Gambling Slang Across the Pond

Discover some of our classic American slang for slots, casino and more!
04/11/2024
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Gambling Slang in the UK vs the US

Taking the action Stateside? We've got you. See, it's not just the land-based casinos that are different in the USA, the slang is different too! And we're not talking about the British lingo, like “cuppa” and “piece of cake”. Nuh-uh. We’re talking the lingo y'all hear on the casino floors.

But don't sweat it if you haven't got the American casino slang down pat yet (how about that for some UK lingo!). We're not going to let our new buds hit the USA without a few phrases to get them started. 

So, go on. Keep reading to get a head start.


General Gambling Slang

Let's kick off with some typical terms that you might hear if you were playing on the other side of the Atlantic:

Bankroll - A technical term for the budget you've set for playing, be it on online slot machines or live dealer casino games.

Buck - When a player bets a buck, they are staking $100. This is known as a 'ton' in the UK.

Cage - Had a win in the casino? Then you can take your chips to the cage to get your cash.

Dime - A couple of levels up from a buck, a dime is a $1,000 bet.

Double Sawbuck – This right here is old-school slang dating all the way back to the 1800s. One sawbuck was worth $10, so double is $20. Nowadays, a double sawbuck is slang for a $20 bet.

Juice - Fortunately at online casinos in the UK you will never have to worry about the 'juice'. This is the commission charged on a bet in the US, mostly on Craps and Baccarat.

Nickel – A nickel might mean just five cents but dropping a nickel on an American casino floor holds a lot more weight. See, placing a nickel means you're placing a $500 bet.

Wager - Another way of referring to a bet.


Casino Lingo

Want to impress your buddies with some American casino slang? You're likely to hear some of these if you head into one of the 14 Bally's brick-and-mortar casinos in the US, where we've been entertaining players for over 90 years.

Try and use a few of these the next time you play with them.

Action - This is simple - getting in on the action means having an active bet on the table.

Backtrack - Also known as the ball track, this is the part of the roulette wheel where the ball spins before ending up in one of the numbered pockets.

Card Washing - This sounds fancier than shuffling, right? Dealers will card wash, or shuffle, during blackjack and before the start of each poker game.

Crapshoot - A 'crapshoot' is a risky or unsafe bet which you are more likely to lose than win - steer clear of these, folks.

Re-bet - Happy with your stake from the past round? You can re-bet to repeat your wager, and this option is available on our online and live casino games.

Third Baseman - Inspired by a baseball position, this is the seat closest to the dealer's right at the blackjack table. The 'third baseman' is the last to play their hand in the round.


Slots Slang

Online slot games are hugely popular back in the US, which is the original home of the slot machine after all. Check out some of the lingo below.

Big Bertha - You can't find too many Big Berthas these days! This was the name for one of the first slot machines, which usually had multiple reels.

Hit and Run - A slot strategy where players hope for a quick win before cashing out and either playing a different game or leaving the casino.

One-Armed Bandit - Just like the Big Bertha, this was a nickname for an early slot machine. One-armed bandits had a lever on the side, and players would pull this to spin the reels – you can still find these awesome machines in Vegas.

Sound of Rain - The unmistakable sound of real money being paid out of a machine. This is slang for the noise made by coins dropping into the metal tray after a big win.

Tight Slots - When you play online slots with a lower Return To Player (RTP) rate, it is known as 'tight' back home in the US. These games are known for paying out less on average, but they do have the potential to award bigger wins because of their high volatility.

Wide Area Progressive (WAP) - Good news - you can play plenty of WAP slots here at Bally Casino! Any game with a jackpot linked to a network across different casinos falls into this category, so it applies to our Jackpot King and Daily Jackpot games.

Zig-Zag - Any slot that doesn't have classic paylines is said to 'zig-zag' - have a look at our Megaways games for the perfect example.


Poker Phrases

The history of poker is seriously rich, folks. So, if you're new here, you'll have to get used to the lingo before you start playing - here are a few to begin with.

Ace in the Hole - When you've got a sure chance of winning, you’ve got an 'ace in the hole'. This is when your opponent can't possibly beat your hand with the cards on the table.

Bad Beat - Poker can be a tough game at times. A 'bad beat' happens when your opponent steals the win from you on the river or the turn, one of the final two community cards dealt.

Dirty Stack - It's important to remember your etiquette when you play poker online or in a casino. A dirty stack refers to chips that aren't organised correctly when you place a bet, leaving other players to rearrange them.

Muck - You don't have to show your cards to your rivals of course - when you lose, you can 'muck' and hand them back to the dealer face down, unless you've gone all-in.

Sailboats - Slang for pocket 4s, as the number 4 supposedly looks like a sail.

Shark - A highly skilled poker player is known as a shark. Luckily you can avoid these at Bally Casino with our Cash Games+ events, with buy-ins from only £2.

Sweeten the Pot - Don't want to bet big? You can 'sweeten the pot' with a small wager, designed to keep other players in the game if you have a good hand.


Sportsbook Terms

Sports betting is growing all the time in the US, having been legalised in 2018. If you're interested in American sports, then get yourself familiar with these phrases before you place a wager.

Backdoor Cover - Similar to a bad beat in poker, this is a scoring play late in the game that allows a team to cover the handicap spread. For example, if you back a team to win by nine points, a last-minute field goal (worth three) to put them 10 in front would be a backdoor cover.

Dog Player - Anyone who frequently bets on the underdog in a game is known as a 'dog player'.

Lock - A bet seen as a sure thing - of course, there are no guarantees in gambling, folks.

Longshot - Not just an underdog, but a team that is incredibly unlikely to win. Miracles do happen, though…

Money Line - These straight-up bets are placed on the outcome of a game, so the odds can be quite different from handicap wagers.

Pick 'em - A game between two equally matched teams, where each is priced to have a very similar chance of winning.


Now you're up to date with the lingo, step right in at Bally Casino and experience our classic casino games, slick slots and much more.