Gambling, by nature, is one of the simplest acts we can think of.
It’s all about betting on an event with an uncertain outcome to try and bag a little bit (or a lot) of extra change.
But as with everything that develops a loyal following of highly enthusiastic players, it’s been complicated with countless cases of jargon that’ll confuse even the brightest of new players.
It’s for this reason that it’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed when wandering into a casino but armed with a little bit of knowledge, you can feel right at home at even the fanciest establishments on the Las Vegas strip.
From an accumulator to a wild card – we’ve got 38 of the most important gambling terms you should know about before heading out to any casino!
Popular in the act of sports betting and horse racing, an accumulator is involved when a player selects a number of options for betting on during an event. The agreement involves any winnings from the first bet to be automatically transferred to the next and so on – the bet only stands if each bet comes true. Accumulators can also affectionately be referred to as an ‘Acca’.
The popular table game where players may always be on one of two specific hands – the player hand or the banker hand. It’s simple to play, so it may be a surprise that it’s often the game of choice of serious high rollers.
Your bankroll is the money that a player has set aside for the specific purpose of wagering. It’s not quite as important for a casual gamer to dedicate a portion of their pennies for specific gambling purposes. However, if you’re looking at the pro game, you’re weird if you don’t have one (and a little foolish).
4. Betting limits
If a game has betting limits, it’s defined as the amount of money that can be wagered in the specific game. You’ll usually see both a min and max bet for each game.
The popular table game where you work to beat the dealer to reach a hand closest to 21 (without surpassing the number). It’s also the name given to the best hand in the game – an ace and a ten-point card.
A bonus is an incentive given to players to promote their online casinos. Bonuses are most commonly given to new players with different benefits associated with different casinos. However, most are subject to wagering requirements (more on these later).
7. Burn card
The single card that’s dealt face down at the beginning of a shoe (more on this later), or any time new community card are introduced during poker. This is in an effort to protect the integrity of the game.
When a group of slot machines is arranged in a circular formation. This allows to the change person to stand in the center, changing bank notes into coins.
9. Casino advantage
We all know that casinos have the edge – the casino advantage is the name given to the mathematical edge that it has over the players.
These are used instead of money during the majority of table games. Each casino will usually have their own brand and you’ll find different denominations available – just like real money.
One of the most famous table games played with a pair of dice. A shooter is given the job to roll certain numbers while others can bet on different results during the game. It’s known for having one of the most exciting atmospheres on the casino floor.
A croupier is the name given to the employee in charge of certain games on the casino floor. They’re the most common in roulette but you’ll also find them around in high-stakes table games.
Similarly, the dealer is the name given to the employee who deals cards and controls the flow of the game. They’re used in many of the most popular games from poker to baccarat.
14. Double down
A double down refers to a bet of equal size to the original bet in a game – often used in blackjack. In most cases, you’ll find both bets to either win or lose in unison. Live and die together – or something like that.
15. Expected value
The expected value is the return that a player should see on average over the long run on any given bet. It can be a positive or negative value, depending entirely on whether or not the bet is profitable.
16. Fixed odds
A fixed odds game is one in which the chances of winnings are known ahead of time. The term broadly applies to most table games, but slot machines especially, yet the term is usually used for specialty games. Poker and sports betting do not fall under the umbrella term of fixed odds to the uncertainty of each bet.
17. High roller
A high roller is a gambler or gamer that’s known for betting big and spending large sums of money in the casino. The amount required to be classed as a high roller varies between casinos.
The hold in the percentage of the bankroll bet by a player that the casino expects to keep hold of. This is heavily dependent on the length of time playing at the casino by a player.
19. Hole card(s)
A hole card is a card that remains face down so that no players can see them. In blackjack, the dealer has hole card and in poker, each player has a pair of hole cards that only they can look at.
20. House edge
The house edge is the term given for the advantage that the casino has over the players, often represented as a percentage. If the house edge is 3%, the casino expects to keep 3% of the bankroll wagered by each player.
The jackpot is everyone’s favorite term – it’s the name given to the largest prize on slots or other gaming machines. Hit one of these and you’re seriously in the money.
The game of Keno is an incredibly popular attraction similar to the lottery. Players choose numbers before drawing to attempt to match them with those drawn by the casino – it’s incredibly popular, even if the odds aren’t so great.
23. Maximum bet
The maximum bet is exactly what it says on the tin – the maximum bet permitted that can be wagered in any game. It can be used to limit a single bet or the total bets in a single game.
24. On tilt
If a gambler goes ‘on tilt’, it means that they’ve reacted badly to losing by playing uncontrollably and wild. It’s a phrase often used is poker when players decide to throw their toys out the pram – Phil Hellmuth is a great example.
25. Optimal strategy
An optimal strategy is a name given to the set of plays that will eventually lead to the best possible returns that a player can receive in a game. The term is most heavily used in the games of blackjack and video poker (as mentioned later), yet it isn’t limited to the two. It can apply to any game where strategic decisions are made with the range of results mathematically known.
A pay table is the list of payouts for the variety of different results in any given game of choice. Casino’s can alter these odds by adjusting the payouts that are given to players so it’s a good idea to examine the pay table to pick out the highest paying games.
The amount of money that’s wagered during a card game is eventually won by the player (or players) with the strongest hand. The pot can also be claimed if all other players fold.
The name given to a person that loiters around gaming tables, often with the intention of ‘lifting’ chips from unsuspecting players. It’s just one of the many reasons that online play is preferred by the masses.
29. Random number generator (RNG)
A random number generator (RNG) is a piece of equipment used to create an unpredictable series of numbers. There are plenty of different purposes and that RNGs can be used for, but most commonly, these are used to find the results of online gambling games where random events occur e.g. dice rolling or card dealing.
One of the most popular casino games available played with a wheel that, when spun, will allow a ball to fall into one of the numerous numbered pockets. Players can bet on a variety of different outcomes, red or black being the most common, in an effort to receive a payout.
A shoe, not the kind that you kick off before playing online, is a device that can be used to hold a number of decks of cards. The game is then dealt from the shoe.
32. Slot machine
A slot machine supplies the typical sound of the gaming room and requires players to spin reels in an effort to match a combination of symbols along the predetermined pay lines.
To stand is to sit on the hand that a player currently has without adding extra cards. The term is most popular with blackjack, but can also be used in baccarat for the same purpose.
34. Video poker
Video poker is a machine game with the primary purpose of simulating 5-card poker games. Players are required to discard and replace different cards from their original starting hand, building success on the minimum hand required to win. Popular video poker games include ‘Deuces Wild’ and ‘Jacks or Better’.
The vigorish is known as the difference between the actual odds and the ‘fair’ odds as posted by a bookmaker. The vigorish is the main method that allows sportsbooks to maintain an edge against customers.
36. Wagering requirement
A wagering requirement, something we all hate, is a condition given by an online casino’s bonus offer that requires a player to bet a certain amount of the bankroll before claiming bonus funds. Wagering requirements are often enforced in an effort to prevent players from claiming and cashing out instantly.
A whale is a term given to extremely high rollers, so large that they can affect a casino’s revenue by themselves. Although some feel that the term whale can be a derogatory term, they are often given the very best service due to the obvious benefits that a casino can receive from these players.
38. Wild card
A wild card is one that can be substituted for any card value. Wild cards are common in both poker and video poker, but can also be used in some other poker-based games too.