This page has a full breakdown
of the terminology you will encounter when playing poker.
Many of the phrases originate from the old land based casinos
in the US and have transferrred rather nicely to the online
Some of the phrases can also be found in our Internet
Gambling Glossary, which also contains further terms
related to other casino games.
Action: An opportunity to Bet, Call,
Raise, Fold or Check.
All-In : To push in the last of your
chips while betting or calling.
Ante: A required amount added by each
player to start the pot at the beginning of a poker hand.
Hold'Em games use Blinds to get the pot started.
Backdoor: Getting strong cards on both
the Turn _and_ the River to make a hand. AKA Runner.
Bad Beat: When an Underdog hand takes
Bankroll: A player's table money, as
opposed to the money that stays in his wallet.
Belly Buster: An inside straight.
Berry Patch: An easy game. A good place
for sharp players to win money from less-sharp players.
Bet: Placing a wager.
Big Blind: The largest regular Blind
in a game (Hold'Em).
Blank: A table card that doesn't help
Blind: A forced bet (or partial bet)
posted at the beginning of the hand before the cards
are dealt. Blinds are typically posted by players to
the immediate left of the button.
Blind Game: A game in which Blinds
Bluff: To bet with a weak or busted
hand, trying to force the other players to fold.
Board: The community cards --face-up--
in a Hold’Em game: includes the Flop, the Turn, and the
Bottom Pair: The lowest pair on the
Broadway: A Straight, Ace-high.
Bullets: A pair of Aces.
Bump: To Raise.
Burn: To discard –usually face-down--
the top card off the deck.
Bust: To go broke, run out of money.
Button(1): A small disk placed to indicate
who is the nominal dealer in Hold'Em games.
Button(2): The player who has the disk.
Buy-the-Pot: To bluff with a large
Bet, hoping the other players won't Call.
Buy-the-Button: To Bet and/or Raise
with the hope that players between you and the Button
fold. This would put you last in following betting rounds.
Buy-In: The money required to enter
Call: To match the current Bet.
Calling Station: A weak player who
calls a lot but rarely Raises or Folds. Since these players
end up shoveling a lot of money into the pot without
really challenging anyone they are good players to have
in a game.
Cap: To make the last Raise permitted
in a round of betting.
Capped: Occurs when the maximum number
of Raises in a given betting round have been made.
Cards Speak: The rule that states,
rather obviously, that the face value of a hand is the
true value of the hand regardless of what the player
may have stated their value to be.
Case: The last card of a certain rank
remaining in the deck.
Catch: To catch the cards is to receive
the cards you want or need to make a hand.
Center Pot: The main pot in a poker
hand, as opposed to any side pots created when a player
Check(1): To pass on your right to
open a betting round.
Check(2): A Poker chip.
Check Raise: To Raise late in a betting
round after having Checked earlier.
Chip: Small, round, colored discs used
instead of cash at the poker table.
Coffeehouse: To talk about the cards,
usually with the intent of misleading other players and
influencing their betting decisions. Widely considered
bad form at the Poker table.
Community Cards: The up-turned cards
in the center of the table, used by all players to form
Connector: Hold’Em: a starting hand
where the two cards are of consecutive rank (QJ, J10,
Counterfeit: To have your cards duplicated
by the cards that have been flopped, thereby making your
hand worthless or of significantly less value.
Cripple: To cripple the deck is to
hold some or all of the cards that would make the board
cards valuable to other players.
Cut: To split the deck.
Dead Card: A card that is out of play
and cannot be used.
Dead Hand: A hand that is out of play
and cannot be used.
Dead Money: Chips that are placed in
the pot and are thereby not considered part of a player's
Deal: The process of distributing cards
to the active players.
Deck(1): 52 cards used in all non-Joker
Poker games including Stud, Hold'Em and Omaha.
Deck(2): 52 cards plus a Joker, used
in a variety of Poker variations.
Discards: Cards that are discarded
(mucked) from the player's hand in a Draw Poker game
in order to make room for replacements.
Dog: Abbreviated form of Underdog.
Dominated Hand: A hand that will almost
certainly lose to a better hand.
Door Card: 7-Card Stud: the first face-up
card dealt to each player.
Down To The Felt: To be broke, tapped
out, chips all gone.
