Casino Terminology Glossary

Over the years the casino industry has developed terminology that forms the basis for a language used by casino personnel and players. In order to fully understand and appreciate the casino industry, it is important to be able to interpret the language. This glossary is provided to assist the reader by defining some of the terminology that is common and at the same time unique to the industry.

Accountability The total of all cash and cash equivalents (e.g., chips, tokens, receivables, and customer deposits) constituting the fund that is maintained by the casino cage.

Ace The one-spot on a die and the highest-ranking card in poker.

Ace-Deuce A throw of the dice totaling three.

Action Amount of currency or chips being wagered or the sum of a player’s wagers over the course of play.

Award schedule A printed schedule that shows the payoffs or awards attributable to a particular casino game or device such as a slot machine (also known as a payout schedule).

Bank (bankroll) The playing stake of a player. Also, the operating fund composed of cash, tokens, and cheques assigned to a casino cashier or change attendant. The term bank may also refer to the total operating fund maintained by the casino cage or the inventory of chips maintained on a gaming table (also known as the table float).

Bar The act of prohibiting a player from gambling in a casino (also known as “86”).

Basic strategy The correct way to play a blackjack hand when the player has no knowledge of the remaining cards. Also, the correct way for the player to play the first hand dealt from a blackjack deck. Basic strategy prescribes the decision that will optimize the player’s expected value, given the player’s original two cards and the dealer’s up-card.

Beef A gaming-related dispute.

Betting ticket A form, normally generated by computer, that serves as a player’s receipt for a wager placed in race and sports.

Big-six Often called the money wheel or wheel of fortune. Players wager that a wheel spun by a dealer will land on one of six possible outcomes.

Bingo A casino game using the draw of numbers combined with player cards to determine the winner of individual games.

Blackjack A casino game in which the winning hand is determined by whether the dealer or the player is closest to twenty-one without going over. Also, a hand where the first two cards dealt total twenty-one.

Blower An apparatus used in keno or bingo to mix and select numbered Ping-Pong balls.

Bones A term used to refer to dice.

Book the action Accept a wager.

Boxcars A throw of the dice totaling twelve.

Box person A casino employee who sits at the craps table and is responsible for supervising the game and placing currency received on the table into the drop box.

Break-in A casino employee with little experience.

Break it down Separate chips into countable stacks or by colors.

Buy-in The amount of money a player presents to purchase chips at a table game or the amount required to enter a poker game.

Cage The area designated for and controlled by the casino cashier. The cage is the financial center of the casino and operates like a bank.

Cage credit Issuances of player credit in currency or cheques occurring at the casino cage, evidenced by the completion of a marker or a counter check.

Calibration module The part of the hard count weigh scale that provides for adjustment of the amount or number of coins to be counted.

Call bet Reserved for known premium players, a wager made without money or chips.

Caller A casino employee who announces the numbers drawn in keno or bingo.

Card games Include poker, bridge, solo, whist, and panguingui. The casino receives a percentage rake-off or a time buy-in from the operation of card games and is not a party to wagers.

Carousel Slot cashier surrounded by slot machines (first used in northern Nevada to facilitate slot play).

Casino host A casino executive who provides a personal link between the casino and premium table games and slot players.

Casino manager The individual responsible for supervising the operation of the casino.

Catwalk Historically, this refers to an area above the casino used by surveillance personnel to observe casino operations. Catwalks have been replaced in most casinos with electronic video equipment.

Central Credit A credit reporting agency, employed by casinos, that provides information on the credit history of casino customers who have applied for or have been granted casino credit.

Change attendant A casino employee who has a casino-issued bank used to make change for slot customers.

Checkout sheets Count sheets used by cashiers in the casino to balance their banks at the end of their shifts.

Cheque Negotiable gaming chip that has a specified value and can be used throughout the casino or redeemed for cash. The term cheques is used interchangeably throughout the book with the term chips, consistent with industry usage.

Chip float The dollar value of chips or cheques that are held by customers. Float is also calculated for slot tokens.

