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Poker Terminology – Glossary

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ABC Player: An ABC player is a player who is very predictable. This player generally reads a poker book or two and follows them to the word. They always play hands the same way and are generally pretty tight. These types of players are often winners at lower stakes and loose games but are easily crushed by advanced players.

Ace High: A hand with no pairs and an Ace high card. This hand beats all other hands with no high cards, and is a possible winner in a heads-up or very short game.

Ace Rag: Ace with a weak kicker.

Action: Betting, raising, and calling. A game with a lot of action is a game in which a lot of money is changing hands. These are good games to seek, because the more money moves, the more opportunity you have to win money.

Advertise: When a player advertises, he plays in a different fashion from his usual strategy in order to confuse his opponents. A player will generally alter their strategy so that they play more loose and are more apt to be paid off by their opponents when they hold a strong hand. Example: He is normally is not a loose player, he is just advertising by showing down those bad hands.

Aggressive: A player who bets and raises a lot when he has a good hand. Also aggressive players raises with a wide range of hands.

Ajax: Also known as: Blackjack. The hold’em starting hand Ace-Jack (AJ)

All-In: Also known as: Going All-In. To bet all your chips, or to call with all your chips. If another player bets more chips than you have in a No Limit game, you can go all-in and stake your total stack against an equivalent amount of your opponent’s stack.

Alligator Blood: Used to describe a player who plays fearlessly when short-stacked and wins, or optionally, a player who plays for a long time short-stacked, winning just enough to keep them in the game.

American Airlines: Also known as: Rockets, Pocket Rockets. A hand with two aces in the hole (AA)

Ante: A small amount of chips placed into the pot before each hand. This acts as a “tax” for playing hands and is usually used in Stud games, whereas Hold’em games usually have blinds.

Aquarium: An aquarium is a poker room or game that has a lot of fish in it.

Assassin: During tournament play, a player on a lucky streak who eliminates several/all opponents from play.

Auto Blind: In online play, Auto Blind may be selected, which makes the software program automatically place the player’s blinds when it is their turn. With Auto Blind turned off, the player is required to actually click on “Place Blind” if they wish to be dealt in.

Axs: Axs is a poker abbreviation for Ace-X suited. It means to hold an ace and a low card of the same suit. The other card is generally 9 or below. For example, a hand of A6 of clubs would fall into the category of Axs.


Bad Beat: A bad beat is a loss in which the losing player had the better odds on the winning player earlier in the hand. In general, the term is used when all the chips go in the pot when the losing player had odds. To take a bad beat means to be on the losing end of a bad beat; to lay a bad beat means to be on the winning end of a bad beat.

Ballerina: Two two’s in your hand

Baseball: A 3 and 9 as your hole cards. Based on the well-known poker game with 3’s and 9’s wild. Too bad they’re not wild in hold’em.

BB: Big Bling.

Beer Hand: Generally a 2-7 offsuit, although some consider the 2-7 suited to be a beer hand as well. 2-7 Time for a beer. Considered the worst stating hand in hold em.

Belly Buster: An inside straight draw, synonym of gutshot.

Bet: When the action falls on a player, and he makes a bet he is forcing other players to equal his bet if they wish to stay in the hand. For Example: The action has gone around the table with no bets, all players Checking. When the action reaches you, you make a bet of 200 chips; this forces all remaining players at the table to, at minimum, match your 200 chip bet if they wish to remain in the hand.

Bet the Pot: Also known as: Pot-Sized Bet. To bet an amount of chips approximately equal to the amount of chips in the pot. In Pot Limit games, this is the maximum bet; however, the pot size in Pot-Limit games is calculated in an unintuitive way: All the money in the pot, plus (if you have been raised) the amount you would bet if you reraised.

Bicycle: Also known as: Wheel. The poker hand A2345. This is the lowest possible straight.

Big Blind: The larger of two forced bets at a Hold’em table. The big blind is a forced bet by the player two spots to the dealer’s left- this bet is usually twice the amount of the Small Blind.

BB: Big Bling.

Big Chick: Hole Cards: One Ace, One Queen (A-Q).

Big Slick: A hand with an ace and a king in the hole (AK).

Blackjack: The hold’em starting hand Ace-Jack (AJ). Named after the popular casino game.

Blank: A card that means nothing to anyone’s hand. For example, in a hold’em game if the board is: As Ks Jd 8h, if a 3c came on the river, the 3c is considered a blank considered a blank.

Blinds: These are the forced bets that take the place of an ante. The person to the left of the dealer must pay the small blind and the person after him must pay the big blind.

Bluff: When a player makes a bet or raise believing they do not have a strong enough hand to win. The intent of the Bluff is to convince the opponent(s) that the player’s hand is the best at the table and force them into folding.

Board: In Hold’em, the Board is made up of the five community cards; Three on the flop, one on the turn, and one on the river.

Board Cards: The cards in the middle of the table that are shared by everyone.

Boat: Also known as: Full Boat, Full House. A Full House

Bottom Pair: Also known as: Third Pair. A Pair consisting of the lowest card on the Flop and one of your hole cards.

Break: Betting a strong hand very forcefully in order to win a huge pot. Often, this means you will put your opponent all-in. This also can mean killing another player’s spirits by beating him or her into submission. For example, if a player consistently loses over a night and loses a lot of his/her money, that player may be considered ‘broken’.

Brick and Mortar: This refers to a land-based casino such as the ones on the Vegas strip.

Broadway: Broadway means a straight from ten to ace. This is the best possible straight.

Buckets: A pocket pair of fours.

Bullets: Also known as: Rockets, American Airlines. Pocket Aces.

