Picture this: you’re sitting at a poker table, and a relentless wave of poker terminology is pouring out of your opponents. You have no idea what they’re talking about, and at this point, you’re too afraid to ask about the poker terms and phrases they’re using — not without the risk of looking like an absolute beginner.
At a certain point, you’ve had enough. You flip out your phone and load up this EnergyCasino catalogue of poker terminology. What ensues is a flamboyant display of sheer poker knowledge, baffling your opponents enough to clear their chip stacks and put a premature end to the poker game. If you want this scenario to happen, listen up.
Ace high: A hand that contains an ace, but which cannot form a combination.
Ace high straight: Refers to a straight whose highest card is an ace. A 10, jack, queen, king and ace would be an ace high straight.
Ace in the hole: Refers to an ace dealt face-down. Alternatively, used to refer to a hidden or potential advantage. For example, “Player A seemed like they had an ace in the hole on account their postflop raises.”
Ace-to-five / Ace-to-six low: Refers to a lowball poker variant where straights and flushes are considered the weakest hand combinations in the game. This variant is popular throughout the eastern region of the United States, the United Kingdom and some parts of the mid-west.
Act: Refers to the act of making a decision and playing.
Action: In the context of poker, refers to any available options of play, such as bet, call, raise, check and fold.
Action button: Refers to the poker mechanic where the button moves around the table and the other positions (such as the big blind and small blind positions) shift with it. This way, the betting order shifts from one round to the next, allowing players to act differently each time.
Action card: Refers to a card that is considered very important and that it might form a hand of multiple players at the table. For example, “The ace on the river is definitely an action card, especially with the king, queen and jack in the board texture.”
Acting out of turn: Refers to the mistaken action of playing outside your turn. This could either be done unintentionally — which is quite common in poker — or it might be done intentionally. Should the latter be the case, it would be a severely unethical action that might result in a ban should it keep happening.
Active players: Refers to the players who haven’t folded, that is, players who are still actively participating in the current street.
Aces up: Refers to a two pair, one of which is a pair of aces.
Add-on: A number of tournament chips added over and above the standard buy-in. Add-ons can be purchased during poker tournaments.
Advertising: Refers to the act of purposely going to the showdown with a relatively weak hand. This is done with the intention of having other players call your bets when you eventually play a better hand.
A-game: Refers to an optimum mindset and attitude to playing poker. For example, “He brought his A-Game and won the poker tournament.”
Aggressive, aggression: Refers to the act of raising and going all-in. A sign of aggression might either be a display of frustration or a sign that a player holds a very powerful hand.
Aggression factor: Refers to the ratio of how many aggressive actions (betting, raising and re-raising) are taken in comparison to passive ones (checking and calling).
Air: Refers to a very weak hand. For example, “Player A was bluffing in each street, but Player B read them and called. Player B ended up winning at the showdown, since Player A had air.”
Alias: Refers to a player’s online nickname.
All-in: The act of placing all the chips in the pot when raising. This option is chosen either when a player is very confident in their hand, or when they wish to bluff. If a player goes all-in and loses, they must either bring more chips to the table, or abandon the game altogether.
Angle: Used in the phrase ‘angle-shooting’, which refers to the unethical practice of deceiving a (usually inexperienced or weak) player for one’s own advantage.
Ante: Refers to the mandatory bets placed at the beginning of the betting round that are based on the blinds.
Ante off: Refers to the situation where, in certain poker variants, an absent player must continue paying antes and big blinds even though they are not participating in the round.
Any two: Used when referring to hole cards of unimportant value. For example, “If you know how to bluff, you can take the pot with any two cards.”
B&M: Refers to a brick and mortar casino, that is, a physical casino that conducts its operations inside a physical building — as opposed to online casinos.
Back-shove: Refers to the act of calling and going all-in once prompted to.
Backdoor: Refers to the moment when an additional two cards are needed in order to form a hand combination.
Backing: Refers to an arrangement between an investor and a poker player where the investor lends money to the latter in exchange for a percentage of the profits.
Backraise: When a poker player makes a raise after having called in the same betting round.
Bad beat jackpot: Refers to prize money paid when a player loses a hand despite being a likely winner. A minimum requirement is usually set in place, for example, the losing hand must be at least four-of-a-kind fives using both hole cards to claim the bad beat jackpot.
Bad beat story: Refers to the loss of a pot despite the player previously being considered the likely winner. This could occur when the player’s opponent hits a lucky card during the post-flop to give them an unexpected advantage. For example, “Player A suffered a bad beat against Player B after folding a flush to their big raise.”
Balanced style: Refers to a style of play where a player actively avoids behavioural patterns. This is done in order to remain unpredictable to opponents.
Bankroll: Refers to the budget at a player’s disposal used for playing poker or any other cash game.
Bankroll management: Concerns the strategic use of a player’s budget to avoid going bust. Bankroll management is a fundamental factor in every cash game, since it allows players a better longevity of playing if done well.
Barrel: When a player places a bet after having been responsible for making an aggressive action (raise or re-raise) as a previous bet.
