All gamblers are superstitious to a degree, and they spout off certain phrases to bring themselves good luck. You’re bound to hear some of these clichés uttered if you hang around a casino floor or poker room long enough.
Most of these sayings are completely harmless and merely add to gamblers’ experiences. But other phrases are bad advice or just downright annoying.
You can’t control when other people rattle off irritating gambling sayings. However, you can at least avoid taking terrible advice that’s passed around the casino.
Keep reading as I discuss the worst phrases used in gambling, from terrible tips to annoying terms.
“You’re Due for a Win”
One common thing that gamblers say when they’re mired in a losing streak is that they’re due for a win. These same players often increase their bet size and/or play longer under the assumption that they’re going to start winning.
This mentality is based on the idea that gambling odds have to average out over time. If you’ve lost four rounds in a row, it only makes sense that you’re going to win soon.
Here’s an example of this concept:
- You’re playing baccarat.
- The banker hand has a 50.68% chance of winning (minus 5% commission).
- You lose four hands in a row.
- It seems impossible that you’d lose again when considering the odds.
- You increase your bet from $10 to $50 under the assumption that you’ll win.
It’s logical to assume that you won’t lose five consecutive hands if you have a 50% chance of winning. However, the key thing to realize is that the odds don’t change during a winning or losing streak.
You still have a 50.68% chance of winning a baccarat banker bet regardless of how many hands you’ve lost in a row. Therefore, you’re no more due to win in the next round as you were in the previous four.
Everybody from sports bettors to blackjack players make bigger wagers and/or bet longer under the assumption that they’re due. Don’t fall into this same crowd!
It’s perfectly fine to pick up your chips and walk away during a losing streak. Never play longer than you feel like just because you’ve suffered consecutive losses and think that you’re due to win soon.
“These Terrible Blackjack Players Are Killing Me”
Blackjack is a game between you and the dealer. But some gamblers also believe that they’re battling inexperienced players too.
The perception is that bad players help the dealer by taking poor cards away. This is especially noticeable when they’re sitting at third base, which is the last player to act before the croupier.
Here’s an example:
- The dealer’s upcard is 5.
- You stand with 18.
- Third base has 13.
- Third base should stand here according to optimal strategy.
- They instead hit and draw a 10, thus busting out.
- The dealer draws a jack and 6 (21 total).
- The dealer’s 21 beats you and everybody else still remaining in the hand.
It’s easy to get angry at the novice for hitting here with 14. Their strategy is detrimental to themselves and directly caused you to lose.
But let’s see how this could’ve played out differently:
- The dealer’s upcard is 6.
- You stand with 17.
- Third base has 12.
- Third base should stand based on optimal strategy.
- They instead hit and draw a 9, thus reaching 21.
- The dealer draws a 4, 5, and 10, thus busting out (25 total).
- The croupier would’ve had 19 and beaten you had third base not hit.
You can see that a bad player’s mistakes go both ways. Sometimes they’ll help the dealer and cause you to lose, while other times they save your hand.
It’s easy to get mad and claim that terrible players are making you lose. But just remember the times when they help out as well.
Bad blackjack players won’t affect you in the long run. All you need to do is focus on yourself and make the right plays.
“Ship it” started as a harmless way to express joy over winning a big poker hand. The term essentially means that a large pile of chips are being shipped over to you.
But there are multiple reasons why ship it has become irritating. The first is that it was completely overused during the mid-2000s poker boom.
Some players exclaimed “ship it” every time they dragged a large pot. The phrase became as cliché as saying “they were suited” or labeling everything “sick.”
Ship it is also a bad expression because it’s just rude. The player who loses the pot doesn’t want to hear you gloat after winning.
One of the best ways to handle poker success is to act like you’ve been there before. Yelling shipping multiple times in a tournament or cash session doesn’t accomplish this goal.
“This Dealer Is Bad Luck”
Dealers are hired to facilitate games and make sure that they run smoothly. The only time that a dealer can affect a game’s outcome game is if they make a mistake.
Most croupiers are trained well enough to where this rarely happens. But when blunders do take place, the players are often the ones benefiting.
Mistakes aside, dealers have no real impact over the results. Nevertheless, some gamblers blame these casino employees when things go wrong.
They’ll claim that a dealer is bad luck if they go from winning to suddenly losing a lot. This situation is especially true when a new croupier rotates onto their table.
