Becoming a pro gambler takes years of practice and commitment to the craft, but you can give yourself a head start by learning the lingo. There are tons of gambling-related phrases and terms that, once you’ve mastered them, can really lead to a better understanding of popular casino games like poker, Blackjack, Baccarat and roulette.
Many casino sayings often find their way into everyday language – phrases like ‘all-in’ and ‘up the ante’ which you probably use and hear regularly without necessarily thinking of a casino.
To speak in very general terms, a lot of the most helpful casino expressions are shorthand for different bet types or, in the case of card games, the name for various hands or moves. Here are 10 of the most essential casino phrases to learn, and some you may know already…
Probably the most well known saying from the card table, ‘all-in’ is a fairly self-explanatory term used in a game of poker. ‘To go all-in’ means you bet everything that you have left on a single hand; to continue play, the opposing player(s) must match the all-in amount to stay in play, or fold. Choosing to go all-in is either a confident endorsement of a great hand or a powerful scare tactic…
Often mistakenly said ‘card shark’, ‘card sharp’ is a term for a card expert, stemming from the 17th and 18th Centuries, when ‘sharp’ meant to swindle or cheat.
This is a derogatory term which describes a wealthy player who is not very good at cards. If you’re playing poker for instance, this kind of player is exactly what you want as they’re likely to bet large amounts and play badly.
This term is unique to Blackjack, and means cheating by reading the dealer’s hole card and communicating it to a player so they have the upper hand before placing a bet.
Up the Ante
You have likely heard this phrase in a variety of contexts, but the phrase is originally from poker. ‘Upping’ the ante means increasing the mandatory pool amount amount paid before each round can commence.
It’s not that surprising that this phrase stems from casino lingo, although perhaps you’d never given its origins any thought: ‘beginner’s luck’ is a superstitious casino saying that alludes to first time players enjoying luck they don’t necessarily ‘deserve’ due to lack of experience. Like all superstitions, this belief stems from confirmation bias, although the concept of novices getting all the luck can be traced back as far as the Romans, who loved their gambling!
This means doubling your second bet after your initial bet once you’ve seen the initial cards but while there is still one more card left to receive – a dangerous move to make and we wouldn’t recommend it!
Another term for ‘Full House’ which, in case you need reminding, is a poker hand consisting of three of a kind plus a pair of cards.
This term is used for a style of play when you consistently bet small amounts for a safer bet and a larger return overall – a great way to play that doesn’t attract too much attention round the table.
Lastly, to ‘colour up’ means to switch your chips for higher denominations, which you would do when things are going well for you. Request to ‘colour up’, and people will know you’re playing your A-game!
So, there we have 10 of the most common casino expressions that you can use next time you enter a land-based casino, and that could come in handy online too!
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