Ultimate Glossary for Online Casinos
Online casinos go by many names, including virtual or internet casinos. These are electronic versions of traditional casinos that allow players to gamble and play games through the internet from a computer or mobile device. Because there are some differences between online casinos and traditional brick-and-mortar casinos, people who are unfamiliar with online casinos can often find themselves confused when trying to find a casino that works for them.
To help you understand the types of games you can play and the terminology you will encounter, this glossary features a broad overview of common game types as well as relevant terms and expressions.
Types of Games
There are several different types of games you can play at online casinos. Some will involve just you and the video dealer, but others can include other players so everyone competes against one another.
Baccarat: A type of card game played between a player and a dealer. Each person tries to reach the highest value of the two cards in their hands. Cards from 1-9 are worth face value, face cards are worth nothing, and aces are worth 1. The cards are added together. If the numbers go over 10 when combined (like 7 and 8), then the 1 is removed from the score. So 7 and 8 combined would only be worth 5 instead of 15.
Blackjack: Blackjack is a game where a player tries to reach the number 21 with their cards without going over. Each player is dealt two and can then choose to be dealt more cards to try and get closer to 21. Going over 21 results in an automatic loss. In online casinos, it is possible to play blackjack with bonuses, multiple hands, and more.
Keno: Keno is a type of game where a player chooses a specific set of numbers from 1 to 80. The house then draws a certain quantity of numbers, usually in the form of balls from cages. Payouts are given based on how many of a player’s numbers were chosen. Keno is a simple game, but it’s also one of the easiest to lose depending on the house advantage.
Roulette: In roulette, players place bets on where a ball is going to land in a roulette wheel. For example, a player might bet that the ball will land on red or black, or even a specific number like 17. The amount a player wins depends on how much they bet and what the payout is for a specific combination.
Slots: Slots are a type of game where the player inserts a coin or chip and presses a button to move multiple wheels with different symbols on them. If the wheels land on certain combinations, the player can win money of varying amounts. This is the basic form of gambling in most casinos, and there are many slot varieties.
Video Poker: This is simply an online version of poker where players compete against one another to win money. Most forms of video poker require a certain amount to play, often called the “buy-in.” Typically, online casinos will have a variety of types of video poker to play, including five card draw and Texas hold ‘em.
Advantage Player: A player who is able to gain some type of advantage over the casino, such as by counting cards in blackjack or by accruing bonuses in an online setting. It should be noted that some types of advantage playing are illegal.
All or Nothing: A term used in certain games where a player will win everything if they have certain cards in their hand. If they do not have these cards, then they win nothing. All-or-nothing games are considered high risk but high reward.
Ante: The bet required in certain games before the playing can start. Many card games like poker will have a small and large ante that is paid to ensure there is a pot, or a total sum of money from all players, to play for.
Banker: Another term for the dealer of the house during any given game. For example, a poker dealer could also be called the banker.
Bankroll: The amount of money a player has available to gamble. For example, a player who deposits $200 to the casino’s cashier will have a bankroll of $200 to play with.
Basic Slots: These are types of slots that have only one payline and a static jackpot. In other words, only one person can play at any given time, and the jackpot will remain the same no matter how much money is wagered.
Bonus: An amount of money given to a player by the casino for meeting set requirements. A player might earn a bonus for spending a certain amount of money, winning a certain number of times, or even losing at a certain rate.
Bonus Symbols: Symbols that appear in certain games like slots that will trigger a bonus game or a certain number of free spins for the player.
Card Shark: An expert at card games who is able to use strategy and mathematics to win games. Most professional poker players would consider themselves to be card sharks.
Cash Out: The act of withdrawing money from the casino. A player can cash out after they have won a certain amount they find appealing or simply to stop themselves from spending the rest of their money in games.
Cascading Reels: A feature in many online casinos that replaces symbols on reels that have already won. This allows for more symbol variations and new combinations for players.
Cashier: In an online casino, this is the location where a player is able to deposit funds and withdraw money to play games.
Casino Advantage: The mathematical advantage a casino has over the players at any given time. The casino advantage is also known as the house edge. The casino almost always has the advantage over the players — it’s how the casino makes money.
Casino Bonus: An incentive offered to individuals to convince them to sign up for the online casino. It is similar to a signup bonus and usually includes some kind of discount or free chips to play.
Casino Rewards: Rewards offered by an online casino to players who play with the casino for an extended period of time. Rewards can also be offered once a player graduates to high stakes games.