Burn: 1.To place a card down prior to dealing the flop,turn and river. 2. (Verb) – To burn a Card. The card that is placed down is termed the ‘burned/burnt card’.

Burn a Card: When a card is discarded face down and not used in play. This occurs in Hold’em before community cards are dealt- one card is burnt before the flop is displayed, one before the turn, and one before the river.

Button: In Hold’em, the Button represents the player who is acting as Dealer for the hand. This determines who will act and in what order, and also determines the blinds. The initial dealout begins to the Button’s immediate left and goes clockwise around the table; the Button itself moves around the table, moving one space clockwise at the conclusion of each hand.

Buy In: When a player exchanges currency for chips to be used at the table this is a Buy In. Buy In may also refer to the amount required to play, for example a tournament may have a $500 Buy In, where every player is required to Buy In for $500 to play in the tournament.




Call: To place an amount of chips in the pot equal to the previous bet. It is necessary to at least call a bet to stay in the game; the other options are to raise or fold.

Calling Station: Type of player who will call a lot. They do not think about other people’s hands, but rather just want to see if their hand will win. They do not bluff much and are not aggressive, they rarely raises or places a bet ; they just call a lot.

Candy Canes: Another term for pocket sevens in Texas Hold’em.

Canine: The hold’em starting hand King-Nine (K9).

Cap: In Limit, to make the maximum amount of raises allowed in a betting round. A common cap seen in internet games is 4 bets per round (in other words, one bet and three raises).

case: The case (x) refers to the last card available of that rank in the deck. For example, if I hold pocket tens and the board is TAA4 and a ten comes on the river, that final card is considered the case ten.

Cash Game: Also known as: Ring Game. This is the typical, non-tournament poker game where players buy-in and cash out as they please.

Catch: When a player is dealt a card needed to complete a hand, they are said to have caught it. For example, if you held two hearts in your hand, and there are two hearts on the board going to the flop, and the flop comes a heart, you would be said to have “caught” a heart.

Chase: To call in the hopes of hitting a draw, example a player is holding 7-9 of hearts and flop shows 2 hearts, Q hearts, 5clucbs if he call bets with that hand so then he is “chasing” to hit another heart and get the flush, another pssibility is “chase” on straight flop i.e holding 7-8 flops cames 6-9-A, here a player can chase for an 5 or 10 to catch the straight . This word often connotes that someone is a calling station and will call even with bad odds.

Check: To not put any chips into the pot, to decline to bet. If it is your turn to act, and there is no bet to you, you may check instead of betting. However, if there is a bet to you, then you must call, raise, or fold.

Check-Raise: To check with the intention of raising your opponent’s bet, strategy employed to trap an opponent. This is a technique used to get more money into the pot, or win the hand making the other player to fold. A player will check when the action comes to him, hoping to provoke a bet from his opponent. If his opponent makes a bet, upon the action returning to him, the player will raise the opponents bet.

Cold Call: This means to call a bet and a raise. An example would be if it is preflop and you are in late position, a person in earlier position raises the blinds and you call two bets flat.

Cold Cards: Long running string of bad cards.

Collusion: Collusion is a form of cheating. Players will work in a team to try to gain an advantage over the other players. They will somehow signal to each other what their cards are. They will then use this information to gain an unfair advantage. Collusion is illegal. It is sometimes hard for brick and mortar cardrooms to detect colluders, but online poker rooms can track potential colluders becasue they can review hand histories.

Community Cards: Also known as: Board Cards. The cards in the middle of the table that are shared by everyone.

Connected: When your hole cards are consecutive, (89, 45, etc. When someone is suited and connected they are holding consecutive cards of the same suit, Qs-Js or 2d-3d, etc.

Connectors: When two or more cards are of consecutive rank, they are called Connectors. For example, if you were dealt 10-J, those are Connectors.

Counterfeit: Sometimes a card will come on the board that will hurt your hand because it makes previously valuable cards in your hand communal property. For example, suppose you hold A9 in a game of Texas Hold’em. The board is 5678. You hold a straight to the 9! However, if the final card on the river comes a 9, your hand is counterfeited. Now, everyone has a straight to the nine. Being counterfeited occurs a lot in Omaha Hi-Lo. Many times people’s lows are counterfeited by the board. Suppose you hold AAK2. The board is 367Q. You hold the nut low (A2367). However, if the river comes a 2, you no longer hold the nut low. Your low is A2367 still. However, someone with A4 in their hand will have you beat with a low of A2346.

Cowboys: Pocket kings (KK) as a starting hand in Texas Hold’em are also known as “cowboys”.

Crabs: To get dealt pocket 3’s.

Cutoff: The seat in front of the button, i.e., the last player to act before the button does.



Dead Money: An inexperienced player who has virtually no shot at winning a tournament. Their chips are said to be “dead money”.

deal: When it’s a player’s turn to act as dealer, it is their Deal. This is when the Button reaches the player’s position at the table.

Destiny Seat: Also known as: Hot Seat, Lucky Seat. A position that wins regardless of what [hole cards] the player has. Wins all hands played, even with ridiculously inferior odds. Lays [bad beats] and causes [tilt] in players.

Dime: Gambler slang for $1,000.

Dollar: A dollar is gambling slang for a $100 bet.

Dominated: In Hold’em, a hand that is similar to another hand but has a lower kicker. For example, AQ dominates A8 because even if an ace come, AQ still has a better hand. To win, the person with A8 would need to hit an 8 without the other player hitting a queen or would need to hit a weird straight or flush. Someone whose hand is dominated has few outs and thus little chance to win.

