Glossary of Gambling Terms
Ace- (1)The highest-ranking card in most card games. (2)The one-spot on a die. (3)A $1 bill.
Ace-Deuced- Died, passed away.
Acey-Deucey- A variation of the game of backgammon.
Ada from Decatur- In craps, slang for the point of 8.
Agent- A person who works in collusion with a crooked casino dealer to cheat the house. Also known as an "A."
Baccarat-Baccarat, under its earlier name, baccara, first made its appearance in America in 1911, and by 1912 several of New York City's illegal gambling clubs featured baccara tables. The game disappeared from the American scene a few years later when the structurally similar blackjack was introduced. It wasn't until the late 1950s that baccaret again became popular in Nevada casinos. The game is dealt from an eight-deck shoe, with the player's hand and the banker's hand each given two cards alternately. To win at baccarat, a player has to select the winning hand between the player's hand and the banker's hand. The object of the game is to get as close to 9 as possible. Ties are a standoff. Face cards, 10s, and any combination of cards totaling 10 have 0 value. If the player's hand is 0,1,2,3,4, or 5, it automatically receives a hit card. On any other total, the player stands. The bank's play depends on the player's outcome. The following is the "Third-Card Rule":
If the player takes no card, the banker must draw on 0 through 5 or stand on 6 through 9. All player bets are paid at even money. Ties are paid off 8 to 1. Bank bets are also paid at even money, but a 5-percent commission is charged.
Back Line (Betting the)- In craps, betting that the dice won't pass (i.e., win).
Back to Back- Two cards of the same denomination consisting of the hole card and the top card. Frequently used expression when the dealer has a 10-point value card showing and the same value card in the hole.
Barber Pole- To bet a stack of chips that are different colors and different denominations. A practice frowned on by dealers and casinos because the chips must be separated by the dealer when the bet is made.
Barboot (also known as Barboutie and Barbout)- An even-money dice game where the house makes its money by taking a percentage of the money wagered. Has only been licensed in the State of Nevada on one or two occasions.
Beef- A complaint, fight, or argument.
Benjie- A $100 bill.
Bet- Any wager made on the outcome of an event.
Bevels or Beveled Dice- Crooked dice with one or more sides slightly rounded, rather than flat, so that the dice tend to roll off the rounded surface more often than the flat surface.
Big Dick- In craps, slang for the number 10.
Big Eight- On a craps table, a space where the player can make a wager that the dice will roll an 8 before they roll a 7. The wager pays even money.
Big Red- In craps, slang for the number 7.
Big Six- On a craps table, a space where the player can make a wager that the dice will roll a 6 before they roll a 7. The wager pays even money.
Big-Six Wheel- A giant, upright wheel-about five feet in diameter and eight feet tall-that stands on a pedestal behind the layout. Around the rim of the wheel are 54 spaces with individual pictures of three dice, each bearing different combinations. The players put their money on one or more numbers on the layout, and the dealer spins the wheel in a clock-wise direction. Nails projecting from the outer edge of the wheel's rim separate the spaces and pass under a leather paddle at the top of the wheel. When the wheel comes to a stop, the section in which the paddle rests is the winning combination. The betting, layout, and payoffs are the same as in the game of chuck-a-luck.
The layout bears the numbers 1,2,3,4,5, and 6. Players place their bets on one or more of the layout numbers. After the wheel stops, if a player's number appears on one die, he gets paid even money; if his number appears on two dice, he gets paid off at 2 to 1; and if all three dice bear his number, he gets paid off at 3 to 1.
Big-six wheels were common in the early days of Nevada gambling. However, the game's strong percentage against the player (the house percentage is over 22 percent) brought about its demise. There are currently no big-six wheels licensed in Nevada.
Bird Cage- A wire cage used in the games of over-and-under-7 and chuck-a-luck. The cage contains the dice used in the operation of the games.
Black and Whites- Dealers.
Blackjack- (1) Two cards with a total point value of 21-an ace and a 10, jack, queen, or king. (2) See Twenty-One.
Bleeder- A pit boss who worries and agonizes about money lost by the casino. Sometimes called a "sweater."
Blow- To lose money.
Bottom Dealer- A cheating dealer who deals cards from the bottom of the deck.
Box Cars- In craps, a pair of 6s on the dice for a total of 12.
Boxman- A person who sits on a low chair located directly behind the drop box at a dice table. The boxman observes all action on the craps table and verifies all payoffs and money transactions. The boxman also verifies the authenticity and denomination of bills handed in for change and, in the early days of gaming, put the bills in the drop box.
Break In- A new dealer.
Breaking Card- A hit card that will cause the player or the dealer to go over twenty-one.
Break the Deck- To shuffle the deck. When the deck is rich in aces or 10-count cards, the pit boss will sometimes tell the dealer to "break the deck" so that the player does not have an advantage. Breaking the deck is a preventative measure that casinos take against card counters.
Bubble and Peek- The name given to the action performed by a cheating "seconds dealer" when he is getting a peek at his top card. He will save his top card and keep dealing the second card until he finds a use for his top card.
Bullet- An ace.
Burn Card- The card taken from the top of a newly shuffled deck and discarded or placed at the bottom of the deck.
Busted- (1) When a 21 player's total card count exceeds 21. (2) When a player or the house loses all their money, they are "busted."
Busters- In craps, a pair of "tops" (mis-spotted dice). Tops are made in various combinations that make only certain numbers. They are called busters because one combination will bust up another combination.
Bust-Out Man- A dice mechanic who specializes in switching crooked dice in and out of a craps game.
C and E- In a craps game, slang for a bet where the player splits his wager on the 11 and (any) craps.
Call Bet- To make a bet without putting up any money. Seldom accepted in a casino. Most craps layouts have "no call bets accepted" printed on them.
Carpet Joint- In the early days of gambling, when few casinos had carpets, a carpet joint was a luxurious casino. See also Sawdust Joint.
Case- In faro, the abacus-type counting board on which a record is kept of the cards used in the deal and whether they won or lost.
Case Bet- (1) The bet made with a player's last remaining money. (2) The last bet. (3) A bet made in faro when three cards of one denomination are gone. Naturally, only one card of the denomination remains, so it is an even bet as to whether the remaining card will be a winner or a loser.
