P … is for Penetration


P. 1) A common acronym for pair splitting. Also seen as SP. A P is commonly seen in the blackjack literature to mean pair split and is used to distinguish from an S, which usually means stand.  2) Acronym for poor penetration.

PA. See player advantage.

Cardspack. 1) A new deck of cards still in the box, complete with undiscarded jokers. Typical new card order of a high quality pack of cards includes both rising and falling sequences as shown in the side chart. 2) A reference to the total collection of cards in play.   This may be any number of decks.

paddle. The tool used to push paper money, markers, and fill slips into the drop box.
[80 Solkey Dummy Up and Deal 117]

paint. A picture face card – a jack, queen or king and sometimes even a ten.

Always splits eights!Always splits eights!

paint / no paint. (PNP) A blackjack hole-card strategy.  The ability to distinguish the cards Jack, Queen, King from other others in the deck.

pair. As in a pair of cards. Two cards of the same rank.

pair splitting. (P). A common advantageous rule option that allows the player to split his original two cards if they are of the same value and wager on them independently. This has the effect of doubling the player’s original bet. Proper pair splitting gives the player a 0.4% gain over a mimic the dealer strategy. See split aces.

palm. {CHS} To conceal money, chips, or cards in the hand.

Pane, Joe. According to his bio, Joe Pane is a skilled advantage blackjack and tournament player and has won over $1 million in blackjack tournaments.  The Las Vegas Advisor ranked him as the #1 ranked tournament player in the country in 2007.
[ http://www.bjinsider.com/newsletter_100_know.shtml ]

parlay. As in to parlay your winnings. To continue betting with the original wager plus its winnings. See press.

Parson, Leonard “Specs”. See Lawrence Revere.

past post. {CHS} A cheating technique that involves placing or adding to a wager after the cards have been dealt or after a win is assured.

pat hand. 1) A hand in no need of any more cards. 2) A hand totaling 17 to 21. Dealers are required to stand on all hard counts of 17 to 21 and soft counts of 18 to 21. Depending on the rules of the casino, dealers may or may not stand on soft 17. See S-17 and H-17.

pattern. Players often see what they believe to be a predictable pattern as the cards are dealt. This is impossible in a randomly shuffled deck for any apparent pattern is simply a random event. However, some believe and are using methods to exploit shuffles that are not random. Card clumping due to the natural pickup order in a game and the introduction of new cards in a game have both been the basis of many pattern recognition strategies. See TARGET. See NBJ.

Patterson, Jerry. Author of several blackjack books including Blackjack:  A Winner’s Handbook and co-developer of the TARGET system.  See book listings for recommendations.
[ http://www.blackjackforumonline.com/content/offtarget.htm ]
[ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerry_L._Patterson ]

Patrick, John. Author of several blackjack and gambling books and videos including those in the So You Wanna Be A Gambler? series.  These systems are NOT recommended.

pay. See pick and pay.  See lay and pay.

payoff. The collection of a bet. See pay off.

pay off. As in to pay off a bet. Casino dealers will always pay off from their right to their left. In other words, third base gets paid first. Dealers will pay off players in one of three ways:

· Color for color (e.g., 4 reds pays 4 reds)

· Totaling (e.g., 1 green + 5 reds pays 2 greens)

· Converting (e.g., 4 reds pays 1 green & take 1 red)

See deal. See payoff.
[91 Janik/Smith How to Deal Blackjack VIDEO]

PB. Acronym for pitboss.

PBA. See Professional Blackjack Analyzer in the software section.

PBJ. Acronym for Precision Blackjack.

PBS. Acronym for Progressive Betting System.

PC. 1) An abbreviation for percentage, usually used when referring to the house advantage. Also referred to as the win-rate. A table PC is determined from the final count of money in the drop box and money given out of the chip tray. See hold. 2) Acronym for playing correlation.  3) Acronym for pit critter.

PCS/Ln. Acronym used in this book to mean a Point Count System of level n.

