The Official Poker Glossary

glossary a

New to the game and overwhelmed by all the different poker terms you hear?

You've come to the right place.

Below find an easy-to-understand glossary of all the most important poker terms you need to know to feel completely comfortable at the tables.

Don't be intimidated! It seems like a lot to grasp at first but most poker terminology is actually quite easy to decipher. A lot of it even makes sense!

You might even find it a little charming as there is a storied history to much of the language poker players use.

If you have any questions about any of the definitions or don't find a word you're looking for, please post a comment below the page! Click on any of the letters in the top menu to jump to that part on the page.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Ace (Ace-high)

The ace is the highest ranked card in poker, but will also play as a low card for straights (A-2-3-4-5). Having “ace-high” means the best possible hand you can make is a high card of an ace. This is worse than any pair.

Action

1) A player’s turn to act. It’s your action.
2) A willingness to gamble or play frequent large pots. An action player.
3) A measure of how active a game is. An action game refers to a game in which there is much betting and raising.
4) A player's investment in a game or wager. Also used to refer to buying some or all of another player's investment in a game or wager. I'll take half your action.

Action Card

A dealt community card which has the possibility of improving multiple players' hands, resulting in a dramatic increase in action.

Add-On

1) In a tournament an add-on is the option for any player to purchase additional chips, regardless of the current size of their chip stack. Typically tournament add-ons are only offered at a specific time during the tournament.
2) Buying more chips between hands in a cash game, adding them on to your stack.

Advertising

To make an obvious, or unusual play at the table with the intent of showing the other players what you just did. Typically advertising is done to give your opponents the impression you’re playing a different style, or are not as strong of a player as you actually are.

Aggression, Aggressive

The extent to which a player is dictating the action with bets and raises is refered to as being aggressive, or having a high level of aggression.

Air

A hand of extremely low relative value. Having air is the equivalent of having nothing, or running a complete bluff. I bluffed with nothing but air.

All in

Having the entirety of your stack in the pot. Being all-in. Moving the entirety of your stack into the pot with a bet, raise or call. She raised all-in.

Angle

An action or move of questionable morality used to take advantage of another player or situation. Any player who uses angling at the table is known as an “angle shooter”.

Ante

A forced bet of a predetermined amount which must be paid by each player prior to receiving their cards.


 

B

Backdoor

Having to catch two or more consecutive cards to complete your hand. For example if you start with two cards to a flush on the flop you need to hit your suited card both on the turn and the river to backdoor your flush.

Bad Beat

1) Any loss in poker which greatly defies the odds. For example losing to a 100-1 shot.
2) Some poker rooms have a Bad Beat Jackpot, awarded to the players involved in a specific bad beat scenario determined by the poker room.

Bankroll

The total collection of a player’s money devoted to playing poker.

Base Dealing

A way of cheating by dealing cards off the bottom of the deck instead of the top. This allows the cheat to control the cards on top of the deck, waiting to deal them at an opportune moment.

Behind

1) A player who needs to catch cards to win the hand is known as being “behind”.
2) Any player who purchased more chips between hands, but has yet to receive the chips from the cash cage is known as “playing behind”. Even thought the chips are not at the table, they are included in the total amount of the player’s stack.

Benjamin

A $100 bill.

Bet

1) Chips or money put into the pot as the first action in a betting round.
2) In a fixed limit game, the standard betting amount. The pot had 10 bets in it, it was an easy call.
3) The count of actions made in the hand. For example – Bet, raise, 3-bet, 4-bet.

Betting on the Come

Betting with a draw.

Betting Structure

1) The rules that control players' options when it comes to betting and raising. The most common betting structures include: No-Limit, Fixed Limit, Pot-Limit and Spread Limit.
2) The blinds schedule in a poker tournament.

Big Bet

The larger of the two limits in a fixed limit game used for the turn and river betting rounds. For example if playing a $2/$4 game, the big bet is $4.

Big

The larger of the two blinds.

Big Blind Special

Any winning hand, typically an unlikely winner, dealt to the player in the big blind seat for that hand.

Big Full

The largest possible Full House. For example on the board A Q Q 10 7 a player holding AA would have the big full.

Blank

A card dealt that is assumed to have no bearing on the players' hands. For example, on a board of A A K Q, a 2 on the river would be considered a blank.

Bleed

Any player consistently losing their chips over the duration of their session is said to be bleeding.

Blind

1) A type of Ante  which only two players pay. The player to the left of the dealer pays the small blind, the player two to the left of the dealer pays the big blind.
2) Playing your hand without looking at your cards, or making action before you see the next card to be dealt, is refered to as "playing blind".

Blinded Off

Typically in a tournament, a player being blinded off has allowed the majority of their stack to be consumed exclusively by paying the blinds.

