Gambling Vocabulary For Beginners

By @500freeslots | Jun 17, 2024
Gamblers Vocabulary: Frequently Used Terms You Need to Know

Before you start Hitting the Jackpot and seeing if big wins are In Your Cards, it is important that you Hold All the Aces first - to understand the language and the slang of the casino land. Every slot machine fan knows very well how to win a slot game, and every pro will tell you that the key is to estimate the slot. To do this, you’ll need a thorough understanding of the RTP rate, the ability to differentiate and choose between a progressive and non-progressive jackpot slot, and to grasp how the casino bonuses work. Do you think you know it all? Up the Ante and start spinning the slots for All the Marbles

Gambling as a way of having fun is known to mankind since the ancient cultures. Different traditions have developed many games from card games like baccarat to dice games, which were popular in antique Rome, Egypt, and China. Gambling as a hobby and sinful desire found its place even in the Greek mythology stories - the famous Gods, Zeus, Hades and Poseidon, were known to be gamblers themselves - in one story, they have played ‘throw the dice’ to split the Universe between them.

This long history of rolling the dice resulted in very rich gambling terminology, redefining what does gambling mean, and the appearance of new games such as slot machine games have additionally enriched the exiting vocabulary. The sudden expansion of online casinos has contributed to the development of a contemporary player slang related to specific games, betting options, slots RTP, and for newbies, in the online gambling world, this language can be confusing at first. There is a casino lingo to remember before you start gambling - the general casino terms and the poker-specific and slot-specific jargon among players.

Essential words for Slots Players

Slot games present a specific type of gambling, considering that, unless you are on a tournament, you are not playing against other players. The launch of online slots has also significantly contributed to the development of the slot-specific dictionary. These are the slot concepts you need to understand before you start playing:

  • Bonus Rounds. Extra rounds in slot games awarded to players.
  • Cashable. The bonus that can be cashed out after wagering.
  • Cash Bonus. Extra gambling money awarded to the players, most frequently it is a Deposit Bonus.
  • Cashback. The amount of money a player can earn based on his losses.
  • Classic Slot. A simple slot machine with a few paylines and average features, copying the traditional slot machine styles.
  • Deposit. Topping up the players betting account within the casino. Mone available for gambling.
  • Deposit Methods. Different payment systems the casino is supporting and can use to pay to the player.
  • Expected Value. The return a player can expect based on the profitability of the bet and the features of the slot.
  • Fruit Machine. An old-school slot machine which uses the graphics with fruit symbols. Minimalistic and classic game.
  • Mobile slot. A slot machine that can be used from a smartphone or tablet as an app or an optimized responsive website.
  • Payline. The line on the sot board that contains the symbols of the slot game. Paylines need to land the matching symbols in order for the jackpot to be triggered. Slot machines can have from one to one hundred paylines in a game.
  • Payout Percentage. The statistical probability of the return amount that will be awarded to the player. Usually, it is referred to as the Return To Player (RTP) percentage.
  • Progressive Jackpot. The jackpot of the game gets bigger with more players betting in the same game. The jackpot has a continuous growth until it’s triggered to payout to a random player, after which it starts growing again from the beginning.
  • Random Number Generator (RNG). A software that guarantees random winnings and random outcomes at the casino, making an online slot game fair for all players.
  • Reel. The rotating element in the slot game with symbols: most common are 3-reel and 5-reel slots.
  • Scatter. This is a symbol that is a slot feature, enabling the player to replace it with the symbol needed for a winning combination or to trigger a free spin bonus.
  • Slot Symbols. Graphic elements that make the slot game. Same symbols have to line up on the payline in order to form a winning combination and make the different winning amounts.


Most Common Casino Slang Terms

The casino culture consists of the language and the rules that are well-known to both the house and the gamblers. Casino language implies the names of casino games, gambler nicknames for different level players, gamblers sayings covering all wisdom of the games of luck, and winning phrases used by the professional winners. On the other hand, if you are the lost everything gambling type of a fella, and you keep on losing way over your budget, the other players will give you a hard time and mock you for your naive and irresponsible behaviour.

The must-know general casino terms

  • Action. This is the term which the dealer uses to signal it is time for placing bets or that it is players turn to act.
  • Add-on. The jargon used for the extra number of chips that player can acquire during a tournament.
  • All in. When a player bets all of the remaining chips.
  • Ante. This is a mandatory bet a player has to make in order for the game to start so that the following players have to follow and make the bets as well.
  • Balance. A total amount of money the player has. The balance includes the bonuses a player has received.
  • Bankroll. This is the sum a player has prepared for gambling and the maximum amount you are okay with losing.
  • Beginner’s Luck. A newbie that s getting lucky in multiple rounds in a row.
  • Bet Max. The maximum bet a player can make in a single wager.
  • Betting Limits. The minimum and maximum bets a player can make at once.
  • Black Book. A blacklist - the list of players that are not allowed to enter the casino.
  • Bonus. A reward for the player either as extra betting money or free spins.
  • Bluff. A well-known term relating to the false representation of a players hand in a card game.
  • Casino Advantage. Or House Edge - the statistic advantage a casino has over players.
  • Eye-in-the-sky. The surveillance cameras monitoring the casino.
  • Hit me. The player indicating to the dealer to give him another card.
  • Wagering Requirements. This is a term relating to the amount of money the gambler has to bet after obtaining a bonus before being allowed to withdraw.
  • Withdrawal Methods. Different payment methods that are supported by the casino. 