Case Card- The last undealt card of any denomination-for example, the last king in the deck.
Case Keeper- In faro, the employee who operates the case during the game.
Case the Deck- Keep track of which cards have been dealt out of the deck and which cards remain in the deck.
Casino Host Someone who greets players, especially high-rollers; tracks their play; provides them with complimentary meals, show tickets, and hotel rooms; takes care of their needs; buys gifts for the player and/or his family; and in general sees that all good players are recognized.
Casino Manager- The person in charge of the gaming operation of a casino.
Catwalk- The ramps above a casino where casino security personnel walk to look at the action in the casino. They are concealed by one-way mirrors. Sometimes called the "peek" or the "eye in the sky." Nowadays, casino action is observed by electronic surveillance systems, and catwalks are seldom used by security personnel.
Check Racker- A casino employee who works at a roulette table along with the roulette dealer. A racker helps pick up the roulette checks (chips), helps rack them, and helps with the payoffs. A check racker is usually an employee in training to become a dealer.
Checks- See Chips.
Chemin-de-Fer- An ancient game, sometimes called "shimmy," first developed in France in the 1400s. It was introduced to America in Florida, shortly after World War I, and was a very popular game in the plush Florida casinos during the 1940s. Chemin-de-fer was introduced to Nevada in 1958 at the Star Dust Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas. It was soon available at many other Strip casinos, but it never became as popular as the very similar game of baccaret. Chemin-de-fer is similar to baccarat, with the major exception being that the casino operators take no risk, since the players bet against each other. The operators make their money by taking a 5-percent cut out of the player's winning bet. The object of the game is to win by holding a combination of two or three cards totaling 9 or as close as possible to 9, or to a two-digit number ending in 9. When the total of the cards is a two-digit number, only the latter digit has any value. For example, a 6 and a 4 (10) would count as 0, or a 10 and a 5 (15) would count as 5. The ace is the lowest-ranking card and has a point value of 1. Kings, queens, and jacks have a value of 10; all other cards have their numerical face values. If, after the first two cards are dealt, neither the player or the banker has an 8 or a 9, the many complicated rules of the game determine if the player and/or the banker stands or draws another card, and the winning and losing bets are settled at that time. If the banker wins, he retains the deal; if he loses, the deal passes to the player to his right and the game continues.
Chips- A token, usually made of a mixture of clay and vinyl or a mixture of brass and plastic, used for betting purposes instead of currency or coin. Chips come in various denominations, and their color is mandated by the Gaming Control Board. One-dollar chips, although many casinos use metal tokens for dollars, must be blue; $5 chips must be red; $25 chips must be green; and $100 chips must be black.
Chuck-A-Luck (or Bird Cage)- A game quite popular in the early days of legalized gambling but not currently licensed in Nevada. The equipment and rules are as follows: Three two-inch dice are tumbled in a wire cage shaped like an hourglass. The slim waist of the cage is encircled by a metal band connected to an axle on which the cage turns. The three dice tumble from end to end of the cage when it is spun, then come to rest on one of the drum-like coverings at the end of the cage. The layout bears the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Players place their bets on one or more of the layout numbers. After the cage is spun and the dice come to rest, if a player's number appears on one die, he gets even money; if his number appears on two dice, he gets paid off at 2 to 1; and if his number appears on all three dice, the payoff is 3 to 1.
Clerk- A dealer.
Clock- (1) To count or keep track of the amount of money wagered at a given table or game. (2) To keep a record of the numbers that have come up on a roulette game or on a dice game.
Cold Deck- A deck of cards that has been illegally and secretly arranged in a certain order. The deck is then switched for the deck currently in play, either by the dealer and his agent, or by an outside cheater.
Come-Out Roll- The initial roll of the dice when a dice shooter is trying to establish a point.
Comp- Slang for complimentary. "Comps" are given to regular players and high-rollers as a " reward" for their patronage. The "rewards" can be in the form of meals, drinks, hotel rooms, showroom tickets, or any other amenity that a casino has to offer.
Cooler- See Cold Deck.
Copper- (1) noun: In faro, a small six-sided chip put on a bet to signify that a player is betting that the card will be a loser. (2) verb: In faro, to put the copper on a bet.
Court Card- A jack, queen, or king.
Cowboy- (1) A fast and reckless gambler. (2) To act wild and irresponsibly.
Craps- A game that has been played, in one form or another, for over two thousand years. It first became popular in the United States in the 1800s, especially in New Orleans and along the Mississippi River. In 1907 John Winn developed the first craps layout that allowed a player to bet whether the dice would "win" or "lose." Within a few years, the Winn layout, and variations of it, were used throughout the United States in the many illegal craps games being operated in most major cities. The popularity of craps continued to grow, and during World War II tens of thousands of serviceman played the game anywhere and anytime they could. From 1945 to the late 1960s, craps was the most popular casino game. In the 1960s, after Dr. Thorp's book on card -counting became a best-seller, more and more 21 games were licensed, and today craps runs a distant second in popularity to 21.
Craps is played with two dice and any numbers of players. To begin the game, a player, called the "shooter," throws the dice. His first roll of the dice is called the "come-out roll." If, on the come-out roll, the shooter throws a natural (a 7 or an 11), it is a winning decision called a "pass"; a craps (a 2, 3, or 12) is a losing decision called a "miss-out." If the shooter throws a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10, that number becomes his point and he continues rolling the dice until he either throws his point again, which is a winning decision (a pass), or he throws a 7, which is a losing decision (a miss-out). When a player misses out on a point, the dice pass to the next player on his left. The dice continue on around the table in a clockwise direction. On the come-out roll of the dice, the players may bet that the dice will pass or miss-out. They may also bet on any other combination on the layout. After the first roll, the players may bet that the next roll of the dice will be a winning decision (a don't-come bet), and they may continue to do so until the shooter's point is made or missed.