Casino Tournament: A specific tournament held by the online casino where players compete to win prizes.
Chip Tray: The tray used by a dealer to hold the casino’s chips during a game. Any chips won by the house during a game are deposited in the tray, and this is also where the chips come from when the house makes a bet.
Chips: The tokens used in casinos to represent cash. Tokens come in a variety of colors, each one representing a different denomination. For example, a green chip might be worth $5 while a blue chip is worth $20. These tokens are given to a player once they have handed their money to the casino. Chips are used to prevent the theft of cash.
Coins: Certain online casinos use coins instead of chips as the basic currency. Just like chips, coins will often be worth different amounts depending on their color or type.
Cold Streak: When a player has an extended losing run or loses multiple hands or games in succession.
Color Up: The act of exchanging smaller denomination chips for larger ones. The term comes from the colors of the chips, which often denote how much each individual chip is worth. Someone who transitions from $5 green chips to $20 blue chips has chosen to color up.
Comp Points: Points that are earned in online casinos while playing games. These points are often used in exchange for more chips, food, drinks, or even accommodations if a person has spent enough money. In online casinos, it is common for comp points to pay for bonuses or entrance into bigger games with higher prizes.
Croupier: The French term for a casino dealer. The word has been utilized by casinos in a broad range of cultures and languages.
Dealer: A casino employee responsible for dealing the cards during games like poker and blackjack.
Degenerate Gambler: An individual who gambles frequently and to excess, often in a destructive way. The term can also be used to describe a compulsive or alcoholic gambler. Someone who immediately goes to the casino once they receive their paycheck each month would be considered a degenerate gambler.
Deposit: Either the action of adding funds to a casino account or the amount of money someone chooses to add to their account. For example, it is possible to deposit a deposit, or to make a deposit of $500.
Download Casino: A type of online casino where an individual needs to download a specific type of software to their personal computer in order to play games. This style tends to be the most in-depth and advanced model out of the types of online casinos.
Edge: The advantage during a game. When playing in a casino, it is common for the house to have the edge due to the mathematical design of the games and potential outcomes.
Expanding Wilds: Symbols that appear in certain types of casino games, typically slots, that rely on spins landing on certain symbols. Expanding wilds are symbols that will cover an entire reel and create new combinations for players to win.
Flash Casino: A type of casino that allows players to play in web browsers using flash technology. These are popular among individuals who do not want to download software to their personal computers.
Free Spin: A spin for an online slot game where you invest nothing of your own money but have a chance to win real money with the free spin.
Gambler’s Fallacy: The false idea that the outcome of an event is affected by the results of previous events. For example, a player who believes they will lose the next hand because they won the last one has a gambler’s fallacy that could affect how they play.
High Roller: Someone who visits an online casino and plays for high stakes in the games. For example, an individual who is only interested in jackpots or large prizes would be considered a high roller.
Hot Streak: When a player has an extended winning run that lasts for multiple rounds or games. Players are always hoping for a hot streak.
House: The online casino itself.
House Edge: The mathematical advantage a casino has over the players during games. Most online and physical casinos will try to have as large of a house edge as possible to guarantee victory.
House Rules: Rules made by a specific casino that are unique to that business.
Instant Casino: A type of online casino run entirely online, so the players do not need to download any software to their computer.
Jackpot: A large prize offered for a specific outcome in a game, such as a winning combination at a slot machine or a rare hand in a card game. Jackpots can also be won by being the final player in long competitions such as multi-round card tournaments.
Layout: In reality, this is the surface of the gaming table where a player places their bets. In an online casino, the layout is reproduced on screen so the player can see their bets and those of the other players.
Lobby: The area in an online casino where a player finds all of the available games and matches.
Line Bet: A line bet is the activated paylines on multiple payline video slots where numerous players can join at once. Typically, the video slots will require maximum bets to be activated on all of the paylines.
Live Dealer Games: Games in an online casino can have a live dealer who actively deals the cards in games like poker and blackjack.
Loyalty Scheme: A scheme created by an online casino to ensure player loyalty by offering a broad range of rewards or incentives. The longer a player remains active in the casino, the better the incentives, such as cash bonuses or vouchers.
Marker: An IOU given by the online casino to a player. A token or printout that denotes that the casino owes a player money.
Maximum Bet: The highest amount or stake a player can bet in a game to remain in play. For example, if a hand of power has a $20 maximum, no single player can bet over $20 during any single round.