Blocker

In  a community card game it refers to holding one of the cards your opponent needs to complete their hand. I had a pair, with a blocker to his straight.

Blocking Bet

A (typically small) bet made with the sole purpose of blocking your opponent from making a larger bet on that street.

Bluff

Betting with the worst hand to win by making a better hand fold.

Board

The community cards on the table are the board cards.

Boat

See Full House.

Both Ways

In a high-low split pot game, a player having it “both ways” has the best hand to win both the high and the low.

Bottom End

Holding the lower possible straight, for example: on the flop 7 8 9 a player with 56 holds the bottom end of the straight.

Bottom Pair (Bottom Set)

The lowest possible pair in a community card game is known as bottom pair.

Bounty

Some tournaments will have a bounty on specific players (or all players). Knocking out any player with a bounty awards you the full amount of the bounty.

Box

The tray in front of the dealer used to hold chips, lamers and cards.

Boxed Card

Any card shuffled “upside down” in the deck is a boxed card.

Brick

See Blank.

Brick & Mortar

Term used to describe a physical poker room or casino, as opposed to online.

Bring in

In stud games, the player with the worst door card dealt must begin action with a forced bet known as a bring. I was dealt the deuce of hearts, and had to bring it in.

Broadway

The highest possible straight in poker: 10-J-Q-K-A.

Bubble

When a tournament needs only one more player to bust before the remaining players make it into the money, the tournament is said to be on the bubble. The player who busts on the bubble is known to have “bubbled” the tourney.

Buck

1) One dollar in a low stakes game, or one hundred dollars in a high stakes game.
2) Alternate name for the button.

Bug

1) Slang for a wild card.
2) Slang for the top hand in Chinese Poker.

Bully

Any player playing aggressively, pushing around the other players with bets, is being a bully.

Burn (Burn Card)

The card dealt face down on the table before dealing any community cards face up.

Bust

To lose all of your chips in play. Ie "Go bust."

Busto

Slang for losing your entire bankroll, AKA going broke.

Button

A puck used to denote the player acting as the dealer in the hand. Any player acting as the dealer is said to be “on the button."

Buy-in

The initial amount of money needed to exchange into chips and begin playing.

Buy the Button

A player sitting down between the small blind and the button has the option to “buy the button." This player pays both the big and the small blind, allowing him or her to be dealt into that hand.

Buy the Pot

A bet, commonly a bluff, which earns the bettor an uncontested pot is said to have “bought the pot”.


 

C

Call

Matching the bet made by another player.

Call the Clock

Forcing the player who’s action it’s on to make up their mind in a set amount of time. Considered poor etiquette.

Calling Station

A player unwilling to fold or bet, but call every hand on every street.

Cap

In a Fixed-Limit game the players are allowed one bet and a set number of raises (typically 3) before the betting is “capped” for the round. Once betting is capped, no more raises can be made until the next street.

Cap Game

Some No-Limit and Pot-Limit games have a betting cap. Once the bet has reached the amount of the cap, no more betting is allowed for the duration of the hand.

Case (card)

A player hitting the last of any card in the deck just hit the case card. For example if only one ace is left in the deck it’s the “case ace”

Cash Game

A game in which players may buy-in and Cash-out as they please. Each chip is worth it’s face value.

Cash Plays

Some cash games allow cash to “play”, meaning cash on the table will be included in the total value of the players stack. Typically only $100 bills are allowed to play.

Cash-Out

Leaving the game, exchanging your chips for cash.

Catch

Completing a draw, especially a lucky one, is a good catch, or catching your card.

Catch Up

A player who catches a card to take the lead in a hand has caught up.

Chase

A player trying to complete a draw is chasing.

Check

If a player chooses to not bet with no action ahead of them, they can check.

Check Out

Folding in a situation where you could have checked.

Check Raise

Checking only to raise on your next action after any player bets.

Chip

A gaming token used to represent real money, or tournament money, on the poker table.

Chip Dumping

A form of collusion (cheating with another player) which happens in tournaments. One player will purposely lose chips to their collusion partner to give them an advantage.

Chip Leader

The player with the most chips in a tournament.

Chip Race

When small valued chips become obsolete in a tournament, they are removed from the table. All odd low value chips are used in a chip race, a form of high-carding to determine who gets the additional high value chips.

Chip Trick

Any sort of chip manipulation, typically done to keep idle hands busy. Players will use elaborate chip tricks to declare their poker experience to the table.

Chip Up

1) To exchange low denomination chips for their value in larger chips.
2) To slowly grow the size of your stack in a tournament.

Chop

1) When two players have the same hand, they split, or chop, the pot.
2) In a high-low game, the pot is chopped between the winners of each respective hand.
3) In a cash game, if all players fold ahead of the blinds, the blinds will typically “chop”, taking back their blinds, folding their cards and moving on to the next hand, regardless of the value of their starting hands.

