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The Insider’s Guide to Casino Slang and Lingo

Casinos are not only places where you can gamble and win money but also where you can experience a unique culture and language. Casino players and staff use various slang terms and expressions to communicate with each other and add some spice and excitement to the games. If you want to fit in with the casino crowd or impress your friends with some insider knowledge, you might want to learn some of the casino slang and lingo that are commonly used.

This guide will introduce you to some of the most popular and interesting casino slang and lingo terms, explain what they mean, and show you how to use them. We will also provide some examples and references to help you understand them better. Here are some of the terms you might encounter at the casino:

– 86’d (Eighty-Sixed): This term is often used to describe someone who has been kicked out of a casino or is no longer allowed to enter. It can also refer to an item or activity discontinued or prohibited within the casino. The origin of this term is unclear, but some possible explanations are that it comes from the code 86, used by restaurants to indicate that they are out of something or that it comes from the number 86 on the roulette wheel, which is not used in American roulette. For example, “He was 86’d from the casino for counting cards.” A casino might have a policy of “86’ing” anyone caught cheating. “The buffet was 86’d due to health code violations.” 

– Action: This term refers to the play at the casino or the total amount of money put into play. It can also indicate how busy or lively a casino is or how much excitement there is around a certain game or table. For example, “He loves the action at the craps table.” A dealer might say, “We have a lot of action tonight.” A player might ask, “Where’s the best action in town?” 

– All-In: This term is used in poker when players bet all their remaining chips into the pot. It means they are risking everything on their hand, and they cannot make any more bets until the next deal. Going all-in can indicate confidence or desperation, depending on the situation. For example, “He went all-in with a pair of aces.” A player might say, “I have nothing to lose. I’m going all-in.” 

– Ante: This is a mandatory stake that each player has to put in before they are dealt cards in a poker game. It ensures that there is some money in the pot to start with and increases the action. The ante is usually a small fraction of the minimum bet but can vary depending on the game and the casino. For example, “The ante was $1, so everyone had to put in a dollar before getting their cards.” A player might say, “I don’t like games with high antes.” 

– Barber Pole: This type of casino chip has alternating colors in a spiral pattern, resembling a traditional barber pole. These chips often represent a specific denomination or value, making distinguishing between different chip values easier for players and dealers. Barber pole chips are usually worth more than regular chips of one color, but they can also be used as markers or placeholders for other chips. For example, “He exchanged his regular chips for barber pole chips to play at the higher-stakes table.” A dealer might say, “Please place your bets with the barber pole chips.” “The casino introduced new barber pole chips to enhance the gaming experience.”

– Beef: This term refers to a disagreement or conflict between individuals at the casino. It can also mean a complaint or issue that needs to be resolved. Beef can arise from various reasons, such as cheating, bad calls, rude behavior, unpaid debts, etc. Beef can be settled peacefully or violently, depending on the severity and the parties involved. For example, “There was beef between two players at the poker table.” A casino manager might say, “We must address this beef before it escalates.” “He had a beef with the dealer over a questionable call.” 

– Beginner’s Luck: This term refers to the phenomenon of someone winning at a casino game when they are playing it for the first time. It is often attributed to luck or chance, but it can also be explained by factors such as lack of pressure, low expectations, or unfamiliarity with the game. A beginner’s luck can be a source of joy or frustration, depending on whether you are the winner or the loser. For example, “She hit the jackpot on her first spin. That’s beginner’s luck for you.” A player might say, “Don’t worry, he’ll lose it all soon. He’s just having beginner’s luck.” 

– Card Sharp: This is a term for a card expert, someone skilled and experienced at playing card games, especially poker. A card sharp can use various techniques and strategies to gain an advantage over other players, such as counting cards, bluffing, reading tells, etc. A card sharp is not necessarily a cheater, but they can be dishonest or deceptive if they choose to. For example, “He’s a card sharp. He knows every trick in the book.” A player might say, “I don’t want to play with him. He’s a card sharp.” 

– Card Washing: This term describes shuffling or mixing playing cards to ensure fairness in a casino game. It can also refer to a specific shuffling technique where the cards are spread out on the table and mixed using a washing motion. Card washing is usually done before a new deck is used or when a player requests it. For example, “The dealer performed a thorough card washing before starting the game.” A player might ask, “Can you please do a proper card washing? I want to make sure the deck is well-shuffled.” 

– Cold Streak: This term refers to a period of bad luck or losing at a casino game. Depending on the game and the player, a cold streak can last a few minutes, hours, days, or even longer. A cold streak can be frustrating and demoralizing but can also be reversed with patience and perseverance. For example, “He’s on a cold streak. He hasn’t won anything all night.” A player might say, “I need to take a break. I’m on a cold streak.” 

– Double Down: This is a term used in blackjack when a player doubles their initial bet after seeing their first two cards. They then receive only one more card and have to stand with their final hand. Doubling down can be risky or profitable, depending on the cards and the dealer’s hand. For example, “He doubled down on his ten and got an ace, making 21.” A player might say, “I’m feeling lucky. I’m going to double down.” 

– Eye in the Sky: This term refers to the network of surveillance cameras positioned throughout a casino to monitor activity and ensure security. The “eye in the sky” allows casino staff to observe and record everything happening on the gaming floor, from the bets and payouts to the behavior and movements of the players and dealers. The eye in the sky can also catch any cheating or illegal activities at the casino. For example, “The eye in the sky caught the thief in the act.” A casino employee might say, “We’ll review the footage from the eye in the sky to investigate the incident.” “The eye in the sky is always watching, so don’t try anything suspicious.” 

– Full Boat: This is another term for a full house, a poker hand consisting of three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank. For example, “He had a full boat of kings over queens.” A full boat is also known as a boat or a full barn. It is one of the strongest hands in poker, only beaten by four-of-a-kind, straight, and royal flush. For example, “He won the pot with his full boat.” A player might say, “I need one more queen to make a full boat.” 

– High Roller: This term refers to a player who bets large amounts of money at the casino. The casino staff often treat them with special perks and privileges, such as free rooms, meals, drinks, etc. A high roller can also be called a whale or a big spender. They are usually wealthy or influential people who enjoy gambling as entertainment or challenge. For example, “He was a high roller who always played big at the roulette table.” A casino manager might say, “We must take good care of our high rollers.” 

– House Edge: This term refers to the mathematical advantage the casino has over the players in any game. The house edge is expressed as a percentage of each bet the casino expects to keep in the long run. The house edge varies depending on the game and its rules, but it ensures that the casino will always make money in the long run.