92 Essential Gambling Terms Every Player Should Know

gambling terms

gambling terms

Most people are familiar with at least some gambling terms, with phrases such as ‘high roller’ and ‘hit me’ being some of the most popular.

But there are so many other gambling terms that professional gamblers use. In fact, it’s like a whole other language.

So to save you the trouble of having to look them all up, here is a list of the best gambling terms you should know in 2024.


gambling terms

Action – the act of making a bet.

Accumulator – a bet containing more than one selection. Also known as “parlays”, accumulators have bigger payouts but each selection must win.

Aggregate Limit – the most that can be paid out.

All-In – the act of betting all the chips.

All Weather Racing – a horse race on an artificial surface.

Ante – the bets made in poker before players receive their cards. Antes ensure that there is always money for the players to win. All players in the game must pay an ante.

Arbitrage – a bet where a player bets on either side of the betting line on different bookmakers to make a profit, no matter who wins. 

At The Post – the beginning of a race.



Baccarat – a popular table game, particularly among high rollers. You are either on the player’s hand or the banker’s hand. It’s very simple to play but attracts a lot of money.

Banker – a selection that is expected to in. A banker is often a heavy favorite to win.

Bankroll – the amount of money someone uses specifically for gambling.

Bankroll management is important to professional gamblers to prevent them from losing all of their money. Casual gamblers tend to not have a bankroll.

Barred – a player that had been prohibited from gambling in a casino or online.

Bearing In And Out – a horse moving outwards and inwards towards the rail while racing.

Bet – a simple wager on a game or event. It’s also possible to make more than one bet on a single event.

Bet Receipt – a confirmation that the bet was made with the casino or bookmaker.

Betting Limits – the maximum the casino allows you to wager. There will usually be a maximum and a minimum bet for each game.

Bismark – the horse that has no chance of winning. Other horses will beat a bismark with ease.

Bit – an attachment in a horse’s mouth that enables a jockey to control how the horse moves during a race.

Blackjack – a popular casino table game. The objective is to beat the dealer by getting as close to the number 21 as possible without going over.

The term ‘blackjack’ refers to the name of the best hand ie an ace and a card worth ten points.

Blanket Finish – the event that two or more horses cross the finish line almost at the same time.

Bolt – a horse running off course or swerving unexpectedly.

Bonus – an incentive given by online casinos to encourage players to open a new account, make a deposit and bet more frequently.

Casinos like to offer new players matching deposit bonuses, where they will double the money to play with – up to a certain limit.

Bubble – the point in a poker tournament when the next person to bust does not win any more money.

For example, if the casino only pays out 50 people and there are 51 people left, the tournament is “on the bubble”.

When the next person is knocked out, the remaining 50 people are guaranteed to win money.

Burn Card – the card dealt face down at the start of most casino table games.

This is to protect the integrity of the game being played and prevent anyone from seeing the top card. Burn cards are also used in poker to reveal the community cards.


gambling terms

Casino Advantage – the edge casino has over players.

Chips – the tokens used in place of money to make bets in a casino.

Different chips come in different colors, with each representing a different value.

Craps – a table game played with dice where the ‘shooter’ attempts to roll certain numbers in order to win.

There are a lot of numbers to bet on in craps, so during each game, players can root for a variety of different results.

Croupier – the name for a casino employee. The croupier ensures the games run smoothly and can be found at most casino games, including roulette and particularly at high stakes tables.


gambling terms

Dealer – the casino employee that controls the games and deals the cards to the players. You will find dealers in most of the common games like blackjack, poker and baccarat.

Deuce – a gambling term for the number two. It can be used for either the card or dice.

Double Down – a bet that is equal to the size of the original bet. Double down is an option in blackjack when your cards total nine, ten or eleven. Both bets then either win or lose together.


gambling terms

Expected Value – the long-term return players expect to see from a certain bet. Expected value, or EV, can be either positive, ie a winning bet, or negative, ie a losing bet.


Face Card – a gambling term that references a playing card with a “face” on it. These are the kings, queens, and jacks.

Fixed Odds – a fixed-odds game occurs when the chances of winning and the associated payouts are fixed ahead of time, such as a simulated horse racing game in an online casino.

Fixed odds are usually only used for speciality games but they are also applicable to slot machines and most table games.

Favourite – the competitor that is the most likely to win. Because of this, the favorite has the shortest odds.

Firing – a player making a lot of bets and wagering a lot of money. Players “firing” are popular with casinos as they are players they can profit from the most.

Fish – an inexperienced player that professionals target to win more money.

Flat betting – the act of betting the same amount every time.

Fold – a player lays down their hand and removes themselves from the next round of betting in a game of poker.


gambling terms

Gambling – the act of betting on an event with an uncertain outcome.


gambling terms

Hand – the cards dealt to a player in the game.

Handicap – a tactic used by casinos to make betting more fair on either side.

When an event is one-sided, casinos will apply conditions to give the underdog a better chance of winning.

This makes betting on the underdog more popular.

Hit – when a player takes an extra card in blackjack.

High Roller – the term for a player that can afford to spend a lot of money gambling in a casino. They play the biggest games and play for the highest stakes.

Hold – the percentage of money that casinos expect to keep once the players have finished their games.

The amount of money the casino holds at the end of the day depends on how long the players play for.

While this isn’t necessarily important for players to know, it’s vital for the casino so they know which games make them the most money.

Players should focus on how to reduce the casino’s edge instead.

Holding Your Own – the time when a player is breaking even rather than winning or losing their bets.

Hole Card(s) – the cards no one can see except for the player themself.

For example, in poker, the hole cards are those that are dealt to each individual player and kept hidden from everyone else at the table.

