Poker Terms | Official Poker Glossary
New to the game and confused by all the different poker terms you hear?
New to the game and confused by all the different poker terms you hear?
We're here to help.
Below you'll find an easy-to-follow poker glossary of the most important poker terms you need to feel more comfortable at the tables.
Don't be intimidated by the jargon people drop at the table! It seems like a lot to grasp at first but most poker terms are actually quite easy to decipher. And a lot of poker terms even make sense.
You might even find some poker terms a bit charming as there's a storied history to much of the language poker players use amongst other members the tribe.
If you have any questions about any poker terms or don't find a word or term you're looking for, please post a comment below the page! We'd be happy to explain it for you.
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Poker Terms A-Z
Straightforward, "by the book" poker meaning you raise when you think you have the best hand, fold when you don't and rarely bluff.
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.
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.
A dealt community card which has the possibility of improving multiple players' hands, resulting in a dramatic increase in action.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pocket aces (dealt AA) in Hold'em.
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”.
Slang for the hand of Ace-King (AK) in Holdem. Loosely meaning "it looks better than it plays."
A forced bet of a predetermined amount which must be paid by each player prior to receiving their cards.
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.
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.
The total collection of a player’s money devoted to playing poker.
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.
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.
Draw to an inside straight (meaning missing a card in the middle of the straight, not the end)
A $100 bill.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The largest possible Full House. For example on the board A♣ Q♦ Q♥ 10♦ 7♥ a player holding AA would have the big full.
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.
Any player consistently losing their chips over the duration of their session is said to be bleeding.
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".
Typically in a tournament, a player being blinded off has allowed the majority of their stack to be consumed exclusively by paying the blinds.
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.
A (typically small) bet made with the sole purpose of blocking your opponent from making a larger bet on that street.
Betting with the worst hand to win by making a better hand fold.
A weaker hand that you can't bet for value and can only win with a call if the other player is bluffing.
The community cards on the table are the board cards.
See Full House.
To entice new players to register and play, most online poker sites offer special poker "welcome" bonuses or no-deposit bonuses. Bonus money is added either instantly to your account (no-deposit bonus) or paid out in increments as you play in cash games or tournaments (match bonus).
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.
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.
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.
The tray in front of the dealer used to hold chips, lamers and cards.
Any card shuffled “upside down” in the deck is a boxed card.
Brick & Mortar
Term used to describe a physical poker room or casino, as opposed to an online poker site.
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.
The highest possible straight in poker: 10-J-Q-K-A.
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.
1) One dollar in a low stakes game, or one hundred dollars in a high stakes game.
2) Alternate name for the button.
1) Slang for a wild card.
2) Slang for the top hand in Chinese Poker.
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.
To lose all of your chips in play. Ie "Go bust."
Slang for losing your entire bankroll, AKA going broke.
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."
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”.
A-5 lowball with a joker included; a popular game in California in the 70s.
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.
A player unwilling to fold or bet, but call every hand on every street.
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.
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.
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”
A game in which players may buy-in and Cash-out as they please. Each chip is worth it’s face value.
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.
Leaving the game, exchanging your chips for cash.
Completing a draw, especially a lucky one, is a good catch, or catching your card.
A player who catches a card to take the lead in a hand has caught up.
A player trying to complete a draw is chasing.
If a player chooses to not bet with no action ahead of them, they can check.
Folding in a situation where you could have checked.
Checking only to raise on your next action after any player bets.
A gaming token used to represent real money, or tournament money, on the poker table.
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.
The player with the most chips in a tournament.
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.
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.
1) To exchange low denomination chips for their value in larger chips.
2) To slowly grow the size of your stack in a tournament.
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.
Click it Back
Making the minimum raise after a player has bet a minimum raise into you. Derived from online poker where an automatic min-raise is a specific button you can click.
A form of angling using excessive chatter to invoke an action from your opponent.
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.
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.
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.
Having more than one possible draw, such as having a straight and a flush draw.
Any card dealt face up on the table to be used by all players in the hand.
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.
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”.
Any player who raises pre-flop, then bets out on the flop is making a continuation bet, or C-Bet.
1) See Cold Deck.
2) A player who’s presence kills all action in the game.
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.
Pocket kings in Holdem
Leaving a player with not enough chips to reasonably have a chance at lasting much longer.
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
Calling knowing you're beat, hoping to get lucky in some way.