Along with the come and don't-come bets, other bets that can be made at any time by any of the players at the table include: (1) One-roll bets. As the name implies, these bets are good for one roll only and include the "horn," which is a method of covering the numbers 2, 3, 11, or 12 with one wager; any craps (covers the numbers 2, 3, and 12); individual bets on 2, 3, 7, 11, or 12, or any hard-way numbers. The field is also a one-roll bet, and it consists of the numbers 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, and 12. If any of these numbers is rolled, the player wins. If 2 is rolled, the player is paid double, and if 12 is rolled, the player is paid three times his bet. (2) Place Bets. These are bets that the player may place on certain specific numbers. The numbers 4 and 10 pay odds of 9 to 5, the numbers 5 and 9 pay odds of 7 to 5, and the numbers 6 and 8 pay odds of 7 to 6. Place bets can be made at any time and can be taken off or called off at any time. (3) Big-Six and Big-Eight Bets. These are bets made on a section of the layout marked with a red 6 and a red 8. The player is betting that a 6 or an 8 will be rolled before a 7 is rolled. Winners are paid at even money. (4) Hard-Way Bets. These are bets that a player makes when he is betting that a specific number (4, 6, 8, or 10) will be thrown with two double numbers. The player loses if the number is made any other way than with doubles (for example, 5 and 5 or 4 and 4), or if a 7 is rolled.
Credit- (1) When a table has an excess of chips, a procedure is initiated by the pit boss to return the excess to the cashier's cage. (2) The amount of money that a casino will extend to a player in order for the player to gamble. Credit can be either in the form of markers or in check-cashing privileges.
Credit Manager- The individual who determines the amount of credit that a casino will extend to a player and who is responsible for operating the credit office. His decisions on credit will be given final approval by the casino manager and/or the general manager.
Counter (Card-Counter)- A player who tracks the cards that have been played in order to gain an advantage by knowing which cards have been played and which remain in the deck.
Count Room- Rooms where the money collected from table games and slot machines is counted. The room where the currency from the pit drop-boxes is counted is called the "soft-count room." The room where coins from the drop-boxes or buckets located beneath the slot machines is counted is called the "hard-count room."
Crap Out- In a craps game, to roll a 2, 3, 0r 12 on the come-out roll. A crap-out is a loser for the front line and a winner or a stand-off for the back line. The expression is sometimes used erroneously when a shooter rolls a 7 and misses out.
Crimp- (1) Bending cards so that a deck can be cut at a certain place or so that a player can identify a card by its bend. (2) The name of the bend.
Crossroader- Any cheater who attempts to beat (illegally) any type of gambling game.
Daub- (1) A paste or fluid used in marking the backs of cards so a cheater can distinguish one card from another. Different daubs are concocted for use on the backs of red decks and blue decks. (2) The act of applying the daub.
Dauber- An individual applying "daub" to the cards.
Deuce- (1) A die with two spots. (2) A $2 bill. (3) Any two-spot card.
Deuce Dealing- A method of cheating in which a crooked dealer deals the second card from the top of the deck when he appears to be-and should be- dealing the card on the top of the deck. See Seconds Dealing.
Dice Bowl- In craps, the container in front of the boxman containing the dice not in use.
Dolly- The marker used to indicate the winning number on a roulette table.
Double Sawbuck- A $20 bill.
Drag Down- To reduce the size of a wager on the next bet or to take the winnings and leave only the original bet on the table.
Drilling- A method of cheating a slot machine where the cheat drills a hole in the side of the machine and inserts a wire that trips the payoff mechanism. This method of cheating has been almost entirely eliminated by the installation of anti-theft devices in modern slot machines.
Drop- (1) The cash used to purchase chips or tokens at a casino table game and "dropped" through a slot into the box located beneath the table. (2) The coins taken out of a slot machine by the casino.
Drop Box- The removable, locked container located under a casino pit game that holds the money used by players to purchase tokens and chips for the game.
Drop Buckets- The containers located under slot machines that catch any overflow of coins that have been fed into the machines.
Dry or Dry-Holed- Expression used to describe a player who has lost his money and is "busted."
Dummy Up- Keep quiet.
Dump the Tray- In the early days of gaming, illegally losing money to a confederate (an agent). Today, the term means simply that the dealer has lost a great deal of money to a player.
Early Out or E.O.- What happens when a dealer gets off work early or gets the last break of the shift, enabling him to leave work before the majority of other employees on the same shift.
Easy-Way- In craps, when the shooter makes a 4, 6, 8, or 10 any way except in pairs. For example, an easy-way 8 would be 6-2 or 5-3, while a pair of 4's would be a hard-way 8.
Edge Work- A deck of cards marked with a slight bevel drawn on certain points of each card between the design and the edge of the card. A bevel mark high up might indicate an ace, lower down a king, etc.
Eighter (Ada) from Decatur- In craps, slang for the number 8.
Eight, Skate, and Donate- In craps, slang for the number 8.
Eighty-Six (86)- (1) To throw someone out of the building or gaming area. (2) To cut someone off from drinking. (3) To bar someone from entering a casino or gaming area.
Eye in the Sky- (1) Slang for the person working in a casino security observation area. (2) The area over a casino floor that is used as an observation area. Nowadays, the "eye in the sky" function is performed by electronic surveillance cameras; however, there are usually one or more people working in the surveillance area to oversee the cameras, monitors, and video tapes.
Face Card- A king, queen, or jack in a deck of cards.
Fade- In craps, matching or covering the amount of money wagered by the shooter. The term is used in private craps games only, not in bank craps.
False Cut- A cut that leaves the deck or part of the deck in its original location.
Faro- A game that originated in France in the seventeenth century and was first known as Pharaoh or Pharoo. It entered the United States by way of New Orleans in the eighteenth century, and shortly after the Louisiana Purchase (1803) became the most widely played gambling house game in the country. It was not until the early twentieth century that it was surpassed in popularity by the game of craps.
Faro is played with a standard fifty-two-card deck. The deck is shuffled, cut, and placed face-up in an open-top box called the dealing box. The faro dealer removes the top card, laying it face-up a short distance from the dealing box to start a pile to which all the winning cards will be added. The dealer then removes another card from the top of the deck, placing that one face-up alongside the dealing box. The third card in the deck, remaining on top of the deck in the dealing box, has now been exposed and identified. The second and third cards in the deck, unknown when the full deck was placed in the dealing box, form the first turn, or pair of cards on which betting can be done. In all, twenty-five pairs of cards are worked from the deck; the final card, because it can't be paired with another, is discarded and does not figure in the betting. The card remaining in the dealing box is considered the winner, and the card drawn from the box is the loser.
