Casino Lingo Explained
Whether you play online or on land, and whether you most enjoy poker, blackjack, craps, slots, or all of them, you’ve probably heard words when playing at a casino that you’ve never heard anywhere else. Some apply to specific games generally table games like poker or blackjack, and some might be more general gambling lingo. Either way, it can be awkward to have to ask, so we’re giving you your handy reference guide to the commonly used lingo, You can always head to Double Down to test your newly gained knowledge.
Casino terms lingo and jargon defines the language spoken by players worldwide.
We created this all-inclusive title for the unique words and phrases used by casino terms, passionate glossary players for their money games. The playing terms published here will educate both newbie and veteran players alike. New players can impress their game-playing friends, while veterans are sure to find some distinctive casino gamerisms where they can exclaim, I did not know that!
The players are about to learn the jargon of often heard at the tables, slots, and sportsbooks. Most of these terms have a long history and will surely add a unique quality to your next casino experience. These are general casino terms only.
Commonly Used Casino Lingo
- Action: What happens when a player or players make bets are referred to as “action.” You may also hear a dealer refer to where the work is in hand, meaning which player is now in betting position (for poker).
- Ante: Typically used in poker; a mandatory bet made by players before the action to build a pot. Often built into the later stages of poker tournaments to force action.
- Bankroll: The entire amount of money that a player brings to play with, or is willing and able to gamble with.
- Betting Limits: The betting parameters for any particular game. For instance, a slot machine might have betting limits of .10, .25, and $1, and for each one of those, you could bet that specific amount or up to five times that much (called “max bets”).
- Blind bet: A bet made without knowing what card is coming up next; typically used in poker.
- Burn Cards: Cards set aside by the dealer, taken off the top of the deck and placed in the discard pile; burn cards are used in poker.
- Color Up: For table games like blackjack and poker, chips of various denominations will all have a specific color to recognize them quickly. To “color up” is to change the smaller denominations (one color) for larger denomination chips (another color). You will often hear this used in poker tournaments as the levels go up and the house switches out chip denominations for larger ones.
- Croupier: The dealer at table games such as craps, baccarat, and roulette; from 17th century French, meaning one who backs up another, such as a second in a duel. Just remember that the croupier is backing up the house, not you.
- Double Down: Used in blackjack; when the house allows you to make a second bet on a dealt hand, after which you receive one additional card.
- Overlay: A playing circumstances that are more than supposedly favorable to the player; in other words, you are getting a better than expected return on investment if you win.
- Shill: Someone who is paid by the house to fill in games, usually poker. Usually, these people are with their bankroll, so tend to play extremely tight. Also known as a prop or proposition player.
- Toke: A dealer tip, often given in the form of chips. Many land casino dealers live primarily from their tokes, so don’t be cheap!
- Vig: Originally a bookmaker term, the vig is now any piece of the action the house takes in exchange for rendering their gaming services. Its etymology is derived from Yiddish slang, itself originating from the Russian word for winnings. Impress your friends at cocktail parties with that little factoid.
Now we will have a look at the points that how knowing Casino Lingos can help you win:
Varied in the sense that those who play poker got everything right, and we won’t say too much about the rest of us. Anyway, that got us thinking, does know the terms of the game make you any better, or is it all luck? In the interest of scientific accuracy, we decided to test this the way we know how, by leaving the office and playing loads of poker and craps. We’re professionals here.
Anyone can play poker. If you think that’s trivializing the game, here are some dogs to prove our point.
Let’s work our way through a given hand of poker. We start by being told that we’re something called Little Blind. For those of you who don’t know, that means that we have to put in half the wager for the round before we get our cards. We do so and then receive two tickets face down. Two Kings, sound. We put another chip on the table.
The player on our right says “Fold” and sits back in his chair. The dealer plays the “Flop,” and neither of us raises. The dealer plays the “Turn” and the player to our left bets two more chips. We see his two and raise him four. He calls our bet, and we see the Turn. We both “Stay” and we see the “River” card. We show our hands – he has a pair of 9’s; we have the pair of Kings. The dealer announces that we win with the Cowboys. We look around, happy that we’ve won some chips, but confused as to where these cowboys are.
As it turns out, the only difference between knowing the slang and not is how much of a fool you’ll look when people call you the small blind and you get offended. You might feel more comfortable, maybe even luckier, if you know what you’re talking about, but unless you’re playing over an extended period, you can easily win a few hands without knowing what you’re on about.
Unlike poker, knowing the lingo in craps seems pretty much essential. It’s way more complicated than poker, and the glossary of terms behind this game are relatively significant. With dozens upon dozens of bets going on, if you have to ask what the “Shooter” do you’re not going to feel confident in your skills. Likewise, asking “what’s the point of this game” and “what’s the point in this game” are two very different questions. The “Point” is the result of the “Come Out Roll” the shooter rolls. The point of craps is to reroll this number before you “Seven Out” (roll a seven).
We could barely keep up, and got completely lost when people mentioned pass lines, don’t pass lines, come lines, don’t come lines and placing place bets. Seeing as we’ve only ever been exposed to craps in TV and film, you can’t blame us for being crap. Pun intended.
It was all a bit complicated for us, and we were more interested in throwing the fancy dices down the big table and yelling Snake Eyes, despite not having the foggiest what it means.
- Basic Blackjack Strategy
Most people know that blackjack is a card game where the aim is to get as close to the value of 21, without the hand exceeding that figure.
That might be about where it ends for players.
If that’s all you know, you can still have fun, but you won’t have much chance of winning.
But you can improve your odds if you know the basic blackjack strategy that is a suggested play when faced with a range of hands. Blackjack gives up one of the lowest edges to the house of all games, which means there’s more chance of being up at the end of the play session.
- Return to Player (RTP)
Games are tipped in favor of the house. If that’s news to you, it shouldn’t be. In exchange for entertainment, the house takes its cut, built into the games in the shape of an edge.
But that house edge is not constant for all games, and that’s particularly so for slots.
Slots’ house edge can vary from 80%-99%. If you don’t know what that means, here’s a bit of simple math.
Let’s say a slot returns or has an RTP, of 95%. That means over time, the slot will, on average pay back 95% of the money wagered to players.
So the average player depositing $100 can expect to lose $5 through wagering, on average.
No, the appropriate word here is ‘on average.’ That means the player could win the jackpot and take home thousands, or lose it all in a few spins. 95% is worked out based on millions of turns.
So if you want a higher paying slot, then pick one with a high RTP.
- American roulette and European Roulette
Did you know that certain types of roulette pay better than others?
American Roulette, to the uninitiated, may seem like the default option – with Las Vegas being the casino’s spiritual home.
Anyone who thinks that is unwittingly screwing themselves out of their cash. If you want to reduce the house edge, go European. It’s all in the zero tiles – the US version has two zero tiles, and European Roulette has one. That makes a difference – the house edge on US roulette is 5.26%. With European, it is 2.7%. Some US casinos amazingly have triple zero roulette – with even worse odds – and people play it. Madness!
So does knowing casino lingo make you a better player? Sort of. We were fine playing poker, those of us who’ve only ever played for fun looked a little astonished for a lot of it, but we won some hands, and came out of it alright.
Knowing the terms makes you more comfortable, and it’ll make you luckier in the sense that you’ll have at least some idea of what you’re doing, which is always a help.
Plus, it’ll stop you from getting into a war of words with someone at the table who’s said you’ve cocked your dice.