Chips Unlike cheques, chips do not have a predetermined value and can be wagered or redeemed only at the game where purchased (i.e., roulette).

Closer The form used by casino supervisory personnel to document the inventory of cheques on a table at the end of a shift. A shift closer serves as the following shift opener.

Color up A transaction whereby the player exchanges cheques for an equivalent amount of a higher denomination of cheques.

Come bet A wager made after the shooter on a craps game establishes a point (works the same as a pass line bet). See also Point.

Come-out roll A throw of the dice immediately following a pass line decision. See also Point and Come bet.

Complimentary Also known as a “comp,” free use of casino services such as hotel rooms or restaurants.

Cooler A deck of cards placed into use covertly for the purpose of cheating the casino.

Counter check A document provided by the casino and used by a player in place of a personal check (also known as a marker).

Crap-out The shooter throws a two, three, or twelve on the come-out roll.

Craps A casino game played using a pair of dice, in which the outcome is determined based on throws of the dice by a player known as a “shooter.”

Credit limit The maximum amount of credit that casino management has authorized a player to receive.

Credit manager The casino executive responsible for overseeing the credit policies of the casino.

Credit play Wagering based on the issuance of credit and documented by the completion of a credit instrument (marker).

Credit slip A document used to record the transfer of cheques or markers from a table to the casino cage (also known as a game credit).

Cross-fill The transfer of cheques from one table game to another. Cross-fills are prohibited in most gaming jurisdictions.

Croupier Another term used to refer to a casino dealer.

Currency acceptor A device that allows the slot machine to accept currency (also referred to as a bill validator).

Customer deposits Money deposited with the casino cage for the purpose of wagering (also known as front money).

Dealer An employee who operates a casino game, individually or as part of a crew, administering house rules and making payoffs.

Discard Cards that have been used in the course of playing a game.

Discard tray An area where used cards are stored until they are shuffled. Used primarily in blackjack and baccarat.

Double down The blackjack player’s option to double the wager after the first two cards have been dealt. The player doubles down on the condition that a third card is taken.

Draw ticket A keno ticket that is punched to reflect the numbers selected in the ball draw. The draw ticket is punched by keno employees and is used to verify winning tickets.

Drop For slots, refers to the total amount of currency and coin removed from the slot machine currency accept or box and drop bucket. For table games, refers to the total amount of currency and chips removed from the drop box along with any credit issued at the game.

Drop box A locked box affixed to the game into which currency, chips, and all documentation pertaining to transactions conducted at the table are dropped.

Drop bucket A container that is stored in a locked cabinet in the base of the slot machine into which coins are diverted.

Eye in the sky Refers to the surveillance system and personnel that monitor activity within the casino.

Fill A transfer of cheques from the casino cashier to a table game, which is documented by a fill slip.

Fill slip A document that records the denominations and amount of cheques, game number, game type, date, time, and signatures of the employees conducting the fill transaction.

First base The player sitting to the left of the dealer in a blackjack game. Also, the stickperson in craps.

Floorperson Supervisory employee responsible for overseeing the activity on assigned games (or slots) to ensure house rules are followed and that no irregularities occur. Responsibilities also include rating customer play, supervising dealers, and handling customer disputes.

Foreign chips Cheques that are received from another casino.

Front money Customer deposit at the casino cage used for gaming purposes in place of a line of credit. The customer plays at the tables, as if using a line of credit, and executes markers that will be applied against the deposit.

Game bankroll Also known as the table float or inventory, refers to the house’s gaming cheques maintained on the table. Increases or decreases to the bankroll are accomplished through fill or credit transactions and through player transactions.

Grind joint A casino that is known for targeting small bettors.

Gross revenue Specific to the casino, refers to the net win resulting from all gaming activities. Net win results from deducting all gaming losses from all wins prior to considering associated operating expenses. Also known as gross gaming revenue and win.

Group I Licensee In Nevada, a non restricted casino licensee that either (1) has annual gross gaming revenue of $3 million or more or (2) consists primarily of a race or spots pool that accepts annual wagers of $50 million or more.

