Over the years, the gambling industry has evolved to become an entertainment behemoth worldwide. And, as it enjoys such massive popularity and so many players, it has developed its own terms players can use to communicate with each other.
When you first walk into a casino and hear two players talking in gambling lingo, you’ll feel stumped, like you’re listening to a new language.
That said, if you want to learn all of the essential casino terminologies and have more fun playing while using such vocabulary, you’ve come to the right place! By the end of this page, you’ll be well-versed in the exciting language of the gambling world.
All of the Gambling Terms You Need to Know
There is so much gambling lingo out there that even with years spent playing casino games, don’t be surprised if you come across casino terminology you haven’t heard before.
That said, we’ve summed up all of the essential gambling terms you need to know for an enjoyable and fun night out in your favorite casino.
If you learn this casino terminology, you’ll have no problem communicating with other players who share the same passion for the gambling games you like so much. With that in mind, this alphabetical list includes all the vocabulary you need, from A to Z. Let’s take a closer look:
Advantage gambling or advantage playing refers to the practice of gaining an advantage over the casino when playing. Unlike cheating, which is illegal and not allowed, the advantage play is betting within the rules but using allowed tactics to increase the player’s chances. A prime example of advantage betting is counting cards.
A betting action in which you put all of your remaining chips into one wager. This situation is most popular in poker, especially no-limit games, where the maximum allowed bet is only limited by the number of chips you have on the table.
An ante is a forced bet you need to place to participate in the game. In gambling terms, it’s the initial wager you place before receiving your cards and is often the smallest betting unit in the game. This feature is most common in poker, where all players chip into the pot before the game begins.
One of the popular gambling terms that describes a hand you lost but were favored to win. It’s mostly used in poker to depict how you had a hand that was very likely to win but ended up losing because something unlucky happened.
A bluff is a bet or raise you make with a hand that doesn’t have good chances of winning compared to other players. The main objective of doing so is to trick your opponents into thinking you have a stronger hand than you really have and force them to fold. This action is most commonly used in poker.
The banker could be both the dealer or the player, but both scenarios entail the same outcome. In the gambling terminology, the banker is the person who other players bet against at the table, and this role usually switches between people on every turn. This term is mostly used in baccarat.
The bankroll is the money you’ve bought with you to play with at the casino. This can be a total amount or a separate amount you use only for single sessions and can include both your money and any casino bonus you might’ve obtained. In some gambling circles, it’s also called a “balance.”
A half-myth half-real phenomenon that says how beginner players outperform seasoned and experienced ones in a short span. The very idea of a beginner beating a pro seems counter-intuitive, so the term beginner’s luck describes this occurrence when it happens from time to time.
Like you would use this word to describe that you’re having issues with someone in the real world, beef has the same meaning in the gambling scene. In this context, it specifically refers to a problem you might have with the casino due to a misunderstanding or something unfair happening.
The betting limits are pre-set wagering rules that exist in every casino game. They describe the minimum and maximum amounts you can bet when playing a particular game. To play the game, you always need to place the minimum amount, and simultaneously, you can never go over the maximum amount. Betting limits can vary significantly between casinos and even game variations.
As the name itself gives it away, a bonus is some type of casino reward or promotion you can claim when playing. Bonuses are more common in the online gambling world, where you can claim deposit bonuses and different rewards just for signing up or staying loyal to a particular online casino. It’s one of the most common gambling terms you’ll come across when playing online.
If you’re ever at a craps table and hear participants shouting the phrase “boxcars,” know that they’re referring to an outcome that involves rolling the two dice, each with one a six on it. In some parts of the world, you’ll hear casino terms such as “midnight” for this particular roll.
Breaking the Bank
Relating to the action of breaking a piggy bank to see the coins pour out, this term refers to a player landing a massive win, primarily at a slot machine or progressive jackpot slot. Additionally, it’s also used when talking about players who’ve won large amounts of money from the casino and therefore “broke the casino’s bank.”
A burn card is a regular playing card dealt from the top of the deck. But, instead of being dealt to any of the players, it is discarded (burned) and not shown to any participants at the table. The burn card is used to deter cheaters from marking cards.
A term mainly associated with blackjack. When you bust in blackjack, it means that you’re holding a hand with a total value that surpasses 21. This results in you automatically losing the round, regardless of how weak or strong the dealer’s hand is.
As mentioned above, card counting is a type of advantage play you can use to increase your winning chances. It involves keeping a count in your head to determine how likely a specific hand is to come up. Although not illegal, many casinos disapprove of this technique and may ask you to leave if you get caught counting cards.
A casino token is another one of the popular gambling terms used for all items the casino gives you in return for your currency. This can include chips, plates, coins, cheques, or any marked items you can buy or cash out for real money at the casino.
