The world of online gambling really does have its own language. Some of the following terms you'll be familiar with, but others may be completely new to you. It's important to learn these terms, as it will help you navigate online gambling sites and give you the best chance of having a great all-round experience.
Free Play: Many of the top sites have free play games you can access. You place bets and experience these games as usual, but no money is required to buy in and no winnings are paid out. Free play games are designed to help you master casino games and also to attract new players to real money action.
Live Dealer Games: Live dealer games are a new way to experience the thrills of being on the casino floor. Most commonly available for table games such as roulette, baccarat and poker, live dealer games bring a professional dealer to you via live video stream. This dealer presides over the game and you get to see the physical action unfold in front of you.
Pay Table: The name for the list of payouts on a slot machine or a video poker machine.
RTP: Also known as Return to Player. This is the percentage of winnings awarded to total stakes played. This is calculated over a theoretical number of games played.
Bonus Game: An additional game to win in addition to the reel pays.
Credit: This is the currency or token used to represent money in games.
Hit: The slot player's way of describing a win.
Max Bet: The highest possible bet in coins for a game.
Multi-line Game: A game with more than one pay line.
Multiplier: A symbol that further multiplies the payout if found in a winning combination.
Pay Line: The line at which the symbols must meet to determine whether it's a win or a lose.
Progressive Jackpot: Progressive jackpot games are extremely popular as they offer the promise of a life-changing win. The way they work is by connecting hundreds of players together and generating a big pot of money from their combined spend. This goes on for a period of time before the progressive jackpot is unlocked and a winner is crowned.
Reels: The rotating barrels on which the symbols appear on.
Scatter Symbol: The scatter symbols do not need to be on a win line and they might also start bonus round.
Volatility: This refers to the amount of risk inherent to a specific game.
Wild Symbol: A joker symbol that will act as the required symbol to make up for the loss.
American Wheel: In this version of the game, there are 38 pockets on the wheel numbered 1-36. This version contains a zero and a double-zero.
Column Bet: Betting on one of the three available columns of numbers.
Corner Bet: A corner bet is an inside bet on four number which pays out 8 to 1.
Dozens Bet: Betting on one of the three available groups of 12 numbers; 1 through 12, 13 through 24, or 25 through 36.
En Prison: When the outcome is zero, some online casinos will allow the player to either take back half his/her bet or leave it (in prison) for a subsequent spin. In the second case, if in the next spin the outcome is again zero, then the entire wager is lost.
European Wheel: In this version of the game only one zero is used, which lowers the house edge.
Even Money Bet: This is a bet with even odds. For example, betting on red or black in roulette.
Five-Number Bet: For this bet, the ball has to fall on any of the five numbers on which you have bet.
Inside Bet: Betting made on the inside section of the roulette layout. These bets cover only individual numbers and small groups of numbers and pay out at relatively high odds.
Multi-Wheel: Wheels are spun at once and players can bet on multiple wheels at the same time. This will increase your chances of winning at roulette.
Orphelins: A bet on a specific group of numbers on a section of the roulette wheel which are neighbours on the wheel, though apart on the layout.
Outside Bet: Betting made on the outside part of the roulette layout. These bets generally cover large sections of the roulette wheel and pay out at lower odds.
Street Bet: A bet made on a row of three numbers on the roulette table layout.
Tiers du Cylindre: A bet on a particular group of numbers on a section of the roulette wheel which are paired neighbours on the layout.
Voisins du Zero: A wager on a particular group of numbers on a section of the roulette wheel neighbouring the zero.
Bust: Having a total over 21. This results in an automatic loss.
Cut: This is the point where the croupier reshuffles the deck.
Double Down: When a player is allowed to place an additional bet.
Draw: The second deal of the cards after you have selected cards to hold or discard.
Early Surrender: This is rule, very rarely found, that allows the player to forfeit their hand & half their initial bet before the dealer checks for blackjack.
Hard Hand: Any hand that does not contain an ace.
Hole Card: The second card that is dealt to the dealer that is face down.
Insurance: When the dealer shows an ace, the player can choose to place a side bet of half the value of the original bet. If the dealer has blackjack, the player gets his wager back plus the value of the original bet. If the dealer does not have blackjack, the player loses his wager.
Late Surrender: When player may forfeit his hand and half his bet before the dealer checks for blackjack.
