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A Beginner’s Guide to Casino Terminology

Casino Terminology

Long before gaming houses sprung to life in the 1700s, people have enjoyed primitive versions of the classic games, and naturally, created slang and other terminology that still crops up in casinos today. If you’re visiting a casino for the first time, or want to appear more knowledgeable at certain tables, then knowing just some of these common casino terms is sure to boost your confidence.

Many of these terms will also crop up during online gameplay, particularly when playing online casino games on, so it’s certainly worth brushing up on your casino terminology – no matter where you like to play!

Read on to find out more.


Action describes casino play. You might hear the dealer say “the action is on you”, meaning it’s your turn.


This is the amount of money you have set aside for the games. It should never be more than you are willing to lose. You can add to your ‘bankroll’ by means of winning.


The total chips you exchange your money for is called the buy-in.


In a land-based casino, the cage is where you go to exchange your chips back to cash. If you’ve made a profit, this is where you’ll go at the end of your visit to get your hands on your winnings.

Card sharp/card shark

These are common terms for players who are considered particularly skilled at card games.

Card washing

Most tables in casinos will have an automatic shuffling machine, so it is rare you’ll hear this term these days.  ‘Card washing’ is when the dealer spreads the cards face down and mixes them up before they shuffle them.


Chips are the casino currency. You do not use real money at the tables, so will buy chips to play with at the start of your visit and cash these in at the end. They come in different colours, each representing a different value.

Comp points

Both online and land-based casinos will reward players with comp points as they play. These will eventually add up and can be exchanged for chips. Some land-based casinos will even accept comp points as payment for food, drink and accommodation!


A French term for the dealer.

Double or nothing

If you win a double or nothing game, you will have made an even-money bet, meaning you could double your money, with a win. If you lose, however, you will get nothing.


The edge refers to the advantage held in a game. Most of the time, the casino will hold the edge.

Face cards

The face cards are also known as picture cards, and are the Jacks, Queens and Kings. In Blackjack, these all hold a value of 10; while in Baccarat, they’re worthless.  

High roller

A high roller is a player with a larger bankroll, who will play games with higher stakes in the hope of an even bigger reward.


The casino is called the house. Every casino game is programmed in the house’s favour (see ‘edge’), so the casino can make a profit in the long run.


Running hot generally refers to a player who is on a winning streak, whereas cold is the opposite – a losing streak.

Pit boss

At a brick-and-mortar casino, the pit boss is the well-dressed member of staff that you’ll find standing at a station near the dealers. Their job is to oversee the games and ensure they are being played fairly at all times.


Again, strictly limited to land-based establishments, these are the people who stand at a distance and just observe the games in play. They cannot offer any advice or influence, but are allowed to form an audience if they wish.

Sticky/non-sticky bonuses

These are a type of bonus that online casinos offer. It means that it can be withdrawn from a players account once the requirements are met. A ‘sticky’ bonus, is a type of bonus that ‘sticks’ to the players account until it is lost.


A toke is another way of saying tip. Tipping the dealer is polite, much like tipping your waitress in any hospitality business.


A wager is your bet, and the amount you stake on a certain game. Some games will have betting limits, which is a good way to keep in control of your bankroll.


A step up from high-rollers, whales are extremely wealthy people who play to have fun with incredible amounts of money – not caring if they win or lose.

And that concludes our brief summary of popular casino terms. If you remember just a few when you are next visiting the casino, you’ll definitely feel like a high-roller.

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