F … is for the Fab Four

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Fab Four. A term coined by Don Schlesinger and used to describe the top four most profitable surrender plays using the Hi-Lo counting system.  These plays include those shown below.  See Illustrous 18.

  • 14 vs 10
  • 15 vs 10
  • 15 vs 9
  • 15 vs Ace

[97 Schlesinger Blackjack Attack 70]]

face card. Also called court card. Any king, queen, or jack.

face down. (FD) As in a face down game. The method of dealing cards so that the first two cards are seen only by the player controlling the hand.

face up. (FU) As in a face up game. The method of dealing cards so that all player cards are visible.

face up blackjack. See double exposure.

FAK1 / FAK2. Acronym for games using 6 or 8 decks that can  mistaken for single- or double-deck games.

falling sequence. See sequence

false cut. {CHS}. Also called an elevator. The slight of hand technique of restoring the deck to its original position after the dealer shuffles and a player cuts the cards. See false shuffle.
[82 Martin Intro. to Casino Management 24]

false identification. (false ID) What a card counter may carry in order to protect his real identity.  See identification.

false key(s). See key card.

false shuffle. {CHS}. The slight of hand technique of appearing to shuffle but actually not disturbing the order of the cards. See false cut.

FAQ. Acronym for Frequently Asked Questions.  See Michael Dalton’s Twenty-One Frequently Asked Questions About Blackjack on the Blackjack Review Network web site and the rec.gambling.blackjack FAQ for useful information on the game of blackjack.
[ https://www.blackjackreview.com/wp/the-blackjack-faq/ ] [ https://www.blackjackreview.com/wp/archives/rg-blackjack/ ]

faro shuffle. See perfect shuffle.

FCBJ. Acronym for First Church of Blackjack.  See Arnold Snyder.

FD. Acronym for face down.   Typically used to indicate a face down shoe game.

feet. A player’s foot has a number of uses to the card counter. He can keep track of aces or other cards or more importantly, he can kick his partner when she* makes a stupid play.
[81 Uston Million Dollar Blackjack] * Note to my wife – sorry about that one, honey!

Feldman, Ken. Former blackjack instructor.  See TARGET.

felt. The material used on most blackjack table layouts. Felt has a soft feel to it, is usually padded, and makes it easier to pick up and shuffle cards on.

FELT. Acronym for Fairly Easy Level Two count – a simplified version of the Revere Point Count found in Playing Blackjack as a Business by Lawrence Revere.  FELT is a compromise because playing decisions are based on ease of use instead of absolute accuracy.
[ 2010 Wattenberger Modern Blackjack 85 ]

female players. It has often been stated that due to the sexist attitude in our society and especially in casinos, women who can manage to become expert blackjack players have an additional edge. Women often get friendlier treatment at the tables and, more importantly, better deck and shoe penetration.
[80 Revere Playing Blackjack as a Business] [90 Gaffney Winning BJ in A. C. and …33]

FG21. Acronym for the Field Gold 21 blackjack side bet.

Fibonacci System. {PBS} The progression of 1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34,55,…,n (where n is the sum of preceding two levels). Named after its discoverer Leonardo Fibonacci da Pisa, a medieval mathematician.
[84 Barstow Beat the Casino 75]

field bet. A optional side bet that your first two cards will total 12 – 16. Ace-ace and 8-8 pay double. This bet was first seen at the Lady Luck casino in Las Vegas in 1991 (1992?).  HA = 8.9%
[92 Wong Basic Blackjack]

Field Gold 21. A blackjack side bet from Fair Trade Gaming.  It is similar to the Field bet at craps.  Player wins, based on a pay table, if his two card total is 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 12 or a blackjack.
https://apheat.net/2012/07/01/card-counting-the-field-gold-21-tm-blackjack-side-bet/ ]

fill. As in to fill the rack. A casino term referring to the refilling of a dealer’s chip tray from checks brought in from the cashier’s cage. See fill slip.

fill slip. Also called credit slip. The slip of paper, where the player often sees the pink copy, that accompanies a fill. The fill slip is checked by the dealer, signed, and one copy is deposited in the drop box and one copy returned to the floorman.

first base. The first seat and betting space at a blackjack table. The seat to the dealer’s far left. The position that receives the first card of a new round and the first to play his hand.

first basing. 1) {HCS} The technique of playing at first base and peeking at the hole-card as the dealer checks it to see if he has a blackjack. The player can then vary how he plays his hand, depending on whether the dealer has a pat or a stiff hand. See front loading. See spooking. See alternate meaning below.  PA = 2-3% (Approximate ??)
[86 Uston Ken Uston on Blackjack 134] [9/86 Snyder First-baser Sues Golden Nugget BJF] [6/87 Snyder Is Spooking Legal BJF 7]

first basing. 2) {RWC}. An alternate meaning for the tactic used in severely insufficiently shuffled shoe games of playing at first base when the table is full or nearly full. These players believe that first base has the greatest expectation of any spot at the table. See alternate meaning above.

First Church of Blackjack. (FCBJ) See Bishop. See Arnold Snyder.

Fisher, Jason.  See Mike Aponte.

