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Poker Terminology

Now that you've decided to learn how to play online poker, you need to get acquainted with the lingo! Some poker terms are straightforward while others are less obvious. So, we created a full list of poker terms that will help you master the unique language of the game and play like a pro!

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

A

Aces Full:

A five card Poker Hand that is a Full House consisting of three Aces and any Pair.

Ace-High:

A five card Poker Hand that contains one Ace, with no Straight or Flush.

Aces Up:

A five card Poker Hand that contains two Pairs, one of which is Aces.

Action:

Action takes place when it is a player's turn to act. Initiating the Betting action may be referred to as "Starting the Action".

Active Bet:

A current Bet amount (i.e. Blind Bets, Bets, Raises).

Active Player:

Any player still participating in the current Hand.

All-in:

When a player gets all of their chips into the pot in one hand, they are said to be “all-in”. They will remain an Active Player in the hand without having to put any more money into the pot.

American Airlines:

Two Aces.

Ante:

Antes are forced bets that all players have to place before a Hand is dealt. They are more common in certain genres of poker like Stud and Draw Poker, but are seldom used in games of Hold'em or Omaha Poker.

B

Bad Beat:

A Hand where a player has overwhelming odds of winning and then loses.

Belly Buster:

A Straight Draw needing four cards to make the Inside Straight.

Bet:

Any amount of money wagered in a Hand or the action of placing an amount of chips into the Pot.

Bet Pot:

Betting an amount equal to the Pot.

Betting Round:

The period during a Poker game when players have the opportunity to Fold, Bet, Check, Call or Raise. Each Betting Round ends when the last Bet or Raise has been Called or when all players but one have folded their hands.

Bicycle:

A Poker Hand consisting of an A-2-3-4-5 Straight.

Big Blind:

An initial mandatory bet, in games of Hold'em and Omaha Poker, which is posted by the player two seats to the left of the Dealer. In No Limit Hold'em games, the Big Blind (BB) is equal to that table's higher betting stake. For example, at a $10/$20 table, the BB would be $20. In Limit games, the BB is equal to the lower betting stake. At the same $10/$20 table, the BB would be $10.

Big Slick:

A Poker Hand that contains an Ace and King.

Blind:

Initial mandatory Bets, placed in the Pot by the first two players to the left of the Dealer in games of Hold'em and Omaha Poker. See "Small Blind" and "Big Blind".

Blind Raise:

When a player Raises without looking at his/her Hand.

Bluff:

To make a bet or raise with a hand that is unlikely to be the best hand. This play is made in order to elicit a "Fold", thereby allowing the player who is bluffing to win the Pot.

Board:

Refers to the 5 shared cards (see "Community Cards") placed at the centre of Hold'em and Omaha Poker Tables. Every active player can use any and all 5 cards to make the best 5-card poker hand. In Stud Poker games, each player has his own Board.

Bottom Pair:

When a player uses the lowest card on the Flop to create a Pair with one of his/her own cards.

Broadway:

A Poker Hand consisting of an Ace high Straight (10-J-Q-K-A).

Bring-in:

A mandatory first Bet made in the first Betting Round of a Stud Poker game only. The Bring-in is usually placed by the player showing the lowest valued card. In all additional rounds, the player showing the highest valued Hand on their Board has to act first.

Bring It In:

To initiate the Betting action in the first Betting Round of any hand.

Broomcorn's Uncle:

A player who uses up all his/her Chips by placing Antes.

Bullets:

A Pair of Aces.

Bump:

To Raise.

Button:

A round plastic disc, with a "D" or “B” on it, which is used to represent/identify the present Dealer position in the game. After each Hand the Button moves left, in a clockwise fashion, to the next Active Player sitting-in at the Table.

Buy-In:

The amount of money required by a player to sit down at a particular cash game table. It can also be the amount needed for a player to join a tournament or Sit & Go.

C

Call:

To equal or match the last Bet amount that has been made.

Cap:

To make the last and final raise of a Betting Round's Raises, based on the maximum number of permissible Raises per Betting Round in that Poker game.

Case Chips:

A player's last Chips.

Cash Out:

To leave a game and convert your Chips to cash.

Check:

To defer a Betting Round's initial Bet and Pass the option to the next Active Player. After a Betting Round's initial Bet has been placed, players no longer have the option to Check and may only Call, Raise or Fold (see below).

Check-Raise:

When a player first Checks and then Raises any subsequent bet in the same Betting Round.

Chop:

To return the Blind Bets to the players who Posted them, when no other players elect to Call in a Poker game's first Betting Round. The game then moves on to the next Hand. Also referred to "Splitting the Pot".