The truth, though, is that dealers usually only make one lose if they’re purposely cheating on the casino’s behalf. I remember a scene in the film Walking Tall, where Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson gets cheated by a crooked dealer.
Outside of the movies, though, this scenario rarely ever happens. Dealers only receive between $7 and $10 per hour from casinos, with the rest of their salaries coming from tips.
It’s not like they have enormous salaries or casino profit sharing that would motivate them to cheat. Therefore, you’re facing nearly a zero-percent chance of being ripped off by the dealer.
Of course, it can feel like a croupier brings bad luck when they move to your table and you immediately begin losing. But this has everything to do with the casino’s long-term edge and nothing to do with the actual dealer.
“Don’t Play Slot Machines on the Weekend”
Slot machines are subject to more myths than any other casino game. The reason why is because gamblers can’t see the innerworkings of a slot.
This causes a general perception that the house changes payout percentages across the casino whenever it suits them.
One of the most-common beliefs is that casinos lower return to player (RTP) on the weekends and during the evening. This thought stems from how gambling venues are busier on weekends, meaning they can earn more money by lowering RTP.
Many gamblers advise not to play slot machines on weekends as a result. The truth, though, is that casinos don’t manipulate payback during busier days/hours.
Slots results are instead governed by the random number generator (RNG), payout percentages, and hit frequency.
The RNG cycles through countless payout possibilities to determine wins. This process ensures that every spin is completely random and can’t be manipulated by the player or house.
Payout percentages dictate how much games pay over the long run. 96% RTP means that the average player will theoretically receive $96 back on every $100 wagered.
Hit frequency refers to how often a game pays out. Games with big jackpots usually have low hit frequency, while slots with smaller jackpots pay more frequently.
Casinos put lots of analysis into changing RTP for any given game. They don’t, however, simply change payback across the board to capitalize on increased patronage.
“I’m a Break Even Player”
Skill-based forms of gambling like daily fantasy sports (DFS), esports betting, and poker give you a chance to win long-term profits.
DFS and poker offer this opportunity because you’re competing against other players rather than a house edge. The house, meanwhile, only takes rake (a small commission) from the action.
Esports and sports betting see you try to beat the bookmaker’s lines by placing informed bets. You need only win enough to beat the odds and the house “juice” to earn profits.
Of course, the average gambler loses in skill-based forms of gambling. Somebody has to lose in order for the pros to make money.
But if you talk to many of the losers, they’ll simply tell you that they break even.
Saying this wouldn’t be so bad if the players actually had records to back up this assertion. However, the reality is that most losing gamblers just say this to sound good.
Here’s a common scenario involving an unsuccessful gambler:
- Joe plays 5-10 DFS contests per week.
- He wins $10 the first week (bankroll at +10).
- Joe loses $12 the next week when accounting for the rake and lost contests (-2).
- He wins $5 the next week (+3).
- Joe loses $7 the following week (-4).
- Joe has lost $4 overall.
It’s easy to fool yourself into thinking that you’re doing fine in this situation. The seesaw wins and losses make it feel like you’re breaking even.
The reality, though, is that you never know unless you’re keeping records. This is why it’s good to record your wins and losses when playing skill-based games.
It’s also wise to study strategy and improve your skills to the point where you can win profits. Each skill-based game offers tools that will help you improve.
“Don’t Let Anybody Steal Your Jackpot”
Some slots and video poker players believe that these games pay out in cycles. In other words, they believe that each payout in a gambling machine is set to be delivered after X number of spins.
Here’s an example:
- Cheryl is playing a slot machine with a $10,000 jackpot.
- She believes in payout cycles.
- The jackpot has 1 in 1,000,000 odds of hitting.
- Cheryl has no idea on the actual odds, because manufacturers don’t release this info.
- But if she knew the odds, she’d think that the jackpot must pay at exactly 1 million spins.
- Cheryl continues playing the same slot religiously to reach the cycle’s end.
Most players who subscribes to payout cycles also believe that somebody can “steal” their jackpot. These same gamblers will cover their seats with articles of clothing when they go to the bathroom – if they even go at all.
It’s important to realize, though, that nobody can steal a jackpot. You have the same odds of winning the top prize in the current round as you did in previous turns.