Natural: A sum of 21 on the first and second card, same as blackjack.
Push: Also known as a tie. This is when the player and the dealer have hands with the same total.
Shoe: A device used to hold multiple decks of cards typically 4,6 or 8 prior to the dealer removing them one card at a time to be used during play.
Soft Hand: A hand that includes an ace valued as 11, as opposed to 1.
Stiff Hand: Any hard hand where the possibility to exceed 21 exists by drawing an additional card namely 12, 13, 14, 15, or 16.
Surrender: To abandon your hand, while recovering half of your initial bet.
Upcard: The card that the dealer is showing.
Bonus Poker: A video poker based on Jacks or Better but it offers a higher payout percentage for four of a kind.
Deuces Wild Poker: A variety of playing poker in which a deuce represents any suit or denominations that holder chooses.
Double Bonus Poker: A variation of poker based on Bonus Poker.
Double Double Bonus Poker: A variation of poker based on Bonus Poker.
Flush: A five card hand that contains cards all of the same suit.
Joker Poker: Also referred to as Joker Wild in which the joker acts as a wild.
Natural Royal: A Royal Flush that is completed without wild cards.
Royal Flush: The highest possible hand on most machines. A royal flush is an ace high straight flush.
Straight: A five card hand consisting of cards in consecutive order but different suits.
Straight Flush: A five card hand consisting of five cards of the same suite in consecutive order.
Wild Royal: A royal flush made up with at least one wild card. In general, a wild royal pays much less than a natural royal with no wilds.
Banco: The banker.
Banker Bet: Betting on the dealer or the player.
Banque: A version of baccarat that has three hands.
Carte: To request a card from the player.
Chemin De Fer: The European baccarat version in which one player is the bank, deals the cards and takes the bets.
Coup: A round of baccarat in French.
Down Card: A card that is dealt face down.
La Grande: The best hand in baccarat – A natural totalling of 9.
La Petite: A natural totalling of eight.
Muck: Eight card decks containing 52 cards each.
Natural: When two cards total eight or nine.
Pass: A win.
Punto: A player.
Punto Banco: Another version of the game of baccarat.
Standoff: When the player and the banker are in a tie.
Tie Bet: One of the three possible bets in which the player and the banker are equal.
Do you still have questions? Are you still unsure about a specific game or term? At Gambling.ca, we're here to answer all of your questions. Make sure to check out our various game guides in which we give you all the information that you will possibly need before venturing into your gambling experience.
Action: One's turn to bet or raise during a hand.
Ante: A small bet that all players are required to make before a hand is dealt.
Bad Beat: When a player who initially had a substantial statistical lead over an opponent loses his hand to that opponent after the flop, turn, or river.
Board: The community cards that everyone uses in combination with their pocket cards to form the best hand.
Call: To contribute the minimum amount of money to the pot.
Draw Out: To receive a card that transforms your hand from a losing hand to a winning hand.
Flop: The first three community cards that are dealt out after the first round of betting is complete.
Flush: A poker hand consisting of five cards of the same suit.
HORSE: Commonly played at high stakes tables and at tournaments. Often played in a limit format.
No Limit: Players can bet their entire stack. There's a minimum to what you can bet, but not a maximum.
Omaha: A variety of Hold'em in which players receive 4 hole cards and must use exactly two of them, together with 3 of the 5 board cards, to make a hand.
Pot Limit: A structure of the game in which bets and raises are capped by the current size of the pot.
Texas Hold'em: A very popular poker variant. Two cards, known as the hole cards, are dealt face down to each player, and then five community cards are dealt face up in three stages.
Against the Spread: Referring to the result of an event that takes the pointspread into account. Also, the act of taking points rather than betting with the spread, or "laying" points.
Canadian Line: A combination pointspread and moneyline in hockey.
eSports: A multiplayer video game played competitively for spectators. This is typically done by professional gamers.
Even Odds: This is a bet where you stand to win the amount you lay down in a bet. Let's say you stake C$10 on the Vancouver Whitecaps winning a soccer match. If they prevail you take home C$10 in winnings plus your original stake.
Exposure: The maximum amount of money a sportsbook can lose on a game.
Juice: The commission the bookie earns.
Lines: Another word for odds.
