A Guide to Essential Casino Terms

Content Team 2 months ago
A Guide to Essential Casino Terms

Welcome to the world of casinos, where the chips are stacked, the dice are rolled, and the thrill of the game is all around you. Understanding the unique casino language can make all the difference in your experience, regardless of your skill level. 

From the basics of betting and house edge to the more advanced strategies of card counting and the Martingale system, this guide will take you on a journey through essential casino terms. 

Basic Gambling Terms

Let’s start with the basics because you’re bound to come across the following terms, no matter if you play at a brick-and-mortar or online casino. 

House Edge

The house edge is the casino’s statistical advantage over the player in a given game. It represents the percentage of each wager that the casino expects to win in the long run.


This term can be described as the heartbeat of the casino floor. The sound of chips clacking, dice rolling, and card shuffling all constitute the rhythm of the action. And with every turn, every roll, and every deal, the excitement rises until someone hits the jackpot.


In the context of casinos, a wager refers to the act of placing a bet on the outcome of a game or event.


Bet is one of the most common terms in casino lingo. It refers to a single wager in a game. It also means risking or gambling a specific amount of money because the outcome of the game is unknown. 


The payout is the magical moment when the stars align and you hear the sweet sound of coins clanging together as the machine spits out your winnings. It’s a beautiful thing, really.


A bankroll refers to the funds available for betting purposes. Players should practice good bankroll management to avoid losing their money fast. 


A casino game’s jackpot is the top prize that a lucky player wins. Jackpots can be set amounts or progressive, which means they increase until someone finally wins. It’s the grand prize, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, the holy grail of gambling. Will you be lucky enough to catch it?


In casino terminology, chips are little round tokens that represent cash. Players use them to place wagers and cash out winnings. Chips come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, and they have a specific weight to them. Moreover, if you win big, you get to experience the joy of scooping up a pile of chips and feeling like a high roller.


A dealer is a casino staff member who controls the game and deals cards or spins the wheel. They’re calm, cool, and collected and have eyes in the back of their head (or so it seems). Just don’t let their soothing voice and friendly smile fool you—they’re after your money.


The croupier is like the fancier, more sophisticated cousin of the dealer. They’re the ones you’ll find at high roller tables, wearing a tuxedo and looking sharp. They exude confidence and class, and they’re there to make you feel like a VIP.

House Rules

All casino games are played according to a certain set of rules known as “house rules.” This gambling slang refers to the rules that everyone has to play by to ensure fairness and consistency. Different casinos and games may have different regulations.


A casino may extend credit to a player in the form of a marker. When money is no longer an option, players can use a marker to keep playing. It’s the casino’s way of saying, “We trust you (to a certain extent).” It’s a convenient way to keep playing when you’re running low on cash, but beware—it’s still real money that you’ll have to pay back.

Pit Boss

A pit boss is a casino employee who manages several table games in a specific area of the casino. They oversee everything that’s going on, from the dealers and players to the security team. They’re the ones you want to impress if you’re hoping to score some free drinks or other perks.


In a casino game, a shoe is a container used to carry several decks of cards. During the game, the dealer or croupier removes cards from the shoe and deals them to the players.


Surrendering in gambling terminology is like saying, “I’m waving the white flag.” It’s a way for players to cut their losses and salvage some of their money. Think of it as a strategic retreat because sometimes it’s better to live to fight another day.


It’s that feeling of frustration and desperation that can set in when you’re on a losing streak. It’s the moment when you start making irrational bets and taking unnecessary risks. Tilt can be a player’s worst enemy, but it can also be a wake-up call to take a break.

Blackjack Terms

Let’s shuffle the cards and dive into the world of blackjack terminology.


Splitting is an option that’s available when a player is dealt a pair of cards with the same rank, such as two 7s. The player can choose to split the cards into two separate hands, with each hand having its own bet. It’s a way to increase the chances of winning and turn a losing hand into a winning one.


