Poker Terms

Miya Lee


  • ace-to-five, ace-to-six: Methods of evaluating low hands.
  • act: To make a play ( bet, call, raise, or fold) at the required time. It is Ted's turn to act. Compare to "in turn".
  • action:
    1. A player's turn to act. The action is on you.
    2. A willingness to gamble. I'll give you action or There's plenty of action in this game.
    3. A bet, along with all the calls of that bet. For example, if one player makes a $5 bet and three other players call, he is said to have $5 "in action", and to have received $15 worth of action on his bet. Usually, this term comes into play when figuring side pots.
  • action button: A marker similar to a kill button, on which a player places an extra forced bet. In a seven-card stud high-low game, the action button is awarded to the winner of a scoop pot above a certain size, signifying that in the next pot, that player will be required to post an amount representing a completion of the bring-in to a full bet. For example, in a stud game with $2 and $4 betting limits and a $1 bring-in, a player with the action button must post $2; after the cards are dealt, the player with the low card must still pay the $1 bring-in, then when the betting reaches the player who posted the $2, he is required to leave it in as a raise of the bring-in (and has the option to raise further). Players in between the bring-in and the action button can just call the bring-in, but they know ahead of time that they will be raised by the action button.
  • action card: In Texas hold 'em or other community card games, a card appearing on the board that causes significant betting action because it helps two or more players. For example, an ace on the flop when two players each hold an ace.
  • action only: In many cardrooms, with respect to an all-in bet, only a full (or half) bet can be reraised. Anything less than a full (or half) bet is considered to be active only, that is, other players can call the bet but not raise it. For example, Alice bets $100. Bob calls. Carol goes all-in for $119. When the action returns to Alice and Bob, they may only call the extra $19; they cannot raise it. Carol's raise is called action only. Compare to "full bet rule", "half bet rule".
  • active player: A player still involved in the pot. If there are side pots, an all-in player may be active in some pots, but not in others.
  • add-on: In a live game, to buy more chips before you have busted. In tournament play, a single rebuy for which all players are eligible regardless of their stack size. This is usually allowed only once, at the end of the rebuy period. The add-on often offers more chips per dollar invested than the buying and rebuys. Compare with "rebuy".
  • advertising: To make an obvious play or expose cards in such a way as to deliberately convey an impression to your opponents about your style of play. For example, to make a bad play or bluff to give the impression that you bluff frequently (hoping opponents will then call your legitimate bets) or to show only good hands to give the impression that you rarely bluff (hoping opponents will then fold when you bet).
  • aggressive, aggression: The tendency for a player to open a betting or raise rather than call or check. See main article: aggression. Compare to "loose", "tight", "passive".
  • air:
    1. In lowball, "giving air" is letting an opponent who might otherwise fold know that you intend to draw one or more cards to induce him to call.
    2. Nothing, as in That last bluff was with total air, or I caught air on the river.
  • all in: Having bet all of your chips in the current hand.
  • angle: A technically legal, but borderline unethical, play. For example, deliberately miscalling one's own hand to induce a fold, or placing odd amounts of chips in the pot to confuse opponents about whether you mean to call or raise. A player employing such tactics is called an "angle shooter".
  • ante: A forced bet required, in some types of poker, of all players before the hand begins.
  • ante off: In tournament play, to force an absent player to continue paying antes, blinds, bring-ins, or other forced bets so that the contest remains fair to the other players. Go ahead and take that phone call. We'll ante you off until you get back. Also "blind off".


