In sports betting, vigorish is a straight synonym for the juice. However, in casino gaming, vig may refer to the natural, built-in advantage the house has on most wagers. Vigorish may also refer to rake in poker.
In craps, vig refers to the 5% commission which is charged whenever the player wants to bet that 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 will be rolled before a 7. Normally, the bet would be paid off at the true mathematical odds, but since the casino charges $1 for every $20 bet, the house advantage is restored. Please note that while many casinos still take the vigorish regardless of the outcome of the bet, many gambling establishments have opted to lower the house advantage by applying the commission exclusively to winning wagers.
“Vigorish” originated from Yiddish slang, from the Russian phrase used to describe winnings – выигрыш vyigrysh. Outside gambling, the term is often used to refer to an auction house’s fees or to describe profits from advisory activities in investment banking. Furthermore, sports announcer Bob Prince is known for using the term “hidden vigorish” to refer to the force making a hitter who has been hitless closer to his next hit each time he makes an out.