Door Card: This is a player’s first exposed ‘up’ card in seven card stud.

Double Up: To double the size of your chip stack on a single hand. This is typically done by going All In against another player and winning the hand.

Doyle Brunson: The Hold’em Starting Hand Ten-Two. Doyle Brunson won the WSOP two years in a row with this hand.

Draw: Drawing means hoping to improve your hand with the cards that will come on the board. You are on a draw when you want other cards to come out on the board to complete your hand. If you have 10 9 and the flop is QJ2, you are trying to draw an eight or a king on the turn or river.

Drawing Dead: Drawing to a hand that will lose even if you hit your draw. For example, if you have a flush draw but your opponent already has a full house, you are drawing dead.

Drawout: Also known as: Bad Beat. When someone hits a draw against you to win the hand.

Ducks: Also known as: “deuces”. A pocket pair of two’s, also known as deuces.





Early Positition: These are the people in the small blind, big blind, and under the gun positions. These players have to act earlier during betting rounds after the flop.

EP: Short for early position.

EV: Short for expected value.

Expected Value: This is a mathematical term that is highly relevent to poker. It is how much you expect to win on a hand in the long run. For example, suppose you have a 50% chance of winning a $12 pot. Sometimes you will win $12 and sometimes you will win $0. However, your expected value is $6. The way you calculate expected value is (percentage chance of winning * pot size). Expected value is central to the concept of pot equity.

Family Pot: A family pot occurs when every (or almost every) player at a poker table calls the opening bet.

Fish: A fish is a bad player, who often loses a lot of money.

Fishhooks: Pocket jacks.

Fixed-Limit: Also known as: Limit Poker. Fixed-Limit is another way to say Limit Poker. There are set bets. For example, in a $3-$6 game, the bets and raises preflop and on the flop are $3 each, and the bets and raises on the river are $6 each.

Flat Call: When a player simply calls a bet, in a situation where they might be expected to raise.

Float the Boat: When a player catches the miracle card he/she needs to win on the river.

Flop: The first three board cards in Holdem.

Flush: A poker hand consisting of 5 cards of the same suit.

Flush Draw: When a player has four cards in his hand of the same suit and is hoping to draw a fifth to make a flush.

Fold: To not match the bet in the pot and to thus forfeit the hand. The player throws the hand into the muck and is out of the hand. You should fold when you think you will lose the hand.

Four of a Kind: Also known as: Quads. A poker hand consisting of four cards of the same rank and one other card.

Free Card: A free card refers to seeing the turn or river card without having to make/call a bet. Example: Suppose you have a T9 of spades, and you are on the button. The flop is AK4; the ace and king are of spades. It is checked to you, and you check as well. The turn comes. The turn card is a free card; you did not have to call a bet to see if you would complete your flush draw on the turn.

Freeroll: Most often, a freeroll refers to a touranment with no entry free. These sorts of tournaments are generally promotions run by poker rooms to attract customers. For example, a $5000 freeroll means that the poker room is putting up $5000 in prize money for a tournament, and there is no entry fee into the tournament.

Freezeout: A type of tournament in which you can’t “rebuy”, once you loss your stack the tournaments ends for you; play continues until one player has all of the chips in play.

Full Boat: Also known as: Full House, Boat.

Full House: A poker hand consisting of a three-of-a-kind and a pair. Also known as: Boat, Full Boat





Gambler: A gambler can mean many things: 1. It can mean anyone who wagers money. 2. It can be synonymous with a maniac. Often, people who enjoy drawing, even with bad odds are called gamblers. These types of gamblers are considered fish. 3. It can mean a professional, solid poker player. According to Doyle Brunson, a gambler is the nickname of the highest breed of poker player. They can win significant amounts of money at high stakes games.

Gap Concept: The gap concept is a term coined by David Sklansky. It is a tournament strategy concept relating to the idea that it takes a stronger hand to call a raise preflop than to make the original raise. In essence, there is a “gap” between the hands that can make a raise and hands that can call a raise. In a tournament, stealing the blinds holds a lot of value. Thus, one can be fairly liberal with raising the pot pre-flop in order to make a steal. However, to call a bet requires a much better hand because you can not win the hand preflop uncontested.

Golf Bag: a flush of clubs

Grinder: Also known as: Rounder. These tend to be semi-professional players that make most of their money playing poker, though they do not make much money. A grinder plays in a similar fashion as a rock. Often, these players can beat lower and mid-stakes games but can not beat or make much money at the higher stakes games.

Gutshot: An inside straight draw. An example of a gutshot (also known as belly buster) is to have 89JQ, aiming to hit a ten.

Half-Hacked: When in Hold ‘Em poker, during a showdown or after a bluff, the winning player shows only one card to the opposing player and mucks the other. A perfect example of this was during the Tournament of Champions when Annie Duke had a 2-pair (Kings and Nines) and Phil Hellmuth had top Pair (Kings). After a series of bets, Annie decided to re-raise Phil, after much deliberation, Phil folded. Annie then showed just the nine and mucked the King, therefore making phil believe he folded the winning hand.

Heads Up: Heads Up refers to when there are only two people in the pot. Example, a one versus one game is a heads up match. Another example of “heads up” is if one person raises preflop and only one person calls. The pot is “heads up” at the flop because there are only two people competing for the pot.

High Card: High Card means to hold a poker hand that does not contain anything special. Someone does not hold any paired cards, a straight, or a flush. Thus, their poker hand is simply referred to their highest ranking card. A person with AKJ75 would have a high card ace, while the rest of the cards are kickers.

High Hand: A hand with no pair or higher, named based on the highest ranking card, for example Ace High.