  • backdoor:
    1. A draw requiring two or more rounds to fill. For example, catching two consecutive cards in two rounds of seven-card stud or Texas hold 'em to fill a straight or flush.
    2. A hand made other than the hand the player intended to make. I started with four hearts hoping for a flush, but I backdoored two more kings and my trips won.
  • back in: To enter a pot by checking and then calling someone else's open on the first betting round. Usually used in games like Jackpots, meaning to enter without openers.
  • back into: To win a pot with a hand that would have folded to any bet. For example, two players enter a pot of draw poker, both drawing to flushes. Both miss and check after the draw. The player with the ace-high draw "backs into" winning the pot against the player with only a king-high draw. Also to make a backdoor draw, for example, a player who starts a hand with three of a kind, but makes a runner-runner flush, can be said to back into the flush.
  • backraise: A reraise from a player that previously called in the same betting round. I decided to backraise with my pocket eights to isolate the all-in player.
  • bad beat: Losing with what is, or appears to be, a considerably stronger hand.
  • balance: Playing very different hands in the same way, with the aim of making it more difficult for an opponent to gain useful information about the cards a player has, even though on a value basis one would play them differently.
  • bank: Also called the house, the person responsible for distributing chips, keeping track of the buy-ins, and paying winners at the end of the game.
  • bankroll:
    1. The amount of money that a player has to wager for the duration of his or her poker career.
    2. To fund someone's participation in a game. As in, "John bankrolled Kate's $5,000 entry fee into the tournament." Compare with "staking".
  • bankroll management: Choosing the correct stakes and game type to avoid exhausting one's bankroll during downswings.
  • behind:
    1. Not (currently) having the best hand. I'm pretty sure my pair of jacks was behind Lou's kings, but I had other outs, so I kept playing.
    2. Money on the table but not currently in the pot, which can be bet later in the hand - He bet $50 with $100 behind, so I folded my low pair
    3. Money in play but not visible as chips in front of a player. For example, a player may announce "I've got $100 behind" while handing money to a casino employee, meaning that this money is "in play" and he may bet or call with that money even before the chips are brought to him.
  • bet:
    1. Any money wagered during the play of a hand.
    2. More specifically, the opening bet of a betting round.
    3. In a fixed limit game, the standard betting amount. There were six bets in the pot when I called.
  • betting structure: The complete set of rules regarding forced bets, limits, raise caps, and such for a particular game.
  • big bet: The larger of two bet amounts in a fixed limit game.
  • big bet game: A game played with a no limit or pot limit betting structure.
  • big blind: The larger of two forced bets in certain types of poker.
  • big blind special: A hand won by the big blind playing very weak pocket cards because there was no raise pre-flop.
  • big full: The best possible full house in community card games. I had the big full when the flop came A-A-5 and my hole cards were A-5. A stronger hand than the "underfull".
  • big stack: A stack of chips that is relatively large for the stakes being played. Also called "deep stack". Compare with "short stack".
  • blank: A card, frequently a community card, of no apparent value. I suspected Margaret had a good draw, but the river card was a blank, so I bet again. Compare to "rag", "brick", "bomb".
  • blaze: A Non-standard poker hand of five face cards that outranks a flush.
  • bleed: Consistently losing chips through bad play, possibly resulting from tilt. When a player is consistently losing chips, they are "bleeding chips."
  • blind:
    1. A type of forced bet.<br/ > 2. In the "dark".
  • blind stud: A stud poker game in which all cards are dealt face down. Was popular in California before legal rulings made traditional stud legal there.
  • blind off, blinded:
    1. To "ante off".
    2. To have one's stack reduced by paying ever-increasing blinds in tournaments. Ted had to make a move soon or he would be blinded away in three more rounds.
  • blocker: In community card poker, holding one of the opponent's outs, typically when the board threatens a straight or straight draw. A blocker is also having a combination of cards that turn your opponents' outs into your own, such as having four to a straight flush. The two cards to give you a straight flush are blockers against his high flush draw. The board was A23 but with my pair of fives, I held two blockers to the straight. Compare to "dry ace".
  • blocking bet: An abnormally small bet made by a player out of position intended to block a larger bet by an opponent.
  • bluff: A bet made with a hand that is mathematically unlikely to be profitable either to make money or to disguise play patterns.
  • board:
    1. The set of community cards in a community card game. If another spade hits the board, I'll have to fold.
    2. The set of face-up cards of a particular player in a stud game. Zack's board didn't look too scary, so I bet into him again.
    3. The set of all face-up cards in a stud game. I started with a flush draw, but there were already four other diamonds showing on the board, so I folded.
  • boat: Another name for Full house
  • both ways: Both halves of a split pot, often declared by a player who thinks he or she will win both low and high.
  • bottom dealing: Trick or cheating deal where a card or cards are dealt from the bottom of the deck rather than the top.
  • bottom end: The lowest of several possible straights, especially in a community card game. For example, in Texas hold 'em with the cards 5-6-7 on the board, a player holding 3-4 has the bottom end straight, while a player holding 4-8 or 8-9 has a higher straight. Also "idiot end".
  • bottom pair, bottom set: In a community card game, a pair (or set) made by matching the lowest-ranking board card with one (or two) in one's private hand. Compare second pair, top pair.
  • bounty: An aspect of some poker tournaments that rewards players for eliminating other players with a cash prize for each player they eliminate, separate from the tournament payout structure.
  • box: The chip tray in front of a house dealer, and by extension, the house dealer's position at the table. You've been in the box for an hour now; don't you get a break?
  • boxed card: A card encountered face-up in the assembled deck during the deal, as opposed to one overturned in the act of dealing. Most house rules treat a boxed card as if it didn't exist; that is, it is placed aside and not used. Different rules cover cards exposed during the deal.
  • break:
    1. In a draw poker game, to discard cards that make a made hand in the hope of making a much better one. For example, a player with J-J-10-9-8 may wish to break his pair of jacks to draw for the straight, and a lowball player may break his 9-high 9-5-4-2-A to draw for the wheel. In a Jacks-or-better draw game, a player breaking a high pair must keep the discarded card aside, to prove he had openers.
    2. To end a session of play. The game broke at about 3:00.
    3. During a tournament, an interval where play ceases and the players are free to refresh or relieve themselves.
  • brick: A "blank", though more often used in the derogatory sense of a card that is undesirable rather than merely inconsequential, such as a card of high rank or one that makes a pair in a low-hand game. Also known as a bomb. Compare to "rags".
  • brick & mortar: A brick & mortar or B&M casino is a "real" casino based in a building, as opposed to an online casino. This refers to many real-world locations vs. their Internet counterparts. It is not just a poker term or even a gambling term; it is often used in e-commerce in similar situations.
  • bridge order: Poker is neutral about suits. A spade flush and a club flush with all ranks matching is a tie. But in determining the dealer at the start of a game, or in determining the bring bettor in a stud game, bridge rank rules: Spades beat hearts beat diamonds beat clubs. It's convenient but coincidental that this works out to reverse alphabetical order.
  • bring in:
    1. To open a betting round. Alice brought it in for $4, and Bob raised to $10.
    2. A forced bet in stud games. In the first betting round, the holder of the worst (lowest or highest, depending) upcard must post a bring-in bet. The bring-in bet is typically a quarter to a third of a small bet. The bring-in bettor may look at his cards, and place a full bet if he deems it wise.
  • broadway: A 10 through ace straight. It can also include any group of cards from 10 to ace- i.e. I had position and two broadway cards (king-queen), so I called to see the flop.
  • brush:
    1. A casino employee whose job it is to greet players entering the poker room, maintain the list of persons waiting to play, announce open seats, and various other duties (including brushing off tables to prepare them for new games, hence the name).
    2. To recruit players into a game. Dave is brushing up some players for tonight's game.
  • bubble: The last finishing position in a poker tournament before entering the payout structure. He was very frustrated after getting eliminated on the bubble. Also can be applied to other situations like if six players will make a televised final table the player finishing seventh will go out on the "TV bubble". Also applies to any situation close to the payout structure.
  • buck: Marker to indicate which player is dealer (or last to act).
  • bug: A limited wild card. See main article: bug. Compare to the wild card.
  • bully: A player who raises frequently to force out more cautious players, especially one with a large stack for the size of the game (a "big stack" bully).
  • burn card, burn: A card that is removed from the deal to prevent cheating.
  • busted:
    1. Not complete, such as four cards to a straight that never gets the fifth card to complete it.
    2. Out of chips. To "bust out" is to lose all of one's chips.
  • button: Most commonly a marker that indicates the dealer position at the table, but other specialized buttons exist. See main article: button. Also "buck" or "hat".
  • buy-in: The minimum required amount of chips that must be "bought" to become involved in a game (or tournament). For example, a $4-$8 fixed limit game might require a player to buy at least $40 worth of chips. This is typically far less than an average player would expect to play with for any amount of time, but large enough that the player can play a number of hands without buying more, so the game isn't slowed down by constant chip-buying.
  • buy short: To buy into a game for an amount smaller than the normal buy-in. Some casinos allow this under certain circumstances, such as after having lost a full buy-in, or if all players agree to allow it.
  • buy the button:
    1. A rule originating in northern California casinos in games played with blinds, in which a new player sitting down with the button to his right (who would normally be required to sit out a hand as the button passed him, then post to come in) may choose to pay the amount of both blinds for this one hand (the amount of the large blind playing as a live blind, and the amount of the small blind as dead money), play this hand, and then receive the button on the next hand as if he had been playing all along.
    2. A tactic most often used by late-position players: a raise to encourage the later and button players to fold, thus giving the raiser last position in subsequent betting rounds.
  • buy the pot: Making a bet when no one else is betting so as to force the other players to fold, thus winning the pot uncontested. A specialized version of this is "buying the blinds" by making a large raise in the first round forcing all other players out of the hand.


