We recently spotted a quiz about using casino lingo from Ladbrokes. The quiz basically asks you whether a casino slang term is real or not. Some of us in the office had a go, and surprise, surprise, there were some varied results.
Varied in the sense that those who actually play poker got everything right, and we won’t say too much about the rest of us. Anyway, that got us thinking, does knowing the terms to the game actually make you any better, or is it all luck? In the interest of scientific accuracy, we decided to test this the best way we know how, by leaving the office and playing loads of poker and craps. We’re professionals here.
Anyone can play poker. If you think that’s trivialising the game, here’s some dogs to prove our point.
Let’s work our way through a given hand of poker. We start by being told that we’re something called Little Blind. For those of you who don’t know, that means that we have to put in half the wager for the round before we get our cards.We do so and then receive two cards face down. Two Kings, sound. We put another chip on the table.
The player on our right says “Fold” and sits back in his chair. The dealer plays the “Flop” and neither of us raise. The dealer plays the “Turn” and the player to our left bets two more chips. We see his two and raise him four. He calls our bet and we see the Turn. We both “Stay” and we see the “River” card. We show our hands – he has a pair of 9’s; we just have the pair of Kings. The dealer announces that we win with the Cowboys. We look around, happy that we’ve won some chips, but confused as to where these cowboys are.
As it turns out, the only difference between knowing the slang and not is how much of a fool you’ll look when people call you the small blind and you get offended. You might feel more comfortable, maybe even luckier, if you know what you’re talking about, but unless you’re playing over a long period of time, you can easily win a few hands without knowing what you’re on about.
Unlike poker, knowing the lingo in craps seems pretty much essential. It’s way more complicated than poker, and the glossary of terms behind this game are fairly important. With dozens upon dozens of bets going on, if you have to ask what the "Shooter" does you’re not going to feel confident in your skills. Likewise, asking “what’s the point of this game” and “what’s the Point in this game” are two very different questions. The "Point" is craps is the result of the "Come Out Roll" the shooter rolls. The point of craps is to reroll this number before you "Seven Out" (roll a seven).
We could barely keep up, and got completely lost when people mentioned pass lines, don’t pass lines, come lines, don’t come lines and placing place bets. Seeing as we've only ever been exposed to craps in TV and film, you can't blame us for being crap. Pun intended.
It was all a bit complicated for us, and we were more interested in throwing the fancy dices down the big table and yelling Snake Eyes, despite not having the foggiest what it actually means. We think it’s a good thing...
So does knowing casino lingo make you a better player? Sort of. We were fine playing poker, those of us who’ve only ever played for fun looked a little dumbfounded for a lot of it, but we won some hands, and came out of it alright.
Craps, not so much. We'd recommend having a look at a few tutorials before making that walk to the table, and knowing your way around the words is a huge benefit. Knowing the terms definitely makes you more comfortable, and it'll make you luckier in the sense that you'll have at least some idea of what you're doing, which is always a help.
Plus, it'll stop you from getting into a war of words with someone at the table who's said you've cocked you dice.