Hilton Sisters: Also known as: Ladies. To be dealt two queens at the beginning of a hand Q-Q.

hockey sticks: A pair of sevens as your starting hand.

Hole Card: Cards that are dealt face down and are for the exclusive use of the player to whom they are dealt. In Texas Hold’em these are the two cards that are dealt to each player during the initial dealout.

Hooks: A Pair of Jacks

House: In gambling, the house represents the casino or the bank; for example, the House may take a percentage of a pot, known as “rake”.






Idiot End: Also known as: Bad End. This refers to drawing to the lower end of a straight. For example, if you hold a 45 and the flop is 679, you are drawing to a very low straight. If you hit an 8, someone with even just a ten will beat you. Often, fish lose a lot more money than they should when they draw to the idiot end of a straight.

Implied Odds: The same as pot odds except it takes into account making bets in the future. Thus, you may call a bet at the flop, but have implied odds of making bigger bets on later rounds if you hit your draw. So, if you have AK of diamonds and the flop comes two diamonds, your implied odds are what you have to call at the flop compared to how large the pot will be at the end of the hand.

Jacquese: The Texas Hold ‘Em starting hand of Jack Queen.

Johnny Moss: The hold’em starting hand Ace-Ten. Named after the famous poker player.

Kamikaze: A person who is so on tilt that they are literally throwing away their money with no regard.

Kicker: A kicker is the highest card that is unrelated to the type of poker hand one has. For example, someone with the hand AKKQ54 has a pair of kings with an ace kicker. Kickers are used to break ties. For example, if someone else had KKJ65, that person would have a pair of kings with jack kicker. The person with a pair of kings with ace kicker would beat the person with a jack kicker. If two people have the same type of hand with the same type of kicker, the next highest kicker is used. For example, in a matchup between AKKJ5 versus AKKJ4, the person with AKKJ5 would win. Kickers are also used to determine who wins if both players hold a flush or straight. The highest ranking card of the flush or straight is considered the kicker. For example, if I hold AKT75 of clubs and John holds K8764 of spades, I would win because my flush is to the ace and his is only to the king. Again, if two people have the same highest kicker, the next highest kicker is used until the tie is broken. If two players hold the a flush with all the same kickers, then the pot is split between the two players.

Ladies: The Hold’em starting hand with two queens, Q-Q.

Lady: Reference to a queen. A pair of queens is often referred to as “ladies”.

Late Position: These are players that act later in betting rounds. For example, the button and the player in the cutoff position are in late position.

Leak: A consistent flaw in play.

Limit Poker: Poker with fixed bets. In a $2-4 limit game, all bets and raises are two dollars in the first two rounds (preflop and flop), and all bets and raises are four dollars in the last two rounds (turn and river).

Limp In: To only call the big blind.

Limp Raise: To make a small raise preflop. Usually used when you have a very strong hand like AA and wish to provoke a reraise.

Little Slick: Also known as: Big Chick. The hold’em starting hand ace-queen (AQ).

Live One: A fish who will call and raise a lot. A live one is a bad player who is either a calling station or a maniac. They play almost all of their hands and enjoy seeing showdowns.

Longhand: This refers to a poker game with seven or more people.

Loose: Someone who plays a lot of hands. A loose player is often either a maniac or a calling station.

Lotto Player: A player who plays any cards and stays in the pot.

LP: Short for late position.





Maniac: Nickname for a player who is very aggressive. This type of player plays a lot of hand, raises frequently, and often bluffs. Often, maniacs lose a lot of money at poker.

Mid-Life Crisis: Pocket 4s, As starting hand 4-4.

Middle Position: These are players that tend to act during the middle of a betting round. For example, in a field of 9 players, the players in the 4-6 position are players in middle position.

MP: Short for middle position.

MTT: Multi Table Tournament

Muck: To conceal and discard one’s hand. For example, if you were in the last betting round and all bets have been called, and a player displays an obviously winning hand, you could Muck your hand, and forfeit the hand without displaying your cards. Another example of a Muck would be if you made a large raise on an opponent and they fold the hand, you could Muck yours and not display the cards you were playing.

Near Nuts: Almost the best hand possible, but there is one or more very unlikely hands that could beat it. For example, if you have AA, and the board is AKK93, you have the near nuts, because someone else may have 4-of-a-kind kings.

Newlyweds: Used in Texas Hold em’ meaning a starting hand of King-Queen, offsuit or not.

Nit: Also known as: Rock. A nit is a tight-passive player that avoids confrontations. Typically, the term nit is used when this type of passive player plays in a pot-limit or no-limit game. Nits tend to avoid big pots and do not like to gamble.

NL: Short for No-Limit

No Limit: No limit is a betting structure where players may bet as much as they wish in any round of betting, as there are no limits on pot or bet sizes.

Nut-Nut: Also known as: Double Nuts. The best possible low AND high hand in a high-low split game (for example, Omaha Hi-Lo). As an example, you have hole cards of A-2-6-7 and the board is rainbow 3-4-5-9-Q. Your A-2 gives you a wheel (the nut low) and your 6-7 gives you a straight, 3 to the 7 (the best possible high hand given that the rainbow board makes no flush possible).

Nuts: Also known as: Lock, Nut Hand. The best possible hand that is a guaranteed winner.





Octopus: Pocket 8s

Offsuit: Cards that are of different suits. In hold’em this term is generally used when describing your hole cards, for example a hand of J(H) 9(S) would be called a “Jack-Nine Off Suit”.

Omaha: A form of Poker, similar to Texas Hold’em, where each player receives four hole cards and a board of five community cards is dealt. Each players’ hand must be composed of exactly 2 of their hole cards, and exactly 3 of the community cards.

