Glossary of Poker Terms

ACES UP/OVER – Two pair, one of which is a pair of Aces.
ACTION – Betting activity.
ACTIVE PLAYER – A player who is still in the pot.
ALL BLUE,GREEN,PURPLE,etc. – Colorful names for a flush.
ALL-IN – To bet all the money you have on the table.
ANTE – A small bet all players are required to make before a hand is dealt.
BABY – Any of the four non-aces needed for the lowest possible hand (2,3,4,5).
BACK DOOR – Player makes a late hand that he wasn’t originally drawing to.
BACK RAISE – A re-raise.
BACK TO BACK – Two of the same cards in a row, i.e., two aces, two hearts etc.
BAD BEAT – A usually unbeatable hand that is defeated by an even better hand.
BANKER – The player who takes care of the game’s chips and money matters.
BANKROLL – Current total gambling funds available. Not to be confused with a player’s stake in a particular game.
BARN – Short for a Full Barn which is slang for a Full House.
BELLY BUSTER – An inside straight draw. Same as a Gutshot.
BET – To put money into the pot in accordance with the rules of the game.
BET FOR VALUE – Betting a completed or partial hand that, in the long run, is expected to win more than it loses.
BETTING ROUND – All the bets to follow each time to bet.
BICYCLE – The best possible low hand: A-2-3-4-5. Also called a Wheel.
BIG BLIND – An early forced bet, usually a raise of an earlier blind which would be called the Small Blind.
BIG BOBTAIL – An open-ended 4-card straight flush.
BIG SLICK – In Texas Hold’em, hole cards of A-K, suited or not.
BLANK – A card that does not add value to a hand (Bad Draw).
BLIND – A forced bet to open the pot, usually in lieu of an ante.
BLUFF – A bet or raise made with a poor hand to entice the competition to fold.
BOARD – The exposed cards in Hold’em and stud.
BOAT – Short for a Full Boat which is slang for a Full House.
BOBTAIL STRAIGHT – Same as an Open End Straight. Four cards to a straight in denomination sequence.
BR – Short for bankroll.
BRING-IN BET – A small bet that is forced, by game rules, to start the betting procedure.
BROADWAY – An Ace high straight.
BUBBLE – The highest non-paying, or out of the money, position in a tournament, ie: fourth place in a tournament that pays first, second and third.
BUG – A wild card Joker.
BULLET[S] – Ace[s]. Bull(s) for short.
BUMP – Slang for Raise.
BURN – To discard the top card of the deck prior to dealing.
BUST / BUSTED – For a player to lose all his/her money on the table.
BUTTON – A distinctive token placed in front of the player sitting in the theoretical dealer’s position, when a house dealer is used. The button rotates around the table so that every player has an opportunity to be the last to act.
BUY-IN – The amount of money used to join a game.
CALL – To put in to the pot the minimum amount of money necessary to continue playing.
CALLER – One who makes a call bet.
CALLING STATION – An passive player that frequently just checks or calls most bets.
CAP – To cap the betting is to make the last permitted raise in a round.
CARDS SPEAK – The final hand values are determined by the face up cards and not what the hand holder declares.
CASE CARD – The fourth and last card of a particular rank to become available.
CHANGE GEARS – Changing your style of play.
CHASE – To continue in a hand, often at poor odds against the competition.
CHECK. – The word casino employees use for a “chip”.
CHECK. – To bet zero, when it is legal to do so. Frequently a sign of only a fair hand.
CHECK RAISE – To check initially, then raise a bet made later on in the same betting round.
CHIP – A round token used in place of cash at a gaming table.
COME HAND – . A hand that is not yet made, such as four cards to a flush.
COLD CALL – When a player with nothing invested in the pot except an ante, calls a raise and a re-raise as his first bet.
COMMUNITY CARDS – Cards that are available for every player to use in making a hand. Usually dealt face up somewhere in the middle of the table.
CONCEALED PAIR – Both of the pair cards are face down.
COURT CARD – A jack, queen or king.
COWBOY – A king.
CUT THE DECK -To divide the deck, fairly evenly, into 2 stacks.
CRYING CALL – To complain when making a call. Sometimes a tactic to keep players in the hand.
DARK BET – To bet without looking at your hand.
DEAD HAND – A hand that has been fouled or has too many or too few cards.
DEAD MAN’S HAND – Two pair, aces and eights. The hand Wild Bill Hickok was holding when he was shot to death.
