Blackjack, also known as 21, is a game that combines skill, strategy, and a bit of luck. One of the terms you might hear thrown around the blackjack table is “monkey,” but what does monkey mean in blackjack? This guide will dive into the game’s rules and uncover the meaning behind this intriguing term.

Understanding Blackjack Basics

Before we get into the specifics of what “monkey” means, let’s quickly go over the basic rules of blackjack. The game’s goal is simple: beat the dealer by having a hand value closer to 21 than theirs, without exceeding 21.

  • Value of Cards: Cards 2 through 10 are worth their face value. Kings, Queens, and Jacks are each worth 10, whereas Aces can be either 1 or 11, depending on what benefits the player’s hand.
  • The Deal: Each player starts with two cards, as does the dealer. One of the dealer’s cards is face up (the upcard) and one is face down (the hole card).
  • Playing a Hand: Players can choose to ‘Hit’ (take another card) or ‘Stand’ (keep their current hand), among other options such as ‘Double Down’ or ‘Split’ depending on their cards.

Decoding the Term “Monkey”

In the heat of the game, when players yell “monkey!” they’re not referring to any jungle animal invading the casino. Instead, “monkey” is slang, typically used to express a desire for a card worth 10 points. Hearing “monkey” at the blackjack table usually means someone is hoping the next card turned over is either a King, Queen, Jack, or a 10 itself. Why “monkey”? The origins of the term are a bit fuzzy, but it’s widely accepted in gambling circles.

How to Use “Monkey” to Your Advantage

Knowing the term “monkey” won’t necessarily give you a strategic edge, but understanding when you or others might want a ‘monkey’ can influence your game decisions.

Strategy Tips:

  • If your hand totals 11, shouting “monkey!” could be your lighthearted way of wishing for a 10 to hit blackjack.
  • Listening to the table can give clues about what other players might be holding or hoping for, potentially giving insights into when to hit or stand.


Blackjack is filled with unique language and terminology that can seem confusing at first. However, terms like “monkey” add to the richness and fun of the game once you’re in the know. So, the next time you’re sitting at a blackjack table and someone calls for a “monkey,” you’ll understand they’re simply hoping luck is in the cards – specifically, a card worth 10 points. Remember, while knowing these terms adds to the enjoyment, nothing beats a solid grasp of blackjack strategy to improve your game play.

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