Online Poker: Also known as: Internet Poker. This refers to playing poker over the internet. Online poker has boomed in recent years and allows players all over the world to compete against each other. Online poker games can be for real money or play money.

Open-Ended: A 4-card straight draw that can be completed at either end (such as a 6-7-8-9). As opposed to an inside straight draw (such as 6-7-9-10).

Out Draw: When a victory in a hand occurs by a player drawing the cards needed to win with a hand that would be considered an underdog or unfavoured to win.

Outs: Outs are remaining cards in a deck that will improve your hand. Outs are critical when an opponent displays a hand that is ahead of yours, at which point you must consider which “Outs” will save your hand. If the flop is QJ2 and you have 10 9, you want a king or an eight to complete your straight. There are 4 kings and 4 eights in the deck, so you have 8 total outs.

Overbet the Pot: In a No Limit game, to make a bet that is larger than the size of the pot.

Overcard: A term generally used in Texas Hold’em or Omaha Poker, if you hold a pair and a higher pair exists based on a card displayed on the board, that higher ranking card is considered an Overcard. There may be more than one Overcard in a given hand, and the more Overcards showing, the more likely your hand can be beat. For example: If you held 10(S) 10(D), your hand would be fairly strong before the flop, but suppose the flop came: A(C) K(C) 4(H). There are now an Ace and King showing, both larger ranking than your 10s. These are overcards and undermine the strength of your hand.

Overpair: An overpair is a pocket pair that is higher than any card on the board. For example, if you hold pocket kings and the flop is Q97, you hold an overpair.

Pair: A pair is two cards of the same rank. For example, holding the hand AAK54 would be referred to as holding a pair of aces.

Passive: An opponent who rarely makes an aggressive play or raise, generally only calling or checking. The opposite of Aggressive play.

Picked Off: (To get Picked Off) To be called by an opponent when bluffing.

Pinball Machine: Someone playing overly loose or aggresive after a bad beat.

PL: Pot-Limit

Play Money: This refers to playing a poker game where the chips do not represent real money. Nothing of any value is won or lost in this type of game, so it is not considered gambling. All major online poker rooms have play money games.

Playing the Board: In hold’em, player uses only the cards on the board and none of his/her hole cards.

Pocket: Refers to the cards you are dealt face down. In Hold’em, the initial two cards dealt to you are your pocket cards.

Pocket Pair: In Hold’em, having two hole cards of the same rank. In other words, having a pair face down.

Pocket Rockets: To be dealt two A’s as your hole cards, as this is the best possible hand available at the point of initial dealout.

Poker Hand: A group of five cards which are ranked according to the hand rankings: Straight Flush, Four of a Kind, Full House, Flush, Straight, Three of a Kind, Two Pair, Pair, High Card.

Position: A term used to describe a player’s relative order of acting. A player termed “In Position” is someone who is generally in a favourable position to act, usually towards the end of the action. See also early and late position, referring to those first and last to act in a round of betting.

Post Oak Bluff: To make a small bet in relation to the size of the pot to bluff and try to take it down.

Pot: The Pot is the sum of all the wagers tendered by all players at the table in a given hand; it is the amount that will go to the winner of that hand.

Pot Equity: Pot equity is your expected value from the pot. Suppose you have a 20% chance to win the pot. There is $100 in the pot. Thus, your pot equity is $20 (.20 *100).

Pot Limit: A betting structure in which the maximum size bet is the size of the pot. However, the pot size is calculated in an unintuitive way: All the money in the pot, plus (if you have been raised) the amount you would bet if you reraised.

Pot Odds: This is the odds you are getting when you are drawing, without considering future bets. Basically, if you are drawing to hit your hand, you want to make sure there is enough money in the pot to justify drawing. The way you do this is you calculate your expected value of hitting your hand, which is called pot odds. The simple mathematical formula for pot odds is: (pot + bet) * (chance of hitting) >= bet. For example, say you have a flush draw of diamonds. You are fairly certain you will win if you hit the flush but will lose otherwise. Thus, there are 9 other diamonds out there (13 – your two, – two on board), so you have a roughly 19% chance of hitting a flush on the next card. If the pot is 90, and the bet is 10, you have odds with your flush draw. (90 +10) *.19= 19, 19>10, so you should call. However, lets say the pot is 10, you’re at the turn (one card left) and your opponent bets 40. So the pot is 50 (including his bet) and the bet is 40 to you, (50 + 40) *.19= 17.1, 17.1 < 40, so you should fold.

Preflop: The stage of a hold’em game when you have two cards in your hand and there are no cards on the board yet.

Prop: Prop is short for proposition player. This is someone who is paid by the house to play poker. However, the player plays with his own money; the house merely pays him or her an hourly wage to play poker in order to keep the games going. The difference between a prop and a shill is that a shill plays poker with the house money. Props are generally considered okay and a decent way to earn a few extra dollars. However, shills are looked down upon, and it is unheard of for a casino to employ shills.





Quads: Also known as: Four of a Kind. Quads means four of a kind, holding four cards of the same rank.

Rabbit Hunt: When a player wins a pot without a showdown, some players want to know if they would have won had they stayed in the hand longer. To “rabit hunt” means to ask the dealer to expose what cards would have come if the player decided to play his hand. Generally, these players want to see if they would have hit their straight, flush,etc. Rabbit hunting is frowned upon when playing poker.

Rags: Useless cards or cards that don’t improve your hand. Generally these are cards whose ranks are between 2-9.