Fitch, Ron. (a.k.a. Boris)  Author of the Boris Blackjack Simulation Software.

Five Card 21. A favorable rule option that gives the player with a winning 5-card hand of exactly 21 a 2 to 1 payoff instead of the normal even money. There are a total of 24 changes required from basic strategy to optimally play this rule. See Atlantic City rules. See Six Card 21. See Charlie.   PA = +.2% (multi-deck) 
[9/92 Schlesinger Lost in the Maze of New Rules BJF] [92 Wong Basic Blackjack]

five card Charlie.  See Charlie.

five card surrender. A very advantageous rule popular in some casinos in Asia (e.g., Macau). If the player succeeds in getting five cards without going over 21 he may show his hand receiving back his original wager plus winnings of one-half his original wager.  PA = +.7 (approximate)
[79 Wong Blackjack in Asia] [80 Braun How to Play Winning Blackjack 71] [9/89 Brahms Blackjack in Asia BJF 12] [2/90 Patterson Blackjack in Macau… WIN 24]

five-count. {RCS} A simplified rank count where the player keeps track of fives only. See Revere Five-Count, Thorp Five-Count.

five deck. An uncommon arrangement of decks always dealt from a shoe.  PA = -.53%

flash. To show a card, whether intentional or not. Usually refers to showing the dealer’s hole-card. See exposed card.

flash card. See cut card.

flasher. A dealer who flashes his/her hole-card.
[90 Patterson Blackjack: A Winner’s Handbook]

flat-bet. 1) To bet the same amount on every hand. Various strategies recommend the use of flat betting such as Wonging, hole-card play, and for cover purposes. Flat betting might also be a viable way of playing single- and double-deck games, provided penetration is adequate and you are willing to walk away from most negative counts. 2) A casino counter-measure where the player is told he must bet the same amount in the future.   See back-off.
[5/83 Wong Win With Flat Bets – Nevada Blackjack 80]


Here is what not to do in a casino!  Don’t give your real name if possible and more importantly, don’t spread more than the casino will tolerate. Here is an example of how a casino might “flat-bet” you.
[ https://www.blackjackapprenticeship.com/ ]

flea. A reference to a slot player who only plays positive expectation slot machines.
[Lund Robbing the One Armed Bandits 99]

Flex Counts. A method for converting ace-reckoned balanced counts to ace-neutral balanced counts.  Bert Nommel wrote about this idea in the June 1998 issue of Blackjack Forum.
[ Jun 98 Blackjack Forum 28 ]

floating advantage. The proven theory that the same true count implies more advantage later in the deck(s) than it does earlier in the deck(s). Although studies by Don Schlesinger and John Gwynn prove that a player’s true count advantage does increase with penetration it is of a very small nature unless penetration is very deep (e.g., > 5 1/2 decks out of 6).
[9/82 Snyder How True is Your True Count BJF] [3/89 Schlesinger/Gwynn The Floating Advantage BJF]

floorman. The supervisor of one or more blackjack tables. This is the person who walks behind the tables and watches over the games. He is responsible for keeping the chip trays full, taking care of any problems and the general supervision of the dealers. The floormen report to the pit boss or the shift boss.

FloridaIn 2016, the state of Florida had 6 casinos with 245 blackjack tables.  Legal games are also available off-shore on cruise ships with half-day and full-day sailings. The following ports have had day cruise opportunities in the past:

  • Fort Lauderdale
  • Fort Myers
  • Jacksonville
  • Key West
  • Miami
  • Palm Beach
  • Port Canaveral
  • St. Petersburg

[ https://www.qfit.com/maps.shtml ]

Florida rules  Archived Rules

fluctuation.  See standard deviation.

foreign checks. Chips from another casino.

Forte, Steve. An expert in card manipulation and the author of one of the best instructional Gambler’s Protection Series videos on cheating at cards and dice. Steve Forte is also the author of the ground breaking book Read the Dealer and Casino Game Protection.
[ BJRNET: https://www.blackjackreview.com/wp/catalog/blackjack-videos/ ]

four deck. A game dealt from four decks and dealt from a shoe.  Unfortunately, most shoe games dealt in the USA favor to be either six or eight deck.  PA = -.50%
[81 4-Deck Game Analyzed BJF] [82 Gwynn 4-Deck Computer Simulations BJF] [82 Fisher 4 & 6 Deck Comparisons BJF]

Four Horsemen of Aberdeen. See Roger Baldwin.

Frank, Scott. See Core System.

Francis, Mike. See R&T Point Count.

