Lucky Lexicon: Do you speak Blackjack?
For regular Blackjack players, the terms are as familiar as old friends. But for those new to the game, well, learning some new lingo can be almost as much fun as learning the game. Double down, split, surrender, if you really want to get in on all the Blackjack action, it’s better that you talk the talk.
Even the name itself has its nuances. A blackjack is also another name for a Billy club, the hand held batons police officers carry to soothe the rowdy and unruly. Blackjack also indicates a particular winning hand within the game. That being when the first two cards dealt are an ace and a 10-value card, totaling 21. When that happens, it’s “blackjack.”
“What’s the “limit”? This refers to the largest and smallest wager that can be made at a particular table. The distance between the two is sometimes called the “spread”. A “loose” game has a large gap between the smallest and largest wager accepted and often makes the game more interesting. A “tight” game is when the spread is small. However no matter a tight or loose game, you’re bound at some point to run into an “alpo” (yes, just like the dog food brand). An alpo is an underdog – also called a “short”—who may come in for a surprise win.
In terms of how you play, maybe you’ll be a “grinder,” a person who makes small bets hoping to win small but consistently over time. Because remember, the aim is really about having fun. If you end up with a “pat hand,” one with at least 17 points, you might decide to “stand” (take no more cards from the dealer). If you win that hand you may decide to “press”— wager your winnings along with your original bet.
After being dealt their initial two cards, it’s common for novices to “double down,” meaning they double their initial bet, but then take only one card from the dealer. It’s a strategy that could lead to a “crack”—what happens when a player beats a really big hand—but it’s best used only if the dealer turns over a “bust card” (a five or a six).
A “split” is when you’re dealt two cards of the same number value. You can choose to play each of them separately, putting up a bet for each one. Of course there are times when the cards are just not going a player’s way. In that case you may hear someone “surrender” or abandon their hand, while recovering half of their initial bet.
And whether you are on “first base” (the betting spot located to the dealer’s left hand side, which is first to receive cards and first to act) or ‘third base’ (the betting spot located on the dealer’s right which is last to act), you’re always happy when you get a “five card Charlie”. A five card Charlie is when you reach five cards in one hand without busting.
No matter the “odds” of the game (how much the winning player could get paid on their original bet), if you like some intrigue and excitement and if you’re at a Blackjack table, the odds of a good time are in your favour.
Looking to try your hand at Blackjack? Find a location near you and plan your next visit.