Casino Glossary

Can’t tell your pigeons from your fish? Use this helpful casino glossary to learn more about commonly used casino terminology.


Ante - Initial bet paid by the player in order to be dealt a hand in a game.

Apron - The outer portion of a casino table layout. The apron has no markings for bets or play.

Arm - In craps, a player who demonstrates incredible skill at throwing dice can be described as an “arm”.


Bankroll - The amount of money a player allocates or has available for spending on casino games. Bankrolls vary between players and their value can fluctuate as wins and losses add up.

Bet - Money used for a wager.

Blackjack - Holding a two-card hand in blackjack that equals 21 - in this instance, an ace and a ten.

Bones - Slang term for dice.

Bonus - Extra money that is often granted to players who sign up for online casinos and make deposits. See the Bonuses page to learn more.

Boxcars - To roll two sixes in craps.

Boxman - A member of casino staff present at a craps table who sits between the dealers.

Bump - Slang term for raise.

Burn Card - A card taken from the top of the deck that is immediately discarded, not to be used in the game.

Bust - In blackjack, a player is said to “bust” when their value of their hand is 22 or higher, which results in the loss of their bet.

Buy-in - In casino games, the process of converting cash into chips to be used at the tables.


Cage - The cashier’s desk of a casino where players buy chips or exchange them for cash.

Call, Calling - Matching the current wager.

Card Washing - A form of card shuffling where the dealer takes a deck of cards and spreads them on the table face-down, then mixes them together by moving their hands in a washing motion before piling the cards back together and shuffling them in a more traditional fashion.

Card Counting - In blackjack, the process of memorising which cards have been played in order to figure out the best course of action in the following hands. While not illegal, the practice is frowned upon in many casinos and can lead to a player being asked to leave the table.

Chips - Circular markers used in place of cash during table games. Some chips are exchanged for cash, while others - namely roulette chips - must be exchanged for regular casino chips before they are cashed in.

Cold - Used to describe a slot machine that hasn’t paid out recently, or a player experiencing a losing streak. See also: Hot, Loose and Tight.

Come-out - In craps, the roll the shooter makes to start a round of play.

Comps - Perks or gifts given to visitors engaging in play at a casino. This could include drinks, meals, hotel rooms and more.

Copy - A situation in Pai Gow Poker where both the banker and the player have the exact same value. All copies, or ties, go to the banker.

Crapping out - In craps, used to describe a come-out roll of two, three or 12 in which anyone who bets on the Pass line loses.

Croupier - The dealer at a game table. This term is often used when describing the process of playing baccarat or roulette. See also: Dealer

Cut, Cutting - After shuffling a deck, the dealer divides it into two, placing the halves facing down in front of the player. The player then takes a portion of the cards from the deck and places them in front of the dealer, who then put the top portion of the deck on the cards which have been “cut”. The cut is typically taken from the top of the deck and is done with one hand.


Dealer - A member of casino staff who shuffles cards, accepts bets and deals cards to players during a game. When playing Baccarat or Roulette, they may also be referred to as a croupier.

Discard Tray - A tray near the dealer which holds discarded cards.

Dolly - In the American version of roulette, a “dolly” is used to mark the winning number in a spin.

Double Down - A blackjack bet in which the player doubles their wager after their two-card hand is revealed. A third and final card is dealt - should the player beat the dealer, they receive twice their initial stake. Should they bust or not beat the dealer, the player loses twice their initial wager.

Double or Nothing - Double or nothing bets can be made when a player loses in an initial wager for the chance to recoup their losses. For example, Player A makes a wager of £50 against Player B and loses, but then chooses to go double or nothing. If player A wins the second bet, they will receive £100, but if they lose, they will owe Player B £100.

Drop - Money lost by players. For example, a player who has lost £5,000 may say they “dropped” £5,000.


Edge - A term used to describe an advantage held by a player. See also: House Edge.

Eye in the Sky - Nickname for the CCTV cameras used to monitor a casino and its gaming areas.

Eighty-Six, 86’ed - Said of a player who has been removed from a table, or even a casino, by the staff.

