8

We were having a conversation at a casino, and I said:

Normalerweise ist es nicht meine Art, um große Einsätze zu spielen. Ich bin vermutlich einfach von Haus aus keine Spielernatur. Aber wenn ich etwas Kleingeld übrig habe, gönne ich mir trotzdem gern das ein oder andere Hochrisiko-Spielchen. Das gibt dem Leben die nötige Würze. Wenn du dir einen Jackpot vorstellst, da leuchten deine kleinen Äuglein auf, was?

Here I used the phrase "um große Einsätze spielen" as sort of a workaround to express the idea of "a high roller", as I wasn't sure if this anglicism is commonly used in German. And how about in layman's terms? In French, "les high rollers" works fine, even if there is another casual French word: "un flambeur / une flambeuse".

According to Wiki: "A high roller" ist eine Bezeichnung für hauptsächlich in Casinos agierende Spieler, die um besonders hohe Summen spielen.

Does my phrasing sound idiomatic enough? How is this idea commonly expressed in German?

  • 2
    I think in German it's more idiomatic to say "hohe Einsätze" instead of "große Einsätze", when talking about gambling. – mtwde Aug 31 '19 at 7:21
  • Never heard "high roller" in French. "Flambeur" to me is someone that spends a lot of money, not necessarily gambling though. "Jouer gros jeu" is what I'd use in a gambling context, hence "un gros joueur" for a high roller. – petitrien Aug 31 '19 at 8:20
  • 1
    @Con-gras-tue-les-chiens um große Einsätze spielen is not exactly the same as a Hasardeur, Zocker, Glücksspieler (as some answers might suggest) - hence I was wondering if it is the "act of playing for much money", the "person who's playing for high amounts", or something different... – Arsak Aug 31 '19 at 14:02
  • 2
    What is amiss in your question is an explanation what in common English a high roller would be (meaning and connotations). Most contributers here are not native speakers of English, rather native speakers of German. So how should they know what exactly a high roller is, to find a German equivalent? – Christian Geiselmann Aug 31 '19 at 14:51
  • 2
    "High roller" ist jemand, der um grosse Einsätze spielt, sich das aber auch leisten kann. Einer der ohne weiteres 100,000 Euro im Casino lassen kann. Höchst wahrscheinlich kein professioneller Spieler. – gnasher729 Aug 31 '19 at 20:25
5

The closest term I can think of at high roller is

Hasardeur

being someone who takes high risks in an irresponsible manner. The term is derogatory and not limited to gamblers (Glücksspieler).

  • Ich gebe nicht den Hasardeur. == Ich spiele nicht die Rolle des Hasardeurs passt ganz gut. – Janka Aug 31 '19 at 9:32
  • 5
    That implies that the gambler can't afford his bets. I don't think that applies to high roller. – RalfFriedl Aug 31 '19 at 13:06
  • @RalfFriedl: Wieso impliziert »high roller« das Sichleistenkönnen von Niederlagen? – Pollitzer Aug 31 '19 at 13:33
  • Is Hasardeur actually used in the register of gambling? I know it e.g. from political contexts (Salvini comes to mind), but as I don't gamble, I couldn't tell whether it's used also when gamblers are talking about taking risks in the context of a casino. Is it? – Schmuddi Aug 31 '19 at 14:31
  • 1
    @Schmuddi: »Hasardeure finden sich in so unterschiedlichen Lebensbereichen wie dem Glücksspiel, im Finanz- und Bankenwesen, in der Politik, beim Militär oder im Extremsport.« Source – Pollitzer Aug 31 '19 at 19:15
5

Der Zocker is a gambler who takes high risks intentionally.

Das sind keine Investmentbanker, das sind Zocker.

Im ersten Spiel zu verlieren, um im Achtelfinale nicht auf Deutschland zu treffen, wäre eine ganz schöne Zockerei. Selbst für Engländer.

There are also verbs of it. Zocken is straightforward:

Die zocken alle um den Pott.

Die haben lange um den Preis gefeilscht, regelrecht gezockt.

Verzocken means taking a high risk and lose:

Moment, Markus trifft sich immer noch mit seiner alten Freundin? – Ja, aber er hat sich verzockt. Nun ist er beide los.