  • call: To match a bet or raise.
  • call the clock: A method of discouraging players from taking an excessively long time to act. When someone calls the clock, the player has a set amount of time in which to make up his mind; if he fails to do so, his hand is immediately declared dead. In tournament play, a common rule is that if a player takes too long and no one calls the clock, the dealer or floor personnel will automatically do so.
  • calling station: A player who frequently calls bets or raises but rarely invokes them. A calling station is usually a loose passive player.
  • cap: A limit on the number of raises allowed in a betting round. Typically three or four (in addition to the opening bet). In most casinos, the cap is removed if there are only two players remaining either (1) at the beginning of the betting round, or (2) at the time that what would have otherwise been the last raise is made. Also, term for the chip, token, or object placed atop one's cards to show continued involvement with a hand.
  • cap game: Similar to "cap" above, but refers to a no-limit or pot limit game with a cap on the amount that a player can bet during the course of a hand. Once the cap is reached, all players remaining in the hand are considered all-in. For example, a no limit game could have a betting cap of 30 times the big blind.
  • case card: The last available card of a certain description (typically a rank). The only way I can win is to catch the case king., meaning the only king remaining in the deck.
  • cash game: A game where each hand is played for real money as opposed to tournament play.
  • cash plays: An announcement, usually by a dealer, that a player requested to buy chips and can bet the cash he has on the table in lieu of chips until he receives his chips. In many card rooms, it also refers to the policy that $100 bills may remain on the table and considered to be "in play" in cash form, rather than converted to chips.
  • cashing: Winning a share of the prize money in a tournament.
  • cashing out: Exchanging chips for cash when leaving a game. Removing money from an on line poker site.
  • catch: To receive needed cards on a draw. I'm down 300--I can't catch anything today. or Joe caught his flush early, but I caught the boat on seventh street to beat him. Often used with an adjective to further specify, for example "catch perfect", "catch inside", "catch smooth".
  • catch up: To successfully complete a draw, thus defeating a player who previously had a better hand. I was sure I had Alice beat, but she caught up when that spade fell.
  • catch perfect: To catch the only two possible cards that will complete a hand and win the pot, usually those leading to a straight flush. Usually used in Texas hold 'em. Compare with "runner-runner".
  • center pot: The main pot in a table stakes game where one or more players are all in.
  • chase:
    1. To call a bet to see the next card when holding a drawing hand when the pot odds do not merit it.
    2. To continue to play a drawing hand over multiple betting rounds, especially one unlikely to succeed. Bob knew I made three nines on fourth street, but he chased that flush draw all the way to the river.
    3. To continue playing with a hand that is not likely the best because one has already invested money in the pot.
  • check:
    1. To bet nothing.
    2. A casino chip.
  • check out: To fold, in turn, even though there is no bet facing the player. In some games this is considered a breach of etiquette equivalent to folding out of turn. In others it is permitted, but frowned upon.
  • check-raise: Deceptive play whereby a player initially checks with the intention of raising should another player bet.
  • chip: A small disk used in place of money.
  • chip declare: A method of declaring intent to play high or low in a split-pot game with declaration.
  • chip dumping: A form of collusion that happens during tournaments, especially in the early rounds. Two or more players decide to go all-in early. The winner gets a large amount of chips, which increases the player's chance of cashing. The winnings are then split among the colluders.
  • chip leader: The player currently holding the most chips in a tournament (or occasionally a live no limit game).
  • chip race: An event in tournament poker where chips of a value lower than the minimum required are removed from play.
  • chip up:
    1. To exchange lower-denomination chips for higher-denomination chips. In tournament play, the term means to remove all the small chips from play by rounding up any odd small chips to the nearest large denomination, rather than using a chip race.
    2. To steadily accumulate chips in tournament play, typically by winning small pots with minimal risk-taking.
  • chop:
    1. To split a pot because of a tie, split-pot game, or player agreement.
    2. To play a game for a short time and cash out. Also "hit and run".
    3. A request made by a player to a dealer after taking a large-denomination chip that he wishes the dealer to make change.
    4. To chop blinds.
    5. An agreement by all players remaining in a tournament to distribute the remaining money in the prize pool according to an agreed-upon formula instead of playing the tournament to completion. Usually occurs at the final table of a large tournament.
  • chopping the blinds: Ending a hand when all players have folded to the blinds with the blinds being returned to those who paid them.
  • click raise: Making the minimum raise. Referring to online poker when you click the raise button without specifying the amount of raise.
  • coffee housing: Talking in an attempt to mislead other players about the strength of a hand. For example a player holding A-A as their first two cards might say "lets gamble here", implying a much weaker holding. Coffee housing is considered bad etiquette in the UK, but not in the USA. This is also called speech play.
  • coin flip: A situation where two players have, perhaps wisely, invested all their money in the pot and it's a roughly even chance which of them wins. A-K against a small pair is a common case; the A-K is only a modest dog. Also "race."
  • cold call: To call an amount that represents a sum of bets or raises by more than one player. Alice opened for $10, Bob raised another $20, and Carol cold called the $30. Compare to "flat call", "overcall".
  • cold deck: A deck that has been intentionally rigged ('stacked') such that some player or players cannot win.
  • collusion: A form of cheating involving cooperation among two or more players.
  • color change, color up: To exchange small-denomination chips for larger ones.
  • combo, combination game: A casino table at which multiple forms of poker are played in rotation.
  • come bet, on the come: A bet or raise made with a drawing hand, building the pot in anticipation of filling the draw. Usually a weak "gambler's" play, but occasionally correct with a very good draw and large pot or as a semi-bluff.
  • completion: To raise a small bet up to the amount of what would be a normal-sized bet. For example, in a $2/$4 stud game with $1 bring-in, a player after the bring-in may raise it to $2, completing what would otherwise be a sub-minimum bet up to the normal minimum. Also in limit games, if one player raises all in for less than the normally required minimum, a later player might complete the raise to the normal minimum (depending on house rules).
  • connectors: Two or more cards of consecutive or close to consecutive rank.
  • continuation bet: A bet made after the flop by the player who took the lead in betting before the flop (Texas hold 'em and Omaha hold 'em). Compare to "probe bet".
  • cooler: A case in which playing a strong hand (often the second best) that normally justifies the maximum bet is beaten by a still stronger hand.
  • countdown: The act of counting the cards that remain in the stub after all cards have been dealt, done by a dealer to ensure that a complete deck is being used.
  • cow: A player with whom one is sharing a buy-in, with the intent to split the result after play. To "go cow" is to make such an arrangement.
  • cripple: In some community card games, to cripple the deck means to have a hand that is virtually impossible for anyone else to catch up to. For example, in Texas hold 'em, if a player's hole cards are A-T and the flop is A-A-T the player has "crippled the deck"; though that player's hand is high (probably unbeatable), other players are unlikely to see any possibility for improvement and will probably fold. Such a hand generally doesn't gain much money for the player holding such a hand, however it is possible to win a large amount through slow play.
  • crying call: Calling when a player thinks he does not have the best hand.
  • cut card: A distinctive card, usually stiff solid-colored plastic, held against the bottom of the deck during the deal to prevent observation of the bottom card.
  • cutoff: The seat immediately to the right of the dealer button. In home games where the player on the button actually shuffles and deals the cards, the player in the cutoff seat cuts the deck (hence the name).
  • :


  • dark: An action taken before receiving information to which the player would normally be entitled. I'm drawing three, and I check in the dark. Compare to "blind."
  • dead blind: A blind that is not "live", in that the player posting it does not have the option to raise if other players just call. Usually involves a small blind posted by a player entering, or returning to, a game (in a position other than the big blind) that is posted in addition to a live blind equal to the big blind.
  • dead hand: A player's hand that is not entitled to participate in the deal for some reason, such as having been fouled by touching another player's cards, being found to contain the wrong number of cards, being dealt to a player who did not make the appropriate forced bets, etc.
  • dead man's hand: Currently, the dead man's hand is described as a two-pair poker hand consisting of black aces and eights. Along with an unknown "hole" card, these were the cards reportedly held by "Old West" folk hero, lawman and gunfighter, Wild Bill Hickok, when he was assassinated.
  • deal:
    1. To distribute cards to players in accordance with the rules of the game being played.
    2. A single instance of a game of poker, begun by shuffling the cards and ending with the award of a pot. Also called a "hand" (though both terms are ambiguous).
    3. An agreement to split tournament prize money differently from the announced payouts.
  • deal twice: In a cash game, when two players are involved in a large pot and one is all-in, they might agree to deal the remaining cards twice. If one player wins both times he wins the whole pot, but if both players win one hand they split the pot. Also, "play twice".
  • dealer:
    1. The person dealing the cards. Give Alice the cards, she's the dealer.
    2. The person who assumes that role for the purposes of betting order in a game, even though someone else might be physically dealing. Also "button". Compare to "buck".
  • dealer's choice: A version of poker in which the deal passes each game and each dealer can choose, or invent, a new poker game each hand or orbit.
  • declare: To verbally indicate an action or intention.
  • deep stack: A stack of chips that is relatively large for the stakes being played. Also called "big stack". Compare with "short stack".
  • defense: Making a play that defends the player against a bluff by forcing the supposed bluffer to fold or invest further..
  • deuce:
    1. A 2-spot card. Also called a duck, quack, or swan.
    2. Any of various related uses of the number two, such as a $2 limit game, a $2 chip, etc.
  • deuce-to-seven: A method of evaluating low hands.
  • dirty stack: A stack of chips apparently of a single denomination, but with one or more chips of another. Usually the result of inattention while stacking a pot, but may also be an intentional deception.
  • discard: To take a previously dealt card out of play. The set of all discards for a deal is called the "muck" or the "deadwood".
  • dominated hand: A hand that is extremely unlikely to win against another specific hand, even though it may not be a poor hand in its own right. Most commonly used in Texas hold 'em. A hand like A-Q, for example, is a good hand in general but is dominated by A-K, because whenever the former makes a good hand, the latter is likely to make a better one. A hand like 7-8 is a poor hand in general, but is not dominated by A-K because it makes different kinds of hands.
  • donk bet:
    1. A bet made by a donk, i.e. one that is generally considered weak or to demonstrate inexperience or lack of understanding of strategy.
    2. A bet made in early position by a player who didn't take initiative in the previous betting round. It was named because this move is often considered indicative of a weak player (since it is more often reasonable to expect a continuation bet).
  • donkey: a weak player, also known as "fish" or a "donk"
  • door card:
    1. In a stud game, a player's first face-up card. Patty paired her door card on fifth street and raised, so I put her on trips.
    2. In Texas hold 'em, the door card is the first visible card of the flop.
    3. In Draw poker, the sometimes visible card at the bottom of a player's hand. Players will often deliberately expose this card, especially at lowball.
  • double-ace flush: Under unconventional rules, a flush with one or more wild cards in which they play as aces, even if an ace is already present.
  • double belly buster straight draw: a combination of hole cards and exposed cards in hold 'em or stud games which does not include four connected cards, but where there are two different ranks of card that complete a straight. An example would be where the combination of hole cards and the flop is J9875.
  • double-board, double-flop: Any of several community card game variants (usually Texas hold 'em) in which two separate boards of community cards are dealt simultaneously, with the pot split between the winning hands using each board.
  • double-draw: Any of several Draw poker games in which the draw phase and subsequent betting round are repeated twice.
  • double raise: The minimum raise in a no-limit or pot-limit game, raising by just the amount of the current bet.
  • double suited: An Omaha hold 'em starting hand where two pairs of suited cards are held, e.g. two spades and two diamonds. May be abbreviated "ds" in written descriptions. AAJT (ds) is widely considered a premium pot-limit Omaha hold 'em starting hand.
  • double up, double through: In a big bet game, to bet all of one's chips on one hand against a single opponent (who has an equal or larger stack) and win, thereby doubling your stack. I was losing a bit, but then I doubled through Sarah to put me in good shape.
  • downcard: A card that is dealt face-down.
  • downswing: A period during which a player loses (or lost more) than expected. See also: Up 'upswing'.
  • drag light: To pull chips away from the pot to indicate that you don't have enough money to cover a bet. If you win, the amount is ignored. If you lose, you must cover the amount from your pocket. This is not allowed at any casino or any but the most casual home games; see table stakes.
  • draw, drawing hand, come hand: A 'drawing hand' is when a player has a chance to improve their hand to something considerably stronger through 'drawing' the required cards on the flop, on the turn or on the river.
  • drawing dead:
    1. Playing a drawing hand that will lose even if successful (a state of affairs usually only discovered after the fact or in a tournament when two or more players are "all in" and they show their cards). I caught the jack to make my straight, but Rob had a full house all along, so I was drawing dead.
    2. Playing a hand that can never improve beyond the opponent's hand. As soon as he tabled that flopped three-of-a-kind, I knew my pair of aces was drawing dead.
  • drawing live: Not drawing dead; that is, drawing to a hand that will win if successful.
  • drawing thin: Not drawing completely dead, but chasing a draw in the face of poor odds. Example: a player who will only win by catching 1 or 2 specific cards is said to be drawing thin. Profitable drawing thin requires large pot odds.
  • drop: <br/ > 1. To fold.
    2. Money charged by the casino for providing its services, often dropped through a slot in the table into a strong box.
    3. To drop ones cards to the felt to indicate that one is in or out of a game.
  • dry ace: In Omaha hold 'em or Texas hold 'em, an ace in one's hand without another card of the same suit. Used especially to denote the situation where the board presents a flush possibility, when the player does not in fact have a flush, but holding the ace presents some bluffing or semi-bluffing opportunity and a redraw in case the flush draw comes on turn. Compare to "blocker".
  • dry board: The texure of the community cards. A board is considered dry when the cards on the table mean that is unlikely or impossible that any player has made a strong hand like a straight or flush (e.g. because there are insufficient cards of the same suit). Compare to wet board.
  • dry pot: A side pot with no money created when a player goes all in and is called by more than one opponent, but not raised. If subsequent betting occurs, the money will go to the dry pot.
  • duplicate: To counterfeit, especially when the counterfeiting card matches one already present in one's hand.
  • :