Barn: Short for ‘full barn’, which refers to a full house.
Bay and a Gray: Refers to a bet made with a red $5 chip and a while $1 chip.
bb: Refers to the big blind.
Belly buster: Also known as a ‘gutshot’, the phrase refers to the outcome when a player holds five cards in sequential order, but with a missing card in the middle. For example, two, three, five, six — where the missing card is four.
Bet: When a player places the first wager in a betting round.
Bet odds: Refers to the pot odds after successfully tempting other players to call or raise.
Betting order: Refers to the sequence of turns during which players make their decision.
Bicycle: Also referred to as the ‘wheel’. The term refers to the ace to five straight.
Big bet: In the context of fixed-limit poker games, big bets are the larger of the two predetermined bet sizes.
Big blind: Refers to the position directly following the small blind. The big blind position pays the larger of the two mandatory bets preflop, however, the player in this position will be the first in the betting order.
Blank: Refers to a card of low importance that doesn’t have any bearing on the outcome of the round.
Blind: Used in the context of performing actions in a game of poker without looking at which cards are dealt. This is generally regarded as an unwise decision.
Blocker: Also known as ‘removal’, a blocker is when a player holds a card that is needed by another player to form a hand combination. For instance, if you have a 10 of hearts and a player needs that card to complete a straight flush, that is considered a blocker or a removal.
Blocking bet: Refers to a typically small bet placed with the hopes of deterring other players from placing a bet.
Blue chips: One of the higher-denomination chips, usually worth €10.
Bluff: When a player bets (usually a high amount) while having a bad hand, with the hope of getting their opponents to fold.
Bluff catch: When a player calls with a hand that can only win if their opponent is bluffing.
Board: In the context of Texas hold’em poker terminology, refers to community cards.
Board texture: In the context of Texas hold’em poker terminology, refers to community cards.
Bomb pot: When players agree to place an additional ante before the cards are dealt. This makes for a pot of higher stakes than usual.
Boss: The strongest hand during a round of betting.
Bottom pair: Refers to a pair formed with the lowest-value card on the board.
Bounty: A cash prize granted for knocking out a specific player in a poker tournament. A bounty is usually placed on professional players or other big names within the poker community.
Bring-in: In the context of Stud games, the bring-in is a mandatory bet based on card values. In Razz, the bring-in is paid by the player with the highest-value upcard. In Stud, the bring-in is paid by the player with the lowest-value up-card.
Brick: Refers to a card that doesn’t form any hand combinations.
Brick and mortar: Usually used in the context of a brick-and-mortar casino (or any other building) to specify the casino’s physical presence from where it conducts its operations.
Broadway: Refers to any of the following cards: ten, jack, queen, king and ace.
Bubble: Refers to the stage of a poker tournament when any of the players are about to win the prize pool.
Bull the game: Refers to the act of bluffing frequently.
Bum hunter: Refers to a poker play who singles out the table’s weakest player and exclusively challenges them, refraining from doing so against the remaining players.
Burn: In the context of live poker games or tournaments, dealers discard or “burn” the top card of the deck as a measure to avoid cheating.
Bust a player: Refers to the act of eliminating a player from a game or tournament by taking all of their chips. For example, “Player A busted Player A by going all-in at the showdown.”
Button: Also known as the dealer button, it refers to the position to the right of the small blind. The dealer button is considered the most advantageous position to be in since this player will act last in every betting round of the poker game.
Buy-in: Refers to the amount of money required in order to join a poker game or tournament.
By me: Another way to pass or check.
Call: Matching an existing wager made by another player in the same betting round.
Calling station: Used to describe a poker player who consistently calls and rarely raises, regardless of the strength of their hand.
Calling a bluff: When a player realises that someone is bluffing and makes the correct decision in spite of the bluff.
Cap: Refers to poker games where a limit is established on the maximum amount of chips that can be wagered postflop.
Card dead: Refers to a period of time where a player has no promising hands, which leads to frequent folds.
Card removal: Also known as blockers, card removal is when a player holds a card that is needed by another player to form a hand combination. For instance, if you have a 10 of hearts and a player needs that card to complete a straight flush, that is considered a removal or a blocker.
Case: Refers to the last card of a specific rank in the deck. For example, if there are three kings currently in play, the last king will be the case, should it be dealt.
Cash games: A cash game —also referred to as a ring game — can be any game that uses money as a medium for betting. The same is the case in poker, where wagered chips represent cash sums.
C-game: Refers to a poor mental state when playing poker.
Change gears: Refers to the act of altering a style of play. This is done in order to become unpredictable and to take other players by surprise.
Chance: Used to refer to the possibility of an outcome happening.
Check: Refers to the decision of passing the action to the next active player without placing a bet. If a bet has been placed, a check cannot be made. Instead, a player can choose to call the bet, re-raise or fold.
Check in the dark: When a player checks on the first betting round before the community cards are dealt.
Check-raise: When a player raises after having checked on the same round of betting.
Chinese poker: Refers to a variant of poker where points are distributed to the players’ hand combinations.
