Demystifying Casino Jargon: Essential Terms Every Player Should Know

Casino gaming has been around for centuries, and many casino terms have developed within this time span. In fact, so much casino jargon exists that you may find yourself lost at times in the gaming world. Luckily, you can learn the lingo with little time wasted here. Check out the following important casino terms to boost your gaming expertise.

A - E

  • Advantage gambler - A skilled player who holds a long-term edge over the casino in a certain game.
  • American roulette - A roulette wheel that has 38 pockets, including 1-36, zero, and double zero.
  • Banker - The person who banks the action at a baccarat table; also, a specific hand you can bet on in baccarat.
  • Bankroll - An amount of money specifically set aside for gambling purposes; bankroll management is the act of skillfully managing these funds.
  • Betting system - A gambling strategy that involves betting in a specific pattern, such as doubling bets after wins.
  • Bonus - Online casinos typically offer bonuses like cash or free spins when players deposit.
  • Bonus round - Commonly available as a feature in slot machines.
  • Bust - Lose a blackjack hand by going over a score of 21.
  • Cascading reels - Slots feature that removes winning symbols from the grid and allows for more winning opportunities.
  • Card counting - Blackjack advantage play method that involves monitoring card values as they're dealt.
  • Cashback - Casino bonus that returns a percentage of your losses.
  • Chips - Tokens used at table games to represent real money; common chip denominations are $1, $5, $10, $25, and $100.
  • Color up - The act of exchanging smaller denomination chips for larger ones.
  • Croupier - The French term for a casino dealer.
  • D'Alembert - Betting system that calls on you to increase wagers in a specific manner following losses; the goal is to win back all previous losses.
  • Demo mode - Many online casinos let you play games for free through demo modes.
  • Double down - Doubling your blackjack bet and receiving one card only to complete your hand.
  • European roulette - A roulette wheel with 37 pockets, including 1-36 and zero.
  • Even money - Bet that pays an amount equal to the winning wager (1:1 ratio).

F - J

  • Free spins - Bonus spins that you can trigger while playing a slots game; this term also refers to a deposit bonus that awards real-money slots spins.
  • Freeroll tournament - Casino tournament that doesn't require an entry fee.
  • Hardways - Craps bet on a specific dice pair (e.g., 3-3) being rolled before another combination equaling that pair's number (e.g., 1-5, 2-4, 6).
  • House edge - The long-term advantage that the casino has over players in a specific game.
  • Insurance - Option to insure your blackjack hand when the dealer's upcard is an ace or 10; some tables only offer insurance when the dealer's upcard is an ace.
  • Jackpot - A game's top payout; this term usually applies to slots, but it can apply to blackjack, Caribbean stud, and video poker too.
  • Jacks or Better - Video poker variation that pays for a pair of jacks or better.

K - O

  • Let It Ride - Casino game where you make three bets to start a hand and can remove 1-2 of these wagers during the course of play.
  • Live dealer games - Online casino games that stream out of a live casino and feature real dealers, cards, and tables.
  • Loaded dice - Illegal and doctored dice that will favor one side during a roll.
  • Martingale - Famous betting system that requires you to double bets after every loss.
  • Megaways - Slots mechanic that provides a variable number of ways to win on each spin (e.g., up to 117,649 ways).
  • Natural blackjack - Score of 21 on your first two cards in a blackjack hand; can pay either 3:2 or 6:5 on your bet.
  • No-deposit bonus - This bonus only requires players to complete registration to qualify.
  • Online casino - A casino that's available through an online website; it's normally compatible with both desktop computers and mobile devices.

P - T

  • Paroli - Betting system that requires doubling bets after every win; you normally start over at the minimum bet following three straight wins.
  • Pass line - Craps bet on the shooter winning; don't pass line is a wager on the shooter losing.
  • Playthrough - See wagering requirements.
  • Point - Number on the first roll of a new craps round that helps determine results of future bets; it can be 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10.
  • Payline - A line where a win can occur in slot games.
  • Random number generator - Program that ensures random results in slot machines and other electronic-based games.
  • Reload bonus - Bonus that an online casino gives you for reloading your account with another deposit.
  • Return to player (RTP) - Long-term payout percentage for a slot machine (e.g., 96% RTP)
  • Rollover - See wagering requirements.
  • Progressive jackpot - A jackpot that continues growing with each bet until it's won.
  • Scatter symbol - Slots symbol that can perform an action from anywhere on the game grid; you often trigger a bonus by landing 3+ scatters anywhere on the grid.
  • Shooter - The player who rolls the dice on a craps able; each participant can accept or decline to be the shooter when it's their turn.
  • Sticky bonus - Online casino bonus that only pays winnings, while the bonus itself disappears after the withdrawal process; a non-sticky bonus is cashable upon meeting terms and conditions.

U - Z

  • Upcard - Card that is facing up on the table for everybody to see; most commonly used regarding a blackjack dealer's upcard.
  • Wagering requirements - The amount you must wager before withdrawing bonus funds (e.g., 40x bonus + deposit).
  • War - Table game where the highest card wins.
  • Ways - The number of ways you can win on a slots spin (e.g., 243 ways).
  • Welcome bonus - The first bonus that you qualify for at a new online casino; this offer is usually the biggest and best at a gaming site.
  • Whale - The richest of high rollers who are often heavily recruited by casinos.
  • Volatility - Measure of short-term randomness for casino game results, with high volatility being the most random and unpredictable.