The Ultimate Guide to Casinos


Casino Glossary A-Z

Action – Amount of money wagered, either the total amount of bets made over a period of time or the amount staked on a single bet.

Advantage – An expected win rate expressed as percentage of total money wagered.

Advantage Player – One who uses strategy to gain a mathematical advantage over the House.

Ante – A minimum bet required of a player to be able to play.

Apron – The outer edge of a casino game table layout.

Autoplay – An option in electronic games to allow bets to be placed automatically for a fixed number of turns.

Baccarat – A casino card game played against the House or other players; the object is to hold 2 or 3 cards totally as close to nine points as possible. The name of the game, which comes from the Italian word for “zero” and also describes the worst hand possible, totaling zero.

Bank – May refer to the casino’s stacks of chips; the last hand to be dealt and act; or the financial backer of the game, i.e., the casino or House.

Banker – The position at the table accepting wagers and distributing payouts, typically the dealer; in Baccarat—one of two playing positions, taking action after the Player position.

Bankroll – The total amount of money a player has available for wagering during a session of play.

Bet – A wager; the amount of money put at risk with the intention of winning more money.

Bet Spread – The difference between a player’s minimum and maximum bets.

Betting Order – The order in which players make their bets.

Black – A $100 casino chip.

Blackjack – A casino card game played against the House; the object is to form a hand of cards totaling as close to twenty-one points as possible without going over; massy also refer to a two-card hand containing an Ace and any card valued at 10; also known as a “Natural.”

Bones – Slang term for dice.

Bonus – Extra chips or credits given to a player for free or as a reward for some action.

Bonus Round – In slot play, a feature offering the opportunity to win a bonus that is separate from the basic game.

Buck – Slang term for a wager of $100.

Burn – To discard several cards at the beginning of a new shoe.

Burn Card – Any card removed from the deck after the shuffle.

Buy in – The act of converting cash into chips for the purpose of gambling; also refers to tournament entry fees.

Cage – The cashier area, where chips may be purchased or cashed in.

Card Counting – In Blackjack, keeping track of the cards in a deck in order to gain an advantage during play.

Cardsharp – An expert at playing cards.

Caribbean Stud – A casino table game based on Poker, but played at a Blackjack-type table against the House instead of other players.

Chart – A written summary of optimum plays for any particular game.

Chemin de Fer – Literally “railway” in French, this is the original French version of Baccarat, with players taking turns being the Bank.

Chips – Multi-colored casino tokens used in place of real currency for gambling.

Color In or Color Up – To exchange smaller chips for larger denominations preparatory to leaving the table.

Comps – Short for “complimentary,” this refers to gifts given to players to thank them for their play.

Craps – A casino game played on a felt covered table with two, 6-sided dice; the object is to roll certain point totals, such as seven or eleven when starting out; also refers to rolls that total 2, 3, or 12.

Croupier – A dealer or casino employee who collects and pays bets or otherwise assists at the gaming tables; commonly used to refer to staff at Roulette, Baccarat and Craps tables.

Cut – The act of splitting a deck into two groups of cards, typically performed after the shuffle and before to dealing.

Deal – To distribute cards to players during a card game.

Dealer – A casino employee who manages a table game, most often one who distributes cards; also used to refer to the Croupier at other games.

Deck – The standard 52 cards used in blackjack.

Dime – Slang term for a $10 chip.

Discard Tray – A receptacle on the dealer’s right that holds all of the cards played or discarded.

Discards – All of the used or burned cards removed from play.

Down Card – A card dealt face down.

Draw – The act of taking an additional card in games like Baccarat, Blackjack or Video Poker; may also be used as an alternative term for “Push” or “Tie.”

Drop – For players, money lost; for the casino, money won; also an alternative term for

Edge – The odds favoring the casino; also referred to as Advantage or House Edge.

Egalite – The French term for “Tie.”

Even Money – Odds of 1 to 1; a bet that wins the same amount as was bet originally; in Blackjack, an automatic 1-to-1 payout for a blackjack when the dealer shows an Ace.

Expectation – The amount a player can expect to win or lose on a bet, expressed as a percentage.

