What Does Monkey Mean in Blackjack?

what does monkey mean in blackjack

1 minute

Last Updated: February 21, 2024

“Monkey” is a blackjack slang term you’ll probably hear a lot in land-based casinos or live online games. Players yell “monkey” to call for a ten-valued card (which could be a 10, Jack, King or Queen) on their next deal. 

In blackjack, the goal of the game is to reach 21 points or score a point higher than the dealer’s. Players get two cards at the start of the game, and if the first one is an Ace (valued at 11 points), for instance, they can complete a blackjack (21 points) by simply getting a 10-valued card. Yelling “monkey” is a way of saying you’re hoping to get that high-value card that will improve your hands and win the game. 

Note that “monkey” is not an official blackjack term or part of any blackjack strategy. The exact origin of this word or why players tend to yell it out during games is not known for sure. A  common theory is that it originated from a mispronunciation of the word “monarchy” (referring to the face cards or king and queen cards) by Asian players. 

Since an Ace + face card combination allows you to win in blackjack instantly, Asian players tend to yell “monarchy” during games as a way of invoking a winning hand. Due to the mispronunciation, the word sounded like “monkey”, and players began using it that way over time. 

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