Hot – a gambler on a considerable winning streak during a table game or slot machine.

House Edge – the casino’s advantage over the players. The house edge is shown as a percentage of the player’s bet.

For example, if the house edge is 2.5%, players should expect to lose 2.5% of the total amount of money they wager the in long-term.


gambling terms

Jackpot – the biggest prize players can win from table games and slot machines. Jackpots usually refer to special prizes, such as those won from a side bet or a progressive prize.


Keno – a game where players choose a set of numbers before drawing and matching drawn the numbers to their selected numbers. Keno works similar to the lottery.


gambling terms

Max Bet – the most that a casino allows a player to bet on a particular event.

Max bets apply to single and multiple bets, as well as how much a player can bet or raise in a particular round of betting in a poker game.


Optimal Strategy – the number of plays that can give players a better return on investment.

Optimal strategy is used in a number of games, including blackjack and poker, but it can also apply to any casino game where strategic decisions can be combined with knowledge of all possible results.

Odds – the gambling term representing the likelihood that an event will occur. Casinos and bookmakers set the odds for the players to bet.

Odds-Against – the event when the odds are greater than 50/50 so winnings are greater than the amount bet. 

Odds-On – the event when the odds are fewer than 50/50 so winnings don’t give the player more than their original bet.

On Tilt – a player considerable annoyed at the results of their bets. When “on tilt”, players make worse decisions and play wildly.

Outs – the cards players rely on to make a winning hand.


gambling terms

Payoff – money players get from winning bets.

Pay Table – the payouts on offer for all the possible results in a given casino game.

It’s common for casinos to change the payouts on their games so it’s important for players to be aware of them before playing that game or machine.

Pigeon – a gambling term referencing a poor player.

Pit – the central area of the casino that is restricted to casino staff only. The size of the pit will depend on how the tables are arranged.

Pot – the money wagered during a game of poker. The player with the winning hand wins the pot or when every other player folds.

Pot-Limit – a reference to a card game where players are limited to betting or raising the size of the pot. Pot-limit is different to no-limit where players can bet as much as they have in front of them.

Push – a bet that ends as a tie. In the event of a push, the player receives their original bet back but does not win extra money,


gambling terms

Random Number Generator (RNG) – the device responsible for generating a random string of numbers.

The process uses multiple algorithms and other external factors like temperature and even mouse movements on the online site.

The numbers produced are nearly impossible to predict.

RNGs are mainly used for determining the results of the game being played.

This can be in the form of how the cards are dealt or how the dice are rolled.

Roulette – a very popular casino game where a wheel is spun and the ball inside lands into one of the many numbered pockets. Players make bets to predict where the ball will land.

There are two ways to play the game: European roulette with a single zero or American roulette with zero and double zero.

Since there is one less number on a European roulette wheel, players have a better chance of winning.


gambling terms

Settler – a reference to the person in a casino that calculates the payouts.

Shark – a skilled player pretending they are inexperienced.

Shill – a person playing at an empty table or machine in order to promote the casino and the games on offer. The aim is not to make money.

Shiner – a small object used by players trying to cheat and see their opponents’ hole cards.

Shoe – the device that holds multiple card decks. Shoes are used in games like blackjack to hold all the cards before the dealer issues them to the players.

Shortening The Odds – a bookmaker reducing the odds on a selection due to a lot of money bet on it.

Silver Mining/Slot Walking – a gambling term for people looking to take coins from unattended slot machines.

Slot Machine – a game where players spin reels to match the same combination of symbols. Each combination has an associated payout. 

Snake Eyes – a reference to rolling dice and hitting two ones.

Spreads – a gambling term similar to handicap. The spread makes a one-sided event more evenly-matched to make betting on the underdog more appealing to players.

Stake – the money placed on a bet

Stand – the act of sitting on the hand without taking any more cards to improve it.

Stand is a term used in blackjack to prevent the dealer from dealing the player with another card but it’s used in games like baccarat.

Slow Roll – a poor poker etiquette where players know they have the winning hand but don’t reveal it until their opponent reveals theirs first.

Streak Betting – a player increasing or decreasing their bet sizes based on the results of previous rounds.

Sweat – a card dealt that changes the chances of winning for another player in the game. This happens a lot during poker when players go all-in before the flop.

System – a gambler using mathematics and strategy to gain an advantage over other players or the casino and beat the game.


gambling terms

Tapping Out – a reference to when a player loses all their money and has to stop playing.

Tells – the signs given by players that indicate the strength of their hands. Looking for tells can be the difference between calling a bet or folding.

Thick ‘Un – a reference to a big bet.

Tipper/Tipster – a person or company that sells information to players about the chances of a particular event winning.

Tic-Tac – a piece of sign language used by casinos to communicate with each other on-course.


gambling terms

Video Poker – a game of poker played on a machine. In video poker, players are required to discard and replace cards from their starting hand.

They are then paid if they make the required hands. Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild are popular video poker games.

Vigorish – the cut that bookmakers take from a bet. The Vigorish, or “vig”, is the difference between the “fair” odds and the bookmaker’s actual odds and is how they maintain an edge over sports bettors.

For example, the flip of a coin is 50/50, with the results being heads or tails.

However, to maintain an edge, the bookmaker will offer odds less than evens on either heads or tails.

Wagering Requirement – the amount of money players must bet to be eligible to claim their bonus. Wagering requirements ensure players can’t just claim the bonus and cash it out immediately.

Whale – a gambling term for the extremely high rollers that actually affect the casino’s business. It can also reference an extremely weak player and casinos can expect to make the most money from them.

Wild Card – a card a player can substitute for any value they wish. Wild cards are common in card games like poker to make better hands than their opponents.

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