Face Cards – The Jack, Queen, and King of any suit, each having a value of zero; also called “Court Cards,” “Paint” or “Pictures.”

Fade – To match the wager made by an opposing player or the Bank.

Fish – Slang term for a novice or poor player; one who always loses money.

Flat Betting – To wager the same amount on every hand, without variation.

Fold – To drop out of play, abandon the hand and surrender any wagers made.

Gambler – One who takes risks, such as playing games of chance for money.

Green – A $25 casino chip; or sometimes in the U.S., “folding money.”

Hand – The cards held by a player; also, all that happens between deals.

Heads Up, Heads On, or Head-to-Head – A single player seated alone against a dealer.

High Roller – A person who makes very large bets.

Hit – To add a card to a hand; also see “Draw.”

Hole Card – An unexposed card, sometimes referred to as a “Down Card.”

House – A reference to the casino or the operator of a casino game; also in Britain, another name for “Bingo.”

House Edge – Usually expressed as a percentage, the mathematical advantage over players that the rules of the game give a casino; also see “Advantage” and “Edge.”

House Rules – The set of regulations governing a particular game at a particular table, including how the dealer’s hand must be played, betting limits, amount of buy-ins, etc.

Insurance – In Blackjack, a side bet that the dealer has a blackjack, available only when the dealer’s up card is an Ace.

Insurance Bet – Two or more wagers that partially cover one another.

Jackpot – A bonus or large payout for winning on a certain bet, often applied to slot games.

Kelly Betting – The practice of wagering a percentage of a bankroll equal to the percentage advantage.

Keno – A lottery-type game played with a card of 80 numbers; players attempt to predict which of 20 numbered balls will be drawn.

Layout – The surface of a gaming table, with markings indicating where to place bets.

Let It Ride – A casino card game based on Poker but played against the House rather than other players.

Limit – A preset maximum for wagers.

Limits – In table games, the minimum and maximum amounts that can be wagered on a single bet.

Loose – A game that pays out at a higher percentage than average, often applied to slot machine games; also see “Tight.”

Marker – Casino credit; an IOU signed by a player.

Max Bet – The highest bet that can be made; also in Slots, a button for making such a wager.

Maximum/Minimum – The limits on how much can be wagered on a single bet; also see “Limits.”

Money Management – The way a player handles a bankroll, for better or worse.

Multiple Deck or Multi-Deck – A card game played with two or more decks shuffled together.

Nickel – Slang for a $5 casino chip, also known as a “Red.”

Odds – A ratio describing the probability of winning (or losing); also may refer to the payout amount; in Craps, the amount for which a Pass Line bet may be backed.

Pai Gow Poker – A two-handed version of Poker played against the House rather than other players.

Paint – A face card—the Jack, Queen, or King; also called a “Picture.”

Parlay – Said of wagering, to leave winnings on a bet and active; aka “let it ride.”

Payline – On Slots, any line on the machine window where the symbols from each reel must line up to form a winning combination.

Payoff – The return or payback that the player gets for a winning wager.

Payoff Schedule, Payout Table or Paytable – A list of the values paid for winning combinations on slots or video poker games.

Payout – The amount of money paid for a win.

Picture – A face card—the Jack, Queen, or King; also called “Paint.”

Pigeon – Slang term for an uneducated, naïve, or unsophisticated player; also see “Fish.”

Pit – The area in a casino where the table games are located.

Pit Boss – The casino manager in charge of all the games and dealers in the Pit.

Play – To make an initial bet or to increase a wager.

Player – Anyone who participates in casino games; in Baccarat, one of two playing positions, taking action first, before the Banker position.

Playing Conditions – An alternative phrase for “House Rules.”

Poker – A variety of card games with shared betting rules and hand rankings, played against other players rather than against the House.

Pot – Especially in Poker, the total amount of bets made by all players at any given time.

Progressive – A type of jackpot based upon a prize pool that continually increases incrementally until it is won; most common in slots and video poker along with some table games, such as Caribbean Stud.