The common bet in faro is whether the card the player bets on is a winner or a loser. To bet the card is a winner, the player simply places his bet on the card; if he is betting that it will be a loser, he places a "copper" (a small six-sided black chip) on the bet. Bets can also be made on the high or low card in the turn. There are actually ninety-seven ways that bets can be made. This number is arrived at because of various splits and combinations of cards that are available for the player. A case-keeper manipulates an abacus-type counting board with beads (called a case) that shows which denominations and how many of them have already been removed from the dealing box or exposed on top of it. This makes it easier for a player to follow the action and progress of the game at any time. A player must pay careful attention to the case if he is to play the game to his best advantage.
Many players think that faro is an even-money bet for the house. However, no single house-percentage figure can be given for the entire game. The house percentage varies at each stage of the game, depending on how many denominations of the card a player is betting on have been disposed of and how many cards remain in the box. The casino's actual earnings are low because few customers bet until at least three cards of any denomination have been disposed of-thereby raising their chances of winning. Faro reaches its climax on the twenty-fifth or final turn. There are several ways a player can bet the final turn, depending on the cards left in the box. When the denomination of all three cards in the final turn is different, a player can "call the turn" and take a chance on naming both the winner and the loser in the turn, with the probability of one chance in six of being correct. This bet pays 4 to 1.
Few casinos still offer faro. The game is not attractive to the house because of its low percentage and the fact that it often costs more to operate than it takes in. Players don't care for it because most of the payoffs are even money and because the game demands concentration and patience. Casinos and players alike currently demand fast-action games with high payoffs.
Fat- A person with a lot of money.
Fever- In craps, slang for the number 5.
Field- In craps, that portion of the layout that covers betting on the numbers 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, and 12.
Fills- Replacement money for table-game trays or slot-machine hoppers. Each table and slot machine starts operation with a fixed amount of money. When that amount is reduced to a certain level, it must be replenished to its original level by making a "fill."
Fill Slip- A form, in triplicate, signed by a pit boss or slot supervisor, a security guard, and a cashier, stating that a certain amount of chips and/or tokens is being delivered to a table game or a slot machine. The three copies of a fill slip are disbursed as follows: one goes to the table game or slot machine, one stays with the casino cashier, and one stays in the fill-machine box.
First Base- In a 21 game, the player closest to the dealer's left, the first position.
Flash- When a dealer exposes the top card or the hole card to a player, thereby enabling the player to know whether to hit or stand.
Flat Bet- A wager that is paid, when won, with the same amount as bet. An even-money bet.
Flat Passers- Dice shaved on various sides so that the numbers rolled most frequently are 4, 5, 9, and 10. Those numbers are passing or winning numbers.
Flats (or Flat Dice)- Crooked dice that have been shaved so that they are slightly brick-shaped.
Flat Store- A casino that cheats its customers, usually by operating rigged games or by using altered equipment, such as dice
Flop- In hold-'em poker, the turning up, by the dealer, of three common cards in the center of the table.
Foreign Chips- In a casino, a chip from another casino.
Frets- The metal partitions that separate each of the thirty-eight numbered sections of a roulette wheel.
Front Line- In craps, the area on the lay-out for making the initial bet before a shooter begins a new sequence of rolls. It is also known as the pass line.
Front Money- Cash deposited in the cashier's cage or "put up front" by a high-stakes player. This deposit allows the player to be granted credit while playing.
Gaff- To alter or rig any gambling equipment with the intent of cheating the customer.
Gaming Commission (Nevada)- Created in 1959, its primary job is licensing. This group grants or denies gaming licenses, and it can revoke, suspend, or condition licenses of existing gambling operations. Although the Gaming Commission acts on the recommendations of the Gaming Control Board, the Commission's action is independent of the Gaming Control Board. The Gaming Commission has the power to hold disciplinary hearings and to set regulations that gaming establishments must follow to the letter.
The Gaming Commission is made up of five part-time members appointed by the governor for staggered four-year terms. No more than three members can be of the same political party, no more than two from the same occupational area, and none can have a financial interest in any gaming establishment.
Gaming Control Board (Nevada)- A three-member state board, created in 1955, that investigates all applicants for major licensing and has the responsibility of enforcing all the gaming laws and regulations of the State of Nevada. Its agents have peace-officer authority to appear unannounced to examine any gaming premises. They also have the authority to seize equipment and supplies and to examine and audit the papers, books, and records of any gaming establishment in the state of Nevada.
The three members are appointed to four-year terms by the governor. Each member is required to have specific expertise in an aspect of the gaming industry. The chairman must have at least five years of administrative experience; a second member must have five years of experience as a certified public accountant and be an expert in corporate financing and auditing; and the third member must have full training and experience in law enforcement or law.
George- A player who bets money for a dealer and/or gives money to a dealer as a "toke" or tip. Also known as a "live one."
Go for the Money- To cheat, in any manner, in order to "win" money from a player.
Goose- In bingo or keno, the plastic, metal, or, formerly, wooden container that holds all the balls to be drawn in the calling of the game.
Grind- To play conservatively, betting small amounts of money; to play to make a profit, slowly but surely.
Grind Joint- A casino that caters to low-limit players, shuns high-rollers, and attempts to make a profit from volume play rather than from high-limit players.
Gross Gaming Revenue- In a casino, the total of all money won, prior to expenses.
Hand In- In a casino, a tip given directly to a dealer rather than the player making a bet for the dealer.
Hand Mucker- A cheater who illegally puts cards in and takes other cards out of a card game in order to give himself a winning hand.
Hand Mucking- A method of illegally introducing a card (or cards) into a game, usually a 21 game, but it can also be done in other card games. The cheater exchanges a secreted card (or cards) for the cards (or cards) he was dealt and thereby creates a winning hand for himself.
Hand Pay- When a casino employee pays a customer-by hand-the money that has been won at a slot machine.