In the gambling lingo, card washing is a term players use to describe the way the dealers shuffle the cards. This action involves spreading the cards on the surface of the table and mixing them with both hands. Dealers use this technique to eliminate any inconsistencies and randomize the cards.
A cashback or cashback bonus is the refund you can get after making a losing bet. Cashback bonuses are available in both land-based and online casinos and usually cover a small amount of your losing bet.
Casino edge, house edge, or casino advantage are gambling terms used to describe the advantage the casino has over the players. Every gambling game comes with a small house edge that gives the casino an advantage over the players. This helps the house ensure a steady profit and make money in the long run.
Chasing (losses) is a common expression in the gambling terminology used to describe a player who continues gambling in the hopes of recuperating their money after making a series of bad bets. The term has a negative connotation because chasing losses often involves losing even more money and ending in financial trouble.
A classic slot is a simple slot machine without too many complex features on in-game bonuses. Classic slots are often minimalistic and have fewer paylines than modern slot games.
Croupier is the French word for “dealer.” It refers to every casino employee in charge of a table and all activities that happen at it. It’s a more accurate term than “dealer,” as croupiers are much more than dealers. They collect bets, pay out the winners, operate roulette wheels, and do many other things to ensure smooth and issue-free betting.
Deuce is another of the popular gambling terms used to describe everything related to the number two in all casino games. For example, you can use it in poker to describe a card with a value of two or in dice games when someone rolls two ones in craps.
Deposit is a term you’ll mostly come across when playing in online casinos. It refers to you funding your online casino account with a payment method so you can play the games featured on the site.
In a gambling lingo, dime refers to a specific size of bet you can place when playing in a casino. However, you need to be careful not to say it if you don’t have the bankroll to support it. While in everyday life, a dime means ten cents, in the context of casino terminology, a dime is a bet worth one thousand dollars.
Most often used in blackjack, doubling down involves placing another bet equal to the size of your original bet. You should use this bet when you think you have a strong chance of winning the round. This effectively doubles your potential winnings or losses, as both of your bets either win or lose together.
Double or Nothing
Double or nothing is one of the popular casino terms that has found its use in everyday life. In simple terms, double or nothing means that you’re wagering twice as much as you did on your first bet in an effort to break even.
En Prison is a very specific rule in roulette that gives you the opportunity to receive your entire stack back if the next spin ends with the ball landing on zero, and you previously placed an even money bet. The En Prison rule is a variation of the popular La Partage rule.
Even money is slang for a bet that pays at 1:1 odds, meaning that you can win equally as much as you wager. For instance, if you wager $10 on an even money bet, you will get a total of $20. This includes the $10 that you initially wagered plus a profit of $10. Examples of even money bets are betting on red or black in roulette.
In gambling terms, expected value refers to the average returns you can expect from a specific game in the long run. This value directly shows if a specific game or type of bet is profitable over a long-term period.
“Face cards” is a widely accepted casino term that refers to jacks, queens, and kings. Unlike all other cards in the 52-card deck, these three depict people. While aces are often the most valuable card in many casino games, they are still not considered face cards.
Fish is another popular term often used at the poker table. It describes poker players who bet on every hand and tend to lose much more than they win. Additionally, it also refers to inexperienced players, which the more experienced players (sharks) take advantage of.
These three casino terms go hand in hand and all mark negative things a player can go through. A gambler’s conceit is when a player believes they are in control of the situation and thinks they can stop their behavior while still engaging in it.
The gambler’s fallacy is an even more damaging belief that the probability of a specific outcome happening is lesser if it happened before.
Lastly, the gambler’s ruin relates to a player who will eventually end up losing their money, no matter their strategy or betting systems.
If you’ve tipped a dealer or anyone in the casino staff and they’ve called you George, don’t get offended thinking that they’ve messed up your name. In the gambling lingo, a George is a person who tips generously.
This is one of very old gambling terms that derives from the dollar bill, which has George Washington on it. Tipping one dollar half a century ago was on the very generous side of the scale.
Grinding depicts an action of continuously repeating the same betting process to achieve a certain goal. More specifically, in the context of gambling terms, it’s referring to players who often stick to small limit tables and try to work up their bankroll by grinding instead of risking a lot of money at once.
A widely known casino term for a gambler who likes betting big. High rollers exist in both the online and land-based gambling industry and often enjoy a privileged treatment in the form of various rewards and perks.
The term hold card is primarily used in poker and blackjack. It refers to the face-down card, which neither the dealer nor the player can see until the specific moment in the round.
Jackpot is the most rewarding feature a casino game has to offer. It’s present in many games but is mainly associated with slots and video poker. There are several types of jackpots. Some jackpots always pay out the same amount, while others are progressive. This means that they can grow until a lucky player strikes a winning combination.
Juice is one of the gambling terms you’ll encounter in both the gambling and betting industries. It refers to the fee the casino or bookie charges you for playing with them. The most common casino example is when the house takes a small cut of your poker winnings every time you win a pot.
