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Poker Glossary


This page has a full breakdown of the terminology you will encounter when playing poker.  Many of the phrases originate from the old land based casinos in the US and have transferrred rather nicely to the online gaming community.

Some of the phrases can also be found in our Internet Gambling Glossary, which also contains further terms related to other casino games.


Action: An opportunity to Bet, Call, Raise, Fold or Check.

All-In : To push in the last of your chips while betting or calling.

Ante: A required amount added by each player to start the pot at the beginning of a poker hand. Hold'Em games use Blinds to get the pot started.

Backdoor: Getting strong cards on both the Turn _and_ the River to make a hand. AKA Runner.

Bad Beat: When an Underdog hand takes the pot.

Bankroll: A player's table money, as opposed to the money that stays in his wallet.

Belly Buster: An inside straight.

Berry Patch: An easy game. A good place for sharp players to win money from less-sharp players.

Bet: Placing a wager.

Big Blind: The largest regular Blind in a game (Hold'Em).

Bitches: Queens.

Blank: A table card that doesn't help your hand.

Blind: A forced bet (or partial bet) posted at the beginning of the hand before the cards are dealt. Blinds are typically posted by players to the immediate left of the button.

Blind Game: A game in which Blinds are required.

Bluff: To bet with a weak or busted hand, trying to force the other players to fold.

Board: The community cards --face-up-- in a Hold’Em game: includes the Flop, the Turn, and the River cards.

Bottom Pair: The lowest pair on the flop.

Broadway: A Straight, Ace-high.

Bullets: A pair of Aces.

Bump: To Raise.

Burn: To discard –usually face-down-- the top card off the deck.

Bust: To go broke, run out of money.

Button(1): A small disk placed to indicate who is the nominal dealer in Hold'Em games.

Button(2): The player who has the disk.

Buy-the-Pot: To bluff with a large Bet, hoping the other players won't Call.

Buy-the-Button: To Bet and/or Raise with the hope that players between you and the Button fold. This would put you last in following betting rounds.

Buy-In: The money required to enter any game.

Call: To match the current Bet.

Calling Station: A weak player who calls a lot but rarely Raises or Folds. Since these players end up shoveling a lot of money into the pot without really challenging anyone they are good players to have in a game.

Cap: To make the last Raise permitted in a round of betting.

Capped: Occurs when the maximum number of Raises in a given betting round have been made.

Cards Speak: The rule that states, rather obviously, that the face value of a hand is the true value of the hand regardless of what the player may have stated their value to be.

Case: The last card of a certain rank remaining in the deck.

Catch: To catch the cards is to receive the cards you want or need to make a hand.

Center Pot: The main pot in a poker hand, as opposed to any side pots created when a player is All-In.

Check(1): To pass on your right to open a betting round.

Check(2): A Poker chip.

Check Raise: To Raise late in a betting round after having Checked earlier.

Chip: Small, round, colored discs used instead of cash at the poker table.

Coffeehouse: To talk about the cards, usually with the intent of misleading other players and influencing their betting decisions. Widely considered bad form at the Poker table.

Community Cards: The up-turned cards in the center of the table, used by all players to form their hands.

Connector: Hold’Em: a starting hand where the two cards are of consecutive rank (QJ, J10, 98, etc).

Counterfeit: To have your cards duplicated by the cards that have been flopped, thereby making your hand worthless or of significantly less value.

Cowboys: Kings.

Cripple: To cripple the deck is to hold some or all of the cards that would make the board cards valuable to other players.

Cut: To split the deck.

Dead Card: A card that is out of play and cannot be used.

Dead Hand: A hand that is out of play and cannot be used.

Dead Money: Chips that are placed in the pot and are thereby not considered part of a player's bet.

Deal: The process of distributing cards to the active players.

Deck(1): 52 cards used in all non-Joker Poker games including Stud, Hold'Em and Omaha.

Deck(2): 52 cards plus a Joker, used in a variety of Poker variations.

Discards: Cards that are discarded (mucked) from the player's hand in a Draw Poker game in order to make room for replacements.

Dog: Abbreviated form of Underdog.