  • eight or better: A common qualifier in High-low split games that use Ace-5 ranking. Only hands where the highest card is an eight or smaller can win the low portion of the pot.
  • equity: One's mathematical expected value from the current deal, calculated by multiplying the amount of money in the pot by one's probability of winning. For example, if the pot currently contains $100, and you estimate that you have a one in four chance of winning it, then your equity in the pot is $25. If a split is possible, the equity also includes the probability of winning a split times the size of that split; for example, if the pot has $100, and you have a 1/4 chance of winning and a 1/5 chance of taking a $50 split, your equity is $25 + $10 = $35.
  • expectation, expected value, EV: Often used in poker to mean "profitability in the long run".
  • exposed card: A card whose face has been deliberately or accidentally revealed to players normally not entitled to that information during the play of the game. Various games have different rules about how to handle this irregularity. Compare to "boxed card".


  • family pot: A deal in which every (or almost every) seated player called the first opening bet.
  • fast: Aggressive play. I was afraid of too many chasers, so I played my trips fast. Compare to "speeding".
  • favorite: A hand which when matched against another in a showdown has an advantage odds-wise over the other. A hand can be called a small or a big favorite depending on how much it is dominating the other. Contrast "underdog" where the situations are reversed. Favorites are usually used but not exclusively comparing how 2 hole cards do against 2 other hole cards pre-flop.
  • feeder: In a casino setting, a second or third table playing the same game as a "main" table, and from which players move to the main game as players there leave. Also called a "must-move table."
  • felt: The cloth covering of a poker table, whatever the actual material. Metaphorically, the table itself: Doyle and I have played across the felt. Also used to refer to table felt made visible by being uncluttered with chips from a player having lost them all or taken all of an opponent's. I felted Carla when I filled up against her flush.
  • field:
    1. All players as a collective in a large tournament: There were many professionals amongst the field of the Main Event.
    2. The number of players in a large tournament: Duhamel defeated a field of 7318 other players to win the title.
  • fifth street:
    1. The last card dealt to the board in community card games.
    2. The fifth card dealt to each player in stud poker.
  • fill, fill up: To successfully draw to a hand that needs one card to complete it, by getting the last card of a straight, flush, or full house. Jerry made his flush when I was betting my kings up, but I filled on seventh street to catch up.
  • final table: The last table in a multi-table poker tournament. The final table is set when a sufficient amount of people have been eliminated from the tournament leaving an exact amount of players to occupy one table (typically no more than ten players).
  • first position: The playing position to the direct left of the blinds in Texas hold 'em or Omaha hold 'em, also known as "under the gun." The player in first position must act first on the first round of betting.
  • fish: A weak player in poker or chess.
    To chase draws holding weak hand. Especially when facing aggressive play by another player.
  • five of a kind: A hand possible only in games with wild cards, or a game with more than one deck, defeating all other hands, comprising five cards of equal rank.
  • flash:
    1. Any card which becomes briefly exposed by accident to at least 1 player must be shown to all the players by the dealer during dealing. The card is said to be "flashed" to all players before being discarded to the muck pile.
    2. Unintentionally showing the bottom of the deck if not using a cut-card (an opaque non-play card used to conceal the bottom of the deck) is considered flashing.
    3. To show one or more downcards from one's hand. After everyone folded, Ted flashed his bluff to the other players.
  • flat call: A call, in a situation where one might be expected to raise. Normally I raise with jacks, but with three limpers ahead of me I decided to flat call. Also "smooth call". Compare to "cold call", "overcall". See slow play.
  • float: Calling a bet with the intention of bluffing on a later betting round. A player might do this when he suspects an opponent of making a continuation bet on the flop in the hopes that the bettor will give up his unimproved hand and check on the turn, allowing the caller to bet with a weak hand and hopefully take the pot away from the preflop aggressor. We are floating over the other guys flop bet looking for an opportunity to take the pot.
  • floorman, floorperson: A casino employee whose duties include adjudicating player disputes, keeping games filled and balanced, and managing dealers and other personnel. Players may shout "floor!" to call for a floorperson to resolve a dispute, to ask for a table or seat change, or to ask for some other casino service.
  • flop: The dealing of the first three face-up cards to the board, or to those three cards themselves.
  • flop game: A community card game.
  • flush: A hand comprising five cards of the same suit.
  • fold: To discard one's hand and forfeit interest in the current pot.
  • fold equity: The portion of the pot one expects to win, on average, by a bet that induces your opponents to fold, rather than seeing the showdown. For example, if your opponent folds 50% of the time to bets in situations like this, your fold equity = (current pot size) * (0.50).
  • forced-move: In a casino where more than one table is playing the same game with the same betting structure, one of the tables may be designated the "main" table, and will be kept full by requiring a player to move from one of the feeder tables to fill any vacancies. Players will generally be informed that their table is a "forced-move" table to be used in this way before they agree to play there. Also "must-move".
  • forward motion: A house rule of some casinos states that if a player in turn picks up chips from his stack and moves his hand toward the pot ("forward motion with chips in hand"), this constitutes a commitment to bet (or call), and the player may not withdraw his hand to check or fold. Such a player still has the choice of whether to call or raise. Compare to "string bet".
  • fouled hand: A hand that is ruled unplayable because of an irregularity, such as being found with too many or too few cards, having been mixed with cards of other players or the muck, having fallen off the table, etc. Compare to "dead hand".
  • four-flush: Four cards of the same suit. A non-standard poker hand in some games, an incomplete drawing hand in most.
  • four of a kind: A hand containing four cards of equal rank. Also "quads".
  • four-straight: Four cards in rank sequence; either an open-ender or one-ender. A non-standard poker hand in some games, an incomplete drawing hand in most. Sometimes "four to a straight".
  • fourth street:
    1. The fourth card dealt to the board in community card games.
    2. The fourth card dealt to each player in stud.
  • free card: A card dealt to one's hand (or to the board of community cards) after a betting round in which no player opened. One is thereby being given a chance to improve one's hand without having to pay anything. I wasn't sure my hand was good, but I bet so I wouldn't give a free card to Bill's flush draw.
  • freezeout: The most common form of tournament. There's no rebuy, play continues until one player has all the chips.
  • full house, full boat, full hand, full: A hand with three cards of one rank and two of a second rank. Also "boat", "tight".
  • full bet rule: In some casinos, the rule that a player must wager the full amount required in order for his action to constitute a raise. For example, in a game with a $4 fixed limit, a player facing an opening bet of $4 who wagers $7 is deemed to have flat called, because $8 is required to raise. Compare to "half bet rule". See Public cardroom rules and "All in" betting.
  • full ring: A full ring game is a cash game with more than six players involved, typically nine to eleven. This term is normally used in the context of online poker. Compare to "shorthanded".