Hard Way- In craps, the numbers 4, 6, 8, and 10 can be made the easy way or the hard way. Hard-way numbers are made with two duplicate numbers, such as two 2s, two 3s, two 4s, or two 5s.
Hazard- One of the first games to be legalized by the State of Nevada in 1931, hazard is estimated to be at least seven hundred years old. Hazard lost its popularity after the introduction of 21 (or blackjack), and there are currently no hazard games licensed in Nevada. Hazard is played with three dice and is similar to chuck-a-luck. The layout bears the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, and a player may place his bet on one or more of the layout numbers. The layout also allows for twenty-five other wagers, including betting on "raffles," a bet that any specific three of a kind (three aces, or three deuces, etc.) will appear; any "raffle," a bet that any three of a kind will appear; a low bet, a bet that the total count on the dice will be 10 or below; a high bet, a bet that the total count on the dice will be 11 or more; or an odd-and-even bet, a bet that the total count on the dice will add up to an even or odd number. A player may also bet that he can pick the exact winning number of the total count, such as 4, 5, 6, 7, and so on, up to and including 17. After all bets have placed, the "bird cage" containing the three dice is "flopped," and the winning and losing wagers are settled.
High-Low Bet- In craps, a one-roll bet made on the numbers 2 and 12. If either number is rolled, the bet is a winner.
High-Roller- A high-limit bettor and big-spender.
Hock- In faro, the last card in the dealing box.
Hold- The amount of money that a gaming device or a casino wins, or keeps, out of the amount of money wagered by a player.
Hold Check- A postdated check that a casino accepts from a player and holds until the player has a chance to deposit money in his account to cover the check.
Hold Out- A cheating practice when a player palms one or more cards that he will put back in the game at an appropriate time. Comparable to hand-mucking, when a player illegally runs cards in and out of a game.
Hole Card- In 21, the card dealt face-down to the dealer; in poker, any cards that are not exposed.
Hop Bet- A one-roll bet on any combination of the dice. Two pairs, such as 6-6, 4-4, 5-5, etc., pay 30 to 1. Other combinations such as 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, etc., pay 15 to 1.
Hopper- The part of a slot machine that holds the coins. When a player wins at a slot machine, the winning coins come out of the hopper.
Horn Bet- In craps, a one-roll bet that enables a player to win if the numbers 2, 3, 11, or 12 are rolled.
Huckley-Buck- (1) Busy and hectic. (2) A way of gambling that is fast, loose, and reckless.
In- As in, how much a player is "in" the game. For example, a player who has purchased $5,000 worth of chips is "in" $5,000.
Insurance Bet- When a player in a 21 game bets that the dealer has a natural blackjack. The bet is made when the dealer is showing an ace as his top card. A winning bet is paid 3 to 2.
Jimmy Hicks- In craps, slang for the number 6.
Jonah- A person whose presence is thought to bring bad luck.
Juice- (1) A connection or an "in" that gives someone an advantage or an edge. For example, "I've got 'juice' with Bill; he can get me a job at the Sands." (2) Payoff or protection money paid by an illegal operation to a law-enforcement agency so the operation will be allowed to continue.
Juice Dealer- The operator of a craps table or roulette wheel that uses electricity to control the dice or the movement of the wheel.
Juice Joint- A gambling establishment devoted to cheating, especially by means of electromagnetically controlled dice tables or roulette wheels.
Keno- (1) One of the first games to be legalized by the State of Nevada in March 1931. The original keno game was played in 1931 just as bingo is played today, except that there was no "free play" on the center square. The word keno is derived from quine, meaning five, and in the original form of the game, the first player to get five beans, or markers, in a row was the winner and announced it by shouting "quine" or "keno." During the 1920s, and even today, many social organizations played keno for fund-raising purposes. They sometimes called the game beano or bingo, rather than keno, because keno was then associated with "hard gambling." Because the general public was more familiar with the name keno than it was with bingo, the word keno was used when gaming was legalized in 1931. The name tango was also given to the game we now know as bingo. Neither keno nor tango should be confused with the current game of keno, that was first legalized in 1936 and known then-and for many years thereafter-as racehorse keno. (2) A game patterned after the ancient Chinese lottery that was renamed racehorse keno and legalized in 1936. The game was generally known as racehorse keno until around 1960. The first legal racehorse keno game was opened in the Palace Club in Reno in May 1936. To begin a racehorse keno game, a player marks his choice of numbers and the amount of money he wishes to wager on the next game on a numbered ticket, then gives his ticket to the keno writer. The player may choose any amount of numbers from 1 to 80. The amount of money he may wager depends on the casino's limit. The keno writer makes a duplicate copy of the player's selection and gives it the player. The original ticket is kept by the keno writer, and all payoffs are based on the numbers marked on the original ticket. The game is played with eighty numbered balls in a container. The player wins or loses his wager by how many of the numbers he has selected match the numbers on the balls that have been randomly selected from the container. There are literally thousands of payoffs possible in a keno game, and some of the payoffs can be very high. A player can win $50,000 by wagering as little as $2. Keno, once a very popular game, today generates only a small percentage of a casino's revenue and is not played at all in several states where gambling is legal. Reasons cited for the decline of the game include the slowness of the game, a lack of interest among younger players, the high percentage of the game (the house wins approximately 26 to 28 percent of all money wagered), and the large jackpots paid by slot machines and video poker that make the smaller keno payoffs less attractive.
Key Employee- A casino employee, or a part-owner of a casino, who is empowered to make major decisions about the operation of the casino. The State of Nevada normally requires all key employees to be licensed.
Key Man- An employee in the slot-machine department who is authorized to unlock slot machines, make minor repairs, and pay jackpots. A key man works on the casino floor, as opposed to a slot mechanic, who usually works in the slot-repair shop.
Ladder Man- A casino employee who sits on an elevated stand overlooking the casino action. In the early days of gaming, the ladder man's duty was to watch for dealers' errors and to catch anyone trying to cheat at faro, baccarat, chemin-de-fer, and craps.
Lammer- A small disk put on a table indicating that money is owed to that table by a player, or to show that money was removed from a table. Also used to designate the value of chips or checks in play on a roulette table.
Laydown (Make a)- To make a bet.