Collusion:

When two or more players conspire to cheat in a Poker game.

Community Cards:

The cards, placed face up in the middle of the Table, which are visible to and shared by all players in Hold'em and Omaha Poker games.

Cowboys:

Two Kings.

D

Dead Bet:

A non-Active Bet or penalty fee, placed in the Pot, which the other players at the Table are not required to consider. For example, if a player misses both Blind Bets, upon re-Sitting-in that player must Post a Live Bet equal to the Big Blind, plus a Dead Bet (Blind) equal to the Small Blind).

Dead Man's Hand:

Two Pair - Aces and Eights (According to poker lore, Wild Bill Hickock was shot in the back while playing this Hand).

Dealer:

The player who either actually, or representatively, distributes the cards to the other players at the Poker Table.

Door Card:

This is the first exposed, face up or up card, in a player's Hand in a game of Stud Poker.

Down Card:

Hole Cards - Cards that are dealt face down.

Doyle Brunson:

A Hold'em Poker Hand consisting of a 10-2 (Brunson won the world championship two years in a row on the final Hand with these cards).

Drawing Hand:

Any Hand, (like 4-cards to a straight or 4-flushed), with the Potential to become a strong made Hand. The most common types of Drawing Hands are four card Straights and four card Flushes.

Drop:

Fold.

Ducks:

A Pair of Twos.

Deuces:

A Pair of Twos.

E

Early Position:

A player's position in a Betting Round, who must act before most of the other players at the Table (usually considered the two players seated to the left of the Blind Bets.)

F

Fifth Street:

The fifth Community Card, placed face up in the centre of the Table, in a game of Hold'em or Omaha Poker. This card is more commonly referred to as "The River." Can also refer to the fifth card received in a game of 7-card Stud Poker.

Flat Call:

Calling a Bet without Raising.

Flop:

The first three Community Cards, placed in unison face up in the centre of the Table, in a game of Hold'em or Omaha Poker.

Flop Games:

Poker games (Hold'em and Omaha) played using Community Cards, which are dealt face up in the centre of the Table.

Flush:

A Poker Hand consisting of 5 cards all of the same suit; for example, K-10-8-4-3 all in Spades.

Flush Draw:

A Hand consisting of four cards of the same suit, for example, 10-8-4-3 of Clubs. A fifth card of the same suit (in this example, another Club) is needed to complete the Flush.

Fold:

To quit or abandon a Hand, thus forfeiting any Chips (if any) placed in the Pot up until that time.

Forced Bet:

A required Bet that starts the Action on the first round of a Poker Hand (see "Blind").

Four of a Kind:

Four cards of the same number or rank (also known as "Quads").

Fourth Street:

The fourth Community Card, placed face up in the centre of the Table, in a game of Hold'em or Omaha Poker. This card is more commonly referred to as "The Turn." Can also refer to the fourth card received in a game of 7-card Stud Poker.

Full House:

A Poker Hand consisting of three cards of the same rank and two of another, e.g., 7-7-7-5-5.

G

Gut Shot:

To Draw to and/or hit an Inside Straight

H

Hand:

A player's best five cards. It can also refer to play in any game starting with the cards being dealt up until one player remains or the final “river” card is dealt. All the action in between is called the “hand”.

Heads-up Play:

When a Poker Hand has been reduced to only two remaining players.

High Card:

The highest card on the board or the lowest-ranked hand in the standard poker hand ranking system.

High-Low (Hi-Lo) Poker:

Any game of Poker in which the Pot is split Between the best highest and lowest Hands. It is possible to have a Hand that wins both, for example, A-2-3-4-5 is a Straight, but is also (in most forms of high-low Poker) considered the best possible Low Hand. In some high-low games of Poker, the lowest possible Hand is A-2-3-4-6. In others (although usually this is true in low-only games), the lowest possible Hand is 2-3-4-5-7 (as this Hand does not contain an Ace).

Hold'em:

In this Poker game, also known as Texas Hold 'em, players receive two face-down hole cards (pocket cards). They can use all or none of their pocket cards along with any three to all five of the face-up Community Cardsto make the best 5-card poker hand. See a complete game description in 888poker Poker's Game Rules section.

Hole Cards:

Player's starting cards which are dealt face down and cannot be seen by the other players.

I

Inside Straight Draw:

A Drawing Hand made up of four cards, which requires one specific additional card denomination, somewhere in the middle, to complete a Straight (i.e. 4-6-7-8, where only a 5 can complete the Straight). As opposed to an "Open-ended Straight Draw", where 4 cards on either end of the Draw are needed to complete the Straight.