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”.
An opaque plastic card put on the bottom of the deck during the cut to prevent any players from seeing the bottom card.
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.
See Blind (2).
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.
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”.
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.
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”.
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.
Some cash games (typically high stakes) will allow all in players to deal the board twice, each board being worth half the pot.
1) The player with the dealer button.
2) The person physically dealing the cards.
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.
In some high-low split games, players must declare if they’re going for the high or the low. This is extremely uncommon.
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.
A stack of like colored chips with one chip of a different value in the mix is said to be dirty.
In draw games players must discard cards before receiving their replacements.
If you behind in the hand, you’re a dog. He had me crushed, I was a 6-1 dog.
When your opponent holds a hand which is a vast statistical favorite over yours. I.E A♥ Q♠ versus A♠ K♠.
A weak bet post-flop from out of position by the player who doesn't have the betting lead in the hand.
A derogatory term for a bad poker player.
The first up-card dealt to each player in a stud game.
See Deal Twice
In Omaha holding any hand where two pairs of suited cards are held. I.E A♠ A♥ 2♠ 3♥.
To win while all in against a player with more chips than you. This effectively doubles the size of your stack.
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.
A hand which has no possible way of winning, regardless of any cards to come.
A hand which can hit specific cards to win the hand is said to be drawing live.
A hand which is drawing live, but with very few outs to win.
To fold, or discard.
Any Texas Hold’em or Omaha hand which contains an ace, with no other like suited or connected cards.
A side pot with no chips in it.
Being first, or among the first, to act on all post flop streets.
When players have unequal stacks the "effective" stack is the smaller stack. Meaning the most you can win in the pot is the smaller or "effective" stack.
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).
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.
A card meant to be dealt face down accidentally flashed to one or all players at the table.
Cards with the rank J, Q or K (they have a picture with a face on them). Also known as paint.
When everyone dealt into the hand sees the flop.
Any player who plays very aggressive and loose is said to be playing “fast”.
When a “main game” is in effect, a feeder table will provide new players to the main game as players cash out.
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”
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.
1) Completing a draw. I filled out on the river to beat his straight.
2) The re-stocking of a dealer’s tray.
In a tournament, when there is only one table of players left.
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.
A poker betting structure in which you can only bet and raise in predetermined increments.
When a player sees a card they were not supposed to see.
When a player just calls in a situation where they could have raised.
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.
The first three community cards dealt face up.
Having five cards of the same suit.
Throwing away your hand to avoid having to call a bet.
The imagined amount of equity you gain by betting with the chance of your opponent folding their hand.
A bet which a player is required to make, such as a blind, ante or bring.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Having four cards to a straight, needing the fifth to complete the hand.
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.
When all players in the hand check, the players receive a “free card”.
A free poker tournament with no cost to enter that awards the finishers with cash or cash-equivalent prizes.
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.
Refers to a poker table with nine or ten players.
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.
The illegal act of removing chips from your stack, taking them off the table and out of play.
A poker player who sits for long session “grinding” out a profit, rather than heavy gambling looking for a big score.
A sort betting game which requires more guts than skill.
See inside straight draw.
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.
1) The cards you are dealt.
2) Everything that happens from one deal to the next.
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.
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.
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.
When there are only two players left in the hand they are said to be Head(s) Up.
On a lucky “hot streak” of cards.
To make a call in the last betting round with a "marginal" or somewhat weak hand, thinking that your opponent is bluffing.
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.
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).
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.
One stack of high society is equal to $10,000.
The player seated to the right of the cutoff.
The face down cards dealt to a player.
Special cameras used to photograph a player’s hole cards for televising poker.
Any poker game run out of your home, rather than a card room or Casino. Poker home games are illegal in many places.
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.
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”.
Independent Chip Model. Learn more here:
Money that you are confident you can win from your opponent on later streets.
To hit any cards which make your hand stronger than it was.
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.
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”.
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.
Betting or raising with the intent of only playing against one opponent post flop.
Many poker rooms offer jackpots if a specific criteria is met.
To shove all in
Nickname for pocket jacks (J♥ J♣).
A 53rd card used only in certain games. Jokers are wild.
1) See Rake.
2) Interest owed on money borrowed.
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.
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.
Acronym for the Loose Aggressive style of play.
1) The player first to bet took the lead, or lead out.
2) To have the best hand at the moment.
