F is for the Fab 4



Fab Four. (aka Fab 4) 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.
[ 97 Schlesinger Blackjack Attack 70 ] [ The Top Play Variations… ]


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


Face 2 Blackjack.  See 2 Face Blackjack.

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. See 2 Face Blackjack.

facial recognition system (or software).  (FCS) A technology capable of identifying or verifying a person from a digital image or a video frame from a video source.  The important thing to remember for card counters is that these systems require a good base digital image (photo) to compare with, however, technology improves every day. 
[ WIKIPEDIA ] [ blokt.com ] [ surveillance-video.com ]

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. In today’s high security environment it may no longer be advisable to use a false ID in a casino.    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.

Fast Action Blackjack. (FAB) (June 14, 1994) A blackjack variation where there is a common card, referred to as the “Fast Action Card”, is counted in the hands of each of the players and the dealer. See US Patent US5320356A.

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.

faro shuffle. See perfect shuffle.

FCBJ. Acronym for First Church of BlackjackSee Arnold Snyder.

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

Ken Uston counting aces with his footfeet. A player’s foot has a number of uses to the card counter. 1) He can keep track of aces or other cards and 2), more importantly, he can kick his partner when she* makes a stupid play.
[ 81 Uston Million Dollar Blackjack ] * Note to Wife – sorry about that one, honey!

Feldman, Ken. A former blackjack instructor.  In February of 1984, it was reported that Don Schlesinger and Ken Feldman had sold their New York blackjack instructor franchise back to Jerry Patterson who was promoting a new controversial blackjack system called TARGET.  Reason: Studies could not prove that TARGET worked. 
[ 2/84 Wong Blackjack World 28 ] [ 1992 Feldman Winner’s Guide ]

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 RevereFELT 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, 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.  All progression type blackjack systems are not recommended.
[ 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 around 1991.  HA = 8.9%
[ 92 Wong Basic Blackjack ]

Field Gold 21 BlackjackField Gold 21. (c2011) A blackjack side bet from Fair Trade Gaming / Rising Digital Corp.  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.  HA = 5.7% – 6.1% MORE INFO
apheat.net ] [ ARCHIVE: risingdigital.com ] [ discountgambling.net ]

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.

FinCEN. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network is a bureau of the United States Department of the Treasury.  It’s primary purpose is to collect and analyze information about financial transactions to combat domestic and international money laundering, terrorist financing and other financial crimes. If you are carrying more than $10,000 in currency and are passing through U.S. Customs, you will have to declare it using FinCEN Form 105.  If you do not declare it (leaving and returning) you run the risk of having it confiscated.  See buy-in.  See CTR.
[ WIKIPEDIA ] [ WIKIPEDIA: Casino regulations under the Bank Secrecy Act ] [ bj21.com ]

Finn, Barry. See Alan Brown.

Fiore, Gina. See RxGamble.

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. See second base.  See third base.

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.

Fisano, Frank.  See Al Francesco.

Fisher, Bobby*. Team member of one of Ralph Stricker’s blackjack teams and co-developer of the Silver Fox Count in 1981.
[ * Not to be confused with the chess player ]

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)  See surrender.
[ 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 – NVB 80 ]

Example of how to get flat-betted in a casino
From BlackjackApprenticeship.com ]

flea. A reference to a slot player who only plays positive expectation slot machines.  Don’t you wish we were all fleas 🙂
[ 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 Nommel BJF 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

[ qfit.com ]

Florida rules  Archived Rules

fluctuation.  See standard deviation.

foot.  See feet.

foreign checks. Chips from another casino.

