Gaming Glossary

poker table in Tunica, MS

A

age

No relation to the player's chronological ages. See eldest and youngest for details.


C

court

A court card is a King, Queen, or Jack (and a Knight, if a Tarot deck is being used)


D

deal

  1. Verb: To distribute cards to players in accordance with the rules of the game being played. In many games, this involves taking all cards, shuffling them, and redistributing them, but in other games (such as Patience games) it simply involves turning over the Waste to act as a new Stock.
  2. Noun: The play from the time the cards are dealt until they are redealt. Also referred to as a hand

dealer

The person whose turn and responsibility it is to deal the cards (even though this player may delegate the actual dealing to another). Give Alice the cards, she's the dealer.

deck

May refer either to the pack or the stock

deuce

Another name for the rank 2 cards

downcard

A card that is dealt face down.


E

eldest

The first player to play in the round. In English-speaking countries, this is usually the player to the left of the dealer


H

hand

  1. The cards held by one player
  2. The player holding the cards, as in "Third hand bid 1."
  3. Synonymous with the noun usage of deal

I

in turn

A player, or an action, is said to be in turn if that player is expected to act next under the rules. Jerry said "check" while he was in turn, so he's not allowed to raise.


J

joker

one or two Joker cards, added to a 52-card deck. Jokers often act as wild cards, able to substitute for any other card (or even nonexistent ones; 4 aces and a Joker could be said to be five of a kind). Often two jokers are used, sometimes distinguishable as the Red Joker and the Black Joker.


K

kind

See rank below

kitty

Additional cards dealt face down in some card games.


N

numeral

A card for which the rank is a number (Ace usually counts as 1 in this case)


P

pack

A complete set of cards. A double deck may be used (ie. 104/108 instead of 52/54)

penalty

A score awarded for common violations of the rules of the game. It can be awarded either negatively to the violating player/partnership, or positively to their opponent(s)

pile

A set of cards placed on a surface so that they partially or completely overlap

pip

  1. See numeral, above
  2. A suit symbol (, , , ) on a card.

play

  1. Verb: Move a card to a place on the table (either from the players hand, or from elsewhere on the table).
  2. Noun: The stage of the game in which player(s) play cards

R

rank

the ranks on a deck of Anglo-French cards are Ace, 2-10, Jack, Queen, King. They are usually indicated in the top left corner of the card.

redeal

To deal again

round

The events between the eldest player's action, and the youngest player's action of the same type (ie. bid, play), inclusive.


S

seat

Position relative to the dealer: for example, in bridge, the dealer's left-hand opponent is said to be in second seat.

sequence

Two or more cards adjacent in rank. The adjectives ascending and descending may be applied (ie. "building in ascending sequence" means "laying cards out so that each has the next highest rank to the previous one"). A sequence need not all be of the same suit.

spot card

See numeral

stack

Cards are placed directly on top of each other, disallowing the player to see any card other than the top. In most cases, these cards are and should be kept hidden. Viewing these cards during a deal is often considered illegal, so they should be dealt face down.

stock

A pile of cards, face down, which are left over after setting up the rest of the game (ie. dealing hands, setting up other layout areas).

suit

See Suit. On an Anglo-French deck, this term refers to one of Spades , Hearts , Diamonds , and Clubs .


T

trick

See Trick-taking game. A set of cards played by each player in turn, during the play of a hand.

trump

  1. (Noun) A card in the trump suit whose trick-taking power is greater than any plain suit card.
  2. (Noun) A card in the special suit of trumps found in tarot decks such as the Tarot Nouveau
  3. (Verb) To play a trump after a plain suit has been led Ruff.

U

upcard

A card laid on the table face-up.


V

value

See rank


Y

youngest

The last player to play before the eldest player's second turn


Looking for a glossary of other gaming terms? Find it on wikipedia.

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    Multi-hand video poker games are among my casino favorites, and have been ever since Triple Play Poker was introduced in the late 1990s. With the games, there is a temptation to players. On a quarter Triple Play machine, a maximum-coins wager is $3.75. What happens if your credits dwindle to less than that? Do you make a bet for less than full coins? 

  • Holding Low Pairs vs. High Cards In Video Poker

    Sometimes video poker players find the goal of winning the most hands at odds with the goal of winning the most money.

