Glossary of Terms

The original glossary of terms was created by Bootlegger. It is continually being updated. Your contributions are welcome. Email if you would like to add to the glossary.


A - Glossary of Terms

A. Common shorthand for an Ace.

AC. 1. The acronym for Atlantic City, NJ, the city. 2. The acronym for Anthony Curtis, author and publisher.

Ace adjustment. Usually refers to a side count of aces kept in addition to the main count. An ace adjustment is commonly used to vary strategy and bets based upon both the main count and the number of aces counted.

Ace neutral count. Any counting system which does not assign a value to aces.

Ace poor. A point where more aces than normal expectation would dictate have been dealt. The deck, pack or shoe is then considered to be ace poor.

Ace reckoned count. Any counting system which includes aces as a part of the main count. For example, hi-lo is an ace reckoned count, but Hi-Opt I is not.

Ace rich. Whenever there are more aces in the deck, pack or shoe than normal expectation would dictate.

Act. Your act is the persona you portray in a casino, what you do to make the people watching you think you are a gambler and a loser.

Action. The total amount of money a player bets in a game, during a specific period of time. A player buys in for $1000 at the Blackjack table and starts betting. The player alternates between wins and losses, and after an hour he has made bets totaling $2500, including double and splits. Then he gets up from the table with $500 in chips left, which he cashes for money at the cashier. The player's buy-in of $1000 represents the Drop for the casino, the $2500 of his Action represents the Handle for the casino and his loss of $500 represents the Win for the casino. [See Drop. See Handle. See Win.]

Advanced Omega II System. A Level 2 card counting system described in Bryce Carlson's book, Blackjack for Blood. It is a balanced count which assigns the values of plus one to 2s, 3s and 7s, plus two to 4s, 5s and 6s, minus one to 9s and minus two to ten valued cards.

Advanced Point Count Strategy. A level four count developed for Lawrence Revere by Julian Braun. It was sold as a proprietary system for many years. It assigns the point values of plus one to 7s, plus two to 2s, 3s and 6s, plus three to 4s, minus two to 9s and minus three to tens. It is a balanced count.

Advantage. Generally used to describe a player's expected value in a game, it can also be used to describe the casino's expected value as well. It is most often expressed in terms of percentage. A player may be said to have a 1% advantage in a certain game. This means that the player can expect to have a 1% return on all of the money bet in that game.

Advantage player. A player who seeks to wager money only when he has a mathematical edge over the opponent.

Anchorman. See third base

AO II. An abbreviation for the Advanced Omega II System.

APC. The acronym for "advanced point count", a counting system associated with Ken Uston.

Automated Shuffling Machines A machine used by some casinos in Blackjack games to shuffle the cards after the shoe is finished. A card counter can still identify advantageous situations in such games. The shuffle tracker, however, cannot. The casinos benefit from the absence of down time associated with regular, dealer shuffling, since, in most cases, two shoes are used: one is dealt while the other one is being shuffled by the machine. [Not to be confused with an Continuous Shuffling Machine - see entry]


B - Glossary of Terms

Backline. An initial wager placed by a player that chooses not to or doesn't have an empty spot to play at the table that is placed besides a player's bet on the table to partake in the action, subjected to the decisions of that player. Backlining rules, if allowed, are casino specific.

Back count. To count the cards while not playing, normally used in conjunction with wonging.

Back off. This occurs when casino personnel, usually a manager or a pit boss, asks a patron to no longer play one or more of the games in that casino.

Balanced count. Any counting system which has an exact balance between plus cards and minus cards. In such a system, if the deck were counted down to the bottom, the resulting sum would be zero.

Bank. This usually refers to the total amount of money a team of players and/or investors has set aside for blackjack play. It can also refer to a single player's bankroll.

Bankroll. Also expressed as an abbreviation, BR. This is the amount of money a player has set aside for playing purposes. It can be expressed as the player's overall bankroll for the total amount of play or a session bankroll, which is the amount of money a player is prepared to bet in any individual gaming session. Another expression of bankroll often used is a player's trip bankroll, which is the amount of money a player is willing to wager during a single trip to a casino or to a gambling venue.

Bar. When a player has been prohibited from playing in a casino, usually under the threat of arrest if he tries to continue playing.

Basic strategy. The fundamental playing decisions made by a player when determining the proper play to make given the player's cards. Basic strategy is not based upon the count, but rather upon the total of the player's hand and the dealer's upcard. It can vary based upon the number of decks in use and the specific rules of the game being played. It is determined by which action the player can take which will maximize the player's return based only upon the knowledge gained from the player's hand and the dealer's upcard.

BC. 1. The acronym for "betting correlation".  2. An abbreviation for "back count".

BE. The acronym for "betting efficiency".

BEP. The acronym for "break-even point".

Bet spread. A reference to the amount of a player's minimum bet and maximum bet while playing blackjack. A 1-4 spread would mean the player's maximum bet is four times the size of the player's minimum bet. If a player spreads to two hands, the bet spread may be described as 1 - 2X4, which would mean one hand at one unit to two hands of four units each.

Betting Correlation. A term used to illustrate the efficiency of a counting system's ability to inform the player when to increase or decrease his bet. It is usually expressed as a decimal, such as 0.95. A counting system that gives perfect betting advice would have a betting correlation of 1.00.

Big Player. Someone who plays in conjunction with a team of counters. A counter at a table keeps track of the count and secretly signals the big player when the count is high enough for the big player to enter the game and make a large bet or series of bets.

Biometrica. A service which identifies skilled casino patrons. It may include profiles and photographs. It also identifies and profiles other persons unwanted by casinos.

BJ. 1. An abbreviation for blackjack, the game. 2. An abbreviation for a two-card total of 21.

BJA. An abbreviation for Don Schlesinger's book entitled Blackjack Attack.

BJFB. An abbreviation for Bryce Carlson's book entitled Blackjack for Blood.

BJ21. The name of this website.

Black action or black play. Terms often used to describe a bettor who uses $100 units or a bettor who bets in amounts greater than $100.

Black chip. 1. A $100 chip.

Blackjack. 1. The name of the game also known as 21. 2. The name of a hand in the game of 21 which includes only an Ace and a ten-valued card. Commonly referred to as a natural.

Bonus. Large pay-off for a specific rare hand, as in paying 5-1 for 6-7-8 suited, provided by some casinos, temporarily as promotions, or permanently as part of house rules. Payoffs for bonuses are very high - but mostly do not affect significantly, if at all, the house advantage.

BP. The acronym for a big player in a team effort.

BR. 1. See bankroll. 2. The acronym for Beau Rivage, a casino in Biloxi.

Break. 1. To have a final card total which exceeds 21. 2. To break a deck means to shuffle prematurely, which is also commonly referred to as a preferential shuffle or shuffling up.

Break-in Dealer. A new, "rookie" dealer in his first weeks or months on the job.

BS. The acronym for "basic strategy".

Burn. To discard a card or cards from the top of the deck, pack or shoe before a round of play begins.

Burn Joint (A) in a Blackjack context, any casino which offers a game with rules and/or conditions so bad that it is not worth even visiting, for an advantage player. (B) in a more general gambling context, any gambling place where the player will be fooled, cheated or worse, out of his money.

Bust. To break or to have a final card total which exceeds 21.


Ca to Cn - Glossary of Terms

Cage. The place in a casino where the cashier completes monetary transactions with the players. Some cages have bars around them and some do not. In many ways, the cage resembles a bank.

Camouflage. An action which is intended to hide the fact that a player is counting cards or engaging in other advantage play.

Cap. To cap a bet is a form of cheating; it means adding to your bet after you receive at least one card.

Card counting. A method of keeping track of the cards by assigning a value to certain cards in the deck. For example, the hi-lo counting system assigns a value of plus one to cards 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 and minus one to tens, jacks, queens, kings and aces.