In casino lingo, “paint” refers to any card with a picture on it, i.e., king, queen, or jack. This term is often used in blackjack. For instance, if a dealer tells you that you’ve got “paint,” it means you’ve been dealt a face card.

Double Down

Doubling down is available when a player is certain that they have a strong hand. The player can choose to double their original bet and receive only one additional card. It’s a way to maximize the potential payout and turn a good hand into a great one.

Craps Terms

Craps is a high-energy, fast-paced game of chance that has become a common game in many casinos around the world, especially American, so let’s go over some key terms.


You have to roll the exact pair of numbers to get a hardway combination. That means betting on the 4, 6, 8, or 10 as a pair, such as two 2s or two 5s, which is considered “hard.” When they’re not rolled as a pair, they’re considered “easy.” The goal is to bet that the dice will land “hard” before they land “easy” or before a 7 is rolled. 

Big 6 and Big 8

In craps, it’s another term for bets placed on the 6 or 8 to be rolled before a 7. While they have a higher payout than a bet on the 6 or 8, they also have a higher house edge and are considered a sucker bet by more experienced craps players.

Poker Slang

Are you looking to brush up on your poker vocabulary and understand the casino talk used in the game? Let’s go over some of the most common ones.


Ante is the price of admission to the poker party. Just like a VIP ticket to your favorite concert, the ante gets you a seat at the table and a shot at the big prizes.


Bluffing in poker is like being a master of disguise! It’s a strategy that involves making a bet or a raise with a weak hand in an attempt to manipulate your opponents into thinking that you have a strong hand. It’s a way to gain an advantage over your opponents and win the pot even when you don’t have the best cards.


Nuts is the best possible hand at any given moment in a particular game. Knowing that you have the nuts can give you a significant advantage in the game, as it means that you can’t be beaten. It’s a rare accomplishment that every poker player dreams of.


In gaming terminology, rake is the percentage of the pot that the casino takes as a fee for hosting the game. The rake can vary depending on the stakes and the casino, but it’s typically around 5% of the pot. While the rake can seem like a nuisance to players, it’s a necessary part of the game that helps to keep the casino in business.


The flop is the first three community cards that are dealt face up in the middle of the table in games like Texas hold’em. The flop is a critical point in the game, as it gives players a glimpse of the potential strength of their hand and helps them make strategic decisions about whether to fold or continue playing.


A fish, in poker, refers to an inexperienced player who often makes mistakes and loses money. More experienced players might look for “fish” at the table as an opportunity to win more pots.


A “shark” in poker is a highly skilled player who preys on less experienced or weaker players, much like a shark in the ocean. These players often have a deep understanding of the game and are able to read their opponents well.

Slot Machine Terms

Slots are the beloved games of chance that draw players in with their flashing lights, mesmerizing sounds, and thrilling jackpots. Understanding key terms that define the game is essential if you want to learn how to master the slots.


They’re the spinning cylinders that contain the symbols in a slot machine. With every spin, the reels dance and twirl, building anticipation along the way. They’re the heart and soul of the slot machine and the key to winning big.


Casino slang wouldn’t be complete without mentioning paylines, which are like the treasure map to the jackpot. They’re the lines that run across the reels of a slot machine, determining the winning combinations. With each spin, you’re hoping to land on a winning payline and earn big bucks.

Scatter Symbols

Scatter symbols are symbols that can appear anywhere on the reels and pay out regardless of whether they’re on a payline or not. They’re like the little jokers in the deck, adding a bit of excitement and unpredictability to the game.

Wild Symbols

Wild symbols can stand in for any other symbol on the reels to create a winning combination. They’re like the secret weapon that can turn a losing spin into a winning streak.

Progressive Jackpots

A progressive jackpot continues to grow as more players place bets, often reaching astronomical sums of money. They’re the ultimate goal for every slot machine player, and the chance to hit one is like winning the lottery.