Er hat sein ganzes Geld verzockt.

And there's abzocken which means to betray but falls short of actual fraud (unfortunately):

Dieser Autohändler hat dich ganz schön abgezockt.

That verb also coined the term abgezockt sein as being cool-headed taking high risks.

Mike ist ganz schön abgezockt.

  • What about the term "Jackpot" I used in the last line? – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Aug 31 '19 at 11:36
  • 2
    The word "zocken" is used for gambling and also for games in general, especially playing computer games. You first example doesn't imply high risk gambling, it implies the banking borders on (row risk) gambling. I never heard of "zocken" in connection with "feilschen" (haggling). "Verzocken" means take any risk and lose. – RalfFriedl Aug 31 '19 at 13:12
  • 1
    In German customs, any kind of gambling is a high-risk activity. The use of zocken for playing games in general is a recent development – Janka Aug 31 '19 at 13:40
  • 3
    But E. high roller is clearly referencing high stakes, whereas G. zocken can be done at small stakes as well: "Janka ist ein ausgebuffter Zocker: Selbst beim Maumau weiß er genau, wie er seine Mitspieler zu lesen hat. Nur gestern Abend hat er sich verzockt, als er versuchte, mir weiß zu machen, dass er noch eine weitere Sieben auf der Hand hatte. Ich habe seinen Bluff aber durchschaut und ihn dann ziemlich abgezockt." In other words, I clearly see the "risk" part in Zocker, but not the "high stakes" part that is specific to high roller. – Schmuddi Aug 31 '19 at 14:37
  • 6
    All these examples all kind of work at a different angle of risky or reckless behavior, but that's not really it; a billionare gambling with amounts that won't make a difference to their wealth is a "high roller" while a poor person risking everything they own is not a "high roller" because everything they own isn't much; it's less about risk-taking in gambling and more about flounting wealth extravagantly, where high stakes do not necessarily imply high risk, because the high roller is expected to be able to lose that money without any meaningful consequence as "entertainment spending". – Peteris Aug 31 '19 at 15:40
5

Just use

High-Roller

Since

  1. it is colloquially used in German-speaking gambling communities (whether it is poker, blackjack, etc.) e.g: https://www.casinolisten.com/de/high-roller/was-ist-ein-high-roller/

  2. it is fully acceptable to use anglicisms in German if there is no equivalent (in fact it is an integral part of German to adopt foreign words if it helps with specificity - even if the word is given a new meaning in German that it didn't have in its origin, e.g. "handy")

  3. Other answers given hint at why there is no equivalent: It is culturally frowned upon to bet high amounts (see "Verzocken" and "Zocker": They imply irresponsibility and therefore justified loss) - and even more to win afterwards (see "Hasardeur" and its negative connotations that extend its usage into the realms of finance, politics and military).

  4. "Dicker Fisch" is matching, but only at first sight. It's clearly negative and an attribute, no one would use officially to describe one's customers or players. Certainly no casino. It's one of those words that are only used in literature and colorful journalism (see "Gerstensaft" or "Dickhäuter") e.g. in articles about members of organized crime that were arrested by police. "Dicker Fisch" is more equivalent to a "fat cat" or "big shot".

2

High Roller is one of these words which are on their way into the German language. I don't think that it's widely known, but with movies like "Ocean's Eleven" or "James Bonds Casino Royal" and online gambling in general they are getting more and more common.

But when used it's usually germanized. You will find a lot of casino websites (I won't provide any link ;) ) or this article on wikipedia about it.

high roller (engl.) - High Roller/High-Roller (dt.)

When looking for a true german word your best bet is

Glücksspieler

But unfortunately it's more like a gambler in general.

2

I don't think that there is a single term that would work in your context, i.e. talking about yourself. If describing someone / talking in the third person, you could maybe use

dicker Fisch

While this expression is usually reserved for profilic criminals caught by the policy ("ein dicker Fisch ins Netz gegangen"), the context of a casino would make it clear that you are talking about a well-endowed gambler.

I believe a similar expression / metaphor is used in the German Dub of "The Wolf of Wall Street" when they talk about having "die verfickten Moby Dicks" as customers.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.