Chip and a chair: Refers to the concept that players can bounce back from an unfavourable situation and end up winning the prize money of a tournament.
Cinch hand: Refers to an unbeatable hand.
Coffeehousing: Refers to the situation when players discuss the hand in play with the intent of misleading each other about the hand they hold.
Coin flip: Refers to the situation where two players have a roughly equal chance of winning a hand. For example, “Both players could very well have a full house, so the showdown winner will be a coin flip.”
Colt 45: Refers to the hand of a four and a five.
Cold-call: When a call is made as the first move in the first round of betting.
Colour up: Refers to the practice of exchanging low-denomination chips for higher ones in order to scale down a large chip stack. This is usually done when a player has a large number of low-value chips.
Combination: Refers to a specific card combination.
Combo draw: Refers to a drawing hand that can form multiple combinations, such as a straight draw or a flush draw.
Come over the top: Refers to the act of raising or re-raising.
Community cards: Refers to the cards placed in the centre of the poker table, which players use to form hand combinations. Not all poker variants feature community cards.
Complete: In the context of Texas hold’em or Omaha, this term refers to calling in the small blind position. In Stud games, it refers to raising a small bet when playing the bring-in.
Connector: Refers to a hand featuring cards of sequential rank.
Cooler: When a hand is considered too strong to fold, yet it ends up losing out to an even stronger hand.
Counterfeit: When a strong hand ends up losing its value as a result of more community cards being dealt.
Cowboys: Refers to the second strongest hand in Texas hold’em: pocket kings.
Crack: When a strong hand gets beaten.
Crap shoot: Refers to a low-tier tournament featuring unskilled players playing loosely.
Cripple: Refers to a player losing most of their stack in a tournament. It could also refer to when a hand is so strong that it cannot be outdrawn by other hands.
Crossbook: Refers to a bet between players in the same tournament or cash game, where the losing player owes the winner a percentage of their own winnings (against the losing player’s winnings).
Crying call: Refers to the situation where, in the final round of betting, a player calls but isn’t confident about winning. This is considered a bad decision that is done as a consequence of curiosity, stubbornness or both.
Cutoff: Refers to the player seated directly to the right of the button.
Dark bet: A bet made before more community cards are dealt.
Dealer: The person responsible for dealing cards. In a casino setting, the dealer will most likely be a casino employee. The term could also refer to the player currently occupying the button position.
Dealer button: Also referred to as ‘the button’, it refers to the position to the right of the small blind. The dealer button is considered the most advantageous position to be in since this player will act last in every betting round of the poker game.
Dealer’s choice: When the dealer decides which of the several poker variants will be played at the start of a game. This often depends on the number of players.
Dead man’s hand: Refers to the last hand held by James Butler Hickok — better known as Wild Bill Hickok. The folk hero was holding two pairs; black aces and eights before his premature passing.
Dead money: The chips in a pot that have been contributed to by players who have since folded. For example, “Most of the pot consisted of dead money that was contributed to by Player A and Player B, both of whom have now folded.”
Deuce: Refers to a card with a rank of two.
Depolarised: Refers to a range of hands that are naturally strong on their own, regardless of the community cards dealt. On the other hand, polarised hands cover a range of hands that might be strong or weak, depending on their compatibility with the community cards.
Diamonds: Refers to one of the card suits.
Dirty stack: Refers to a badly organised chip stick. Chips must be grouped together in piles according to their value.
Discard: Refers to either folding or mucking.
Dog: Short for ‘underdog’: a player or hand that is less likely to win than its competitor.
Domination: Refers to a situation in which a hand is inferior in value to other hands.
Donk bet: Refers to a bet placed by a player who didn’t make an aggressive action in the previous betting round.
Door card: In Stud poker, the door card is the first upcard dealt to a player.
Double Belly Buster: Refers to a situation when a player has two inside straight draws by the same hand.
Double up: Refers to the doubling of a chip stack after betting all-in and winning.
Downcard: In Stud poker, downcards are cards that are dealt face down.
Downswing: Refers to a lengthy losing streak.
Doyle Brunson: Refers to the hand consisting of 10 and a two. This hand won Doyle Brunson the WSOP two years in a row.
Draw: Refers to a situation where more cards are needed to create a hand combination. For example, if a player has cards two through five and is waiting on a six, they have a straight draw.
Drawing dead: Refers to a situation in which a player has no shot at winning. For example, “Player A was drawing dead against better hands during the whole game.”
Dry: In the context of community card games, the term refers to a situation in which no hand combinations can be made.
Dry board: Refers to a board texture that doesn’t offer many possibilities of forming hand combinations.
Ducks: In the context of Texas hold’em, the term refers to pocket twos: the weakest pair in the game.
Early position: Refers to the first two or three seats of a poker table.
Eldest hand: Refers to the player to the dealer’s left.
Effective stack: When two players go head-to-head, the effective stack is the smallest of the two stacks. This chip stack is very important within the context of the encounter, since the player with the larger stack cannot bet more chips than their opponent has.
Entry fee: Refers to the price paid by poker players in exchange for participating in a tournament.