Coffee Housing

A form of angling using excessive chatter to invoke an action from your opponent.

Cold Call

A player with no money invested in the pot who calls after a bet and a raise (or a single large bet) is said to be cold calling.

Cold Deck

Derived from being cheated with a set-up deck, a cold deck is a hand in which you had no choice but to lose a large pot with a strong hand to a player with a stronger one.

Collusion

A form of cheating, two players acting together at the table to one end goal.

Color Up, Color Change

In a cash game, changing a bunch of low denomination chips for fewer high denomination chips.

Combo-Draw

Having more than one possible draw, such as having a straight and a flush draw.

Community Card

Any card dealt face up on the table to be used by all players in the hand.

Completion

Certain poker scenarios will see an incomplete bet made. Players yet to act have the option of completing the bet to the full bet amount.

Connectors

Cards next to each other in rank are connectors. I.E 9 10. Although some players refer to any two cards within 4 ranks of each other to be connected, such as 3 7, these are technically known as “gappers”.

Continuation Bet

Any player who raises pre-flop, then bets out on the flop is making a continuation bet, or C-Bet.

Cooler

1) See Cold Deck.
2) A player who’s presence kills all action in the game.

Counterfeit

When the board comes in such a way to render your hand completely useless. For example having flopped two pair (one pair on board, one in your hand), only to have the turn and the river trump your pair, leaving you playing the board.

Cripple

Leaving a player with not enough chips to reasonably have a chance at lasting much longer.

Crossbook

A bet between two players in the same event. The player who finishes lower in the payout must pay the other player the difference between the prize money finishes multiplied by an agreed upon perentage. For example(in a 10% crossbook): Player1 makes $200 Player2 makes $1,000. Player1 owes player 2 10%*(1,000-200) = $80

Crying Call

Calling knowing you're beat, hoping to get lucky in some way.

Cut

After shuffling the cards, the dealer splits the deck in half, moving the bottom half on top of the top half, this is known as “cutting the deck”.

Cut Card

An opaque plastic card put on the bottom of the deck during the cut to prevent any players from seeing the bottom card.

Cutoff

1) The player to the right of the button is in the cutoff seat.
2) When a player is deemed to intoxicated to receive any more alcohol.


 

D

Dark

See Blind (2).

Dead Blind

When a player has missed a blind, and must re-pay it before being dealt in. If the missed blind is the small blind, the blind is dead. A dead blind is part of the pot, and is not included in the players bet or call in that round.

Dead Button

Almost exclusive to tournament play, when the player to be the button next hand is eliminated, the button is moved to the empty seat, and is “dead”.

Dead Hand

A dead hand is any hand no longer eligible to win the pot.

Dead Man’s Hand

The hand Wild Bill Hickok was holding when he was shot. Although the value of the fifth card in the hand is disputed to this day, dead man’s hand refers to two pair, aces and eights.

Dead Money

1) Money which is part of the pot, but not part of anyone’s bet.
2) A term for blinds and antes.
3) A player who stands no chance at winning is seen as “dead money”.

Deal

1) To distribute cards to all the players at the table.
2) To negotiate the pay-out of a tournament rather than playing for the prizes.

Deal Twice

Some cash games (typically high stakes) will allow all in players to deal the board twice, each board being worth half the pot.

Dealer

1) The player with the dealer button.
2) The person physically dealing the cards.

Dealer’s Choice

A form of poker in which the dealer chooses the details and variation of poker to be played that hand.

Dealing from the Bottom

See Base Dealing.

Declare

In some high-low split games, players must declare if they’re going for the high or the low. This is extremely uncommon.

Deuce

Two, 2.

Deuce-to-Seven

A form of lowball in which straights and flushes count against you, and aces are always high. The best possible hand in Deuce-to-Seven is: 2-3-4-5-7.

Dime

$1,000

Dirty Stack

A stack of like colored chips with one chip of a different value in the mix is said to be dirty.

Discard

In draw games players must discard cards before receiving their replacements.

Dog

If you behind in the hand, you’re a dog. He had me crushed, I was a 6-1 dog.

Dominated Hand

When your opponent holds a hand which is a vast statistical favorite over yours. I.E A Q versus A K.

Door Card

The first up-card dealt to each player in a stud game.

Double-Board

See Deal Twice

Double Suited

In Omaha holding any hand where two pairs of suited cards are held. I.E A A 2 3.

Double Up

To win while all in against a player with more chips than you. This effectively doubles the size of your stack.

Downcard

A card dealt face down, such as the last card dealt in a hand of Stud.

