Learn to speak like an insider

Aug 26, 2003 4:26 AM

Most of these terms have nothing to do with the game of craps, but are heard around the casino and I thought you might be interested in knowing what they mean.

Back Counter: A card counter in blackjack that nonchalantly stands near a BJ game and enters the game only when the count favors the player. This is why some casinos prohibit mid-shoe or mid-deck entry.

Buffalo Hunter: Someone that stalks casinos, looking for forgotten credits left on slot machines. Casino surveillance and security have cracked down on this practice and it is not unusual for suspects to be turned over to Metro.

Candle: The cylindrical object on the top of a slot machine. It lights up when the patron presses the "change" button and when a jackpot that requires hand-payment is won. The color of the bottom section indicates what denomination coins that machine accept: Red/nickels, yellow/quarters, gold/half dollars and blue/dollars.

Check Run: A procedure where casino security travels from casino to casino in order to redeem foreign checks.

Count (the): The ritual that occurs on table games once every eight hours at the shift change. It involves the incoming and out-going shift managers counting the checks in the bankrolls and security changing the drop boxes.

Dark: When you see an advertisement for a show and it says: "Dark Monday" it means the showroom is closed on Mondays.

Exacta: A horseracing bet where the bettor must pick the horse that will come in first and the horse that will come in second in a race.

Expected Win: When deciding how much to comp a player, the casino uses the factor of "expected win." For example, the "expected win" for a roulette player that suffers a house percentage of about 5% on the $200 he bets every spin, is ten-dollars. That $10 multiplied by the thirty spins a dealer might get in one hour, is $300. If the player plays for four hours the casino’s expected win is $1200. Of that $1200 the casino might be willing to give him 20% of it in comps that involve "soft costs", meals in that casino’s restaurants or a room in their hotel, because it doesn’t cost them the face value of the comp. The casino might only give the player 10% of his expected win in "hard costs", such as airline tickets on an airline that obviously the casino does not own and must pay full value for.

Foreign Check: A casino check (chip) from a casino other than the one a player is attempting to play or redeem it at.

Front Loading: Cheating at BJ by getting a glimpse of the dealer’s hole card when he tucks it under his top card. This is usually done from the "third base" position on the table.

Hard Count: Those guys in the orange coveralls aren’t on a work release program from the state prison. What they are doing when they put those little trashcans on that big metal cart is called the "hard count." They are removing the excess coins from the slot machines and recording the numbers on the meters that keep track of how many coins were dropped in the machine.

Hopper Fill: This is what you need when your slot machine runs out of coins when paying a jackpot or when trying to redeem your credits. The candle will light up and in some casinos, the computer will notify the slot techs that they need to get one of those big bags of coins to fill up your hopper.

Line Pass: A line pass is often given to a player that is receiving a comp for the buffet or show. It entitles them to bypass the regular line and be seated much sooner.

Point Spread: In sports betting it is the number of points you must give up to bet on the favorite or the number of points you get when betting the underdog. Its purpose is to even out the betting so the bookmaker is assured to win 10% of the losing bets. If the favorite wins by the exact amount of the spread, there is no action and all bets are refunded. Charles McNeil of Chicago is generally recognized as inventing the point spread in the forties and was probably influenced by Billy Hecht and Ed Curd.

Quiniela: A horseracing bet where the bettor must pick which two horses that will cross the finish line first. The order in which they finish doesn’t matter.

RFB: It stands for "room, food and beverage." It is a comp only given to top tier gamblers.

Snapper: Blackjack dealers refer to a blackjack (ace and any ten or face card) as a snapper.

Soft count: The process of opening the drop boxes and counting the money in them.

Sommelier: The restaurant employee that is in charge of ordering and maintaining that establishment’s wine collection. He also educates the servers and patrons about the fine art of ordering wines.

Sous-Chef: The chef who is second in command in a restaurant, ranking below the head chef.

Spooking: When one crossroader will position himself behind a BJ dealer (on the other side of the pit) and signal what the dealer’s hole card is, to a crossroader on that dealer’s game. This is what was going on in that scene in the movie "Casino."

Stiff: Besides a player that doesn’t toke (tip) if refers to a blackjack dealer’s up card that is a 2 — 6. "I can’t believe he hit a fourteen when I had a stiff showing."

Trifecta: A bet in horse racing where the bettor must pick not only the first three horses to cross the finish line, but the exact order in which they do.

Under/Over: The number of combined points that the bookmaker expects both teams to score in a game. Gamblers can bet "under" if they feel fewer points will be scored (the bettor might feel that bad weather will make scoring difficult) or "over" if they think more points will be scored (perhaps there are key injuries in the team’s defense).

(Dale S. Yeazel is the author of "Precision Crap Dealing" and "Dealing Mini-Baccarat." Full color E-books on CD-Rom available for only $20 each (plus tax) at Gamblers Book Shop and Gamblers General Store in Las Vegas. www.geocities.com/lump450).