  • gap hand: In Texas hold 'em, a gap hand is a starting hand with at least one rank separating the two cards. Usually referred to in context of one-gap and two-gap hands.
  • get away: To fold a good hand against a supposedly superior hand. Compare with laydown.
  • going south: To sneak a portion of your chips from the table while the game is underway. The intent is to reduce the stakes you have at risk. Normally prohibited in public card rooms. Also "ratholing".
  • grinder: A player who earns a living by making small profits over a long period of consistent, conservative play. Compare to "rock".
  • guts, guts to open:
    1. A game with no opening hand requirement; that is, where the only requirement to open the betting is "guts", or courage.
    2. Any of several poker variants where pots accumulate over several hands until a single player wins.
  • gypsy: To enter the pot cheaply by just calling the blind rather than raising. Also "limp".


  • half bet rule: In some casinos, the rule that placing chips equal to or greater than half the normal bet amount beyond the amount required to call constitutes a commitment to raise the normal amount. For example, in a game with a $4 fixed limit, a player facing a $4 opening bet who places $6 in the pot is deemed to have raised, and must complete his bet to $8. Compare to "full bet rule". See Public cardroom rules and "all in" betting.
  • hand history: The textual representation of a hand (or hands) played in an Internet cardroom.
  • hanger: When the bottom card of the deck sticks out beyond the others, an unwanted tell that the dealer is dealing from the bottom of the deck.
  • heads up poker: Playing against a single opponent. After Lori folded, Frank and I were heads up for the rest of the hand.
  • high hand, high: The best hand using traditional poker hand values, as opposed to lowball. Used especially in high-low split games.
  • high card:
    1. A no pair hand, ranked according to its highest-ranking cards.
    2. To defeat another player by virtue of high-ranking cards, especially kickers.
    3. To randomly select a player for some purpose by having each draw one card, the highest of which is selected (for example, to decide who deals first). When all the players get here, we'll high card for the button. Often high card by suit is used for this purpose.
  • hijack seat: The seat to the right of the cutoff seat, or second to the right of the button.
  • hole cards, hole:
    1. Face-down cards. Also "pocket cards". I think Willy has two more queens in the hole. 2. A seat, often preceded by a number relative to the button. Sara opened from the 2-hole.
  • hole cam: A camera that displays a player's face-down cards ("hole cards") to television viewers. Also "pocket cam" or "lipstick cam".
  • home game: A game played at a private venue (usually the home of one of the players), as opposed to a casino or public cardroom.
  • horse: A player financially backed by someone else. I lost today, but Larry was my horse in the stud game, and he won big. Compare with "bankroll" and "staking".


  • ignorant end, idiot end: In flop games, a player drawing to, or even flopping, a straight with undercards to the flop has the idiot end of it. A player with 8-9 betting on a flop of A-T-J puts himself at great risk, because many of the cards that complete his straight give credible opponents higher ones.
  • improve: To achieve a better hand than one currently holds by adding or exchanging cards as provided in the rules of the game being played. I didn't think Paula was bluffing, so I decided not to call unless I improved on the draw.
  • in position, IP: A player is said to be in position, if the player is last to act on the flop, turn and river betting rounds. Compare to out of position.
  • insurance: A "business" deal in which players agree to split or reduce a pot (roughly in proportion to the chances of each of them winning) with more cards to come rather than playing out the hand, or else a deal where one player makes a side bet against himself with a third party to hedge against a large loss.
  • in the middle:
    1. In a game with multiple blinds, an incoming player may sometimes be allowed to post the blinds "in the middle" (that is, out of their normal order) rather than having to wait for them to pass.
    2. A player being whipsawed is said to be "in the middle".
  • in the money: To finish high enough in a poker tournament to win prize money. Also "ITM".
  • in turn: A player, or an action, is said to be in turn if that player is expected to act next under the rules. Jerry said "check" while he was in turn, so he's not allowed to raise.
  • irregular declaration: An action taken by a player in turn that is not a straightforward declaration of intent, but that is reasonably interpreted as an action by other players, such as pointing a thumb up to signify "raise". House rules or dealer discretion may determine when such actions are meaningful and/or binding.
  • irregularity: Any of a number of abnormal conditions in play, such as unexpectedly exposed cards, that may call for corrective action.


  • jackpot:
    1. A game of "jackpot poker" or "jackpots", which is a variant of five-card draw with an ante from each player, no blinds, and an opening requirement of a pair of jacks or better.
    2. A large pool of money collected by the house and awarded for some rare occurrence, typically a bad beat.
  • joker: A 53rd card used mostly in draw games. The joker may usually be used as an Ace, or a card to complete a straight or flush, in high games, and as the lowest card not already present in a hand at low. A joker may give a player a great many outs.
  • juice: Money collected by the house. Also "vig", "vigorish".
  • junk: A hand with little expected value.


  • kill button: In a kill game a button that shows which player has the kill action.
  • kill hand: A hand with different betting rules in a kill game.
  • kitty: A pool of money built by collecting small amounts from certain pots, often used to buy refreshments, cards, and so on. The home-game equivalent of a rake.


  • lag: A "loose aggressive" style of play in which a player plays a lot of starting hands and makes many small raises in hopes of out-playing his opponents.
  • last to act: A player is last to act if all players between the player and the button have folded.
  • laydown: A tough choice to fold a good hand in anticipation of superior opposition.
  • lead: The player who makes the last bet or raise in a round of betting is said to have the lead at the start of the next round. Can also be used as a verb meaning to bet out into the pot, "to lead into the pot."
  • level: Used in tournament play to refer to the size of the blinds that are periodically increased. For example, in the first level the small blind / big blind may be $50 / $100, in the second level the blinds may be $100 / $200.
  • leg-up, leg-up button: The button used to signify who has won the previous hand in a kill game. Winning a pot in a "2 consecutive pots" kill game with the leg-up button in front of you, results in a kill.
  • light: A hand that is not likely to be best. Usually used as an action descriptor; "call light", "3-bet light".
  • limit: The minimum or maximum amount of a bet.
  • limp, limp in: To enter a pot by simply calling the bet to them instead of raising, called so because a player with a marginal hand may be willing to pay the minimum to see more cards, but would likely fold if the bet increased further.
  • limp-reraise: A reraise from a player that previously limped in the same betting round. I decided to limp-reraise with my pocket eights to isolate the all-in player. Also backraise.
  • live bet: A bet posted by a player under conditions that give him the option to raise even if no other player raises first; typically because it was posted as a blind or straddle, or to enter a new game.
  • live cards: In stud poker games, cards that will improve your hand that have not been seen among anyone's upcards, and are therefore presumably still available. In games such as Texas hold 'em, a player's hand is said to contain "live" cards if matching either of them on the board would give that player the lead over his opponent. Typically refers to a hand that is weak, but not dominated.
  • live hand: A hand still eligible to win the pot; one with the correct number of cards that has not been mucked or otherwise invalidated.
  • live game: A game with a lot of action, usually including many unskilled players, especially maniacs.
  • live poker: A retronym for poker played with at a table with cards, as opposed to video poker or online poker.
  • lock up: To "lock up" a seat in a cash game means to place a poker chip, player's card, or other personal effect on the table in front of the seat, to signify that the seat is occupied even though the player may not be present.
  • loose: To play more - and thus weaker - hands than the average for the game or for the player normally.
  • low:
    1. The lowest card by rank.
    2. The low half of the pot in a high-low split.