Rags to Riches: To be in the big blind with a hand you wouldn’t call(ex. 2,3 os), but since you are in the big blind you check. With your rags(2,3 os), the flop comes A45. your rags just became riches.

Rainbow: This describes a board that is comprised entirely of different suits. For example, a flop of Ace of clubs, King of hearts, and 5 of diamonds could be described as AK5 rainbow.

Raise: To make a bet larger than the previous bet, thus forcing the original bettor to call the difference or fold.

Rake: This is the fee the poker rooms charge players. Most often, it is a percentage of the pot. For example, many poker rooms will take 5% of the pot up to $3 as a fee for hosting the game. Many times, brick and mortar casinos will simply charge players a set fee per half hour in replace of the rake. When considering a poker game to play, keep in mind how much the rake will cost you. Often, the rake may be so high in relation to the limit played that it is impossible to win money at the game in the long run.

Ram-and-jam: to bet, raise, and re-raise aggressively in order to intimidate opponents (Mike Caro method) or when you have the stone cold nuts.

Rank: The number or letter on the card. The highest rank is Ace, and the lowest rank is 2. However, the Ace can usually be used as a “1” in a straight. The ranks are sometimes abbreviated as follows: A – Ace, K – King, Q – Queen, J – Jack, T – Ten, 9 – Nine, 8 – Eight, 7 – Seven, 6 – Six, 5 – Five, 4 – Four, 3 – Three, 2 – Two.

Rap: To knock the table, this is a physical sign that indicates the player wishes to check.

Re-draw: This term is used to describe when a player who has a made hand is drawn out by another player. Then, on the river, the original player with the made hand draws another card to beat the person who drew out on him on the turn. Example: Your starting hand is Qs Qd and your opponents starting hand is Ah 4h. The flop is Qh Jh 3s. You just flopped a set of queens and your opponent has a flush draw. Suppose the turn is a 6h. At this moment your hand is lossing to your opponent flush. If the river comes a 3d, then you will hit a full house QQQ33. You just hit a re-draw.

Reload Bonus: A reload bonus is a bonus that a poker room gives to its existing players. Like a signup bonus, a reload bonus is typically a percentage of a player’s deposit.

Re-Raise: A situation in which there has been a raise tendered on top of an initial bet, and once the action arrives to you, you call the raise and make an additional raise on top of the initial raise.

Ring Game: Also known as: Cash Game. A ring game is a non-tournament poker game. This is the typical type of poker game where players buy-in and cash-out whenever they wish. The chips used at the table represent money. Thus, if a player buys in for $10 worth of chips and cashes out $50 worth of chips, he or she makes a profit of $40. In contrast, a tournament game rewards players based on their final rank in the tournament. For example, if 10 people buy in for $10, then there will be $100 in the prize pool. Players would then receive a set amount of chips. These chips can not be cashed out for money; they are used solely for play in the tournament. Play would continue until one person possesed all of the chips. A typical tournament would then award $50 to first place (person who possessed all of the chips a the end of the tournament), $30 to second place (person who was eliminated last), and $20 to third place (person eliminated just before second place finisher), with fourth and lower receiving nothing.


River: This is the fifth and final card that comes on the board in Holdem, after the turn.

Riverboat: A full house made on the river (last bord card).

Rock: This is a nickname for a type of player who will fold a lot. These types of players generally break even. They fold most of their losers, but will not aggressively bet their winners and will thus not make much money. They are also easily bullied out of pots.

Rockets: Reference to holding pocket aces (AA) as a starting hand in Texas Hold’em

Rockies: A Set of Aces

Rope-a-dope: To slowplay an opponent when you have the stone nuts; usually involves a lot of acting and feigning weakness in order to get your opponent(s) to bet/raise big on a bluff or weaker hand.

Rounder: A rounder is synonymous with a grinder. These are players who make their living or a significant amount of their income from playing poker. They tend to play mid or low stakes games and win money bit by bit. Rounding is often considered to be a difficult way to make money because rounders tend to not make much money per hour.

Route 66: Pocket sixes. Starting hand 6-6.

Royal Flush: The poker hand consisting of AKQJT of the same suit. The royal flush is the highest possible Straight Flush.

Runner: This means a card that was drawn to help someone’s hand. It is generally used in conjunction with the hand the person improved to. For example, if someone hits two cards to make a flush (i.e. improves on the turn and river), then the person is said to hit runner, runner flush.





Satellite: A small tournament in which the top players qualify for a progressively larger tournament.

SB: Short for small blind or small bet

Scare Card: A scare card is a card placed on the board that has the potential to significantly improve someone’s hand. For example, if the board is Ah Kh 5d, a Th would be a scare card. That ten would complete both a flush draw or a straight draw. Scare cards often present excellent bluffing opportunities for players.

Scoop: To scoop a pot is to win the whole pot in a high/low split game. You can do this by holding the best high hand and the best low hand, or by holding the best high hand where there are no hands that qualify for low.

Second Pair: Second Pair is when a player pairs the second best card on the board. For example: You Hold: 10(H) J(S) Flop Comes: 4(S) J(C) A(H). Your pair of Js is known as Second Pair, because a Pair of As (top pair) is possible.

See: To call an outstanding bet is to See it.

Sell: Betting a very strong hand fairly lightly in order to induce a call. Often, this method is used to milk a calling station out of money, bit by bit.

Semi-Bluff: A semi-bluff is when a player makes a bet with a hand that is currently weak but has the potential to become a very strong hand. A common example is when someone has a flush draw and makes a bet into the pot. The bettor hopes that the other players will fold, and he wil win the pot right there. However, even if the other players do not fold, he still has a good chance at improving and winning the pot anyway.