Equity: Refers to the probability of a hand winning at showdown, should it remain in play.
Equity calculator: Refers to a tool used to calculate the equity of a hand against others.
Etiquette: Refers to the unspoken understandings between poker players to create a fair and friendly atmosphere around the poker table. Although a lack of etiquette is not necessarily a punishable offence, it causes a loss of respect for the guilty player.
Eubie: Refers to the hand consisting of an eight and a six.
Expectation: Refers to the expected profit margin of a specific play in the long run.
Expected value: Refers to the expected profit margin of a specific play in the long run.
Face card: Refers to any of the cards imprinted with face artwork: jacks, queens and kings.
Family pot: Refers to a situation in which most players do not fold during the first betting round. For instance, a family pot in a six-player setting would see only one player folding.
Fastplay: Refers to a player placing a bet or raise while holding a strong poker hand such as a four of a kind or a full house.
Fifth street: In the context of Stud poker, the term refers to the third round of betting.
Fish: Refers to a weak player.
Fish hooks: Refers to pocket jacks.
Five-bet: Refers to the fifth bet of a sequence.
Flat: Used interchangeably with the term “call”. The term refers to the act of matching an existing wager made by another player in the same betting round.
Float: Refers to the act of calling a bet without having a strong hand, with the intention of bluffing at later streets.
Flop: In the context of community card games, the term refers to the second betting round. It also refers to the three community cards dealt face-up.
Flop games: Refers to a poker game that features community cards, such as Texas hold’em.
Flush: Refers to a hand combination of five cards of the same suit. A flush only loses out to a royal flush, a straight flush, four of a kind and a full house. However this hand wins against a straight, a three of a kind, two pair and a pair.
Flush draw: Refers to an incomplete hand that only needs one card to make a flush.
Fold: Refers to the act of discarding the hand. This prohibits the player from participating in the current and subsequent betting rounds.
Forced bet: Refers to the small blind and the big blind; both of which are mandatory in order to start the game.
Four-bet: Refers to the fourth bet of a sequence.
Fourth street: In the context of Stud poker, the fourth street refers to the second betting round — when players will have been dealt four cards.
Free card: Refers to a situation where all players check and see the next card without having placed a single bet during the betting round.
Freeroll: Refers to a hand that can, at most, chop but never lose.
Freeroll tournament: Poker tournaments that don’t require a buy-in.
Full barn: Refers to a full house.
Full boat: Refers to a full house — three cards of the same rank and two cards of another rank.
Full house: Refers to a hand combination consisting of three cards of the same rank and two cards of another rank.
Gap: Refers to a gap between cards of consecutive ranks, such as three, four, six and seven.
Grinding: Refers to the process of bagging stable wins throughout several poker games.
Gutshot: Also known as a ‘Belly Buster’ or ‘inside straight draw’, the phrase refers to the situation in which a player holds five cards in sequential order, but with a missing card in the middle position. For example, two, three, five, six — where the missing card is four.
Hand: Refers to the two cards dealt to a player.
Hand for hand: In the context of a multi-table tournament, the phrase refers to the rule that all tables must finish their current hand before the tournament can progress to the next one.
Hand rankings: Refers to the hierarchy of poker hand combinations.
Heads up: Refers to a stage in any betting round where only two active players remain.
Hero call: Refers to a call made with a speculative hand, where the player will be hoping that their opponent is bluffing.
High card: Refers to the higher-value card of a hand that doesn’t form a hand combination.
High hand: Refers to a poker hand that doesn’t form any hand combinations.
High roller: Refers to poker players that partake in high-stakes games or tournaments.
Hijack: Refers to the position two to the right of the button.
Hit: Refers to the moment when a card of high importance to a player is dealt.
Hit and run: In the context of cash games, it refers to a situation in which a player wins a sizeable sum and leaves the table shortly after.
Hold’em: Refers to one of the most popular poker variants.
House: Refers to the establishment — whether physical or online — that runs the game. The house usually takes a small percentage of the money played in cash games as a cost of service. Not to be confused with a ‘full house’, which refers to a hand combination.
Hyper turbo: Refers to a tournament with small starting chip stacks.
ICM: Stands for ‘Independent Chip Model’, which refers to the specific way how chip denominations are attributed monetary value.
Implied odds: Refers to a pot odds analysis of all the chips a player stands to win in later streets should they win the hand.
Inside straight draw: Also known as a ‘gutshot’, the phrase refers to the situation in which a player holds five cards in sequential order, but with a missing card in the middle position. For example, two, three, five, six, where the missing card is four.
Insurance: Refers to a wager placed among two players. If the player who placed it doesn’t win the hand, they’ll receive an insurance payout from the other player.
ITM: Stands for ‘in the money’, which refers to players who are set to win the prize money after having survived the bubble.
Jackpot: Refers to a large amount of money. In the context of poker, it refers to the bad beat jackpot.
Jam: Refers to the act of a player placing all their money in a bet — also known as going all-in.
Joker: Refers to an extra card sometimes added in poker games. The joker card substitutes for all the other cards necessary to form a hand combination. For instance, if a flush draw needs a king of hearts, the joker could substitute for that specific card.