  • M-ratio: A measure of the health of a chip stack as a function of the cost to play each round.
  • maniac: A very loose and aggressive player, who bets and raises frequently, and often in situations where it is not good strategy to do so. Opposite of rock.
  • mark: A person at a poker table that is the focus of attention. Other players consider the "mark" a weaker competitor and try to push the person out.
  • match the pot: To put in an amount equal to all the chips in the pot.
  • micro-limit: Internet poker games with stakes so small that real cardrooms couldn't possibly profit from them, are said to be at the "micro-limit" level (e.g. 25¢-50¢).
  • middle pair: In a community card game, making a pair with neither the highest nor lowest card of the community cards.
  • misdeal: A deal which is ruined for some reason and must be redealt.
  • missed blind: A required bet that is not posted when it is a player's turn to do so, perhaps occurring when a player absents himself from the table. Various rules require the missed bet to be made up upon the player's return.
  • move in: In a no-limit game, to "move in" or to "go all in" means to bet one's entire stake on the hand in play.
  • muck:
    1. To fold.
    2. To discard one's hand without revealing the cards. Often done after winning without a showdown or at a showdown when a better hand has already been revealed.
    3. The discard pile "There were only a couple of cards in the muck"
  • multi-way pot - A pot where several players compete for it. Also known as a family pot, although family pot sometimes means only a pot where all players participate.


  • no-limit: Rules designating players are allowed to wager any or all of their chips in a single bet.
  • nothing: When a player only has the possibility of a high card and no other hand that will win.
  • nut hand (the nuts): The nut hand is the best possible hand in a given situation. Players sometimes evaluate hands by ranking them as being the "Second nuts" or being the "Pure nuts". The "Pure nuts" is usually the absolute best hand to have at that moment which is impossible to beat, the "Second nuts" is the second best hand only beat by the "Pure nuts", etc. The "nut low" is the absolute worst hand to have in a given round.
  • nut low: The best possible low hand in high-low split games.
  • nit: A player who is unwilling to take risks and plays only premium hands in the top range. Contrast weak player who plays like a nit but also folds extremely easily after taking risks even when holding an excellent hand. A weak player may be a nit but a nit is not necessarily a weak player.


  • offsuit: Cards that are not of the same suit. The ace of clubs and the king of spades are called ace-king offsuit.
  • one-chip rule: A call of a previous bet using a chip of higher denomination than necessary is considered a call unless it is verbally announced as a raise.
  • one-ended straight draw: Four out of five cards needed for a straight that can only be completed with one specific rank of card, in cases where the needed card rank is either higher or lower than the cards already held as part of the sequence; as opposed to an inside straight draw or an open-ended straight draw.
    While A-2-3-4 and A-K-Q-J are the only truly one-ended straight draw possibilities, an open-ended straight draw could be considered one-ended if one of the card ranks needed to complete it would also give an opponent a hand of higher rank than a straight. Example: Player A has 8s-9c in the pocket, Player B has 10d-10c in the pocket. The flop and turn were 7c-6d-Ks-6h. Player B would complete a full house with a 6 or a 10. Player A would complete a straight with a 5 or a 10. While strictly speaking Player A has an open-ended straight draw, it can also be referred to as a one-ended straight draw because one of the ends—the 10—would not help the hand. The odds of completing a one-ended straight draw are the same as the odds of completing an inside straight draw.
  • open: To be first.
  • open-ended straight draw, open-ended: An outside straight draw. Also "two-way straight draw" or "double-ended straight draw".
  • openers: The cards held by a player in a game of "jackpots" entitling him to open the pot. "Splitting openers" refers to holding onto one of your openers after discarding it to prove you had the necessary cards to open should you win the pot.
  • open limp: Being the first person in the pot preflop, but not raising.
  • option:
    1. An optional bet or draw, such as getting an extra card facedown for 50 cents or raising on the big blind when checked all the way around.
    2. The right to raise possessed by the big blind if there have been no raises.
  • orbit: A full rotation of the blinds at a table. Equal to the number of people at the table.
  • out of position, OOP: A player is said to be out of position, if he is either first to act, or is not last to act on a betting round.
  • overbet: To make a bet that is more than the size of the pot in a no limit game.
  • overcall: To call a bet after others have called, esp. big bets. Jim bet, Alice called, then Ted overcalled.
  • overcard:
    1. A community card with a higher rank than a player's pocket pair.
    2. A higher card. Ted held two overcards to Jill's pair with two cards to come.
  • overpair: In community card games such as Texas hold 'em and Omaha hold 'em, a pocket pair with a higher rank than any community card.
  • overs: An option to increase the stakes in limit games. Players may elect to play or not play overs; those who choose to play display some sort of token. If, at the beginning of a betting round after the first, only overs players remain in the hand, bets of twice the present limit are allowed. Most often used in home games as a compromise between aggressive and meek players.


  • paint: Any royal card. Used mostly in lowball games, where royal cards are rarely helpful.
  • pair: Two cards of the same rank.
  • passive: A style of play characterized by checking and calling.
  • pat: Already complete. A hand is a pat hand when, for example, a flush comes on the first five cards dealt in Draw poker.
  • pay off: To call a bet when you are most likely drawing dead because the pot odds justify the call.
  • penny ante: Frivolous, low stakes, or "for fun" only; A game where no significant stake is likely to change hands.
  • perfect: The best possible cards, in a lowball hand, after those already named. For example, 7-perfect would be 7-4-3-2-A, and 8-6-perfect would be 8-6-3-2-A.
  • pick-up: When the house picks up cash from the dealer after a player buys chips.
  • play the board: In games such as Texas hold 'em, where 5 community cards are dealt, if your best hand is on the board and you go to the showdown you are said to "play the board".
  • PLO: Pot limit Omaha.
  • pocket pair: In community card poker or stud poker, when two of a player's private cards make a pair. Also "wired pair".
  • poker face: A blank expression that does not reveal anything about the cards being held. Often used outside the world of poker.
  • position bet: A bet that is made more due to the strength of the bettor's position than the strength of the bettor's cards.
  • post: To make the required small or big blind bet in Texas hold 'em or other games played with blinds rather than antes
  • post dead: To post a bet amount equal to the small and the big blind combined (the amount of the large blind playing as a live blind, and the amount of the small blind as dead money). In games played with blinds, a player who steps away from the table and misses his turn for the blinds must either post dead or wait for the big blind to re-enter the game.
  • pot-committed: More often in the context of a no limit game; the situation where you can no longer fold because the size of the pot is so large compared to the size of your stack.
  • pre-flop: The time when players already have their pocket cards but no flop has been dealt yet. It's also the first round of bets.
  • probe bet: A bet after the flop by a player who did not take the lead in betting before the flop (and when the player that did take the lead in betting before the flop declined to act).
  • prop, proposition player: A player who gets paid an hourly rate to start poker games or to help them stay active. Prop players play with their own money, which distinguishes them from shills, who play with the casino's money.
  • protected pot: A pot that seems impossible to bluff to win because too many players are active in it and the chances of another player either calling you to the end or raising beyond measure become an assurance.
  • purse: The total prize pool in a poker tournament
  • put on: To put someone on a hand is to deduce what hand or range of hands they have based on their actions and your knowledge of their gameplay.


  • qualifier, qualifying low: A qualifying low hand. High-low split games often require a minimum hand value, such as 8-high, in order to award the low half of the pot. In some home games, there are qualifiers for high hands as well: "Seven stud, trips-eight".
  • quarter: To win a quarter of a pot, usually by tying the low or high hand of a high-low split game. Generally, this is an unwanted outcome, as a player is often putting in a third of the pot in the hope of winning a quarter of the pot back.


