Gambling Words and Expressions That Made Their Way Into our Vocabulary

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People playing casino games.
BetMGM Mar 10, 2023, 12:26 PM

What word comes to mind when you’re trying to devise a solution to a problem and a fantastic idea suddenly pops into your head? “Bingo!” When you’re teaching someone how to do something new, and they’re surprisingly good at it following their first try? “Beginner’s luck!” Or when you find a $10 bill in the back pocket of an old pair of pants? “Jackpot!”

Over the years, plenty of words and events have made their way out of the casino and into our everyday vocabulary. But what do some of these words, phrases and expressions mean? From which land-based and online casino games do they originate? Read on to find out.

Beginner’s luck

If you’ve ever played casino table games or online slots with a beginner, you might have come to find that they often enjoy a notable winning streak. And they do this despite only having recently learned the rules or having played only a few rounds! It’s this inexplicable streak of luck that led to the coining of the term “beginner’s luck” in land-based and online casinos. Outside the casino, “beginner’s luck” is now used to describe an unexplained stroke of luck when starting something new and doing a good job.

“She recently opened her first restaurant, which has enjoyed plenty of success – I’ve put it down to beginner’s luck.”


When playing bingo in a bingo hall or at a casino, it’s tradition to yell “bingo!” if you’ve managed to mark off all the numbers on your card, letting everyone know you’ve won. In everyday life, many people use the word “bingo” when expressing their satisfaction with a sudden positive event or outcome.

“The software analyzes all the data and, bingo! You’ve got all the details needed to help you make improvements to your business.”

Poker face

While a poker face isn’t actually necessary when you play poker in a live casino online setting, it’s crucial when playing this casino table game in a traditional casino. People-reading is a skill that can make or break someone’s poker game and have a heavy influence on their decisions to fold, raise or call. Therefore, perfecting your poker face is vital in making it difficult for other players to “read” your emotions. As such, a “poker face” is a must in many different situations in daily life where you want to keep people guessing.

“I had to negotiate a lower price with my supplier and made sure I went into it with my well-practiced poker face!”

Double down

Double down is a phrase you’ll often say at the blackjack table when doubling your bet before one more card is drawn in addition to the cards already dealt. In everyday life, doubling down refers to committing to a risky strategy in pursuit of a reward.

“Even though the odds of acceptance were against her, she doubled down and submitted her application to the university.”


As all gamblers know, a jackpot is a high-value cash prize that can be won when playing casino games. Away from the casino, the term is often used to describe a happy or profitable “win.”

“I found those shoes I’ve been wanting on sale for thirty percent off at the store this morning. Jackpot!”

Bet your bottom dollar

When gambling and reaching the end of your bankroll, you’ll bet what remains only if you’re feeling extremely confident that you’re going to win. This is referred to as “betting your bottom dollar,” and it extends outside of the casino too. You can “bet your bottom dollar” when you decide to take a risk but feel confident that the odds are in your favor for a positive outcome.

“He resigned to go work at that start-up company? You can bet your bottom dollar that he’ll be back!”

Tapping out

In most casino games, you “tap out” when you no longer want to play or place any further bets. You’re also considered “tapped out” when you reach the end of your bankroll. In real life, tapping out refers to withdrawing from a situation, often one in which you initially invested a lot of your time or money.

“I tried my best to get it going, but the business isn’t working as I’d hoped. I’m tapping out.”  

All bets are off

The phrase “all bets are off” stems from the sports betting world and horse racing, specifically. It’s used to communicate that the bookmaker is no longer taking any new bets. This means that already placed bets become null and void due to certain conditions having changed or the race being canceled. Away from the horse track, people now use this phrase when it’s impossible to predict an outcome.

“All bets are off on who will win the singing competition – it’s way too close to call!”

Pull out the ace

The ace is considered the most valuable card in many land-based and online casino games, so by pulling out an ace at a crucial moment, there’s a good chance of securing a win. In real life, you would use the phrase “pull out an ace” to communicate that you’re about to do something strategic and unexpected to get ahead.

“Just before the finish line, Joan pulled out her ace and gave one final push to overtake her opponents and win the medal.”

Play casino games at BetMGM

Are you looking for the best casino games to play online from the comfort of your home? BetMGM is where you’ll find them. Along with classic skill-based casino table games and live dealer casino games, we also specialize in online casino slots, jackpot slots, variety games, arcade games and more.

Take a few minutes to register via our convenient mobile portal whenever you’re ready to explore our ever-growing gaming menu.

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.