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How To Play

Poker Terms Glossary

Poker is notorious for its lingo, so when you’re playing a game, you may sometimes come across words that are unfamiliar. We developed a glossary of terms to help you navigate the poker lingo with ease, making it accessible at all times. And to help you get clear on the relationships between these terms, we built links between many of them. To return to your previous glossary position, simply press your browser's “Back” button.

 

ACE-HIGH
A five-card hand containing an ace, but no straight, flush or pair.

ACES FULL
A full house with three aces (and any pair).

ACES UP
When your hand contains two pairs, one of which is a pair of aces.

ACTION
Another term for "betting."

ACTIVE PLAYER
Any player who hasn’t folded.

ADD-ON
A chance to buy more chips. Comes at the end of the re-buy period during a multi-table tournament (MTT), normally after 60 minutes.

ALL-IN
Betting your entire chip stack, either as a tactic, or to call (match) another player’s bet.

ANTE
A small sum of money placed in the pot by each player. Antes are used in Stud and Draw, but not in Hold'em or Omaha.

BACKDOOR
When you need the last two cards (the turn and the river) to make your hand. For instance, say you have J and Q of clubs with a flop of A of clubs, 5 of hearts and 6 of spades. If the turn and river are K and 3 of clubs, you’re looking at a backdoor flush.

BAD BEAT
A hand that is beaten by someone getting very lucky and drawing out that hand.

BANKROLL
The sum of your total account stack.

BANKROLL MANAGEMENT (BRM)
Choosing the right game for your bankroll size, and knowing when to switch up to bigger games, and back down again.

BETTING ROUNDS
Every poker hand played is divided into four betting rounds which start at the player to the left of the button in the first position making an action. These are as follows:

Pre-flop The betting round before the flop.
Flop round The flop has been dealt and betting starts again.
Turn round The turn has been dealt and betting starts again.
River round This comes after the fourth and final betting round. This is followed by the showdown.

BIG BLIND
A bet that must be posted by the player two seats to the left of the button. It is equal to the amount of the smaller betting limit in a game, for example, in a $10-20 game, the big blind would be $10.

BLANK
A card that doesn’t go with anything else in your hand.

BLIND
Forced bets placed in the pot by the first two players in front of the dealer button, in Hold'em and Omaha. See "small blind" and "big blind."

BLUFF
To bet when you are holding a weak hand, hoping that the intimidation factor of your bet can win the hand.

BOARD
The five community cards that all the players can see and use to build their hand.

Flop The first three community cards to be dealt.
Turn The fourth community card.
River The fifth and final community card.

BOUNTY
In multi-table tournaments (MTTs), we put a bounty on certain players, which means a reward for whoever knocks them out of the game.

BREAK
Multi-table tournaments (MTTs) can get quite long, so they often have built-in breaks, normally 5 minutes at 55 minutes past the hour.

BRING-IN
In Stud, a bet that must be made on the very first betting round. Usually the player showing the lowest card is forced to make a bet; in some games, the player showing the highest card is forced. The bring-in applies only on the very first betting round, though. On all further rounds, the player showing the highest hand on board has the OPTION to bet first, but need not.

BUBBLE
The last player out before the prize money starts. For example, if you have 200 entrants in a tournament and the prizes start at position 15, to finish 16th is the bubble (sorry, bubble).

BUST
You're bust when you lose your entire table stack or bankroll.

BUTTON
Virtual dealer marker moved from player to player in a clockwise direction after each hand. The player on the button always acts last. Consequently the player left of the button, in the first position, always acts first.

BUY-IN
The money you start with in a cash game, or the entry fee in a tournament.

CALL
To match a bet that has been made.

CAP
There can only be a maximum of three raises in any given betting round. The last raise is called the cap.

CASH GAME
In tournaments, chips have a point value. In cash games they have a cash value.

CHECK
To possess the option to bet, but decline. A player cannot check once someone else has bet; at that point, the player must call, raise, or fold. But if no one has yet bet, a player can check, allowing the betting option to pass to the next player.

CHECK-RAISE
To check, indicating weakness, with the intention of raising after someone else bets. Check-raises are allowed in all casino poker games; in some home games, they are frowned upon.

COMMUNITY CARDS
The five cards on the board shared by all players.

CONNECTORS
Starting hands that are connected through their value like J-10, A-K and 7-8.

CONTINUATION BETTING
A type of bluff. Before the flop, your hand looked like the nuts – after, not so much. Your opponent doesn’t know that, so you bet again anyway. Cunning.

CRACKED
When the fantastic starting hand of two aces is beaten – the aces are cracked.

DEALER'S POSITION
AKA "on the button." The last to act in a betting round and the strongest position at the table.

DOMINATED
A hand that is subdued by another hand. For example, AK would dominate AJ if an ace falls on the board. The dominated hand has a lower kicker (J) and little chance of winning.

DRAW HAND
A hand that needs a certain community card to come into play in order to win – most commonly with a straight or a flush. The starting hand of J10 of spades on a 8s 9s and Ah flop would be a very good drawing hand. You need a 7 or a Q for the straight and any spade for the flush. If Qs or 7s are dealt, then you even have a straight flush! But if none of these cards are dealt, the hand is worthless.

