Gambling Glossary

Gambling jargon and unusual or technical terms used on the Smartgambler website.


Also referred to as a Woody. Bumbling amateur. Person who makes all the classic mistakes and gets burned in whatever endeavour they are undertaking. Carries overtones of happy, carefree blundering.


Expected return

(ER) Mathematical term used to describe the average amount a wager or investment will yield. The expected return on a fair (even money) bet is 100% (sometimes written as 1.0) The ER tells the punter how much money the house will take off them on average per bet. If the casino has for instance, a 2.7% edge at Roulette, it is expressed as an ER of .973 or 97.3%.



The likelihood of an event happening expressed as a ratio. For example the probability of a head being thrown in a fair coin toss is 50% (0.5) If something has a one in four chance of happening the probability would be expressed as 25% or 0.25.


Card counting

Used in Blackjack and less commonly Baccarat. By assigning numerical values to categories of cards, such as minus 2 for aces, tens and picture cards and plus 2 for threes, fours, fives and sixes, an adding and subtracting technique can be used to tell the player whether the remainder of the shoe is richer in high cards or low. In Blackjack a deck rich in high cards tends to favour the player, so card counters can raise their bets at a favourable time and gain an advantage over many casinos.



Complimentaries. Incentives such as free travel, free accommodation, free meals and even cash rebates, used by casinos to attract high turnover players.


Market framing/handicapping

Computing the correct probability that each contestant in an event has of winning, or computing the likelihood of a given event occurring. Comparing an accurately framed market to the odds on offer from less informed sources can reveal value bets.


Basic strategy

Used for playing Blackjack accurately. Every decision required at Blackjack has a statistically correct answer that has been worked out by massive computer simulations. The tables of correct decisions under the varying rules at different casinos are readily available. By memorising the table for a given casino, a player has already reduced their disadvantage to around 0.5% before card counting. Basic Strategy Tables

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