HomeThe ShuffleDon’t Look Like a ‘Fish’: Learn the Gaming Lingo

Don’t Look Like a ‘Fish’: Learn the Gaming Lingo

Ever wondered about the difference between a big slick and a big lick? How about a San Francisco busboy or a monkey? Being in on the lingo always makes it seem like you know what you’re doing. Comedian and poker player Michelle Tomko explains some of these table-game terms to help you avoid looking like a “fish” the next time you play.

Like most activities, one of the easiest ways to make folks aware that you know what you’re doing and are just plain cool in general is to be down with the lingo. Gambling is no different.

Every casino table game offers an opportunity to look like you only play in “carpet joints” (casinos that cater to high rollers). Or, you can at least fake it so you don’t look like a “fish”(an inexperienced player).

Using the jargon can also change the mood at the table, lift the energy and make the game more fun. After all, isn’t it a lot more exciting to be at a table of baccarat players yelling for a “monkey”(king, queen, jack or 10), as opposed to them just hoping for a card valued at 10? Wouldn’t you feel more like a member of the Rat Pack if you yelled out “Yo bet” (a bet on 11) then, “Can you put this on 11 please” at the craps table? If you have a nemesis at a poker table that you want put on “tilt” (mental and emotional turmoil over a bad beat), just beat him with a “flat tire”(Jack-4). Do you get that one? What’s a Jack FOR? A jack is for a flat tire. I literally have a million of ’em.

Building a gaming lexicon is also a great conversation starter at social table games like poker or even blackjack. In Texas hold ’em, virtually every two-card holding has a nickname. A pair of eights is “snowmen.”If you are dealt 33, you have “crabs”(imagine what 3s look like on their sides). For the past eight years, 44 has been called “Obama”(the 44th U.S. president). Ace-King is called “big slick.

There are even some off-color terms. Like, Ace-Queen is referred to alternatively from “big slick” as “big lick.” A “San Francisco busboy” is, you guessed it, a queen with a “trey” (another name for a 3 in poker). You might even see a man flirting with a woman in the left corner seat of a blackjack table say, “I sure would like to get to third base”—“third base,”of course, is that last seat at the table the woman is sitting in.

So, if you are hopping on a plane to Atlantic City or Las Vegas any time soon, take five minutes to learn the lingo of the games you plan to try. Whether your luck runs good or bad, you’ll at least look like a “winner, winner, chicken dinner!”

This last one is a piece of Vegas folklore. Legend says it started years ago when a standard casino food special was a $1.79 chicken dinner and a standard bet was two “bucks”(dollar). Dealers would yell, “Winner, winner, chicken dinner,”when they paid a bet to attract more players.

Where can you find more slang? Drop me a line at [email protected]. I look forward to hearing from all the “Georges” (big tippers) out there.

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