Al FrancescoFrancesco, Al
. aka Frank Fisano, Frank Schipani and Frank Salerno. Considered by many as the “Godfather” of team blackjack.   When Ken Uston published his book The Big Player, he exposed the methods and secrets of Francesco.  Many of the successful teams since Ken Uston have also used the approach and ideas originally developed by Francesco. Francesco was also a member of Arnold Snyder’s short-lived team called CRAPS. A 2002 member of the Blackjack Hall of Fame.
[ http://alfrancesco.com/ ]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackjack_Hall_of_Fame ]
[ http://begado.legitimatecasino.com/al-francesco/ ]
[ http://blackjackpersonalities.com/al-francesco-team.htm ]
[ http://www.blackjackbomb.com/al-francesco/ ]

Fred. A concealed blackjack computer developed by Frank Dracman (c1983? – Great Britain). This was a perfect-strategy computer that advises the player how to play his hands based on the exact mix of cards remaining in the pack. See David.
[3/84 Wong Nevada Blackjack 40]

Free Bet BlackjackFree Bet Blackjack. (2012) This is a variant of traditional blackjack invented by Geoff Hall.  Players have the option to split or double select hands for “free”.  A “free” lammer is used to match the original wager of the split or double down.  When the player wins, the original wager and the free bet lammer are paid.  However, if the dealer gets a 22, all bets left standing push.  According to the Wizard of Odds, the house edge for typical rules today is 1.04%.
[ http://wizardofodds.com/games/free-bet-blackjack/ ] [ http://www.barona.com/casino/gaming/table-games/ ]

$5 Klondike ChipFree Ride.  (1996) A casino promotion that was offered by the Las Vegas Klondike Hotel and Casino in January 1996.   If the player was dealt a blackjack with at least a $5 bet, his spot was marked with a small plastic disk.  Then, the player could use the disk for a “free ride” on any subsequent hand.  For example, if I bet $100 and received a blackjack, I could take a free ride (push) any one hand I choose after that.  If I received a 16 versus 10, I could simply say “free ride“.  This promotion had all of the benefits of early surrender as well.  Stanford Wong estimated players had about a 1.5% edge off the top of the deck.  After word got out, a “Surprise Party” was held in the casino on January 24, 1996.  The party lasted 8 hours.  Ed Thorp would later calculate an optimal strategy giving the player a 1.32% edge off the top.
[ Fall 96 Blackjack Forum 09 ]
[ Win 96 Blackjack Forum 11 ]
[ Editor Note: I was in Las Vegas this week but missed the party by one day ]

frequency distribution. As used in the blackjack literature, this is usually defined as “a table of numbers that tell us how frequently any player (or house) advantage occurs in a casino blackjack game.” Five conditions must be specified:

  • Rules of the game.
  • System that player uses.
  • Number of players at table.
  • Number of decks used.
  • Depth of penetration.

[6/82 Snyder Frequency Distributions BJF 9]
[87 Snyder Beat the X-Deck Game 5]

Friedman, Joel.  One of the great minds of blackjack research who was instrumental in our understanding of the Kelly Criterion and risk-averse betting strategies.  He is best known for his landmark papers referenced below.
[ https://www.blackjackreview.com/wp/encyclopedia/reports/#JoelFriedman ]

Fristedt-Head System. {PCS/U}. TBD

front loader. A dealer who exposes (usually unintentionally) his hole-card while dealing.

front loading. 1) The dealing practice of loading the hole-card from the front of the up-card. This is standard practice in casinos. See side loading. 2) {HCS}. The strategy of observing (peeking) the value of the dealer’s hole-card as it is accidentally exposed. Opportunities arise to see the dealer’s hole-card when he initially deals himself one and when he peeks under tens and aces to check for naturals. The term front loading refers to the first case when the dealer loads the hole-card beneath his up-card. This type of play is made possible by a dealer who tips the card up towards the players to slide it beneath his up-card. A player who is either short or is lounging at the table may be able to read the value of the card. The basic strategy for front loading is not the same as the strategy for double exposure. The reason is ties lose at double exposure. See hole-card play. See first basing.
[80 Wong Winning Without Counting] [81 Uston Million Dollar Blackjack 197] [83 How Casinos Detect Cheaters C&S Vol.23,71] [6/87 Snyder Is Spooking Legal BJF 7] [90 Patterson Blackjack: A Winner’s Handbook 76] [92 Wong Basic Blackjack]

front money. Money that has been deposited with the casino’s cashier by a player for the purpose of gambling off it. See marker. See credit player.
[81 Casino & Sports Vol.17, 17]

FU. Acronym for face up single or double deck game. Ah… and you thought it stood for something else 🙂

Fuchs, Ken. Co-author of the excellent book Knock-Out Blackjack and the unbalanced KO Count.

Fun 21 Blackjack RulesFun 21.  (F21) A blackjack variation similar to Spanish 21 seen on Carnival and Premier cruise ships.  In this variation, the game is dealt from an 8 deck shoe with all the Kings removed. With the rules shown below with “early” surrender and a modified basic strategy, the casino advantage is about 0.62%*.  If only “late” surrender is offered the casino edge is about 0.88%*. See Super Fun 21.
[ http://wizardofvegas.com/forum/gambling/blackjack/26237-fun-21-simulator/ ] [ * Using MGP’s Blackjack Combinatorial Analyzer ]

Fun Book

fun book. A collection of discount or lucky buck coupons that often provide the low stakes player with a positive expectation in a game. Occasionally, but usually due to casino error, highly advantageous coupons have been issued that can be used with greater than minimum dollar bets. See couponomy. See matchplay.
[ PHOTO: Fun Book Silver City Fun Book Circa 1995 ]

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