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 five card Poker Hand that contains two Pairs, one of which is Aces.
Action takes place when it is a player's turn to act. Initiating the Betting action may be referred to as "Starting the Action".
Any player still participating in the current Hand.
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.
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.
A Hand where a player has overwhelming odds of winning and then loses.
A Straight Draw needing four cards to make the Inside Straight.
Any amount of money wagered in a Hand or the action of placing an amount of chips into the Pot.
Betting an amount equal to the Pot.
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.
A Poker Hand consisting of an A-2-3-4-5 Straight.
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.
A Poker Hand that contains an Ace and King.
When a player Raises without looking at his/her Hand.
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.
A Poker Hand consisting of an Ace high Straight (10-J-Q-K-A).
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.
A player who uses up all his/her Chips by placing Antes.
A Pair of Aces.
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.
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.
To equal or match the last Bet amount that has been made.
A player's last Chips.
To leave a game and convert your Chips to cash.
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).
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".
When two or more players conspire to cheat in a Poker game.
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).
The player who either actually, or representatively, distributes the cards to the other players at the Poker Table.
Hole Cards - Cards that are dealt face down.
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).
A Pair of Twos.
A Pair of Twos.
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.
A Poker Hand consisting of 5 cards all of the same suit; for example, K-10-8-4-3 all in Spades.
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.
To quit or abandon a Hand, thus forfeiting any Chips (if any) placed in the Pot up until that time.
Four of a Kind:
Four cards of the same number or rank (also known as "Quads").
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.
A Poker Hand consisting of three cards of the same rank and two of another, e.g., 7-7-7-5-5.
To Draw to and/or hit an Inside Straight
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”.
When a Poker Hand has been reduced to only two remaining players.
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).
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.
Player's starting cards which are dealt face down and cannot be seen by the other players.
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.
One particular card, which gives the player a big Draw or makes his/her Hand.
In a session or tournament, the one particular Hand that marks a turning point for the player, either for better or worse.
- 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).
- In Hold'em Poker, the highest single card held between two players who each hold equal Pairs. For example:
- The Board Cards are A-10-8-5-2.
- Player #1 holds an A-J as his/her Hand.
- Player #2 holds A-Q as his/her Hand.
A starting Hand that contains a King and Jack.
Lay Down Your Hand:
When a player Folds his/her Hand.
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.
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.
A Hand that still has the Potential to win the 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.
Making the deck is referred to as shuffling the deck.
An aggressive player who plays many Hands.
Also referred to as Call.
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."
To discard or throw away ones Hand. Also refers to a pile of cards that are no longer in play.
The minimum amount to normally join a cash game table.
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).
When a player joins more than one poker table at a time and plays multiple hands simultaneously.
Narrowing the Field:
A risky variety of Poker in which any player may Bet as many of his/her Chips in any betting round.
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.
Cards of a different suit(s).
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-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.
A card that is dealt face-up.
A Pair that has been dealt face-up.
A disc placed in front of a player who wishes to Sit Out a Hand(s), but still remain in the game.
Face or picture cards (Jack, Queen and King).
Two cards of the same rank, e.g., two sevens or two Kings.
Face cards (Jack, Queen and King).
Play Back (At):
Playing the Board:
The player's cards, which are dealt face down. Also, referred to as Hole Cards
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.
The accumulated amount of Chips in the centre of the Table, being contested by the Active Players in the Hand.
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.
To Fold a Hand.
To increase the amount of a Bet that has been made earlier by a player.
The value of each card and Hand.
When a player taps on the Table, indicating that he/she has Checked.
To Raise a previous Raise.
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.
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.
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.
To win the entire Pot.
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.
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.
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!
To join a Poker game and become and Active Player.
To miss a Hand(s) while still sitting at a Poker Table.
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.
A conservative, but good player.
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.
A Pair of Fives. In reference to the fact that the normal Speed Limit in a lot of US states is 55mph.
A pile of Chips.
A five high Straight Flush (A-2-3-4-5 of the same suit).
A Poker Hand consisting of 5 consecutive cards, for example: K-Q-J-10-9.
A Poker Hand consisting of 5 consecutive cards that are also of the same suit, for example, Q-J-10-9-8 of Spades.
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.
A player who is losing or down a substantial amount in a game.
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.
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.
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.
A Pair of Threes.
Three of a kind where the player holds one of the 3 same-ranked or Cards with two on the Board.
A Hand consisting of two different Pairs.
A card that is dealt face-up.
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.
A Pair of Sevens.