Using English at a Casino
Casinos have their own vocabulary that can feel intimidating or confusing to outsiders, especially for those whose first language is not English.
We have collected some casino vocabulary and casino words and phrases that will help you communicate when gambling in an English casino.
Casino vocabulary – Casino words and phrases
Table games, gaming floor, the pit, players, gamblers
Roulette, blackjack, three card poker, casino stud poker, casino brag, punto banco, punto 2000, bacaraat, dice, craps, big six, sic bo
Poker, 3 card poker, brag, 5 card stud poker, texas hold ’em, omaha
Dealer, croupier, inspector, gaming floor manager, pit boss, cashier, cash desk, pit desk
Payout, winnings, losses, maximum bet, minimum bet, table maximum/minimum
General casino phrases you may want to use
Can I cash these chips in, please? (use this when you want to exchange your chips for cash)
I think there has been a mistake with my payout
Where can I change my money/chips?
Where is the cash desk?
Could I speak to the pit boss, please? (The pit boss is the gaming floor manager, in charge of activity on the gaming floor)
Can I bring a guest?
How do I become a member?
What is the minimum bet?
Can you explain the rules to me, please?
What time does the poker start?
Is this table open?
Casino Vocabulary for Casino Table Games
Tables games in England usually consist of American roulette with a European wheel (a wheel with a single zero), blackjack, three card poker (sometimes called casino brag) and casino stud poker. Punto banco (bacaraat), sic bo and big 6 may also be on offer. Dice is sometimes available in larger casinos in the main cities.
Roulette is probably the most popular table game, followed closely by blackjack. Roulette is not so popular in the United States, with Americans preferring blackjack. However, dice (craps) is very popular in America, much more so than in the UK.
All of the games have a specific vocabulary attached to them. Below are some examples of casino words and phrases. These are all commonly used words and phrases associated with the most popular casino table games:
Chips, colour chips, cash chips, stack of chips, plaque, betting, bets
Roulette wheel, spin, layout, cashing in, chip change, colour change, money/cash change
Inside betting positions (bets on the numbers, on the inside part the layout): On the number / straight up (covers one number, 35-1), split (covers two numbers, 17-1), corner (covers four numbers, 8-1) , street (covers three numbers, 11-1), six line (two streets: covers six numbers, 5-1)
Advanced bets: Neighbours bets, section bets, Voisins du Zero (often called voison), Tier, Orphelins (often called orphans)
Outside bets (bets around the outside of the layout): Columns (pays 2-1), dozens (pays 2-1), even chance bets (bets paying 1-1): even, odd, high numbers, low numbers, red, black
Roulette Vocabulary Examples and Tips:
- ‘Colour chips’ belong to a specific roulette table. The colour chips are given a value when you ‘buy in’ (exchange your money for chips), e.g. 50p, £1 or £5. These chips cannot be removed from the roulette table and have no value off the roulette table.
- A ‘plaque’ is a plastic rectangle which represents a larger amount of money, e.g. £50, £100, £500. You exchange your money for plaques at the cashdesk and then exchange the plaques for chips at the gaming table.
Click here for more information on the rules of the different casino games
- ‘Cashing in’ is when you exchange your colour chips for cash chips at the roulette table. You can then exchange the cash chips for money at the cashdesk.
- ‘Stacks of colour’ are piles of colour chips. In official roulette terminology, a full ‘stack’ is always 20 chips.
- ‘Section bets’ or ‘French bets’ are bets which cover an area on the roulette wheel. This is a way of betting on lots of numbers at once. For example, asking for ‘Tier by 5’ means you want to place a bet with £5 on each of the Tier betting placements (this would cost £30 in total because Tier is a 6 piece bet)
- ‘Neighbours bets’ cover 5 numbers on the roulette wheel, e.g. ‘Zero and the neighbours by 3’ means you want to place a bet of £3 on Zero and a bet of £3 on each of its ‘neighbours’ (the 2 numbers on either side of Zero: 3, 26, 32 and 15)
|Roulette phrases you may want to use|
|Colour, please||Can I have 3 stacks of colour, please|
|Colour at 50p, please||Can I have 2 ponies (£25) with that, please|
|Can I change this?||Can you place this on zero for me|
|Cash me in, please||17 and the neighbours by 2|
|How much is that in cash?||Tier / Voisins / Orphans by 5|
|Roulette phrases you may hear|
|Place your bets please||No bet|
|Finish betting please||That’s below the table minimum|
|Final bets||That’s over the table maximum|
|No more bets, thank you||Change after the spin|
|Thirty-two, red||Can you take your glass off the layout please|
|Paying out of order||Please don’t touch the wheel|
|Last spin||No spin|
Tips for Roulette Dealer Commentary
Casino dealers have specific commentary for each casino game. When dealing a busy game of roulette, the play can get hectic and there can be a lot of commentary being called out.
