Interested in learning some of the poker terms that you hear your favorite pro poker players on television saying to each other? You’ve come to the right place! We’ve compiled a list of poker terms and their meanings below, including any poker slang or complicated poker lingo that you would not normally hear in every day chat.
Poker Terms List
Action: The act of placing the amount of money wagered in poker into the pot. In other words, it is the opportunity to act when it is your turn to play. For instance, the dealer might say “Your action, sir” whenever it’s your time to play.
All-In: Moving all your remaining chips to the middle. That is, betting everything you have left.
Ante: A fraction of the minimum bet that each poker player is needed to put up in order to build the pot before a new hand starts.
Backdoor: A draw that needs that needs two hands to complete.
Bad Beat: Losing a hand that you had a high chance of winning. For instance, “I thought I was going to win with my pocket aces, but I had a bad beat when Clonie hit with her runner-runner flush.”
Bankroll: Total amount of money that the poker player has available for gambling.
Bet: Wagering or putting money into the pot and is normally done by the first person in a gambling round. Other players may “raise” or “call.”
Big Blind: A blind refers to a partial or forced bet by players before dealing of the cards. A big blind therefore is a first round, complete bet, common with the hold’em poker game.
Blocking Bet: A small, out of position bet that a poker player makes to block a larger bet by another player.
Bluff: A bet generally intended to raise hopes of other opponents in order to get them to fold though made with a weak hand.
Board: The shared cards dealt face-up in the center of the table in Hold’em and Omaha game.
Boat: When one has a pair and three of a kind e.g A-A-K-K-K.
Bottom Pair: A pair with the lowest card on the flop.
Bounty: Bounty is the money given to a player participating in a tournament upon eliminating other players.
Burn: It is the removal of the card on top of the deck without revealing it. It is done between betting rounds before the following community card (s) is put out. Burning is carried out as a security measure to ensure that no player recognizes the card to be used next on the board.
Busted: In poker to be busted is to lose the pot. For instance, a bluffing player is said to have been busted when he is called and loses the pot.
Button: It is a small acrylic disc used to mark a dealer in a game of poker or point out the button holder. It is white in color.
Buy-in: This is the cash payable to participate in a poker tournament. It is expressed in two numbers, such as $50 +5 to mean that it costs $55 to take part in the tournament; $50 is the prize fund while $5 is the benefit of the tournament host.
Call: To call is to make an equal bet to the current raise or bet.
Calling Station: This is weak, passive player who just keeps calling yet hardly ever raises or folds. Most poker players prefer having such players in the game.
Cap: This is to put the third or the fourth raise, the final raise allowed on a round of betting.
Cash Game: To cash a game is to bid a double that you are well aware that it will be rejected in order to claim the game by collecting the cube’s current value.
This is making desperate hands with the hope of recovering lost money.
Check: It is the failure to bet with the aim of raising or calling later on in the game, in other words making a $ zero bet. It is a strategy where a player stays in the game without betting. It is also used to refer to a poker chip.
Check Raise: This is checking and then raising after the player coming after you places a bet. Though an important tactic in poker, it is considered to be unethical in some circles.
Chip Dumping: This is when players collude using such tactics as going all in early. This way, all the chips from the colluders end up with one player. The colluders then split the winnings
Chop: This is collusion by the two blind-holding players to forsake playing the hand in favor of regaining their blinds in a case where no player raises or calls.
Coin Flip: In poker, a coin flip is a situation whereby two players have invested their money in the pot creating an even chance of winning.
Cold Call: This is to call for 2 or more bets in one action. Cold call is not similar to calling one bet and later calling for a subsequent raise.
Community Cards: Also referred to as shared or window cards. They are cards that are dealt in the centre of the poker table facing up. They are shared by all the players.
Connector: It is a starting hand in hold’em poker whereby both cards are separated by one card in rank. Examples include 76 and KQs.
Continuation Bet: This is the bet made after a flop by the player who last bet before the flop.
Dead Man’s Hand: This is also referred to as the dead checker’s hand. It is the extra checker without any useful purpose found in the player’s home board.
Deal Twice: Also known as “play twice,” is an agreement made between two players engaged in a huge pot to deal the remaining cards two times if one player is all-in. In such a case if one of them wins in both deals, he pockets the whole pot, but if both of them win, they divide the pot into two.