Draw, Drawing hand

Any hand which needs to hit a specific rank or suit of card to complete.

Drawing Dead

A hand which has no possible way of winning, regardless of any cards to come.

Drawing Live

A hand which can hit specific cards to win the hand is said to be drawing live.

Drawing Thin

A hand which is drawing live, but with very few outs to win.

Drop

To fold, or discard.

Dry Ace

Any Texas Hold’em or Omaha hand which contains an ace, with no other like suited or connected cards.

Dry Pot

A side pot with no chips in it.


 

E

Early Position

Being first, or among the first, to act on all post flop streets.

Eight or Better

A qualification for a low hand in a high-low split game. In an Eight or Better game all cards for a low hand must equal to or less than a rank of 8 (aces count as low).

Equity

The % of the pot you would expect to receive over infinite permutations of running the hand. If you’re 90% to win, you have 90% of the equity.

Expectation, Expected Value, EV

EV is the return on your investment you can expect to receive in correlation to the odds. If you have over 50% equity, your EV is positive, if you have less than 50% equity, your EV is negative.

Exposed Card

A card meant to be dealt face down accidently flashed to one or all players at the table.


 

F

Face Cards

Cards with the rank J, Q or K (they have a picture with a face on them). Also known as paint.

Family Pot

When everyone dealt into the hand sees the flop.

Fast

Any player who plays very aggressive and loose is said to be playing “fast”.

Feeder

When a “main game” is in effect, a feeder table will provide new players to the main game as players cash out.

Felt

1) The actual felt playing surface of the poker table.
2) When a player is bust they are said to be “felted” or “down to the felt”

Fifth Street

Also known as the River in a community card game, fifth street is the fifth board card dealt. In a stud game fifth street refers to the round of dealing where each player receives their fifth card.

Fill

1) Completing a draw. I filled out on the river to beat his straight.
2) The re-stocking of a dealer’s tray.

Final Table

In a tournament, when there is only one table of players left.

First Position

The player to the left of the big blind, first to act pre-flop. Also known as Under the Gun.

Five of a Kind

In a game with wild cards it’s possible for a player to have five cards of the same rank. Five of a kind is the best possible hand, even better than a Royal Flush.

Fixed-Limit

A poker betting structure in which you can only bet and raise in predetermined increments.

Flash

When a player sees a card they were not supposed to see.

Flat Call

When a player just calls in a situation where they could have raised.

Float

Making a play on the flop to take down the pot on the turn. Most commonly this is done by calling a suspected C-Bet on the flop, then betting out on the turn.

Flop

The first three community cards dealt face up.

Flush

Having five cards of the same suit.

Fold

Throwing away your hand to avoid having to call a bet.

Fold Equity

The imagined amount of equity you gain by betting with the chance of your opponent folding their hand.

Forced Bet

A bet which a player is required to make, such as a blind, ante or bring.

Forced-Move

In a game with a feeder table and a main game, players from the feeder tabled are required to move to the main game when requested by the floor staff.

Forward Motion

In some card rooms making any forward motion with your chips, such as moving your chips towards the center of the table, is assume to be a bet or call.

Fouled Hand

A fouled hand is any hand which has the incorrect number of cards, or breaks any other concrete rule of the game. A fouled hands are dead and the pot forfeit, regardless of any action in the hand.

Four-Flush

Having only four cards to a flush, in need of the final fifth.

Four of a Kind

Having four cards of the same rank. Four of a Kind is only beat by a straight flush or Royal Flush.

Four-Straight

Having four cards to a straight, needing the fifth to complete the hand.

Fourth Street

Also known as the Turn in a community card game, fourth street is the fourth board card dealt. In a stud game fourth street refers to the round of dealing where each player receives their fourth card.

Free Card

When all players in the hand check, the players receive a “free card”.

Freeroll

A poker tournament free to enter awarding the finishers with genuine prizes.

Freezeout

A tournament with no re-buys or add-ons.

Full House, Full Boat, (cards) Full

A full house is a five card poker hand with three cards of one rank, and two cards of another. If you’re holding A A A Q Q you have aces full of queens.

Full Bet Rule

In order to re-open betting, a full raise must be made. Meaning if the bet is $100 and a player moves all in for $175, they are $25 short of a full bet. The player who bet the $100 will not have option to re-raise, only fold or call.

Full Ring

Refers to a poker table with nine or ten players.


 

G

Gap Hand (gapper)

A hand with a gap between two otherwise connecting cards, for example 7 9 is a one gapper while 6 8 is a two gapper.

Going South

The illegal act of removing chips from your stack, taking them off the table and out of play.

Grinder

A poker player who sits for long session “grinding” out a profit, rather than heavy gambling looking for a big score.

Guts

A sort betting game which requires more guts than skill.

