Blackjack Terminology

Bust, Busting Going over 21.  An automatic losing hand for the player.
Soft hand A hand containing an ace that can be counted as 11 or as 1.  No one card can cause you to bust.  For example, an ace and a 6 give a total of soft 17.  These two cards can be counted as 17 or as 7.
Hard hand All hands that are not soft hands
Stiff A hand in which the draw of one card can cause you to bust.  A hand of 12 to 16 is considered a stiff.
Shoe game Games dealt from a box designed to deal multiple deck games.  Shoes normally hold four to eight decks.
Push A tie.  Neither the player nor the dealer wins.  The player’s bet is returned.
Hole card The dealer’s face down card.
No Hole Card Rules that specify “No hole card” means that the dealer does not check for blackjack before the players play their hand.  The key to this rule is that the player risks losing double the bet if he splits or doubles down.  This rule is also known as “European hole card”
European hole card See No Hole Card.
Upcard The dealer’s face up card.
Basic Strategy A strategy that tells the player what optimum way to play a hand, whether to hit, stand, double down or split.
Surrender Some casinos allow you to give up half your bet and not play out the hand.  The player simply says surrender when it is time to play his hand.  If a casino offers surrender then it is usually late surrender (after the dealer checks for blackjack).
Early Surrender The early surrender rule allows you to surrender half your bet before the dealer checks for blackjack.
First base The right-most seat at the blackjack table.  A player sitting at first base receives cards first.
Third base The left-most seat at the table.  A player sitting at third basel receives cards last
Pit The enclosed area in the center of several gaming tables in which spinit casino supervisory personnel oversee dealers and players.
Preferential Shuffling Shuffling of the cards by the dealer when the deck is favorable to the players, while avoiding a shuffle when the deck is unfavorable to the players.

Whenever the spinit dealer’s face up card is an ace, insurance is offered to all players. The player who purchases insurance places an extra bet of up to one half of his original bet. If the dealer has a blackjack (a ten underneath), the players that bought insurance are paid twice the amount of their insurance bet (2 to 1). In most cases, where the player takes insurance for exactly half his original bet, the result of a blackjack is that no money changes hand. On the other hand, if the dealer does not have blackjack, the insurance bet is collected and the player’s regular hand is played.

The concept of insurance was one of spinit casino’s greatest marketing ploys. Many players feel lucky that they can insure a good hand, thus avoiding a loss if the dealer has a blackjack. Like life or car insurance, companies would not offer it if there was not a profit to be made. The same applies here. The casino offers insurance under its own terms – because it has a huge edge over the player. Not counting the spinit dealer’s ace which becomes less relevant in a multiple deck game, there is a ratio of 4 tens to every 9 non-tens. As a result, you have approximately 4 chances in 13 of collecting on your bet. If you had 4 chances in 12, you would be looking at an even bet.

Even Money is the term for taking insurance when you have a blackjack. You are paid the amount 1 times your bet instead of 1.5 times.