Wondering of some poker terms? This glossary includes all poker terminology you need to succeed at a table. Knowledge of basic poker lexicon is the cast-iron guarantee of better rules comprehension and feeling comfortable for whole gameplay. Otherwise, you have high risks of getting confused at the very stage of blinds.
Either you prefer casino houses or online betting – online poker is awesome in all its forms. That’s why most definitions collected here are used in both game dimensions. Also, this page includes specific virtual poker slang terms: they are not so clear, but crucial for decisive wins. Start your poker life with the widest pro list of poker terms and phrases, save it in bookmarks for learning!
Act – Action
1) Act: a player’s turn to do an available action; act on your hand
2) Action: to fold, check, call, bet or raise
3) Action player: someone who freely bets or raises
Option for any tournament player to buy a set amount of chips at the end of a rebuy period.
When every one of a player’s available chips are committed into a pot.
Angle – Shooting Angles
An sleazy or unethical tactic on the border of illegality done to take unfair advantage. Some angles will cross the line to become illegal if done repeatedly, for example, miscalling your hand or acting out of turn.
Ante – Antes
Forced bet required of all players before the start of a hand in some poker games, primarily Stud. See also: Blinds
Needing to use both of the two remaining cards to come to make a hand Backdoor flush; Backdoor straight; Backdoor low
A person who puts up the money for a player (known as a horse) to play in exchange for a share of the profits (if any). Also known as a financial backer or a staker.
1) To lose a hand in a particularly unlucky way. Overused term used by masochistic story tellers of “bad beat stories”.
2) Bad Beat Jackpot: amount of money that can be won when a player loses a qualifying hand; for instance when four of a kind loses to a straight flush.
1) The sum total of money a player has in the world with which to play poker.
2) Bankroll Management: the science of playing in the most sensible and favorable way based upon how much money you have.
1) An inside straight draw
2) Double Bellybuster: having two inside straight draws; for example in Texas Holdem when you hold 65 and the first four board cards are 9832.
3) Also known as a gutshot
1) Placing a wager into the pot when it is your turn to do so
2) Betting: the various ways money enters a pot
3) Big Bet: in structured limit games, the larger of the two betting rounds
4) Big Bet Poker: No Limit or Pot Limit games
1) A low, five high straight: 54321
2) The best possible hand in Lowball games
3) Also known as a “wheel”
An unimportant card
1) Forced bets in community card games similar the use of antes, but normally only required of two players rather than all players at the table.
2) Small Blind: the smaller of two forced bets, usually 1/2 the minimum opening bet
3) Big Blind: the larger of two forced bets, usually equal to the minimum opening bet
4) Stealing the Blinds: make a raise on the opening betting round with the goal of winning the blind bets without any further action on the hand.
5) Betting blind: betting without taking the option to look at the next card(s)
1) Betting or raising a weak hand in hopes that all other players will fold
2) Semi-bluffing: betting or raising a drawing hand, like a draw to a flush, in the earlier betting rounds enabling you to sometimes win the pot uncontested, but with the backup of being able to actually make the winning hand when more cards are dealt
3) Bluffer: a player with the reputation of bluffing often
4) Calling a Bluff: calling a player’s bet because you think they may be bluffing
The community cards in Holdem or the exposed cards in Stud
A card or cards that is face-up in a deck where it should be face-down. Boxed Cards are normally ignored
A forced bet in stud games after the initial cards are dealt; similar to an ante but required of only one player
An ace high straight: AKQJT
A game that was going previously but now no longer exists
Burning a Card
Discarding facedown the the first card off the deck each time cards are dealt after the initial deal. This act is burning a card. The card is known as the burn card. If more than one card is burned, these are called the burn cards. Burning a card helps prevent the top card of the deck from accidentally being exposed.
Bust / Busted
1) Missing a draw; busted flush draw
2) To be eliminated from a tournament; losing all your chips
1) An object, usually round like a hockey puck, that rotates clockwise around the table in front of the nominal dealer of the hand
2) Having the button: having the best betting position in a hand
The minimum (and sometimes maximum) amount needed to enter a game or tournament
1) To accept the previous player’s action.
2) Calling a bet: if a previous player bets $20, you also put $20 into the pot (instead of raising or folding).
A passive player who calls too often, and seldom raises or bets marginal hands
Cap – Capping the Betting
Limit poker normally has a set amount of possible bets each round, usually four or five bets (a bet and three raises, or a bet and four raises). The betting is capped when that number of bets has been made. Players may call but may not make further raises until the next betting round.