Kicker: Refers to cards that don’t contribute to forming a winning combination, but they can still affect the strength of a hand. For instance, if two players both have a three of a kind, the value of the card that doesn’t contribute to the combination — that is, the kicker — will decide who wins.
LAG: Used to describe a player who plays several starting hands aggressively, that is, by raising and potentially even re-raising bets.
Last longer: Refers to a side bet wagered between multiple tournament players. Whoever lasts longer will win the bet.
Laydown: Refers to the act of folding a hand with a certain degree of reluctance. For example, “Player A, who had a straight, decided to lay it down when they saw the fourth community card make for a flush draw.”
Levelling: Refers to the act of adjusting a thought process to intercept our opponent’s thought process.
Leverage: Refers to the different levels of thought processes during poker play.
Limit: Usually used in reference to fixed-limit poker games, where bets and raises can only be done in predetermined fixed increments.
Limp: Used to describe the action of calling when there has been no raise during the first round of betting.
London lowball: Refers to a Stud poker variant played in the United Kingdom.
Lowball: Refers to a poker variant whose concept revolves around players getting the weakest hand possible.
Low hand: In the context of lowball poker variants, the phrase refers to the weakest hand on the table.
Maniac: Refers to a player whose gameplay is erratic.
Mark: Refers to the weak players at the table. Such players are often singled out by strong or more experienced players.
Mental game: Refers to the practice of refining one’s own attitude towards learning, improving and playing poker.
Middle position: In the context of poker tables with six players present, the phrase refers to the highjack, lojack and mp1.
Mid stakes: Refers to poker games or tournaments that demand a relatively affordable buy-in. A mid-stakes cash game will have a lower buy-in than high-stakes games and a higher buy-in for low-stakes games.
Misclick: Refers to the action of clicking the cursor on a mistaken icon.
Monotone: Refers to a board or hand structure where all cards are of the same suit.
Monster: Refers to an exceptionally strong poker hand.
Muck: Refers to the action of returning a losing hand to the dealer at showdown without allowing other players to see what the hand is.
Must move: Refers to the situation where the main table is full, and players will therefore play at a substitute table until a position at the main table frees up.
NL: An abbreviation of no-limit poker.
Nash equilibrium: Refers to the situation in which each poker player cannot improve their winrate any further through their current strategies.
Nit: Also referred to as ‘playing too tight’. The term refers to a player who doesn’t take risks and waits for a very strong poker hand to come along.
Nosebleed: Refers to a high-stakes situation in poker.
No-limit: Refers to a no-limit betting structure where players can bet or raise any amount, as long as their chip stack permits. This is one of the most entertaining form of cash games played, since players have no restriction on the amount they wish to bet.
Nut-low: In the context of lowball poker, the phrase refers to the best possible hand.
Nut flush: In the context of poker, this phrase refers to a flush that is the best possible hand on the table. Nut flush can also be used to describe an ace high flush.
Nuts: Refers to an extremely strong poker hand that cannot get beaten by other hands. Also referred to as ‘stone-cold nuts’.
Offsuit: Refers to a starting hand that isn’t of the same suit.
Omaha: Refers to a poker community card game, where each player is dealt four hole cards in the first betting round.
One-gap: Refers to two cards that need another card in the middle to form a sequence. For example, a five and a six are described as ‘one gapper’.
Open-ended straight draw: Refers to a straight draw that requires one or two cards outside of the sequence to form a hand combination. For example, an open-ended straight draw could look like a three, four, five and six; where a two or a seven would form a straight.
Open-raise: Refers to the action of making the first raise during the first round of betting.
OOP: Means ‘out of position’. It refers to the action of betting first during each round of betting.
OMC: Means ‘old man coffee’. It refers to a specific strategy incorporated when an older poker player is encountered.
Online poker: Refers to games of poker played on online devices including desktops and mobile devices.
Out: Refers to a card that, should it fall, would give a player a strong hand.
Overbet: Refers to the action of making a bet larger than the contents of the pot.
Overcall: Also referred to as ‘to call behind’. The term refers to the action of calling when another player has already called in the same street.
Overcard: Refers to a card that is either higher than those on the board or higher than a player’s pocket cards. For example, if a player holds a pocket pair of tens and an ace appears on the turn, the ace is considered an overcard to their pair.
Overlay: Refers to the situation in which a poker tournament falls short of money to award prizes using the buy-in fees alone, thus opting to bring in money from the house.
Overlimp: Refers to a limp during the first betting round after another player has already limped.
Overpair: In the context of community card games, the term refers to a pair of hole cards higher than the highest-value card on the board.
Pair: Refers to a hand combination of two cards of the same rank.
Play the board: Refers to a situation where a hand combination is made exclusively through community cards. Could also refer to situations where players act on the community cards (or upcards in Stud poker) regardless of what their hand consists of.
Paint: Refers to the cards between jack and ace. Also referred to as ‘broadways’ or ‘face cards’.
Pocket cards: Refers to the player’s hole cards.