Locals casino is a term you’ll likely hear only in huge gambling cities like Las Vegas or Atlantic City. To put it simply, a locals casino is a venue visited mainly by local players.
Unlike the big and flashy casinos aimed at tourists, a casino that primarily caters to locals is usually not as extravagant but often offers better winning odds and a wider variety of casino games.
A low roller gambler is the opposite of a high roller. While high rollers often bet the maximum allowed limit every round, low rollers stick with the minimum allowed bets. Low rollers aren’t necessarily averse to risks. In many cases, they place low-value bets because they want to enjoy the game itself without focusing too much on the financial aspect.
A muck refers to the stack of discharged cards in poker. It includes the folded cards of all players and the dealer’s burned cards. The verb “mucking” is the action of putting your folded cards into this pile face down and preventing other players who are still in the game from seeing what hand you had.
A multiplier is another gambling term primarily associated with slot machines and video poker games. A multiplier mechanic is a fantastic feature to look for in a slot or video poker game. This especially goes for multipliers that last for the duration of several spins, as they can ensure you some very rewarding wins.
The odds of a casino game refer to the expected ratio of probabilities. In other words, odds describe your winning chances. Naturally, the worse your odds of winning a particular bet, the more generous the potential reward will be.
This is one of the gambling terms you should avoid using and remember if you hear someone call you this. Casino players use this word in a derogatory meaning to refer to a player who is naive, unskilled, or downright ignorant. Needless to say, no casino player would like to be called this.
This is a gambling term common in land-based casinos, which usually have at least one pit or an area designated for a specific type of casino game. The pit manager or pit boss is the casino employee whose job is to ensure that everything in his pit goes smoothly. They oversee all activities in their designated area and watch both the players and the croupiers.
As mentioned above, a progressive jackpot is a type of jackpot that doesn’t have a fixed limit.
Progressive jackpot games are usually connected so that every time a player makes a bet, a portion of it goes into increasing the jackpot limit.
Progressive jackpots have been known to reach tens of millions of dollars before someone triggers them, winning a life-changing prize.
Provably fair refers to a game algorithm used to ensure all casino games are fair. It’s a term mostly used in the online gambling world, as this feature assures the players that online casinos which feature provably fair games are legitimate and safe to play at.
RNG is an abbreviation for Random Number Generator. Much like the term above, this one refers to the computer algorithm that ensures everything in the game happens completely random and can’t be predicted.
Scared money is a common gambling terminology that refers to a gambler’s playstyle. It can also mean that the player is wagering more than they can afford. This is common in chip-based games, where players buy in for more casino chips than they plan on spending and won’t use when betting.
A shark is the opposite of a fish. It refers to players who prey on less-skilled opponents and use their experience to take the fish’s money. It’s common for sharks to pretend that they’re fish, only to lure their unsuspecting opponents into a situation where they can obtain maximum profit.
The shoe is a standard device in casino card games. Its main purpose is to hold decks of cards and make it more convenient for dealers to shuffle and deal the cards. Moreover, the shoe is used to prevent players from counting cards and make gameplay more transparent.
A bet you can make in addition to the game’s main bet. The side bet requires you to wager extra money and is usually independent of the main bet. Side bets are common in many games, and this is one of the casino terms you’ll hear a lot.
A system or strategy is a specific set of betting rules players focus on in an effort to increase their winning chances. Some of the most popular examples of betting systems include the Martingale system, the D’Alembert system, and the Paroli betting system.
The table limit is present in every casino game you play, whether online or in a land-based venue. The table limit is a more precise definition of the gambling term betting limit, as it is only used in table games.
The term up card primarily refers to the dealer’s face-up card in blackjack. It’s the other card besides the hole card the dealer receives on every turn. This term is also present in some poker variations and has the same meaning.
Keep in mind that there’s a significant difference between the up card and the community cards. The community cards can be used by any player to line up a winning hand.
Wagering requirements are terms closely tied to casino bonuses. In simple words, a wagering requirement number marks how many times you need to wager through your bonus before you can turn it into real money and withdraw it to your bank balance. Wagering requirements often come accompanied by other specific restrictions such as time limits or particular games you can play to clear the requirements.
A whale is a term that refers to the top 1% of the high rollers, players with such massive bankrolls that they can afford to spend thousands of dollars each hand just for fun, as they can afford to lose it. A whale also has the power to break the casino’s bank easier if they go on a hot streak during a gambling session.
Wild Card / Wild Symbol
Some casino games come with the wild card or wild symbol feature. This designated feature allows you to replace any missing card or symbol to line up a winning hand or combination. Good examples of wild cards are jokers in card games. Wild symbols are mostly tied to slot games, in which they can help you complete a winning payline by replacing a missing symbol.