Live Betting: Thanks to modern technology it's possible to make real-time in-play bets on sports. If you think you can pick who will score the next home run in a baseball game, and we're already in the sixth inning, it's possible to place that bet. Similarly if your NFL team is 10 points down with two minutes to go and you fancy a dramatic comeback, you can bet on that.
Moneyline: A bet in which no pointspread is involved.
Over/Under: A bet on whether the combined total of the points/goals scored by the two teams will exceed or be less than a specified number.
Parlay Bet: This is a bet on multiple outcomes that can pay out handsomely if you win. But be aware you need to correctly correct every outcome to win your bet.
Point Spread: The handicap, or head start, which the favourite gives to the underdog for betting purposes.
Push: When a contest ends with no winner or loser for betting purposes.
Run-Line: In baseball, a spread used instead of the moneyline.
Spread Bet: The spread represents a line that bookmakers feel is fair to betters who choose to wager on either side of it. If you have the Blackhawks at -2 against the Rangers (+2) that means a bet on the Blackhawks is one backing them to win by more than two goals. A bet on the Rangers is backing them to lose by less than two goals.
Straight Bet: A wager on just one team, athlete or horse.
Virtual Sports Betting: If there's no real sport going on you can turn your attention to virtual sports for a bet. Computer generated events are run based on data and you get to predict who will come out on top. It might be a horse race, or an NBA game or even a boxing match.
Bankroll: The total amount of money that the player or casino has available for wagering activities.
Betting Limits: The minimum and maximum betting limits on a casino video slot.
Blacklist: When a casino is listed as not being safe and fit enough to play at.
Croupier: A term most commonly used in European casinos in games such as Baccarat or Craps. It's another term for a dealer.
Deposit: To gamble for real money you're going to need funds in your online gambling account. This is achieved by making a deposit at a site.
eCOGRA: If you see the eCOGRA label at a gambling site it's a good sign. The letters stand for eCommerce Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance and this independent body does a great job of vetting sites for their fairness and legitimacy.
e-wallet: Along with major credit and debit cards, you're going to see some e-wallet providers listed as a banking option at the top gambling sites. E-wallet banking is simply a way of linking your cards and accounts together at a digital hub. PayPal works like this, and thus allows you to make and receive funds online by simply entering your e-wallet account details.
Expected Value: This is when an outcome can be predicted. Through the expected value, one can determine long term house advantage.
Fixed Odds: When the odds are fixed and are subject to change.
Gambler's Fallacy: If something happens more frequently, it will happen less in the future.
High Roller: A person who makes large bets.
House Edge: The chances and percentage that a casino has of winning over players.
Loyalty/VIP Club: The majority of top gambling sites run a loyalty program designed to incentive regular players. Typically you will collect points as you play and spend at the site. The more points you collect, the more promotional benefits you stand to collect on.
Match Bonus: A match bonus is where the gambling site commits to match your deposit amount to certain percentage and to a certain limit. For example, if the match bonus is specified as being a 100% match up to C$500, you take maximum benefit by paying in C$500 of your own money. As a reward the gambling site will C$500 in bonus and put that in your account.
No Deposit Bonus: When a bonus is awarded to new players for simply signing up to the casino. The player does not need to make a deposit for this bonuses to be awarded.
Payout Percentage: To give yourself the best chance of winning you should play at a site with a high pay out percentage. Such sites usually promote this number as it serves to attract new players.
Referral Bonus: Gambling sites are always trying to attract new players. Some are so keen to achieve this they will offer a special reward to anybody who refers another player to the site. That player will need to specify they were referred and in return you will receive your prize.
RNGs: This is the technology that ensures your casino games are fair. RNG software spins every wheel and deals every card so that there's no bias and everything comes out in a completely random fashion. All the top trusted sites use RNG software to keep their games honest.
Wagering Requirement: This is when there are certain terms and conditions for bonuses and rewards to be cashed into your real money account.
Welcome Bonus: This is where your adventure starts. A welcome bonus is a promotional offer that's only available to new players at a gambling site. It might take the form of a cash reward, or playing credits, and such as a bonus should be taken maximum advantage of.
Withdrawal: When the time comes to take some money out of your gambling account, you'll need to make a withdrawal. This is often referred to as “cashing out” and is a simple process that typically takes 3-10 days in total.
We've tried to let you in on all the important terms that we think you should know before you start gambling. However, we're only human and we might have missed something! If you still have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us and we will clarify as best as we can.