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Sound Like a Pro: Know Your Blackjack Terms

Learning to play blackjack? Before you start studying blackjack tricks and strategies, you first need to learn basic blackjack terms. That way, when you're playing, you can concentrate fully on your game and not get distracted by trying to figure out what in the world the other players are talking about when they say "hit," or "take insurance," or "I have a hard hand."

To help you out, here's a list of common blackjack terms you'll meet, and what they mean:

Blackjack - when the very first two cards you receive have a total value of 21.

Natural - means the same thing as "blackjack," but doesn't sound quite as impressive, does it?

Bust - when you become greedy and ask for too many cards and, as a result, your hand's total value goes over 21: Busted! (That means you lose.)

Chip - casino tokens that are used in place of money. Why? Because they are easier to stack than real money, more difficult to counterfeit, and much less likely to be stolen because they usually have no value outside the casino. In addition, on a psychological level, it has been observed that people are less anxious about their losses when playing with chips than with real cash (even if, at the end, it's still money you're losing).

Face Cards - as you probably already guessed, face cards are cards with a face in them, instead of numbers. In other words, the king, queen or jack of each suit.

Hard hand - a hand where the Ace is counted as 1. For example, if your cards are an Ace, a 7 and an 8 - which gives you a total value of 16 - you have a hard 16.

Hit - means to take one more card from the dealer. To ask for a card, you can tell the dealer to "Hit me."

Insurance - if you see that one of the dealer's cards is an Ace and you're afraid that he might have a blackjack, you may put in an insurance bet. If the dealer turns out to have a blackjack, then you get back twice the amount of the money you bet. If the dealer does not have a blackjack, you lose your bet.

Push - when your hand and the dealer's hand have exactly the same value, and did not go over 21. In this case, the bets are not collected and remain on the table.

Soft hand - a blackjack hand that has an ace which is valued as 11. For example, you get an ace and a 7 and you decide not to get anymore cards, you have a soft 16.

Stand - the opposite of "Hit," it means you don't take anymore cards from the dealer.

Tie - means the same thing as "push."

Up Card - the dealer has two cards, right? He lets you see one, right? That's the "up card" because it's front is facing up.

These are the most common terms you are likely to encounter when playing blackjack. Now that you understand these terms, you can concentrate better on playing better blackjack and winning more money!