DEALER’S CHOICE – In home games, a rule that permits the dealer to name which poker game to be played that hand.
DEUCE – A two.
DOOR CARD – A player’s first upcard in stud games.
DOUBLE BELLY BUSTER – A two-way inside straight. ie:, 3-5-6-7-9. Also called a Double Gutshot.
DOUBLE -POP – When the second player re-raises a raise.
DOWN TO THE GREEN – When a player has gone all in.
DRAW – To discard some number of cards and have dealt an equal number of replacements.
DRAWING DEAD – Drawing to a hand that can not possibly win.
DRAW OUT – To catch a card that improves your situation from a losing hand to a winning hand.
EARLY POSITION – Being one of the first players to act in a betting round.
EXPOSED PAIR – An exposed pair, as opposed to a split pair or a hidden pair.
FACE CARD – A jack, queen or king.
FILL – To draw a card that makes a five-card hand (straight, flush, full house, straight flush).
FILL UP – To fill a Full House.
FISH – A player who loses money. An old saying is “If you can’t spot the fish at the table, *you* are the fish.”
FLAT CALL – To call a bet. Emphasizes that the caller did not raise.
FLAT LIMIT – A variant of fixed limit where all bets are the same amount.
FLOORMAN – The casino representative in charge of the card room or a section of a card room.
FLOP – In Hold’em, the first three community cards, dealt simultaneously.
FLUSH – A poker hand consisting of five cards all one suit.
FOLD – To decline to call a bet, thus dropping out of a hand.
FORCED BET – In some stud games a player may be required to make a bet to start the action on the first card.
FOUR FLUSH – Four cards to a Flush.
FREE CARD – A card dealt after all players checked in a betting round.
FREEROLL – Having a lock on part of a pot. A money tournament with no entry fee.
FREEZE-OUT – A table-stakes game that continues until a small number of players (possibly only one) has all the money.
FULL BARN – Slang for Full House.
FULL BOAT – Slang for Full House.
FULL HOUSE – A hand consisting of 3-of-a-kind and a pair.
FULL RING – A table with the maximum number of players.
GRIFTER – A cheat
GUT SHOT – A draw to an inside Straight, as in 2-3-4-6.
HEAD(S) UP – Playing a single opponent.
HELP CARD – One that improves one’s hand.
HIGH-LOW SPLIT – Forms of poker in which the pot is split between the best hand and best lowball hand.
HOLE CARDS – In stud and Hold’em, the face-down cards dealt to each player.
HOOK – A Jack. Short for J-hook.
HOUSE CUT – Generic term for how the house profits from hosting the game.
IGNORANT END – The lower end of a straight in a game that has community cards.
IMPLIED ODDS – A refinement to Pot Odds which includes money not yet, but expected to be in the pot.
INSIDE STRAIGHT – Four cards to a straight, where only one rank will complete the hand. ( 4-5-6-8.)
JACKS OR BETTER – Draw poker in which a pair of jacks is the minimum hand permitted to start the action.
JAKE – A Jack
J HOOK – A Jack
JAM – A pot where several players are raising.
JOKER – A 53rd card in the deck, distinct from the others, used as a wild card or as a Bug.
K-BOY – A King. Variation of Cowboy.
KICKER – A single high card usually held with a pair of another denomination in draw poker.
KICKER – The highest side card that is not part of the basic final hand.
LADY – A Queen.
LATE POSITION – For a particular betting round, a player who does not have to act until most of the other players have acted.
LAY ODDS – To give favorable odds to an opponent.
LEAK – To show one’s hole cards (often unknowingly).
LID – The top card of the deck.
LIMIT POKER – A poker game wherein the amount to be bet is fixed, or at most variable within a prescribed minimum and maximum.
LIMP IN – To call along as cheaply as possible.
LINER – A face card. (Because you can see a line when the card is face down and the lower right corner is lifted).
LIVE CARD – In stud, a card that has not been exposed.
LIVE BLIND – The last and largest blind bet may or may not be Live. If Live, the blind bettor has the option of “raising” his own blind in the event the bet is called around to him.
LIVE ONE – The best kind of opponent, a poor player with a lot of money to lose and in a hurry to lose it.
LOCK – A hand that cannot be beaten. Also called the NUT.
LOOSE – Playing more hands than the norm.
LOWBALL – Generic term for poker where the lowest hand wins.
