Bookie Slang UK: How to Speak Like a Bookie

Bookie Slang UK: How to Speak Like a Bookie

How much does a punter have if they win a pony? Have you any idea how bettors lay goliaths and why beards lay chalks? 

The gambling elite in England uses a distinct bookie slang in the UK for even the simplest of bets. 

If you’re looking to catch up with them, here’s a list of the most common bookie slang words and betting terms that you might come across in the UK. 

Top 15 Bookie Slang Words

The world of betting is more complicated than it seems from the outside. If you want to avoid ‘Googling’ words every time you’re in the company of experienced bettors, then you might want to get familiar with some of the slang language they use.


In betting, a ‘beard’ refers to a person who places bets on behalf of another person. For example, gamblers often ask friends to make bets for them when they don’t want to reveal their identity to the bookmaker.

They might be banned from the sportsbook, prohibited from betting on the sport in question, or maybe trying to go around the betting limit.


A favourite of many bookies, the Bismarck is a bet that’s unlikely to win. Like Bismarck, the famous German battleship that sank, most bettors believe that this bet will fall short.

Similarly, a Bismarck is also a bet that is won unexpectedly, against all odds.  


In the bookmaker sphere, odds of 3/1 are known as ‘carpet’, while odds of 33/1 are known as ‘double carpet’.


Chalk is a bet that is considered to be extremely safe. It is a bet on a match, team, or player that is heavily favoured compared to others. This means that not all favourites are chalk bets– they need to be significant favourites to be chalk. 

Understandably, these are typically low-risk bets with low odds. 


Drift is slang for odds that are changing in length – If the odds are lengthening, they are said to be drifting. 

In other words, this means that the chances of the team or player (that was expected to win on the market) scoring a victory are getting slimmer.


Exotic bets are complex wagers. When punters get creative with their bets and opt for anything other than straight bets or parley, they are engaging in exotic betting. 

These bets are often very specific and risky but bring greater rewards. 


Goliath is one of the largest and most complex bets in the betting sphere. It consists of 247 equal bets on 8 selections: 

  • 28 doubles
  • 56 trebles
  • 70 fourfolds
  • 56 five-folds
  • 28 six-folds
  • 8 seven-folds and 
  • Accumulator

To get a return on a Goliath bet, at least two of the selections have to prove successful.


Jolly is a bet on the favourite in the race. Like chalk bets, they typically have low odds and are designed for punters that don’t want to take on much risk. 


Kite is British slang for a cheque, which is rarely used today since most punters now opt for cash and card payments. 


Monkey refers to a wager of £500. Experienced UK bookmakers and gamblers mainly use it. 


AWOL has the same meaning as it does in other spheres (like the military) – absent without notice. When a punter is AWOL, they’ve left town without paying the bookmaker


Pony refers to a sum of £25


A scout is a punter who waits for strong wagers and bets big in sports betting. They ‘scout out’ the best with the best value and then put their money down to maximise their winning chances.


Tic-tac is the communication system often used by trackside bookmakers at racecourses to communicate changing odds or prices of a horse, without alerting punters. Bookmakers primarily use this intricate sign language to make sure their odds are not too far from those of the competitors.


A Trixie is a multi-event bet that consists of four individual bets of equal value on three selections in different events. A return is only guaranteed if two of the selections are successful.

Bottom Line

There are many other bookie slang words that you might come across as you delve deeper into the world of sports betting. 

But, if you want to impress your mates or just want to understand what they’re talking about during discussions about the betting world, familiarizing yourself with some of the basic bookie slang in the UK should do the trick. 

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