Any gamer’s penchant for gambling is all about the casino games and the accompanying thrills, and the level of enjoyment depends on the selection of games, the specific ones that appeal to each unique player. But another aspect of it is being part of the casino world itself, and both online and land-based casinos bring different elements to the whole experience.

While of course you’ll use gambling lingo less when you’re playing solo at your favorite online casino, a working knowledge of the terminology fundamentals will definitely boost your confidence and skills as you’re playing your favorite games or trying out new ones.

And of course, whenever you do take a trip to Atlantic City or Las Vegas, it’ll give you an extra boost so that you can sit at a blackjack table or take a spin at roulette with complete mastery – just like a pro.

What do we mean by casino slang or gambling lingo?

Lingo or slang is a special kind of vocabulary – not like the kind you used to memorize in school, but a set of informal words and phrases that belong to a specific field, like gaming. Typically slang is used when you’re speaking rather than writing, evolving mostly through everyday use. A lot of slang comes from different age groups, for example teenagers often use their own terms that adults struggle to understand. There might also be slang used in different cities or parts of the country.

As you might be able to guess, casino slang is the set of words that are used in the casino world by those who are familiar with it. Some will be familiar to you, even just because they’ve spread outside of casinos and into other areas of life.

Casino Slang Glossary

All-in

Part of speech: Adjective

Definition: Describes the player’s decision to increase the bet with everything he currently has in the game.

Explanation: This term is pretty well-known and self-explanatory. It’s typically used in the phrase “to go all-in.” When playing poker, going all-in is when the player takes his or her chips and literally moves all of them into the pot. This usually applies in no-limit Texas Hold’em games. The other players must either match the bet to continue playing or fold. Depending on the type of player, this could be a result of an extremely good hand or just a scare tactic to make opponents fold.

Sentence example: James is a skilled and unpredictable opponent; if he goes all-in, it’s hard to tell if he has a winning hand or if he’s just bluffing.

Ante

Part of speech: Noun

Definition: The amount that the player must bet in order to continue playing.

Explanation: To “up the ante” is to raise the stakes with an increased bet. This term is most commonly used in poker, it’s also used in the lesser known British game called Brag.

Sentence example: As a beginner who isn’t familiar with all of the winning hands, it’s best not to up the ante too quickly.

Beginner’s luck

Part of speech: Noun

Definition: The unexpected and sometimes undeserved success that a new gambler experiences when he first starts out.

Explanation: This phrase, also known as the “honeymoon period,” is used in most casino games. For gamblers who are just starting out, they may experience what is perceived as a winning streak. People often attribute this to “beginner’s luck” – the idea that they are successful simply because they are new. Have you been thinking about trying out slots? Check out Planet 7’s growing selection to test out your beginner’s luck!

Sentence example: Sarah shouldn’t let the winning streak go to her head – it’s probably just beginner’s luck.

Black book

Part of speech: Noun

Definition: The nickname used to refer to a list of people who have been officially banned from casinos.

Explanation: This is a general term that applies to land-based casinos. Nevada’s Gaming Control Board has a database called the GCB Excluded Person List, which includes the names, photos, and personal details of blacklisted individuals.

There is also the Griffin Book, which is information that is shared among casinos. Often the people in the black book have either been suspected of being involved in organized crime or convicted. Casinos reserve the right to refuse service to anyone – even card counters, who are technically not breaking the law, can be blacklisted as well.

Sentence example: Tommy Glenn Carmichael is an infamous career slot cheat who earned a spot on Nevada’s black book for an ambitious nationwide cheating operation.

cashier casinoCage

Part of speech: Noun

Definition: The casino’s cash desk.

Explanation: At a land-based casino, this is where players can find the cashier and exchange their chips for money. At an online casino, it’s usually displayed as a prominent tab in the toolbar once the player has logged in.

Sentence example: After a particularly big win, it’s time to be smart: head over to the cage and call it a night.

Card sharp

Part of speech: Noun

Definition: A player who is an expert at cards.

Explanation: A card sharp

Sentence example: Mike is a card sharp, but it’s extremely difficult to tell – his techniques are flawless.

Card washing

Part of speech: Verb

Definition: The act of shuffling the cards in a way that prevents consistencies.

Explanation: The dealer uses this process to ensure that cards are well shuffled. To wash the cards, the dealer spreads the entire deck out facedown, then shuffles by placing his or her hands flat against the cards, moving or “washing” in a circular motion. Typically this is followed by a normal shuffle. The reason for this technique is that brand new decks come in sequential order, and the deck must be randomized. Card washing is typical in poker but can be used in any other casino game involving a deck of cards. At Planet 7 and any other reputable online casino, this is unnecessary due to the use of Random Number Generators that ensure completely random shuffles. Check out our selection of card games here.

Sentence example: The card washing technique is important for both the dealer and players to be confident that the game will be fair.

Color up

Part of speech: Verb

Definition: To exchange chips of a lower denomination for chips of a higher denomination

Explanation: Since coloring up involves casino chips, it’s something that can occur in most casino games. A player will typically do this if he is performing well – it prevents the problem of having too many chips on the table.

Sentence example: Your stack of chips is growing – it’s time to color up!

Double down

Part of speech: Verb

Definition: To increase one’s initial bet by twice the amount after seeing the initial cards, in exchange for exactly one more card.

