Casino Industry Glossary

The following is a list of definitions, some useful, some just for fun, that will help you pick up some of the terminology commonly used in your future working environment.

Action: Total sum of all wagers. Also refers to gambling activities in general.

Bankroll: Amount of money a player comes to the casino with to be used strictly for placing bets. A term also used by casino workers referring to the amount of money stocked at a game table before the start of a shift.

Bad Paper: Checks written by players that are not honored at the player’s bank due to insufficient funds.

Barber Pole: A wager made using a stack of various chips. (The alternating colors of the different chips resemble a barber’s pole.)

Book/Bookie: A “book” refers to an establishment or special area of a casino that accepts wagers on the outcome of sporting events and races. A “bookie” is a person who collects and pays off the bets that are made.

Boxman or Boxperson: Dealer who supervises the bank at a craps game. This employee monitors the payoff amounts and deposits money into the drop box.

Break the Deck: This term is mainly used in blackjack games, meaning to reshuffle the cards. Dealers may “break the deck” at any time, but will do so especially if they think there is a card counter sitting at their table.

Cage: Financial hub of a casino. It is usually in this tightly controlled environment that most of the large money transactions take place. Players also go to the cage cashier to “cash out,” whereby they will exchange their chips for currency.

Change Colors: Exchanging one set of casino chips for another, such as turning in a $5 chip for five $1 chips. Dealers call this changing colors because chips are recognized more readily by their color than by the amounts marked on the top of them. Some of the standard colors for casino chips include white for $1, red for $5, green for $25, and black for $100.

Checks: Common name casino workers use when referring to chips.

Comps: Short for complimentary, comps are things that are given away by the casino to its customers. Depending on the level of play or average amount of wagers placed by the customer, this can include anything from free drinks to luxury suites that come with a full-time butler and private jet transportation. Also known in the industry as “RFB” – room, food, and beverage giveaways.

Count Down: Action whereby a dealer forms smaller stacks of chips from tall stacks that have collected on the table. This is done so the pit personnel can easily count them from a distance.

Double Down: Term used in blackjack meaning to double the original bet. The player then receives one additional card.

Floorperson: Casino employee who helps supervise the dealers at gaming tables and watches for any problems or irregularities.

Galloping Dominoes: What casino workers and gamblers jokingly call dice.

George: What dealers in Las Vegas call a good tipper. Also someone who makes bets on the dealer’s behalf.

G.I. Marbles: What casino workers and gamblers jokingly call dice.

Grind Player: A gambler who slowly works through his bankroll, betting very conservatively and in small amounts.

Hard Count: Activity in which coin (hard) currency is counted. It is usually done in a special room under tight security.

Hole Card: Card that is dealt face down.

House Advantage: In simple terms, the mathematical winning edge a casino has provided for itself. This is done by manipulating the game rules and payoff amounts, ensuring that the casino will maintain a certain level of profitability. Also know as the “house edge” or “casino percentage.”

Invited Guests: Industry term for special high rollers who casinos cater to using a variety of comps. Some invited guests will literally bring millions of dollars of action to a casino in one visit.

Juice: Knowing the so-called right people in town. A person is said to have “juice” if he is well connected in the casino industry and as such, wields a lot of power.

Loader: A dealer who is careless and shows the hole card while dealing.

Markers: Common name casino personnel use for what are essentially players’ I.O.U. slips. When wagering in unusually large amounts, credit often will be extended to the player in the form of markers.

Michigan Bankroll: Used jokingly when a large denomination bill is wrapped around several smaller bills, such as $100 bill wrapped around a core of $1 bills, giving the impression that the player is a high roller with many $100 bills to wager.

Paddle: Plastic device that dealers use to push paper money into the drop box.

Parimutuel: Refers to races where the wagers are pooled and the winner’s payoff relates to the number of total winners, minus a commission paid to the track.

Pit: Area behind specialty game tables at a casino where supervisory personnel stand and monitor the games.

Shill: Casino employee who goes around to empty tables and pretends to be a player in order to get a game going and attract other players.

Soft Count: Activity in which paper currency, charge slips, and bank checks are counted. It is usually done in a special room under tight security.

Stiff: Gambler who doesn’t tip.

The Pencil: Employee in charge of scheduling dealers and other personnel. Also refers to an employee who has the power to write out comps for customers.

Toke: Common name for tips or gratuities given to dealers and other casino support staff.

Twinkle: Small, hidden mirror allowing dealers to see all cards that are dealt. It is a form of casino cheating and is not allowed.

Vigorish or Vig: Term some use when referring to the “house advantage” (see above) or the commissions players pay to the casino when they win.

Washing the Cards: Combining several decks of cards before actually shuffling by spreading them out on the game table and randomly mixing them together.

Wire Joint: Casino that uses such methods as rigged tables and magnetized dice to cheat players. A corrupt gaming establishment.

Zukes: Another name for tips or gratuities, popular with younger dealers and casino workers.

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