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The 20 most commonly used casino slang terms

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July 17th, 2020

Visiting a real casino for the first time might be intimidating for some. There are new games and experiences, and you might worry about showing yourself up in front of other people.

But do not fear! You can make yourself look like a seasoned gambler by learning some of these top casino terms you will hear. You’ll have a lot more confidence at the tables if you understand gambling phrases and casino lingo.

Here are 20 of the most commonly used casino terms and phrases:


Action is the term used for casino play. You will find action on the table games like blackjack and roulette, or slots. You might hear a dealer say, "The action is on you," meaning it’s your turn to act.


The amount of money you have set aside for gambling is called your bankroll. For most of us, that is the total cash we are willing to risk in one visit to the casino. But for professional gamblers, their bankroll is the total they use for "work."

Bet/Betting limit

A bet, also called a wager, is the amount you stake on a round of blackjack or roulette. It will also be the amount you spend on the spin of a slot machine. Some table games will have betting limits. For example, you might select a blackjack table where the maximum bet is $10.


When you first sit down for a session at the tables, you will need to convert cash for the casino token equivalent – or chips. The total you spend is called the buy-in. In poker tournaments, the buy-in is the cost of entry.


Hopefully, you will make a profit during your visit to the casino. If you do, you do not get money from the dealer. Instead, you take your chips to the cage, which is the secure area of the casino that converts your chips back to lovely cash. If you are looking at casino terms for winning, you must get used to the cage.

Card Sharp

A player who is considered skilled at card games is called a card sharp. While you will be happy playing alongside a card sharp at blackjack, since he is only taking money from the dealer, you don’t want to play one at poker because he will be winning your money.

Card Washing

Card washing does not involve taking a cloth and soapy water and scrubbing the cards. Instead, it is when the dealer spreads the cards face down and mixes them up before shuffling. Most tables in modern casinos have automatic shuffling machines to save time, so this is one piece of casino slang which is rarely used today.


Chips are the currency of the casino gambler. Chips come in various colors and denominations and are the tokens you use for playing casino table games. They are also irresistible to fiddle with, and you might often see players, particularly poker players, "riffling" them.


Running cold refers to a player who is on a losing streak. A game that is not paying out might also be described as cold. The opposite, running hot, is far more appealing.


When you visit a casino, make sure you sign up for the rewards club. You then earn points, known as comps, while you play. Over time, you can convert these points into a tangible reward, perhaps a free buffet or money off casino accommodation.


Croupier is a French term for table dealer and is not commonly used in the US. But you might impress players around you with your casino jargon.

Double or Nothing

A type of bet that is even money, so that if you win, you double your money, but if you lose, you get nothing. Examples will be red or black, or odd or even bets in roulette.

Face cards

Also known as picture cards, face cards are the jacks, queens, and kings in a deck of cards. In most casino games, these are all valued at ten.

High Roller

After many successful visits to the casino, you too might become a high roller, a player with a large bankroll who will play higher stakes, risking more for a much bigger reward.

House/House Edge

The casino is a business called the house. You might have heard the term, "The house always wins." Sadly, in the long run, that is true, because every casino table game or slot machine is programmed in the house’s favor – called the house edge. If there were no house edge, the casino would lose money and, before long, close down.


Sometimes called vig, think of juice as the commission that the casino takes on certain games like baccarat, craps, and sportsbooks.

Pit boss

When you sit down at a table like blackjack, you’ll notice a well-dressed member of staff standing at a station near to the dealers. This is the pit boss, whose job it is to oversee fair play at all times.


It’s common to see people watching games played in a casino. They are called railbirds, but they must be at a safe distance so as not to influence the game or players in any way.


A toke is another term for a tip. It’s considered polite to occasionally tip the dealer during a winning streak in blackjack, or after a good pot in poker.


Casino bosses love whales. These are a step up from high rollers, super-wealthy individuals who fly to a casino with vast amounts of cash they wish to gamble with. They don’t care if they win or lose, so long as they have fun.

That completes our top 20 casino terms. After a few visits, you’ll soon get used to the gambling lingo. If you visit an online casino like TwinSpires Casino, you won’t need a casino slang dictionary at all, so you can be more relaxed when you play.