Group II Licensee In Nevada, a non restricted licensee that either (1) has annual gross gaming revenue of more than $1 million, but less than $3 million, or (2) consists primarily of a race or sports pool that accepts annual wagers of more than $10 million, but less than $50 million.

Hand Cards dealt to a player. Also, the number of dice tosses before a seven-out.

Handle The total amount wagered. Some casinos refer to table games drop as handle.

Hard count The process of counting the coins and tokens removed from the slot machine drop buckets through the use of a weigh scale or coin counter. The hard count is performed by designated count personnel, also known as a count team, in a secured room that is monitored by surveillance cameras.

Hardways A four, six, eight, or ten thrown in craps appearing as two two, three-three, four-four, and five-five, respectively (i.e., occurring only in pair combinations).

Head-on The situation in which a player is alone at a table except for the dealer. Also referred to as playing head-up with the dealer.

High roller A premium player.

Hit An additional card from the dealer, requested by the player.

Hold check A check received from a player as payment on a casino receivable and which the player requests be held for a specified period of time before it is deposited. The casino may return the marker to the player at this time, and the check will become the instrument supporting the receivable balance.

Hold percentage Refers to the percentage calculated by dividing the win by the drop. Calculated by individual table as well as by game type, day or shift, and period-to-date (cumulative). Used by casino management as a key performance indicator.

Hole card The dealer’s bottom card, which is usually dealt face-down and is not exposed to the player until after the player has finalized her hand.

Hopper A device within the slot machine that holds a predetermined amount of coin used to pay out player winnings.

Hopper fill slip A document that is used to record the replenishment’s of the coin in the hopper that are required as a result of payouts to players. The hopper fill slip indicates the amount of coin placed into the hoppers, as well as the signatures of the employees involved in the transaction, the machine number and location, and the date.

House Another term for the casino.

Independent agent An individual outside the casino location (usually in a different city) who attracts customers who wish to play in the casino. Independent agents are not employees of the casino and are compensated with a commission based on head count or the customers’ play.

Inside ticket The keno ticket that is presented by the player with his selections and amount wagered indicated. The ticket retained by the casino.

Insurance An additional wager of up to half of the original wager, which may be made on blackjack when the dealer has an ace up-card. The dealer will pay the player two-to-one if the dealer has a blackjack; otherwise, the player loses the additional wager.

Jackpot payout Refers to a jackpot or a portion of a jackpot that is paid to the player directly by slot employees instead of from the machine hopper (also known as a hand pay).

Jackpot payout slip A document that is used to record the amount of a jackpot paid to the player by slot employees. The jackpot payout slip indicates the amount paid to the player and includes the signatures of the employees involved in the transaction, the machine number and location, the winning combination, and the date.

Jai alai A game played by two or more persons involving the use of ball (pelota) and a device called a cesta, which is made from wicker and is used to receive and hurl the pelota.

Juice Refers to influence in getting things accomplished; also, the bookmaker’s commission.

Junket A group of players who travel to the casino specifically for the purpose of gaming. The travel is prearranged through a junket representative, and the players’ costs associated with traveling to and staying at he casino are normally paid by the casino.

Junket representative The individual who is responsible for organizing junkets. May be an employee of the casino or an independent agent.

Keno runner Employee who sells keno tickets and delivers winning payoffs to customers outside the keno area. Keno runners normally operate in areas such as restaurants and lounges.

Key employee Nevada Regulation 3.110 defines a key employee as an executive, employee, or agent of a casino licensee who may have a significant influence on the gaming operation or who should be included on the report required by Regulation 3.100 (Employee Report).

Lammer button Similar in appearance to a chip; lammer buttons are placed onto the table to indicate the amount of chips given on credit to a player for wagering purposes prior to the completion of a marker. Also referred to as a marker button.

Layoff A wager made by one race or sports book at another in order to reduce the amount of risk resulting from having accepted too much in wagers on one side of a particular event.

Layout The felt covering of a table for games such as blackjack or roulette, which contains designations for the betting areas.