Layout- The printed felt surface on a gaming table that shows the different wagers available and provides spaces where players can place their bets so that the dealers can deal the game in a proper and efficient manner.
Lid It, or Put a Lid on It- What a pit boss says when he wants the dealer to close a table.
Little Joe or Little Joe from Kokomo- In craps, slang for the number 4.
Live One- A player with money, or a player who gives "tokes" (tips) to dealers.
Loads- Illegal dice that have weights placed in them to make certain numbers roll more often than they should.
Lump (or Lumpie)- An inept, clumsy dealer.
Mallard- Slang for $100 bill.
Marker- (1) An IOU from a player to the casino. (2) A coin placed on a roulette chip on the wheel to indicate the denomination of the chip the customer is playing.
Martingale System- A system of betting in which the amount of the bet is doubled after a loss.
Mechanic- A term used to describe a dealer who manipulates the tools of the trade (i.e., dice, cards, etc.) in an illegal manner in order to alter the outcome of a gambling game.
Midnight- In craps, slang for the number 12.
Misspots- Any dice that have the incorrect number of spots. They are used by cheaters-on either side of the table-to illegally alter the outcome of a dice game.
Money Plays- Words shouted out by a dealer when a customer is betting currency.
Monte Carlo Wheel- A roulette wheel with one 0, as opposed to the American wheel, which has a 0 and a 00.
Muck- To palm a card illegally for use later in a game.
Nailed- Caught cheating. For example, "I nailed him pressing his bet."
Natural- In 21, an ace and a 10-count card. In craps, a 7 or an 11 on the come-out roll.
Nina Ross (The Buckin' Hoss)- In craps, slang for the number 9.
Ninety Days (in the County Jail)- In craps, slang for the number 9.
Nut- The daily operating expenses of a gaming establishment
Odds- The ratio of unfavorable chances to favorable chances.
One-Roll Bet- In craps, a bet that is decided on the next roll of the dice.
P.C.- Slang for percentage.
Paddle- (1) The device used by a dealer to force paper money through a slot in the gaming table into the drop box. (2) A device on a big-six wheel, or any carnival wheel, that projects above the rim of the wheel and after the wheel has been spun and comes to a stop, indicates the winning number.
Paint Card- A picture card (i.e., a king, queen, or jack).
Panguingui (or Pan)- A game similar to rummy, played with six decks of cards. Seldom played in casinos in recent years.
Paper- (1) Marked cards. (2) A check or other negotiable document.
Paperhanger- Someone who writes bad checks.
Parlay- A system of betting in which the gambler, after a win, risks the entire stake on the next bet.
Pass- In craps, a winning decision for the craps shooter when he either throws a 7 or an 11 on the first roll, or repeats the point before he throws a 7.
Passers- In craps, altered dice on which the number 7 is rarely rolled, thus allowing the shooter to make many passes.
Pass Line- A space on the craps table where a player places his bet when he is betting that the dice will win.
Past Post- The act of placing a bet after a decision has already been made. It can pertain to any game, but the expression originated with bettors making bets on horse races after the race had been run and the winner was already determined. Post time is when the horses leave the post and the race begins. Therefore, past post means making a bet after the action is over. Past posting is most commonly done on crap tables and roulette tables when a cheater diverts the attention of the dealer while his confederate places a bet on the winning number or area.
Peek- (1) To secretly look at the top card of the deck. (2) An area (usually above the table games) where a casino employee can secretly observe the games and look for any irregularities from either the players or the employees. Sometimes called "the eye in the sky," or the "catwalk."
Percentage- The edge, or advantage, enjoyed by the house and often called the house advantage. It is obtained by paying less than the true odds of the game.
Pinch a Bet- To illegally take money or chips away from a bet after it is evident that the bet has been lost.
Pit Boss- A casino employee who supervises a gaming area. He, or she, is stationed in the pit area and watches the games, writes out fill and credit slips, corrects errors made by dealers or players, and watches for cheating by dealers and/or players.
Plunger- A person who acts hastily or recklessly, especially a rash gambler or speculator.
Point- The number rolled by the shooter on the first roll of the dice-other than a 7, 11, 2, 3, or 12. This number (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10) becomes the "point," and the shooter must roll this number again before he rolls a 7. If a 7 comes up before his point, regardless of how many times he rolls, he wins.
Pole- Also called "stick." In craps, the wooden canelike implement used to retrieve the dice and return them to the shooter.
Power of the Pen (The)- Slang for the authority given to a casino employee who has the right to sign for complimentary drinks, meals, or rooms.
Pressing a Bet- The illegal act of adding to a bet after it has been won but not yet been paid.
Puck- The round marker used to identify the point in action at the craps table.
Push- (1) In blackjack or 21, when the player and the dealer have the same point total. (2) A tie or a stand-off.
Quarter Chip- A $25 chip.
Rack- (1) A box, case, or tray with open grooves used to keep game chips stacked in an orderly fashion. (2) In roulette, to pick up checks and stack them in their proper location.
Rail- On a craps table, the raised side of the table, often grooved with troughs for holding chips.
Rathole- To put money or chips into a pocket while still gambling. Done to prevent the dealer or other players from knowing how much money the "ratholer" has in his position.
Readers- Marked cards.
Red Dog- Red dog is played with a standard deck of fifty-two cards. The player is dealt five cards, and the object of the game is for the player to hold a card, in the same suit, of a higher rank than the card that the dealer turns over from his deck. For example, if a jack of clubs is turned up by the dealer, the player must have a queen, king, or ace of clubs in order to win. Winning bets are paid even money.
Red-Line Law- A Reno city ordinance, originally enacted in the 1940s, intended to confine unlimited gaming within a small downtown area. In 1970 a new ordinance was passed that allowed unlimited gaming anywhere in the City of Reno but required that the license be issued in conjunction with one hundred or more hotel rooms.
Rhythm System- A former method of cheating a slot machine that involved manipulating the slot-machine handle, reels, and clock. The timing of pulling the handle could result in bringing up winning combinations on the payline of the slot machine. No mechanical gimmicks were needed because the manipulation was done through the expertise of the cheater. Modern prevention methods have eliminated this method of cheating.
Rig- To gaff or make crooked. A "rigged" game is a crooked game.