Card eating. Using up cards quickly. A player may spread to more than one hand to accomplish this. For example, if the count is low, a player may spread to two or three hands at a minimum bet to hasten the shuffle.

Carpet joint. A colloquialism for an upscale casino, derived from the days when many casinos did not have carpet. If a casino had carpeted floors, it was considered to be an indication that it was a fancier place than the usual.

Cashier. A person who works in the cage who handles monetary transactions with players. It is similar to what a bank teller would do in a bank.

Casino host. A casino employee who is responsible for dealing with casino patrons and answering queries about casino comps and other amenities. For example, if a rated player were to call a casino to make hotel reservations, he would ask to speak to a casino host in order to get a casino rate or a room comp.

CBJN. An abbreviation for Current Blackjack News, an e-periodical available from, which describes blackjack playing conditions throughout the United States and in some Canadian casinos.

CC. 1. The acronym for card counting. 

Certainty Equivalent. A theoretical amount of money (for advantage play purposes, generally expressed in hourly amount) that you would accept if you could be paid to not play, rather than play a game. Useful when comparing the income from a "normal" job vs. advantage play. Many players use 50% of Expected Value as their Certainty Equivalent.

Check. A casino chip. Also commonly spelled as cheque.

Checks play. A term often used by dealers to notify the pit boss that a player has made a significantly large bet. The amount of a bet that will trigger such a response varies wildly from casino to casino. It could be a bet as small as five red chips ($25) in some casinos or a bet with several black chips in other casinos.

Cheque. See check.

Chip. A token used by the casino to represent a certain monetary value. Players exchange cash for chips at the tables and then cash-in their chips at the cashier's cage.

Chocolate chip. A $5,000 chip.

Chump.  Average casino patron. See ploppy.

Civilian. An average casino patron; not an advantage player. A civilian knows little or nothing about casino countermeasures against advantage players. Usually better behaved, a civilian is a slight step above a ploppy. (See also: Ploppy)

Clump. Clump is a term used for either (a) cards of the same value, massed together in the shoe, or (b) cards in a sequence that favors heavily the house or the player.

Clumper, Clumping. Clumping means like cards sticking together, which is what clumpers think cards do. Card Clumpers look at what cards have come out of the current shoe and, based on this information, predict (read guess) the denomination of the next card(s) to be dealt from the current shoe. Clumping is not a way to get an edge over the casino. Clumping is not the same thing as shuffle tracking.

CM. The acronym for "Chinese mafia", an expression used by Atlantic City locals to describe slot fleas.


Co to Cz - Glossary of Terms

Color up. When a player changes his chips to a higher denomination, usually when he gets up to leave.

Comp. A complimentary gift given by a casino to encourage and reward play. Comps can range from the most common, free drinks while playing, to meals, rooms, trips to resort locations and tickets to the Super Bowl.

Composition dependent strategy. Similar to basic strategy, but the proper play is based upon the exact cards dealt to the player rather than just the total of the player's hand. It is most commonly used for single deck games. One example of a composition dependent strategy would be doubling down on a player's hand of 5,3 or 4,4 versus a dealer's 5 or 6 in a single deck game but not doubling on a 6,2, even though all three of the player's hands would total 8.

Cooler. Colloquial expression for the pack of pre-arranged cards (usually in 6- or 8-deck games) with which a cheating team, through collusion with pit crew members and especially the dealer, replaces the original casino cards, just before their insertion in the shoe. Extremely profitable for the cheaters if they can pull it off and a most serious felony for everyone involved.

Continuous Shuffling Machine A machine used by some casinos in Blackjack games to shuffle the cards after every round. The dealer inserts the cards dealt in the round into the machine, which then mixes them up with the rest of the cards, supposedly at random. (Some teams claim to have exploited inherent non-randomness in CSM shuffling.) Although the Basic Strategist fares better in CSM-dealt games, due to the elimination of the Cut Card Effect (see entry), the Card Counter and the Shuffle Tracker can no longer beat the game. The casinos also benefit from the absence of down time associated with regular, dealer shuffling. Recent simulations, notably, show that the casinos' bottom line is adversely affected by the use of CSMs, under certain realistic assumptions. [Not to be confused with an Automated Shuffling Machine - see entry]

Count. A reference to the what the point count is in a counting system at any given time throughout the deal. For example, a player may say, "Two rounds had been dealt and the count was +2."

Counter. A blackjack player who uses a system which assigns a numeric value to cards in order to track the cards dealt for betting and playing decisions.

Coupon. Promotional material given for free by a casino in order to attract customers. Coupons entitle the player to certain one-off amenities, like one free dinner for 2, or special (and favorable) rules at games, like using a coupon to get 2-1 payoff in case of a natural. Coupons are given to the player in order to entice him to the casino, while comps are given after he plays there.

Couponomy. The wise and most advantageous use of coupons, so that the player extracts maximum value from them. A term coined by Peter Griffin but which came of age through its use by Las Vegas Advisor publisher Anthony Curtis.

Cover. The use of various camouflage techniques to disguise the act of counting. It could include anything from the use of the wrong playing strategy or apparently improper bet sizing to very sophisticated maneuvers designed to fool casino personnel who may be attempting to discover whether or not a player is counting cards.

CP. The acronym for Caesars Palace, a casino.

Credit line. Post-dated check-cashing privileges established for a player at a given casino. A player with a "credit" line can take a marker for any amount of money up to the amount established in his "credit" line and use it to purchase chips at the tables. The player is normally expected to repay the marker before the end of his visit to that casino. Casino "credit" is not credit in the normal sense of the word; it is check-cashing privilege, with the casino agreeing not to deposit the check(s) before an agreed-upon number of days have elapsed.

Critter. See Pit critter.

Crossroader. A colloquialism for a cheat, hustler, con man or scam artist.

CSM See Continuous Shuffling Machine.

CTR. The acronym for "currency transaction report."

CTS. The acronym for Casino Tournament Strategy, book by Stanford Wong.

Cut. To divide the cards into two parts after the dealer shuffles the cards. Generally, this is done by a player. The dealer then takes the two parts and reverses them, front to back. In most casinos, the cut is made by inserting a plastic card known as the cut card into the deck or the pack.

Cut card. A plastic card that is the exact same shape and size of the playing cards that is used to cut the cards as described above.

Cut Card Effect When the cut card appears, it signifies the last round of play. The cut card causes the dealer to shuffle after an approximate number of cards are dealt, instead of shuffling after a specific number of rounds. Using a cut card favors the house in terms of expectation. It affects both Counters and Non-Counters, irrespective of their betting strategies. A player who plays a game with a fixed number of rounds will do better than if he/she plays in the same game but with a Cut Card instead.

CV. An abbreviation used for blackjack software programs designed by Norm Wattenberger known as Casino Verite.

Cut offs. The cards that are cut off from play by the cut card. When the cut card is out, the dealer will deal out of the cutoffs as many cards are necessary to finish the round and then he'll shuffle.

CW. An abbreviation for cocktail waitress.


D - Glossary of Terms

DA or DA2. Abbreviations for double down on any first two cards.

D'Alembert. A betting progression. It is a system where the bettor raises the bet one unit after each loss and lowers the bet one unit after each win. A series of numbers equidistant from one another is established, such as 1, 2, 3, 4. The player starts out by betting 1 unit. If he wins, he continues to bet one unit. If he loses, he cancels out the 1 and moves to the 2 and adds one unit to the last number, now having a series of 2, 3, 4, 5. At any point in the series where the player wins his bet, he reduces his bet by one unit. If he wins enough bets to return to a one unit bet, he starts over. If he loses during the series, he cancels out the last number he played and adds another number to the series. This system has many variations. It has never been proven to win, and in fact, cannot win in any game with a negative expectation.