Drawing Hand: This is a hand with possibilities of improving but is not likely to be the most appropriate at the moment.
Donk(ey): This is a weak player. The term is also used to refer to a good poker player who unfortunately happens to make a stupid move. It is also the act of making an unexpected bet.
Door Card: is the first card of the flop that can be seen.
Double-Up: Also referred to as to double through, is the act of a player betting all his chips against one opponent with an equal stack and ends up wining. This results in doubling up his stack.
Early Position: In poker, early position refers to the player who acts first in a poker game.
Eights or Better: Is a phrase used in High-low split poker games to refer to the common qualifier that uses Ace-5 ranking.
Equity: This is the player’s rightful portion of a pot. It is the total value of the possible outcomes of a game from the position of the player. One player’s equity is the negative of their opponent’s equity. By calculating your equity you can predict your chances of winning.
Expected Value: This is the amount of money that a player expects to lose or win after a given period of time.
Family Pot: Is a pot where all the players at the table enter before the flop.
Fish: This term is used in a derogatory manner to refer to a weak or poor player. Such players end up losing their money when playing high stakes poker games.
Fixed Limit: Is a game with a betting structure that only gives the player the options to bet or not. One does not have the freedom to decide on the amount they want to bet as the amount is already fixed by rule.
Flat Call: Also called “smooth call,” is a call made in a situation where one might have been expected to raise.
Float: When a player makes a call with the intention of bluffing on a later round.
Flop: Term used to refer to the community cards dealt face-up simultaneously in Omaha and Hold’em.
Flush: This is a poker hand that comprises of five cards of the same suit.
Free Card: This is a card that is dealt to a player’s hand in a case where no other player opened in a betting round.
Freeroll: When a player can win the pot in its entirety when he is in a tie with his opponent.
Freezeout: A form of tournament in which, unlike in re-buy tournaments, players are out of the game the moment they lose all their chips. It is among the most popular forms of tournaments.
Full House: Used in poker to refer to a hand that comprises of three cards of the same kind and a pair. Also referred to as a “boat.”
Full Ring: This is a real money game played by more than six players, mostly between 9 and eleven players. This term is usually used in online poker.
Gap Hand: In Texas hold ’em, Gap hand refers to a starting hand comprising of cards two or more ranks apart. An example of a gap hand is 86 which has a 2-gap hand.
Grinder: Used in poker to refer to a player who does what is necessary to make a profit in the long term.
Gutshot Straight Draw: This is drawing to a straight without middle cards. For instance, if you have 9-7, the flop is 6-10-A; an 8 would result to a gutshot straight draw.
Hand History: Is a record of a hand or hands played by a player. A player would need to refer to this hand history to evaluate his previous hands.
Heads-Up: This is a pot being contested for by just two players. This takes place in a poker game where all the opponents have lost their chips except two.
Heater: Also referred to as a rush, is a prolonged streak of winning. When a player happens to win a number of big pots in the recent games he or she is said to be on a heater.
Hit: To hit is to shift to a point with a conflicting blot and putting it on the bar.
High Card: Is a hand such as a flush or straight that does not have a pair. For example, an AQ on K-8-7-5-2 board is an ace-high.
Hole Cards: In hold’em and stud poker, hole cards are the cards dealt to every player facing down. In blackjack, hole cards are the cards given to the dealer facing down.
H.O.R.S.E.: This is a poker variant mostly played at high-stakes casino tables. It comprises of playing rounds cycling among Omaha hi-lo split eight or better, Texas hold’em, seven card stud hi-lo split eight or better, seven-card stud, and razz. It is usually a limit game.
Implied Odds: Pot odds that are not currently in existence. They may, however, be factored in your calculations as a result of the bets that you hope to win once you hit your hand.
Inside Straight: This is a term used in poker to refer to the four cards of a straight in which the straight can be completed only one way.
Insurance: This is a side bet in blackjack where dealer possesses a natural. This side bet is only allowed to the dealer only when the up card is an ace.
In the Money: The act of placing high in a poker tournament in order to win the prize money. Also referred to as, “ITM”.