Gutshot

See inside straight draw.


 

H

Half Bet Rule

Typically only used in Fixed-Limit, if a player’s all in bet is equal to half or more of a full bet, the all-in is considered a raise. The Half Bet Rule also comes into effect for players wishing to raise, who don’t put out enough chips, or don’t verbally announce raise.

Hand

1) The cards you are dealt.
2) Everything that happens from one deal to the next.

Hand-for-Hand

When tournament play gets down near the bubble often the tables will begin hand for hand play, ensuring each table plays the exact same number of hands until the bubble is burst.

Hand History

Online poker sites allow you to view the history of every hand you played on their tables. To ensure access to this feature be sure to have the feature enabled in your poker client setup options.

Hanger

When cheating by dealing from the bottom of the deck, a hanger is the card second to the bottom sliding over, hanging over the side of the deck. This can only happen from base dealing.

Heads Up

When there are only two players left in the hand they are said to be Head(s) Up.

Heater

On a lucky “hot streak” of cards.

High Hand, High

In a high-low split game there will always be a winner for the high hand. The high hand is evaluated identically as it would be in a high only game. If there is no qualifying low hand the high hand wins the entire pot.

High Card

1) If no players have as much as a pair, the winner is the player with the highest High Card. Suits do not matter, if two players both have equal ranked high cards the second highest card is used as the tiebreaker.
2) When starting a new table the dealer will deal one card face up to each player, the player with the highest card wins the dealer button (suits matter when high-carding for the deal).

High-Low, Hi-Lo

A split pot game where the high hand (best hand) wins half the pot and the best qualifying low hand wins the other half of the pot. If no low hand qualifies, the entire pot is awarded to the high hand.

High Society

One stack of high society is equal to $10,000.

Hijack Seat

The player seated to the right of the cutoff.

Hole Cards

The face down cards dealt to a player.

Hole Cam

Special cameras used to photograph a player’s hole cards for televising poker.

Home Game

Any poker game run out of your home, rather than a Card room or Casino. Home games are illegal in many places.

H.O (H.A)

A mixed or flip game, where the player play half Hold’em and half Omaha. HO is the original name for the game, but many online sites have chosen to call the game HA.

H.O.R.S.E (H.E.R.O.S)

The most popular form of mixed game where the players rotate through the five games. Hold’em, Omaha, Razz, Stud, Stud Eight or better. Horse is the original name of the game, but some online sites have chosen to call it “Heros”.


 

I

Implied Odds

Money that you are confident you can win from your opponent on later streets.

Improve

To hit any cards which make your hand stronger than it was.

Inside Straight

A straight draw where only one specific rank of card can complete your straight. For example you hold 7 9 and the board is 6 10 2. You can only hit an 8 to make your straight.

Insurance

Typically only used in high-stakes games, insurance is the term for all deals made before the hand has resolved itself. Often times players will reduce the total size of the pot, or buy/sell insurance in case they lose the pot.

In the Money

Once the bubble has burst in a tournament, all the remaining players will receive a cash prize when they bust out. These players are all “in the money”.

In Turn

You are required to act only when the action is on you. This is known as playing in turn. Playing when it’s someone else action is playing out of turn, and is against the rules.

Isolation

Betting or raising with the intent of only playing against one opponent post flop.


 

J

Jackpot

Many poker rooms offer jackpots if a specific criteria is met.

Johnnies

Nickname for pocket jacks (J J).

Joker

A 53rd card used only in certain games. Jokers are wild.

Juice

1) See Rake.
2) Interest owed on money borrowed.


 

K

Kicker

A kicker is the highest ranked card in your hand not used in pairs or trips. When multiple players have the same pair, two pair or trips the player with the highest kicker wins the pot.

Kill Button

The button used in a Kill Game to signify who won the previous pot, and if the hand is a kill pot or not.

Kill Game (Kill Pot)

In Fixed Limit you can play with a Kill (or half kill). A kill means when one player wins two pots (or more) in a row the stakes and blinds for the next hand (the Kill Pot) are doubled. In addition to doubling the stakes the player who made the pot kill must post the amount of the big blind regardless of his position at the table.


 

L

LAG

Acronym for the Loose Aggressive style of play.

Laydown

See Fold.

Lead

1) The player first to bet took the lead, or lead out.
2) To have the best  hand at the moment.

Level

1) In a tournament the level is the current size of the blinds and or antes.
2) In the world of poker strategy, to level someone means to have outthought or outwitted them. The higher level you’re thinking and playing at, the better you are at the game.

Light

If you’re calling or raising light, you’re doing so with a hand you believe to be a dog. Typically playing light is used to set up a bluff.

Limit

1) See Fixed Limit
2) The minimum or maximum allowed size of bet.