DRAWING DEAD
A hand that cannot win even though the entire board is not yet on the table.

EARLY POSITION
First in the betting order, usually two positions to the left of the blinds.

EDGE
In the long run, luck evens out and skill alone defines the difference required to win. Edge is the slight advantage one player has over another through better skill, a larger stack or a better position.

ENTRY FEE
The house’s portion of the tournament entry stake, usually 10%.

ENTRY STAKE
Unlike the buy-in (purely the cost of entering a tournament), entry stakes are the amounts players bring that make up the total prize pool.

FIFTH STREET
The fifth community card in Hold'em or Omaha (in these games, 5th street is more often called "the river"). Also sometimes used to refer to the fifth card received in 7 Card Stud.

FISH
A nickname for bad players who lose regularly – usually given this name by superior, winning players.

FLAT CALL
Making a call in a situation where a raise would have been feasible.

FLOP
In Hold'em or Omaha, the first three community cards, turned up all at once.

FLUSH
Any five cards of the same suit.

FLUSH DRAW
When you have four cards in the same suit, hoping you’ll get a fifth to make a flush.

FOLD
To drop out of a hand.

FOUR OF A KIND
Four cards of the same number or face value, also known as ‘quads’.

FOURTH STREET
The fourth community card in Hold'em or Omaha (in these games, 4th street is more often called "the turn."). Also sometimes used to refer to the fourth card received in 7 Card Stud.

FREEROLL
A tournament that is free to enter.

FULL HOUSE
A hand of three same-value cards, plus a pair. For example three aces and two queens.

GRINDER
A player who consistently plays for hours with the intent of slowly and carefully building a large bankroll.

GUT SHOT
To draw to a very unlikely draw like an inside straight.

HEADS-UP
A one-on-one poker game.

HOLE CARDS
Your starting hand. These are sometimes referred to as pocket cards.

IN THE MONEY
In the final part of a tournament when everyone left will win a prize, we say the players are ‘in the money’.

INSIDE STRAIGHT
On a 5, 9, Q flop with 6, 7 hole cards, an 8 would make the inside straight!

KICKER
When two players hold equal hands such as the same pair, the highest unpaired card is called the kicker and it decides the winner. For more info, see Dominated.

LATE POSITION
Usually two places left of the button – the last players to bet, except the dealer. A strong position on the table.

LIMIT
The Dollar value of the blind. Defines how "big" the game is. Obviously, you need a much larger stack to play a $50-limit game than a $0.50 game.

LIMPING
Calling the big blind in pre-flop action.

MICRO CASH GAME
Where you only need a small amount of cash to join the table, and the blinds are very small – perfect for the new player.

MIDDLE POSITION
Somewhere between the early and late positions on a round of betting (the fifth, sixth and seventh seats to the left of the button on 10 seater tables).

MINIMUM SIT DOWN
The minimum amount of cash chips you are allowed to join a cash game with. This is normally a multiplier of the big blind (e.g. $1 / $2 blinds with a multiplier of X 35 will require $70 to join the table.

MTT
Multi Table Tournament, a tournament with many entrants, the bigger the number the bigger the prize money!

NARROWING THE FIELD
To bet or raise in the hopes that you will drive out some players whose hands are currently worse than yours, but who might improve if allowed to stay in.

NO LIMIT
A game with no limit to the amount you can bet. No Limit Hold’em is the world’s most popular poker game.

NUTS
The best possible hand. This phrase is almost always used in the context of a particular hand (otherwise "the nuts" would just be a term for a royal flush). For example, in Hold'em, a player holding 8-9 would hold "the nuts" if the flop came 6-7-10. At that moment, the 6-7-8-9-10 straight is the best possible hand. However, if the Turn card were a Jack, and the River a Queen, a player holding A-K would then have the nuts-a 10-J-Q-K-A straight.

ODDS
The statistical likelihood of whether you’ll make a hand (or not).

OFF-SUIT
A starting hand with two different suits.

ON THE BUTTON
Dealer's position. The last player to act in a round.

ON THEIR BACKS
When two or more players are all-in and no-one else has bet. Players turn their cards over and the remainder of the board is dealt.

OPEN-ENDED STRAIGHT
A straight draw that can hit both ways. With a J10 on the flop, a player holding KQ has an open-ended straight draw, hitting with an ace or a nine. See Inside straight.

OUTS
The total number of possibilities a player has to win a pot, based on the current situation. If he holds 99 and needs another 9 to win, then he would have a total of two outs.

OVER CARD
Pocket cards that have a value higher than the highest card currently on the board. An ace and a king are over cards to a 57J flop.

PASS
To fold your cards.

PLAYING THE BOARD
In Hold’em, this is when your best 5-card hand uses the 5 community cards, not your hole cards.

POCKET PAIR
Holding two equally valued cards like AA, KK, 77 or 22.