A common rule meaning verbal declarations are not binding, the value of a hand is the value of the cards in the hand itself, no matter what anyone declares
The single possible card that can change the outcome of a hand, or the final remaining card of a specific rank (for example if only one ace remains in the deck, that is the “case ace”).
1) A player is “catching cards” if he is getting a lot of good hands
2) “Nice catch” refers to getting particularly favorable card to win a hand
Staying in a pot to make an unlikely hand, usually (but not always) with poor odds
1) To pass up the right to start the betting in a betting round, while retaining the right to continue in the hand.
2) Checking Blind: checking before looking at the next available card
3) Check in the Dark: same as checking blind
Check-Raise – Check Raising
1) To initially pass on the option of betting, then raising another opponent when they make a bet.
2) Check Raiser: a person who commonly check-raises rather than bets out
1) Splitting a pot on the showdown with an equal hand, or in High-Low Split games where the high hand splits the pot with the low hand.
2) Chopping the Blinds: agreement between the two players in the blind positions to take their blinds back anytime no one else enters the pot (not possible in tournaments, and sometimes prohibited in ring games by casinos).
Calling (but not raising) when faced with more than one bet in a single action. If one opponent bets, and another raises, and you call, you have cold called.
Collection – Time Collection
A set amount taken by the house for a player to be allowed to play. Differs from “rake” in that rake can sometimes be variable. Collection can be on a per hand basis, or on a time basis.
1) Come Hand: A hand that needs to improve to win
2) Come Betting / Betting on the Come: Betting while playing a hand that you are drawing to, rather than a hand that is the best current hand
3) On the Come: Drawing to make a hand
Common card or cards available to be used by all players in the hand
Complete – Completing the Bet
If an opponent goes all-in for less than half of the full minimum bet, a players completes the bet by wagering the full minimum bet rather than just call the partial bet.
Counterfeit – Counterfeited – Counterfeiting
When one of the common cards duplicates one of the cards in your hand. Being counterfeited does not disqualify your hand, but normally renders it less valuable. Most often applied to low hands in High Low Split style games. Also known as “widowed”.
Beaten, as in “I had my aces cracked.” Normally only applied to strong hands.
Cut – Cutting
Dividing the deck in half, then switching them so the bottom half becomes the top half
The bottom card of the deck. In casino games a blank card is usually used as the cut card
to prevent players from seeing the actual bottom card
A hand that is no longer able to win the pot, usually because it has been fouled in some way
1) A player with little chance to win
2) Chips placed in a pot that do not play for any player, commonly occurring when a player misses both blinds and he must post both blinds to re-enter the game, but only the big blind will play for him, leaving the small blind amount “dead” in the pot.
1) The non-playing employee who shuffles, deals and runs the game in casino poker games
2) Dealer Button
3) The position that receives the last card dealt
4) Dealer’s Choice: a game structure where the player with the
dealer button names the game to be played that particular hand
An agreement between players where when there is no more betting, to have the rest of the cards to come determine only half the pot, removing those cards, and dealing again for the other half of the pot. More common (but still rare) in larger Pot Limit or No Limit games.
1) In draw-style games, the cards thrown away before the draw.
2) The pile of cards thrown away or not involved in the action are known as the discards or “muck”
Dominate – Domination
A situation in Texas Holdem where one hand matches up well against another, normally used when both hands have a common card – Ace-King dominates Ace-Three. Also used in No Limit games when one player has a higher pocket pair than another – a pair of Aces dominates a pair of Threes.
Door Card – In the Door
1) In Stud games, the third card dealt, the first upcard
2) In Lowball the practice of holding your hand so opponents can see one card “in the door”
3) In Holdem-style games, the first card exposed as the flop is placed on the table
1) A type of card game
2) The part of the above game where players discard and receive new cards: “drawing cards”
3) Having a draw in Holdem games means attempting to make a complete hand,
like a flush or straight
Attempting to make a hand that will not win even if you make it. For example, drawing to make a straight against a player who already has a full house.
A player’s expected share of the current pot. If a pot is $100, and you have a 20% chance of winning the pot, your current equity is $20.
Expectation – Expected Value – EV
The amount you can expect to gain or lose on average for a certain act. Expectation can be applied to a bet, a hand, an hourly rate, a career, etc. Expected Value is jargonized as “EV”.
A hand where all or almost all the players in a game are involved
Any betting structure where the amount of the bets are predetermined. Also known as structured limit or fixed betting.