  • Placing Bets In Roulette

    There are so many different wagering options at roulette that it’s only natural that players would try to come up with combinations to try to overcome the house edge.

  • Is The House Edge Lower In Baccarat?

    On most casino games, the house wins more often than the player, and it’s easy for the casino to get an edge on the game. All it has to do is pay players less than the true odds of winning the bet, and random results will lead to profit for the house.

  • Betting Progressions In Blackjack

    Betting progressions are nothing new at blackjack. Ever since the game was devised, players have been trying to hit on a magic formula for when to increase their bets.

  • Should You Place A Fortune Bet In Pai Gow?

    Pai-gow poker is known as an even-keel, extended play kind of game. The Fortune Pai-Gow side bet injects a little excitement for jackpot hunters, including a big payoff of 5,000-1 on a seven-card straight flush that does not include the joker. That’s about a 4.8 million-to-1 shot, but hey, we can dream.

  • How To Choose A Video Blackjack Machine

    One thing I’ve warned blackjack players about is games that pay less than the standard 3-2 on blackjacks. If you play video blackjack, you have to be extra watchful, as one reader learned.


  • Best Ante Bet Strategy In Three Card Poker

    Basic strategy for the ante-bet portion of Three Card Poker is to make the bet of equal to your ante any time you’re dealt Queen-6-4 or better, but to fold and forfeit your ante with lower-ranking hands.

    That strategy led a reader to email me with two questions:


  • Video Poker Are The Odds Against You

    Video poker games are designed to be as random as humans can program a computer to be. The odds of drawing winning hands are the same as cards were dealt from a real deck.

    Still, when odd streaks happen, players can’t help but wonder if something more is going on.


  • Is Your Bankroll Disappearing Playing Blackjack?

    A while back, I was collecting stories from readers on what games they like to play when they’re taking time off from their main games. What do blackjack players do when the dealer’s hot and their bankrolls are disappearing? What do craps players do when too many point-7 sequences eat into their stack of chips?


  • Stories From The Casino Floor - Part 2

    I like to share readers’ stories of their best days in the casinos. Here’s one that wasn’t a huge win, but the price was right.

  • Gaming past results have no effect on future outcomes

    On most casino games, the odds are the same on every play, with blackjack being the major exception. But for roulette, craps and even slot machines, past results have no effect on future outcomes.


  • Do Some Casino Games Have Better Odds Than Others?

    When players ask me what game they should play, I ask them what they enjoy playing. I’m happy to explain that blackjack, craps, baccarat and certain video poker games give you a much better shot to win than you get on slot machines, but if slots are what you find fun, I’m not going to tell you to play a game you dislike.


  • Advice On Tipping The Dealer

    At some casino games, tipping, or “toking” the dealer is a pretty cut-and-dried routine. In blackjack, you place an extra bet at the front of your betting box or circle. It’s understood that’s for the dealer. If you split pairs or double down for yourself, it’s up to you whether you make a split bet or double for the dealer.


  • Getting And Giving Advice at the Table

    Giving advice at the gaming tables isn’t for everyone. I’ve played with some who love to tell others what to do, whether the advice is welcome or not. Others never give advice, or give it only when asked.

  • Blackjack Changing Strategy As The Game Evolves

    Blackjack basic strategy has been around as guide to when to hit, stand, split and double down has been around since the 1950s. It’s well-grounded in the math of the game, and it’s something anyone who’s serious about blackjack should learn.

    However, the game itself evolves, and when the rules change, so does basic strategy.

  • Are Progressive Jackpots A Better Bet in Video Poker?

    Video poker players in the know understand that on most games, payback percentages are changed by altering the returns on full houses and flushes. A “9-6” Jacks or Better game, where full houses pay 9-for-1 and flushes 6-for-1, returns 99.5 percent with expert play. If instead you see 8-5 Jacks or Better, meaning full houses pay 8-for-1 and flushes 5-for-1, then the average return is 97.3 percent with expert play.

    However, when progressive jackpots are involved, even a game with a lower pay table can have high average returns.

  • Busting at Blackjack in Tunica Mississippi

    No blackjack player likes to bust and wind up with a total of more than 21 that’s a loser before the dealer even plays his hand. But if we’re going to take the best chance to win, accepting the risk of busting is part of the bargain.



  • Do You Have What It Takes To Play Professional Poker?