Here are some of the common casino words and phrases you may hear from a roulette dealer and what they mean:
- ‘Place your bets’ means you can start putting bets on the layout
- ‘Finishing betting’ or ‘Last bets’ means you have just a few more seconds left to place bets
- ‘No more bets’ means you must stop betting now
- ‘Change only’ is called when a player has given money to the dealer during a spin, but the money is not for a bet. This money will be changed into chips ready for the next spin as soon as the dealer has time
- ‘Zero and the neighbours goes by ten (fifty pounds the bet)’ – example of a neighbours bet, here the bet is on 0 and costs £50 to place
Roulette etiquette tip: It is best to wait until a quiet moment to ask the dealer for chips. Try not to give the dealer cash during a spin if you do not want to bet immediately on that spin. The extra money on the table could be misconstrued as a bet! The dealer is generally busy with the game and will not have time to change your money until after that spin is over.
- ‘No spin’ means the spin is invalid and all bets are cancelled for that spin. No spins are rare but can happen if the dealer makes a mistake with the ball, if something falls into the wheel or if the ball does not spin around the wheel at least three times.
Learn more about the betting odds and rules of roulette here.
- ‘Paying out of order’ simply means the dealer is paying the bets out in a different order to standard practice. Normally, dealers pay bets out in order of smallest odds first. This means that even chance bets are paid first and straight up bets are paid last.
- ‘Change after the spin’ means the dealer will give the change from the bet after the spin has finished. So if you have paid £20 to place a Neighbour bet by 2, the dealer will give you your £10 change after the spin
- ‘No bet’ means that a bet has not been accepted. This can happen for a number of reasons, for example, if the bet is late (placed after the dealer has said ‘no more bets’) or the bet is unclear, or under the table minimum.
Blackjack shoe, deal, cards, shuffle, change cards, hole card, box, hand
Split, double down / double, stand, stick, stay, hit, surrender, card
Insurance, even money, perfect pair, coloured pair, mixed pair
|Blackjack phrases you may want to use|
|I’d like to split / double please||Can I double on that?|
|Card / hit (or twist in pontoon)||I’ll take even money please|
|Stick / stay||Can I play more than one box?|
|How much is there?||Can I play behind / on the back on this box?|
|Blackjack phrases you may hear|
|Would you like another card?||Too many|
|Double or draw?||This box is free (available)|
|Blackjack!||Please don’t touch the cards|
|Perfect pair!||You need to be seated to play|
|Would you like even money / insurance?||There’s no writing allowed at the table|
Tips for Using Blackjack Vocabulary
- A ‘Blackjack’ is a hand with an Ace and a 10 or a face card (Jack, Queen or King) – this is the highest value hand you can get in Blackjack.
- Blackjack cards are kept in, and dealt out of, a ‘shoe’. The dealer ‘shuffles’ the cards to mix them up into a random order. The ‘box’ is the square drawn on the layout, where you place your bets and a ‘hand’ is the blackjack cards that are dealt to you.
- You receive two cards at the start of the game, this is your ‘hand’. You can choose to take another card (hit/card), stay the same (‘stand/stick/stay’), double (double your bet and take one more card only), split (double your bet and form two new hands from your first two cards, then take another card on each new hand), or surrender (surrender half your bet).
- If a box is ‘free’ it means it is available.
- ‘Perfect pairs’ is sometimes offered as a side bet blackjack. Perfect Pairs is a bet that the first two cards dealt to a hand will be a pair of the same value (for example, a pair of twos, threes, fours etc.)
- ‘Insurance’ means you pay half your bet again to insure yourself against the dealer getting Blackjack. This is the same as ‘even money’.
- The dealer may ask ‘Double or draw?’ This means would you like to ‘double’ or just take a card (hit)?
- When the dealer says ‘Too many’ it means you have drawn too many cards and gone over 21 – you have lost the hand.
Using English when Playing Poker
Poker vocabulary and card game vocabulary
Dealer, dealer button, hand, pot
Raise, call, re-raise, check, fold, bluff
Ace, King, Queen, Jack, Joker, wild card
Aces are high, aces are low – this refers to whether Aces count as 11 (high) or 1 (low)
Card suits: hearts, clubs, diamonds, spades
Poker hands: High card, pair, two pair, three of a kind, flush, straight, full house, four of a kind, straight flush, royal flush
Flop, turn, forth street, river card
Card change, shuffle, deal
Tips for using English playing poker and other card games
- ‘Fold’ is when you think your hand is no good. You ‘fold’ your cards – throw away your hand.
- A dealer ‘deals’ the cards – distributes the cards to each of the players
- The ‘dealer button’ is a button used when there is no real dealer. This button is moved around the table in online poker to signify which player is acting as ‘dealer’.
- The ‘pot’ is the money or chips in play, usually placed in the centre of the poker table.
- A ‘raise’ is a bet to increase your opponent’s bet
- A ‘re-raise’ is a bet to raise a bet that has already been raised (increased)
- You can ‘check’ if no one has made a bet. This means you can see the next card for free.
- A ‘call’ is a bet to match your opponent’s bet, i.e. the same amount of money
- A ‘bluff’ is when you try to trick your opponent. You could bluff by betting with a weak hand to imply you have a better hand than you really do, to try to make your opponent fold.
- In Texas Holdem Poker, the ‘flop’ is the first three community cards, the ‘turn’ is the fourth community card and the ‘river’ is the last community card.
- A ‘wild card’ is used in some card games – this is a card that can substitute for any other card and has any value
Can you think of more useful phrases to use at the casino?
Are there any areas of casino gambling where you are confused about vocabulary?
Let us know your thoughts on casino vocabulary in the comments.