A whale, also referred to as high roller, is a player who wagers massive amounts of money. The term isn’t specific to a single game – whether the gambler in question is playing Slots, Poker, Roulette, or Blackjack, he or she can still be considered a whale as long as the bets are sufficiently large. In brick and mortar casinos, whales are often treated to special comps, which may include free drinks, private jet transfers, limousine use, or access to the gambling establishment’s best suites.
Even though whales never account for a large part of the casino’s revenue, high rollers may expect rebates on betting turnover and losses. Please note that the definition of a whale varies from casino to casino. Receiving a high-roller treatment in a land-based gambling house might require you to bring at least $50,000 or $100,000 to the games, but online casino sites generally have lower betting limits, which means that players who deposit $5,000 or even less might be considered whales.
“Look, that whale just bet $50,000 on 24 in Roulette… and he actually won! I sure wish I was in his shoes.”
The origins of the term “whale” can be traced back to the competitive gambling community – specifically, the poker scene. Poker regulars tend to put players into sea life-inspired categories, depending on their skill level. Weak players are considered “fish,” while the professionals who hunt them are often referred to as “sharks.” The same pattern can be applied to the amount of money that players bet. Consequently, recreational players may be considered “fish,” while gamblers who play the highest stakes are named after the largest creatures in the casino sea.