Database participant. A term used in Current Blackjack News to describe a casino that is known or reasonably believed to be an active participant in one or more outside databases of law-abiding but unwelcome skilled patrons, in addition to its internal corporate database.

Day shift. Casino workers on day shift generally start at 10 AM, but may start a couple of hours earlier or later than that.

DD. 1. An abbreviation commonly used by posters to describe a double-deck game. 2. The acronym for double down.

DE. The acronym for double exposure, a variety of blackjack in which both dealer cards are dealt face up and ties lose.

Deal. The distribution of the cards to the players during the play of the game.

Dealer. The casino employee who distributes the cards to the players. A dealer can also include the stickman at the craps table, the croupier at a roulette table and anyone who deals cards in any card game offered in the casino.

Deck. 52 playing cards, the same as is used in poker. Commonly, blackjack players refer to a deck when discussing a single deck game. If a game uses more than one deck, but is still handheld by the dealer, such as a two deck game, the cards are often referred to as a pack.

Depth-charging. A method of play described by Arnold Snyder in his book Blackbelt in Blackjack, in which a player would either make flat bets or bet the table minimum on the first round of play after a shuffle and then raise his bets regardless of the count as play continues until the next shuffle. It is dependent upon the player seeing as many cards as possible, counting them using a counting system and making strategy variations based upon the count. In order to be successful, this method of play requires a count with a high playing efficiency and a deeply dealt single deck game.

Desirability Index. A term coined by Don Schlesinger in his book Blackjack Attack. It is a number derived by dividing the win rate by the standard deviation for the particular game being examined and multiplying the result by 100. The lowest desirability index number given in Schlesinger's book is -0.52 and the highest is 16.04. The higher the number, the better the game. In general terms, a player would look for a desirability index of 6.6 or higher to find game which would be considered to be playable to most counters.

Device. What you cannot use to play Blackjack in Nevada by law. Also in most other places, in the US and abroad. The definition of "device" has not been determined exactly through legal precedent but it has come to mean "computers" or any other calculating or note taking instrument that can be used by players. Casinos are using "devices" (ie computers) freely so far, in Nevada and elsewhere, to identify counting play, track customers, recognize faces etc.

DI. 1. The acronym for "desirability index".

Discards. The cards which have already been played since the last shuffle. They are placed by the dealer in a discard tray on the left side of the table from the player's perspective.

Discard tray. A plastic device used to hold the cards after they have been played. Discard trays may only be large enough to hold a single deck of cards or they may be large enough to hold as many as eight decks.

DOA. An abbreviation for double down on any first two cards.

Doubling after splits. A rule which allows the player to double down after splitting a pair.

Double down. To double the size of one's initial bet before taking one more card. Usually, but not always, a player may only double down after receiving the first two cards. Occasionally, a casino may allow players to double down after receiving three or more cards. Once a player doubles down, the player may receive only one more card. Normally, the player places a bet equal to the size of the original bet next to the original bet in the betting square to let the dealer know he wishes to double down. If the player is playing in a game where the cards are held by the players, he places his cards face up in front of the betting square and the dealer places a third card either face-down under the player's bet or face up on the player's existing cards, usually at an angle opposite to the cards already in play. Most casinos allow players to double down for less money than the original wager, but never for more money than the original wager.

Double exposure. A game of blackjack in which the dealer is required to expose both of the cards originally dealt to him.

Downtown. The area of Las Vegas which begins north of Charleston Blvd. and continues to Stewart Avenue on the north. It is bounded by Main Street to the west and Maryland Parkway to the east. Some of the casinos considered to be downtown are the Golden Nugget, Main Street Station, Fremont, and the El Cortez, to name a few.

Drop. The total amount of chips purchased at a table game by the players during a specific period of time, stated in dollar terms. A player may buy in $1000 but only wager $100 in total before cashing out. His buy-in was for $1000 which represents the Drop for the casino - while his Action was only $100, which represents the Handle for the casino. When cash is played at a table, the cash becomes part of the Handle, but is not included in the Drop unless it loses. Many casinos insist that cash is dropped before play so that these numbers aren't skewed. [See Action. See Drop. See Handle. See Win.]

Drop box. A box affixed to a playing table to store the money and markers exchanged at the table for chips.

DS. An abbreviation for a rule that allows the player to double after splits. See double after split.

Dual-rate. A casino employee who is a dealer on some days and a floorperson on other days. The phrase comes from the fact that such an employee is paid at different rates depending on which job function is being performed.

Dumping table. A table where the dealer is losing frequently and the chip tray is constantly being refilled.

D10. An abbreviation for double down allowed only on ten or eleven. Variations: D8, D9, D11.


E - Glossary of Terms

Early surrender. A rule that allows the player to surrender half of his bet upon seeing the dealer's upcard and before the dealer checks for a blackjack.

Edge. A term used to describe the percentage of advantage either the casino or the player has on a certain game. For example, the casino has a 1.4% edge or advantage on a player making a pass line bet in a craps game.

End play. When the player, through an increase in number of hands at the right moment and/or card-eating, manages to force the dealer to run out of cards and deal the rest of the round (or start anew) from the re-shuffled discards, whose composition is favorable to the player. Extremely rare now, it was mostly practiced by self-educated advantage players in the pre-Thorp days, when single deck games were often dealt very deeply, if not completely.

EOR. The acronym for "effects of removal".

ES. The acronym for "early surrender".

European no-hole-card rule. A rule used in blackjack where the dealer does not take a hole card. The dealer hand gets a second card only after all player hands are finished. If the dealer gets a blackjack, a player who has doubled down or has split loses not only his original bet but all additional bets. The name of this rule is derived from the fact that many games in Europe and abroad are played with this rule in effect. It is not the norm in most American and Canadian casinos.

EV. The acronym for "expected value".

Even money. 1. A bet which returns the same amount in winnings as was wagered by the player if the bet is won. 2. A phrase which is used by players and the casino when a player decides to take insurance on his blackjack when a dealer has an Ace showing. If the player takes this option, he is paid even money on his blackjack regardless of whether the dealer has a blackjack or not.

Expectation. A reference to what a player or the house can statistically expect to win or lose on a given bet or game. For example, the house expectation on a pass line bet a craps is 1.4%. This simply means that the house can expect to win 1.4% of all the money bet on the pass line over the long run. Since the only outcomes are win one unit or lose one unit, a 1.4% expectation means winning 50.7% of the time and losing 49.3% of the time. If the same bet were described for the player, it may be stated by saying the player on average gets 98.6% of his money back on the pass line bet (getting 100% back would be breaking even) or it could be stated that the player has a 1.4% negative expectation on that bet.

Expected value. A reference similar to the term expectation. Often, when using the term expected value, players also include the additional value that may result from comps earned during play.

Expected win. Another term similar to expectation or expected value. Generally, this term is used to describe what a player or the house may expect to win over a certain period of play. For example, if a card counter is playing with a 1.5% advantage over the house and has an average bet of $100, it may be said that his expected win per 100 hands would be $150.

Eye. A colloquial term for the cameras used to watch the gaming areas in any casino. It can also be a reference to the casino employee(s) viewing the video screens or employee(s) watching play directly from an unseen vantage point. Also: "Eye in the sky."


F - Glossary of Terms

Fab Four. A term coined by Don Schlesinger used to describe the top four surrender plays that vary from basic strategy based upon the hi-lo counting system.

Face card. A jack, queen or king.

False shuffle. The shuffling action by a cheating dealer which preserves the original order of the cards or some pre-arranged order of cards that the dealer has set up while shuffling for a certain purpose (ie to deal himself a natural, to deal a winning hand to an accomplice etc).

Fibonacci. Any series of numbers in which the two preceding numbers totaled together equals the next number in the series. An example would be 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55. There are a number of betting progressions which utilize a Fibonacci series.