J

Jackpot Poker:

A form of Poker in which the Cardroom or Casino pays a Jackpot to any player who does not win the Pot while holding a very high valued Hand (usually Aces Full or Better).

K

Key Card:

One particular card, which gives the player a big Draw or makes his/her Hand.

Key Hand:

In a session or tournament, the one particular Hand that marks a turning point for the player, either for better or worse.

Kicker:

  1. In Draw Poker, a single card, held along with a Pair, in an attempt to make two Pairs. For example, keeping K-3-3 and drawing two additional alternative cards in an attempt get either another 3 (for three of a kind) or another King (for two Pairs, King-high).
  2. In Hold'em Poker, the highest single card held between two players who each hold equal Pairs. For example:
    1. The Board Cards are A-10-8-5-2.
    2. Player #1 holds an A-J as his/her Hand.
    3. Player #2 holds A-Q as his/her Hand.

Each player holds a Pair of Aces, however Player #2 has a higher valued kicker and wins the Pot.

Kick It:

Raise.

Knock:

Check.

Kojak:

A starting Hand that contains a King and Jack.

L

Ladies:

Two Queens.

Late Position:

A player's position in a Betting Round where they act after most of the other players at the Table (usually considered to be the two positions to the right of the Dealer).

Lay Down Your Hand:

When a player Folds his/her Hand.

Lead:

The first player to Bet in any Betting Round.

Limit Poker:

A common variety of Poker in which the size of the Bets is pre-determined. For example, in a "$10/20" game Bets and Raises are limited to $10 pre and post flop and $20 post turn and river. Raises are usually capped at 4 x the current betting stake in each round.

Limper:

The first player, in the first Betting Round, to Call the Blind Bets.

Limp In:

To place Chips in the Pot through a Call, rather than a Raise. (Normally, a "Limp In" takes place when the first person acts by Calling the Big Blind.)

Live Bet:

An Active Bet, which all other players at the Table must, at the very least, match to stay in the hand (i.e.Blind Bets, Bets, Raises).

Live Blind:

When a player places a Blind Bet and is then permitted to Raise, even if no other player Raises. Also referred to as an "Option".

Live Card(s):

Cards that have not yet been seen and are presumed to still be in play, in games of Stud Poker and other forms of the game. For example, in Hold'em, if a player gets all-in with a sub-par hand, they may refer to “having live cards” - as long as their opponents don't hold any of the same cards.

Live Hand:

A Hand that still has the Potential to win the Pot.

M

Main Pot:

The Main Pot is made up of equal amounts from all active players. Any further Betting over and above the Main Pot are placed in a side Pot(s) and are then contested between any remaining players. Side Pots occur when a player(s) goes All-in.

Make:

Making the deck is referred to as shuffling the deck.

Maniac:

An aggressive player who plays many Hands.

Meet:

Also referred to as Call.

Middle Pair:

In Flop games, when a player creates a Pair by matching one of his/her down cards with the middle card on the Flop.

Middle Position:

A player's position in a Betting Round, somewhere between Early and Late Position (usually considered to be the fifth, sixth and seventh seats to the left of the Dealer).

Miss:

Holding a Drawing Hand and missing out on the card needed to improve the Hand. For example, holding 4 Spades while drawing to a Flush, but getting a Heart as the final card, would be referred to as "Missing the Draw."

Muck:

To discard or throw away ones Hand. Also refers to a pile of cards that are no longer in play.

Minimum Buy-In:

The minimum amount to normally join a cash game table.

Monster:

A very high valued or important Hand. In a tournament, a player who accumulates many Chips, after having a small stack, is referred to as a Monster (Stack).

Multi-hand:

When a player joins more than one poker table at a time and plays multiple hands simultaneously.

N

Narrowing the Field:

Betting or Raising in order to drive out players whose Hands might have improved if allowed to remain in the pot.

No-Limit Poker:

A risky variety of Poker in which any player may Bet as many of his/her Chips in any betting round.

Nuts, The:

The best possible Hand at any point in a poker game. For example, in Hold'em Poker, a player holding K-J would hold "The Nuts" if the Flop came out as 9-10-Q. In the context of the player's Hole Cards, the 9-10-J-Q-K Straight is the best possible Hand. If a Jack came down on the river, the Nuts would be A-K. However, if no player had A-K, the player holding K-J would have the Nuts or winning hand.

O

Offsuit:

Cards of a different suit(s).

Omaha Poker:

A Community Card Poker game, with similarities to Texas Hold'em. In Omaha Poker, each player receives four hole cards (as opposed to two in Texas Hold'em). But unlike Hold'em, where players may choose to play either zero, one, or two of the cards in their Hand, in Omaha players must use exactly two of their four pocket cards. Omaha Poker is frequently played in a high-low version.