Right Bettor- (1) In craps, a player who bets the dice to win. (2) A front-line player.
Roll the Deck- See Turn the Deck.
Roulette- The traditional glamour game of the casino industry, roulette is at least 350 years old. It was played in France and throughout Europe and Asia as early as the middle 1600s. Roulette was introduced to the United States in the late 1700s. It was one of the original games made legal by the Nevada Gaming Act of 1931. Currently, the only difference between the European roulette wheel and the American wheel is that the American wheel has a 0 and a 00, and the European wheel has only the 0. The payoffs are the same on both wheels, so it follows that the European wheel offers better odds to the player.
Along with the 0 and the 00, the roulette wheel has thirty-six numbers. The numbers are alternately colored red and black, and the 0 and 00 are green. The layout is marked accordingly, with additional areas for betting red or black (an even-money payoff); odd or even (even money); the columns (2 to 1); and the first, second, or third dozen (2 to 1). Bets on single numbers, including 0 and 00, pay 35 to 1, on two numbers 17 to 1, on three numbers 11 to 1, on four numbers 8 to 1, on five numbers 6 to 1, and on six numbers 5 to 1. Players place their bets on the layout while the dealer spins a small white ball in the opposite direction from the spinning wheel. Bets may be made until the ball is about to leave its track. At that time, the dealer signals no more bets. Where the ball falls and comes to rest between any two metal partitions of the wheel becomes the winning number. The dealer announces the number and the color, as well as pointing out the winning number on the layout. He then collects all losing bets and pays off all the winning wagers, starting with the even-money bets and paying the 35 to 1 bets last.
Rounder- (1) An individual who goes around from casino to casino drinking, gambling, and in general socializing with his friends and other casino employees. (2) An individual who goes to as many casinos as possible, in as short a time as possible, in order to establish credit, cash checks, and bilk casinos out of money by cashing nonnegotiable checks.
Rounder's Slang- Slang that substitutes rhyming words for common words. It originated in nineteenth-century England and was very popular in the bars and casinos of Reno in the thirties and forties. Some examples of rounder's slang: Near and Far-A bar. Tall and Slender-The bartender. Joe Goss-The boss. Once or Twice-Ice. Elephant's Trunk-A drunk. Bread and Water-Your daughter. Moan and Groan-The telephone. Fiddle and Flute-A suit. Apron String-A ring. North and South-Your mouth. Rats and Mice-Pair of dice. Bees and Honey-Money. Heel and Toe-On the go. Rattle and Jar-A car. Twist and Twirl-A girl. Ones and Twos-Your shoes. Simple Simon-A diamond. Wires and Cable-A table. Shovel and Broom-Your room.
Sand- To mark the edges of playing cards with sandpaper. The location of the sanded area tells the cheater the denomination of the card. For example, sanded areas on the top of the card might mean a high card, on the middle of the card might mean a 7, 8, or 9, etc.
Sawbuck- A $10 bill.
Sawdust Joint- A plain, unpretentious casino. The expression comes from the late 1800s when gaming establishments had sawdust or even dirt floors.
Score- To win a large amount of money.
Second Dealing- A method of cheating where the crooked dealer deals the second card from the top of the deck when he appears to be-and should be-dealing the top card. See Deuce Dealing.
Seven-and-a-Half- One of the original games specifically mentioned in the bill legalizing gambling in Nevada that was passed in March 1931. Believed to be the direct forerunner of present-day blackjack, seven-and-a-half has the same basic structure as blackjack or 21. The seven-and-a-half deck contains only forty cards, the 8s, 9s, and 10s being absent. Court cards each count one-half, and others count their numerical value. The king of diamonds is wild and may have any value. The object of the game is to get as close to 7 and one-half as possible, without going over. When a player draws cards totaling 8 or more, he busts-as he does when going over 21 in blackjack-and he loses his wager.
Shading- A method of marking cards by delicately shading their backs with a diluted solution of marking ink the same color as the ink printed on the back of the cards.
Shapes- Dice whose shapes have been altered in some way so that they are no longer perfect cubes.
Shill- A casino employee who plays house money and pretends to be a player in order to attract business and get a game going. Shills are seldom used nowadays in pit games but are frequently used in poker games.
Shimmy- Slang for the game of chemin-de-fer.
Shoe- A card-dealing box employed in baccarat, chemin-de-fer, and 21 games when multiple decks are used.
Shooter- In any dice game, the player who rolls the dice.
Single Deck- In 21, a game in which only one deck of cards is used, as distinct from games in which double or multiple decks are used.
Six-Ace Flats- Cheating dice that have had their 6 and 1 sides shaved down so that 6 and 1 come up more often than they would on square dice, and therefore produce more 7s.
Skinny Dugan- In craps, slang for the number 7.
Sleeper- Money or a bet left on the table or layout, which has been forgotten by a player.
Snake Bet- In roulette, a wager on twelve contiguous numbers on the layout, usually the same color, starting at red 1 and ending at red 34.
Snake Eyes- In craps, slang for the number 2.
Snap- A 21 game.
Snapper- A natural blackjack (an ace and a face card or a 10).
Snowballs- In craps, misspotted dice showing only the numbers 4, 5, and 6. Cheaters sneak them into play and then make a bet in the field. The dice are called snowballs because the spots are white, and when they roll down the table they show mostly white and very little red.
Soda- In faro, the exposed top card in the deck when the full deck is placed in the dealing box.
Soft 17- A combination of cards, including an ace, totaling 17, that can be hit with a 10-count card without breaking the hand.
Split Store- A casino where the dealers' tokes (tips) are pooled and divided equally at the end of a shift or a twenty-four-hour period.
Spooning- A method of cheating a slot machine by inserting a spoon-shaped device through the payout opening into the payout mechanism and thereby causing coins to drop out. A description of a "spoon" in an article in the Reno Evening Gazette of August 8, 1948, described a "spoon" as a small, flat piece of celluloid with three small holes bored in it with a curved screwdriver shaft. Recent improvements in slot-machine security devices make this method of cheating impossible.
Square- Honest. Can pertain to gaming equipment, an individual, or a casino.
Stacked Deck- A deck that has been secretly pre-arranged in such a manner that the cheater who arranged the deck will win all wagers.