Fill. The replenishing of chips by the casino at a table game or to replenish the money or tokens in a slot machine or other kind of gaming machine.

First base. The player's seat farthest to the right at a blackjack table, from the players's viewpoint. This is the first player to receive cards when the dealer deals the cards.

Five-card Charlie. Any five-card blackjack hand that totals 21 or less.

Flash, flasher, flashing.  See Front Loader, Front Loading.

Flat betting. To wager the same amount of money on each bet made during a playing session or a portion of the playing session.

Flea A low-stakes player who usually plays at the table with the lowest minimum bet in the casino.

Floating Advantage The concept whereby, in multideck games, the advantage we associate with every level of a True Count floats down the TC, the deeper we get into the pack of cards we're dealt, i.e. the deeper into the shoe the respective TC is encountered. The concept was indirectly implied first in Revere's Playing BJ a a Business and later on suggested by Uston, Snyder, and others. According to Don Schlesinger, who, in a series of BJF articles in 1989, reprinted in BJ Attack, first defined and researched the concept, "As a pack is depleted, the same True Count garners extra advantage, said advantage becoming especially interesting at those vey levels where the shuffle is most likely to occur". Alas, Schlesinger established that "the FA is of more theoretical than practical import".

Flooring (Floored indices, or indexes) : A practice which reduces every "precise" index number to just an integer. When Flooring, all the index numbers are taken down ("floored") to the nearest smaller integer. Examples: +2.95 becomes +2, +1.05 becomes +1, +0.10 becomes 0, -0.05 becomes -1, -3.99 becomes -4. (Notice that flooring positive numbers is identical to truncating them.) Of course, an index number which has been calculated to be "precisely" an integer, does not change: +3.000000 remains as +3. [See also: Rounding; Truncating.]

Floorperson. A casino employee who supervises a portion of a pit, usually under the direction of a pit boss.

Fluctuations. This word describes the ups and downs of your bankroll; sometimes abbreviated as "flucs".

Flyer/flyered. Having your photo and other personal information circulated by email, fax,  or private website among casinos in a geographical region via a surveillance network, sometimes an informal one.  Flyers are usually limited to a region, as opposed to database entries, which are usually nationwide.

Front loader. 1. A dealer who exposes his hole card to a player seated at the table. 2. A player who intentionally manages to see the dealer's hole card and uses this information for his own play or relays it to a teammate playing at the table.

Front loading. To glimpse the dealer's hole card and use the information for playing your hand.


G - Glossary of Terms

GC. An abbreviation for green-chip pages on BJ21.

GCB. The acronym for Gaming Control Board, the Nevada agency that regulates the state's casinos.

George. Dealer slang for a good tipper.

GN. The acronym for a Las Vegas casino called Golden Nugget.

Good casino customer. A losing player.

Gorilla. Term for the Big Player who usually is ignorant of any advantage technique, sometimes even of Basic Strategy, and just follows the other team member's signals on how to play & bet on his hands. Sometimes, not very accurately, it's also used for the knowledgeable BP who plays & bets on his hands strictly according to directions.

Graveyard shift. Casino workers on the graveyard shift generally start at 2 AM, but may start a couple of hours earlier or later than that. Generally the least-experienced dealers work graveyard.

Green chip. 1. A $25 chip. 2. The name of one of the subscription-only pages on BJ21.

Griffin. 1. Peter Griffin, blackjack author. 2. Griffin Investigations, which has nothing to do with Peter Griffin.

Griffin book. A series of books and websites kept by Griffin which identifies skilled casino patrons. It may include profiles and photographs. The book also identifies and profiles other persons unwanted by casinos.

Griffin Investigations. An investigatory and consulting firm hired by some casinos to identify and track "undesirable" patrons. Griffin also identifies and tracks card counters and other skilled players, and performs other investigative tasks for its clients. On Sep. 12, 2005, the company filed for bankruptcy, following a jury verdict against it in a defamation lawsuit filed by advantage players Grosjean and Russo, who were awarded $105,000.

Grind. To make money in small increments while gambling or to eke out a profit over the long run.

Grind joint. Usually refers to a low roller casino which caters to small bettors.


H - Glossary of Terms

Half-shoe: When a dealer cuts the shoe penetration to one-half, essentially negating the edge that a card counter might be able to attain.  Usually done on instructions from a supervisor.

Hand. 1. The cards held by a player or the dealer to form a complete play. 2. A reference to a completed round of play. 3. A completed play at other table games, such as craps.

Handle. Casino term for the total amount of wagers, stated in dollar terms, made by the players at a game during a specific period of time. Not to be confused with Drop. [See Drop. See Handle. See Win.]

Hard. Any total of cards in the game of blackjack which either do not include an ace or where the ace is counted as a one rather than an eleven.

Heads up. Playing in a game one-on-one with the dealer.

Heat. A form of harassment that skilled patrons are often subjected to by casino personnel. It can range from very mild forms, such as a pit boss intently watching a player to more overt forms, such as a pit boss counting down the cards in the discard tray, particularly after a player has raised his bet. Most counters consider heat to be a warning sign that the casino suspects they are counting.

High-low pick-up. The way the dealer picks up the players' or his cards from the table, is rigidly set down by each casino. "High-low pickup" is when the dealer, while pretending to follow house rules, picks up in separate slugs a pack of high cards (like face cards) and low cards, and then proceeds to control these slugs in the shuffle for a certain purpose (ie dealing high cards to a confederate at the table, dealing himself stiff hands etc).

High roller. A person who makes large wagers in the casino. What constitutes a high roller in one casino may be very different from one casino to another one. For example, a $100 bettor may be considered a high roller in a small downtown casino such as Fitzgerald's, but wouldn't attract too much attention at the Mirage.

High Stakes. There is no exact definition, but it is commonly accepted that playing using a normal maximum bet of $500 and above is playing for high stakes. See also: Stakes.

Hi-Lo count. A balanced level one counting system which values the 2 through 6 cards as a plus one and the tens, face cards and aces as a minus one. It has become the universal language of card counters, in the sense that many of the standard references to the count in games use the Hi-Lo count as a basis, such as the Illustrious 18. Often, when there is no other frame of reference, if someone refers to a count number, it is assumed that the reference is based on the Hi-Lo count. The most comprehensive guide to the Hi-Lo count can be found in Stanford Wong's book, Professional Blackjack.

Hi-Opt I. A balanced level one counting system included in Humble and Cooper's book, The World's Greatest Blackjack Book. It assigns the value of plus one to 3's, 4's, 5's and 6's and minus one to ten valued cards.

Hi-Opt II. A balanced level two system which is sold separately from the Hi-Opt I system. It assigns a value of plus one to 2's, 3's, and 4's; plus two to 5's and 6's, and minus two to ten valued cards.

Hit. To request another card from the dealer. The request is almost never made verbally. In a hand-held game, it is made by scratching the cards against the felt, and in a face-up game, it is made by tapping the felt when it is the player's turn to either refuse or accept another card.

Hit card. This can be a reference to a card requested by the player during play or to additional cards the dealer must take to complete a hand.

Hold. See hold percentage.

Hold percentage. A measure of casino earnings over a specific period of time, in percentage terms. It is the ratio of Win over Drop, where Win is the amount of money won by the casino over a period of time and Drop is the amount of chips purchased by players over the same amount of time. In other words, Win is the amount of chips that the players, after a specific period of time, do not get to cash in but leave at the table as losses. [See Drop. See Handle. See Win.]

Hole card. The dealer's unexposed down card in a game of blackjack.

Hole card play. To play blackjack with the knowledge of the dealer's unexposed hole card.

Hopping the deck. The action of a cheating dealer in single deck blackjack with which he nullifies the player's cut of the cards and returns them to their pre-cut order.