Open:

To begin the Betting in a Betting Round.

Open-ended Straight Draw:

A Hand that needs 4 cards on either end of the draw (for a total of 7 cards) to complete the Straight. For example, four consecutive cards, such as 5-6-7-8, would need a 4 or a 9 to complete a Straight.

Open Card:

A card that is dealt face-up.

Open Pair:

A Pair that has been dealt face-up.

Option:

An option is a Live Blind Bet made before the cards are dealt. If no one Raises, the "Option" player may Raise.

Out Button:

A disc placed in front of a player who wishes to Sit Out a Hand(s), but still remain in the game.

P

Paints:

Face or picture cards (Jack, Queen and King).

Pair:

Two cards of the same rank, e.g., two sevens or two Kings.

Pass:

To Check or Pass the option to Bet/Raise to the next player in a Betting Round. (As long as there is no prior action in the hand.)

Pat Hand:

A term used in Draw Poker to refer to a Made Hand that would not improve by drawing more cards. Straights, Flushes, Full Houses, Four of a Kind, and StraightFlushes are all referred to as Pat Hands.

Pay Off:

To Call on the final Betting Round when you may not think you have the best Hand.

Picture Cards:

Face cards (Jack, Queen and King).

Play Back (At):

To Raise or re-Raise another player's Bet.

Playing the Board:

In Flop games when your best five card Hand contains all five of the Community Cards.

Pocket:

The player's cards, which are dealt face down. Also, referred to as Hole Cards

Pocket Rockets:

Pocket or HoleCards consisting of a Pair of Aces.

Position:

Important Poker strategy, which takes into consideration the fact that in most forms of Poker, the Player acting in last “position” holds a distinct advantage. Being last to act means the player possesses more information available when deciding whether to Check, Bet, Raise, or Fold.

Post:

Placing Chips in the Pot (i.e. Posting the Blind Bets.)

Pot:

The accumulated amount of Chips in the centre of the Table, being contested by the Active Players in the Hand.

Pot-Limit Poker:

A variety of Poker in which players may Bet any amount up to, but not greater than, the current amount of the Pot.

Pot Odds:

Pot Odds is the ratio of the size of a pot in relation to the amount of a call. It is often valuable to evaluate the amount in the Pot when deciding whether or not to Call a Bet. In a game with a large amount in the Pot, even a mediocre Hand may be worthwhile Calling if it possesses even a small chance to improve to the best Hand. On the contrary, if the Pot is small, even a fairly good Hand may not be worth a Call, as the amount of risk, relative to the amount one stands to gain, is simply not great enough.

Push:

When, at the end of a Hand, the Dealer pushes the Chips in the Pot to the winning player. Also, when Dealers rotate to other Tables.

Put Down:

To Fold a Hand.

Q

Quads:

Four of a Kind.

Qualifier:

In high-low games, it is a requirement the Low Hand must meet to win the Pot.

R

Raise:

To increase the amount of a Bet that has been made earlier by a player.

Rake:

The small amount of money that the house subtracts from each Pot . The Rake is based on the total amount of the Pot after each Betting Round.

Rank:

The value of each card and Hand.

Rap:

When a player taps on the Table, indicating that he/she has Checked.

Razz:

A form of Stud Poker, where the lowest five cards (5-4-3-2-A) win the Pot.

Re-Raise:

To Raise a previous Raise.

River:

The fifth and final Community Card, placed face up in the centre of the Table, in a game of Hold'em or Omaha Poker. Also sometimes referred to as Fifth Street.

Rock:

A player considered to be very conservative, who usually Bets or Raises only when he/she has a very strong Hand.

Rounders:

An expert player who travels around looking for (private) high stakes games. It can also refer to a "Hustler-type" player. This is also the name of a popular Poker movie starring Matt Damon and Ed Norton.

Royal Flush:

A Poker hand with a Straight Flush consisting of A-K-Q-J-10, all in the same suit. This is the highest valued Hand possible in most Poker genres.

S

Satellite Tournament:

A pre-tournament offered at a vastly reduced (relative to the main tournament), or no Tournament Buy-in Fee. Winners of Satellite Tournaments are offered free entry to the next level Satellite Tournament or Main Tournament.

Scoop:

To win the entire Pot.

Seating List:

A Waiting List on which players place their name, in order to play at a Table where there are presently no available seats. The players are notified when a seat has become available at the Table and it is their turn to join the game.

Second Pair:

In Flop games, when a player creates a Pair using the second highest valued Community Card, along with one of his/her Pocket Cards.

