Essential Online Gambling Terms Every Player Should Know

Just like in sports, you’ll need some basic understanding of the most commonly used gambling terms and phrases if you want to get the best of your money in the world of online casinos. While some of these words have similar meanings when used in the context of real life casinos, you’ll still find yourself learning new terms unique to online casinos.

This group of specialized terms may be classified as slang or lingo but their purpose is not to exclude or to create a ‘secret language’ for casino players. Instead, these words came to be in order to fill a need for universally understood terms that will make communication easier among players and dealers. You may encounter some slang terms that are specifically used in certain games but most of the words we’ve pooled together here are used to pertain to gambling activities in general.

You might be thinking that it would be easier if you just learn these words as you go playing and betting through different games and online casinos. While we see the merit in that, we still recommend that you browse through our alphabetized glossary of essential gambling terms so you can familiarize yourself with them especially if you’re new to online gambling.

Glossary of the Most Used Gambling Terms and Phrases: A-Z

A Meaning
Action The entire activity of gambling itself
Aggregate limit An online casino’s limit on how much money they’re paying out during a certain period of time
Aggregate winnings The amount of your total or cumulative winnings
Ante Used in card games such as poker

Pertains to a compulsory the bet you have to make before you are dealt your hand of cards

Thus, the subsequent popular phrase, ‘upping the ante’ means raising the stakes.


B Meaning
Baccarat A card game that uses six or eight card decks

A table game

Banker The person who deals during card games
Balance The amount of the money you have left in your account which you can make bets with
Bankroll A set amount of money from your account that is used for gambling in a given period of time or game
Barber’s Pole Pertains to a wager that was made from a stack of other bets

An old gambling term playing with the likeness of what a stack of casino chips to a barber’s pole

Beginner’s Luck also honeymoon period First time gamblers tend to win during the first few times they play
Bet Max (also Maximum bet) Used in playing online slots

Pertains to the maximum amount you can bet on a spin on the slots

Bet Min The opposite of bet max
Betting limits The range (maximum and minimum) of bets you can make when playing on a video slot
Blackjack (also 21) A card game where you play against the dealer to first reach the number 21 using card values
Blind bet A blind bet is made by a poker player who makes a bet without knowledge of what card will next show
Bonus Incentives which may be in the form of money given to players to encourage them to play more
Buck A wager with a value of a hundred dollars
Bump To raise a bet’s level


C Meaning
Call In poker, pertains to act of matching a bet made by another player on the table

In bingo, it pertains to the calling of numbers

Cap The cap is the maximum wager you can make when a playing a single game
Cascading/Collapsing Reels A casino slot feature involving symbols landing on a winning payline being immediately replaced with new ones. The subsequent can go on to create new winning combinations which will then be replaced by new symbols. This cycle will go on until all winning combos are exhausted
Cashback The way some casinos offer you’re a percentage of losses back. Cashbacks can either be in the form of bonuses or real money.
Cash Check A feature in online casinos which lets you keep track of your activity history.
Chips In physical casinos, round tokens used in betting

In online casinos, digital tokens with varying monetary values and used in making bets

Classic slots (also fruit machines) Retro-style slots with only three reels

One of the first casino games to be available online

Cold A term referring to an unlucky person or machine
Craps A table game wherein players make bets on the outcome of a dice roll
Credit Unit bets are expressed in

I.e. one credit = one unit


D Meaning
Deal A card or set of cards given to you in a game
Deck Standard set of 52 cards
Deposit The amount of money an online casino will require you to put in your account before allowing you to play
Dirty Money Money lost by players that dealers collect off the gambling tables
Double or Nothing A bet that pays double of what is at stake or nothing
Doubling up A way for you to get your losses back by doubling your previous bet
Down to the Felt Being broke from losing
Draw The action of getting additional cards when playing baccarat or Blackjack
Drop The money you lost


E Meaning
eCOGRA  e-Commerce Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance

An independent entity that regulates online casinos to ensure that they promote fair gaming and player protection

Encryption A safety mechanism in online casinos that protects the information you provide and transaction history from potential hackers
Even bet A bet that pays you the same amount you bet


F Meaning
Face cards A term describing the King, Queen and Jack cards of any of the four suits
Firing Betting large amounts
Fish A person who is new to gambling
Flat betting When you make bets worth the same amount at every round of a game
Fold In card games, you fold when you abandon your hand of cards and lose a bet
Free spins In slot games, free spins are spins that cost you nothing