House advantage. Also called the house edge, the theoretical win percentage, or expected win percentage - when referring to the casino. It is a measure, in percentage terms, of the advantage that a casino enjoys in a specific game. It is the ratio of expected Win divided by expected money wagered (i.e. expected Win divided by expected Handle). The theoretical House Advantage is not necessarily the same as the actual House Advantage. Because of the law of large numbers, as the number of trials gets larger, the actual Win percentage should get closer to the theoretical Win percentage (House Advantage). In some games, the House Advantage can be affected by the skill level of the players. [See Drop. See Handle. See Win.]

H17. An abbreviation used to signify that the rules of a particular blackjack game include requiring the dealer to hit a soft seventeen.


I - Glossary of Terms

ID. An abbreviation for "identification".

Illustrious 18. A term coined by Don Schlesinger to describe the 18 most advantageous deviations from basic strategy, based on the Hi-Lo count. The 18 plays described equal about 80% of the gain that could be had from playing the full set of indexes in more complex strategy tables.

Implied Count. An educated guess used to modify play strategy as to the value of unseen cards in other players' hands based on the value of the dealer's card and cards taken or not taken by other players. For example, if the dealer has a stiff and a player hits a large card one can imply two extra low cards to modify play strategy.

Index number. A term often used by counters to identify the count for specific strategy deviations. For example, the proper index number for standing on a hard 16 versus a dealer's 10 is 0, using the Hi-Lo count.

Insurance. A side bet offered by casinos in blackjack that allows a player to bet up to half of the amount of his bet that the dealer has a natural when the dealer's upcard is an ace. It pays 2:1.

IRC. The acronym for "initial running count."


J to L - Glossary of Terms

Joker. Some casinos, as a bonus to the players, have one or more jokers inserted into the deck, to be used by the players as any value card, as an instant 21, etc.

Kelly betting. Betting a proportion of your bankroll equal to advantage divided by the variance of the possible outcomes. This style of betting is intended to minimize the risk faced by a bettor and most betting schemes recommended by serious advantage play experts are a modification of this style of betting.

Knock-Out Count. An unbalanced level one counting system which counts the 2 through 7 cards as plus one and the tens, face cards and aces as minus one. It was developed by Olaf Vancurra and Ken Fuchs and is featured in their book, Knock-Out Blackjack.

KO. See Knock-Out Count.

Labouchere. A betting progression, also known as the cancellation system. A bettor chooses a series of two or more numbers which add up to the profit he intends to make. He then bets the total of the two outside numbers in the series and cancels those numbers if he wins. He continues betting the two outside uncancelled numbers until he has completed the series. If he loses a bet, he adds the amount of his loss to his series as a single number. He must therefore cancel out two numbers for each number added. This system is a good way to lose money fast.

Las Vegas Strip. The portion of Las Vegas Boulevard which extends roughly from Sunset Road to Sahara Boulevard. It includes many of the best-known casinos in Las Vegas, such as Mirage, Caesars Palace, MGM Grand, New York New York, Circus Circus and Bellagio, to name a few.

Late surrender. A blackjack rule in which allows the player to forfeit half of his bet after seeing the dealer's upcard, unless the dealer has a blackjack, in which case, the player loses his entire bet.

Level. A reference to the number of values assigned to cards in a card counting system. A level one system, such as Hi-Lo, assigns one value, plus or minus one, to the cards. A level two system would assign two values, such as plus and minus one and two.

Low Stakes. There is no exact definition, but it is commonly accepted that playing using a normal maximum bet of at least $100 but less than $300 is playing for low stakes. See also: Stakes.

LS. The acronym for late surrender.

LV. The acronym for Las Vegas, the city.

LVA. The acronym for Las Vegas Advisor, Anthony Curtis's newsletter.


M - Glossary of Terms

Marker. A post-dated check signed by a patron, payable to a casino, usually in exchange for casino chips.

Martingale. 1. One of the oldest betting progressions in existence. It requires a player to double the size of his bet after a loss and to continue doubling his bets until a win is achieved, resulting in a profit equal to the size of the original bet. It is impossible to win in the long run using this system. 2. Often used as a term for any system which requires increasing a bet after a loss. It is not a winning method of betting in any form.

Mindplay. A failed blackjack table that counts cards. Link to more information:

MGM. An abbreviation for MGM Grand, a casino.

Moderate Stakes. There is no exact definition, but it is commonly accepted that playing using a normal maximum bet of at least $300 but less than $500 is playing for moderate stakes. See also: Stakes.

Money management. A phrase often used by gamblers to describe how they handle their bankroll. To a non-advantage player, it may mean establishing a stop-loss or win goal. To an advantage player, it may mean considering things like bankroll, risk of ruin and the use of Kelly betting strategies.

Money plays. Call by the dealer to alert the pit when a player puts down money as a bet without wanting to exchange them for chips. Also said by the player to the dealer, declaring that he doesn't want the money changed into chips.

Monkey. A face card, probably a corruption of "monarchy." Shouted by some Asian players when hoping for a good card when doubling down.

MSS. The acronym for Main Street Station, a casino.

Muck. To remove small cards from the deck and replace them with ten valued cards and aces. It is cheating. The word can also be used to describe the opposite, which would be for a casino to remove high cards from the deck.

Multiple deck. A phrase used to describe games, usually blackjack, in which more than one deck of cards is used.


N - Glossary of Terms

Natural. The two card hand commonly referred to as a blackjack, in which the dealer or the player has a ten valued card and an ace on the first two cards dealt.

Nickel. A $5 chip.

No hole card. This describes any blackjack game in which the dealer does not take a second card until after all player hands are finished. If a player who has doubled down or split loses only the original bet to a natural by the dealer, the player's strategy and edge are the same as if the dealer took a hole card and checked it. If the player loses all on doubles and splits against a natural, the game is generally called "European no hole card", which is also in the Glossary.

NMSE (also nm) : See No Mid-Shoe Entry.

No Mid-Shoe Entry indicates the casino countermeasure mostly applied to shoes, whereby the player cannot place a bet after the first round has been dealt, but, instead, must wait until the shoe is over. Additionally, the player who stops betting for a round cannot re-enter the game until the shoe is over. There are additional measures that casinos use on top of the main one, like also disallowing spreading to more spots than the player started with, etc.

Non-random Shuffle (NRS). A term used by shuffle trackers to describe a type of shuffle that is exploitable using advanced techniques.

NRS Formula. A mathematical formula developed in the early 1980's by the MIT blackjack team for calculating the value, for betting, of various slugs tracked while exploiting non-random shuffles.

NT. An abbreviation used in the subject of a post to mean the subject is the whole message and the post contains no text; usually enclosed in parentheses.

Nut. 1. The best possible hand in a round of poker, given the cards that are dealt. 2. The overhead expenses of a casino or a player.

NYNY. The acronym for New York New York, a casino.

N0. (that's N-zero) The number of hands (sometimes expressed in hours of playing time) theoretically required to be played with a certain set of rules and strategy (count, spread etc) before the player reaches his goal to be ahead by at least one standard deviation. It has been supported as a main measure of every situation's (rules & strategy) assessment mostly by Brett Harris. It is expressed as N0 = Var / EV^2.


O - Glossary of Terms

Oscar's grind. A conservative win progression described by Allan Wilson on pages 246-248 of The Casino Gambler's Guide. After a loss, you repeat the bet. After a win, you bet whatever you need to show a total profit of one unit, subject to increasing your bet no more than one unit. Like all progressions, Oscar's system does not change the casino's edge.

OSN.  Acronym for "Oregon Surveillance Network," the original name of Red Hand, a website run by a casino industry group which identifies skilled casino patrons. It may include profiles and photographs. It also identifies and profiles other persons unwanted by casinos.