Video Slots

Without a doubt, video slots are the flashy machines that bring the party to the casino floor. With their vibrant graphics, catchy music, and bonus features, they’re like a non-stop concert that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Advanced Casino Terms and Phrases

These advanced casino expressions are for the daring, adventurous, and thrill-seeking. From the infamous card counting strategy to the mysterious world of whales, these terms will take you on a wild ride through the inner workings of the casino world.

Card Counting

Card counting is a strategy used in blackjack and other card games that entails keeping track of the cards dealt to determine the likelihood of specific cards remaining in the deck. It requires quick thinking, a sharp memory, and nerves of steel. Just don’t let the casino catch you in the act.

Martingale Strategy

The Martingale strategy is a betting system that involves doubling your bet after each loss in an attempt to recoup your losses and come out on top. It takes guts, determination, and a bit of luck to make the Martingale strategy work.


Comps are perks that casinos offer to players as a way of saying “thanks for playing.” Think free drinks, meals, hotel stays, and even tickets for different shows. It’s the casino’s way of keeping players happy and coming back for more.

High Roller

A high roller is like the king or queen of the gambling world. They’re the ones who bet big, win big, and get all the perks and attention that come with it. They exude confidence, charisma, and a certain je ne sais quoi that makes them the envy of the casino floor.

Vigorish (or “Vig”)

Vigorish, or “the vig,” in gambling slang is like the price of admission to the casino world. It’s the fee that the casino charges for taking bets, and it’s how they make money.

Expected Value

The expected value is the mathematical calculation that determines the average outcome of a bet in the long run. It takes into account the odds of winning and losing, as well as the potential payout. It’s a key tool for making strategic betting decisions.

Kelly Criterion

It’s a mathematical strategy that helps players determine the optimal amount to bet based on the perceived advantage and potential payout. It’s a way to minimize risk while maximizing potential winnings.

Random Number Generator

A random number generator, or RNG, is a computer program that ensures that the outcomes of games are random and fair. It’s like the invisible hand that guides the spinning of the slot machine reels and the shuffling of the deck.


A whale is a high roller who bets enormous sums of money and commands the attention and admiration of the casino staff. They’re the ones who can make or break a casino’s bottom line, and they’re treated like royalty on the casino floor.

Funny Gambling Terms

Get ready to laugh out loud and roll the dice with these hilarious and unforgettable casino expressions!

Sucker Bet

This term describes a bet with a high house edge and low odds of winning, but it’s often enticing to inexperienced players who don’t know any better. It’s like the candy at the checkout line, tempting you to make an impulse buy that you’ll later regret.


A monkey in casino slang is like the wild card at the table. It’s a term for a $500 chip, often used in high stakes games.


A cooler is a person who’s believed to bring bad luck to the game, often causing other players to lose. It’s like the black cat that crosses your path or the broken mirror that foreshadows disaster.


The grind is the strategy of slowly and steadily accumulating winnings over time, often through small bets and careful risk management.

Belly Buster

A belly buster, in gambling terms, refers to a specific type of poker hand known as an inside straight draw or a gutshot straight draw. A belly buster occurs when a player has four consecutive cards with a gap in the middle and needs the fifth card to complete the straight. The odds of success are rather low because it’s a challenging draw. 


A George is the ideal player from the dealer’s point of view. This term refers to a player who tips well and consistently. So, if you want to be popular among the casino staff, try being a George.

Summary of Casino Terms 

All in all, while the world of casinos can seem overwhelming with its unique terms, taking the time to understand them can greatly improve your gaming sessions. By familiarizing yourself with these expressions, you’ll be better equipped to navigate the excitement of the gaming floor (or virtual floor) and enjoy all that casinos have to offer. 

If you’re a sports bettor, you might also be interested in our glossary of sports betting terms. So go ahead and roll the dice, spin the wheel, and ante up armed with your newfound knowledge of casino terms.


What are some casino terms?