PE. Acronym for playing efficiency.

peek. To look at a card. The dealer is said to peek when looking for a possible natural with an ace or 10 up-card. A cheating dealer will try to peek to determine the value of the top card of the deck.
[66 Thorp Beat the Dealer 148] [87 Humble World’s Greatest Blackjack Book 399] [88 Casinos That Peek BJF]

peek freak. A term used by casino personnel to describe a hole-card player.
[ 81 Uston Million Dollar Blackjack 320 ]

Pell, Allan. Author of the Blackjack Bootcamp series of instructional videos and owner of the GambleVision web site.
[ http://www.gamblevision.com/ ]

Pell. (1982) Invented by Talton Pell, this game was offered at Sam’s Town in East Las Vegas during 1982. Eight decks were used with four decks placed in two shoes. One card was drawn from each of the shoes. Players bet on whether both cards will be red, both black, both the same suit, etc. This game was easily beaten by card counters.
[3/82 Wong Nevada Blackjack & CBN 48,53]

penetration. The percentage or fraction of a deck or shoe that is dealt out to players. Some prefer to use the point at which the dealer will deal another hand rather than shuffle to define penetration. Although this is a minor point for shoe games it is a major point for single-deck. Penetration is considered one of the most important factors in determining the profitability of a blackjack game. See depth charging.

Pennsylvania.  In 2016, the state of Pennsylvania had 12 casinos with 434 blackjack tables.
[ https://www.qfit.com/maps.shtml ]

Perfect or Faro Shuffle

perfect shuffle. Also called a faro shuffle, weave shuffle or the out shuffle. A shuffle operation that separates the top and bottom 26 cards of a 52-card deck and precisely interleaves them, the top and bottom cards remaining unchanged in position.  There are two ways to perfectly shuffle a deck of cards. Both methods cut the deck in half and interlace perfectly. The “out” shuffle leaves the original top card on top. The “in” shuffle leaves the original top card second from the top. See random-shuffle.
[ 04 McDowell Blackjack Ace Prediction 32 ] [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faro_shuffle ] [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Out_shuffle ] [ http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/019688588390009X?via%3Dihub ]

Perry, Stuart. Author of the book Las Vegas Blackjack Diary.

Petersen, Bradley. According to Max Rubin, “An inveterate playboy and gamesman, Petersen rocked the professional blackjack world by winning back-to-back titles” … in the 2001 and 2002 “Blackjack Cup” at Max Rubin’s Blackjack Ball.
[ http://www.maxrubin.com/ball_past_winners.html ]

PHASE II. {RWC}. (1987) (Eddie Olsen).  A playing strategy for games with excessive like-card clumping. This system is NOT recommended.
[7-11/87, 7/88 Olsen Blackjack Confidential]

pick and pay. The dealing method of turning over a player’s cards, paying or taking bets, then picking up that hand before proceeding to the next player’s hand. Pick and pay is the style of dealing most common in Northern Nevada. See lay and pay.
[86 Forte Read the Dealer 43]

Piemaster 21. {BP} (Ed Piechocki) (1992) A small pocket sized card with an incorrect basic strategy chart and a progressive betting scheme.
[Win 93 Dalton Blackjack Review 14]

pink slip. See fill slip.

pinks. Gaming check (chip or token) worth $2.50. Some casinos, such as those in Atlantic City, use this denomination to make it easier to pay a $5 winning blackjack. In this case, a $5 bet would win $7.50 if the player receives a blackjack. Many dealers are upset with this policy because it tends to reduce player toking. See twofers.

pip(s). The suit designs (club , diamond , heart , spade ) on a playing card that indicate its denomination. It is required to memorize the pip arrangements on cards to enable the player to determine their value when peeking. See spooking.

pit. The area that is surrounded by and including the gaming tables.

