Basic Gambling Terms

    General TermsDefinition
    BankrollMoney that a player has set aside to gamble with as an appointed amount. This is very important to professional gamblers
    BetA single wager of money on a gambling game. Multiple bets are allowed in a single game
    BalanceThe amount of money in a player’s account. It is for the player to use to make bets and play games
    Beginner’s LuckPlayers who are new to gambling might have a winning streak. This streak is called beginner’s luck
    Maximum BetThe bet max is the maximum bet a player can place on a game
    BlindsBlinds are bets a player is forced to take in Hold’em Poker. The bet is usually two, but can be up to three
    BonusAn incentive offered to players to encourage continual playing and to change their routine and increase chances of winning. This bonus is an incentive usually in the form of cash
    CallingCalling is the call to match the current bet. It is typically followed by someone raising the existing bet
    ChipsTokens that represent money and make bets. These tokens come in many different denominations
    Classic slotsClassic slots were the first slots played resembling the slots we see in the casino with three reels. Many use fruit as symbols hence the name ‘fruit machine”
    DealerThe dealer is the casino employee who deals the cards to the players. Be sure you tip them appropriately
    DepositA deposit is the sum of money players need in their account to play
    Double DownA double down is a bet of equal size to an initial bet
    Face CardsA face card is any card with a face on it. These are kings, queens, and jacks
    Free SpinsThis term can refer to spins that a player wins that were not paid for. It can also be a bonus used on specific slots
    High RollerA player who spends large sums of money. Each casino deals with this term differently as to who or what qualifies as a high roller
    House EdgeThis is usually a percentage of each bet made and indicates the slight advantage the casino holds over the player
    JackpotA jackpot is the largest available prize on a slot machine and other games, usually found in progressive slots or a side bet
    PaylinePayline is the term used for slot machines where reels or a line result in a win. This is typically by a combination of symbols
    Payout PercentageThe payout percentage is the amount that will be paid back to players over an amount of time, in theory
    Progressive JackpotA progressive jackpot is a slot machine that has a prize that increases progressively with every play
    Random Number GeneratorA random number generator is a device used to produce unpredictable and random numbers using a multi-stage process to ensure it is actually random
    ReelAn area, usually a column, where symbols of the slot are in order to give winning combinations
    Scatter SymbolA scatter symbol in slots that can be on any line and most often trigger free spins. They can be on any line
    Tapping OutTapping out means a player is done playing and betting. It can also be when a player has lost their bankroll in its entirely


    ActionThe amount of money that a player bets across the whole playing session
    Active PlayerIn poker, a player who is still playing
    Add-onIn poker, you can buy and use more chips during the game and these are known as add-ons
    Aggregate LimitThe casino’s total payout liability during any one game
    Aggregate WinningsCumulative or total winnings of a game
    All-inThe term in poker to bet all your chips. During a No Limit game, if another player bets more than what you have then you can use everything you have by going All-In and they will bring down their bet to match yours
    All or NothingIn Keno, a ticket that only wins if either all your selected numbers or none of your selected numbers are drawn
    AnteUsually in poker, this is the initial bet placed by each player before the cards are dealt. This ensures that there is always money to play and that every player has contributed
    Arcade CasinoSee 'Automat Club'
    ArmIn Craps, this is the player thought to possess special skills throwing dice, giving them the power to alter the odds of the game. Whether or not such players actually exist is up for debate but, to make sure the outcome is strictly random, dealers insist that the dice are thrown against the back wall of the table
    Automat ClubAlso known as Videomat Casino, Arcade Casino, and Slot Hall. Just as it sounds, it’s full of automatic games that don’t need a casino operator, e.g.: slot/video machines, electronic Derby horse racing, etc. They’re usually 24/7, free to enter and lax on dress code so they offer a more casual experience
    BaccaratA simple, yet ever popular table game, particularly amongst high rollers. Players choose the hand they want play, either as 'player' or 'banker'
    BankrollMoney that a gambler has specifically set aside for gambling. A casual gambler is unlikely to need a dedicated bankroll, but it’s very important for professional gamblers. It ensures they only gamble with money that they have set aside prior to the game
    BeefA dispute that arises between a player and the casino or bookmaker, usually over the outcome of a bet
    Beginners’ LuckPlayers who have just started often find themselves on a winning streak, and this is called ‘Beginner’s Luck’
    BetA single instance of wagering money on a gambling game. Players may be able to make several bets in a single game
    Betting LimitsLimits set by the casino on how much a player can bet on certain games. In most casinos, you’ll find both a minimum and maximum bet listed for each game
    Black BookThe book containing the names of people too ‘undesirable’ to be let into the casinos of Nevada
    BlackjackA table game where players take on the dealer. To beat the dealer, players must score a hand of 21 points, or as close to, without going over. THE winning hand, comprised of an ace and 10-point card, is called a Blackjack
    BlindsIn Hold'em Poker, it’s a bet you’re forced to make
    BonusAn incentive given to players at online casinos for opening a new account and/or making a deposit. Most bonuses are matching bonuses, meaning that the size of the bonus depends on the size of the deposit being made
    BugThe joker card
    Burn CardThe card dealt face down at the start of a shoe in most table games, or any time new community cards are revealed in a game of poker. It helps protect the integrity of the game in case any of the players see the top card
    Buy inThe cash used to buy chips before joining a table game.