Pocket rockets: In the context of Texas hold’em, the phrase refers to pocket aces, that is, two aces in the same hand.
Pocket pair: Refers to a situation where both the pocket cards are of the same rank.
Position: Refers to the specific location where a player is located on the poker table. The phrase ‘in position’ refers to the position where a player acts last during a round of betting. This is generally regarded as the most favourable position to be in, as opposed to being ‘out of position’, which refers to players who must act first.
Post: Refers to the act of placing blinds. For example, “The first player posted the big blind, wheras the second player posted the small blind.”
Postflop: In the context of community card games, the term refers to the action unfolding after the second betting round.
Pot: Refers to the sum of chips currently wagered. The winner of the hand wins the entire pot. Should the hands chop, the pot will be divided among the remaining players.
Pot committed: Refers to the situation in which a player has already invested a considerable number of chips in the pot, which means that folding at this point would generally be considered a mistake.
Pot odds: Usually expressed as a ratio or a percentage, the phrase refers to how much a player could potentially win in comparison to the risks entailed.
Pot limit: Refers to a betting structure where players are limited to a predetermined maximum bet or raise. The poker variant called Omaha, for example, features such a betting structure.
Preflop: In the context of community card games, the term refers to the first betting round.
PRF: Stands for ‘preflop raiser’, which refers to the probability that a player raises preflop.
Price: Refers to the cost of a call or bet.
Probe: Refers to a usually small bet placed in order to gather information about opponents’ hands.
Prop player: Refers to a player paid by the establishment to play poker through the use of their own money.
Protection: Refers to a bet or raise with a made hand in the hopes of making opponents fold.
Polarised: Refers to a range of hands that could be both strong or weak, depending on the community cards dealt.
Quadruplets: Refers to a four of a kind.
Quads: Another term for a four of a kind in poker.
Qualify: In the context of split-pot games, the term refers to the fact that a low hand must ‘qualify’ in order to count.
Quart: Refers to a four-card straight flush.
Quartered: In the context of Omaha and Hi-Lo variants, the term refers to the act of dividing half a pot between two tying hands.
Quint major: Refers to a royal straight flush — the best hand in the game.
Quitting time: Refers to an agreed-upon time to end a game. This is usually used in informal settings such as games between friends.
Rabbit hunt: Refers to the option where folded players could see whether they would have made the hand postflop. This has no bearing on the outcome of a hand.
Ragged: Refers to a flop with little to no potential of forming hands, that is, an unconnected combination of cards that are very unlikely to form a hand.
Rainbow: Refers to a board texture that constitutes cards of different suits.
Railbird: Refers to a person overlooking a game of poker with the intent of joining in on the action.
Raise: Refers to the action of increasing the size of a wager placed by another player in the same street. For example, if Player A bets €10, Player B could raise to €20 — thus increasing the size of the street’s current wager by €10.
Rake: Refers to the amount withdrawn from each pot in order to fund the running of the game.
Rakeback: Refers to the act of providing the rake back to players as a reward. Rakebacks usually occur within VIP settings.
Range: Refers to the possible cards a player might hold.
Range advantage: Refers to the situation where a player has a better range of strong cards than their opponent.
Rank: Refers to the card’s value. For example, five, seven and jacks are card ranks.
Rap: Another term for ‘tap’, which refers to the action of tapping the table twice as a sign of wanting to check.
Ratholing: Refers to the act of cashing out from a cash game and buying-in once again with a smaller chip stack.
Razz: Refers to the lowball poker variant of seven-card Stud.
Read: Refers to the act of having a good guess of which cards an opponent has. An alternative term for the same concept is ‘tell’.
Rebuy: In the context of cash games — and tournaments, to a less frequent extent — it refers to the action of purchasing additional chips.
Redraw: Refers to the situation where a drawing hand completes, but there is a possibility that a better hand can be formed, thus essentially making for yet another draw. For example, if a player’s hand consists of an ace of hearts and a king of diamonds, while the turn is an ace of diamonds, an ace of spades, a six of diamonds and a seven of diamonds, the player has a three of a kind complete, but has a redraw to the diamond flush.
Regular: Refers to a poker player who regularly plays a certain game.
Remaining players: Refers to the active players who haven’t yet folded during a certain betting round.
Represent: Refers to the action of a player giving off the idea they hold a certain hand, when in reality, this is not the case. This is a somewhat advanced technique used by experienced players of the game.
Reverse implied odds: Refers to a pot odds analysis of all the chips a player stands to lose in later streets should they the draw complete.
Re-raise: Refers to the action of raising when another player has already raised in the same street.
Ring game: A substitute term for ‘cash game’, that is, a game that uses a form of money for betting.
River: Refers to the final betting round in poker variants such as Texas hold’em, Omaha and Stud games.
River card: Refers to the final card dealt in community card variants such as Texas hold’em. The river card marks the beginning of the last round of betting.
River rat: Used in reference to a player who tends to get lucky with the river cards and eventually wins the pot.
Rock: Refers to a tight poker player, that is, one who folds almost all their hands unless they are extremely strong.