MAIN POT – The main pot, as related to one or more side pots, when there are one or more all-in player(s). The main pot is the one in which all active players participate.
MANIAC – A player who bets, raises and reraises without much regard to the quality of his hand.
MARKED CARDS – Cards that have been (illegally) altered so that their value can be read from the back.
MECHANIC – A cheat who can manipulate the cards to deal himself or another player agood hand.
MIDDLE POSITION – Betting positions approximately halfway around the table from the first player to act.
MISDEAL – A hand dealt incorrectly that must be re-dealt.
MITES AND LICE – A hand consisting of two pair, threes over twos.
MUCK – A collection of face-down cards near the dealer composed of discards and burn cards.
MUCK – To throw one’s cards into the muck, thus folding.
NICKEL – Five dollars, usually represented by a red casino check.
NO-LIMIT POKER – A game where there is no maximum bet; a player can wager any amount (perhaps above some minimum) up to whatever money is on the table in front of him.
NUT – The best possible hand or the best possible of a given class. The “nut flush” is the highest possible flush.
NUT PLAYER – A very tight player who plays only the best hands.
OFFSUIT – Not of the same suit.
ON THE COME – A situation where the player does not yet have a complete hand.
ON TILT – Playing worse (usually, more aggressively) than usual because a player has become emotionally upset.
OPEN – Take the first bet in a hand, especially in draw poker.
OPEN-ENDED STRAIGHT – Four cards to a straight in denomination sequence (5,6,7,8).
OPENER – The player who starts the betting, usually in draw poker.
OPENERS – Cards in a hand that qualify a player to open the betting.
OPEN-HANDED – A category of games characterized by a part of each player’s hand being exposed.
OPEN PAIR – An exposed pair.
OUT – A card that will improve your hand, often substantially.
OVERCALL – To call a bet after one or more players already called.
OVERPAIR – In Hold’em, a pair in the hole that is larger than any community card on the board.
PAINT / PICTURE – Slang names for a face card.
PAIR – Two cards of the same rank.
PASS – Opposite of bet. To check, if checked to. To fold, if bet to.
PAT HAND – Holding or being dealt a complete hand.
PAY OFF – Calling a bet with little expectation of winning, unless the opponent is bluffing.
PAY STATION – A player who rarely folds, thus who frequently calls better hands and loses.
PICKED OFF – To get called when you are bluffing.
PIGEON – An easy player.
POCKET – Starting hole cards in stud and Hold’em.
POCKET ROCKETS – A pair of aces in the hole.
POSITION – One’s location in the betting sequence, relative to the players still in the hand.
POT – The total amount of money bet so far in a hand.
POT LIMIT – A game where the maximum bet is determined by the size of the pot at the time.
POT ODDS – The amount of money in the pot divided by the amount of money you must bet in order to call.
PREMIUM HANDS – The best possible hands.
PROPOSITION PLAYER /PROP – An employee of the gaming establishment whose primary purpose is just to play and help keep enough players at a table. The prop player does not participate in wins or losses.
PUCK – A token denoting the dealer position. See Button.
PUPPY FEET/ PUPS – Club flush or just the suit of Clubs.
QUADS – Four of a kind.
QUALIFIER – A minimum standard that a hand must meet in order to win. Usually applied to the lowball side of a high-low split pot.
QUARTERED – To divide half a pot between two tying hands in split pot games.
RAGS – Board cards that are small to medium, not suited and not in sequence.
RAIL – A barrier dividing the card playing area from a public area.
RAILBIRD – A spectator behind the rail.
RAINBOW – Small groups of cards with no two in the same suit.
RAISE – To wager more than the minimum required to call, forcing other players to put in more money as well.
RAISER – One who raises.
RAKE – The usually small percentage of money taken from each pot and given to the house in return for hosting the game.
RAT-HOLE – To take money or chips off the table during play.
READ – To determine whether an opponent has a good, medium or bad hand by observing his personal behavior. REPRESENT – Implying, by one’s betting style, that one has a particular hand.
RERAISE – To raise after an opponent has raised.
RIBBON CLERK – A small time gambler.
RING GAME – A standard game where players can come and go as they choose.
RIVER – The last card dealt in a hand of stud or Hold’em.
Rock – A very tight, solid poker player
ROLLED UP – In seven-card stud, being dealt three of a kind in the first three cards.
ROYAL FLUSH – An ace-high straight flush, the best possible hand in regular poker.