Punter – British term used to refer to a gambler; also a paying participant in a Baccarat game (as opposed to “Player,” which refers to one of the two opposing hands dealt).

Punto Banco – A variation of Baccarat popular in North America.

Push – Noun or verb to describe the player and dealer hands being of equal value, with no winner or loser declared; also known as “Tie” or “Draw” or “Stand Off”; in most games, the player’s wager is returned when a Push occurs.

Quarter – Slang term for a $25 casino chip, usually green in color.

Rack – A container for coins or chips.

Rail – The grooved wooden edge around the table, where players store their chips.

Railbirds – Slang for spectators.

Rake – A commission charged by the House, especially for dealing Poker games.

Rate – A term used by the casino regarding a player’s skill level, rate of play, average bet size, and other factors; comps are frequently determined by how a player is rated.

Red – A $5 casino chip, also called a “Nickel.”

Roulette – A casino game using a numbered wheel and corresponding field of numbers on which players bet, trying to predict where a ball will land when it is spun around the wheel.

Round – One complete deal, in which all players have acted on their hands, wins have been paid off, and losses collected.

Rounding – The act of rounding up or down the amount paid out.

Sabot – The French term for the “Shoe” that holds playing cards, especially in Baccarat.

Scared Money – Any bet a player cannot afford to lose.

Session – Any period of time for which a game is played without interruption or prolonged break.

Shoe – A special container that holds up to eight shuffled decks and is used by the dealer to dispense cards in a multi-deck game.

Shooter – in Craps, the player who is currently throwing the dice.

Shuffle – Randomly mixing up the order of the cards between deals.

Sic Bo – A table game played with three dice; the object is to predict the outcome when they are rolled.

Single Deck – A card game played with just one deck of 52 standard playing cards.

Slots – A form of electronic gaming based on lining up symbols that appear on spinning reels in order to win payouts at fixed odds.

Spanish 21 – A version of Blackjack that has no 10 cards in the deck.

Stack – A group of chips, one atop the other; in Roulette, a stack contains 20 chips in a column; in Poker, this refers to the total amount of chips a player holds at any given time.

Stake – The total amount of wagered by a player on a single round, hand, spin or deal.

Stand – In Blackjack, Baccarat or Poker, the act of drawing no card, accepting the value of the hand and refusing an additional card.

Stand-off – Another term for “Push.”

Stay – Another term for “Stand.”

Steaming – Used to refer to a losing blackjack player who has lost emotional control and begins betting wildly; also see “Tilt.”

Streak – A run of winning hands or losing hands.

Suit – One of the four groups of 13 cards in a deck: Spades, Hearts, Diamonds or Clubs.

System – Any mathematically based method of betting.

Table Game – A casino game for multiple players seated or standing around a table, which is controlled by a dealer or croupier.

Table Limits – Minimum and maximum wagers allowed at the table, aka “Limits.”

Table Stakes – Betting is limited to the amount on the table at any given time; players may not exchange cash for additional chips when a hand is in play.

Ticket – Another name for a card in Bingo or Keno; in sport betting, the receipt for a bet.

Tie – Alternative term for “Push.”

Tight – A game that pays out at a lower percentage than average, often applied to slot machine games; also see “Loose.”

Tilt – To play or gamble wildly or recklessly.

True Odds – The correct odds according to a probabilities chart as opposed to the payout odds for a winning wager.

Twenty-One or 21 – Alternative term for “Blackjack.”

Unit – A standard bet, often the table minimum.

Up Card – A card dealt face up.

Video Poker – A form of electronic gaming based on the card game known as Poker; the object is to obtain hands of high enough rank (such as a pair Jacks or better) in order to win payouts at fixed odds.

Vigorish or Vig – A commission taken by the House, such as the 5% charged by the House on the winning Banker hands in the game of Baccarat.

VIP – Acronym for a Very Important Person; may refer to exclusive high-limit areas of a casino.

Wager – Any bet.

Whale – Slang term for the highest level of high roller, who makes extremely large wagers.

Wild Card or Wild – A Video Poker card or Slots symbol that can substitute for the value of other cards or symbols.

Win Rate – The average amount a player wins per hour.