Rolled up: In the context of Stud poker, the phrase refers to the situation when a three of a kind is dealt on the third street.
Royal flush: Refers to the best hand possible; the ten, jack, queen, king and ace of the same suit. This hand can only chop to another royal flush, but it can never lose.
Run: Refers to the overall performance of a player. ‘Running good’ refers to a streak of lucky or positive performances, whereas ‘running bad’ refers to an unlucky patch.
Rundown: In the context of Omaha variants, the term is used to refer to connected starting hands.
Running good: Refers to a winning streak.
Run it twice: Refers to the situation in which all the remaining players go all-in and the final cards — both the turn and river cards — are dealt twice. This is done as a measure to reduce variance. Poker players could possibly agree to run it three or four times as well.
Runner runner: Refers to the situation when a player makes a hand after two consecutive running cards are dealt.
Sandbagging: Another term for ‘slow playing’, which refers to the act of making passive decisions, such as checking or calling, on a potentially strong hand.
Satellite: Refers to a tournament whose prize awards a ticket to another tournament.
Scare card: Refers to a card that might spook an opponent into folding.
Semi-bluff: Refers to a bluff made with a drawing hand that could potentially complete in future streets. For example, a semi-bluff would be a bluff made while holding a flush draw before the turn, where both the turn and river could complete the flush.
Set: Refers to a three of a kind made with a pocket pair as hole cards.
Set over set: Refers to the situation in which two players make a set simultaneously. Another phrase used in such a situation is an ‘unlucky cooler’ since neither player should generally fold in such a case.
Sequence: Refers to the order of the cards. For example, a sequential rank would look like this: three, four and five. Five cards in sequence are called a straight in poker.
Short handed: Refers to a poker table consisting of six players or less.
Short stack: Refers to a player whose chip stack is relatively small.
Shove: Refers to the act of going all-in.
Showdown: Refers to the moment in the final betting round when players reveal their hand and the winner is decided.
Show hand: Refers to the act of revealing a hand. This usually happens during the showdown.
Sick: Depending on the context in which the term is used, ‘sick’ might mean ‘fantastic’ or it might also mean ‘unlucky’.
Sit and go: Refers to a type of tournament that immediately begins as soon as a predetermined amount of spots have been filled.
Sizing: Refers to the practice of tailoring the size of a bet. This is a very fundamental part of betting, especially in high-stakes games and tournaments.
Slowplay: Refers to the act of playing a strong hand passively in order to trick opponents into thinking that the hand is weak or not promising. Should an opponent end up bluffing in later streets, the player slowplaying the strong hand would have a substantial advantage.
Slowroll: Refers to the act of taking a long time to make a decision.
Solver: Refers to a theory that looks to predict the best moves of a hand.
Small bet: In the context of fixed-limit poker tables, the phrase is used to address the smaller of the two bets.
Small blind: Refers to the position to the left of the button — not to be confused with the big blind. It also refers to the mandatory bet that someone in this position must make.
Snap call: Refers to the act of calling without a moment’s hesitation.
Splash the pot: Refers to the unethical act of disorderly placing chips in a pot. In most settings, it is considered good etiquette to place chips in neat piles to facilitate the dealer’s counting.
Split: Refers to a poker variant where the pot is split and awarded to two hands. In hi/low variants, half the pot is awarded to the high hand while the rest is awarded to the best low hand.
Split pot: Refers to a pot split between multiple players in the event that a hand ties or when a split pot poker variant is being played.
Spread limit: Commonly refers to an in-between version of fixed-limit and no-limit poker, where betting sizes are predetermined but there is still leeway for choice.
Squeeze: Refers to a raise made in a street where multiple bets and calls have been made.
SRP: In the context of poker, it stands for ‘single raised pot’, which refers to pots where only one raise has been made during the first betting round.
Stab: Refers to a bet made upon recognising a potentially weak hand. For instance, if Player A checks, Player B might opt to ‘stab’ and place a bet, assuming that Player A isn’t slowplaying a strong hand.
Stack to pot ratio (SPR): Refers to the number of chips currently in the pot in relation to the players’ remaining stacks. For example, a €100 pot and €500 in player stacks would make the SPR amount to 5.
Staking: Refers to the practice of lending money to a poker player and receiving some in return, depending on the profits made.
Stand pat: In the context of draw games, to ‘stand pat’ refers to the act of declining additional cards and sticking to the ones dealt initially.
Steam: Refers to an emotional state in which players appear frustrated, mostly owing to an unlucky streak or an unfavourable event. This is also referred to as ’tilted’.
Stealing: Refers to an attempt to win the pot during the first round of betting. The term refers especially to the player that raises first.
Steel Wheel: Refers to the ace to five straight flush. In the context of hi/lo variants, the Steel Wheel is exceptionally valuable since it could take win both the high and low pot if played to its potential.
Stop and go: Refers to the situation when a player bets on the flop, checks the turn and fires the river.
Straddle: Refers to an optional blind bet. This is made when no cards have yet been dealt.