RUNNER-RUNNER – A hand made using both of the last two cards dealt.
RUSH – A winning streak.
SANDBAG -. Playing a strong hand as if it were only a fair one.
SCOOP – To win all of the pot in a split pot game.
SEE – To call a bet, as in: “I’ll see you”.
SEMI-BLUFF – To bluff with a come hand that figures to win if it hits.
SET – Trips or Quads. In Holdem, a pair in your hand with one (or two) on the board.
SHARK -. A good/crafty player often posing as a fish early in the game.
SHILL – An employee of the gaming establishment whose primary purpose is just to play and help keep enough players at a table. A shill is staked to the game by the house as his compensation.
SHORT CALL – Call a bet with not enough money on the table and start an all-in side pot.
SHORT-STACKED -. Playing with a only a small amount of money.
SHOWDOWN – The point at the end of the hand where all active players reveal their cards and the pot is awarded to the winner(s).
SIDE POT -. When an active player runs out of money during the course of a hand, the remaining players participate in a second or Side Pot for the rest of the hand. Additional side pots are possible if several players run out of money at different points in a hand.
SLOWPLAY – To play a hand unaggressively and risking as little as possible.
SMALL BLIND – In games with two blinds the first blind is the Small Blind because it is usually one-half (or less) the amount of the big bland.
SNAPPED OFF – To get a good hand beat.
SOLID PLAYER – A strong, all around player.
SPLIT OPENERS – In draw poker, to discard one or more openers, usually to draw to a straight or flush.
SPLIT PAIR – A pair in Stud with one card up and the other down.
SPLIT POT – A pot that is split between two or more hands.
SPREAD – For a casino to offer a particular game.
STACK – The amount of money (the stack of chips) a player has on the table.
STACKED DECK – A deck that has been arranged to give one player a huge advantage.
STAKE – The amount of a player’s BUY-IN, or the amount of money they are willing to play with in a given session.
STAND OFF – To call a raise. “Opener raises, I stand off”.
STEAL – To win the pot by bluffing.
STEAL POSITION – The next to last or last position.
STEAM – Playing wildly, calling and raising a lot.
STRADDLE – In Hold’em, a raise to the big blind before the deal.
STREETS – Fourth Street, Fifth Street etc. In stud, the fourth card dealt to a player, the fifth card etc.
STRING BET – An unethical and often illegal means of raising whereby a player puts a call-size stack of chips into the pot and, after observing the reactions of the players, then goes back to his stack and puts out more.
STUCK -. A significant amount of money lost.
STUD -. Any of several poker games in which some of each players’ cards are exposed.
SUICIDE KING – King of Hearts. So named because in the drawing the king appears to be stabbing himself in the head.
SUITED -. Two or more cards all the same suit.
TABLE CHARGE – A fee paid for playing.
TABLE STAKES – A standard rule whereby during a hand players can only bet the money they have on the table.
TAP – In no-limit games, to wager all of one’s money in one bet.
TAPPED OUT – Out of money.
TELL – Any personal mannerisms that reveal the quality of one’s hand.
THREE OF A KIND – Three cards all the same rank.
THREE FLUSH – Three cards of the same suit.
TIED ON – When your hand is good enough to play it to the end.
TIGHT – A style of play that entails playing fewer hands than average.
TIGHT PLAYER – A person who plays on the premium hands.
TOKE – Gambling term for “tip”. Comes from the term “Token of appreciation”.
TOP PAIR – In flop games, having a hole card that matches the highest card on the board.
TOP TWO PAIR – In flop games, having hole cards that make the highest possible two pair hand.
TREY – A three.
TRIPS – Three of a specific kind, as in “Trip sixes”.
TURN – The fourth community card in Hold’em.
TWO FLUSH – Two suited cards.
UNDERDOG – Before all the cards are dealt, a hand that does not figure to be the winner.
UNDER THE GUN – The position that has to act first in a round of betting.
UPHILL – To chase or try to outdraw a better hand.
VALUE BET – A small bet to get calls and increase the pot.
WALK – A pot won by the last blind when no one opens.
WHEEL – A-2-3-4-5. The best possible low hand. Also called a “Bicycle”.
WILD CARD – A joker or standard card that, by player agreement and/or dealer’s choice, can be used to represent any card desired.
WIRED PAIR – A pair in the hole. In 5-card stud, a door card that pairs the hole card.

Back To Top