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- "In the Money!"
- — The Black Ops announcer, when a player scores third place or above in a session.
Wager Match is a game category in Call of Duty: Black Ops. In Wager Matches, six players wager their CoD Points against other players within the lobby. Players within the top three ranks receive their winnings. There must be six players in a Wager Match for the game to start. If there aren't six players on the Wager Match server, the game will remain in intermission.
The top three players at the end of the match are "In The Money", meaning that they earn CoD Points (50 percent of the wagers go to the first place player, 30 percent for the second, and the last 20 percent goes to the third top player), while the remaining players earn no CoD Points. In the event of a tie between places, the players will assume the average between the two places that were tied (i.e. if there is a tie for second the two players will receive the average of 30% and 20% of the pot, which would be 1500 in a 1000-point wager game). If there is a tie for third, then the 20% of points allotted to third place will be split upon the tying players, which usually means them losing some (but not all) of the money that was wagered that match.
Lobbies are randomly generated, and the player can't have a party in the Weekend Gambler and High Roller playlists. Players will be able to involuntarily use some killstreaks, such as in Sticks and Stones where a Spy Plane is always online, or One in the Chamber where radar is active when there are only two players left. Players cannot earn XP in wager matches. Bigger maps also have sections blocked off, and some have specific routes closed off (e.g.: on Launch the area under the rocket is inaccessible).
If the host of a Wager Match quits out of the game itself, or turns off their console, rather than just leaving the match, the game is unable to migrate the host. The wager match will end and all CoD Points will be refunded to everyone except the host.
Kills and deaths in Wager matches do not count towards the player's Combat Record in Player matches.
- Gun Game - Players start out with a Python with a Speed Reloader. With each kill a player will move up one weapon tier, which will grant them a new weapon. Knifing an enemy does not give the player a new weapon, but demotes the enemy a tier. Every kill must be with the specific weapon of each tier in order to advance to the next tier. The game ends when a player gets to the last tier and kills another player with its respective weapon. However, if a player is knifed, or commits suicide, they will be demoted a tier.
- Sticks and Stones - All players spawn with a Crossbow, a Ballistic Knife, and a Tomahawk. Players can bankrupt one another with Tomahawk kills, resetting their score back to zero. Players will receive +100 points for a kill with the Crossbow or a Ballistic Knife shot, but only +10 points for a Tomahawk kill and +25 points for a kill with the player's knife, presumably to encourage players to use the given weapons. It is still worth it to kill players with the tomahawk, as it gets rid of all the victim's points.
- One in the Chamber - Each player starts out with a M1911 with one bullet and their knife. When a player kills another player, either by knifing or killing them with their bullet, they are awarded with another bullet. The player can knife to stockpile bullets, but they can only have seven bullets at one time. However, each player will only have three lives and if they miss with their bullet(s) they only have their knife. Furthermore, the bullet kills instantly.
- Sharpshooter - Every player will receive the same random weapon. After 45 seconds, their current weapon will be cycled out for a new one. Every kill will earn the player a perk (Sleight of Hand Pro for the first kill, Lightweight Pro for the second, and Steady Aim Pro for the third) and eventually a scoring multiplier (X2 Score). However, any perks obtained are lost after death and have to be obtained again.
Wager Matches are separated into three different playlists. Each playlist has a different buy-in cost, and may restrict players from forming parties.
One of Three playlists in the Wager Match category. It includes all four of the wager game modes. Ante Up has a low buy-in cost of 10 CoD points, and players are allowed to form parties. 30 are awarded for 1st place, 18 for 2nd and 12 for 3rd. When the game is doubled down, the stakes raise to twice the respective amount. 1st place would win 60, 2nd place would win 36, and 3rd place would win 24.
Another playlist under Wager Matches. It includes all four of the wager game modes. Weekend Gambler has a medium buy-in cost of 1000, and players are not allowed to form parties. 3,000 are awarded for 1st place,1,800 for 2nd and 1,200 for 3rd.
The last, most risky playlist under Wager Matches. Pro Gambler mode is enabled, which incorporates the four wager game modes. High Roller has a very high buy-in cost of 10,000, and players are not allowed to form parties nor allowed to have a split-screen player. 30,000 are awarded for 1st place, 18,000 for 2nd, and 12,000 for 3rd.
- It is possible to join a lobby and then prestige to gain money without having to wait to save for the wager in the new prestige. This is largely beneficial as potentially large sums of CoD Points can be won when starting with what would otherwise be zero from a no risk scenario.
- One can play fake versions of each game mode in Private Match by finding them in Theater Mode.