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 outthink or outwit them. The higher level you’re thinking and playing at, the better you are at the game.
If you call or raise "light," you’re doing so with a hand you believe to be an underdog. Typically playing light is used to set up a bluff.
1) See Fixed Limit
2) The minimum or maximum allowed size of bet.
To enter a pot by just calling. Typically a player who limped would have folded had there been a raise.
A bet posted by a player under conditions that give him the option to raise even if no other player raises first.
See Drawing Live.
1) A game in a Brick & Mortar room.
2) A game with a lot of action.
See Live Game (1)
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.
Playing many hands, regardless of their strength.
When every player puts in an agreed upon amount of money into the pot, then without betting check it down to see who wins.
The worst possible hand, winning the low half of the pot in a High-Low split game.
The ratio of your chip stack to the total amount of all blinds and antes for one hand.
A hand which does not need to draw more cards to be complete.
The lowest available real-money stakes online.
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.
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.
A very big hand
Move (To make a)
See All In.
The pile of discarded cards no longer in play in a hand.
When more than two players are in the hand.
A player who plays extremely tight, refusing to gamble at all either on or off the table.
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.
A gutshot (inside) straight draw to the nuts.
Cards of different suites.
A variant of poker which uses 5 community cards, and each player is dealt a 4 card hand.
A player throwing one oversized chip into the pot without declaring a raise will assumed to be calling, regardless of the players intent.
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.
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 Face Chinese Poker
Limping as the first person to act in the hand.
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
Betting more than the size of the pot in a No-Limit game.
To call a bet after others have called ahead of you.
A card with a rank higher than a player’s poker pair.
A pocket pair higher than the ranks of the cards on the board.
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.
Any face card.
Two cards of the same rank.
Someone who folds easily, and would rather check and call then bet or raise.
To draw 0 new cards in a draw poker game. I rap pat.
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.
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.
See Hole Cards.
Having a pair as your hole cards.
A blank expressionless face, which gives away no information to your opponents.
When a player in a hand can have either the nuts or a total bluff, their range is considered 'polarized.'
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.
Making a bet due to your position more than the strength of your hand.
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.
A player who misses the small blind must post the small blind dead before he is allowed to be dealt back in.
The money bet on all streets to be awarded to the winner of the hand.
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.
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.
The ratio of total size of the pot to the size of bet you must call to continue.
Everything that happens before the flop.
Betting as a test to discern the true strength of your opponents hand.
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.
Raising over another players all in to prevent other players from entering the pot.
Put the Clock
See call the clock.
See All in.
What hand you believe your opponent to have. I put you on pocket aces.
See Four of a Kind.
Qualifier, Qualifying Low
The requirements for a hand to eligible for half the pot in a High-Low game.
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.
To see what would have come on later streets after the hand has finished.
The trays used to carry chips. A typical rack holds 5 rows of 20 chips.
A low ranked useless card.
The edge of the poker table, typically raised and padded.
Fans or spectators watching a game.
No two cards of the same suit.
To match the bet made by a previous player, and increasing the total amount of the bet.
Money taken from each pot by the card room or casino. Also known as the Vig, or Viggorish.
A percentage of a player's rake paid returned to that player on a weekly or monthly basis as part of an online poker site's rewards program..
The possible hands of your opponent. I put him on a wide range, he really could have had anything.
See Going South.
To buy more chips after your initial buy-in. Some tournaments also allow rebuys.
To deal out a hand after misdealing the hand on the first try.
To make one hand and have a draw for a better one. I had the straight with a redraw for the nut flush.
To play your hand as if it was a specific hand, regardless of if that’s what you hold or not.
To raise after another player has raised ahead of you.
An estimate of how much you might lose if you hit your draw but your hand is still worse than your opponent's.
Also known as a 'false' tell. A player intentionally tries to deceive his or her opponent by acting in a way that suggests a common tell but is actually the opposite. For example leaning forward into the board is usually considered a sign of a strong hand. Doing on purpose when you have a strong hand to try to trick your opponent into thinking you're weak is a reverse tell.
See Cash Game.
The final card dealt. This is the fifth board card in a community card game, or the 7th card in a stud game.
A very tight player who plays nothing but the best of hands.
Return on Investment. Mostly used by tournament player's to figure out how much they are making. Divide profit by expenses and multiply by 100 to get your ROI percentage.
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.
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.
See Face Cards.
Having 10-J-Q-K-A of all the same suit.
