Beginner’s blackjack terminology

As a beginner in blackjack, you’ll hear many completely new terms. If you want to stand a chance of winning, the first thing you ought to do is familiarize yourself with blackjack terminology. You need to know the meaning of words such as ace, buy-in, double down, hit, hand, soft hand and more. 

This article will give you an introduction to common blackjack terminology, but before we do that, let’s have a quick recap of how the game is played. 

The aim of blackjack is to get as close to 21 as possible while holding a hand higher than the dealer. To put it simply, you must try to beat the dealer to 21. If neither your cards nor the dealers hit squarely on 21, then whoever holds the cards that are closest wins.

This sounds simple enough, but there are certain rules you must keep in mind. This is where blackjack terminology comes into play.

You can, for example, opt to stand, which means that you stick with the cards you’re holding. If you do this, you don’t receive any more cards. You can also hit, double down or split. What does all this mean? Keep reading to find out.


In poker, an ace carries all the weight. It isn’t very different in blackjack. Its value is either 1 or 11. This means that you can use it to win by playing it with either a picture card or a 10. 

Aces can be split and used to play two hands, doubling your chances of winning. So, if the dealer gives you two aces, you can use them to play twice in a row, though the payout is usually lower. 


This is the amount of money that you bet to join a blackjack game. In a land casino, when you place your buy-in, you say “change please”. This means that you would like the dealer to convert your cash into chips so that you play in the next round. 

Double down

This means that you would like to increase the value of your bet by 100%. Say you had $10 down. If you double down, you will bet $20, but you are only allowed one more card after that. 


‘Hit’ is the word that the player uses to tell the dealer to give them one more card. They can also ask for another card by tapping their fingers on the table. 


Like in all other card games, a hand is the total value of the cards you hold at any one time. Remember, for your hand to win in blackjack, it has to be as close to 21 as possible, and also higher than the dealer’s hand. 

Soft hand

At the beginning of any blackjack game, the dealer will hand you two cards. If one of the cards you receive is an 11, we say that you’re holding a soft hand. A soft hand is a good thing – it makes it easier to get to 21 and also beat the dealer. 

You can, for example, double down because there is a very good chance that whatever card you get, your cards will be higher than the dealer’s. 

Hard hand

A hard hand is the opposite of a soft one, which means that you do not have an ace. This means that you have to apply a little more strategy to win. A hard hand is considered somewhat risky. A player should only double down if they are holding a 9 or a 10.


A chip is what you get when you place your bet to join a blackjack game, and it’s also what you receive when you win. You can exchange your chips at the cage where they’re converted into cash. 

In online blackjack, if you want to cash in your chips, you can withdraw your winnings through your bank account or whatever other means of withdrawing winnings the casino offers. 

Blackjack chips have different values. A white one is equal to $1, pink is $2.50 and red is $5. A black chip is equivalent to $100, while a brown one is the same as $5,000.

Up card

The dealer deals themselves two cards, and one of them faces up for all at the table to see. This is the up card and it is supposed to give you an edge. 

As you know one of the dealer’s cards should make it easier for you to come up with a strategy to beat them. The down-facing card is called the hole card. 

The fact that the dealer has a low up card doesn’t mean that you should act without caution – you never know what their hole card is. 

There is a lot of strategy that goes into reading up cards, so it is a good idea to study what you ought to do for the different values. 

House edge

This is the percentage that the house makes for every game. In blackjack, it is usually 2%. This doesn’t mean that it is charged out of every bet you win. 

If, for example, you win $10, you will receive the full $10. The house edge is usually taken out of all the bets placed on a given night. 

You should always know the house edge for any given casino game. It gives you a fair idea of how much you give the house for each bet you place, which means that you can work out how much you can expect to win in any given session. It matters even more for people who place big bets. 


These are just a few of the terms you will encounter when you start playing online blackjack. There are many more. You should take your time to understand the game and the different terminology. If you understand what is happening, then it is easier to win. 
Remember to always gamble only what you can afford to lose, and to use a reputable casino. Resorts Casino in New Jersey is a great place to start your blackjack journey. It provides a safe space to gamble online and you have several options to withdraw your winnings.

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Author: Tanya Fields

Campaign Acquisition Manager Length with RC: 1 year, 9 months Favorite Casino Game: Starburst Background in iGaming: Opened the iGaming Department at Hard Rock Atlantic City in 2018 in both Customer Service, and then CRM, prior to moving over to RC in January 2021 Location: Based in NJ at the RC HQ Content: Occasionally, but only as it pertains to RC