OU. An abbreviation for over/under.

Over/under. Two side bets that can be made in blackjack. In the over bet, the player is wagering that his two card total will be less than 13. In the under bet, the player is wagering that his total will be more than 13. In either case, if the total is exactly 13 the player loses. Aces count as one in considering the card totals.


P - Glossary of Terms

Pack. A reference to the total collection of cards in play. Usually, this is used to refer to more than one deck of cards, with it's most common reference being use to describe a two deck game.

Paint. The face cards, ie; Jack, Queen and King.

Pair. In blackjack, this can refer to a true pair of cards, such as a 3-3, or any two ten valued cards, like Jack-Ten.

Parlay. Usually this is a reference to increasing the size of one's bet by the amount won on a previous bet. It can also refer to increasing one's overall bankroll in a session or number of sessions, such as, "He parlayed his $1000 bankroll to $4000 after two months of play."

Past post. To cheat by placing or adding to a wager after the time that no new bets or bet changes are allowed due to there being information about the possible result, such as the player already having a card at blackjack.

Pat hand. Any hand in blackjack which is a hard 17 or greater and would not require a hit.

PB. The acronym for pit boss.

PBJ. An abbreviation for the book, Professional Blackjack.

PC. 1. An abbreviation for "percentage". 2. The acronym for "personal computer". 3. The acronym for "pit critter".

PE. The acronym for "playing efficiency".

Penetration. How deeply into the pack or shoe a dealer goes before shuffling. In CBJN, penetration is expressed as number of decks left when the shuffle point is reached. Penetration is sometimes expressed as the number of decks dealt out of the total (eg 5½/6, which means 5½ decks out of six) or as percentage of cards dealt out (eg 60%, 75% etc).

Per hour. [aka "Hourly winnings (or losses)"] The expression (in dollars) of winnings or losses "per hour" is often encountered. This assumes "100 hands per hour" played, a figure arrived at through observation of dealers' dealing & shuffling speed, combined with player's speed in playing their hands etc. The win rate (or loss rate) per hour is straightforwardly calculated as W per hour = number of hands per hour * EV * average bet It is admittedly on the arbitrary side but helps to give a good approximation of an expected win rate (or conversely, loss rate) in money.

Pip. The spots on the cards that correspond with the value of the card.

Pit. The area in the casino surrounded by table games. While it is often confined to one specific type of game, it can include any of the table games. It is the area where casino personnel track the games and the players, among other duties and is where employees such as pit bosses and floormen can be found. Casino patrons are not allowed access to the pit.

Pit boss. The person in charge of the pit and the employees working in the pit and at it's tables.

Pitch game. Expression referring to most single deck or double deck games. Because the cards in these games are usually dealt face down, the dealer doesn't place them down on behalf of the players as he does in shoe games but, rather, throws them, ie pitches them to the players.

Pit critter. A colloquialism which usually refers to a pit boss or a floorman.

Pivot point. The point in an unbalanced count where the player advantage remains the same no matter how many cards remain to be dealt.

Play all. Term for staying in a game through all the negative as well as the positive expectation situations. The term is mainly used for multideck games. The opposite of Wonging.

Playing efficiency. A description of the accuracy of any card counting system, usually expressed as a percentage or fraction. The closer to 1 the number is, the more accurate the system is in terms of indicating the proper strategy decision to be made.

Ploppy. A term coined by gambling author Frank Scoblete to describe a typical uninformed gambler. A ploppy often is ignorant, offensive, and sometimes tries to influence other patrons' actions through superstition or stating as fact his or her misunderstanding of the games or odds. (See also: Chump, Civilian)

Plug. Usually describes the action of placing a portion of the unplayed cards in the stack of discards prior to shuffling the cards. Can also be used to describe the clump of unplayed cards themselves as they are placed in with the discards.

Plus/minus. A commonly used term to describe the Hi-Lo counting system.

Pontoon. A social card game with rules similar to Blackjack but with many important differences. Played mostly in the UK.

Preferential shuffle. The act of intentionally shuffling the cards early in order to remove any possible advantage which may have been gained by the players. It is used to discourage counters and to eliminate their playing advantage.

Press. To increase one's bet after a winning hand.

Progression betting. A form of betting which requires one to change the size of his bet based upon the results of the last hand or series of hands. Progressions can be negative, which usually means a bet is raised after a loss, or positive, which usually means the bet is raised after a win. No progression has ever been devised which can change the actual expectation in any given game.

Promotion. A special marketing device used by casinos to encourage play. It may take the form of a special rule, such as paying 2:1 for blackjacks or a special offer in conjunction with play, such as offering free show tickets or meals if a player makes a specified bet on certain games.

Proportional betting. See Kelly betting.

PS. The acronym for preferential shuffle.

Pumpkin. Usually means a $1000 chip, orange in color and often oversized. It can mean other denominations, but the chip is always orange and the denomination is always relatively high.

Purple chip. A $500 chip.

Push. A tie between the player and the dealer. In a normal blackjack game, the player's bet is returned to him when a push occurs. In double exposure games and in many charity games, the player loses on a push with the dealer.

P21. A rule whereby you push if the dealer has a natural and you have 21 in three or more cards.


Q to R - Glossary of Terms

Quarter. A $25 chip.

Rack. 1. The special place in the table where the dealer keeps the house chips, stacked horizontally in rows; also known as Tray. 2. In some casinos, players can ask for racks to hold their chips.

Rainbow bet. A bet, usually large, comprised of chips of various denominations, haphazardly arranged in a single pile, mostly in order to camouflage a bet increase.

Rainbow blackjack. This is a proprietary variation of blackjack which identifies each player's position at the table with a color. Each player has betting spots for each of the other colors, allowing him to bet on other players' hands as well as his own. This game is not widely offered, seen mainly in southern Mississippi.

Rat holing (chips). When the player secretly sneaks a portion of his chips into purse or pocket in order to hide from the pit crew how much he's winning.

RC. The acronym for "running count".

Red chip. A $5 chip.

Red chipper:  A player who plays primarily with red chips -- usually a tiny-stakes or small-stakes player.  See Stakes. 

Red Hand. A website run by a casino industry group which identifies skilled casino patrons. It may include profiles and photographs. It also identifies and profiles other persons unwanted by casinos. It was originally called "Oregon Surveillance Network," or OSN.

Red Seven Count. An unbalanced counting system devised by Arnold Snyder and included in his book, Blackbelt in Blackjack. It gets its name from the fact that the player counts only the red sevens as plus one and assigns a zero value to the black sevens. The other values assigned include plus one for 2's, 3's, 4's, 5's and 6's and minus one for ten-valued cards and aces.

Resplit. Usually a reference to splitting pairs if another like card is dealt after splitting a pair for the first time.

RF. The acronym for the poker hand of a Royal Flush.

RFB. An abbreviation for complimentary room, food, and beverage.

Rider bet. (also called "Over-the-shoulder bet") The bet made by a player (the "Rider") behind another player's bet. Most casinos allow two Riders max. The total amount of bets placed on the betting circle (spot) cannot exceed the table maximum. In most casinos, the player who has the original bet on the spot gets to direct how the hand will be played. The original bettor also gets to fill up the spot up to the maximum bet at any time, if he so chooses, leaving out anyone else who wishes to place Rider bets. In some casinos, the player who gets to direct the play of the hand is the player who has placed the largest bet, even if he's a Rider. If a Rider has the option of making the extra bet on pair splits, there are some variations to basic strategy that can help the rider. See Basic Blackjack for details.

Riffle. The act of shuffling the cards by dividing them into two equal stacks and blending them together, accomplished by holding the cards between the thumb and the first two fingers of each hand.

Risk of ruin. Describes the likelihood of losing all of one's bankroll.

