To get the most from your casino experience it’s essential you understand all the terms and their meanings. Some of the words have a different usage in a casino context so it’s a good idea to be familiar with their meanings.
Action – this can refer to a player’s total bets either over a single or any number of bets. Action is a term also used in analyzing a bankroll over a defined period.
Advantage – any edge a player may gain over the casino, or the house edge. The casino has an edge in each game, although players can gain an advantage using strategies in certain situations.
American roulette – the American version of roulette which includes the 0 and 00 slots and numbers from 1 to 36.
Autoplay – predefined values set reels on a slot machine spinning according to a player’s parameters. This may include the time between spins, the number of spins after which to stop spinning.
Bankroll – a player’s total amount of money available for gambling. The bankroll is as a key ingredient in any betting strategy designed to ensure long term success for the gambler.
Basic strategy chart – a type of decision tree in blackjack, which is a table containing all the different betting decisions that should be taken in any given scenario. Most casinos allow players to have a strategy chart at the blackjack table to assist in making betting decisions.
Biased wheels – a flawed roulette wheel which has a bias producing winning numbers which are not random.
Black action – betting with $100 black chips which can create excitement among players and onlookers alike.
Blackjack – also referred to a Natural or “21”, a Blackjack is a hand comprising an Ace and a ten pointed card that together give a total of 21. A split hand is usually not accepted as a Blackjack in most casinos but is just a score of 21. A hand is won automatically with a Blackjack and pays 3:2.
Card-counting – a strategy used in blackjack to give players an edge. By nominally scoring cards as they are dealt, players can calculate the approximate odds of a certain category or cards to be dealt – Aces for example. Casinos dislike this practice and some will ban players who are counting cards.
Check rack – a tray holding chips especially for the roulette table.
Choppy game – any game lacking consistent wins from the house, or players.
Comp – promotional items supplied free of charge to valued customers, or simply as bonuses to attract and keep new customers. This can include free meals, drinks, and show tickets at the casino or private gaming rooms. For big players many casinos provide a “RFB” (Room, food and beverage) service and even smaller gamblers are offered a room and food promotion.
Croupier – a staff member at the roulette table who organizes the payout, exchanges chips and generally hosts the players.
Edge – casinos will always have an edge or advantage over the players. Gamblers will sometimes estimate this edge when deciding which casino game to play.
European roulette – a version of roulette containing a 0 slot and the numbers 1-36.
Even money – a payout of 1:1. For example, if a player bets $10 and wins on even money bets, he/she receives back $10 plus the original bet – a $20 total.This type of bet is typical on table games, rather than slot machines.
Eye in the sky – casinos are very security conscious, and cameras in live casinos are utilized to detect fraud, card counters and to be on the look out for trouble, preferably before it occurs.
Hard Hand – a hand in blackjack containing an Ace where its value of 11 cannot be used, or a hand without an Ace is referred to as a hard hand.
High roller – the players who make high bets or bet max coins at the machines are referred to as high rollers. Most casinos give high rollers bonuses and extra comps.
Hot slot machine – an iconic slot machine myth where a machine appears to hit jackpots on a more than regular basis. Players refer to the machine as hot and expect it to pay out again and are therefore eager to play on it. Slot machine winning numbers are randomly generated and therefore no machine is more likely to pay out than any other.
House edge – the advantage generated for the casino on each game which generates its profit.
Martingale system – a well-known betting system that increases bet size after every loss, on the assumption that a win will recoup all previous losses. This system is ideally suited to even money bets.
Money management – a strategy to ensure players always have money to bet with. Also referred to as bankroll management, a money management plan can include betting a percentage of the bankroll in any game, allocating set limits for different games, and having a set deposit amount each month.
Natural – also referred to a 21, or a Blackjack, it is a hand in blackjack comprising an Ace and a 10 pointed card – 10, Jack, Queen or King. The best hand in blackjack game which pays out at 3:2.
Non value chip – in roulette, a chip whose value is dependent on the number of chips used in exchange on leaving the table.
Odds – the theoretical probability a player or the casino has to win in any game. The casino will normally have the better odds in all games.
One-armed bandits – historically original pokie machines, featuring 3 reels and an “arm” to start the reels spinning, designed by Charles Fey of San Francisco.
Parlay system – a wagering system that adds previous winnings onto the next game.
Payout or Pay Out – winnings paid by the casino to the player.
Pinching – removing or moving chips from a betting table after a game has commenced. Naturally casinos frown on this activity, although some leeway is given for newcomers.
Progressive jackpot – the largest payout from a pokie machine, which grows with bets from other players until a player hits the winning combination. Most jackpots have a definite starting point so the players don’t have to wait long for the jackpot to grow again.
Random number generator (or RNG) –an in-built computer program which creates the random numbers necessary to determine the winning numbers in a pokie machine. Each machine has independent programming so each winning combination is truly random and cannot be manipulated in any way.
Roulette table layout – the layout of a roulette table which defines where players should physically place bets.
Roulette wheel – the wheel containing slots at the roulette table. The wheel is designed so the ball has an equal chance of landing on any number. The wheel continues spinning until the ball lands in a numbered slot.
Scam – any scheme where participants try to cheat the casino. More than simply gaining an edge, there are many scams for table and card games, but pokie machines are highly resistant to scams.
Session – the period of time spend wagering, and is a term applied to online and land casinos. Casinos can predict profit and turnover from session data.
Single zero roulette - another name for European style roulette with a single 0 slot and betting on the numbers 1- 36.
Slot floor – the area in a casino containing pokie machines. Most casinos have different areas for games of the same type. This is so players are not distracted, and makes it easy for players to find the game of their choice.
Soft hand – a hand in blackjack where an Ace can be scored either as 11 or 1.
Whale – these arehigh rollers wagering up to $100,000 each hand. Most whales are card counters and operate in land based casinos and know exactly what to do in every betting situation.
Wild (symbol) - a symbol which can be used to form a winning combination in pokies machines instead of any symbols.
Win rate – a way to measure the betting success of a player by measuring the amount of money won every hour by the player. The player’s odds can be determined and the appropriate bankroll calculated for any game.