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Blackjack Terminology

An explanation of some common blackjack terminology follows. To learn how to play the game of blackjack read our Blackjack rules page

Blackjack - If the player's first two cards are an ace and a 10 or face card, they win. However, if the dealer also has a blackjack, it is a push or a tie, and you receive your bet back. A winning blackjack usually pays the player 3 to 2.

Hit or Stand - Hit means to draw another card (which the player signifies by scraping the table with her cards or a similar hand motion). Stand means no more cards (which the player signals by placing the corner of her cards under her wager or moving her hand in a horizontal direction. If the player hits and busts (goes over 21), she immediately turns her cards over and her wager is lost.

Double Down - The player is allowed to double the bet on her first two cards and draw one additional card only to improve her hand. This is usually done if you are dealt an 11 or a 10, so your next card will most likely bring you to a 21 or 20. Always take into account the dealers up-card, if they are showing busting cards it is a good idea to double down even if your total is as little as 9.

Splitting Pairs - If the first two cards a player is dealt are a pair, she may split them into two separate hands, bet the same amount on each and then play them as separate hands. Aces receive only one additional card. After splitting, A-10 sometimes counts as 21 and not as blackjack, so you may not get paid 3 to 2.

Insurance - If the dealer's up card is an ace, the player may take insurance, a bet not exceeding one-half his original bet. If the dealer's down card is a 10 or any face card, the player wins 2 to 1. Any other card means a win for the dealer. Simple rule: never take insurance. It may be taken as a gesture of bad faith by the rest of the table, and statistically it is rarely an intelligent move.

Surrender - Where permitted, a player may give up his first two cards and lose only one-half his original bet. Usually a pretty silly move, and far from manly.