Risk-averse Indices. The idea that when making a playing decision the player should not always maximize the expected (average) profit, but should also take the possibly increased risk into consideration.

RNG. The acronym for random-number generator.

Round. A completed hand to all players at a blackjack table.

Rounding (Rounded indices, or indexes) : A practice which reduces every "precise" index number to just an integer. When Rounding, all the index numbers are rounded to the nearest integer, following the mathematical rules which apply when rounding numbers. Examples: -1.50 becomes -2, -1.49 becomes -1, -0.50 becomes 0, +0.49 becomes 0, +0.50 becomes +1, +1.49 becomes +1, +1.50 becomes +2. Of course, an index number which has been calculated to be "precisely" an integer, does not change: +3.000000 remains as +3. [See also: Flooring; Truncating.]

ROR. 1. The acronym for risk of ruin. 2. The acronym for rate of return.

RPC. The acronym for Revere point count.

RSA. An abbreviation for resplit aces.

Rule of eleven. A method devised by Green Chip member Fine Tuner as a general guide to quickly gauge if a double deck game is worth playing. Eleven, minus the number of players, equals the worst cut percentage that is playable. For example, in a game with 3 players already there, if you sit down, there will be 4 players. 11 minus 4 = 7. This means you need 0.7 or better cut for the game to be playable. Conversely, if you know the cut is 1.0, then you also know it's playable only if you get it heads up. The table:

Spots           Cut
4 players       0.7
3 players       0.8
2 players       0.9
1 player        1.0

Rule of six. A policy followed by many casinos at single deck. They require a dealer to deal five rounds to one player, four rounds to two players, three rounds to three players and two rounds to four players. Some casinos carry this rule to the extreme and only deal one round to five or more players.  See

Running count. The total number of points a card-counting system assigns to the cards seen as a player is counting them.


Sa to Sn - Glossary of Terms

SafeJack. An early high-tech version of blackjack that failed in casino usage. Card values and bet sizes were read by sensors built into the table. There have been subsequent similar inventions.

SBA. The acronym for Statistical Blackjack Analyzer, blackjack software by Karel Janecek.

SCORE. The acronym for Standardized Comparison Of Risk and Expectation, a method created by Don Schlesinger and John Auston for evaluating different games based on the number of decks, rules, penetration, and bet spread.

SD. 1. The acronym for single deck. 2. The acronym for standard deviation.

Seconds. Dealing seconds is a cheating move by the dealer. Through a sleight of hand maneuver, the dealer peeks at the top card on the undealt deck and determines when he will deal the card and to whom. The rest of the players are dealt seconds, that is the second card rather than the top card. A dealer can use this move to help a confederate at the table or to cheat the players at the table.

Sequencing. An advanced shuffle-tracking, team technique. The players identify certain cards (usually Aces, hence "Ace Sequencing") in the shuffle and by controlling the table attempt to subsequently steer these cards to the team's hands.

Session. A period of time for recording results for record-keeping and tax purposes. A session might be the time you spent at one table, or the time you spent in one casino, or the time you spent playing blackjack between breaks away from the game.  (See also: Short session)

Sharpe Ratio. A method of comparing risk and ruin, named after Nobel prize winner William Sharpe. It compares the difference in return on investment may have over a riskless investment to the risk of the original investment.

Shill. A casino employee hired to be a "starter" in casino games, especially poker. This employee may play at otherwise empty tables in order to attract players.

Shoe. A device used by casinos to hold cards as they are being distributed to the players. It is usually used in games which use more than two decks of cards and is most commonly seen in blackjack and baccarat games.

Shoe game. A reference to blackjack games which use a shoe to hold the cards.

Short session: In blackjack, a "short session" is defined by some professional players as leaving the casino after spreading beyond what you think the casino will tolerate, immediately at the end of the deck/shoe or as soon as the count is no longer positive; or leaving after thirty minutes of play -- whichever comes first.  (See also: Session)

Short shoe. A shoe from which certain cards have been removed, usually as a means of cheating players. For instance, ten-valued cards or aces may be removed from the shoe, which would give the house an unbeatable advantage. Sometimes, the reverse occurs, wherein cards are added to the show which would be detrimental to the player, such as fives and sixes.

Shuffle. To thoroughly mix the cards before dealing them to the players.

Shuffle card. A plastic card, usually the same as the cut card, which is inserted into a deck, pack or shoe to indicate when to break the deck and reshuffle the cards.

ShuffleMaster. A company that manufactures and sells shuffling machines, table games, and associated equipment to casinos.

Shuffle tracking. A sophisticated technique that requires a player to count the cards, observe where groups of high or low cards are placed in the discard tray, follow them through the shuffle, and then cut the cards in such a way as to bring excess high cards into play. It is a proven way to get an edge at shoe games.

Shuffle up. Another term for preferential shuffle. It occurs when the dealer breaks the deck prematurely and shuffles the cards.

Side bet. A bet in blackjack that may be made in addition to the primary bet placed in the betting circle. It is similar to the proposition bets in craps, in that the player is betting that a certain circumstance will occur, such as receiving a pair or two cards of the same suit. Almost all side bets carry a large house advantage.

Slot wonger. A player who wongs into slot machines with progressive jackpots or similar features when they are left in an advantageous condition.

Slug. A small number of cards, bunched together in the deck. Usually used to identify the cards that a cheating dealer pre-identifies, controls in his shuffling action and deals out accordingly.

Snapper. A colloquial term for a natural or blackjack.


So to Sz - Glossary of Terms

Soft. Any hand in blackjack in which an ace is being counted as 11.

Soft double. To double down on a hand with an ace as part of the original hand.

Spanish 21. A proprietary version of blackjack in which the actual tens are removed from play. It carries a variety of favorable rules, but is considered to be an unbeatable game by most standard counting methods.

Split. To split a matched pair of cards in blackjack and play each card as a separate hand. Usually, any pair of ten valued cards may be split as if they were a natural pair.

Spooking. The use of a spotter located somewhere away from a blackjack table to identify the dealer's down card, who then signals the value of the card to a player at the table. It is considered to be cheating.

Spotter. 1. The member of a blackjack team that identifies, through counting, an opportunity at a table and signals in the Big Player. 2. A person who spooks the cards; also known as a spooker.

Stakes. The normal bet levels of a particular player. There is no exact definition, but a scale of normal bet levels that is commonly accepted is:

Maximum bet of under $100 = tiny stakes
Maximum bet of at least $100 but less than $300 = low stakes
Maximum bet of at least $300 but less than $500 = moderate stakes
Maximum bet of $500 and above = high stakes

Stand. To refuse to take another card in blackjack. For example, a person dealt two tens would normally stand and refuse another card.

Standard deviation. A term which describes how far one may stray from the expected value of a game in either direction. It is determined by finding the square root of the variance of a game.

Statistical Blackjack Analyzer. Counting software designed by Karel Janacek which can analyze counting systems and simulate play.

Steam. Usually used as a term to describe a person who begins to overbet in an attempt to recoup his losses.

Stiff. 1. Any hand with a card total of 12 through 16. 2. A reference to any dealer upcard of 2 through 6, as in "The dealer was showing a stiff." 3. Dealers' slang for a player who doesn't tip.

Stop loss. A pre-set limit to the amount of money a player is willing to lose in any given session.

Stop win. A pre-set limit to the amount of money a player is willing to win in any given session.

Strategy number. The count number used to determine the point at which a variation from basic strategy should be made in the game of blackjack.

Streak. A series of wins or losses. A whole sector of blackjack pseudo-theory is devoted to the quest of identifying streaks before they occur, in violation of all natural & scientific laws.

Strip. See Las Vegas Strip.