POSITION
A player's position in relation to the dealer's button. As the button moves, so does your position. These are defined as follows;

Position Description
Early First three seats left of (after) the button. The least desirable positions as these players must make their moves first.
Middle Seats 4 to 7 after the button.
Late Positions 8 and 9. Playing out of this position gives players an edge since they have already seen the other player's moves.
On the button This seat acts last and as such, has an even bigger edge than the late position.

POT
The money in the center of the table, being contested for by the players still remaining in the hand.

POT ODDS
The probability of winning the hand versus the size of the pot and the size of the bet. Helps you work out whether to call or fold.

PRE-FLOP
Bets made and called (action) before the flop is dealt.

PRIZE FUND OR PRIZE MONEY
A calculation of total tournament entrants multiplied by the entry stake gives the total amount in the prize fund.

QUADS
Four of a kind.

RAG
A low-value community card that will probably have no effect on the outcome of a hand.

RAINBOW
Where the flop comes down all different suits, so the odds of hitting a flush are much lower.

RAISE
To increase the previous bet.

RAKE
The amount of money the casino takes from the pot to make money from the poker game. In low-limit games, the casino usually rakes some percentage of the pot, usually a maximum of 10% of the pot. In higher limit games, the casino makes money either by charging players an hourly fee to play, or by collecting a fee each time a player holds the button.

RANK
The value of each card and hand.

RE-BUY
Enables a player to buy back into a tournament (normally the first hour) if they were to lose all their chips. This is only applicable to tournaments explicitly stated as a re-buy tournament.

RE-RAISE
When someone has already raised the bet, and you raise it further.

RING GAME
Single table game where all bets are made directly from a player's stack and not put into a prize pool and divided at the end as in a tournament. It's every hand for itself. Players can join and enter these games as they please. Sometimes referred to as a cash game.

RIVER
In Hold'em or Omaha, the fifth and final community card. Also sometimes called fifth street.

ROCK
A player known to be very conservative, who usually bets or raises only when he has a very powerful hand.

ROYAL FLUSH
An ace high straight (A-K-Q-J-10) of the same suit. The best possible hand in poker.

RUNNERS
The amount of players taking part in a tournament.

SATELLITE
A mini-tournament you play to qualify for a larger tournament.

SET
A pocket pair that connects with the board, making a three-of-a-kind.

SHARK
A player deemed to be a winner who grows his bankroll by feeding from “Fish.”

SHORT-STACKED
In tournaments, when your chip stack is quite small compared to other remaining players.

SHOWDOWN
All players still left in the pot after the final betting round show their cards to reveal the winner.

SIDE POT
A separate pot that comes into play when one or more players are all-in.

SIT & GO A single-table tournament, normally with 10 players.

SMALL BLIND
A bet that must be posted by the player seated to the left of the button. It is usually equal to one half of the smaller betting limit in a game, for example, in a $10-20 game, the small blind would be $5. Occasionally, the small blind is some other fraction of the big blind.

STACK THE POT
Winning the pot and adding it to your stack.

STARTING HAND
The two face-down cards dealt to each player at the start of a hand.

STARTING HAND VALUE
All starting hands have a value, based on how likely they are to win the pot. The best would be a pair of aces is the best, followed by K-K, Q-Q, A-K and so on.

STARTING STACK
The amount of chips each player begins with in a tournament.

STEAM
When players lose their tempers and start playing badly, they're steaming.

STREAK
To be "in the zone" and win with whatever cards you are dealt.

STRAIGHT
Five consecutive cards of any suit.

STRAIGHT FLUSH
Five consecutive cards of the same suit.

SUITED CONNECTORS
Two consecutive cards of the same suit, for example 9 and 10 of hearts.

SUITED HAND
Starting hand with matching suits – hearts, clubs, spades or diamonds.

TELLS
Behavioral patterns that provide subtle clues of a player’s moves and strategies.

TILT
To completely lose it and play like a madman. This is most common after a player has taken several bad beats.

TRAP
To lure other players to stay in and preferably raise a pot you are absolutely sure you are going to win.

TURN
The fourth community card that starts the third round of betting.

UNDER THE GUN
The first person to act in a betting round. Or, to put it another way, the first player left of the button still holding cards.

VARIANCE
The range of results you can expect over a given time period.

WHEEL
A straight including the cards ace to five.

HAND NICKNAMES

AA Pocket Rockets, Bullets, American Airlines
KK Cowboys, King Kong
QQ Double date, Canadian Aces, Siegfried and Roy
JJ Fish hooks
99 Wayne Gretzky
88 Snowmen
77 Sunset strip
66 Route 66
55 Speed limit
44 Magnum, Sail boat
33 Crabs
22 Ducks
AK Big slick
AQ Big chick
AJ Black Jack, Jack-ass
KQ Royalty, Marriage
KJ Kojak
J5 Jackson five
Q3 Gay waiter
95 Dolly Parton
A8 Dead man's hand
Back in 1876, a player named Wild Bill Hickock was shot after winning with it!
K9 Canine
J4 Flat tyre

CHAT

nh Nice hand
vnh Very nice hand
gg Good going
lol Laugh out loud
tu Thank you
wtf What the f***?
str8 Straight
wp Well played