Decoding Casino Jargon: A Beginner’s Guide

March 28, 2024

Stepping onto the casino floor for the first time can be an exhilarating yet intimidating experience, especially when confronted with the flurry of terms and phrases that seem to constitute a whole new language. To help you navigate this world with confidence and ease, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to decode common casino jargon.

Understanding these phrases will not only improve your gaming experience, but will also allow you to interact more completely with the casino environment, whether you’re playing at a traditional brick-and-mortar location or engaged in the digital realm of an online casino.


In casino parlance, ‘action’ refers to the total amount of money you wager during your entire gaming session. It could be used in various contexts, such as “The action at the craps table was intense tonight,” highlighting the high stakes or rapid pace of the game.


Your bankroll is the total amount of money you’ve set aside for gambling activities. It’s crucial to manage this wisely to avoid the pitfall of betting more than you can afford to lose. Effective bankroll management is key to a sustainable and enjoyable casino experience.

Comp Points

Short for ‘complimentary points’, comp points are rewards that casinos give players for their patronage. These can be exchanged for free play, hotel stays, meals, or other perks. The more you play, the more comp points you earn, enhancing the value of your visit.

House Edge

The house edge is a term that describes the mathematical advantage that the casino has in any game. It’s expressed as a percentage, indicating the expected profit the house will make over time. For players, choosing games with a lower house edge can increase the chances of winning.


A jackpot is a large cash prize or payout, often associated with slot machines or lottery-style games. Progressive jackpots, in particular, can accumulate substantial sums, offering the tantalising prospect of a life-changing win.

Pit Boss

The pit boss is a casino employee responsible for overseeing the operations in a specific area of the casino floor, often around table games. They ensure that games are run smoothly, that dealers adhere to the rules, and that players are treated fairly.


In poker, the rake is a commission fee taken by the casino, usually a percentage of each pot in cash games or a portion of the entry fee in tournaments. Understanding the rake is important for players to calculate their potential winnings accurately.


In card games like blackjack or baccarat, the ‘shoe’ is a device that holds multiple decks of cards, making it harder for players to predict the next card. It’s strategy casinos use to combat card counting and ensure fair play.

Tapping Out

To ‘tap out’ means to deplete your bankroll or decide you’ve reached your spending limit for the session. It signifies the end of your gambling activities for the time being, underscoring the importance of responsible gaming.


In casino lingo, a ‘whale’ is a player who bets large amounts of money, often tens or hundreds of thousands, in a single session. Casinos go to great lengths to attract and retain whales, offering them various perks and privileges.


Familiarising yourself with these terms can significantly demystify the casino experience, allowing you to engage with games and fellow players more confidently. Whether you’re planning your first visit or seeking to deepen your understanding, this guide serves as a valuable resource in your casino journey, empowering you to navigate the floor with the assurance of a seasoned player.

Photo: Gulfstream Park Casino, Gulfstream Park Instagram

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