Stripping. The dealer's shuffling action whereby he holds a pack of cards in one hand and with the other he picks up ("strips") a small number of cards from the top and places them on the table, successively, one on top of the other until a new pack is formed but with the order of cards grossly reversed. The smaller the number of cards he picks ("strips") from the original pack, the stronger the reversal. Of course, the perfect reversal would be achieved by picking up ("stripping") the cards one by one, but that is not desirable by the casino since it eliminates the action's randomness.

Strip rules. A set of rules, once prevalent in Las Vegas Strip casinos, where A. Dealer stands on soft 17 (S17), B. Player is allowed to DOA, ie double on anything, C. Player is not allowed to DAS ie no double down after split, D. Pair splitting is allowed upto 4 hands, E. No RSA (ie no resplitting of aces) allowed. It is of course assumed that the other common rules also apply: Insurance offered, Dealer collects only original bets, Split aces receive only 1 card, Ace-Ten after splitting aces counts as simple 21. "Strip rules" can be used for brevity when describing a casino's distinct rules, as in "Casino X has Strip rules with DAS".

Surrender. See late surrender and early surrender.

SW. The acronym for Stanford Wong, author. 

Swing shift. This is the busiest shift in casinos. Swing-shift workers generally come to work at 6 PM, but may start a couple of hours earlier or later than 6.

S17. An abbreviation for the casino rule which requires the dealer to stand on all soft 17s.


T - Glossary of Terms

Table hopping. Moving from one table to another in rapid succession while playing. Often used in conjunction with wonging.

Tap out. Losing your whole bankroll.

TARGET. (aka Target 21, aka T.A.R.G.E.T.) Acronym for TAble Research, Grading and Evaluation Technique. A nonsense blackjack system.

TC. The acronym for true count.

Team play. A term for a group of players who play using one bankroll, provided by the players themselves and/or other investors.

Tell. A dealer's give-away expression, gesture, mannerism or overall attitude which gives to the alert player enough information about the dealer's hole card. Tells exist only in games where the dealer checks under tens for a natural. To guard against tells, and also dealer-player collusion, most casinos have installed automatic hole-card checking machines or switched to the no-peeking-under-tens rule.

Third base. The seat at a blackjack table which is the farthest to the left. It is the last position to receive the cards during a round of play.

Thorp. The father of card counting, Edward O. Thorp. His Beat the Dealer is the first book to explain card counting.

Tie. See push.

Tiny Stakes. There is no exact definition, but it is commonly accepted that playing using a normal maximum bet of under $100 is playing for tiny stakes. See also: Stakes.

Toke. A player tip to the dealer or to any other casino person providing service to the player.

Tray. The special place in the table where the dealer keeps the house chips, stacked horizontally in rows. Also known as rack.

Trop. An abbreviation for any of the casinos named Tropicana.

True count. The count per deck, which is found by dividing the number of decks left in play into the running count.

Truncating (Truncated indices, or indexes) : A practice which reduces every "precise" index number to just an integer. When Truncating, we simply take away (truncate) the decimal part of the index number, leaving only the integer part. Examples: +2.95 becomes +2, +2.15 becomes +2, -0.99 becomes 0, -3.05 becomes -3. Of course, an index number which has been calculated to be "precisely" an integer, does not change: +3.000000 remains as +3. [See also: Flooring; Rounding.]

Twenty-one. Another name for the game of blackjack.


U - Glossary of Terms

UBZ. An abbreviation for unbalanced Zen card-counting system.

Unbalanced count. A count in which the number of plus and minus cards is not equal. For example, the KO count has one more plus valued card than minus valued card, which makes it an unbalanced count.

Unbalanced Zen. An unbalanced version of Arnold Snyder's Zen Count.

Unit. This generally means a card counter's minimum bet. When a counter is spreading $25 to $200 and says he won 10 units, he means he won $250. Although if he is speading $50 to $200 with only an occasional $25 bet, he might be talking about $50 units.

Upcard. The dealer's exposed card.

Uston Advanced Plus/Minus Count. A level one counting system described by Ken Uston in the book, Million Dollar Blackjack. It is a balanced count which values the 3 through 7 cards as a plus one and the tens, face cards and aces as a minus one. It also utilizes a number of strategy variations based on the count.

Uston Advanced Point Count. A level three counting system described by Ken Uston in the book, Million Dollar Blackjack. It assigns the value of plus one to 2s and 8s, plus two to 3s, 4s, 6s and 7s, plus three to 5s, minus one to 9s and minus three to 10s.

Uston Simple Plus/Minus Count. See Uston Advanced Plus/Minus Count. It uses the same tag values but does not include the strategy variations on the Advanced count.


V - Glossary of Terms

Var. An abbreviation for variance.

Variance. This can be determined by subtracting the expected value from each possible outcome in a game or hand, squaring the differences and multiplying each square by its probability of occurring and then summing the total of the product.

Vig. A colloquial expression for the house advantage on a game. It can also be used to describe any fee collected for play. It derives from a gangland term for the interest charged by loan sharks and is short for vigorish.

VP. The acronym for video poker.


W - Glossary of Terms

Warp. If the dealer bends the cards while checking under 10s and shuffles gently, the cards might take on warps that make them readable while face down. For more information on using warps, see Basic Blackjack.

Wash. To mix a deck of cards by placing them face down on the table and mixing them by using a washing motion. This is commonly done whenever new decks of cards are brought to a table.

Whale. This is casino-speak for a high-roller of the biggest sort.

Win (noun). 1. The money that the casino player wins at the casino. It is expressed in dollar terms. The figure is also used to calculate his Win Rate (usually per unit of time, e.g. Hourly Win Rate), the Variance of his plays so far, and other data. 2. The money that the casino wins from the casino player. It is the amount of chips that the player has lost at the table and will remain at the table, in the dealer's rack. The casino measures Win per units of time, by taking inventory of the chips in the dealer's rack within regular time intervals. The figure is used by the casino to calculate its Hold Percentage, its Win Percentage, and other data.

Win percentage. A measure of casino earnings over a specific period of time, in percentage terms. It is the ratio of Win over Handle, where Win is the amount of money won by the casino over a period of time and Handle is the sum of all wagers made by the players during the same period of time. [See Drop. See Handle. See Hold percentage.]

Win rate. The speed at which one is expected to win, commonly expressed as a percentage (in which case it is identical to the theoretical player's advantage), or in dollars per hour or per a specified number of hands. Distinction must always be made between theoretical Win Rate (which is derived through calculation) and actual win Rate, which is obtained from the data of actual play. From the casino's perspective, Win Rate can mean, depending upon the context, the theoretical House Edge, which is expressed in percentage terms, or it can mean the amount of dollars that the house expects (theoretical WR) or actually wins (actual WR) per unit of time.

Wong, Wonging, Wonger. To back count the cards dealt at a particular table and to then join play only when the count indicates the game has swung to the player's advantage, and then to leave when the count indicates the game has turned unfavorable. The term has been expanded to include playing in any favorable situation in a number of different games. It is 

W/L. An abbreviation for win/loss.

X-Z and numbers

X to Z and Numbers - Glossary of Terms

X. Sometimes used to denote a ten-valued card.

Yellow chip. A $1,000 chip.

Zen Count. A level two counting system described by Arnold Snyder in his book, Blackbelt in Blackjack. It assigns a value of plus one to the 2s, 3s and 7s, plus two to the 4s, 5s and 6s, minus one to the Aces and minus two to the ten valued cards.

Zuke. An archaic term for a dealer gratuity or tip. See "Toke".

1:8. An abbreviation for bet spread of 1:8. Variations: 1:6, 1:12, etc.

2:1. An abbreviation for a blackjack game in which naturals pay 2:1 instead of the normal 3:2.

6D. An abbreviation for six decks. Variations: 1D, 2D, etc.

86'd. An abbreviation for kicked out of a casino with the threat of being arrested if you return.