Flat Calling – Flat Calls
Merely calling a bet where a raise might be expected or seem more appropriate
Casino employee who supervises multiple tables and makes decisions when called for
1) The first three community cards revealed in Holdem style games.
2) Seeing the Flop: staying in the pot to until the first three cards are revealed
3) Post-Flop: betting or action after the flop cards have been revealed
4) Hitting the Flop: having the flop cards coordinate well with your personal cards
Fold – Folding a Hand
To throw away your hand; to surrender all claim to the current pot
A required bet that must be made because he is in position (blinds),
because he is dealt in (antes), or because he has a certain card (bring-in)
A hand that can no longer be involved in the action, a dead hand,
due to some violation like having too many or two few cards in the hand
1) A free to enter tournament, sometimes requiring some sort of qualifying
2) To freeroll – freerolling: to have a chance to win a pot without risk;
for example, one player has AsKs while another has AdKc and the flop cards are QsJsTd,
in this case the pot will be split unless a spade comes on the fourth or fifth card;
the player with the AsKs is “freerolling” to a spade flush
3) Freerolled: a situation like above, where one player had a no risk chance to win more
while the other player merely could hope to not lose
Freeze Out Tournament
1) Tournament structure where players start with a specific amount of chips
and can buy no more, where play concludes when one player has all chips.
Contrasts with a “re-buy” tournament.
2) In a Freeze Out structure, tables are combined as players are eliminated.
Contrasts with a “shootout” structure.
Give Up Action – Giving Action
A player gives action when playing as an underdog with long odds for the situation,
or when unclear of an opponent’s holding; normally, passive calling
Grinder – Grinding it Out
1) A player player who puts in his poker hours in a job-like way
2) Grind it Out: working particularly hard, like when experiencing
an unlucky run of cards, to make an acceptable return on your time invested;
or when making a solid return when playing from a small bankroll at lower limits
3) “The Grinder”: Michael Mizrachi
1) An inside straight draw
2) Double Gutshot: having two inside straight draws;
for example in Texas Holdem when you hold 65 and the first four board cards are 9832
3) Also known as a bellybuster, and gutter or double gutter
Only two players involved in a one-on-one hand or game
Hi-Lo – High-Low Split
Games where the best high hand and the best low hand split the pot;
usually played with a qualifier for low, like having and eight or lower (“eight or better”)
Hole Cards – Pocket Cards
The private cards dealt face down to each player
Calculation of the correctness of a bet that takes into account
the possible or probable action on future betting rounds
Isolate – Isolating an Opponent
Using various tactics to get the action in a hand down to only two players
Money put up by the house (usually collected separately from players)
that can be won when a player loses a qualifying hand;
for instance when Aces Full loses to four of a kind or better.
Also known as a bad beat jackpot.
1) In Draw High a joker can be used as another Ace,
or any card to make a straight or a flush; it is not wild
2) In Lowball, a joker acts as the lowest missing card in a hand;
for example, if a person has A247, the joker would act as a 3.
3) A joker is also known as “the bug”
1) Sometimes broadly defined as any casino or house collection or rake,
more commonly juice refers to the fee associated with a tournament entry
2) Juice the deck: to favorably stack or alter a deck of cards
1) The best unpaired card used to make a five-card hand
2) Out Kick or Out Kicked: when the kicker card is used to determine the winning hand;
for example, AAKK7’s 7 outkicks AAKK4’s 4
3) Top Kicker: the best possible kicker in the current hand
Kill – Kill Pots
1) An extra, larger blind that increases the stakes for the following hand;
sometimes kills are required by the winning of a previous pot,
sometimes they are an optional choice
2) Full Kill: when the kill blind doubles the normal big blind,
thus making a 10/20 game now a 20/40 game
3) Half Kill: when the kill blind is half again as large as the normal big blind,
thus making a 10/20 game a 15/30 game
To call the big blind (or other forced minimum bet)
on the first betting round; also called “limping in”
A player who puts a lot of action into the game,
usually, but not always, a weak-loose player, “target” or “producer”
Loose – Loose Player
Playing a lot of hands or freely getting into a lot of betting confrontations;
usually loose applies to weak players who play too many hands,
but many top players play looser than average
Extremely loose/aggressive player who will raise and reraise with nearly anything
A person who can expertly manipulate a decks of cards,
usually applied to a cheating dealer
Misdeal – Misdeals
When a mistake is made in delivering the cards to the players
a misdeal is declared, and the hand is started over from scratch
Monster – Monster Hand
A very strong hand under the circumstances;
a powerful hand you hope to win a large pot with
Move In – Moved In
To bet all your chips into a pot
Muck – The Muck
1) Muck: to discard your hand, as in “I mucked my hand”
2) The Muck: the pile of discards
3) Hit the Muck: when cards that had been live in play touch the dead discard pile
4) Mucker: the house dealer
Must Move Game
A situation where a second game is set up as a “feeder” game for another “main” game;
when a seat in the main game becomes available, the next eligible player
in the feeder game must move to the main one
Betting structure where players are allowed to bet any amount of chips, above a set minimum
Nurse – Nursing
Carefully playing and protecting a small amount of chips in tournament play
Nut – The Nuts
Best possible hand in the current game or situation
Cards from different suits; the Ace of spades and King of diamonds are offsuit of another
Opener – Openers
1) Opener: the person to make the first bet
2) Openers: the minimum holding necessary to bet in some games, like Jacks-or-better
Outs – Out
Available card or cards that will make you the winning hand
Overcall – Overcalling
Calling a bet after another player has already called
Overcard – Overcards
Any card or cards higher than the exposed community cards
Overpair – Over Pair
A pocket pair higher than any of the exposed community cards
A side betting arrangement where when the only players left in a hand are those
involved in the overs, they are able to bet at a higher limit against each other than normally.