Jackpot: In poker, it is an event of elimination by putting high entry fee. The winner and the runner-up are awarded the prize money. A jackpot can also be used to refer to the special bonus awarded to the loser of a hand with a good hand beaten.
Kicker: Odd high card used to establish which between two equivalent hands is better than the other. In draw poker a kicker is normally a king or an ace but not a flush or a straight.
LAG (Loose-Aggressive): is a playing style whereby a player makes a lot of small raises while playing many start hands in the attempt of out-playing the other players.
Laydown: Folding a good hand with the anticipation of getting a superior position.
Level: Term used in poker tournaments to mean the size of the periodically increased blinds.
Limit: In poker, a limit is a game with fixed raise or bet limit in each betting round.
Limp: This is a pre-flop action. It is also to call without raising all in the hope of paying a minimum in order to see more cards.
Live Bet: A bet that a poker player places under the condition that he can raise even if none of the other players raises first especially if it was placed as a straddle or a blind.
Live Poker: Any poker game being played at a live table with cards unlike online or video poker.
Low Hand: This is a hand consisting of the lowest card on the rank.
Maniac: A poker player who makes numerous hyper—aggressive betting, bluffing, and raising. Though such a player does a lot of gambling, he/she is not a good player. A good poker player can, however, occasionally behave like a maniac to confuse his opponents.
Micro Limits: These are games with very small profits and thus hardly offered in real; card rooms. Micro-limits are mostly available at online poker sites.
Middle Pair: This is a poker term used to refer to the act of making a pair in a community card game with neither the lowest nor the highest card among the community cards.
Muck: A pile of burned and folded cards in front of a dealer.
Multi-way Pot: A pot that is competed for by several players. It is also referred to as a “family pot.”
No-Limit: This is a poker version in which you can bet an unlimited amount of chips during your turn to act. It is more or less the opposite of limit poker.
Nuts: Nuts are the gamblers daily fixed amount of expected wins or the best possible hand. Also known as the overhead expenditure of operating a casino.
Nit: In poker, a nit is player who is always afraid of taking risks and thus plays premium hand only in the top range.
Offsuit: The starting hand in Hold’em poker consisting of two cards of varying suits. They are commonly denoted as “o”, as in AKo.
One Gap: In hold’em poker, one gap is the starting hand consisting of 2 cards separately in rank. A good example is 64, J9s.
Open-Ended Straight Draw: Also called a double-ended straight draw or a two-way straight draw.
Orbit: An orbit is achieved when the blinds have made a full rotation at the table.
Outs: This is a card with the potential of making your hand win even though you currently lack the best hand.
Out of Position (OOP): When a player is either the first and not the last to act in a betting round, such a player is out of position.
Overcard: Is a card that is higher than all the other cards on the board.
Overpair: This is a pocket that is higher than all the other cards on the flop. For instance, if a player has QQ and a flop of J-8-34, then he has an overpair.
Pair: A set of two cards from the same rank. A pair can only beat a high-card hand and can in turn only be beaten by two pair.
Passive: It is a poker playing style characterized by first checking and then calling.
Pot-Limit: This is a poker version whereby you can bet any amount of money available in the pot when it is your turn to act. Similarly to no-limit, pot limit is different from limit poker.
Pocket Pair: It is a starting hand in hold’em poker with two cards of a kind.
Poker Face: An expression that does not hint any detail about the poker cards being held.
Position: A position is the player’s turn in the betting sequence. The player who acts first is the one in the first position in the betting round, while the player who acts last is the one in the last position.
Post: To make a blind bet. It is most appropriate to post a blind when a player first takes part in a cardroom game. You can also post a blind after changing seats at the table.
Pot: In poker, the pot is the money being contested for by the players. In a poker game, the pot keeps accumulating as each player bets, antes, and raises. The player with the best hand at the end of the game wins the pot.
Pot-Committed: A situation where a player is forced to call the rest of his stack due to either the pot size or his remaining chips.
Pot Odds: The monetary value of the pot as compared to the money that you are required to put in the pot in order to continue playing. It is normally indicated or expressed in ratio form.
Pre-Flop: The period in which no flop has been dealt despite of all the players having their pocket cards. Also referred to as the first round of bets .