Licensee Any person to whom a valid gaming license is issued.

Limit The maximum amount that the casino is willing to accept on any wager.

Marker An instrument used by the casino to document extensions of credit to players. The marker is similar in appearance to a check and contains the player name, player signature, the amount of credit extended, and the date.

Marker system Credit play system that allows the casino to both issue and redeem markers in the pit.

Master game report A form, usually computer generated, that summarizes information for each table in order to determine the win or loss for the table. The master game report, also known as a stiff sheet, indicates the amount of currency and chips removed from the drop box as well as fills, credits, and marker transactions that occurred at the table.

Meter A mechanical device contained in the slot machine, which may record information such as the number of coins placed into the machine, the number of coins paid out, and the number of coins dropped in the drop bucket. Computerized slot systems also contain meters to record the same type of information.

Name credit system Credit play system that allows the casino to issue markers in the pit, but redemption’s are not allowed in the pit.

Natural A seven or an eleven thrown in dice and a two-card eight or nine in baccarat.

Off the board An event that is declared ineligible for wagering. This may result from uncertainty caused by the injury to a key player.

Opener The form. used by casino supervisory personnel to document the inventory of cheques on a table at the beginning of a shift.

Our money A term used to describe the situation where a winning player is believed by casino personnel to be placing his wagers with money that has been won from the casino. In practice, the game wins a percentage of the total wagered regardless of the source.

Outside ticket A keno ticket, normally computer generated, that is presented to the player after the inside ticket and wager are received. The outside ticket indicates the numbers selected, the amount of the wager, and the game number.

Paddle The device used by the dealer or boxperson to place currency or forms into the table drop box.

Panguingui (pan) A card game similar to gin rummy in which wagers between players contribute to a pot, which is claimed by the winner.

Pari-mutuel A system of wagering on a race or sporting event whereby the winners divide the total amount wagered, net of commissions and operating expenses, proportionate to the individual amounts wagered.

Parlay Refers to a sports wager in which the outcome of the wager is dependent on the results of more than one event.

Past post A player illegally attempts to place a wager on a winning outcome after the game is closed. For example, a player attempting to place a wager on the number eight in roulette after the wheel has already been spun and eight was determined to be the winner would be past posting.

Pat hand A hand in which the blackjack player decides to maintain her original two cards without requesting additional cards.

Payoff The amount paid to the player on a winning wager.

Payout schedule A schedule that is posted or distributed by the casino to indicate to players the amount to be paid out for certain winning wagers. Payout schedules are common to slot machines as well as games such as keno and bingo.

PC See Hold percentage.

Pit An arrangement of tables within the casino, usually in a circular or oblong shape.

Pit boss The employee responsible for overseeing all activity within a particular pit. The floor persons within a pit report to the pit boss, who, in turn, reports to the casino shift supervisor.

Pit clerk An employee who is dedicated to a particular pit, but generally reports to the casino cage and is independent of casino supervisory personnel. Responsibilities include input of information resulting in the generation of fill, credit, and marker transactions corresponding to the tables within the pit.

Plaques Used primarily in casinos outside the United States, plaques are rectangular in shape and used in the same manner as cheques.

Point Any of the numbers four, five, six, eight, nine, or ten that is rolled by the shooter on the come-out roll. Players may wager that the point number will repeat prior to a seven being rolled.

Poker A card game using one deck, in which the participants play against each other instead of the casino. The players’ wagers contribute to a pot, which is claimed by the winner. The casino removes a percentage of the pot as a commission. See also Rake-off.

Progressive slot machine An individual slot machine or one linked to a group of machines, in which the jackpot amount increases with each coin wagered by the player.

Push Refers to the situation where the result of the hand played is a tie between the player and the casino.

Rabbit ears A term used to describe the two tubes into which the winning balls are blown on a keno game. The tubes allow the numbers on the balls to be displayed to players as well as employees.

Race book A business that accepts wagers on horse or other races.

Rake-off A percentage taken by the casino as a commission from customers playing poker.

