UK Casino Slang A-Z | Popular Words & Phrases

From the blackjack table to the slot machines, seasoned gamblers like to use casino lingo to make bets, talk to croupiers and, well, to look cool. And it works. For the first-timer, however, this can be an intimidating and bewildering experience.

But don’t fret. Whether you want to impress your friends on a night out or become king of the card table, we’ve got your back. Here’s a guide to some of the common slang terms used in UK casinos.


Action

This is a term used to describe the placing of bets by player(s) in a game.

Air

This is a poker term that refers to a hand with no value.

Ante

The ‘ante’ is a bet that a player must make before other players can bet, so there is always money in the pot. Without the ante, no one would be forced to bet.

Bankroll

A bankroll is the amount of money a person has put aside to gamble with. In poker terms, this could be the amount someone has won over several years. It’s best to stick with a set bankroll when you enter a casino, so you don’t spend over your means.

Betting limits

This is a fairly self-explanatory term used to describe the specific limit that a player can bet with.

Burn card

Any card removed from the deck after a shuffle.

Cage

This is where players go to cash in their chips. It’s where you get paid!

Colour up

This is a term used when a player takes the lower denominated coloured chips and trades them in for higher denominated chips. This is usually done when the player wants to leave the table.

Croupier

A dealer or casino employee who collects and pays bets or otherwise assists at the gaming tables; commonly used to refer to staff at roulette and baccarat tables.

Cut the deck

To ensure that the deck of cards is cut fairly, a croupier may ask a player to “cut the deck”. This is usually done with a small piece of plastic that the player inserts into the deck.

Donkey

In poker, a ‘donkey’ is someone who makes consistently bad plays. Like ‘fish’, it’s a derogatory term for a bad player.

Double down

This is a blackjack term that refers to doubling your bet size after seeing the first hand. It requires you to take exactly one additional card.

Even-money bet

Any bet where the amount you stand to win or lose will be identical to the stake you’re putting down. When playing roulette, this includes red/black, odd/even and 1-18/19-36 bets. There will most likely be a minimum for evens bets, so double check at the table.

Face cards

Cards that have a picture printed on it. King, Queen and Jack are face cards.

Fish

This is a cheeky expression that refers to someone who is new to the gambling world. It’s most commonly used in poker, where fish are the most inexperienced player at the table.

Floating

This is a poker term that refers to calling a bet with the intention of trying to move a player off their hand later on.

Hit me

This phrase is used in blackjack to indicate to the dealer that the player wants another card. This can also be achieved by tapping once on the table or saying “card”.

Hole card

An unexposed card, sometimes referred to as a “down card”.

Insurance

Blackjack insurance is a bet on the odds of probability. When the dealer’s face-up card is an ace, you have the option to “take insurance” before the dealer checks the “hole card”.

Line bet

This is a term used at the roulette table. It refers to bets where the chip is placed on the intersecting line at the bottom of each row, so multiple numbers can be bet on at once.

Monkey

This is slang for £500. However, the origins of this term aren’t very clear. One of the theories is that it came from British soldiers returning from India, where the 500 rupee note had a picture of a monkey on it.

Orphelins

These are the numbers that make up the two slices of the roulette wheel outside of the Tiers and Voisins bets. It includes eight numbers: 17, 34, 6 and 1, 20, 14, 31, 9.

Pony

This is slang for £25. Similar to the term ‘monkey’, this is thought to date back to when British soldiers returned from India.

Progressive

A type of jackpot based upon a prize pool that continually increases incrementally until it is won; most common in slots and video poker.

Rake

A commission charged by the casino (house), most commonly in poker games.

Split

In the game of blackjack, a player may have the opportunity to ‘split’ their hand. This happens when their two cards are the same face value. Then the player can place an equal bet next to their original bet and play two separate hands. The benefit of this is having the opportunity to win more, but likewise, more money is put at risk.

Street

This is a roulette bet on any number within a row of 3 numbers. For example:
• 1, 2, 3
• 4, 5, 6
It can also be used in poker to refer to a dealt card or betting round e.g. fourth-street, meaning the fourth community card dealt.

Toke

A tip for the dealer. Sometimes this is customary if you have won a series of bets or a large sum.

Whale

Also known as a “high roller”, this is a person who gambles large amounts of money.

Do you use casino slang? What’s your favourite casino slang term? Leave us a comment, below!