The term ‘High Roller’ describes gamblers who participate in the highest-stakes games. It doesn’t apply exclusively to poker. Casino gamblers are often referred to as high rollers also. 

The term high roller can exist outside of a gambling context. It may refer to individuals who have a huge amount of money and live a luxurious lifestyle.  

In this guide, we’ll learn the following - 

Why Are They Called High Rollers in Poker?

The term ‘high roller’ was in usage by the late 1800s. Many high stakes gambling games involved dice. Gamblers who could consistently roll the best numbers would undoubtedly end up richer. 

The term originated with gambling. But outside of a gambling context, it can denote an individual with lots of money and a high-flying lifestyle.

What Stakes are High Roller Cash Games?

There is no set limit associated with high roller cash games. But they would generally be anything that is referred to as ‘nosebleed’ stakes. A rough guide might be games with a buy-in of $10,000 or more ($50/100 blinds). 

Having said this, high roller games can be much larger than this. Pot-sizes can grow into millions of dollars. 

What Advantages do High Rollers get?

Casinos are always on the lookout to increase the amount of action they get from high rollers. 

As a result, they offer complimentary bonuses or ‘comps’ such as  - 

  • Free hotel suites
  • Luxury transfers to the casino
  • A percentage of losses back, amongst other rewards

The size of the comps will vary depending on the amounts being wagered

Are High Rollers called Whales in Poker?

Big players in any market are often called “whales”. But it may not be correct to refer to a high rolling poker player as a ‘whale’. The term whale has come to refer specifically to atrocious poker players. 

So, it would only be correct to refer to a high roller as a ‘whale’ if they were also terrible players. 

Final Thoughts

Often players wonder what it takes to get noticed as a high roller and start receiving comps. It ultimately depends on the casino. 

At big venues, a high roller is probably betting at least $100/hand, for a period of several hours in a day. Naturally, high rollers might bet significantly more than this, however. The size of the comps will match the size of the bets. 

In smaller casinos, a player might get noticed for betting $10/hand. It’s not purely about the amount wagered, but also the consistency. The smaller wagers can get noticed if they regularly show up and play for hours on end. Of course, it helps if we have a reasonable strategy and aren’t losing too fast. 

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