Terms to beware in the gambling world

Aside from the general terms that you need to know before entering a casino, there are some expressions that you should keep an eye out for. For example, if you go over the planned bankroll and start the chase - chasing your losses, you are participating in an End-of-the-day Betting Effect where you take higher bets to make up for the money you lost.

Other gamblers may call you a Pigeon (an inexperienced player who doesn’t know much about gambling), Plunker or a Steamer - the pejorative terms for a lost hope player who keeps gambling and losing. New gamblers, as well as new prisoners, are sometimes referred to as the Fish. Being called the Fish doesn’t have any negative connotations, it is a rather cute name for rookies. If you are gambling at the casino and the Wales walk in, the game stakes are rising up. Wales are the people who are super rich and don’t mind losing a lot of money while having fun.

Besides Wales, there are professional gamblers that only play for high stakes. These are known as the VIPs or high roller players. The high roller definition is an extremely high bet, only used by serious players, well-calculated, with a proven winning strategy.

The term that is the most unpleasant one to hear in the casino is for sure being 86’d (eighty-sixed) - this means that you are being kicked out of the casino because of your not cool behaviour. After that, you can only hope not to end up in a casino black book.

Common Gambling Idioms, Phrases & Sayings

Among many gambling sayings, there are some that are infiltrated into the everyday life of contemporary society. In the famous Motorhead song The Ace of Spades, more of these catchy casino phrases are taking place, such as Up the Ante - meaning rising the stakes of the game. Other sexy phrases that you must have heard of before, most of which are self-explanatory, are Hit the Jackpot, a slot game expression, then Play Your Cards Right - a card game terminology meaning to be a clever strategic player, Having an Ace up your Sleeve - to have a hidden winning plan or a plan b.

Dice is Cast is an old Latin expression (Alea iacta est) meaning what’s done is done and there is no going back. This phrase is used in the gambling terminology, but it is also applicable for other events such as starting a war in ancient Rome history. If we are Calling a Spade a Spade (speaking frankly and honestly), some words from the real-life are having a different meaning when gambling: streak meaning slang in a casino would mean several games won/lost in a row.

Gambling as such is the term we use outside of the games, for taking a chance in life. Another word for gambling in this context would also be “take a risk” or “stick one’s kneck out”. There are other idioms that have moved outside the Club to the outside world. For example, right on the money meaning in everyday situations is that someone was right, had a point.

Understanding the sole fibres that are making the casino culture and the language of this entertainment parallel Universe is just as important as calculating the probability in gambling, and having the game odds explained to you by the experts. If you are starting a gambling trip or a career as a professional gambler, it is an interesting experience to explore everything that makes these games so exciting.

Most important words of Gambling T&Cs.

To become a member of any casino club or a house and become eligible to gamble and win money, the first thing you need to do is agree to the Terms and Conditions of the casino. Every house has the rules you need to follow related to the respectful behaviour, no cheating policy, wagering and betting limitations and requirements, and others. If you do not understand the T&C and you violate them, you risk being banned from the casino indefinitely. 

FYI - terms and conditions of online gambling are not always as simple as they sound. Most common misunderstandings that happen in regards to the wagering requirements and payment methodologies, so let’s clear that up now.

As we mentioned before, the Wagering Requirement is a casino policy that regulates the bonuses and awards that a player gets. These terms are demanding that a player bets a certain amount of money upon receiving a cash bonus (usually a deposit bonus) before he/she is able to withdraw the money from the balance. For example, if the wagering requirement is 20x, a player will have to wager 20 times the bonus amount received. If the deposit bonus is 400 pounds, you would need to gamble 1600 pounds before you can payout whatever you have won to your bank account. 

This is usually confusing for players, but the essence is quite simple really: the casino never just gives money away. In order for the bonus to pay off to the game providers, they need to make sure you won’t just withdraw the money you received for gambling, but that you will actually spend that money (at least the bonus amount) back in their casino.

When it comes to Withdrawal Methods, it is also something to be careful about. When gambling in an online casino, pay attention to what payment methods the casino allows (for example PayPal) and if these methods are available for the country you are playing from. Not every country is eligible to connect a bank account to the online casino, so research how you can withdraw your money before you start making some and then have a casino balance that you can’t transform into real money.