Dominated Hand: A hand that will almost certainly lose to a better hand.

Door Card: 7-Card Stud: the first face-up card dealt to each player.

Down To The Felt: To be broke, tapped out, chips all gone.

Down cards: Cards that are dealt face down.

Draw Poker: A form of Poker where players are permitted to discard one or more cards from their hand and receive replacements

Draw: The process of replacing cards in a Draw Poker game.

Draw Dead: To build a hand that will not win because another hand at the table already has you beat.

Drop: See Fold.

Equity: Your percentage of the pot based on the notion that if you've got an 80% chance of winning a hand than 80% of the pot's value is your equity. A bogus concept in Poker because in the end you either win the pot or you do not.

Expectation(1): The amount of you expect to gain on average by making a certain play.

Expectation(2): The amount you expect to gain in a specific time period.

Face card: A card with a face on it: King, Queen, or Jack.

Family Pot: A pot in which most or all of the players have Called before the Flop.

Fast: To play aggressively.

Fast Company: Seasoned players who know their way around the Poker scene.

Fifth Street: The fifth card dealt in a hand of Stud poker.

Fish: A weak player, one easily suckered into betting when he should not.

Fishhooks: Jacks.

Fixed Limit: A betting structure wherein the amount of the bet on each round is pre-set.

Flop: The first three table cards dealt in Hold 'Em, face up.

Flush: Five cards of the same suit.

Fold: To muck your cards and withdraw from hand.

Forced Bet: A mandatory bet used to start the first betting round, typical in Stud games.

Fouled Hand: A Dead hand.

Four Of A Kind: Four cards of the same rank.

Fourth Street(1): Stud: The fourth card, second up-card.

Fourth Street(2): Hold'Em: The first table card after the flop (AKA the Turn).

Full House: A Poker hand built with Three-of-a-Kind plus a Pair.

Grinder: A cautious player whose strategy is to win a little money each day.

Gutshot: A Straight missing an inside card.

Hand(1): A player's cards.

Hand(2): A single poker deal including the subsequent betting rounds.

Heads Up: Two players competing for the pot, going one-on-one.

High: The best hand.

High Society: High denomination chips.

Hit: When cards appear that help you you've been hit.

Hold 'Em: A variation of Poker in which each player is dealt two cards face down. The player uses these cards in any desired combination with five community (face up) cards to make the best five card hand.

Hole: Your private cards.

Hole cards: A player's personal cards, dealt face down.

House: The place or business hosting the Poker game.

Jackpot: An exceptional bonus given to the loser of a hand when he loses even though he holds a very good hand.

Joker: A wild card used in high- and low-ball games.

Kicker: Hold'Em: the highest unpaired card used to determine the winner of otherwise tied Poker hands. Kickers are very important in Hold’Em.

Ladies: Queens.

Live Blind: A forced bet put in before any cards are dealt.

Live Game: A game with much betting, AKA a 'loose' game.

Lock: A hand sufficiently good to win at least part of the pot.

Lowball: A form of Draw or Stud Poker game where the lowest hand wins.

Low card: The lowest upcard in 7-Card Stud. The player holding this card is required to bet.

Make: To build a decent hand that has a shot at winning the pot.

Maniac: An extremely loose and/or aggressive player, typically Raises with little regard for the strength of the cards they hold.

Miscall: An incorrect statement of the ranking of a hand.

Muck: To discard.

No-Limit: A game in which the player is allowed to wager any amount he has in front of him.

Nuts: The best possible hand, a sure winner.

Offsuit: Hold'Em: cards of different suits, typically referring to the opening two pocket cards.

Omaha: A Flop game similar to Hold'Em.

On Tilt: Erratic, emotional play resulting in bad decisions and lost money.

Opener: The player to make the first voluntary bet.

Out: A card that will make your winning hand.

Outs: Cards still in the deck that would improve a player's hand.

Overcard: A pocket card higher than any card on the Board.

Overpair: A pocket pair of higher rank than any card on the Board.

Pass: Decline the opportunity to bet.

Pat: To stand Pat in Draw Poker is to keep all your cards thereby drawing none.