Set: Also known as: Trips, Thee of a Kind. A set means a three of a kind. Generally, people refer to a set when someone has a three of a kind because they have a pocket pair, with a board matching that rank of the pocket pair in hold’em. For example, if I hold 77 and the flop comes J76, I flopped a set of sevens.

Seven Card Stud: A poker game where each player who stays through to the end receives 3 hole cards and 4 shown (non community) cards. Each player remaining forms the best possible 5 card hands from their 7 cards, and the top 5 card hand wins the pot.

Shark: A shark is a good player and typically wins. A shark’s goal is often to simply just win money at poker, so they seek out games with a lot of fish. Basically, in the poker ecosystem, sharks feed on fish.

Shill: A shill is a poker player who is paid by the house and plays with the house money. He or she essentially tries to win money for the house at the poker game. Employing shills is considered immoral and is sometimes illegal. No poker players want to play at a casino that uses shills because they are afraid the games are not fair. Because of this, it is a very rare occurence for a casino to use shills. A shill is very different from a prop. Props are players that play poker with their own money. The only difference between a prop and a regular player is that a prop is paid hourly by the house in order to keep games going. Props will generally be forced to play at shorthanded tables or more unpopular games in order to earn their hourly stipend.

Short Stack: A Short Stack is a player at the table with a low amount of chips; this player will usually have to go all in to try to double up their stack.

Shorthand: This refers to a poker game with six or fewer people.

Short Handed: Refers to a table with relatively few players; many players will alter their strategy significantly in a Short Handed game.

Showdown: The comparison of the hands of remaining players. This occurs at the conclusion of all betting for the hand, at which point the showdown occurs and remaining players reveal their hands to determine a winner.

Sidepot: Bets made outside of the initial pot are considered to form a Side Pot. Usually this happens when more than two players are in a hand, and one of them is all in and the other players have more chips available than the player whom is all in. Because he is not entitled to win more chips than he bets, and is unable to bet more than all he has, the other players with the higher chip count can make a Side Pot between them so that if the low-stacked player wins, he does not collect more than he wagered. In this situation, if the low-stacked player did win, the better hand amongst the higher-stacked players would win the side pot.

Signup Bonus: A signup bonus is a cash bonus that an online poker room gives to new players that sign up and make a deposit at the poker room. Typically, the poker room makes the bonus a percentage of the player’s first deposit. Practically all bonuses have release requirements. This means the poker room will only award the bonus to the new player once the player has played a certain amount of raked hands. Generally, the amount of raked hands is equal to about ten times the bonus amount.

Sit and Go: Also known as: SNG. Sit and Go is a type of tournament. This means that there is a pre-selected amount of player spots available. Once enough people have registered to fill these spots, the tournament begins. Most often, a sit and go tournament is a single-table tournament. This means that once ten people register for the tournament, the tournament commences. Sit and go tournaments are very popular online, but they are somewhat rare in brick and mortar casinos.

Slow Rolling: Having the winning hand (often a massive hand) and taking a long time to show the hand when asked to declare. Considered bad etiquette.

Slowplay: Also known as: Sandbagging. Slowplaying is a deceptive move. It is the opposite of bluffing. It means to check or bet weakly when one holds a strong hand. The point of the slowplay is so the competition builds a hand that will become the second best hand. Then, when the competition builds this hand, one will jam the pot with bets. For example, suppose you hold 99 and the flop comes 994. You flopped quads! However, there is little chance you would be called at this point. A good idea is to slowplay and wait for the turn or river cards to come before you start firing. Then you can bet strongly because hopefully the competition will have some sort of hand that merits them calling you down.

Small Bet: The smaller bet in a fixed-limit game. In a $10-$20 hold’em game, the $10 bet is the small bet. The small bet is used during the pre-flop and flop rounds, and the big bet is used on the turn and river betting rounds.

Small Blind: The smaller of the two forced bets preflop. The person in first position posts the small blind, which is equivalent to half of a small bet.

Smooth Call: Similar to Slow Play, a Smooth Call is when a player simply calls a bet when they have a hand that would justify making a raise.

Snap: Also known as: suckout. To break a better hand, similar to sucking out. For example, someone holding 2-7 offsuit can snap AA if the board comes out AK222.

SNG: Also known as: Sit and Go. Short for Sit and Go. It is a type of tournament.

Snowmen: The hold’em starting hand of apair of eights.

Solid: A player who plays consistent, technically good, and generally tight.


: Stack can be a noun or a verb. (n) The amount of chips you have in front of you. The stack is how much money you have in a poker game. (v) To go all-in. To stack means to bet your whole stack. For example, “he bet and then I stacked. He called and doubled me up.”



Steal The Blinds: When every player at a Hold’em table folds before the Flop, the player who made the raise that caused the folds is said to have Stolen the Blinds, because that’s all that was won.

Steel Wheel: A straight flush, Ace to the Five.

Stone Cold Nuts: The best holding possible in a hand of poker that will win the entire pot (as opposed to possibly winning only half or some fraction). Such an example would be holding a suited ace and making a flush with it on an unpaired board in Hold’Em. This is in contrast to holding an ace high straight, which even though it may not possibly be beaten, could end up in a tie with another one.

Stone Nuts: Also known as: Nuts. Used to emphasize that a hand is not just the near nuts but is the absolute best hand.

Straddle: A straddle is a blind bet made by the person under the gun. A straddle bet is equivalent to two big blinds. The person who posts the straddle gets to bet last in the preflop round. A straddle is very ill-advised in a limit game because you are unnecessarily posting a large blind bet out of position. Straddles are more common for games such as pot limit Omaha, where the straddle acts to increase the stakes of the game.