Random number generator Used in keno in place of a blower and rabbit ears to determine the numbers selected.

Reel strip listing Arrangement of the symbols and spaces on the slot machine reel strips.

Second base A player sitting in a position to the left of first base at the table.

Shift boss The employee responsible for overseeing all activity in the casino during a shift. Also referred to as a casino shift supervisor. The shift boss reports directly to the casino manager.

Shill An individual who works for the casino and acts in the same manner as a player in order to encourage play on a slow game.

Shoe A device located on the table that is used to hold shuffled cards prior to the cards being dealt. The shoe normally will hold four to eight decks at one time.

Shortpay A payout made by a slot machine that is less than the amount indicated by the payout schedule. Occurs when the hopper becomes depleted during a payout; the remaining amount is paid to the player by slot employees.

Single deck A form of blackjack in which the dealer deals from only one deck of cards, which are usually held in the dealer’s hand.

Sleeper A winning wager that is unclaimed by the player. Sleepers occur on race, sports, and keno wagers.

Slot booth A booth in the slot area operated by a cashier who is responsible for making change for slot customers, redeeming coin, conducting hopper fill transactions, and making jackpot payouts.

Slug A counterfeit coin or token that is used to cheat slot machines.

Snake-eyes Athrow of the dice in craps on which both dice come up on the one.

Soft count The process through which the contents of each table’s drop box are counted and recorded on the master game report. The soft count is performed by a team of employees who report to a department independent of the casino.

Split A wager option in blackjack in which the player can elect to convert a hand consisting of identical-value cards into separate hands. The player makes a wager in an amount equal to the original wager on the second hand.

Sports pool A business that accepts wagers on sporting or other events with the exception of horse or other race events.

Stand See Pat.

Stiff sheet See Master game report.

Sweat card A plastic card placed near the end of the deck by the dealer to indicate the point at which the cards will be reshuffled.

Table card For premium players wagering through the use of call bets, the table card is a form. used to track player wins and losses until the end of the period of play. When the period of play is complete, any amount owed by the player will be settled to a marker and the marker number will be indicated on the table card as a reference. Also referred to as an auxiliary table card, player card, or a call bet sheet.

Table float The inventory of cheques maintained on a table in a tray that is secured by a clear lockable cover when the table is not in use. See also Game bankroll.

Tapped-out Describes the situation in which the player has used all of his bankroll available for wagering.

Theoretical hold worksheet A worksheet provided by the manufacturer for all slot machines, which indicates the theoretical percentages that the slot machine should hold based on adequate levels of coin-in. The worksheet also indicates the reel strip settings, number of coins that may be played, the payout schedule, the number of reels, and other information descriptive of the particular type of slot machine (also known as a spec sheet).

Third base The player sitting to the right of the dealer.

Toke Term used to describe tips given to casino personnel by players.

Tokens Substitutes for coins, produced so that they are unique to each casino, which are used for slot machine play. Tokens are primarily used for slot machines with denominations of $1 or more.

Vigorish Commission taken by the casino on wagers including baccarat bankers bets and sports wagers.

Walk Refers to the player leaving a table at the end of a period of play.

Walked with Refers to the amount of chips with which a player leaves the table with at the conclusion of a period of play.

Weigh count The dollar amount of coins and tokens removed from the slot machine drop buckets and counted by the hard count team through the use of a weigh scale.

Wheel Term used to refer to the roulette wheel.

Whiz machine A machine used for dispensing and controlling manual slips used for table fills, table credits, slot hopper fills, and slot jackpot payouts. The supply of slips contained in the machine is usually in triplicate, with one copy remaining in a secured compartment within the machine once the slips are dispensed. Whiz machines are primarily used as a backup in the event of computer failure.

Win See Gross revenue.

Wrap The dollar amount of coins and tokens removed from the slot machine drop buckets and wrapped by the hard count team.

Write The total amount wagered in the race book, sports book, keno, and bingo.

Writer An employee of the race book, sports book, or keno who writes tickets.