Your guide to understanding casino terminology

by Tim | Jun 22, 2021

Your guide to understanding casino terminology

Whether you’re new to online casino games or an experienced player, you may still hear terms being used within games or on sites that you may not understand. Whether you wanna learn more about blackjack strategy, live blackjack, poker, or anything else, it’s important to know what these words mean. This is why we’ve put together a list of the most important casino terms that you are likely to come across.



  • Action – Used to describe a player’s turn.
  • All-in – Most commonly used in poker to refer to a player who bets everything they have left. This term is also used in other games with the same meaning.
  • Ante – A bet that’s required before a hand or round can start in certain casino games.



  • Baccarat  – A popular card game played at casinos where the “player” and “banker”  are dealt two or three cards, and the hand whose total is the closest to nine wins.
  • Banker – A term that’s also used to describe the dealer.
  • Bankroll – Your gambling budget. (It’s highly advisable you set a limit for how much you want to spend on playing casino games.)
  • Beard – An individual who places bets on behalf of the real player who wishes to conceal their identity.
  • Blinds – In poker games without an ante, blinds are used to ensure there is money in the pot. The two players to the left of the dealer are referred to as the “small blind” and the “big blind” and must put money into the pot. The player closest to the dealer is the small blind, while the second player to the left is the big blind. The small blind must put half the minimum wager into the pot, while the big blind must put in the minimum wager. The dealer, and therefore the blinds, are decided by a button that rotates clockwise at the end of each round of poker.
  • Bonus – This refers to the special offers that casinos provide to new and existing players. Includes offers such as a welcome bonus, no-deposit bonus, or cashback bonus. Can also be referred to as a promotion. Always read the terms and conditions (sometimes referred to T&Cs) for bonuses, because they can come with wagering requirements.


  • Card shark – Someone who is an expert at poker and who looks for weaker players. Similar to a pool shark.
  • Casino advantage The chance that a casino has to win in any game. Also commonly referred to as the house edge. This can vary greatly from one type of game to another and will affect how much and how often you are likely to win.
  • Chasing – When a player increases their bets to try to make up for previous losses. This is considered poor play by regular casino players – and is inadvisable as a winning strategy.
  • Cold streak – When you rack up multiple losses in a row. Opposite of a hot streak.



A casino dealer holds two cards in her hand.

  • Dealer – The casino employee who runs or hosts a game. 
  • Deck – Refers to a deck of cards. There are usually 52 in a deck (plus jokers), but often you’ll find more than one deck is used in some card games.
  • Deposit – The amount of money you put into your casino account, which can be done via various payment methods, such as credit card, or online services such as PayPal.
  • Double down – Refers to a type of bet in blackjack where you double your wager. The player will receive one more card after making this decision.
  • Double or nothing – A type of bet where the loser doubles their loss or cancels it out, or where a winner doubles their winnings or loses it all.



  • Edge – This is less commonly used than “house edge” and refers to the advantage the casino has in any casino game.
  • Encryption – The security software that online casinos use to protect your personal data and financial transactions.
  • Even-money bet – A bet that has 1:1 odds. This means that if you bet £10, you’ll receive £20 back. This comprises the £10 that you wagered and the £10 that you won.
  • Eighty-sixed – When someone is banned from a casino.
  • Expanding wilds – A wild symbol in slot games is a symbol that can substitute for most other symbols. Expanding wilds refers to a special wild that expands when it lands on the reel, covering more spots on the reel.



  • Face cards – A jack, queen, or king in a deck of cards is known as a face, or picture, card.
  • Face-down card – This is a card that is placed on a table facing down so you can’t see what the card is. It’s sometimes just called a “down card”.
  • Face up card – This is a card that is placed on a table facing up so you can see what the card is. It’s sometimes just called an “up card”.
  • Free spins – A limited number of free-play rounds that you receive for online slots – either in-game, while playing a particular slot, or as part of a casino promotion.



  • Garbage hand – A weak hand in poker that is virtually guaranteed to be a loss.
  • George – Slang for a player who is a generous tipper.
  • Gg – Originally comes from the online video gaming space where a player will announce “gg” at the end of a round of a match. It stands for “good game”.
  • Grind (player) – A player who places many small bets with the aim of winning. They must “grind” to create a profit.



  • High-roller – Someone who is willing to place large bets.
  • Hot streak – When you rack up multiple wins in a row. The opposite of a cold streak.
  • Hot table – A table where many players are racking up wins.
  • House – A term that also refers to the casino, whether it’s online or land-based.
  • House edge – The advantage that the casino, or house, has in each game that it offers. It can vary greatly from one kind of casino game to the next.



  • Inside bet – A type of bet in roulette where you bet on single numbers that are between zero and 36.
  • Instant win – A term that’s most commonly used in lottery games, like online scratchcards, where you can claim your prize immediately if you win.



