The Language of Poker

17 June 2008, Created By:
The Language of Poker
"WTF! You donk! Chasing a gutshot OOP! You sucked out. DUCY?"

Many industries and disciplines in life have their own vocabulary, unique to them and spoken almost exclusively by the cognoscenti. Speak to a nuclear physicist about his subject and it won't be long before you'll find yourself dazed and confused by talk of string theory, dark matter and quarks.

Poker is no exception; it too boasts a recondite lexicon. As poker has grown in popularity, a host of words have cropped up surrounding the game.

Over the years poker has developed its own particular language, including a rich vocabulary spoken amongst its players. Looked at from the outside, it can often seem an odd and confusing world where people are talking obscurely about bellybusters and tards, angles and action.

The advent of poker on the Internet, and its exponential growth, have led to this vocabulary growing ever larger and being melded together with some of the vocabulary already used widely across the Internet.

Daniel Negreanu
One of the "sharks"!

If you are a newcomer to the game, all this can seem very confusing. You may be listening to a poker conversation and have no idea what the players are talking about, but given the nature of the game, you will be loathe to expose your ignorance and let on that you are confused, in case this exposes you as an inexperienced fish and the sharks start to circle to empty your wallet.

Well just for you, here is a brief guide to get you started and give you the key to access the sometimes obscure and esoteric world that lies beneath the surface of this language.

Learning these words may not make you a better player, but at least you might be able to fake it and join in laughing heartily as a group of players mock the donk at your local club.

SHIP IT - An expression of joy often associated with winning a pot or at some favorable scenario cropping up. Also used as a verb meaning to go all-in, or more generically, as an expression of agreement.
EXAMPLE: "So he ships it in, and I look down and find aces. SHIP IT!!"

Isabelle Mercier
You'd be glad to move to her table!

ODDS - Chances of something occurring. Often used in the context of the chances of making a particular poker hand.
EXAMPLE: "The odds of him making his straight on the river were about 11-1. He still hit though. Twat."

- an exclamation, often intended to show enthusiasm or support or a particular scenario.
EXAMPLE: "So when they broke the tables, I got moved to sit next to Isabelle Mercier. HOLLA!"

GG - generally used online to mean good game. Usually employed immediately after knocking a player out, or being knocked out.

FU - a contraction of an abusive phrase, often used after a bad beat.
EXAMPLE: "How could you call you muppet. FU!"

WP - "Well played." Can be used both seriously and as a sarcastic riposte to a bad play.
EXAMPLE: "So you knew you were behind when you shoved? WP sir!"

NH -"Nice hand." Referring to a good poker hand. As does "wp," it can have both serious and sarcastic connotations.
EXAMPLE: So you called four all-ins with A2. NH!

BALLA - Term meaning flashy, showy, the best of its kind.
EXAMPLE: So like after I moved up to $10/$20 and started crushing the game, I moved into this BALLA flat with a built-in Jacuzzi, 45-inch plasma screen and its own pool room.

ROI - Return on investment. Not exclusively a poker term. Here's the formula used to calculate it.

[ROI = [(Payback - Investment)/Investment)]*100]

UTG - "Under the gun." The seat at a poker table that is to the left of the big blind.

LOL - "Laughing out loud." Again not exclusive to poker; an expression used across the Internet to register you have found something funny.
EXAMPLE: MATT: So I was like totally outplaying these guys. YOU: LOL

WTF - "What the f**k!" - Expression of surprise.

SNG - Sit-and-go poker tournament. Usually a single table that starts as soon as soon as nine or 10 players have registered for it.

MTT: Multi-table poker tournament. Usually has a scheduled start time and will begin with as many players as have registered by that time.

BUTTON - A button denoting that the two players to the left will post the small blind and the big blind. In self-dealt games the button deals out the cards for the hand. Moves one spot to the left after every hand.

Humberto Brenes
Humberto Brenes: Uses a shark card protector.

FISH - A slang term for a bad player.
EXAMPLE: "LOL JungleCat plays so bad, he's such a fish!"

SHARK - A strong player, who usually wins and tends to prey on fish.
EXAMPLE: "We thought we'd take the fat man to value town but it turns out the big guy's a shark!"

TARD - Contraction of retard. An abusive term used to denigrate a player.
EXAMPLE: "So he didn't re-raise with QQ double suited? Chris is such a TARD!"

DONK - Contraction of donkey, similar meaning to tard.
EXAMPLE: "The game is so bad, full of donks!"

NIT - A tight player, sometimes mocked for being overly rocky.
EXAMPLE: "LOL so he passed kings? OMG Arthur's such a nit!"

The language of poker is so vast and sprawling, this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you are unfamiliar with poker, learning the above won't make you fluent enough to fool the sharks, but the donks might not see through you and that should help you increase your ROI!




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