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Poker Glossary

21 November 2010, By:
Poker is full of words, and sometimes it's almost impossible to understand what poker players go on about if you don't have a poker glossary at hand. We'll try to keep the glossary up to date. If you miss something here, give us a hint and we'll add it to the list!


Action. A players turn to act. A game with lot of aggressive play is called an action game.

Ante. A forced bet all players have to post prior to the hand. Most common in stud and draw games

All-In. A player pushes in all of his chips by calling, betting or raising.


Backdoor. When a player caches a hand with help from both the turn and the river. Someone who holds As Qs on a board showing Js 9h 7h has a backdoor flush draw.

Bad beat. An unfortunate loss when the odds were strongly in your favor. These situations create bad-beat stories, something no one likes to hear.

Big blind. The large forced bet mostly used in community-card games like Hold'em and Omaha.

Big slick. Nickname for the Hold'em starting hand Ace-King.

Blank. A community card that most likely didn't help any player.

Blind. A forced bet, usually posted by the two players after the button. Mostly used in community-card games.

Bottom pair. When you have paired the lowest card on the board. Example: As 4h on a board showing Ks Js 4c.

Broadway. A straight from ten to ace.

Bubble. The places in a tournament just below the "money". If 10 players get a piece of the prize pool, and you finish 11th, you ended up "on the bubble".

Burn. The act of discarding the top card of the deck before exposing community cards.

Button. The disc that indicates which player is the dealer - or at least sits in the dealer's position.

Buy-in. A tournament-entry feeBring money to a cash-game, or add an already existing stack.


Call. Put in money equal to the latest bet or raise.

Calling station. A loose and passive player type that calls a lot but rarely bets and raises.

Cap. The last permitted bet often used in fixed-limit games.

Case. When someone has only one out, that card is called the case jack, deuce, seven etc. Common when a set is up against another set in hold'em.

Check. When you're in a hand, and no one has made a bet yet, you can check. You don't wager anything but are still in the hand and the action gets back to you if someone else makes a bet.

Check-raise. When you check, someone else bets, and you raise. This usually indicates a strong hand.

Chinese Poker. A variation of poker with 13 cards dealt and set into three separate ranking hands. See How to Play Chinese Poker and Chinese Poker Strategy 101

Cold call. To call more than a single bet.

Connector. A hold'em starting hand where the cards "are consecutive in rank. Example: JT

Crying Call. A call made by someone who thinks he holds an inferior hand.

Cut off. The position to the right of the button.


Dead money. Money owned by a bad poker player. Money in a pot contributed by a player no longer in the hand.

Dog. See "underdog"

Draw. A hand that needs one or more specific cards on the board. Example: you hold JT and the flop is KQ2. You have a straight draw and either 9 or A gives you the nuts.

Drawing dead. A hand that can't possibly win the pot no matter what


Family pot. A pot where all, or close to all, players at the table participate in.

Fast play. Same as aggressive play - lots of bets and raises.

Fish.A poor poker player.

Flop. The first three community cards in Hold'em and Omaha etc.

Freeroll. A tournament with no buy in. When two players have the same hand but one has additional outs, the second player is freerolling. Example: Player #1 As Qs, Player #2 Ah Qh, Board Kh Jh Ts 7c.


Gap hand. A non-consecutive starting hand. Example 86 (one-gapper), 96 (two-gapper).

Gutshot straight draw. A straight draw that needs a card of a specific rank to fill up.


Heads-up. A game or a pot with only two players.


Implied odds. Odds based on possible future bets. You might call on the flop although you're not offered the sufficient pot-odds. You think that if you hit your hand, you're opponent is going to pay you off. If that's true, you might have sufficient implied odds.


Kicker. An unpaired card in a poker hand. Say that one player has AAQQT, and another player has AAQQK, the second player wins due to a higher kicker (K).


Limp. To call pre flop.

Live. A card that gives you a winning hand if it pairs. When AK is up against AQ, the queen is the second player's live card.


Maniac. A crazy player who plays over-aggressively with big bets and bluffs.

Muck. The pile of discarded cards in the middle of the table or the act of folding.

Monster. A super-strong hand


No-Limit. A betting structure in which players can bet and raise any amount at any moment (bets must be bigger than the big blind or prior action).

Nuts. The best possible hand. Example: As Js on a Ks Ts 8c 5h 2s board.


Off suit. A starting hand with two cards of different suit.

Out. A card that gives you the winning hand. Example if you have a nut-flush draw on the turn, you have 9 outs to make the nuts.

Over pair. A pockt pair of higher rank than the highest community card.


Play the board. When you only play the community cards in Hold'em. Say that the board is A A A A K, then all players play the board.

Pot Committed. When the pot is so large that the odds says you have to go to the river even though you might not have the best hand at the moment.

Pot limit. A betting structure in which you can bet as much as the current pot. When you raise a bet, you can raise the total amount of the prior bet plus the pot size after that.

Pot-odds. The amount of the money in the pot compared what you have to pay to continue with the hand. Say that the pot is $100 and someone bets $100, you have to call $100 in a pot of $200. The pot odds are therefore 1:2.


Quads. Four of a kind


Rainbow. A flop where all three cards are of different suit.

Rake. The cut that the casino deducts from the pots. In online games, the rake is usually up to 5% of the pot up to $3-$5.

Rebuy. When you lose all chips and buy new ones. In rebuy tournaments, the number of times you're allowed to do this might be restricted.

Ring Game. Cash game.

River. The fifth and last community card in Hold'em and Omaha etc.

Runner-runner. Consecutive cards on the turn and river that give you a winning hand. When you hit a backdoor draw (see backdoor)


Satellite. A tournament without cash prizes, instead the winners are awarded seats in bigger tournaments.

Second pair. When you have paired the second highest card on the board.

Semi bluff. When you bet without a real hand but have outs to make something good. For instance, when you bet with JT on a QK2 board. You can win in two ways: either by bluffing the opponents out of the pot or by catching a nine or an ace.

Set. Three of a kind using a pocket pair and a pair on the board.

Showdown. When the hand is over and players expose their hole cards.

Side pot. When three or more players with different amount of chips go all in, there will be one more side pots created. Example: Player #1 has $50 and moves all in, Player #2 pushes in his last $100, and Player #3 calls both players. Now there will be one pot with $150, which all players can win, and one pot with $100, which only player #2 and #3 can win.

Slow play. Play a monster hand timidly to lure in opponents.

Small blind. The smaller of the two forced bets in hold'em, posted by the player to the left of the dealer.

Split pot. A pot divided by two players who hold identical hands.

Straddle. An optional blind in cash games, usually posted by the player to the left of the big blind. Instead of acting first pre-flop, the "straddler" is last to act.

String bet. When a player makes a bet in two or more motions. This is not allowed.

Suited. A Hold'em starting hand where the cards are of the same suit


Tell. A physical act that reviles a player's strength.

Tilt. An emotional state where a player has lost control of his game.

Top pair. When you have paired the highest card on the board.

Trips. Three of a kind with a pair on the board and a card of the same rank in the hole.

Turn. The fourth community card in Holdem and Omaha etc.


Underdog. When the odds are against you. Say that you have a flush draw and someone has two pair, you're a 2:1 underdog.


Wheel. A straight from ace to five

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