Limp

To enter a pot by just calling. Typically a player who limped would have folded had there been a raise.

Live Bet

A bet posted by a player under conditions that give him the option to raise even if no other player raises first.

Live Cards

See Drawing Live.

Live Game

1) A game in a Brick & Mortar room.
2) A game with a lot of action.

Live Poker

See Live Game (1)

Lock Up

When a player agrees to take a seat, but is unable to sit at that moment, the seat is locked up for the player meaning no one else is allowed to be seated in their place.

Loose

Playing a many hands, regardless of their strength.

Lotto Hand

When every player puts in an agreed upon amount of money into the pot, then without betting check it down to see who wins.

Low

The worst possible hand, winning the low half of the pot in a High-Low split game.


 

M

M-Ratio

The ratio of your chip stack to the total amount of all blinds and antes for one hand.

Made hand

A hand which does not need to draw more cards to be complete.

Micro-Limit

The lowest available real-money stakes online.

Misdeal

When an un-fixable error is made while dealing, the hand is declared a misdeal, all cards returning to the deck to be re-shuffled and re-dealt.

Missed Blind

When a player is away from their seat in a cash game at the time of their blinds, they receive a missed blind which must be repaid before they can continue playing at the table.

Mixed Cards

See Offsuit.

Move (To make a)

See Bluff.

Move in

See All In.

Muck

See Fold.

Multi-Way Pot

When more than two players are in the hand.


 

N

Nickel

$500

Nit

A player who plays extremely tight, refusing to gamble at all either on or off the table.

No-Limit

A betting structure in which a player may bet any amount from the minimum to the entirety of their stack on any street.

Nuts (the Nut Hand)

The best possible hand at that moment.

Nutshot (Nutterball)

A gutshot (inside) straight draw to the nuts.


 

O

Offsuit

Cards of different suites.

Omaha

A variant of poker which uses 5 community cards, and each player is dealt a 4 card hand.

One-Chip Rule

A player throwing one oversized chip into the pot without declaring a raise will assumed to be calling, regardless of the players intent.

One-Eyed Royals

Referring to the Jack of spades, Jack of hearts or King of Diamonds, all of which only show one eye. The Jacks are commonly known as One Eyed Jacks.

Open

The first person to bet in a pot has opened.

Open-Ended (Straight Draw)

A straight draw where two ranks of cards can complete the straight. For example holding 7 8 on the flop 6 9 2.

Open Limp

Limping as the first person to act in the hand.

Option

See Action(1).

Outs

The cards which can come to give you the winning hand. He was ahead, but I had 9 outs to my flush.

Outside Straight Draw

See Open-Ended.

Overbet

Betting more than the size of the pot in a No-Limit game.

Overcall

To call a bet after others have called ahead of you.

Overcard

A card with a rank higher than a player’s poker pair.

Overpair

A pocket pair higher than the ranks of the cards on the board.

Overs

1) Cards higher than the pair of another player.
2) In some Fixed-Limit games players have the choice to play “overs” which allows them to bet twice the set limit if only other “overs” players are in the hand.


 

P

Paint

Any face card.

Pair

Two cards of the same rank.

Passive

Someone who folds easily, and would rather check and call then bet or raise.

Pat

To draw 0 new cards in a draw poker game. I rap pat.

Pay Off

To call a bet when you are confident you are beat. I think you have it, but I’m going to pay you off.

Penny Ante or Penny Game

A small stakes game played for fun more than money.

Perfect

The best possible cards. If you need to hit a straight flush there are only 2 specific cards which can help you, and you need them both. This would be drawing for perfect perfect.

Play the Board

When the best possible 5 card hand you can make in Hold’em are the 5 cards on the board.

Pocket Cards

See Hole Cards.

Pocket Pair

Having a pair as your hole cards.

Poker Face

A blank expressionless face, which gives away no information to your opponents.

Position

Your current seat in comparison to the location of the button. Players close to the left of the button are in early, or bad position, while players on or to the right of the button are in late, or good position.

Position Bet

Making a bet due to your position more than the strength of your hand.

Post

To pay the required amount of blinds to be dealt into the hand. Typically you must post when first arriving as a new player to a table.

Post Dead

A player who misses the small blind must post the small blind dead before he is allowed to be dealt back in.

Pot

The money bet on all streets to be awarded to the winner of the hand.

Pot-Committed

Most often used in No-Limit games, being pot-committed means you are unable to fold due to the size of the pot, and the size of the bet you must call to win it.

Pot-Limit

A betting structure in which the maximum bet a player can make is equal to the current size of the pot. When raising a bet, the size of the bet is calculated by the player calling first, then raising the total amount of the pot after the call.

Pot Odds

The ratio of total size of the pot to the size of bet you must call to continue.