See:

To Call a previous Bet.

Seven Card Stud:

A well-known Poker game in which each player gets three face-down cards and four face-up cards. You play the best five of those seven cards.

Seventh Street:

This is the final round of Betting in Seven Card Stud and Stud 8 or Better.

Showdown:

The end of the final Betting Round, when all Active Players reveal their cards to determine who has won the Pot. For a showdown to happen, there have to be at least 2 players remaining in the Hand. The winning player must reveal their cards to win the hand. In Hold'em and PLO, the winner is determined by who has the best 5-card hand. That player (or players) gets to scoop in the pot. In Omaha Hi-Lo, there are two pots up for grabs, one for the best High Hand and one for the best Low Hand!

Side Pot:

A separate Pot (s,) which is contested by remaining Active Players when one or more player(s) are All-in.

Sit In:

To join a Poker game and become and Active Player.

Sit Out:

To miss a Hand(s) while still sitting at a Poker Table.

Sixth Street:

In Seven Card Stud, this is the fourth "up" card dealt to the player (their 6th card). It is also the 4th round of Betting.

Slow-play:

A strategy of playing as if holding a weak Hand, in the hope of luring in other players. When holding a very strong Hand and Betting and Raising aggressively right away, other players might Fold, giving only a small Pot to the winner. In contrast, by using Slow-play, and merely Checking or Calling, other players might be more likely to believe that their Hands have a chance of winning and stay in longer, creating a larger Pot to be won.

Solid:

A conservative, but good player.

Small Blind:

An initial mandatory Bet, in games of Hold'em and Omaha Poker, which is Posted by the player immediately to the left of the Dealer. In No Limit games, the Small Blind is equal to one half of that Table's Lower Betting Limit. For example, at a $10-20 Table, the Small Blind would be $5.

Speed Limit:

A Pair of Fives. In reference to the fact that the normal Speed Limit in a lot of US states is 55mph.

Split:

A tie.

Stack:

A pile of Chips.

Stay:

When a player remains in the game by Calling rather than Raising.

Steel Wheel:

A five high Straight Flush (A-2-3-4-5 of the same suit).

Straight:

A Poker Hand consisting of 5 consecutive cards, for example: K-Q-J-10-9.

Straight Flush

A Poker Hand consisting of 5 consecutive cards that are also of the same suit, for example, Q-J-10-9-8 of Spades.

Structure:

A game's predetermined limits, normally based on the Blinds/Ante, Bet amounts and number of permissible Raises per Betting Round.

Stud Games:

Games of Poker in which players get their own boards made up of a mixture face down cards and face up cards. They must assemble the best hand made up of those cards only.

Stuck:

A player who is losing or down a substantial amount in a game.

Suits:

Spades, Hearts, Diamonds and Clubs. In most forms of Poker, suits are of no importance (except in Stud games where they can be used to decide who must begin the Betting action as the "Bring-in"). At the end of a Poker Hand, if players hold identically ranked cards, their Hands are considered equal, regardless of suit and they split the Pot.

T

Texas Hold'em:

This is the full name for Hold'em the most popular form of Poker. It is the featured attraction of the Main Event of the WSOP and remains the kingpin of all poker contests. The object of the game is to form the best 5 card poker hand using any combination of your 2 hole cards along with 5 community cards (Flop, Turn and River). Players can use all or none of their pocket cards along with any three to all five of the face-up Community Cards, to make the best 5-card poker hand.

Third Street:

In Seven Card Stud and Seven Card Stud 8 or Better, this is the first Betting Round after the first three cards have been dealt.

Thirty Miles:

A poker nickname for Three Tens

Three of a Kind:

Three cards of the same number or face value (A “Set” or "Trips"). For example, 5-5-5 or Q-Q-Q.

Tight:

A player who plays few Pots. A "Tight Game" refers to a game with little Action.

Top Pair:

In Flop games, when the player Pairs one of their face down cards with the highest of the Community Community Cards, or Board Cards they have “Top Pair”.

Treys:

A Pair of Threes.

Trips:

Three of a kind where the player holds one of the 3 same-ranked or Cards with two on the Board.

Turn:

The fourth Community Card, placed face up in the centre of the Table, in a game of Hold'em or Omaha Poker. Also sometimes referred to as Fourth Street.

Two Pair:

A Hand consisting of two different Pairs.

U

Up Card:

A card that is dealt face-up.

W

Waiting List:

A list on which players place their name, in order to play at a Table where there are presently no available seats. The players are notified when a seat has become available at the Table and it is their turn to join the game.

Walking Sticks:

A Pair of Sevens.

     

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