Even Money Bet - A wager with even odds (1:1) that pays the player their initial stake plus an amount of money equal to your original bet.


Face Cards - Jacks, Kings or Queens.

Fish - Slang term for a player who consistently loses money; a poor player or a novice.

Firing - Placing large bets in quick succession.

Flat Betting - Betting which does not change from wager to wager. For example, a player is described as “flat betting” if they never raise or lower their bet from the amount they staked on their first spin or hand.

Flea - An annoying casino player who expects comps and other perks in exchange for insignificant wagers.

Fold, Folding - To decline to bet during a hand, thus surrendering your cards and sitting out for the rest of the hand. May also be referred to as a pass.


Gamcare - A British organisation dedicated to helping problem gamblers. Online casinos in the UK must provide links to the Gamcare site (or that of Gamble Aware) on their own pages.

George - A player who tips well and often.


Hand - Cards held by the player.

Hard Hand - A hard hand in blackjack holds an ace that is counted as one instead of 11.

Hard Way Bet - In craps, going for doubles. For example, a hard ten means that each die comes up with a five. They are named for the fact that these bets are notoriously hard to win as the “soft” or “easy way” number is more likely to appear. In the above example, a six and a four might be more likely, and if the player has placed a hard ten bet in this instance, they will lose.

High Hand - A term used in Pai Gow Poker to describe the five-card hand held by the player.

High Roller - A player who makes large bets on casino games. See also: Whale.

Hit - A term used in blackjack to describe taking another card.

Hole Card - A term used in blackjack to describe the face-down card given to the dealer.

Hot - A term used to describe either a slot machine that is frequently paying out big prizes or a casino player on a winning streak. See also: Loose, Cold or Tight.

House - A casino or gaming venue.

House Edge - The advantage of the house (casino) over the player in a game. This is usually represented as a percentage.


Inside Bets - In roulette, a bet made on a number or combination of numbers.

Insurance Bet - A side bet made in blackjack that assumes the dealer has a natural, based on the dealer’s up card being an ace. Should the dealer have a natural or blackjack, the player will win double their bet, but will lose if they do not.


Jacks or Better - A video poker game in which the player must hold a pair of jacks or a higher-value hand to win a payout.

Joker - An additional card found in a standard deck that may be used as a wild card in certain games.

Junket - An organisation that offers special services, tables and comps to VIP players at certain casinos. Junkets may offer to pay for travel, accommodation and other costs provided that the VIP commits to playing at a specific casino and spends a predetermined amount of money.


Kicker - A high-value card that does not contribute to the value of a player’s hand.


Layout - The portion of a gaming table where markings are printed showing where players can make their bets.

Let it Ride - Adding your winnings to your original bet. See also: Pressing a Bet.

Loose - A term used to describe slot machines that pay out frequently. See also: Hot, Cold or Tight

Low Hand - A term used in Pai Gow Poker to describe a player’s two-card hand.


Martingale System - A betting system in which the player doubles their bets after a loss, with the hope that an eventual win will recuperate previous losses and even incur a profit. The reverse technique, known as an Anti-Martingale system, sees players increase the value of their bets after a win.

Manual Flushing - A type of casino withdrawal that removes funds from the player’s account entirely, with no opportunity for reversal of the transaction.

Mini-Baccarat - A faster, scaled-down variant of regular baccarat.


Natural - In baccarat, having two cards which total eight or nine. In blackjack, a two-card hand that equals 21.


Outside Bets - Outside bets in roulette are made when a player puts chips on the outer part of the felt (also known as the layout ). Such bets include red or black, odd or even, low or high, dozen bets and column bets. They offer better odds of winning but lower payouts.

Overlay - A wager that gives the player an advantage over the house.


Pass - A player is said to “pass” when they decline to play a hand. This may also be referred to as folding.

Pigeon - Slang term for a naive, uneducated or unsophisticated player.

Pit Boss - The manager of the tables and dealers in a casino. Sometimes referred to as the “Pit Manager”.

Pressing a Bet - A player is said to “press a bet” when they tack on their winnings to their current wager to form a new bet out of both funds.