    CallIn poker, this is the bet to match the current one
    Card CountingA way of outdoing the dealer and the game in Blackjack. It’s a form of cheating, whereby you remember the cards that have been played so as to make an informed guess on the remaining cards and cheat the game
    Carpet JointSlang used in the US for luxury and high-end casinos. Opposite of Sawdust Joint
    Casino AdvantageThe mathematical edge the casino has over the players. See 'House Edge' for more details
    ChaseWhere money has been lost in gambling, the bet placed to try and retrieve it is known as the chase
    ColdThe way to describe a slot machine that isn’t paying out or a player who keeps losing. Opposite to 'hot'
    ChipsTokens used to represent money and make bets during most gambling games. Like paper money and coins, chips come in many different denominations
    CompsIncentives used by casinos to lure in players in the form of gifts such as free hotel rooms, food, and drink
    CrapsA table game played with dice in which a shooter attempts to roll certain numbers. Because it offers so many bets to choose from, various players may be rooting for different results during the game
    CroupierThe French word for Dealer
    D D'Alembert SystemA staking plan that works by adding a unit for every losing bet, and deducting one for every winning bet
    DealerThe casino employee who deals cards to players and controls the flow of the game. Dealers are used in many common games, like Poker, Blackjack, and Baccarat
    DeuceSlang for a two, either in terms of cards (e.g. in the video poker game Deuces Wild) or dice
    Discard TrayThe tray to the dealer’s right hand that catches used cards that have been played or discarded
    DollyUnlike French Roulette. where the dealer simply uses a stick to point to the winning number, in American Roulette there’s a special marker made from wood or plastic that the dealer places on the table, over the winning number. It got its name from its doll shaped outline
    Double DownA bet of equal size to an initial bet, such as in Blackjack. In most cases, both bets will now either win or lose together
    Drop BoxThe box in the middle of the game table where chips used as bets are placed.
    E eCOGRAThe acronym for e-Commerce Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance. They write all the online casino regulation making sure the industry stays safe and honest for players. It’s a way of knowing whether or not you can trust an online casino. If you see the logo on a site’s homepage you know it’s been approved and is committed to ensuring its games are fair, their players protected, and that responsible conduct is expected by all
    En PrisonSimilar to a bonus in some casinos, it’s the stake that stays on the Roulette table for another spin following an Even Money Bet where the outcome was zero or double zero
    Even Money BetA bet where the odds are 1:1, meaning you’re paid back whatever amount you bet plus the same again
    Eye in the SkySlang for security cameras in casinos
    Expected ValueThe average return on a given bet that a player can expect to see over the long run. Depending on how profitable (or not) the bet is, the expected value can be either positive or negative.
    Face CardAlso known as paint. Slang term for any playing card with a 'face' on it – kings, queens, and jacks
    FicheurThe device used in American Roulette to separate the different colored chips
    FillAlso known as full house, straight flush. In poker, this term refers to the fifth card drawn that makes a full hand
    Finale SchnapsThe command to a dealer for placing bets on numbers 11, 22, 33 In French Roulette
    FishThe sad player who’s losing all their money. Can’t spot ‘em at your table. It’s probably you
    Fixed OddsThe chances of winning and payouts are fixed ahead of time, e.g scratch card games, online casino favorite simulated horse games. Broadly speaking it applies to most table games and slot machines, but tends to be used for “specialty” games only. Games like poker and sports betting don’t have fixed odds since the odds and probability are unknown
    Flat BettingWhen a player consistently bets the same amount of money
    FleaA sponger. The guy that expects everything for nothing, like comps for placing small bets.
    GamblingBetting on an event with an uncertain outcome
    Going All-InSee 'All-In'
    GeorgeThe big tipper. Every dealer’s favorite gambler
    GreaseA term for a bribe.