Prop Bet: A prop bet is the money placed by a prop player to begin poker games.
Prop Player: Also referred to as a proposition player. This is a poker player who starts poker games and is paid at an hourly rate. He helps in keeping the other poker players active. Unlike shills who make bets with the casino’s money, prop players use their own money to place bets.
Quads: These are four cards of the same suit. They are also referred to as four-of-a-kind.
Rabbit Hunt: Takes place after a hand is completed. The term is used in poker to refer to the act of revealing the cards that would have been dealt next in the hand if the game would have continued.
Race: A race is a scenario where two poker players have invested all their cash in the pot creating a situation where the winning chances of each player are even.
Rag: A small or insignificant card. For instance one can say that he or she began making good money the moment they learnt how not to play Ace-rag at the early positions.
Rail: Can also be referred to as a bar. It is the raised ridge at the central point of a backgammon board separating the outer board from the home board. Once checkers are hit they are then placed on the rail.
Railbird: Refers to a person who only on-looks a poker game without participating.
Rainbow: A flop consisting of three cards of varying suits. The term rainbow can also be used in poker to refer to a board with five cards comprising of no more than two cards of any suit.
Raise: To make a higher bet than the player who acted before you.
Rake: Fee charged by the casino for each hand of poker. It ranges between 5 and 10% of the winnings of each poker game. It is the thus the way a cardroom generates its revenue.
Rakeback: The portion of the rake that a player pays that is rewarded back to him by a third party like an affiliate.
Range of Hands: This phrase is used in poker to refer to the list of holdings that one player anticipates that his opponent could be having when attempting to work out their holding.
Rebuy: A choice that a player makes to purchase back into a poker tournament after they have lost their chips. Some poker tournaments do not offer rebuys.
Reraise: A reraise in poker, is a situation where a player raises after you have made a raise.
Ring Game: A ring game is a live game. It is a poker game in which real money is used unlike in poker tournaments where tournament chips are used instead of real money.
River: Final card dealt in hold’em or stud hands. In seven card stud, a player is said to have gone to the river when they stay until the fifth and the final betting round.
Rock: A poker player who plays tight but not creatively. Such a player only raises with the best hands and is fairly predictable. For instance, when a rock raises on the river, the opponent can throw anything but nuts.
Rounder: An expert poker player who usually moves around looking for players to engage with in high-stakes games.
Royal Flush: A royal flush in poker is the best possible hand which is an ace-high straight flush.
Runner-Runner: Making a hand by hitting two cards of the same kind on the turn and on the river.
Satellite: A poker tournament that instead of awarding cash to its winners, it offers then a seat in the subsequent tournament.
Scare Card: A card that can turn the best possible hand into trash.
Scoop: In poker, to scoop is to win both in the Lo and the Hi in a split game
Second Pair: This is the pair of cards on the flop with the second highest card
Semi-Bluff: A raise of bet you make hoping that it will not be called, but you must be having a number of outs in case it is called.
Set: comprises of three cards of the same suit, two of them being from the same rank and in your hand, and one card on the board.
Shark: A poker player who is out to seek and persuade weaker player to play with them high stakes.
Shoe: A wooden or plastic box used to hold multiple decks of cards used for dealing two or more decks of cards.
Shootout: In poker, a shootout is a tournament format whereby the player in the last position of betting round joins the last players of other tables to play with them until they reach a final table.
Short Stack: A number of chips that is smaller than those being played by other poker players at the same table.
Shorthanded: A poker table that is less than full. A full poker table usually comprises of 9 to 10 players. A table with eight or less players is thus shorthanded.
Showdown: Point where after every player has taken part in the last round of betting, the remaining players turn over their cards to determine the winner of the game. The winner, in this case, is the player with the best hand.
Side Pot: A pot created by other players after one of them has lost all his chips. The remaining opponents contest for the side pot with their surplus.
Sit and Go: A poker tournament without a scheduled starting time. It, therefore, starts anytime once enough players have joined the tournament.
Slow Play: To weakly play a strong hand with the aim of keeping many players in the pot. It involves checking and then calling rather than just betting and raising. This makes the other players think that your hand is weak.
Slow Roll: To delay exposing one’s hand at showdown making the other players to show their cards first.