A ‘jackpot’ sign is displayed in front of a slot reel, surrounded by gold coins.

  • Jackpot – A very large cash prize that can be fixed or variable.



  • Live dealer games – These are online casino games that are run by a dealer, and not by RNG software. These games are live-streamed to players.
  • Low-roller – Someone who makes small bets. The opposite of a high-roller.
  • Loyalty scheme (or programme) – A system that’s offered by the casino to reward you for spending or depositing money.



  • Mark – Someone who is a mark is a weak player from whom you can easily win money. This term is most commonly used in poker, with the player in question also being known as a “sucker”.
  • Maximum bet – The largest bet you can make on a casino game.
  • Minimum bet – The smallest bet you can make on a casino game.
  • Multiplier – A term used in slots that indicates a feature which multiplies your winnings by a specific amount. The multiplier values vary from game to game and are usually just represented as “3x” for three times, “2x” for two times, and so on.



  • n1 – A gaming term that’s also commonly used at online casinos. For example, in a live chat window, you could type “n1” as shorthand for saying “nice one”.
  • No limit – This means there are no limits on the bets you are allowed to make. This is commonly used to refer to high-stakes poker games.
  • No-deposit bonus – A type of bonus you can use without needing to make a deposit at the casino.
  • Nosebleed – This term is used in poker to refer to the highest-stakes games.
  • Nuts – Refers to having the best hand in a game of poker.



  • On tilt – Refers to the emotional state of a player who’s on a losing streak but continues to play and make bad decisions.
  • Outside bet – These are even-money bets in roulette. Can refer to bets placed on black or red, and even or odd.



  • Payline – A term used in slots to refer to the combination you must get on a line to win or receive a payout. The number of paylines varies from game to game.
  • Paytable – The list of winning combinations and their associated payouts on a slot or video poker machine.
  • Playthrough – A type of requirement that a player must meet before they can withdraw or cash out any money made from a bonus or promotion. This is a type of wagering requirement. For example, a 20x playthrough on a £5 bonus means you must wager £100 before you can claim any winnings made with that bonus.
  • Pot – The amount of money that is gathered during a round of poker that is given to the winner of the round.
  • Progressive slot – A slot that has a jackpot prize that isn’t fixed, but grows as people play the game or other connected games. Not all are limited in value. However, some have a time limit, but it all depends on the game.



  • Random number generators, or RNGs – The software programs that use algorithms to generate random numbers and random results in games such as slots. RNGs are audited by third parties to ensure they are fair.
  • Reels – The spinning area with symbols in a traditional or online slot machine.
  • Reload bonus – Bonus casino credit that the player receives when they make an additional deposit at the casino.



  • Scatter symbol – A special symbol used in slots to trigger free spins or other bonus games.
  • Sign-up bonus – The extra casino credit you receive when you sign up at a casino for the first time. It often comes with certain terms and conditions that are worth reading before you start using it.
  • Stake – The total amount wagered by a player on the outcome of a casino game.
  • Sticky bonus – A bonus that cannot be withdrawn from your casino account.



  • Tapped out – When a player runs out of money to spend at the casino.
  • Terms and conditions – Often referred to as “Ts and Cs” or “T&Cs”, these accompany many casino offers and promotions you’ll see and explain exactly what the deal is. You’ll need to read them carefully to make sure you understand what you’re being offered.
  • Texas Hold’Em – The most popular variation of poker, where players must try to build the strongest hand using community cards and the hand they are dealt.



A poker player holds casino chips in one hand, and reveals his two cards with the other.


  • Under the gun – A term used in poker to refer to the first player’s position due to  play after the blinds have been bet, but before the first community card is revealed.
  • Underdog – Most commonly used in sports betting to refer to a team or athlete who isn’t expected to win.
  • Up card – A card that is dealt facing up.



  • Variance – How likely you are to get a win when playing a slot game. Slots that are low variance offer more, smaller wins, while games that are high variance offer less frequent, larger wins.
  • VIP – A very important person at the casino.
  • VIP programme – A system of rewards that’s offered exclusively to VIPs or is accessible to anyone who spends enough money at a casino (providing they can afford it).
  • Video poker – Often mistaken for a slot machine, video poker is a game where you play poker against the machine, not other players. 



  • Wager – The amount of money you bet when playing a casino game.
  • Wagering requirements – This refers to the terms and conditions you need to fulfil to be able to take advantage of the money you win from a promotional offer, such as a no-deposit bonus or free spins. You may, for example, be asked to wager a certain amount of your own money before you can cash in any winnings made from the bonus.
  • Welcome bonus – A bonus that you receive for signing up at an online casino. Also known as a sign-up bonus.
  • Wild symbol – A symbol in slots that can substitute for many other symbols in the game, increasing your chances of getting a winning payline. They’re always a welcome sight on the reels of an online slot!


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