Pre-Flop

Everything that happens before the flop.

Probe Bet

Betting as a test to discern the true strength of your opponents hand.

Prop, Proposition

1) A prop bet is any bet made outside the standard bets made during the game of poker.
2) A player paid by the poker room to keep the games running by filling empty seats.

Protection, Protect

Raising over another players all in to prevent other players from entering the pot.

Put the Clock

See call the clock.

Push

See All in.

Put On

What hand you believe your opponent to have. I put you on pocket aces.


 

Q

Quads

See Four of a Kind.

Qualifier, Qualifying Low

The requirements for a hand to eligible for half the pot in a High-Low game.

Quarter

1) A $25 chip (or a $2,500 bet, depending on the stakes of the game)
2) To win a quarter of the pot. This can happen when you have the same low hand as another player, only winning yourself half of the low half of the pot.


 

R

Rabbit Hunt

To see what would have come on later streets after the hand has finished.

Rack

The trays used to carry chips. A typical rack holds 5 rows of 20 chips.

Rag

A low ranked useless card.

Rail

The edge of the poker table, typically raised and padded.

Railbird

Fans or spectators watching a game.

Rainbow

No two cards of the same suit.

Raise

To match the bet made by a previous player, and increasing the total amount of the bet.

Rake

Money taken from each pot by the card room or casino. Also known as the Vig, or Viggorish.

Rakeback

A percentage of a players rake paid returned to that player through a promotion.

Range

The possible hands of your opponent. I put him on a wide range, he really could have had anything.

Rathole

See Going South.

Rebuy

To buy more chips after your initial buy-in. Some tournaments also allow rebuys.

Redeal

To deal out a hand after misdealing the hand on the first try.

Redraw

To make one hand and have a draw for a better one. I had the straight with a redraw for the nut flush.

Reload

See Rebuy.

Represent

To play your hand as if it was a specific hand, regardless of if that’s what you hold or not.

Reraise

To raise after another player has raised ahead of you.

Ring Game

See Cash Game.

River

The final card dealt. This is the fifth board card in a community card game, or the 7th card in a stud game.

Rock

A very tight player who plays nothing but the best of hands.

Rolled Up (card)

To be dealt three of a kind as your first three cards in a stud game. I was dealt rolled up queens.

Rounder

A player who plays poker for a living. The term originates from a player who made the rounds to all the high stakes games he could find.

Royal Cards

See Face Cards.

Royal Flush

Having 10-J-Q-K-A of all the same suit.

Runner-Runner

See Backdoor.

Rush

A prolonged winning streak. See Heater.


 

S

Sandbag

See Slowplay.

Satellite

A tournament which awards the winners with an entry into a larger tournament.

Scare Card

A card that has the potential of giving you or your opponent the winning hand.

Scoop

Winning both the high and the low in a split pot game.

Second Pair

Paring one of your hole cards with the second highest card on the board.

Semi-Bluff

Making a bluff with a drawing hand.

Set

Matching a pocket pair with a third card of that rank on the board.

Setup

1) The cards used by the dealer.
2) A situation where two players had no choice but to get it all in.
3) A pre-ordered deck used to cheat another player.

Shark

A very strong player among less skilled players.

Shoe

A sloped plastic container used to hold decks of cards for dealing table games.

Shill

See Prop (2).

Shoot

To make one final call, agreeing to check on all remaining streets.

Shootout

A tournament which a player must defeat all players on their table to move on.

Short Buy

Buying in for less than the minimum amount. Typically a player is allowed to short buy once while at a table, only after buying in at least once for a legitimate amount.

Short Stack

The player with the least amount of chips at the table, or in the tournament.

Shorthanded

A table with 6 or less players.

Showdown

The time to evaluate the winning hand after all betting is complete on the river.

Side Game

A ring game running concurrently with a tournament.

Side Pot

A separate pot to deal with any money above the amount of a player’s all in. If a player moves all in for $100 and two players call, any betting between the other two players will be in the side pot.

Sit and Go

A tournament which starts as soon as the required number of players register.

Slow Play

Playing a very strong hand as if it’s very weak.

Slow Roll

Purposely allowing a losing player to believe they have won the pot before showing your cards. Considered the absolute worst breach of etiquette possible.

Small Blind

The smaller of the two blinds.

Smooth Call

See Flat Call.

Soft-Play

See slowplay.

Splash the Pot

To toss your chips into the pot, making it difficult to discern the total number of chips you actually threw.

Split

See High-Low.

Split Two Pair

When you pair the rank of each of your two hold cards.

Spread

The range between a tables minimum and maximum bets.

Spread-Limit

A betting structure which allows players to bet any amount between a set minimum and maximum.

Squeeze Play

Raising after a player has bet and one player has called in between you and the bettor.

