This list of casino terms and definition may seem incomplete to some, because the full list of gambling words is endless. When trying to write a dictionary of words for every casino game at once, a person must focus on a general concepts and not specific moments in a game. The following list should get you started in the land or online casinos.
Action – The total bets on a single hand or over several hands.
Advantage – The potential edge the player has over the house or, more likely, the house edge the casino has over the player. Gamblers can gain an advantage in certain circumstances, even if the casino has the overall advantage.
American Roulette – A version of the game with 38 slots instead of 37, the 38th being a green 00 pocket. This increases the house edge to 5.26%, so double-zero roulette should only be played if house rules lower that edge. (See our article about American Roulette vs. European Roulette for a detailed explanation.)
Autoplay – Settings a player can choose to determine the amount of time between spins and the number of spins altogether. The autoplay is included in the hope players increase the speed of the game, knowing this exposes them to the house edge even more. Players set the parameters, though.
Bankroll – The amount of money you have set aside for wagering at the casino.
Basic Strategy Chart – A colored grid which covers all hands in blackjack, used to memorize which decisions a player should make. Basic strategy allows a player to make the optimal play, according to mathematics. (See our article about Blackjack Basic Strategy Charts here.)
Biased Wheels – A flawed roulette wheel, which gives some numbers a better chance of hitting than others. (See our article about Biased Wheels in Roulette here.)
Black Action – Betting with $100 chips. Considered high roller playing by many, but not all.
Blackjack – Not just the card game, but the name given to the “natural 21”, which is the best hand in blackjack. A natural 21 happens when a player is dealt an ace with a 10-rank card, including ten, jack, queen, and king.
Come/Don’t Come Bet – In craps, a wager made on the come out bet. This is one of the few craps wagers most people should make.
Comp – Promotional items offered by the casino, often to high volume or high dollar players.
Croupier – The name of a roulette dealer.
Doubling – To increase your wager by a factor of two in blackjack. This is effective when you hold an advantage.
European Roulette – The version played in Monte Carlo, along with most of European. Also known as single-zero roulette, this game gives people 2.7% odds with a 37 slots on the wheel, including 0 and 1 through 36. See also: American Roulette
High Roller – A gamblers who makes large wagers or otherwise uses the max limits on a game or machine. High stakes gamblers are further delineated by premium players and sharks (the highest stakes gamblers).
Hot Machine – A pokie machine which is paying out a lot or has hit one or more jackpots recently. In truth, each spin on the pokies has the same odds of paying off, so the idea of one being hot is the human need to add patterns to chaos.
House Edge – The advantage the game rules offer to the casino. This is how casino’s stay in business.
Insurance – When the dealer is showing a possible blackjack draw, players can take 2:1 insurance by placing a side bet on whether that blackjack comes. Since the bet only pays 2:1 and the blackjack is only going to hit 30% of the time, this is always a bad idea. Never take insurance.
Keno Lounge – The walled off area of the casino where keno is played.
Martingale System – A progressive betting method which suggests one double the bet after a loss, while returning to 1 unit after a win. The Martingale’s exponential increases mean players with bad luck soon wager much more than they’re comfortable betting. Avoid these systems. (See our complete article about The Martingale System here.)
Money Management – A set of limitations on your spending in the casino, including loss limit where you walk away after losing a certain number of times in a row, or win goal in which you walk away from the table after winning a certain amount–no matter what.
Odds – The probability you, another punter, or the casino has to win the game.
One-Armed Bandits – Another name for pokies.
Parlay System – A wagering method where the last session’s previous winnings are added to your bankroll for the next game.
Pass/Don’t Pass – The pass line bet is similar to the come/don’t come bet in craps, except it applies to after the line is established by the come out roll.
Payout – The winnings paid to successful gamblers by the casino. Also known as the pay out.
Pinching – Removing betting chips from the table after the game has initiated. This is unwanted by the casino and can result in expulsion, though new players are given some latitude.
Random Number Table – A computer program (on a chip) which has every possible combination factored into a number. Thousands of these numbers are selected per second. When you hit spin or deal, the latest number is selected and matched against the payout schedule, producing a random result. Also known as an RNG.
Roulette Table Layout – The numbers on the table where the roulette bets are made. (You can read more about the Roulette Table and Wheel here.)
Session – Time spent wagering during any time spent at the casino.
Single Zero Roulette – European roulette, which has a “0” slot, but not a “00′ slot.
Soft Hand – In twenty-one, a hand with an ace, which can be scored either as a 1 or an 11.
Split Bet – Dividing your roulette wager between two different numbers, made by pacing the chip on the line between the two numbers.
Splitting – In blackjack, when you receive a pair, you are allowed to split them to make two hands (with two wagers).
Straight Bet – Betting on any one number in roulette. It pays at 35:1, but only hits at 1:37.
Whale – The high rollers who wager as much as one-hundred thousand dollars on one hand. These people can be professionals trying to bet when they have the advantage, or rich amateurs who enjoy the thrill of throwing money around.
Wild Symbol – A reel icon which can be used in place of any other symbol, except the scatters and multipliers.