    HitTaking an additional card, such as in Blackjack
    High RollerA term used by casinos for a gambler who spends a lot. It varies from casino to casino as to who and what exactly qualify for this title
    HoldThe percentage of money bet by a gambler that the casino expects to keep at the end of a session or day. It depends a lot on how much time players spend playing certain games. While it’s irrelevant for the players (they care more about the house edge on each bet) it helps the casino identify which games are their most profitable
    Hole CardCards that remain face down so that nobody can see them. The dealer has a hole card in Blackjack. In Poker, individual players may have hole cards that they can look at, but which remain hidden to other players
    House EdgeUsually expressed as a percentage of each bet made, it indicates the advantage the casino has over the player. If, for example, the house edge is 2%, over the long run players can expect to lose 2% of what they bet
    HotA player who’s getting win after win, or a slot machine that’s dishing out. Opposite of 'cold
    Inside BetsA bet in Roulette made on the inside numbers of the table
    Irregular Playing PatternsA kind of “bonus abuse” that exists in online casinos where players will do the bare minimum to claim their bonus prizes, in a bid to lose as little of their own money
    IVTInteractive Video Terminals
    JackpotThe largest prize available on a slot machine or other games. Typically it’s only used for special prizes, such as a progressive prize or one associated with a side bet
    JuiceSee 'Vigorish'
    JunketA type of trip offered to VIP players by casinos. Often they will cover the flights and hotel of the guests and in exchange the players put down a deposit of $5000 and commit to play a certain number of hours in the casino.
    KalookiAlso known as Jamaican Rummy, it follows the same idea as Rummy, matching sets of cards. Played with wild cards most of the time
    KenoA game similar to a lottery. Players choose numbers before a drawing and hope to match them to the numbers drawn by the casino
    KickerIn a draw Poker tournament, it’s the high card in a hand that doesn’t make up the fill, usually in the form of an Ace or King card
    LaddermanThe casino employee in charge of overseeing the game of Baccarat, seated in a chair above the table
    LayoutThe cloth over the gaming table covered in markings indicating where to place your bets
    Low PokerAlso called Lowball. The game of poker where the aim is sort of in reverse. The winner is the player with the lowest poker-value hand
    MartingaleOriginating in France, it’s a betting system that involves the gambler doubling the bet after each loss
    Maximum BetThe most that a casino will allow you to wager in a game. This can apply to a single bet, the total of all bets, or the rules in a game of poker that limit how much a player is allowed to bet or raise on a particular round
    Megalats JackpotAlso known as Minilats Jackpot. A system whereby different slot machines are wired up together and, if with your one token you get a jackpot, you may also win the accumulative winnings of all the other slot machines wired to the same network
    Minimum BetAs with Maximum Bet, but the least that a casino will allow you to wager in a game
    Minilats JackpotSee 'Megalats Jackpot'
    Ncol 2
    NaturalA two-card hand of a certain figure – eight or nine in Baccarat, and 21 points in Blackjack
    Negative ExpectationThe loss you can expect to see over the long-run of playing a particular game multiple times
    Non-negotiable ChipsPromo chips dished out by the casino that can only be placed in bets and not cashed in
    Non-value ChipA gaming chip with no value written upon it. The value instead is worked out by the amount of buy-in divided by the number of chips
    Number PoolThe pool, or range, of numbers from which you can pick in a game where they will be drawn. The number pools vary from game to game, e.g. in Keno it’s 1-80, lotteries tend to be 1-60, Bingo is either 1-75 or 1-90
    NutTwo meanings: the first is a set figure a gambler decides as their winning target for the day, the second is the casino’s overheads.
    OddsThe casino’s set ratio of the player’s chance of winning. This will determine how much money the gambler will receive against their bet, should they win
    On tiltWild behavior in a game following a bad hand
    OpenThe first player to place a bet in Poker
    Optimal StrategyApplicable to any game that involves the player making strategic decisions, and where the range of possible results can be calculated mathematically. It’s the set of plays in a game that will get the player their best returns. It’s commonly used in Blackjack and Video Poker (where you’ll find charts detailing optimal strategy)
    Outside BetsBets in Roulette placed on the numbers located on the outside of the table, involving 12 or 18 numbers being bet with one chip
    OverlayA strong bet that means the player has an edge over the casino.&action=edit&lang=en
    ParoliA type of betting system which, as you win, increases the bet. In French Roulette, this is an order that tells the croupier to use the bet to press the win
    PaintSee 'Face Card'
    Pay TableThe casino's list of payouts for various results in a given game. Casinos can alter the odds in a lot of common casino games by changing the payouts they give players. NB: before choosing a game to play, make sure you examine the pay table
    PitThe area of a casino where you’ll find the tables manned by dealers
    Pit BossThe casino employee with slightly elevated status, responsible for supervising multiple tables
    PigeonThe newbie of the gambling world, or a gambler who lacks sophistication and finesse
    Progressive PrizeThe prize from a slot machine that increases progressively with every coin that is played into it
    PushA bet that results in a tie. The player receives their money back without neither a win nor a loss.