    For almost all of us, a day or evening in the casino, or even a trip of a few days, is a nice break from everyday life. We’re excited for the wins when they come, but we know that more often than not, we’re going to be paying for the day’s entertainment.

    But there are a few who dream of playing professionally. When I hear from them, I always urge caution. Take the video poker player who emailed recently to say, “I can usually get a royal flush every 30 days. I can be a professional player? I play video poker every day.”


  • Stop Getting Burned At Blackjack

    Some of the most frustrating hands at blackjack come when the dealer starts stringing out low cards. You see the dealer with a 14, and think there’s a good chance he’ll bust. Then comes a 2, and with 16, he just HAS to bust, right? Then, boom! Here’s comes a 5, the dealer has 21 and the whole table loses.


  • A Roulette History Lesson

    Roulette is one of the oldest games still played in modern casinos. Recognizably modern roulette wheels, with red and black numbers 1 through 36 along with zero and double zero, were in play in Paris in the late 1700s. The game itself has hardly changed at all, but some of the trappings have. For one thing, most roulettes tables in American casinos have a tote board showing recent numbers. When the boards were introduced, most showed the last 12 numbers, but now 18 is common, and sometimes there are more.


  • Slot Machine Payouts Coins vs Tickets

    Among those who have been playing in casinos as long as I have, there’s a sizable number who miss being paid in coins clattering into the tray of slot machines.  On a September day when I cashed out by printing a ticket, the machine’s speakers resounded with an imitation of that sound, and a neighboring player told me she missed the real thing.

  • Best Numbers To Bet In Roulette

    One of the quirks of roulette games that have both 0 and 00 – the common arrangement in the United States – is that the five-number bet on 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3 has a higher house edge than other wagers. If you make that five-number bet, the house edge is 7.89 percent. On everything else, it’s 5.26 percent.

    That prompted a reader to email, asking if there was something special about those numbers that caused the higher edge.

  • New Blackjack Games Previewed At The Global Gaming Expo

    Each fall at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, I take time away from the seminars and from tours of the major slot manufacturers’ booths to seek out new table games. This time around, a few new takes on blackjack stood out, variations that will be available to casinos in the coming year.


  • Be Part Of The Game With TMZ Video Slots

    For the TMZ video slot, IGT partnered with Warner Bros. to develop a game based on the entertainment news and celebrity gossip website and TV show. There’s a camera built into machine, and when you sit down, it takes your picture and voila! You’re part of the TMZ team. Your photo is used as a reel symbol, in the background imagery and in bonus events.

  • New Simpsons Slot Machine Is A Show Stopper

    With Homer and Marge characters handing out doughnuts – with sprinkles, of course – the crowds at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas just had to see what was going on. What it was, of course, was the debut of The Simpsons as a slot machine, a big attention-grabber from Scientific Games.

  • How Random Generators Work In Video Poker

    Many modern video poker machines enable you to change games or change coin denominations without ever leaving your seat. If you’ve been playing Double Double Bonus Poker and want to change to Super Aces, you can just touch an icon on the screen to launch a new game. If you’ve been winning big at a quarter game and want to try your hand at a dollar version, you can touch the screen to change that, too.


  • Strategy And Betting in Blackjack

    Everywhere you look, house edges on casino games are listed by percent – 1.52 percent on place bets on 6 or 8 in craps, 5.26 percent in double-zero roulette, 1.06 percent on the banker bet in baccarat, and so on.

    A reader asked me to translate that into dollars and sense for blackjack players. If you’re playing basic strategy, how much money of yours will the house keep? What if you’re just an average player who hasn’t memorized the strategy chart?


  • Blackjack Do Players Bust More Often Than Dealers

    What is it about blackjack that makes players bust so much more often than dealers?” 

  • Your Top Craps Questions Answered

    From beginners to grizzled old veterans, craps players are always thinking about the ins and outs of their game. A couple of questions arrived recently, one from newbie on a basic concept and one from a veteran who was wondering about the possibilities of a different way to play.


  • Odds When Playing Roulette vs Slots

    Players sometimes have difficulty with the idea that slot machine results can be programmed and random at the same time. So for many years, I’ve used a comparison to roulette, where you don’t know when any given number will turn up, but the odds of the game will lead to a 5.26 percent house edge – the same as a 94.74 percent payback percentage.

  • Make Your Valentine's Extra Sweet In Tunica

    Make your Valentines extra sweet this year with these specials here in Tunica.