Stack

1) The total collection of chips you have in play.
2) A collection of exactly 20 chips of the same denomination.

Stakes

The set amounts a player may buy in for, and can bet. The higher the stakes, the more money required to play.

Stand Pat

See Pat.

Starting Hand

The cards you are originally dealt.

Steal

To take a pot uncontested by making a well timed modest bet.

Steam

A state of anger which induces Tilt.

Stop and Go

An advanced poker play where a player who has only checked and called suddenly takes the lead betting out on a later street.

Straddle

A blind bet (typically double the big blind) made by the player sitting to the left of the big blind before any cards are dealt. When the straddle is on (or live) the player who straddled is to act last, after the big blind, pre-flop.

Straight

1) Having 5 consecutively ranked cards of different suits. For example 5 6 7 8 9
2) The total amount of money you must call. The bet is $35 straight.

Straight Flush

Having 5 consecutively ranked cards of the same suit. For example 5 6 7 8 9

String Bet

A player must bet the full amount intended in one motion, or announce the full bet before beginning to put chips in the pot. If a player places chips in the pot, then returns to their stack to get more, the second grab will not be allowed, as it is a string bet.

Structure

The betting system being used, such as No-Limit or Pot-Limit.

Stud

A variant of poker which each player receives their own 7 cards, three of them dealt face down.

Suck Out

Hitting a lucky card to beat a much better hand.

Suited

Having cards of the same suit.

Suited Connectors

Having cards of the same suit and consecutive ranks. For example: 9 10.

Super Satellite

A satellite tournament beginning with multiple tables of players.


 

T

Table Stakes

Almost impossible to find a game which is not table stakes these days, Tables stakes means a player can only win or lose the amount of money they have in play at the beginning of the hand.

TAG

Acronym for the Tight Aggressive style of play.

Tell

Any unintentional information given to your opponents, commonly through physical gestures or reactions.

Texas Penny

$100

Third Man Walking

Only two players are allowed to be absent from a poker table at one time. The third person to leave is the “Third Man Walking”. They will have their chips removed from the table when the blind reaches them.

Three Bet, 3-Bet

A reraise. Bet, Raise (2-bet), reraise (3-bet).

Three of a Kind

Having three cards of the same rank.

Three Pair

Although it’s not an official poker hand, it’s possible for a player to have three pairs in many games of poker. Three pair is counted as two pair, using your best two pairs of the three.

Tight

1) A player who tries to limit the amount of gamble in their play, only playing strong hands, avoiding large speculative pots.
2) A full house.

Tilt

Being too emotional to play your best game.

To Go

See Straight (2).

Toke

A tip for the dealer from the player who just won the pot.

Top Kicker

Having the highest possible kicker, typically an ace (unless there’s an ace on the board).

Top Pair

Having paired one of your hole cards with the highest ranked card on the board.

Top Two

Having paired both of your hole cards with the two highest cards on the board.

Top Top

Top pair with the Top Kicker.

Trey

Three.

Trips

Having three of a kind by matching one of your hole cards with a pair on the board.

Turn

The fourth community card, also known as Fourth Street.


 

U

Under the Gun

The player to the left of the big blind, first to act pre-flop.

Underdog

See Dog.

Underfull

The lowest possible Full House.

Up

Used to describe the details of a two-pair poker hand. A A 9 9 2 would be described as Aces Up.

Upcard

Any card dealt face up, most commonly used in stud games.

Up the Ante

Increase the stakes.

Upstairs

See raise.


 

V

Value Bet

A bet made with the best hand to extract the maximum amount of money, value, from your opponents.

Vig, Vigorish

See rake.


 

W

Wake Up

To discover a strong starting hand after there has been heavy action ahead of you.

Walk

When all players fold to the big blind.

Wash

When the dealer mixes the deck spread out on the table with a washing motion.

Weak Ace

Having an ace with a low ranked card.

Wheel

A straight from ace to five.

Wild Card

A card which can be used in place of any other card.

Window Card

The first card turned over when showing the flop in Texas Hold’em, or the door card in Stud.

Wrap

A straight draw with 13 or more outs in Omaha.


 

X

There are no major poker terms beginning with the letter X. If you believe there is a term we've missed, feel free to let us know in the comments below.


 

Y

There are no major poker terms beginning with the letter Y. If you believe there is a term we've missed, feel free to let us know in the comments below.


 

Z

Zero Sum

Any game in which the players odds of winning are exactly equal to their odds of losing.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Still confused by a poker term? Drop a note in the comments below and one of our editors - or a kindly fellow reader - will try to clear things up for you.

Please fill the required fields correctly!

Error saving comment!

You need to wait 3 minutes before posting another comment.

Comment added. Thank you!

No Comments