Steve ForteForrester, Ted. TBD  See Lima.
[ ARCHIVE: groups.yahoo.com ]
[ blackjackincolor.com ]

Forte, Steve. (aka Steven Louis Forte) (Born April 21, 1956) 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.
[ ARCHIVE: magictimes.com ]
[ geniimagazine.com ]

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 ]

BJHFFour Horsemen of Aberdeen. Roger Baldwin, Wilbert Cantey, Herbert Maisel and James McDermott were collectively known as “The Four Horsemen of Aberdeen“. While serving in the U.S. Army in the 1950s they discovered and published in the Journal of the American Statistical Association the first accurate basic strategy for blackjack, using only desk calculators.  On January 2, 2008, in Las Vegas, Nevada the Four Horsemen were officially inducted into the Blackjack Hall of Fame See Blackjack History.
[ BlackjackHallOfFame.com ] [ WIKIPEDIA ] [ 08 Playing Blackjack to Win 25 ] [ 21 Snyder Radical Blackjack 306 ]

Four Horsemen of Aberdeen
The Four Horsemen of Aberdeen

Frank B. Winner of the Grosjean Cup at the 26th (2023) annual Blackjack Ball.

Frank, Scott. See Core System.

Francis, Mike. See R&T Point Count.

Al FrancescoBJHFFrancesco, Al
. (born Frank Schipani) (aka Frank Fisano and Frank Salerno) (Dec 2, 1933 – Feb 3, 2024) 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 2003 member of the Blackjack Hall of Fame.
[ BlackjackHallOfFame.com ] [ ARCHIVE:  alfrancesco.com ]  [ WIKIPEDIA: Al Francesco ] [ WIKIPEDIA: Blackjack Hall of Fame ] [ begado.legitimatecasino.com ] [ blackjackpersonalities.com ] [ 21 Snyder Radical Blackjack 285 ] [ ARCHIVE:  blackjackbomb.com/al-francesco/ ] [ INTERVIEW: Richard Munchkin ] [ PODCAST: Aug 26, 2011 ]

From Gambling With An Edge

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 NVB 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.  (HA ~ 0.63% to 1.04% ??)
[ wizardofodds.com ] [ 888casino.com ] [ barona.com ] [ discountgambling.net ]

Free Bonus Blackjack. (c????) According to VegasAdvantage.com this variant is similar to Free Bet Blackjack.  Found at Sahara and Palms.

$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 BJF 09 ] [ Win 96 BJF 11 ] [ edwardothorp.com ]

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 F.  (c1980s) 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.
[ Joel Friedman Reports ]

Fristedt, Bert E. Co-developer of the Fristedt-Heath System (see below), an ultimate point count system.

Fristedt-Heath System. {PCS/U}. (c1973) Developed by Bert E. Fristedt and David Clay Heath.  This advanced card counting system involved counting cards in three groups: (2,3,4,5), (6,7,8,9) and (T,J,Q,K).  A two-dimensional strategy chart was envisioned for playing while using a regular count for betting.  This system was published in the May 1977 issue of Winning Magazine, which was formerly Gambling Quarterly.
[ gamblingtimes.com ] [ 01 May Get the Edge at Blackjack 39 ] [ 96 Griffin The Theory of Blackjack 71]

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 ] [ 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 C&S Vol.17, 17 ]

FRS. Acronym for Facial Recognition Software.

Ken FuchsFU. 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.  According to the publisher, Huntington Press, Ken is a “senior electrical engineer with a major U.S. communications company, specializing in the field of cryptography. He has extensive experience in coding blackjack simulators and in the development and analysis of scientific blackjack methods for individual and team play.
[ huntingtonpress.com ]

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.
[ wizardofvegas.com ] [ * Using MGP’s Blackjack Combinatorial Analyzer ]

Fun Bookfun 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 ]

Fun Pairs. (c2010?) A blackjack side-bet seen on Carnival Cruise Lines that wins if your first two cards are a pair.  In this variation, the following payouts were 5 to 1 for a pair, 10 to 1 for a colored pair, 25 to 1 for a suited pair and 50 to 1 for a same suited pair of Kings… also called a “Captains Pair”.  RACK CARD: FRONT BACK

Fusion Hybrid Stadium Blackjack.  See Stadium Blackjack.





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