Straight: A poker hand consisting of 5 cards whose ranks form a sequence. The highest possible straight is AKQJT (Broadway) and the lowest straight is 54321 (the wheel).

Straight Flush: A poker hand consisting of 5 cards of the same suit whose ranks form a sequence. Thus, a straight flush is both a Straight and a Flush. The highest possible straight flush is AKQJT of the same suit (also called the Royal Flush). The lowest possible straight flush is 5432A of the same suit.

String Bet: In a live game, someone does a string bet if they act like they are going to call but then make a raise. For example, it is standard etiquette that putting the requisite chips for a call into the pot just means a call. If one wants to raise, he or she needs to announce raise before placing chips into the pot. They cannot say ‘I call your bet…and raise you ‘x.’ They must say “I raise.” String bets confuse players as to whether the player is calling or raising, so they are not allowed.

Sucker Straight: Also known as: Idiot End. This refers to drawing to the lower end of a straight. One can hit this type of straight but still have a high probability of losing.

Suckout: Also known as: Suckout, Bad Beat. See Drawout. It means someone hit a draw against you to win the hand.

Suit: Spades, hearts, diamonds, or clubs. Suit is important for determining a flush, but has no other meaning in most poker games. The suits are sometimes abbreviated as follows: s – spades, h – hearts, d – diamonds, c – clubs. Therefore, AKh would mean Ace and King of hearts. However, sometimes the s only means suited. This usually is made clear by context.

Suited: Referring to a Hold’em starting hand with two cards of the same suit. Suited hands are better than unsuited hands because of flush possibilities. A suited hand is sometimes denoted by an ‘s’; for example, 98s is pronounced “Nine-eight suited” and refers to a 9 and an 8 of the same suit.

Suited Connector: Two hole cards of the same suit that are consecutive in rank. e.g. 9 and 8 of clubs.





Table Stakes: All poker games are played table stakes. This means one can only bet what one has in front of him on the table on any given hand. Players cannot reach into their pockets and add to their bets. If a player runs out of chips in front of him in the middle of a hand, he or she is considered all-in.

Tap: To “tap” someone is to bet enough money for them to go all in in a No limit game.

Tells: Involuntary motions or actions made by a player that may reveal the strength of their hands to observant opponents.

Texas Hold’Em: Poker game in which all players are dealt 2 hole cards, and 5 community cards are dealt with the objective being to form the best possible 5 card hand using any combination of the 7 available cards.

Three Bet: To “three bet” means to make the third bet in limit hold’em. For example, If person A bets, Person B raises, Person C re-raises, Person C would have three bet. It does not matter who makes the third bet. If this hand was Person A bets, Person B raises, Person A re-raises, then Person A would have three bet.

Three of a Kind: Also known as: Trips. A poker hand consisting of three cards of the same rank, and two unpaired cards.

Three Wise Men: A hand in Texas Hold ‘Em that consists of three Kings.

Three-quarter: You can “three-quarter” someone in a high/low split game. This is where you hold the best high hand and the best low hand, while your opponent only hold one of those hands. On the showdown you win half of the pot with your high and split the other half with your low, or the other way around. This way you win three quarters of the pot and your opponent only one quarter.

Tight: Someone who does not play many hands. The opposite of loose.

Tilt: A player goes on tilt when his or her emotions take over. A player on tilt no longer plays rationally and instead plays like a maniac. Often, the player just suffered a bad beat and is very upset. A player on tilt often loses a lot of money, so going on tilt needs to be avoided. However, even the best players can go on tilt at times.

Time Pot: This is a form of rake. For poker rooms that charge players a fee per half-hour or hour, they will allow the players to have that money taken out of two or three pots. Since the ‘time’ money is taken out of these pots, they are called time pots. These are pots that exceed a certain threshold (they are typically $200 or more).

Toke: A toke is a tip to the dealer after a player wins a pot. Generally, players toke the dealer $1 for every pot they win. Dealers at brick and mortar casinos make the majority of their income off of these tips.

Trapping: In Poker, it is a strategy employed by a player who holds a strong hand, and includes underbetting to create a large pot and keep more players in the hand. Also known as slow-playing.

Trips: Also known as: Set, Three of a Kind. Trips means three of a kind, holding three cards of the same rank.

Turn: This is the fourth board card that comes out in holdem, the card after the flop.

Two Pair: Two pair is exactly as it sounds- holding two pairs. Please note that it is impossible to hold a “three pair.” Poker hands only consist of five cards. Even if one is playing a poker game where more than five cards are in consideration (such as Texas hold’em or 7 card stud), you only use your best 5 card poker hand.

Underdog: When a hand is mathematically unlikely to win a hand, it is considered to be an Underdog.

Under the Gun: The position to the left of the big blind which acts first before board cards are dealt.

Underpair: An underpair is a pocket pair that is smaller than any card on the board. For example, if you hold pocket fours and the board is 89Q, you hold an underpair.

Unsuited: Also known as: Offsuit.

Upcard: A card that is dealt to the player face up, so that all players may see it. Upcards are used in Stud games.

Walking Sticks: Pocket 7’s as starting hand, 7-7.

Wheel: Also known as a Bicycle Straight, it is the lowest possible straight, running A-2-3-4-5

Wild Card: A card, such as a joker or a designated rank, that can be assigned any rank and suit.

Wired Pair: A Pair in your starting hand.

Wooden Hand: A hand that cannot possibly win, or is Drawing Dead.

WPT: World Poker Tour.

WSOP: World Series of Poker.

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