Down cards: Cards that are dealt face
Draw Poker: A form of Poker where players
are permitted to discard one or more cards from their
hand and receive replacements
Draw: The process of replacing cards
in a Draw Poker game.
Draw Dead: To build a hand that will
not win because another hand at the table already has
Drop: See Fold.
Equity: Your percentage of the pot
based on the notion that if you've got an 80% chance
of winning a hand than 80% of the pot's value is your
equity. A bogus concept in Poker because in the end you
either win the pot or you do not.
Expectation(1): The amount of you expect
to gain on average by making a certain play.
Expectation(2): The amount you expect
to gain in a specific time period.
Face card: A card with a face on it:
King, Queen, or Jack.
Family Pot: A pot in which most or
all of the players have Called before the Flop.
Fast: To play aggressively.
Fast Company: Seasoned players who
know their way around the Poker scene.
Fifth Street: The fifth card dealt
in a hand of Stud poker.
Fish: A weak player, one easily suckered
into betting when he should not.
Fixed Limit: A betting structure wherein
the amount of the bet on each round is pre-set.
Flop: The first three table cards dealt
in Hold 'Em, face up.
Flush: Five cards of the same suit.
Fold: To muck your cards and withdraw
Forced Bet: A mandatory bet used to
start the first betting round, typical in Stud games.
Fouled Hand: A Dead hand.
Four Of A Kind: Four cards of the same
Fourth Street(1): Stud: The fourth
card, second up-card.
Fourth Street(2): Hold'Em: The first
table card after the flop (AKA the Turn).
Full House: A Poker hand built with
Three-of-a-Kind plus a Pair.
Grinder: A cautious player whose strategy
is to win a little money each day.
Gutshot: A Straight missing an inside
Hand(1): A player's cards.
Hand(2): A single poker deal including
the subsequent betting rounds.
Heads Up: Two players competing for
the pot, going one-on-one.
High: The best hand.
High Society: High denomination chips.
Hit: When cards appear that help you
you've been hit.
Hold 'Em: A variation of Poker in which
each player is dealt two cards face down. The player
uses these cards in any desired combination with five
community (face up) cards to make the best five card
Hole: Your private cards.
Hole cards: A player's personal cards,
dealt face down.
House: The place or business hosting
the Poker game.
Jackpot: An exceptional bonus given
to the loser of a hand when he loses even though he holds
a very good hand.
Joker: A wild card used in high- and
Kicker: Hold'Em: the highest unpaired
card used to determine the winner of otherwise tied Poker
hands. Kickers are very important in Hold’Em.
Live Blind: A forced bet put in before
any cards are dealt.
Live Game: A game with much betting,
AKA a 'loose' game.
Lock: A hand sufficiently good to win
at least part of the pot.
Lowball: A form of Draw or Stud Poker
game where the lowest hand wins.
Low card: The lowest upcard in 7-Card
Stud. The player holding this card is required to bet.
Make: To build a decent hand that has
a shot at winning the pot.
Maniac: An extremely loose and/or aggressive
player, typically Raises with little regard for the strength
of the cards they hold.
Miscall: An incorrect statement of
the ranking of a hand.
Muck: To discard.
No-Limit: A game in which the player
is allowed to wager any amount he has in front of him.
Nuts: The best possible hand, a sure
Offsuit: Hold'Em: cards of different
suits, typically referring to the opening two pocket
Omaha: A Flop game similar to Hold'Em.
On Tilt: Erratic, emotional play resulting
in bad decisions and lost money.
Opener: The player to make the first
Out: A card that will make your winning
Outs: Cards still in the deck that
would improve a player's hand.
Overcard: A pocket card higher than
any card on the Board.
Overpair: A pocket pair of higher rank
than any card on the Board.
Pass: Decline the opportunity to bet.
Pat: To stand Pat in Draw Poker is
to keep all your cards thereby drawing none.
Pay Off: To call a bet on a player
who Represents a winning hand. Generally only justified
if the pot is sufficiently large.
Play The Board: Use all five community
cards --and none of your own-- to make your hand.
Pocket: Your private cards, those dealt
Position(1): A player's seat in relation
to the blinds or the button.
Position(2): The order of play in a
betting round or deal.
Post: To put in, usually referring
to the Blinds.
Pot Limit: A Poker game in which a
player may bet up to the amount of money in the pot.
