Learn the Language of Dealers

Casino workers have a language all their own, and visiting gamblers need to know how to recognize it to give them the best chance of winning. Let’s examine some of them.

  1. Action: This is an old term that describes where a gambler can find a game. In the Broadway musical, Guys and Dolls, the question always is: where’s the action? Today, in Las Vegas, it also describes the ongoing process of a live table or roulette game.
  2. Bank: This is the visible pile of chips in front of the dealer on the betting table for craps, roulette and blackjack. The phrase, broke the bank, meant a winner cleared the table.
  3. Comp: To entice regular gamblers, Las Vegas hotels offer free rooms, meals, floor shows and other complimentary gifts, shortened to RFB. Today, even moderate gamblers are given ID cards that electronically track their play on the tables and machines. Certain amounts of money bet or hours played can earn comps.
  4. Eye in the Sky: All-seeing video cameras in strategic ceiling positions throughout the casino, hotel hallways, elevators, parking lots and elsewhere. Operators in video screen rooms can click a still picture of your face and compare it instantly with thousands of others on a worldwide mug shot file. If you’re a known bad guy, a guard will be at your side very quickly.
  5. High Rollers: Casino players who bet heavily. The ones who plunk down thousands at a time are called whales
  6. Tips: Just about everything you do in Las Vegas casinos requires tips, often called gratuities and tokes. It’s all supposed to be voluntary, but there are certain customs you’re expected to observe. The most obvious is while you’re gambling, cocktail waitresses continuously offer you free drinks.
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The casino doesn’t do this as a courtesy, but because the more you drink, the less careful you are about betting. No matter what the drink, even if water, you’re expected to tip at least $1. Dealers expect tips when you win big on a specific play, and when you decide to leave their table. On a table where the minimum bet is $5, they expect at least that.

When you learn the terms, you’ll be more comfortable at the casino tables and slot machines. You may actually get so good at it, you’ll go home a winner. Lotsa luck!

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