Casino Pit ExampleCasino Pit Example

pit boss. (PB) The most senior gaming supervisor in a grouping of tables. The floormen report to the pit boss and the pit boss typically reports to the shift boss or casino manager.

pit critter. (PC) A casino pit boss or floorperson.

pit stand. The pit boss‘s desk.
[Kuriscak Casino Talk 36]

pitching. Dealer terminology. As in pitching the cards to the players.

PK. Acronym for “peeking under tens allowed.”

play. The betting or action.

Play 21 Every Day and Win. {PBS}. (E. C. Rocker) Las Vegas, NV.
[80 Casino & Sports Vol.9,24]

play all. To play through all counts, both negative and positive.  Essentially the opposite of Wonging.

play variation. To vary the way you play the cards from some given basic strategy.   See Illustrious 18.  See Fab 4.

Frequently Asked Question
What are the top play variations that yield the greatest gain for card counters?

play zone. A shuffle tracking definition. A set of cards played with a predicted count. See track zone.

player. The gambler or individual who places the bets and makes the playing decisions. Blackjack tables general have a maximum of 6 or 7 spots for players to sit at, however, only one player is required for the game to be dealt. In many locations, especially in Europe and Asia, additional players (who are not seated) are permitted to place bets on a player’s hand (who is seated).

Frequently Asked Question
Do other players affect your long term expectation?

Question 5BJRnet Poll: At the present time over your lifetime,
are you ahead financially playing blackjack?

player advantage. (PA). The advantage that a player has on a bet. As used in this book it refers to the advantage when correct basic strategy is used. The single-deck Las Vegas Strip game is used as a 0% reference point. (e.g., 4 deck PA = -.50%. This means that you are .50% worse off playing in a four deck game as compared with a single-deck LVS game.)

The typical card counter’s long-term advantage can vary from zero to just under 2% or so, although a player may have a much greater (or worse) advantage on any individual bet. See house advantage. See edge.

player bias. See bias.

playing correlation. (PC). The playing correlation of a card counting system is related to what is known as the inner product or the sum of products of the point values of each counted card and the effect of removal of that card. See playing efficiency.

playing efficiency. (PE). A measure (related to the playing correlation) which indicates how closely a card counting system responds to changes in playing strategy. Single parameter systems can approach an optimum playing efficiency of about 70%. Higher playing efficiencies can be obtained only if separate counts are kept for different types of cards or if a multi-parameter system is used. See efficiency. See betting correlation. See insurance correlation.
[82 Snyder The Blackjack Formula 85] [88 Griffin Theory of Blackjack 45] [90 Chambliss Fundamentals of Blackjack 205] [ https://www.blackjackinfo.com/card-counting-efficiency-calculator/ ]

playing strategy. As compared to betting strategy. The strategy a player uses to play his hand after being dealt his initial two cards. An ideal playing strategy would require knowledge of all the remaining cards in a deck.
[76 Andersen Turning the Tables on Las Vegas 16]

Frequently Asked Question
What is the worst common play in blackjack?

Playmate. See Blackjack Playmate.

platykurtosis. (platykurtic) See kurtosis.

PLM Money Management. {PBS}. PLM, Inc., Trenton, NJ. A 3×5 card-sized money management mini-booklet and wallet-sized plastic card with some minor variations of basic strategy.
[80 Casino & Sports Vol.9,22]

ploppy.   An uniformed gambler.  Appears to be a term coined by gambling author Frank Scoblete in the early 1990s.

plucking. As in plucking checks and as opposed to picking checks. Dealer terminology for the manner in which checks are removed from a tray.

plugging. Part of a shuffling procedure. To take the remaining cards (cutoffs) and plug them into the cards already dealt (discards). Double plugging would refer to breaking the cutoffs into two stacks and then plugging each stack into a different portion of the discards. Bottom plugging would refer to placing the cutoffs beneath the discards prior to the shuffle. Also called slugging.

plus count. See positive count.

plus/minus. A common reference to the Hi-Lo card counting system.

PNB. See Power Numbers Blackjack.