Running Good/Running Bad
A stretch of good or bad luck with the cards.
A prolonged winning streak. See Heater.
A tournament which awards the winners with an entry into a larger tournament.
A card that has the potential of giving you or your opponent the winning hand.
Winning both the high and the low in a split pot game.
Paring one of your hole cards with the second highest card on the board.
Making a bluff with a drawing hand.
Matching a pocket pair with a third card of that rank on the board.
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.
A very strong player among less skilled players.
A sloped plastic container used to hold decks of cards for dealing table games.
See Prop (2).
To make one final call, agreeing to check on all remaining streets.
A tournament which a player must defeat all players on their table to move on.
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.
The player with the least amount of chips at the table, or in the tournament.
A table with 6 or less players.
The time to evaluate the winning hand after all betting is complete on the river.
A ring game running concurrently with a tournament.
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. See more:
Sit and Go
A tournament which starts as soon as the required number of players register.
Playing a very strong hand as if it’s very weak.
Purposely allowing a losing player to believe they have won the pot before showing your cards. Considered the absolute worst breach of etiquette possible.
The smaller of the two blinds.
See Flat Call.
Splash the Pot
To toss your chips into the pot, making it difficult to discern the total number of chips you actually threw.
Split Two Pair
When you pair the rank of each of your two hold cards.
The range between a tables minimum and maximum bets.
A betting structure which allows players to bet any amount between a set minimum and maximum.
Raising after a player has bet and one player has called in between you and the bettor.
1) The total collection of chips you have in play.
2) A collection of exactly 20 chips of the same denomination.
The set amounts a player may buy in for, and can bet. The higher the stakes, the more money required to play.
The cards you are originally dealt.
To take a pot uncontested by making a well timed modest bet.
A state of anger which induces Tilt.
An advanced poker play where a player who has only checked and called suddenly takes the lead betting out on a later street.
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.
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.
Having 5 consecutively ranked cards of the same suit. For example 5♣ 6♣ 7♣ 8♣ 9♣
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.
A variation of poker where players remove an article of clothing each time they lose a hand. Read more:
The betting system being used, such as No-Limit or Pot-Limit.
A variant of poker which each player receives their own 7 cards, three of them dealt face down.
Hitting a lucky card to beat a much better hand.
Having cards of the same suit.
Having cards of the same suit and consecutive ranks. For example: 9♣ 10♣.
A satellite tournament beginning with multiple tables of players.
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.
Acronym for the Tight Aggressive style of play.
Any unintentional information given to your opponents, commonly through physical gestures or reactions.
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.
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.
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.
Being too emotional to play your best game.
See Straight (2).
A tip for the dealer from the player who just won the pot.
Having the highest possible kicker, typically an ace (unless there’s an ace on the board).
Having paired one of your hole cards with the highest ranked card on the board.
Having paired both of your hole cards with the two highest cards on the board.
Top pair with the Top Kicker.
Having three of a kind by matching one of your hole cards with a pair on the board.
The fourth community card, also known as Fourth Street.
Under the Gun
The player to the left of the big blind, first to act pre-flop.
The lowest possible Full House.
Used to describe the details of a two-pair poker hand. A♣ A♥ 9♦ 9♣ 2♣ would be described as Aces Up.
Any card dealt face up, most commonly used in stud games.
Up the Ante
Increase the stakes.
A bet made with the best hand to extract the maximum amount of money, value, from your opponents.
To discover a strong starting hand after there has been heavy action ahead of you.
When all players fold to the big blind.
When the dealer mixes the deck spread out on the table with a washing motion.
Nickname for the hand 99, which was Gretzky's famous number.
Having an ace with a low ranked card.
When the shared (community) cards on the board in Holdem or Omaha offer a lot of possibilities for draws or to connect with hands. Eg. 8-9-J
A straight from ace to five.
A card which can be used in place of any other card.
The first card turned over when showing the flop in Texas Hold’em, or the door card in Stud.
Dealt hole cards that are a pair.
World Poker Tour.
A straight draw with 13 or more outs in Omaha.
World Series of Poker.
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.
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.
Any game in which the players odds of winning are exactly equal to their odds of losing.
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.
If you had a chance to play your first major live tournament and you could...
- Royal Flush
- Straight Flush
- Four of a Kind
- Full House
- Three of a kind
- Two Pair
- One Pair
- High Card