Know Your Role: The Ultimate Casino Glossary

The Basics

One of the most appealing aspects of casino gambling, whether it is online or in a brick-and-mortar casino, is that the games are generally easy to understand and very straightforward. Where they can become complicated is if you don’t quite speak the language that the other players are using at the table. Let’s go through some of the basics.

nside a casino with slot machines and poker tables
These are some of the absolute basics of casino lingo that everyone should know before placing their first bet. These words and phrases are all very commonly used in casinos and most people will have heard some of them already:

  • Ante: A specific bet that is required prior to a round starting in certain games.
  • House: Another term for the casino.
  • Dealer: A casino representative who manages the table for a game.
  • Hand: The set of cards that a player has for use during a round of a card game.
  • Limits: The maximum and minimum amount of money that can be placed on a bet.
  • Odds: The chances of winning and the possible outcome.
  • Jackpot: A cumulative prize that increases until it pays out to a winner.
  • Banker: Another commonly used term for the dealer at table games.
  • Chips: Normally plastic discs that are representative of real money used at gambling tables.
  • High roller: A player that places high stakes bets.
  • Cash-out: To have funds paid out to you either at a cashier in the casino or via a chosen payment method for online players.
  • House rules: Game rules that are specific to a particular casino.
  • Bankroll: The total amount of money a player or casino has available to put towards betting.
  • Balance: The amount of money that you have left after paying deposits or placing bets.
  • Hot streak: An extended run of consecutive wins in a game.
  • Beginner’s luck: A new player that experiences a winning streak.

These basics will get you through your first couple of games and knowing them is the first step to mastering the language of the tables at a casino. But after enough time spent, either online or at the table with other players, you will soon find yourself wanting to know more.

Learning to Speak the Language

Here we will go through a list of terminology that is incredibly beneficial to understand when gambling at a casino. It is important to note that some of the terms mentioned are specific to certain games or to either online or land-based casinos.

  • Action: The total money out into play at a table or the dealer telling you it is your turn.
  • Aggregate limit: The total amount of money that a casino will pay out in a single round.
  • Bones: Another name for dice at table games in casinos.
  • Bonus: A special offer provided by online casinos to players who meet certain requirements.
  • Bookie: A person who accepts bets on sporting events.
  • Cap: The limit on the number of times a bet can be raised in a round of betting.
  • Card counting: Keeping track of which cards have been dealt to get an edge over the casino.
  • Card Shark: An expert card player.
  • Chase: A losing player who keeps playing to try and turn their luck around.
  • Chat room: A private room on online casino websites where players can send each other messages.

Illustration of a person sitting on a sofa next to a giant phone

  • Coattail: To follow someone else’s betting patterns.
  • Cold: A slot machine that doesn’t seem to be paying out to players at a high rate.
  • Cold table: When the right bets at a table aren’t winning.
  • Color up: The request for smaller value chips to be exchanged for higher value chips.
  • Commission: The fee the casino takes out of the winnings.
  • Comp points: Points that are given to the player by the casino to be exchanged for prizes.
  • Credit button: The button used to bank money away in the form of credits.
  • Deposit: The payment made by a player to an online casino in order to start betting.
  • Dirty money: The lost bets that the dealer collects after a round of play.

Drawing of green notes of money covered in a black dirty substance

  • Double or nothing: A bet that pays out the same amount of the original wager or nothing.
  • Edge: Having an advantage over an opposing player.
  • Even-money bet: A wager that pays back the same amount that a player bets.
  • Eye-in-the-sky: The cameras in a land-based casino that keep an eye on all the action.
  • George: A name, or slang term, often used by dealers for players who tip well.
  • Getting down: Simply making a bet.
  • House edge: The advantage that the casino has over the player.
  • Live dealer game: Online casino games that are run by a real person that the players can see and communicate with via a live stream.
  • Lobby: The page of an online casino where you can browse and choose games to play.
  • Lock: An easy win.
  • Nickel: A bet of $500
  • Nosebleed: Stakes that are extremely high.
  • Parlay: To bet on two or more games and place the previous winnings on the next game.
  • Position: The order of play for the players in a round of the game.
  • Reload bonus: Bonus money that online players get for subsequent deposits.
  • Scared money: A stake limit that is too high for a player to participate.
  • Tank: The time spent taking time to consider a decision before taking action.
  • Tapped out: A player who has run out of money and can no longer play.
  • The cage: The place where a casino keeps its money.
  • Tilt: Used to describe a player on a losing streak.

These are only some of the most popular terms and phrases you might hear in a casino and the more time you spend playing and interacting with people at the tables, the more you will learn. Each game has its own specific set of phrases and terminology too and you will find yourself becoming more familiar with them, the longer you spend in-game.

Let’s look at some of the specific jargon for one of the most popular games in casinos, both online and land-based – blackjack.

Blackjack Vocabulary

Blackjack is one of the most popular and easiest casino games to learn, and you are likely to find yourself at a table at some point – so let’s learn a couple of important bits of jargon that could help you catch your hot streak at the table.

  • Anchor: The position nearest the dealer’s right-hand side, and the last to be played.
  • Blackjack: When the sum of the original two cards dealt to the player totals 21.
  • Bust: A hand that scored over 21 and automatically results in a loss of the bet.
  • Button: The player in possession of the button is the last to be dealt their cards.
  • Capping a bet: Adding extra chips to your bet after the dealer has begun the round.
  • Carte: French for requesting a card be dealt to you.
  • Cut: A division of the deck with the bottom of the deck placed on top, after a shuffle.
  • Double down: To double the original wager and receive one more card.
  • Fold: When a player gives up on the round because they have a poor hand.

Someone throwing their cards on the poker table with poker chips

  • Heads up: A game of blackjack with only one player and the dealer at the table.
  • Hit: How a player requests another card be dealt to them.
  • Pat: A hand that is worth at least 17 points and the player takes no more cards.
  • Push: A situation where neither the house nor the player wins or loses – a tie.
  • Soft hand: A hand that contains one or more aces.

Now that you know how to speak casino lingo, and a bit more on the specifics of how to speak blackjack, why not try out your new skills on the real thing? Borgata Online Casino hosts some of the best blackjack games online, as well as many other games where you can apply your new knowledge. Sign up with us today and you could be the next high roller at the table.