Proposition Bets: Side bets between
players, unrelated to the outcome of the current hand.
Quads: Four of a kind.
Rabbits: Weak players.
Rack: A tray used by the dealer to
hold chips and cards.
Rag: A low card that has no apparent
effect on the hand.
Ragged: Table cards that do not appear
to help anybody.
Railroad Bible: A deck of playing cards.
Rainbow: Table cards of varying suits
such that no flush is possible.
Raise: To increase on a prior wager.
Rake: A percentage of the pot taken
by the house.
Rank: The numerical value of a card.
Represent: To play as if you hold a
Reraise: To Raise on someone's Raise.
River: The fifth, and final, community
card. AKA fifth street.
Rock: A tight --ultra-conservative--
player who only Raises on winning hands. Generally considered
an unskilled form of play because such a player is very
Rock Garden: A game full of Rocks.
Rock Gardens are not very much fun.
Rolled Up: 7-Card Stud: Three-of-a-Kind
dealt in the first three cards.
Round: A round of betting.
Rounder: A tough, knowledgeable player
who earns his living at the poker table. Often refers
to a skilled player who represents himself as being rookie
for the purpose of trapping and breaking the other players.
Royal Straight Flush: An Ace-high Straight
Flush. AKA Royal Flush.
Runner: A hand which was made only
by catching both the Turn and River. AKA Backdoor.
Scare Card: A community card which
stands a good chance of trashing your hand.
Scoop: High-Low games: to win both
the high and the low portions of a pot.
Second Pair: To pair with the second
highest card on the table.
Sell: To under-Bet on strong cards
in order to keep the other players in the hand and their
money flowing onto the table.
Semi-Bluff: A bluff where the player
actually has some chance of making the winning hand.
Set: Three-of-a-Kind where you have
two in the Hole and the third is on the Board.
7-Card Stud: A Poker variant where
each player is dealt seven cards as follows: two down,
then four up, and a final card down.
Short Stack: A small number of chips
compared to the other players.
Showdown: The end of the hand where
all remaining players show their cards in order to determine
the winning hand.
Shuffle: Mixing the cards before beginning
a hand, required in order to break the ordering they
had in the previous hand.
Side Pot: A stand-alone pot created
when one or more players goes All-In.
Slow Play: To hold a strong hand but
play it weakly in order to keep other players in the
pot. This is what Rounders often do.
Slow Rolling: To slowly show-off the
cards in a winning hand. Considered quite antagonistic
toward other players who will soon want to inflict physical
pain upon you if you keep doing it.
Small Blind: The smallest, usually
Snap Off: To beat a bluffer or Coffehouser
with finesse and not necessarily with an especially powerful
South: To Fold.
Spikes: A Pair of Aces.
Splash The Pot: To toss one's chips.
Highly frowned upon because it can be used as a way to
hide the true value of money actually wagered.
Split Pot: A pot shared by players
who finish with tied --equal value-- hands.
Stack: A player's Chips.
Straight: Five cards of consecutive
Straight Flush: Five cards of consecutive
rank, same suit.
Street: Stud games: cards dealt on
a particular round in stud games. The fourth card is
Fourth Street, etc.
Suit: The four suits in a deck: Clubs
and Spades, Diamonds and Hearts.
Table Stakes: Your money on the table,
the only money available to you in a given hand
Tap: Betting the full amount of an
opponent's stack thereby forcing him to go All-In if
he decides to Call the Bet.
Tell: A gesture or mannerism that reveals
your feelings about your hand. Good players look for
their opponent's Tell and will exploit it ruthlessly
in order to take their money.
Texas Hold’Em: Also simply known as
Hold’Em. The Poker variant in which each player receives
two hole cards at the beginning of the hand. This is
followed by five community cards: a three-card Flop,
then the Turn card and finally the River.
Tight: A conservative, risk-adverse
Tilt: See On Tilt.
Toke: A small tip given to the dealer
by the winner of a pot.
Top Pair: To Pair with the highest
Turn: The fourth community card. AKA
Under The Gun: The player who is required
to act first in a betting round.
Underdog: When two hands go into a
Showdown the Underdog is the one who looks like he's
got the slimmest chance of winning.
Upcards: Cards that are dealt face
Wager(1): To Raise or Bet.
Wager(2): Chips used in a Bet or Raise