Top 5's Casino Terms

Here are some fundamental terms and their definitions gamblers use at online and land-based casinos. If you’re already a player you probably know most of them, if you new to the game however, you may not. Top 5 Sportsbooks list the basic one’s you’ll most likely come across.


Action - A general term in gambling meaning you have a stake (wager) in the game

Aggregate Limit - When the casino, or house only has to pay out a certain amount in any given round.

Ante - An initial amount each player must put in at that start of the game before they are dealt any cards.

Bad Beat - A hand that was thought to be a winner, but ended up a looser. A hard loss to take.

Banker - the dealer, or player, who holds the action of the other players at the table during a card game.

Bankroll - The amount of chips, or cash a player has in his possession.

Basic Strategy - A method the player works within to gain on an edge over the house over the long term.

Betting Limit - A prearranged  amount set before the action of a game begins that  players can bet. The action cannot go over the maximum, nor below the minimum.

Black Book – Gamblers who are banned at the casinos. Al Capone was one of the most legendary gamblers banned. If you saw the Martin Scorsese movie Casino, which was based on the true story of the Chicago Outfit controlling the Stardust Casino in Vegas, the gangster Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci) was banned from playing at any casino country wide. 

Buck – To bet $100 is to bet a buck.

Bust – Going over twenty-one in the game of Blackjack. If you do it is an automatic loss for that game, a bust.

Button - If you’re looking at a blackjack table, the button is the first player on the dealers right. The button is not the best position, because as the button you make the first wager. Now as is the luck of the draw, whoever was the button in the previous hand is not the last player on the dealers right and as such, he/she makes the last bet and therefore is the last to bet giving that player the best advantage because he has the extra knowledge of the current game.

Card Counting - keeping track of all cards that have been played since the shuffle.

Card Shark – A wise-guy, or player who is a professional at card playing.

Cash Out. To hand over your chips in exchange for their cash value.

Cashier's Cage - The area in a casino where players go to cash out their chips.

Check – This word is used in poker when it your move and you don’t want to fold, or raise, you check. You accept the bet of the previous player

Chips – Used in casinos and some friendly games in lieu of cash. If you walk in with $100, you would give the banker you buck and he would in turn give you that amount of chips.

Cold – If you’re not winning at cards you may say “the deck is cold.”

Count - a number that represents the player's estimate of how favorable or unfavorable the non-dealt cards in the deck may be.

Counter - a player who counts cards.

Deal - to distribute the cards during a hand.

Dealer – deals the cards in the tournament

Dime - the sum of $1000.00.

Discard Tray - a tray on the dealer's right side that holds all the cards that have been played or discarded.

Dollar -  $100.00., also called a C-Note

Dollar Bet - a $100.00 wager.

Double Bet - a wager that is twice the amount of the player's usual wager.

Double Down - to double the original bet in Blackjack in exchange for receiving only one more card. To do this, the player turns over his first two cards and places an equal bet alongside the original bet.

Down Card - a card that has been dealt face-down on the Blackjack table.

Due For - a term referring to a contestant or team that is considered to be overdue for a win or loss in their next contest or sports event. It could also refer to a losing player who is overdue for a good hand. The, due for, wager is a favorite strategy of many players.

Edge - an advantage over an opponent, or the house, in any wager, or it can be the advantage that the casino has on any given wager.

Even Money (Blackjack) - when the player takes insurance even while holding a Blackjack. This results in a clear net gain of one bet. Some casinos will allow the player to be paid without actually placing such an insurance bet. This is called, taking even money. Also, see insurance.

Face Cards - the jack, queen, and king of any suit of cards.

Favorite - the contestant, competing in any given event, that is considered to be the most talented or, otherwise, has the best chance to win.

Firing - the wagering of large sums of money, i.e., a player who does so is said to be firing.

First Base - the position on the far left of the dealer at the start of each hand at the Blackjack table is considered to be first base, and is the first position dealt during play.

Flat Bet - a bet of the same amount on successive hands, which the player does not vary i.e., if the player makes a flat bet of five dollars, he is betting five dollars on each and every hand without changing the betting amount from one hand to the next.

Get Down - make a wager.

Going Down - losing a wager, or series of wagers.

Green - the most common color used for $25.00 chips.

Grinder - a player who wagers small money.

Hand - the cards that the player holds

Hard Hand - any hand in Blackjack valued at eleven that does not contain an ace, or in which any ace held is counted as one and not as eleven. This is also called a hard total.

Hit (Blackjack) - the card received from the dealer in Blackjack, when the player says, hit me, or otherwise indicates the need for an additional card. Along with deciding whether or not to stand on a total card count, whether to take a hit or not is the most common decision a player must make during the game of Blackjack.

Holding Your Own - the result of breaking even, i.e., neither winning nor losing, during a wager, or series of wagers.

Hole-Card - any dealt card, which is played face-down on the table. The definition most often refers to the dealer's single, face-down card.

Hot - a player who is on a winning streak or a slot machine that is paying out.

House - a term for the establishment that runs a game.

Insurance - a side bet in Blackjack of up to one half the original bet, that is offered only when the dealer's up-card is an ace. The insurance bet wins double, i.e., 2:1, if the dealer has a natural, but loses if the dealer does not. Also see even money.

Layout - the imprinted surface of a gaming table, which shows all the areas where bets can be placed.

Limit - the maximum wager accepted in the game

Lock - an easy winner, or a clear no-lose situation.

Longshot - an extreme underdog.

Loyalty Points – When players patronize either a land based, or online casino they earn reward points. Actually, you get Loyalty (Reward) points just about any business where you purchase products or a service.

Natural – In Blackjack if you have a total of 21 with just two cards that’s a Natural.

Nickel - a $500.00 wager.

Nickels - a casino term for chips with a five-dollar denomination.

Pat Hand – In Blackjack if you dealt a hand with a value of 17 it is said and often happens that the player does not ask for another card. The player is said to stick because he has a Pat Hand.

Payoff – The amount of money a player gets after winning.

Press - Betting more than you normally would.

Puppy – A terrible pick, a dog, a looser. But if you happen to bet on one to win and he does, you will make a heck of a lot of cash.

Push – In Blackjack a push is when a player and dealer have the same value hand.

Quarters A term used for chips with a $25 value twenty-five-dollar value.

Rank - The number value of each card in a deck.

Red – The color most commonly used as $5 chips

Rich Deck - a partial deck that has a much higher amount of face cards and aces than they normally would.

Stick – To stay with the cards in your, used mainly in Blackjack

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