Progressive Game - Typically refers to a slot machine offering a progressive jackpot, which increases in value as more players bet on the game. Once the progressive top prize has been won, it resets to the base value and the process begins again.

Push - In most table games, a push is declared when the player and banker tie and neither side wins.



Rake - In poker, the money charged by the casino over each hand. A small percentage is usually taken from the pot during betting.

Random Number Generator - Also known as an “RNG”. A device used in slot machines and online casino games to create truly random (and thus fair) outcomes for games. An automated shuffling program, similar to a random number generator, may be used to create truly random decks in online card games.

Return to Player - Also referred to as “RTP”, Return to Player is the percentage of money wagered on games that will be paid back to players. This is often used to refer to slot machines or video lottery terminals. For example, a game with an advertised RTP of 93 percent would mean that every $100 a player wages, they can expect to win back $93. The reverse concept is referred to as House Edge

Reverse Withdrawal - A situation in which an online casino player reverses a pending withdrawal of money from their account and continues playing with the funds.

Riffling - A type of card shuffling in which the deck is split in half and both halves are shuffled together. Also referred to as “zipping” the deck.

Royal Flush - A term used in poker-related table games to describe a hand consisting of a straight flush with an ace high. For example, holding an Ace, King, Queen, Jack and 10 of the same suit is a royal flush. This is an unbeatable hand.


Scared Money - Money wagered by a player who can’t afford to lose the cash.

Shark - Term used for an astute player who poses as a naive newcomer in the beginning of games, then quickly establishes themselves as an expert.

Shoe - A device used to hold decks of cards for a table game.

Shuffle, Shuffling - A way to mix a deck or deck of cards together. There are many different card shuffling techniques. See also: Riffling and Card Washing.

Shuffling Machine - A device used in land-based casinos to thoroughly shuffle decks of cards. The machine can be used between hands in place of traditional shuffling or card washing, or a continuous model may be used, where the deck is shuffled throughout the course of play. It is often used to discourage card counting.

Side Bet - Several table games offer side bets that can be played for an additional fee. While side bets often promise better payouts, these games typically have a very high house edge.

Snake Eyes - Rolling a two in craps (a total of one on each die).

Soft Hand - A blackjack hand in which the ace is counted as 11.

Split - In blackjack, the option to split your cards into two different hands if both cards are of the same value. The new hands are played separately, with the player placing a separate wager on the table to cover the new hand.

Stack - A term used to describe a player’s collection of chips.

Stake - A player’s bet or wager.

Stay, Stand - In blackjack, a move where a player declines taking another card from the dealer. May also be referred to as “sticking”.

Suit - The term used to describe the four symbols found in a deck of cards - hearts, diamonds, spades and clubs.

Surrender - In blackjack, a player is said to “surrender” when they choose not to play their hand and lose half their original wager. In American roulette, a player “surrenders” half their stake when they make an outside bet and the ball lands on zero.


Tapping Out - Stopping play due to losing one’s entire bankroll.

Tight - Often used to describe a slot machine that pays out below average. See also: Cold, Hot or Loose.


Underlay - Slang for a bad wager. Used to define a bet made on an outcome that is highly unlikely to happen.

Up Card - In blackjack, the dealer’s face-up card. For the reverse term, see: Hole Card.


Video Poker - A variety of five-card-draw poker played on machines similar to slots.

Vigorish - Commission charged by a casino. Also known as juice, cut, vig or take. From the Russian выигрыш, meaning “winnings”.

VIP - “Very Important Person”, usually a player who makes large wagers at a casino. See also: Whale or High Roller.

VLT - Acronym for “Video Lottery Terminal”. These devices, which allow players to bet on the outcome of a game, are often operated by lotteries in the US and Canada. They are very similar to slot machines and often feature Random Number Generators.


Washing - See Card Washing.

Whale - Slang for a player who makes exceptionally large bets, sometimes in excess of four figures per wager. See also: High Roller.

Wild or Wild Card - A card that can be used to complete a hand, usually a joker, or a symbol on a slot machine that can be substituted for another symbol to complete a winning line.




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