6 you will want to double your bet because he is in trouble with a “poor” or “weak” card showing. In Atlantic City, you can double down, place an amount equal to your original bet next to it. If you bet $10, you can bet another $10 on a double down. When you double down, you will be dealt one additional card to complete your hand.

Doubling for Less: Suppose you bet $10 and the dealer gives you a 6 and a 5 (11). The dealer’s up card is an 8. You know you should double down, but you’re afraid he may beat you. You want to double down for less to be safe. Say, $5 instead of $10. Is this allowed? Yes! Is it a smart move? No! If you have the dealer in trouble, go for his throat. Either the play calls for a full double down, or no double down, or no double down. There is no such thing as an educated half-hearted double down. When you double for less than the full amount, you show your ignorance.

Face Up Deal
In Atlantic City and most of the larger Las Vegas casinos, both of the player’s cards are dealt face up. The dealer has one card dealt face up, and the other card dealt face down.
Hole Card
The dealer’s hidden card.
Insurance
To “insure” a hand against the dealer drawing a Blackjack. Read the chapter on Insurance to learn all you need to know about this subject.
Push
A tie hand. Neither you nor the dealer wins.
The Seventeen Rule
In American casinos, the rules state the dealer must stand on all 17’s. Even if a player’s open hand shows 18 or higher, the dealer must stop on 17.
Shoe
A plastic box where the dealer keeps the decks of cards during the play of the game.
Signals
In Atlantic City, don’t ask the dealer for a hit or tell him you want to stand. All actions should be signaled to the dealer with your hand. Tap the table next to your cards to indicate you want to draw a card; wave your open palm over your cards to signify you don’t want anymore cards.
Splitting
All casinos allow you to split pairs when they are the first two cards. The chapter on splitting details when to make this move.
Stiff Hand
A bad hand, 12 through 16.