Straight: Refers to a hand combination consisting of five cards in consecutive rank. For example, a six, seven, eight, nine and 10 would make a straight.
Straight flush: Refers to a hand combination consisting of five cards in consecutive rank, but also of the same suit. For example, a six, seven, eight, nine and 10 of diamonds would make a straight flush.
Street poker: Refers to an agreement made between two players where wide ranges must be played aggressively.
String bet: Refers to the act of calling or even raising after a bet has been made.
Structure: Refers to the rundown of features and rules of a tournament, including details about no-limit or fixed-limit bets, antes and more. The term could also refer to the constituents of a hand.
Stud: Refers to a poker variant that doesn’t feature community cards. Instead, additional cards are dealt face up and face down.
Suck out: Refers to a situation where a player catches a card to complement an otherwise-weak hand, and later goes on to win the pot.
Suited: Refers to pocket cards of the same suit.
Table stakes: Refers to a rule that prohibits players from spending more than the chips they initially brought to the table.
TAG: Stands for ‘tight aggressive’ and refers to a player who enters the pot and plays aggressively in later betting rounds.
Tank: Refers to the act of taking some time to think before playing.
Tell: Refers to the act of having a good guess of which cards an opponent has. An alternative term for the same concept is ‘read’.
Texture: Refers to the cards dealt on the table, from the flop through to the river.
Three-bet: Refers to the third bet in a sequence.
Three of a kind: Refers to a hand combination consisting of three hands of the same rank. For example, a three of diamonds, a three of hearts and a three of spades makes a three of a kind.
Three pair: In the context of Omaha variants, the phrase refers to the situation where three of the hole cards are paired.
Tie: Refers to the situation when two hands are completely equal in strength. In this case, the pot is shared between the players.
Tilt: Refers to an emotional state in which players appear frustrated, mostly owing to an unlucky streak or an unfavourable event. This is also referred to as ‘steam’.
Time bank: Refers to optional extra time available for players to ponder their next decision.
Tournament: Refers to a format where players play poker until their chips run out and the last person standing wins. In a multi-table tournament, winners of a table go on to play other winners. The World Series of Poker held in Las Vegas is one such example.
Tracking software: Refers to software whose purpose is to track poker results and possibly other statistics.
Trap: Also known as ‘slow-playing’, which refers to the act of passively playing a strong hand in order to get opponents to bluff.
Trey: Refers to the rank ‘three’.
Trips: Refers to a three of a kind that doesn’t feature the pocket cards.
Turn: In the context of Texas hold’em and Omaha, the term refers to the third betting round. It also refers to the fourth community card dealt.
Two-bet: Refers to the second bet in a sequence.
Two pair: Refers to a hand combination that includes two cards of the same rank. For example, two kings and two fives make a two pair.
Two-tone: Refers to a board texture where only two different suits are featured.
Under the gun: Refers to the first player to act during the first betting round.
Underbet: Refers to any bet worth less than 50% of the pot’s value.
Underdog: Refers to a hand or player that is considered less likely to win.
Upcard: The term refers to any cards dealt face-up, thus being visible to all the players at the table.
Upswing: Refers to a winning streak.
Up the ante: Refers to the act placing more chips in the put, that is, sweetening the pot and upping the stakes.
Value bet: Refers to the act of placing a bet with the hopes of being called by weaker hands. This is generally made when holding a strong hand, which means that the phrase shouldn’t be confused with ‘bluffing’.
Variance: Refers to the random element of a poker player’s successes and failures.
Variant: Refers to another branch of poker that includes a diverging set of rules.
Villain: Refers to the player’s opponent.
VPIP: Refers to the overall percentage of how often a player contributes to the pot preflop. A high VPIP indicates a loose player — one who rarely flops and always places chips in the pot.
Vulnerable: Refers to hands that are susceptible to failure at the hands of others.
Whale: Refers to a relatively bad poker play who participates in high-stakes games or tournaments.
Wet: Refers to a board texture that is prone to be very compatible with players’ hands, thus making for many possible hand combinations.
Wheel: Refers to the ace to five straight.
Wired: In the context of Stud poker, the term refers to a pair as hole cards during the third betting round.
Wrap: In the context of Omaha variants, the term refers to a long straight draw.
Wrap around straight: Refers to a straight in which the ace lies in the middle position, for example, a queen, king, ace, two and three. However, this hand isn’t allowed in most games and tournaments.
WSOP: Refers to the World Series of Poker — one of the biggest tournaments within the poker scene with a prize pool of several millions of dollars. The World Series of Poker is further subdivided into several series of tournaments that are held annually in Las Vegas.
WTSD: Acronym for ‘went to showdown’. This refers to the number of times players see their hands through to the showdown.
WWSF: Acronym for ‘when we saw flop’, which refers to the number of times players end up winning the hand post flop.
Yard: Refers to $100.
Yeast: Used when raising. For example, “Player A decided to give it a little yeast.”
Z-Game: Refers to the lowest-stake game offered by the house or establishment.
Zip: Refers to a very weak hand, usually one only worth folding.
Zombie: Refers to a player who doesn’t allow others to read their emotions.
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