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List of Gambling Terms

There are many gambling terms that are used when betting on sports. Some of these terms are specific to certain types of gambling, while others are more general. Here is a list of some of the most common gambling terms:


Term Description
All In In poker, going all in means betting your entire stack on a single hand.
Bean In poker, a bean or an ante bean is a term that refers to the ante or the chip that is used to place the ante.
Chalk In sports betting, picking the chalk or betting the chalk means betting on the favorites.
Cooler In poker, a cooler is a case in which somebody plays a very strong hand that justifies placing the maximum bet, but is still beaten by an even stronger hand.
Cover In most cases, covering the bet simply means accepting the bet for play or putting enough money on the line to pay for the action.
Dime In gambler parlance, a dime is a $1,000 wager.
Double Down Double down is a blackjack term and is the name of one of the decisions that a player can make as the game goes on.
EV EV, or expected value, is what the player could expect to win or lose per a single game if he was to place the same bet in the same situation an infinite number of times.
Fade To fade means to bet against, particularly when referring to betting against a person.
Fish In poker lingo, the term “fish” is used to describe an extremely unskilled player who tends to play a loose game, but remains passive regardless of the situation at the table, or makes aggressive moves when he shouldn’t.
Handle In sports betting lingo, the term handle is often used by the bookmakers to describe the total amount of money wagered over a specific period of time.
Heater A heater is a series of events in any game of chance occurring within a short, concise time frame, and resulting in a positive outcome for the player involved.
Hedge In online sports betting, to hedge means to make a bet or a series of bets that take the opposite site of your original position in order to reduce the risk involved or lock in some profit.
Hook In sports betting, the term “hook” refers to a half-point. Consequently, saying “two and a hook” is the equivalent of saying “two and a half.”
Juice Juice, also referred to as vigorish, vig, the take or the cut, is the amount charged by a live bookmaker or a sports betting site for its services.
Kitty In home poker games, a kitty is a pool of money that has been built by collecting small, predetermined amounts from specific pots or even every single pot.
Long Term Whether you’re talking about sports betting, casino games or poker, the term “long term” refers to the overall profitability over prolonged periods of time.
Marker Casino and card room markers are special credits that allow players to receive easy access to large amounts of money on the spot.
Middle In sports betting, playing the middle means placing two bets on opposite teams or totals with advantageous point spreads or lines, usually at different sports books.
Milkshaking In horse race betting circles, “milkshaking” a horse is a colloquial term referring to the illegal practice of administering bicarbonate soda mixed with glucose and other additives to increase its performance and reduce fatigue.
Moose In sports betting, a moose is simply the equivalent of a poker bad beat – a bet that goes horribly wrong despite the fact that everything was progressing just as planned and the punter seemed to have the odds going in his favor.
Mush To mush means to create bad luck for others in gambling situations.
Nickel In gambling lingo and especially in the sports betting world, a nickel is a $500 wager.
Over Under In sports betting, an over under bet refers to a wager in which the sports book predicts a number for a statistic in the game in question, and the bettors have to wager whether the actual result will exceed that prediction or end up being lower.
Overlay In poker, an overlay is the gap between a tournament’s guaranteed prize pool and the actual prize pool generated by entrants.
Parlay In sports betting, a parlay, also known as an accumulator, is a combo wager that links together two or more individual bets.
PK In sports betting, “PK” is an abbreviation for “pick” or “pick’em” and refers to even money wagers in point spread betting.
Pony In sports betting, a pony is British slang for a sum of $25.
Press In gambling, particularly in sports betting, to press means to bet a larger amount than usual or to double up.
Punter In British and Australian sports betting slang, particularly when it comes to horse race betting, the term “punter” is simply a synonym of the word “bettor” or “gambler,” and is used to refer to a person who bets on the outcome of a sporting event.
Push In poker and other competitive gambling games, to push means to go all in.
Shark A card shark is an expert card player whose skills enable him to take advantage of weaker players.
Sharp In sports gambling, the term “sharp” is used to refer to intelligent and astute bettors.
Shoe A shoe is a casino device which is used for holding and dispensing playing cards to be dealt.
Snake Eyes Snake eyes is the outcome of rolling two dice in any gambling game and getting one pip on each die.
Square In gambler parlance, and especially in sports gambling terminology, a square is simply an extremely inexperienced player, who is completely incapable of thinking outside the box, or of his “square.”
Steam In sports betting terminology, “steam” refers to a sudden rush of money all coming in on one team or total, which results in rapid line moves.
SU In sports betting terminology, SU is an abbreviation for “Straight Up”, which refers to the record of a team without factoring in the spread.
Tell In poker, the term “tell” refers to a change in a player’s behavior that gives clues as to what type of hand he or she might be holding.
Tilt In poker, the term “tilt” is used to refer to the state of frustration or confusion in which the player tends to adopt a less-than-optimal strategy due to emotional reasons.
Unit In sports betting, a “unit” is a measurement of the size of a punter’s bet.
Vigorish (Vig) 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.
Whale A whale, also referred to as high roller, is a player who wagers massive amounts of money.
Yankee In sports betting and horse race betting, a Yankee is a full coverage combination bet, which is made up of four selections.
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