Gambling lingo refers to the jargon and slang used by players and dealers in casinos. These terms are often unique to certain games, such as blackjack or roulette, and may also vary depending on the location and culture of the casino. Some common casino vocabulary includes “ante,” “bankroll,” “chips,” and “pit boss.”

What is the term used for casino play?

“Action” is a commonly used term in casinos to refer to the total amount of money being wagered on various games. It can also refer to the pace or intensity of play at a particular table or machine.

What are casino terms for chips?

There are many terms for chips, and some of the most common include checks, tokens, coins, jetons, biscuits, plaques, discs, units, and pucks.

What is money slang for gambling?

Bankroll, stake, dime, pot, juice (or vigorish), action, and buy-in are just a few of the many gambling jargon terms for money.

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Good afternoon, firstly I’d like to thank you all very much for gathering here today at the Curaçao’s very first gaming industry event. I am aware that this room is a mosaic of opinions, interests, and backgrounds, both local and international. From existing B2C operators to entrepreneurs, service companies, lawyers, games and platform developers and even those who have reservations about this legislation.

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I understand the varied business types represented here today. Each one of you plays a pivotal role in shaping the contours of our entertainment landscape. While our visions may differ, our end goal remains the same – ensuring that Curaçao thrives.

Before I delve into the rationale behind the new legislation and the changes in our gambling landscape, I want to take a moment to congratulate Daniel Leandro Giraldo Soto on winning the trophy at the WPT Curaçao Invitational tournament last night.  

Moreover I want to thank the World Poker Tour by putting on such a prestigious event as an explicit and unwavering show of support for the major undertaking of revitalizing the jurisdiction of Curaçao.

Now I would like to move on to the three fundamental reasons as to why the new legislation and processes are not only for the good of Curaçao as a gambling jurisdiction, but also for Curaçao as a country.

These are:

  • Economic Benefits
  • Social Benefits
  • Reputational Benefits

Curaçao is the largest jurisdiction in terms of operator numbers, yet the public purse and the people of this island do not get even a fraction of what they deserve, given the staggering amount of revenue that flows through the island.

I think the best way to demonstrate this is to give you a visual example. 

Government/Regulator Income
Table 1: Government/Regulator Income.

In 2022, the Malta Gaming Authority reported licensing revenues of EUR 82 million.  That is 82 million just from fees to the authority.   During the same time period of one year the Curaçao government and Gaming Control board were entitled to the approximate amount of EUR 250,000

These figures are correct.  82 million versus 250,000. 

This contrast in numbers offers a sobering insight into the different trajectories and priorities of these two jurisdictions. It's crucial for Curaçao to evaluate its long-term strategy. Does it want to continue being the go-to for cheap and easy licenses or does it want to step up its game, increase its revenue, and simultaneously potentially provide better protection and benefits for both its operators and its citizens?

An alternative approach to consider is the broader contribution to the economy at large.  In a well-managed gambling jurisdiction the direct revenues to the regulator are only the tip of the iceberg.  The overall impact is monumental and demonstrates the real potential value to the economy.

Table 2: Drivers of economic sectors.

The key driver of any gambling regulation is the gaming operations themselves, however the generation of economy in the sub-sectors can change not just the revenue to the gaming authority but indeed the overall economy on the island.

Firstly there are the mandatory services such as corporate, banking, internet services to support the gaming operations themselves. 

Along with that there are additional financial incomings – this includes property leasing for more local and expat employees, international bandwidth connections to other jurisdictions and markets, software development, training and education, not to mention of course the obvious one which is of course increased local employment.

And that is not all, evidence has repeatedly shown in other jurisdictions – very similar to ours – that the ripple effect runs even deeper – including retail and hospitality, financial, foreign spending and local hardware/equipment vendors.