Each slots and video poker prize is programmed with certain odds of occurring. But these odds merely indicate the average at which each payout is set to be delivered.
Odds don’t, however, indicate a cycle or any kind of guarantee. The jackpot discussed above could pay after 20,000 or 20 million spins.
Playing a game religiously just because you want to reach the end of the cycle doesn’t change your odds. It just robs you of trying a variety of video poker and slots variations.
Poker tournament players sometimes say “one time” during all-in hands. Players are essentially asking for a stroke of luck so that they can win the hand and preserve their tournament life.
Of course, the phrase one time literally means to beg for a single lucky instance. It loses all meaning when a player continues yelling it during every all-in hand.
Much like ship it, one time was worn out during the poker boom. Some players continually belted out this expression every time their chips were in the middle.
Joe Hachem gained infamy for saying one time on multiple occasions during the 2005 Main Event. He only inspired others to do the same after he won the $7.5 million top prize.
Again, there’s nothing wrong with begging the poker gods for help once in a while. Just don’t be the player who’s screaming one time on every all-in occasion.
“This Table/Slot Machine Is Hot”
You’re certainly not in the wrong by labeling a high-paying slot machine as “hot.” But this line of thinking becomes a problem when your game revolves around looking for the hot tables and slots.
Some players go as far as to travel around the casino looking for the hot games that’ll bring them instant profits. Here’s an example:
- Terry plays a slot machine for 10 spins.
- He fails to win anything and immediately moves to the next game.
- Terry wins one small prize after 10 rounds and moves to the next slot.
- He wins three times in 10 spins with the third game and believes that it’s hot.
Looking for hot casino games won’t necessarily harm your bankroll. After all, your odds will be close to the same when you’re moving between tables/machines in the same game (e.g. blackjack).
But it becomes a problem if you’re only hopping from game to game to increase your potential winnings.
You’re not technically finding hot games this way. Instead, you’re just benefiting from good short-term luck when you immediately start winning.
The only time that this isn’t true is when you’re playing slot machines with varying hit frequencies. Some games offer higher hit frequency, meaning they pay out small prizes more often.
Slot machines with smaller jackpots and several low-value prizes typically have the best hit frequency. This doesn’t, however, mean that the RTP is higher or the game is “hot.”
“Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner”
The origins and meaning of the phrase “winner, winner chicken dinner” aren’t definitive. Some sources claim that it was coined during the Great Depression by people playing back-alley craps games.
Gamblers had a tough time affording good meals back then. A big win meant having enough to buy a chicken dinner.
The saying was popularized in the 1970s, when Vegas casinos offered chicken dinners for $2. The average minimum bet at table games was the same price.
Therefore, dealers would sometimes say “winner, winner chicken dinner” like a carnival barker, trying to draw passerbys to their empty tables. Winning just one minimum bet would be enough to buy a chicken dinner, hence dealers using this phrase.
All of this makes perfect sense up until the days when Vegas stopped using cheap food to lure gamblers. Now, the only ones yelling winner, winner chicken dinner are clueless gamblers who know nothing about the phrase.
I remember cringing upon hearing Ben Sturgess recite this saying multiple times in the 2008 movie 21. But it’s even more cringeworthy to hear it multiple times from another gambler, long after Vegas dealers stopped using the phrase.
The worst type of gambling sayings are those that can convince you to adopt a bad strategy. The idea that you’re due for a win in fixed-odds casino games is the most detrimental of the bunch.
Thinking that you’re due to win because of previous losses can lead to playing longer and/or betting more. The truth is that odds don’t change just because of what happened before.
Telling yourself that you’re “breaking even” without any evidence is another bad idea. Adopting this line of thought without records can lead you to continue playing and losing.
Other gambling expressions are simply annoying – especially when they infringe on another gambler’s fun. Yelling “ship it” or “one time” at the poker table can irritate other players.
Blaming table game dealers or bad blackjack players for your losses is also extremely annoying. Only a poor dealer an affect your odds, and this doesn’t even happen often.
Ideas like somebody stealing your jackpot or slot machines being hot won’t directly hurt your bankroll. But obsessing over these thoughts can diminish your gambling entertainment.
In summary, keep the phrases in mind that I’ve discussed here so that you don’t fall for or overuse them. A better approach is to simply research gambling odds and strategy yourself rather than relying on dated sayings.