  • rabbit hunt: After a hand is complete, to reveal cards that would have been dealt later in the hand had it continued. This is usually prohibited in casinos because it slows the game and may reveal information about concealed hands. Also "fox hunt".
  • raccoon: A poor player. To make calls based on the hopes of hitting runner runner, inside, or backdoor draws
  • rack:
    1. A collection of 100 chips of the same denomination, usually arranged in 5 stacks in a plastic tray.
    2. A plastic tray used for storing a rack of chips.
  • rag: A low-valued (and presumably worthless) card. I don't like playing ace-rag from that position. Hence "ragged"/"raggy" - having a low value: The flop was pretty ragged, so I figured my queens were good. Though note that if a flop consists of consecutive or same-suited low-value cards then it is not ragged/raggy, as it could be valuable as part of a straight or flush.
  • rail: The rail is the sideline at a poker table—the (often imaginary) rail separating spectators from the field of play. Watching from the rail means watching a poker game as a spectator. "Going to the rail" usually means "Losing all one's money".
  • railbird: A non-participatory spectator of a poker game
  • rainbow: Three or four cards of different suits, especially said of a flop.
    Betting a rainbow: to make a bet of one chip of each colour currently in play.
  • rakeback: Rebate/repayment to a player of a portion of the rake paid by that player, normally from a non-cardroom, third-party source such as an affiliate. Rakeback is paid in many ways by online poker rooms, affiliates or brick and mortar rooms. Many use direct money payments for online poker play. Brick and Mortar rooms usually use rate cards to track and pay their rakeback.
  • Rakeback pro: Rakeback pro is the definition given to a poker player who may not be a winning player, however, uses rakeback to supplement his losses and turn them in to winnings.
  • range of hands: The list of holdings that a player considers a opponent might have when trying to deduce their holding.
  • rathole: To remove a portion of your chips from the table while the game is underway. Normally prohibited in public card rooms. Also "going south".
  • rebuy: An amount of chips purchased after the buy-in. In some tournaments, players are allowed to rebuy chips one or more times for a limited period after the start of the game, providing that their stack is at or under its initial level.
  • redeal: To deal a hand again, possibly after a misdeal.
  • redraw:
    1. To make one hand and have a draw for a better hand. Ted made a straight on the turn with a redraw for a flush on the river.
    2. Second or later draws in a draw game with multiple draws.
  • represent: To represent a hand is to play as if you hold it (whether you actually hold it or are bluffing).
  • reraise: Raise after one has been raised. Also coming "over the top".
  • river: The river or "river card" is the final card dealt in a poker hand, to be followed by a final round of betting and, if necessary, a showdown. In Texas hold 'em and Omaha hold'em, the river is the fifth and last card to be dealt to the community card board, after the flop and turn. A player losing the pot due only to the river card is said to have been "rivered".
  • rock:
    1. A very tight player (plays very few hands and only continues with strong hands).
    2. A bundle of chips held together with a rubber band, or other token signifying an obligatory live straddle. If the player under the gun has the rock, he must use it to post a live straddle. The winner of the pot collects the rock and is obligated to use it in turn.
  • rolled-up trips: In seven-card stud, three of a kind dealt in the first three cards.
  • rounder: An expert player who travels around to seek out high-stakes games
  • royal cards: Royal card are also known as face cards or picture cards. These cards consist of the Jack, Queen, and King of any suit.
  • royal flush: A straight flush of the top five cards of any suit. This is generally the highest possible hand.
  • run it twice, running it twice: A gentleman's agreement (which isn't allowed in some casinos) where the players (usually two or three) agree to draw each remaining card to come in two different occasions instead of just once after all parties have gone all-in (two flops, turns and river for example for a total of 10 community cards in 2 sets of 5). You may run twice the flop, turn and river or just the turn and river or only the river. Cards are usually not run retroactively unless the players expressly request so (which is rare). The winner of one "run" gets half the pot while the winner of the second "run" gets the other half. Running it twice is done to minimize bad beats and reduce bankroll swings. Running it twice is a form of insurance.
  • runner-runner: A hand made by hitting two consecutive cards on the turn and river.
  • rush: A prolonged winning streak. A player who has won several big pots recently is said to be on a rush.


  • satellite: A tournament in which the prize is a free entrance to another (larger) tournament.
  • scare card: A card dealt face up (either to a player in a game such as stud or to the board in a community card game) that could create a strong hand for someone. The Jack of spades on the turn was a scare card because it put both flush and straight possibilities on the board.
  • scoop: In high-low split games, to win both the high and the low halves of the pot.
  • second pair: In community card poker games, a pair of cards of the second-top rank on the board. Second pair is a middle pair, but not necessarily vice-versa.
  • sell: In spread limit poker, to sell a hand is to bet less than the maximum with a strong hand, in the hope that more of your opponents will call the bet.
  • semi-bluff: When a player bluffs on one round of betting with an inferior or drawing hand that might improve in a later round.
  • set: Three of a kind, esp. the situation where two of the cards are concealed in the player's hole cards.
  • set-up: A deck that has been ordered, usually King to Ace by suit (spades, hearts, clubs and diamonds). In casinos, it is customary to use a set-up deck when introducing a new deck to the table. The set-up is spread face up for the players to demonstrate that all of the cards are present before the first shuffle. Also called to "spade the deck".
  • sevens rule: A rule in many A-5 lowball games that requires a player with a seven-low or better after the draw to bet, rather than check or check-raise. In some venues a violator loses any future interest in the pot; in others he forfeits his interest entirely.
  • shark: A professional player.
  • shoe: A slanted container used to hold the cards yet to be dealt, usually used by casinos or in professional poker tournaments.
  • shootout: A poker tournament format where the last remaining player of a table goes on to play the remaining players of other tables. Each table plays independently of the others; that is, there is no balancing as players are eliminated. This format is particularly common in European televised poker programs, including Late Night Poker.
  • short buy: In no-limit poker, to buy in to a game for considerably less money than the stated maximum buyin, or less than other players at the table have in play.
  • short stack: A stack of chips that is relatively small for the stakes being played.
  • shorthanded: A poker game that is played with around six players or fewer, as opposed to a full ring game, which is usually nine or ten players. A tournament where all tables are shorthanded at all times is called a short table tournament.
  • showdown: When if more than one player remains after the last betting round, remaining players expose and compare their hands to determine the winner or winners.
  • side game: A ring game running concurrently with a tournament made up of players who have either been eliminated or opted not to play the tournament.
  • side pot: A separate pot created to deal with the situation of one player going "all in".
  • sit and go: A poker tournament with no scheduled starting time that starts whenever the necessary players have put up their money. Single-table sit-and-goes, with nine or ten players, are the norm, but multi-table games are common as well. Also called sit n' gos and a variety of other similar spellings.
  • slow roll: To delay or avoid showing one's hand at showdown, forcing other players to expose their hands first. When done while holding a good hand likely to be the winner, it is considered poor etiquette, because it often gives other players "false hope" that their hands might win before the slow-roller's is exposed.
  • snow:
    1. To play a worthless hand misleadingly in draw poker in order to bluff.
    2. The worthless hand in question.
  • soft-play: To intentionally go easy on a player (e.g. not betting or raising against him when you usually would). Soft play is expressly prohibited in most card rooms, and may result in penalties ranging from forced sit-outs to forfeiture of stakes or winnings.
  • soft break: Exchanging a large bill or chip into both chips and cash, when a player buys in. The cash is returned to the player and thus not in play.
  • splash the pot: To throw one's chips in the pot in a disorderly fashion. Not typically allowed, because the dealer can't tell how much has been bet.
  • split two pair: In community card poker, a two pair hand, with each pair made of one of your hole cards, and one community card.
  • spread: The range between a table's minimum and maximum bets.
  • spread-limit: A form of limit poker where the bets and raises can be between a minimum and maximum value. The spread may change between rounds.
  • squeeze play: A bluff reraise in no limit hold'em with less-than-premium cards, after another player or players have already called the original raise. The goal is to bluff everyone out of the hand and steal the bets. This play is most effective when a loose aggressive player opens the pot and is called by one or more passive / weak players. Assuming a standard raise of 3BBs, and only one caller, then the minimum bluff squeezing stack is generally accepted as being at least 18 BBs (this increases the more cold callers there are in the pot).
  • stack:
    1. The total chips and currency that a player has in play at a given moment.
    2. A collection of 20 poker chips of the same denomination, usually arranged in an orderly column.
  • stakes: The definition of the amount one buys in for and can bet. For example, a "low stakes" game might be a $10 buy-in with a $1 maximum raise.
  • staking: Staking is the act of one person putting up cash for a poker player to play with in hopes that the player wins. Any profits are split on a predetermined percentage between the backer and the player. A backed player is often known as a "horse". The player will then use the money to play in a tournament or ring game. Compare with "bankroll".
  • stand pat: In draw poker, playing the original hand using no draws, either as a bluff or in the belief it is the best hand.
  • steam: A state of anger, mental confusion, or frustration in which a player adopts a less than optimal strategy, usually resulting in poor play and poor performance.
  • stop and go: Stop and go or stop 'n' go is when a player bets into another player who has previously raised or otherwise shown aggression. Example: On the flop, Bill bets into Tom, Tom raises, and Bill just calls. On the turn, Bill bets into Tom again. Bill has just pulled a stop 'n' go play. Another version of the "stop and go" is in tournament poker when a player raises pre-flop with the intention of going all in after the flop regardless of the cards that fall. This is typically done when the blinds are high and every chip becomes vital.
  • straight: When used with an amount, indicates that the speaker is referring to the total bet, versus the amount being raised. Alice bets twenty. Bob raises to fifty straight. Meaning he called twenty and raised thirty.
  • strategy card: A wallet sized card that is commonly used to help with poker strategies in online and casino games.
  • street: A street is another term for a dealt card or betting round, e.g. as in first street, second street, third street (flop), fourth street (turn), fifth street (river)
  • string bet: A call with one motion and a later raise with another, or a reach for more chips without stating the intended amount. String bets are prohibited in public cardroom rules. Compare to "forward motion". A player can (and should) defend himself against string bet complaints by declaring his intention before moving any chips. Note that the "I call, and raise..." cliche is a string bet.
  • structured: A structured betting system is one where the spread of the bets may change from round to round.
  • stud:
    1. A variant of poker.<br/ > 2. A card dealt face up in Stud poker.
  • subscription poker: Subscription poker is a form of online poker wherein users pay a monthly fee to become eligible to play in real-money tournaments.
  • suck out: A situation when a hand heavily favored to win loses to an inferior hand after all the cards are dealt. The winning hand is said to have "sucked out".
  • suited: Having the same suit.
  • super satellite: A multi-table poker tournament in which the prize is a free entrance to a satellite tournament or a tournament in which all the top finishers gain entrance to a larger tournament.