Minimum Bet: The lowest amount or stake a player can bet in a game to remain in play. For example, if a hand of poker has a $1 minimum, the player must bet at least $1 to play the round.
Multi-Hand Games: A type of casino game where the player can play with more than one hand at once. A style of game where the player has multiple hands.
Multiplayer Games: Online casino games where you play with other real players rather than on your own or against the computer.
Multiplier: A bonus slot feature where payouts can be multiplied by a specific number to increase the payout. For example, a prize could be multiplied by 10 to increase a jackpot from $100 to $1000.
Non-Sticky Bonus: A type of bonus given by casinos and attached to an account. It can be withdrawn once all of the requirements of the bonus have been met.
Pay Table: A sign or chart in a casino that tells you how much each potential combination is worth.
Payline: In slots, this is a line on which a winning combination needs to land (such as straight across or diagonal) in order for the player to win a payout amount.
Payout: The amount of money a player wins at a slot when they hit a winning combination.
Payout Percentage: The approximate return paid by the online casino over time. It is expressed as a percentage of the total number of bets placed at the casino during a specific period of time. The payout percentage could be understood as how much the casino has paid to players who win games at the online casino. The casino wants a low payout percentage, while players find high percentages encouraging.
Payout Table: A table designed to show you the prospective payout for each bet in a table game like roulette, or each winning combination in online slot machines or video poker.
Penetration: The percentage of a deck of cards that is dealt before the deck is shuffled.
Phantom Bonus: A type of bonus offered by the casino that is removed from the player’s account once they cash out at the end of the night.
Pit: An area in a casino where only employees are allowed to go. In an online casino, the pit is often a behind the scenes section of the software where employees can monitor the chat rooms and games.
Pit Boss: A casino employee responsible for overseeing all of the tables or games in a specific pit of the casino. It is unlikely an online casino will have a visible pit boss, but there is usually an employee monitoring the games and rounds.
Progressive Casino Slots: A style of casino slots where the ultimate jackpot continues to grow until someone hits the winning combination.
Progressive Jackpot: A jackpot that increases over time until someone eventually wins.
Push: When a bet or game results in a tie between the player and the house. No one wins.
Random Number Generator (RNG): A specific type of software used by casinos to generate random outcomes in games. For example, the RNG will choose which number and color comes up next during a game of roulette and will determine the order of cards dealt during poker or blackjack.
Reels: The wheels containing the symbols that spin in slot games.
Reload Bonus: A type of bonus offered to members of an online casino when they deposit more money into their account. It serves as enticement to add more funds and play more games.
Scatter: A style of game where an individual can win money even if the reels do not land on a winning payline.
Scatter Pay: A bonus feature in some slots where a certain symbol will pay out whenever it is landed upon, even if there is not a winning combination present.
Select Lines: The number of paylines chosen in an online casino slot.
Shifting Wilds: A type of slots game where the symbols switch location on the wheels.
Shoe: The box from which cards are dealt by a dealer at a casino. An online casino will have a digital “shoe.”
Signup Bonus: An amount or bonus offered to new players when they register with the online casino. The signup bonus typically serves as an enticement to draw in more players. It is also known as a welcome bonus.
Spin: A button that allows the reels to move during a game, helping the player win money. Random number generators typically control where reels land to keep the games fair. “Spin” is also the simple act of activating the reels on a slot using the “spin” button.
Stacked Wilds: Substitute symbols used to create a winning combination in certain types of slot games.
Stake: The amount a player wagers during a casino game.
Sticky Bonus: A specific type of bonus offered by online casinos that will remain attached to a player’s account until it is lost, withdrawn, or the account closes.
Symbols: The different pictures which appear on reels and slots. Winning combinations will often consist of either multiple symbols, or even entire rows of the same symbol.
VIP: A “very important person” or highly valuable player in the casino that will typically be given special treatment.
Wager: Any bet made in the online casino. A wager can include money or other goods the player is willing to risk during a game.
Wagering Requirements: The amount of money you need to wager in an online casino to either release a bonus or earn a bonus that can be withdrawn.
Welcome Bonus: An amount or bonus offered to new players. Often serves as an enticement to draw more people to the online casino. A welcome bonus might also be called a signup bonus.
Whale: A high value player who always plays for big stakes. Named after whales in the ocean, which were difficult to catch but were worth a lot of money.
Wilds: Symbols that can be substituted in certain games to create winning combinations.