Picture cards – kings, queens, jacks
Pay Off – Paid Off
To make a call on the last betting round where you think you are very likely beat
Played Back – Play Back
To re-raise or take the aggressive position from another player
who had been leading the action
Play Over – Played Over
To play in a seat temporarily vacated by another player;
only sometimes allowed in casinos
Play the Board – Playing the Board
Using the five community cards as your hand in Texas Holdem or Pineapple
Pocket Pair – In the Pocket
Each player’s private cards are their “pocket” cards
Your relationship to other players in terms of the betting for a particular hand
Post – Posting
To put up the blind or other forced bet required to receive a hand
Betting structure where players are allowed to bet
any amount up to the size of the current pot, above a set minimum
Pot Odds – Getting Pot Odds
The relationship of the amount in the current pot, your chances of making a particular hand,
and the amount you must put in the pot to continue in the game
Prop – Proposition Player
A person, playing his or her own money, employed by the casino
to help start and maintain games
Protect – Protect Your Hand
1) Betting to make your chances to win greater
2) Making sure your hand is not fouled or accidentally folded
A requirement that needs to be met for a hand to be eligible to win a pot.
Most often found in High-Low Split games.
Quarter – Quartering – Quartered
To win 25% of a pot, a common occurrence in High Low Split games
Rag – Rags – Ragged
Low, unimportant or uncoordinated cards, normally on a community card board
but also applied to hands like “Ace-Rag”, meaning an Ace and an unsuited low card like a six
Railbird – Rail
1) Literally “the rail” refers to a railing separating the gaming tables from spectators
2) Railbird: a non-player watching games
3) Railbirds: the group of broke or near-broke sometimes-players
who seem to do nothing but hang around casino cardrooms
4) On the rail: could refer to railbirds, or a player recently eliminated from a tournament,
or a player on a waiting list to get into a game
A Holdem flop of uncoordinated cards of different suits;
also could refer to an Omaha hand of four different suits
Raise – Raising – Raiser
To increase the amount of the previous bet,
as long as the increased amount meets a predetermined minimum requirement.
Different game styles have varied definitions of what constitutes a raise.
The casino’s take for providing games.
More specifically, a percentage of the pot taken by the house during each hand.
Read – Reading Players
Attempting to discern what another player holds or intends to do,
based on their actions, mannerisms, betting patterns or anything judgment
Rebuy – Re-buy – Rebuying – Rebuys
Some tournaments allow players the option to buy more chips during a preliminary time period.
These are called rebuy tournaments. Purchasing the additional chips is called rebuying.
The timeframe when you can make these purchases is called the rebuy period.
Represent – Representing – Represented
Betting or acting in such a way that your opponents think you have a certain hand
(which you may or may not have)
Ring Game – Ring Games
Regular casino card poker games; non-tournament games
The River Card
1) The final card dealt, normally applied to the fifth Holdem community card
2) Rivered: to have a hand that was trailing become the winning hand on the final card
Rock – Rocks
A conservative player who normally plays few hands, and is normally very predictable
Having three of a kind on your first three cards in Stud
A player who travels to different cities to play, usually going to where games are temporarily juicy.