  • tag: A "tight aggressive" style of play in which a player plays a small number of strong starting hands, but when in pots plays aggressively.
  • tainted outs: Cards that improve a hand so that it is better than the other current hands, but simultaneously improve other hands even more.
  • tell: A tell in poker is a detectable change in a player's behavior or demeanor that gives clues to that player's assessment of his hand. A player gains an advantage if he observes and understands the meaning of another player's tell, particularly if the tell is unconscious and reliable. Sometimes a player may fake a tell, hoping to induce his opponents to make poor judgments in response to the false tell.
  • texture: How well coordinated the community cards are to one another. This is used to estimate your relative hand strength: a pocket pair, for example is of a higher value when the texture is uncoordinated (also known as a dry board), as it reduces the probability that someone has hit a stronger hand like a straight or a flush.
  • third man walking: A player who gets up from his seat in a cash game, after two other players are already away from the table, is referred to as the "third man walking". In a casino with a "third man walking rule", this player may be required to return to his seat within 10 minutes, or one rotation of the deal around the table, or else his seat in the game will be forfeited if there is a waiting list for the game.
  • three bet, three betting, 3-bet, 3bet: To be the first player to put in a 3rd unit of betting. For example, if Bob opens for $10, and Mary raises to make the bet $20, if Ted also raises to make the bet $30, this is to "three bet". (Before the flop, 3-betting means re-raising the first raiser.)
  • three pair: In a seven card game, such as seven-card stud or Texas hold 'em, it is possible for a player to have 3 pairs, although a player can only play two of them as part of a standard 5-card poker hand. This situation may jokingly be referred to as a player having a hand of three pair. Note that in Omaha hold 'em, it is possible to "have" 4 pair in the same manner.
  • tight:
    1. To play fewer hands (and thus fewer weaker hands) than average for the game or for the player normally.
    2. Having a tight is also slang for a "full house".
  • tilt: Emotional upset, mental confusion, or frustration in which a player adopts a less than optimal strategy, usually resulting in poor play and poor performance.
  • to go: The amount that a player is required to call in order to stay in the hand, "Alice was deciding whether to call now it was $50 to go."
  • toke: In a brick and mortar casino, a toke is a "tip" given to the dealer by the winner of the pot. Tokes often represent a large percentage of a dealer's income.
  • top kicker: In community card poker games, top kicker is the best possible kicker to some given hand. Usually it would be an Ace, but with an Ace on the board it would be a King or lower.
  • top pair: In community card poker games, top pair is a pair comprising a pocket card and the highest-ranking card on the board.
  • top two: A split two pair, matching the highest-ranking two flop cards.
  • trey: A 3-spot card. Casino personnel refer to the 3¦ as the "trey of clubs."
  • trips: When one of a player's hole cards in Texas hold 'em connects with two cards on the board to make three of a kind. This differs from a "set" where three of a kind is made when a pocket pair connects with one card on the flop to make three of a kind.
  • turbo: A turbo is a type of tournament where the blind levels increase much faster than in standard play.
  • turn: The turn or "turn card" or "fourth street" is the fourth of five cards dealt to a community card board, constituting one face-up community card that each of the players in the game can use to make up their final hand. See also flop and river.


  • under the gun: The playing position to the direct left of the blinds in Texas hold 'em or Omaha hold 'em. The player who is under the gun must act first on the first round of betting.
  • underdog: An underdog or dog is a player with a smaller chance to win than another specified player. Frequently used when the exact odds are expressed. Harry might have been bluffing, but if he really had the king, my hand was a 4-to-1 dog, so I folded.
  • underfull: A full house made where the three of a kind has lower-ranking cards than the pair. I had the underfull when the flop came A-A-5 and I had pocket 5's in the hole. Can be beaten by the "big full".
  • up: When used with a card rank to describe a poker hand, refers to two pair with the named card being the higher pair. For example, a hand of QQ885 might be called "queens up".
  • upcard: A card that is played face up.
  • upswing: A period during which a player wins more (or loses less) than expected.
  • up the ante: Increase the stake. Also commonly used outside the context of poker.


  • value bet: A bet made by a player who wants it to be called (as opposed to a bluff or protection bet). This is typically because he has a superior hand that he expects to win at showdown, or a very good draw for which he can increase his pot equity by more than the amount of his bet.
  • variance: The statistical measure of how far actual results differ from expectation.
  • VPIP: A statistic that stands for Voluntary Put Money In Pot. It represents the percentage of hands with which a player puts money into the pot pre-flop, without counting any blind postings. Also called VP$IP. VPIP is an excellent measure of how tight or loose a player is.


  • wake up: To "wake up with a hand" means to discover a strong starting hand, often when there has already been action in front of the player.
  • walk: A walk is the situation where all players fold to the big blind.
  • wash: To mix the deck by spreading the cards face down on the table and mixing them up. A dealer may wash the deck before shuffling.
  • weak ace: An ace with a low kicker (e.g. four). Also "small ace," "soft ace," "ace-rag."
  • weak player: A player who is easily bullied out of a hand post-flop by any sort of action (betting, raising), whether he has the best hand or not. Weak players are usually but not always nits. Weak players are poker player's favorite opponents second only to calling stations.
  • webcam poker: A form of online poker which allows players to watch each other during play via a webcam. Webcam poker gives competitors the chance to observe their rivals' reactions in virtual poker games and tournaments. Players can see the cards being dealt by live webcam poker dealers, rather than random number generators).
  • wet board: The texure of the community cards. A "wet board" is when the cards on the table make it possible for players to have hit strong hands like straights, flushes or draws. The opposite is a dry board.
  • wheel:
    1. A 5-high straight (A-2-3-4-5), with the Ace playing low.
    2. In deuce-to-seven lowball, the nut low hand (2-3-4-5-7).
  • window card: An upcard in stud poker. The first window card in stud is called the "door card". In Texas hold'em and Omaha, the window card is the first card shown when the dealer puts out the three cards for the flop.
  • wrap: In Omaha hold 'em, an open ended straight draw comprising two board cards and three or four cards from a player's hand. A player holding 345A with the board 67K has a "wrap", as any 3, 4, or 5, or 8 will make a straight. A hand of 4589 would also be a wrap draw, but would often be referred to as a "big wrap" because it has twenty outs rather than thirteen, and is not at the idiot end.

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