Small Blind: In Hold’em poker, the smaller blind bet of the two blind bets is what is referred to as the small blind. It is usually a 1/3 or 2/3 of the initial round bet.
Smooth Call: Playing a strong hand slowly so as not to scare any player out. It is similar to slow play.
Splash the Pot: To splash the pot in poker is where a player directly tosses chips into the pot instead of first placing them in a stack in front of them. It is not advisable to splash the pot.
Squeeze play: This is a term used in no limit hold’em to refer to a bluff reraise with cards that are less than premium, after the original raise has already been done by another player or players. The aim of squeeze playing is to bluff all the other players out of hand in order to steal the bets.
Staking: This is the act of one player putting up his money for another poker player to play hoping that the player will win. If that player happens to win, the two share the profit on a predetermined percentage.
Steal: To steal in poker is to hit the pot through bluffing.
Straddle Bet: To straddle bet is to opt to make an extra optional blind bet. It is mostly done by the player to the left of the big blind. This forces the next player to bet twice.
Straight: In poker, a straight is a hand comprising of five cards from consecutive ranks but from different suits.
Straight Flush: Just like a straight, a straight flush is a poker hand consisting of five cards from consecutive ranks, but of the same suit.
Street: A Street is another name for a betting round or a dealt card. The first betting round is, for instance, referred to as the first street.
Structured: This is a betting system in which the bets’ spread could change from one betting round to the other.
Suckout: A suckout in poker occurs when a player draws against the odds beating his opponent’s hits and hands. The opponent then becomes a victim of a suckout.
Suited: Cards that share a suit are said to be suited.
Suited Connectors: This is a poker term used to refer to cards that are consecutive in the rank and suited too or belonging to the same suit.
Tell: A tell is an advertent clue that hints the opponent on whether they will be dropping or taking a double if they are offered with one. A tell hints on the strength of the player’s hand thus the opponent can easily predict their next move.
Tight Aggressive (TAG): A tight aggressive is a poker player who aggressively plays good hands and folds often.
Three Bet: This term is used in limit poker to refer to an occurrence where a player has placed a bet, it is raised by another player, and is now being raised a second time.
Three of a kind: These are three cards of the same rank.
Tight: Playing fewer hands than normal for the game.
Tilt: In poker, to tilt is to play recklessly and wildly. It involves playing a lot of hands, raising with bad hands, attempting wild bluffs, and such other poor poker strategies.
Top Pair: Used in poker to refer to the top most card on a flop.
Trap: A trap occurs when a player slow-plays a strong hand with the aim of getting another player to place a bigger bet. This way the player is said to have set a trap.
Trips: These are three cards of a kind or three cards all from the same suit.
Turbo: This is a type of poker tournament in which the level of the blinds increase at a faster rate than it does in standard play.
Under the Gun: This in poker is used to refer to the position of the first player to act on the betting round. This is mostly the player to the immediate left of the big blind and thus in the risk of being pointed out.
Upcard: The upcard in poker is the card that is usually kept face-up for all the participants to see before they begin to play their hands.
Upswing: An upswing is that point when a poker player loses less or wins more than they had anticipated.
Value Bet: This term is used in poker to refer to the bet you make if you want it to be called.
Variance: Variance is the number of down and up swings that a player’s bankroll undergoes. Though it is not a measure of how competent a player is, if a player has high variance, his bankroll are likely to go through wider swings.
Voluntary Put Money In Pot (VPIP): It is a percentage representation of the hands with which a poker player places money into the pot before the flop, without factoring in blind postings. This is a good way of measuring how loose or tight a player is.
Weak Ace: A weak ace is also referred to as a soft ace, and ace rag, or a small ace. It is an ace with a low kicker such as a four.
Wet Board: The term wet board is used to describe the texture of community cards. Community cards are said to be wet board when they make it almost impossible to hit strong hands such as draws, straights, or flushes.
Wheel: In poker, a wheel is a straight that moves from an ace through five. This hand has a high potential of winning both in the Lo and Hi since it has the lowest hand possible and the potential of a strong high hand.
Wrap: A wrap is a straight draw that is open ended and comprises of three or more different hands. It is common with the Omaha hold’em poker game.