    QuadsIn poker, having a number in all four suits.
    Random Number Generator (RNG)A device used to produce a random, unpredictable string of numbers, which requires a multi-stage process to ensure it really is random. Algorithms from the device (almost impossible to predict but not totally random) combine with outside factors, such as air temperature, air pressure, and mouse movements on a site (totally unpredictable). RNGs have many purposes, but in the gambling world are particularly helpful for predicting the results of online gambling results where dice are rolled, cards dealt etc
    RankA set of cards’ worth in a game of Poker
    RiverThe fifth and last card the dealer will deal to you in a game of Poker (Stud or Hold’em). If you hang in ‘til this last round in Seven-card Stud you’re “going to the river”
    RouletteA game played using a wheel with a ball that can fall into one of many numbered pockets. The players may make a variety of bets that predict which pocket (or group of pockets) the ball will fall into. There are two main variations of this game: American Roulette (with two zeroes on the wheel) and European Roulette (with just a single zero), with the European version having better odds for the player
    Royal FlushAlso known as a Royal Straight Flush or a Royal. The money-winning hand in a game of Poker. An Ace, King, Queen, Jack, or Ten card from each suit.
    Sawdust JointAmerican slang to describe a rough and ready casino. Opposite of a 'Carpet Joint'
    SessionPeriod of time spent playing a game
    SharkA clever player that tricks their opponents by pretending to be the fish at the start of the game then striking when everyone’s guard is down
    ShinerA small mirror that cheats use to try and steal a glance at their opponents’ cards
    ShoeA device that can hold several decks’ worth of playing cards. Shoes are used in games like Blackjack to hold the collection of cards from which the game is dealt
    Slot MachineA game in which players spin reels in order to match combinations of symbols across pre-determined paylines. Older-style slot machines used mechanical or electronic reels while modern slots use video displays to simulate the reels
    Snake EyesIn Craps, when the dice land on a two. So called because the dice look snakey this way up, and if you just rolled it, it’s bad news
    StandTo sit on the hand one currently has without taking more cards. Most often associated with Blackjack, but also used in other games like Baccarat.
    Tapping OutLosing the entirety of your bankroll and having to throw in the towel and go home
    TokeNickname for a token which is similar to the chips used for bets. Tokes are what players use when tipping the dealer, and George hands them out in abundance
    TroncThe tip box for casino employees
    True OddsWhen a casino lists its “odds” they’re not usually the true chances of whether or not a thing will happen. True odds are and include the house edge.
    UnderlayA bet you don’t want to be behind as it’s bad and sure not to win. More money than it’s worth due to the improbability of the event in question occurring.
    Video PokerA machine game that simulates the action of five-card poker games. Players choose to discard and replace cards from their starting hand and if they make the minimum hand needed to win, are then paid. Common video poker games include Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild
    VigorishAlso known as the vig, the take, or the juice, it’s the amount the bookmaker charges the gambler for making a bet
    VLTVideo Lottery Terminal
    Wagering RequirementThe amount of money a player must bet before claiming their bonus funds on online casinos. This ensures that players cannot just claim a bonus and immediately cash out
    WashingWhen walking away from a table the dealer/croupier will mime the movement of washing their hands to illustrate that they are walking away with nothing
    WhaleAn extremely high roller who will significantly affect a casino’s business. Some might see this as a derogatory term since these are players from which a casino can hugely profit
    White meatProfit
    Wild CardCommon in Poker and Video Poker, this is the card that can substitute for any card value
    WongAlso known as Wonging, a Wonger, after Stanford Wong who counted cards at a certain Blackjack table to ascertain if the player was on the winning foot, and then join the table to play. The meaning has also evolved so that it encompasses games that are to the players’ advantage.
    About the author
    Sarah Mae BezzinalinkedinContributor

    With years of experience in the gambling industry, Sarah is knowledgeable in the field of the casino world. She is responsible for most of the content that is written on MrCasinova and her main goal is to provide casino players with the best information and recommendations to help users enhance their experience. Recently, Sarah graduated with a Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing.

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