PNP. Acronym for Paint / No Paint.

pocket. 1) Where you will see some dealers keep player tokes. When the top shirt pocket of a dealer is bulging with chips it is often due to player toking within the last 20 minutes or so. 2) Where you will see some players hide chips during play in order to keep the pit from keeping track of actual wins and/or losses.

point count system. A card counting system in which a card is assigned a value, either positive, negative, or zero, as it is played. For the most part, cards favorable to the player are usually given a negative value while those unfavorable are given a positive value as they are removed from the deck.

The pointer. Term coined by Steve Forte to refer to a dealer who is always pointing to the player’s betting circle, rushing him along to act quickly on his hand.
[86 Forte Read the Dealer 46]

pontoon. A corruption of the French term vingt-et-un, pontoon is the social version of twenty-one and the Americanized casino banking game of blackjack. Pontoon and variations of the game of blackjack were very popular for allied troops during the first and second world wars.
[66 Thorp Beat the Dealer 3]

poor. 1) As in the deck is 10 poor. To have a smaller than normal percentage of that card value present in the deck. See rich. 2) What the novice gambler becomes after playing thousands of hours in a negative-expectation game.

positive count. When the running count is positive (greater than zero). As opposed to negative count.

Power Blackjack. A blackjack game variation where the player can “Power Double” on specific two-card hands.  If the player does not like his double card, he may exchange it for the next card in the shoe.  Also, the player may split any two-card 15 or 16.  The catch? If the dealer busts with a total of 22, then all non-busted player hands will push.
[ https://wizardofodds.com/games/power-blackjack/ ]

Power Numbers Blackjack. (PNB) (Leonard Benson) (c1995).  Claims a mathematical advantage without card counting. This system is NOT recommended.
http://rge21.com/lib/liebchal.htm ] [ http://www.rge21.com/lib/benson.htm ] [ http://www.leonardbenson.com/ ] [96 Leib Blackjack Forum Spring 96]

PRBG. Acronym for Pseudo-Random Bit Generator.  Also known as Pseudo-Random Number Generator.  An algorithm for generating approximate random numbers.
[ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudorandom_number_generator ]
[ http://www.blackjackreview.com/wp/archives/random-bit-generator/ ]

Precision Blackjack. (PBJ) (Ron DiBenedetto) A non-counting blackjack method that stresses money management, table selection, card play, betting , table departure and discipline.
http://www.precision21.com/ ]

Precision Count. {PCS/L2} (Clarke Cant and Paul Keen) Also called the C-K Count.  (c1982)

A 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
-1 1 2 2 2 2 1 0 -1 -2

BC = .97 PE = .62

preferential shuffle. {CHS} The cheating action by a dealer of shuffling up the deck (or decks) that are positive to the player, and dealing out the deck (or decks) that are negative to the player.  Preferential shuffling is most commonly found in hand-held games.

press. To increase the size of the next bet. See double up.  See parlay.

Pro Blackjack. (1991) Saitek Ltd. A hand held, battery operated, electronic blackjack game and computer. Can be used as training tool to learn the Hi-Opt I count or as a game. Includes Las Vegas rules (except no standing on soft 17), 1-4 players or hands, 1 or 6 decks only, insurance, doubling, splitting up to 4 hands, and surrender. Includes hint key for play advice.
[Fall 92 Dalton Blackjack Review 20]

probability. The probability that an event will occur is the fraction of times you expect to see that event in many trials.  The classic definition of probability can be expressed as follows: If a trial can result in n equally likely events and if m of these are favorable to the occurrence of an event E, then the probability P(E) of the event E occurring is:

P(E) = m / n


m = Number of favorable events
n = Number of possible events

The probability of an event, P(E), is always a number between 0 and 1 and is often expressed as a percentage (%). A sure bet S could be expressed as P(S) = 1 or 100%.