Runners – Runner Runner
A situation where both the fourth and fifth Holdem community cards are needed to make a hand. Also known as “backdoor” and “perfect perfect”.
Rush – Rushing
A burst of winning hands or good luck; a negative rush is just the opposite
A preliminary tournament held before a larger tournament; commonly where 10 players each put up 1/10th of the entry fee of a larger event and the winner uses the prize to enter the larger tournament.
A satellite specialist is a player who normally doesn’t enter major tournaments, but instead plays the one-table preliminaries, pocketing any profits.
A community card that could dramatically alter a hand;
on a board of JdTs8s2h, a Qs would be a scare card
Phenomenon where a group of poor players acting in the same hand can make their actions become less bad. Click this Schooling link for a more detailed explanation.
Scoop – Scooping – Scooped
To win an entire pot, usually used when speaking of High Low Split games
Semi-Bluff – Semi-Bluffing
To bet a hand where you have a draw, where you can either
win the pot if opponent’s fold, or if you make your hand
Set – Flop a Set – Trips
1) Set: three of a kind where you have a pair hidden and one more exposed
2) Flopping a Set: having a pocket pair, and hitting one of your pair on the flop.
For example, you hold 88 and the flop is 872.
3) Turning a Set / Rivering a Set: hitting your card on fourth or fifth street in Holdem
4) Trips: three of a kind where two are exposed and one is hidden.
For example you hold 87, and the flop is 882.
House employees used to fill seats in a game. Unlike prop players,
shills do not play with their own money. Shills are illegal in many places.
Shootouts – Shootout Tournaments
Tournament structure where as people are eliminated, players stay
on their original starting table until one player has all the chips.
The winners from each table then play for the prize pool.
Side Pot – On the Side
An additional pot portion created when one person is all in for part of the pot.
Only players who can contribute to a side pot can win the side pot.
Slow Play – Slowplaying – Slowplayed
Playing a strong hand as if it was weak, so as to set a trap
Slow Roll – Slowrolling – Slow Rolling
To turn over a winning hand in a non-timely fashion,
usually done by sleazy players to annoy opponents
A betting structure where a range of bets are optional;
for example, in $1-$4, you can make bets of either $1, $2, $3 or $4.
Differs from Limit Poker, where only one bet is possible, and No Limit where any bet is possible.
Straddle – Straddling
Killing the pot from first position; adding an extra, double-sized blind
when you are first to act before the flop in Holdem,
allowing you to be last to act before the flop
Third Street – Fourth Street – Fifth Street – Sixth Street – Seventh Street
A street relates to how many cards have been dealt.
In Stud games, seventh street is when the last card is dealt.
In Holdem games, fifth street is when the last card is dealt.
String Raise – String Raising
A rule violation where a player makes a bet or raise in more than one motion,
without stating a verbal intention to raise.
Losing, usually in a particularly frustrating way
Sucking Out – Suck Out – Sucked Out
When a hand significantly behind in the odds gets a lucky card to win
Texas Holdem starting hands consisting of two cards next to each other
of the same suit: Seven of Spades – Six of Spades
Sweat – Sweater – Sweating
Watching and rooting for one particular player; sometimes applied to
“sweating a game” when you are deciding whether a certain game is worth getting into
The normal game rule stating only chips (or money) on the table at the start of a hand plays for that hand
Tells – Tell
A clue, mannerism, hint or behavior that offers information about a player
Weak Tight – Tight Player – Tight Aggressive
1) Tight: someone who plays few hands, with conservative starting hand requirements
2) Weak Tight: a conservative player who plays passive and timidly
3) Tight Aggressive: a player who plays few hands, but plays strongly when in a hand
Tilting – Tilt – On Tilt
A player playing recklessly, well below his ability because he is losing or otherwise frustrated. Also known as “steam” or “steaming”.
Tip – Tipping – Toke
A gratuity given to a dealer or other casino employee
A structured competition where seating is randomly assigned,
percentage prize pools are in place, and players may not quit the game
and take their chips with them; players must continue until they win or are eliminated
The fourth community card in Holdem games
1) A hand that is currently less likely to win
2) Also known as a “dog”
3) King-Nine in Hold’em is nicknamed a dog or Fido
Under the Gun – UTG
The first player to act in a hand or betting round
Value Betting – Value
1) Value: The worth of your hand in the current situation
2) Value Bet: correctly betting a marginal hand that will win
in a more favorable percentage than it will lose
The statistical measure of how your results will be dispersed;
variance does not mean merely “bankroll swings”
A hand won uncontested by the player with the big blind because no one chose to play.