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Seven Sayings That Originated in Gambling

There are a large number of sayings that originated in gambling. Some of the most common phrases used today...

James Copley Written by James Copley · 2 min read >
Gambling table in luxury casino

There are a large number of sayings that originated in gambling. Some of the most common phrases used today can be traced back to betting games played during the medieval era, and even further back to ancient Rome. Gambling has been around for a long time and many sayings in our language can be traced back to gambling.

That being said, gambling is inextricably linked to our language. Whether you’re playing poker, betting on the horses, or spinning a roulette wheel, there are always some casino sayings at your disposal for describing what’s happening. This blog post will show you 7 sayings that originated in gambling. 

  • A spin of the wheel 

This is one of the most common gambling sayings. Originated from probably the most popular and known casino games. It’s used to describe giving in control over your life and luck to the so-called Fortune; the uncertain life forces that control everything but work mysteriously.

  • The harder I work, the luckier I get 

While it did not strictly originate from casino games, it’s part of commonly used gambling phases. It perfectly sums up what all the gambling books are trying to teach all the players, which is- to learn the strategy and way of controlling your emotions during the game. The harder you work on it, the bigger the chance you might win.

  • You cannot read my poker face 

If you have started singing a famous Lady Gaga’s song in your head, you’re not alone. This is one of the most famous gambling quotes ever, used in her hit song from 2008. However, it is also popular in everyday life use, since it matches the situations in which you have to stay calm and not reveal your real emotions about something that’s happening. The best poker players are known for their ability to not show any emotions during the game, as it makes them more likely to win.

  • (To) play one’s ace 

Another one of the most popular gambling sayings and phrases is used in situations that you or someone else is “playing their best card”. Simply put, it means that this person has done their best in the given situation and used all the information they had to gain an advantage. In card games, the ace is usually the strongest card any player can get.

  • (Having an) ace up one’s sleeve 

No need to explain the connection to poker games- it’s used to describe a situation in which you or someone else have a hidden advantage over the other players (people). But not only that – for example, if you see an online casino instant bank transfer offering, you might say that this option is an ace up their sleeve. In general, it’s a very common and well-known saying, that fits perfectly into everyday life situations. 

  • Place your cards on the table

This gambling saying can be used in a situation in which you know that someone else is “having an ace up their sleeve”. By using this phase, you’re asking someone to reveal their secret plan/weapon that they want to use to win the situation. It’s a way of asking for open communication and clarity.

  • Quit while you’re ahead 

This saying is famously used to advise other people; it’s a way of saying “Don’t let emotions control your decisions”. In other words, don’t let the current wins make you think that you will always win, as it’s the easiest way to lose everything. Keep your cool and remember that gambling is a game of luck – don’t get greedy and overly confident. 


As you can see, many gambling phrases and sayings are also used to describe everyday life situations. Gambling is not a new phenomenon. It’s been around for centuries and has been influencing the way people think about life since time immemorial. Due to this fact, many sayings were primarily used to describe some situations in the game, but now they serve as commonly used sayings as well. Gambling and life have a lot in common, such as unpredictability and the mysterious ways in which the “wheel of life” is operating, which is why those sayings are so popular and common.


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Written by James Copley
James Copley is an expert in the gambling and casino world. His passion is to share his knowledge and educate others. His mission is to make sure that everyone can enjoy gambling safely. Profile
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