The probability of winning a hand at blackjack is about 42.4%.  If ties are ignored, then it is about 46.4%.  See odds.
[66 Thorp Beat the Dealer 188] [ 06 Introduction to Probability by Grinstead and Snell  ] [ https://wizardofodds.com/games/blackjack/appendix/4/ ] [ https://wizardofodds.com/ask-the-wizard/blackjack/probability/ ]

probable error. A parameter equal to 0.6745 times the standard deviation. Half of the individual results will lie within one probable error of the mean value, if the distribution is normal.
[90 Chambliss Fundamentals of Blackjack 205]

progression. As in a betting progression. To increase one’s bet size in some systematic manner. See Martingale.
[9/80 Sayre Math Case Against Prog Betting Systems GT] [9/81 Positive Progression Blackjack GT] [1/88 Newell In Defense of Prog Blackjack GT 52]

progressive betting system. (PBS) See progression.

Progressive BlackjackProgressive Blackjack. Also called Progressive 21.  1) A marketing promotion that rewards players who manage to get a specific combination of cards. For example, in March of 1991, the Tropicana Casino in Las Vegas introduced games with a jackpot worth at least $2000. All the player had to do was make $5 minimum bets and get 4 red 5s of any combination of hearts and diamonds (e.g., 5¨ , 5© , 5© , 5¨ ). 2) In other variations, the player is required to make a side bet (e.g., 50 cents or $1) for a chance at a progressive jackpot.  3) A table game adaption from Mikohn GamingIMAGE | TABLE | LOGO
[4/91 Olsen Trop. Introduces ‘Prog. Blackjack’ BJC] [5/24/93 Business Week 130] [Sum 93 Banker Prog. 21 Makes Debut in A.C. BJR] [9/93 The Boardwalker Not so Progressive 21… BJF 42] [ http://www.mikohn.com/ ] [ http://www.mikohn.com/Products/tables_games/Progressive_Blackjack.cfml ]

Progressive Blackjack Signage From Mikohn

promotion.  A casino marketing event or device to encourage play.  See coupon. See funbook.

proportional betting. To bet a proportion of your bankroll depending on your advantage in a game. You must have an edge to justify making a bet. If your expected win is negative, your optimal bet size is zero. See Kelly Criterion.
[10/81 Wong Blackjack World Vol.3,162] [8/83 Wong Return on Investment for… BJW 135] [84 Cant Crash Goes Prop. Betting C&S Vol.26,29]

Puerto Rico. Legal six-deck shoe games can be found in Dorado, Humaco, Mayaguez, Rio Grande, and San Juan.
[81? McArdle 20 Years of BJ in Puerto Rico…] [90 Olsen Blackjack Confidential]

purple. A reference to a $500 chip.

Purpose, Darryl. A former professional advantage player, member of Ken Uston’s team and a performing songwriter.  A 2010 member of the Blackjack Hall of Fame.  From his web site: “When Darryl Purpose was 16 years old, his mother put a book called “Beat the Dealer” in his Christmas stocking. He interrupted a guitar major program, went to Las Vegas as a teenager, began a career as professional card player. He was soon known as the world’s fastest card counter. Banned from casinos on six continents, he still calls this the ‘only real job I’ve ever had.’ Years later, he took time off to walk across the country for peace, and fell in with a ‘bad’ crowd – musicians & peaceniks – which culminated, improbably, in sharing the stage with the likes of Santana and Bonnie Raitt in the first stadium rock concert in the former Soviet Union.
[ http://www.darrylpurpose.com/darryl-purpose-biography/ ] [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9InMkgZ9Dk ]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackjack_Hall_of_Fame ] [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darryl_Purpose ] [ http://www.blackjackforumonline.com/content/dpinterview.htm ]

push. A standoff or tie. A situation in which the player and dealer both attain the same hand value. No money changes hands in the event of a push in most games. All pushes are standoffs except when the player busts before the dealer. In this case, if the dealer subsequently busts, the player still loses his wager. For a typical shoe game, the basic strategy player will push about 8.7% of the time. See win See lose.

p21.   The rule abbreviation for players push a dealer’s blackjack when the player has 21 in three or more cards.

Push 22. See Catch 22.


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