Online gaming has been a game changer for the economies of small states such as Malta, Philippines, Gibraltar, Isle of Man, Alderney and Curaçao. In the case of Malta, online gaming has transformed the Island’s economy since it was introduced in 2014 as it depend primarily on tourism to a diverse economy that includes hospitality, property, financial services and IT services. In 2019 online gaming generating a total of €1.65bn into the Maltese economy, that is, more than 12% of the total year’s GDP. Figures have dipped since Covid had an impact; however the economic impact is undeniable.

Comparatively although the Isle of Man does not publish figures at the same depth as Malta, there are records of e-Gaming accounting over 20% of GDP – a value of approximately GBP 1 billion.


When it comes to the social benefits let us discuss the impact on work and employment. The intent of our efforts to revitalize the legislative landscape is to develop Curaçao as a centre of excellence in the gambling industry.  This pushes envelope for employment opportunities and in fact there a many individuals and businesses out there who have no idea of the opportunities that are coming their way.

Now, envision a scenario where our local educational institutions, including our prestigious university incorporate industry specific training. Students could be offered tailored courses, internships, and training programs, paving the way for a future career that boasts of specialized skills that don’t now exist on the island. Such symbiotic relationships not only benefit the students and the establishments but also raise the profile of our education system.

Next, let's talk about the development of business areas. The establishment of such entertainment hubs often leads to the rejuvenation and development of the surrounding areas. Take, for instance, DMO and Otrabanda. As these zones thrive, they attract other businesses, from restaurants to retail shops, creating a ripple effect of economic growth, development, and urban revitalization.

Moreover, with the growth of these hubs, there's an inherent need for skill development. This doesn't mean just training those who wish to join the gambling sector, but it offers an opportunity for the broader population to upskill. Whether it's courses in customer service, cybersecurity, or finance, the range of skills that the population can acquire, and master is boundless.

Therefore as we consider the future of gambling legislation in our country, we have the chance to boost employment, enhance our education system, rejuvenate business districts, and upskill our citizens, ensuring that our community doesn't just grow, but thrives.


Right now Curaçao is not highly regarded as a gambling jurisdiction.  This is a well-known issue, and has been discussed at length.  And quite simply the new legislative landscape will change that. So I would like to move on to something more important that is at play here. 

Gambling is classified as a high risk industry.  And the FATF the worlds financial action task force pays specific attention to it when evaluating countries positions on the White Grey or Black listing scale.

Recently Gibraltar was placed on the Grey List with FATF saying at the time that Gibraltar’s status as a major gambling hub was a significant factor in its decision. In particular the FATF criticized the government’s failure in “applying sufficient fines for anti-money laundering failings”.

AML is a key criteria of financial evaluations, one of which Curaçao will be subject to next year.  And let me be very clear about it, the likelihood of us being placed on the grey list because our lack of AML legislation within the gambling sphere is real, and it is worrying.

The implications of being grey listed are far-reaching and touch upon various sectors of our nation. Let me walk you through some of the profound consequences we might face:

Firstly there will be a general negative perception that AML failings will not be the only ones that relate to commonly identified international standards - in short, the no smoke without fire view of us.

Governments may decide to restrict trade with us or connected entities or prohibit trade altogether.

Firms and banks will need to undertake heightened due diligence which will also negatively impact business and cross border trading which may increase prices, bargaining power and the cost of securing and servicing debt.

International aid if needed would see fewer potential sponsors.

Government revenues from local businesses would be negatively impacted.

International bond and loan markets would be regarded negatively meaning governments and private sector would have severe challenges in raising capital.

None of this is good. And all of it is avoidable. We absolutely and categorically need to take the steps necessary to prevent grey-listing and the LOK provides the safety net that we desperately need. 

In conclusion I would like to say that “change is the only constant”, and in the face of change, we have two choices – resist or adapt. I believe in the resilience and adaptability of the Curaçao spirit. Together we can create a future where Curaçao can shine as a beacon of responsible gaming in the Caribbean.

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Australia’s attempts at gambling safety

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Now undoubtedly a major policy issue, problem gambling and gambling addiction in turn is having a heavy impact on the Oceanic commonwealth. 