  • Battle Of The Sexes At The Craps Table

    I hear regularly from Maria, a reader who mostly plays craps. She’s often found herself the only woman at the table, but it doesn’t bother her. She does, however, sometimes take some grief about being the only “wrong” bettor – a player who bets against the shooter by wagering on don’t pass and don’t come.


  • How Does a Multi-Bet Format Affect the House Edge in Mississippi Stud?

    Many poker-based table games involve an ante before you see your cards, and then a bet or multiple bets to keep playing. Caribbean Stud was the trend-setter, but we also see that format in Three Card Poker, Mississippi Stud and other games.


  • Enjoy the Best Game of Your Life on the New Caddyshack Slots

    Slot manufacturers are always looking for themes that will resonate with players in a big way, and Scientific Games is sure it has a winner in the Caddyshack slot machine.


  • A Blackjack Streak Too Crazy to be Real

    Players often send me tales of streaks at the tables, but they’re usually winning streaks. A reader named Mike sent me something a little different.

    “I have a streak story for you,” he wrote. “ I was playing blackjack in Laughlin a few years ago, there were four players, and we all get pat 20s. The dealer has a 10 up and turns over a face card, so a push, with 10 10-values  in a row.


  • To Hit or Not Hit on a Dealer's Soft 17 in Blackjack

    Those who learn and use basic strategy at blackjack know there are strategy differences depending on whether the dealer hits or stands on soft 17.

  • Video Poker Pay Table Strategy

    When you see a strategy table for any given video poker game, it’s almost always going to assume a royal flush pays 4,000 coins if you’ve made a five-coin bet. That’s the standard payout on machines that don’t have a progressive jackpot.



  • What are Commissions in Craps?

    At any game, players come in all levels of experience and knowledge. Some are more familiar than others with game rules, strategies or even the mechanics of how to make a bet.

     

  • Slots Paying Early vs. Late In The Game

    It’s not difficult to see patterns in wins and losses, and it’s all too easy to jump to conclusions based on small samples. Over the years I’ve fielded questions from readers who wondered if they should skip drawing to four-card straights because they missed several times in a row and from others who were convinced 20 was a losing hand in blackjack because they dealer drew a few 21s to beat them one night.


  • Splitting 5's In Blackjack And Why It's a No-No

    One of the absolutes in blackjack is that you should never split 5s. Most players aren’t even tempted, because they recognize they have a much stronger building block for a hand when they start with 10 than starting each of two hands with 5s.

    Nontheless, I received an email recently from a player who challenged the notion. He reasoned that when the dealer had a weak card such as a 5 or 6 face up, he had an edge. If he was dealt another 5, he wanted the opportunity to get a third bet on the table.


  • Tale At The Table

    I’m always looking for tales of unusual things that happen in casinos. One came my way from a reader who wanted to share his experience with a big cash player.

     


  • Playing a System at Roulette Never Wins

    Roulette has so many possible bets, players always are exploring ways to combine them in the hopes they’ll hit on a way to beat the house.


  • Royal Flushes In Video Poker vs. Table Poker

    Video poker is a much different game than table poker. In video poker, you’re playing draw poker, is rare to nonexistent on the tables. You’re not playing against other players, you don’t have to try to read anyone else’s hand and you don’t have to evaluate whether to raise, call or fold.


  • Calculating House Edge In Craps

    I don’t like to get bogged down in math in this blog. All casino games have roots in math, but you don’t have to be able to do the math yourself to shop for the best bets. House edges are easy to find online or in books about gaming.

    Nonetheless, I do get reader requests for explanations about the underlying arithmetic, especially in craps.


  • Electronic vs Live Table Games

    Table games players have consistently shown a preference for live action. They like to play with real cards and dice and with human dealers.

    Still, there has been an increasing acceptance of electronic table games, especially in roulette. Touch screens for electronic betting speed play as wagers are settled automatically, with no mistakes. There’s no down time waiting for dealers to pay winners and collect chips from losing bets.


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  • Is It True Casinos Make Their Money From Winners?

    It’s sometimes said that casinos make their money from winners. Of course, every time it’s said, there’s somebody who responds, “Then they should let everybody win and make even more money.”

  • Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth In Tunica

    In Tunica we believe every meal should be finished off with a great dessert. Here are a few of our favorites.