Explanation: Doubling down is an option that is available in blackjack, and it’s most statistically advantageous if your initial hand is equal to ten or elven.

Sentence example: Many impulsive players double down too often – it’s best to do it with an initial hand of 11 points.

Eighty-six or 86

Part of speech: Verb

Definition: To deny entry, refuse service, or eject an individual from an establishment

Explanation: This term doesn’t refer to a specific game but rather to land-based casinos in general. The term originated as a part of restaurant and bar culture, but it is now mostly reserved for gambling. It’s gambling lingo for when they throw players out, which they reserve the right to do at any time.

Sentence example: The casino eighty-sixed my friends and me for counting cards at blackjack.

Eye in the sky

Part of speech: Noun

Definition: Video surveillance camera system, typically placed on the ceiling to monitor casino activity from above

Explanation: This is a general term associated with brick and mortar casinos. Most have sophisticated security systems with trained personnel and clear protocols, but the technology aspect is vital. With facial recognition software and even the ability to zoom in on players’ hands, casinos make sure that their systems are up-to-date to spot and prevent cheating.

Sentence example: It’s difficult to attempt a cheating operation – the eye in the sky sees everything.

Full boat

Part of speech: Noun

Definition: Slang term for a Full House, a hand consisting of two cards of one rank and three cards of another rank

Explanation: This is usually used in poker and its variants. It’s also called a “full hand” or simply a “boat.” With a two of a kind and a three of a kind, this is the fourth highest hand. When comparing two Full Houses, the rank is determined by whichever hand contains the higher three of a kind.

Sentence example: With a Full House of three 10s and two 4s, Helen beat Jack’s hand of three 9s and two Kings.

Grind

Part of speech: Verb

Definition: To play in a manner that aims for consistent but small gains.

Explanation: Grinding is usually used a poker term. A grinder is patient and careful, winning small amounts over a long period of time. The term also applies to playing other casino games conservatively. For example, the Oscar’s Grind betting system is used in roulette or even blackjack, with the objective being to keep bets low on losing streaks and increased on winning streaks that follow.

Sentence example: Blake is a skilled poker player who doesn’t like to take big risks, so grinding is her usual strategy.

Kicker

Part of speech: Noun

Definition: The highest unpaired card in the player’s hand that doesn’t contribute to a straight or a flush.

Explanation: The kicker is a side card in poker that’s only relevant when two or more players have hands of equal rank. In these cases, the kicker is used as a tiebreaker: whichever is higher wins.

Sentence example: Both players have a pair of Aces, but the player with the 10 as a kicker wins over the one with a 6.

Loose-aggressive

Part of speech: Adjective

Definition: One of the four main types of poker players. Also known as a Maniac or LAG.

Explanation: The loose-aggressive poker player has two traits: plays hands frequently and places higher bets.

Sentence example: Poker professionals can make the loose-aggressive approach work very well, but inexperienced players should avoid it.

Loose-passive

Part of speech: Adjective

Definition: One of the four main types of poker players. Also known as the Calling Station and overlaps with the term Fish.

Explanation: The loose-passive poker player has two traits: plays hands frequently and places lower bets or chooses to call or fold.

Sentence example: Beginners are often loose-passive players by default – they like to get in on the action but they’re not skilled enough to bet well.

Tight-aggressive

Part of speech: Adjective

Definition: One of the four main types of poker players. Also known as The Shark or TAG.

Explanation: The tight-aggressive poker player has two traits: plays hands less frequently and places higher bets.

Sentence example: Overall, tight-aggressive is the most ideal strategy because the player chooses hands wisely and then places bets that can bring in big winnings.

Tight-passive

Part of speech: Adjective

Definition: One of the four main types of poker players. Also known as The Rock or Nit.

Explanation: The tight-passive poker player has two traits: plays hands less frequently and places lower bets or chooses to call or fold.

Sentence example: Tight-passive players may not lose as much money as others, but if they raise, it’s easy to predict that they have strong hands.

Washing

Part of speech: Verb

Definition: As a dealer or croupier ends a session, the act of rubbing his hands together to demonstrate that he is not taking any chips with him when he leaves the table.

Explanation: This term is used in any casino game that involves a casino staff member who handles chips. This is important for both players and the casino itself to ensure that the dealer isn’t cheating or stealing.

Sentence example: Washing is always the last thing you do before you walk away after dealing blackjack.

poker table chips moneyWhale

Part of speech: Noun

Definition: A gambler who consistently places extravagant wagers, often putting down thousands of dollars for a single bet.

Explanation: “Whale” is a synonym for a high roller. These players typically have a lot of money to spend carelessly. They are often not the most skilled players. Casinos often offer generous comps to high rollers – limos, luxury hotel suites, and more. For example, at Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia, high roller rooms allow smoking, the only licensed venue that is not subject to the smoking ban.

Sentence example: When a whale sits down at the table, everyone crowds around to watch – they know that things are about to get really interesting.

So now you know the most important gambling lingo. Ready to play? Take advantage of Planet 7’s Escape Pod promo today https://www.planet7casino.com/escape-pod/ for a bonus that just keeps growing and growing!

A staff writer at Planet 7, Kate Church is an avid reader, professional writer and lover of games. After taking her Bachelor of Arts degree in English writing and a minor in journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, Kate has traveled the world, seeking out adventure, knowledge and games of skill and chance.
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