Usually given as a promotion of a game


G Meaning
Grind player A grind player is a player who slowly spends their bankroll by betting in consistently small bets


H Meaning
Hand Set of cards you are dealt in a round of a card game
Hard hand In blackjack, a hard hand is a hand that has an ace with a value of 1 instead of 11
High roller Opposite of the grind player, a high roller is player makes large bets
House Refers to the online casino you’re playing on
House edge The percentage of a casino’s chance of winning over its players
House rules Refers to the collective rules of a card or table game
‘Hit me’ In blackjack, something you say to a dealer if you want another card
‘Holding your own’ You ‘hold your own’ when you win enough to break your losses even
Hole card Refers to a card dealt face down
Hot A person on a winning streak


I Meaning
Inside bets In roulette, a bet placed on number or combination of numbers
Insurance In blackjack, insurance is a bet offered to you when your face up card is an ace
Insurance bet Two, sometimes more, bets that cover each other


J Meaning
Jackpot In slots, a jackpot is a prize composed of cumulative bets or a set amount


L Meaning
Live hand In poker, a live hand is a hand of cards that is likely to win
Load up Loading up is playing a slot machine with maximum coins per spin
Loose Refers to a slot machine or game that has a higher payout


M Meaning
Mobile slots Slot games that are designed to be played on your phone

Usually only accessible through an online casino’s mobile app

Multi-player casino A casino which allows you to play with other players


N Meaning
Net winnings The total amount of money you take home minus your original stake
Number pool Refers to the range of numbers you can choose from while playing specific games


O Meaning
Odds Statistical probability of you winning any game
Outside bets In roulette, an outside bet is a bet where chips are placed outside the number layout
Overlay Refers to a situation that is favorable to you when gambling

Giving you the chance to win more money that your original bet


P Meaning
Payback A monetary or credit return from bets and wagers
Payline In slots, a payline is a line that reels should align to in order for you to win
Payout percentage The amount of payback a game or an online casino gives back to players
Paytable A table detailing certain combinations you can make to win a game
Pot In poker, total amount of money from every player which you will take if you win
Progressive jackpot In slots, a jackpot which value increases as more players play the slot
Progressive slots A slot that has a progressive jackpot


R Meaning
Rake In poker, a fee the casino charges every hand
RTP Return to Player

How high a game’s payout percentage is

Reel In slots, a reel is a column or wheel that is spun beside other reels to make winning combinations
RNG Random Number Generator

In slots, a mechanism that generates numbers and combinations at every spin

Rollover The total amount you’ll need in order to cash out all your winnings including bonuses
Roulette A game in which you make bets on where a small ball will land in a spinning wheel


S Meaning
Scared money Refers to money that you can’t afford to lose on gambling
Shark A player who purposely mislead other players so they can win by posing as a ‘fish’
Sharker Cheater
Sharp A  player who makes smart bets
Shill A player being paid by the casino to play

Usually encountered on poker games

Short run Short series of bets
Showdown In poker, the time after the last round when players show their cards to determine a winner
Slots A game where a player spins reels in the hopes of chancing upon a winning combination
Streak betting The act of changing the amount you bet (both increasing and decreasing) depending on the results of previous rounds
Suit What the four groups of cards is called
Soft hand In blackjack, a hand that has an ace valued as an eleven

Opposite of hard hand

Spinner A winning streak


T Meaning
‘Tapping out’ You ‘tap out’ when you decide to stop gambling after your bankroll is depleted
Ticket Another term for a card


U Meaning
Underlay A bad bet
Unit Used to describe the smallest amount of money used when making a bet

Not currency-specific


W Meaning
Wager Another term for a bet
Web Wallet Also e-wallet, a service you can use to manage your money intended for gambling
Whale Whales are oftentimes rich individuals who make large bets

Both beginners and veteran online casino players will definitely find this list helpful in their daily plays.  We even recommend that you bookmark this page or keep it open in a tab when you play just in case you forget what a word means or encounter a new word for the first time.

Knowing the language of the game gives you a greater chance of winning it. And you never know, being informed of gambling lingo may help you avoid being scammed or cheated by other players or casinos.

If you’re interested in learning more game specific terminology, you can also read our upcoming game guides on blackjack, poker, roulette and many more!