Nearly 80 percent of Australians partake in gambling activities with the most at-risk demographic being males between the ages of 18 and 35. 

What’s more worrying, however, is that almost half of all Australians who participate in gambling activities are at risk of experiencing some kind of gambling-related harm.

Efforts to curb problem gambling

In lieu of this, Australia is undergoing a heavy regulatory restructuring in order to address these increasingly out-of-control issues.

Subsequent to a parliamentary inquiry specifically aimed at curbing harms from online gaming, 31 recommendations have been made to encourage responsible gaming and mitigate gambling harm.

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Fines for underage gambling

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This is perhaps an issue as significantly perpetrated by advertisers as it by operators themselves.

CEO of New South Wales operator Wicked Games, Darryl Manning, gave an exclusive statement to SiGMA group when he explained that this sort of oversight would not occur in the currently outlawed online casinos of Australia.

Australia's attempts at gambling safety.
CEO of Wicked Games, Darryl Manning.

He suggests that player protections are far more robust online than they are in land-based operations:

“If the pundits wanted to get real about problem gambling, why not allow online slots. After all, the tools that are currently being developed to protect the online player are far more robust, and far more capable of identifying a player’s means or curtailing certain behaviour, than those applied to land-based Gaming.”

Considering these improved protections, problem gambling could be curbed by offering a more diverse marketplace with a new influx of far safer products in the online space.

Gambling advertising

When focusing on gambling advertising, the various states comprising Australia are in agreement and are keen to enact a ban or at least a restriction on gambling advertising.

South Australia

In South Australia there is already a gambling ban in place for television that includes a blackout between 4 pm and 7.30 pm on Monday and Friday with a similar blackout in effect for radio between 6 am and 8.30 am on the same days.

This is still not believed by many to be a strong enough band with South Australia submitting in favour of a total prohibition on gambling advertising on television, streaming services and social media. 

Shane Rattenbury, the Australian Capital Territory’s attorney general, has also stated that he wishes to see his jurisdiction follow suit. 


In Queensland, the government has made several statements noting that gambling promotion is “obtrusively delivered through television broadcasts” touting its own support for a ban on gambling inducement. 

Although gambling advertising is already restricted in the territory, PG programmes between the family-friendly hours of 7 pm and 8.30 pm are unfortunately “saturated with gambling advertising”.

A national issue?

This issue has been a point of contention for quite some time now. The states previously mentioned among some others are in favour of a national approach issued throughout the commonwealth. 

However, some other states, most notably New South Wales, have submitted in support of the current system as the regulatory bodies there believe this is a matter for states and territories separately.

These states have stated that this preference stems from the competitive tension this creates, allowing states to adopt the most optimal policies based on the variety of data provided by their peers. 

Operator stance

Although most operators in Australia would disagree with gambling advertising being subject to a complete prohibition, there is some agreement in that effective restrictions should be implemented with scrutiny placed on the ethical values of advertisers. 

Manning also weighed in on this particular issue, expressing how he believes that the onus should be on advertisers to dissuade any players at risk.

In his statement, he suggested: 

“One way would be to allot a portion of the advertising budget to this audience. Maybe the last third of a video ad or the bottom third of a pictorial could be dedicated to seriously addressing the issue. Not just a 5-second Speed talker.”

Join us in Malta between the 13 – 17 November for SiGMA Europe 2023

SiGMA Europe’s Malta Week festival brings together a diverse and international group of industry leaders for a convergence of expo, conference, and networking. The event will be held at the Mediterranean Maritime Hub (MMH), a larger, more dynamic venue that promises a raw, industrial, and unconventional space unlike anything ever used before.

In the words of SiGMA Group founder Eman Pulis, “We’re redesigning your entire experience, from the minute you land in Malta until the very last moment. I look forward to welcoming you with open arms to this iGaming festival.”

Find all the details here.

Jake Graves 2 days ago