Stand- In 21, to play the cards you have been dealt.
Stand Off- (1) No decision, a tie. (2) In craps, a casino may "bar 12 or bar 2," which means that if the barred number is rolled, the back-line player does not win or lose and the result is a stand-off.
Stick Man- The person in the craps table crew who uses the stick to retrieve and/or push the dice to the player who is shooting the dice.
Stiff- (1) A player's or dealer's hand that can be broken by a hit card. (2) A player who does not give tips or "tokes" to dealers.
Store- Slang for a gambling casino. Thought to have been brought into common usage by Harold Smith Sr., because "store" was originally a slang term for any carnival game, and Smith began his gaming career in the carnival business.
Strippers- A deck of cards whose edges have been trimmed, making some cards either narrower or shorter than others, thereby enabling a cheater to "read" the cards.
Stripping- Shuffling a deck of cards by pulling small packets from the top and placing them at the bottom of the pack, usually with a rapid motion.
Stuck- The amount a player has lost, or is losing, on a game.
Sub or Submarine- A pocket-like piece of cloth worn under a dealer's pants. Dishonest dealers slip chips or tokens into their subs when no one is looking.
Suits- Pit bosses.
Surrender- In 21, a provision that allows a player to retire from a hand after the first two cards are dealt. In giving up his hand, the player normally surrenders half his wager.
Sweat- To agonize or worry about money lost by the casino.
Sweater (also known as a Bleeder)- A pit supervisor who becomes angry when players win too much or too often.
Swing- To steal money.
Switch Man- A person who puts altered or illegal dice or cards in a game.
Take a Bath- To lose heavily.
Take a Shot- To make a cheating move.
Take Off- To steal, cheat, or in some way take money from someone dishonestly.
Tango- Early name for the game of bingo. In the 1930s, the games of tango, bingo, and keno were all the same game. Many early bingo parlors were known as tango clubs (or parlors). Bill Harrah's first bingo game in Reno was known as the Plaza Tango, and he later operated another bingo parlor called Harrah's Heart Tango. The name comes from the Spanish word tengo, which means I have it. In the early 1930s, when a player had five winning numbers in a row, instead of shouting "bingo," he would shout "tengo." Tengo eventually evolved into tango, and that is how the game came to be called tango. By the early 1940s, the names keno and tango were no longer used in conjunction with bingo games.
Tap Out- To go broke.
Texas Sunflowers- In craps, a hard 10 (two 5s).
Third Base- The last position in a 21 game. The last player to receive his cards.
Tiger (Bucking the)- The tiger was the traditional symbol for a faro game, and "bucking the tiger" meant playing faro. Today it is used to refer to gambling on any game or event.
Tips- Side money given by players to dealers to bring them luck, to show their appreciation at winning, or simply "to share the wealth." Commonly called "tokes."
Tokens- Metal coins used as dollars in table games or as coins of various denominations in slot machines.
Tokes- Slang for tips. Short for tokens of appreciation-money given to dealers by players. See Tips.
Tops- Crooked dice. Usually dice on which the numbers of pips on each side have been altered.
Tops and Bottoms- Crooked dice that bear only three different numbers on each die. Also called tops, T's, mis-spots, and busters.
Track- (1) To keep a count of the money wagered on a game. (2) To keep a record of the amount of action a customer gives a casino. This information is used to determine the amount of complimentary benefits, such as food, drinks, and hotel or showroom privileges, that a player is offered.
Trey- (1) In cards, a card ranked third in any suit. (2) In craps, the side of a die with three spots.
Trims- Crooked cards that have been trimmed in such a manner that a cheat can "read" them.
Tub- A small craps table that can be operated by one person.
Turn the Deck (or Roll the Deck)- A method of cheating at 21 that occurs when a dishonest dealer picks up exposed cards on the layout in a predetermined pattern, puts them under the deck with their backs down, and then, after the dealer's agent has made his bets, turns the deck over and deals out the cards. When properly executed, this method of collusion cannot lose. This method of cheating is the main reason why most 21 games now employ discard racks.
Twenty-One (or Blackjack)- One of the most popular casino table games. The object of the game is for the player to draw cards that total 21 or come closer to 21 than those held by the dealer. A king, queen, and jack count 10; other cards count at their face value, except the ace, which counts as 1 or 11, as the player or the dealer decides. The game begins when the dealer delivers two cards, face down, to each player. The dealer's first card faces up, the second faces down. An ace with any 10, jack, queen, or king is a "blackjack." The player must turn that hand over immediately, and the dealer will pay the bet 3 to 2, unless the dealer also has a blackjack, in which case the hand is a "push" or tie, and neither the player nor the dealer wins. If the player does not have a blackjack, he has the option of asking for more cards (taking a hit). A player may take as many "hits" as he wants, but if his card total goes over 21, he is busted (or broke) and must turn over his cards, and his wager is lost. If the player does not want any cards other than the two originally dealt to him, he stands (does not take any more cards).
After all the players are satisfied with their hands, the dealer turns his down card face-up and stands or draws more cards as he chooses. The dealer must draw to any count up to and including 16, and he must stand on 17, except a soft 17. A soft 17 is any combination of cards containing an ace, but not a 10, that totals 7 or 17. At the end of his play, the dealer pays off players who have a higher count than his with an amount equal to the bet they placed, and he collects the bets placed by players showing a lesser count. If a player and the dealer have the same count, it is considered a push or tie, and no one wins or loses. If the dealer goes over 21, he pays each remaining player an amount equal to his bet.
Up Jumped the Devil- In craps, an expression used when the shooter rolls a 7 rather than his point.
Vigorish (or Vig)- The percentage taken by the house on certain bets in baccarat, craps, and chemin-de-fer. The amount is usually 5 percent.
Wave- (1) To bend the edge of a card so that a cheater can "read" the cards. (2) The bend itself.
Wrong Bettor- In craps, the player who bets against the dice, a back-line player, a don't player. The opposite of a right bettor.
Yard- A $100 bill.
Yo- In craps, short for the number 11.
Yoleven- In craps, the number 11.
Zuke (or Zook)- A zip or a toke given to a dealer.