Pay Off: To call a bet on a player who Represents a winning hand. Generally only justified if the pot is sufficiently large.

Play The Board: Use all five community cards --and none of your own-- to make your hand.

Pocket: Your private cards, those dealt face down.

Position(1): A player's seat in relation to the blinds or the button.

Position(2): The order of play in a betting round or deal.

Post: To put in, usually referring to the Blinds.

Pot Limit: A Poker game in which a player may bet up to the amount of money in the pot.

Proposition Bets: Side bets between players, unrelated to the outcome of the current hand.

Quads: Four of a kind.

Rabbits: Weak players.

Rack: A tray used by the dealer to hold chips and cards.

Rag: A low card that has no apparent effect on the hand.

Ragged: Table cards that do not appear to help anybody.

Railroad Bible: A deck of playing cards.

Rainbow: Table cards of varying suits such that no flush is possible.

Raise: To increase on a prior wager.

Rake: A percentage of the pot taken by the house.

Rank: The numerical value of a card.

Represent: To play as if you hold a certain hand.

Reraise: To Raise on someone's Raise.

River: The fifth, and final, community card. AKA fifth street.

Rock: A tight --ultra-conservative-- player who only Raises on winning hands. Generally considered an unskilled form of play because such a player is very predictable.

Rock Garden: A game full of Rocks. Rock Gardens are not very much fun.

Rolled Up: 7-Card Stud: Three-of-a-Kind dealt in the first three cards.

Round: A round of betting.

Rounder: A tough, knowledgeable player who earns his living at the poker table. Often refers to a skilled player who represents himself as being rookie for the purpose of trapping and breaking the other players.

Royal Straight Flush: An Ace-high Straight Flush. AKA Royal Flush.

Runner: A hand which was made only by catching both the Turn and River. AKA Backdoor.

Scare Card: A community card which stands a good chance of trashing your hand.

Scoop: High-Low games: to win both the high and the low portions of a pot.

Second Pair: To pair with the second highest card on the table.

Sell: To under-Bet on strong cards in order to keep the other players in the hand and their money flowing onto the table.

Semi-Bluff: A bluff where the player actually has some chance of making the winning hand.

Set: Three-of-a-Kind where you have two in the Hole and the third is on the Board.

7-Card Stud: A Poker variant where each player is dealt seven cards as follows: two down, then four up, and a final card down.

Short Stack: A small number of chips compared to the other players.

Showdown: The end of the hand where all remaining players show their cards in order to determine the winning hand.

Shuffle: Mixing the cards before beginning a hand, required in order to break the ordering they had in the previous hand.

Side Pot: A stand-alone pot created when one or more players goes All-In.

Slow Play: To hold a strong hand but play it weakly in order to keep other players in the pot. This is what Rounders often do.

Slow Rolling: To slowly show-off the cards in a winning hand. Considered quite antagonistic toward other players who will soon want to inflict physical pain upon you if you keep doing it.

Small Blind: The smallest, usually opening, Blind.

Snap Off: To beat a bluffer or Coffehouser with finesse and not necessarily with an especially powerful hand.

Soft: Easy

South: To Fold.

Spikes: A Pair of Aces.

Splash The Pot: To toss one's chips. Highly frowned upon because it can be used as a way to hide the true value of money actually wagered.

Split Pot: A pot shared by players who finish with tied --equal value-- hands.

Stack: A player's Chips.

Straight: Five cards of consecutive rank.

Straight Flush: Five cards of consecutive rank, same suit.

Street: Stud games: cards dealt on a particular round in stud games. The fourth card is Fourth Street, etc.

Suit: The four suits in a deck: Clubs and Spades, Diamonds and Hearts.

Table Stakes: Your money on the table, the only money available to you in a given hand

Tap: Betting the full amount of an opponent's stack thereby forcing him to go All-In if he decides to Call the Bet.

Tell: A gesture or mannerism that reveals your feelings about your hand. Good players look for their opponent's Tell and will exploit it ruthlessly in order to take their money.

Texas Hold’Em: Also simply known as Hold’Em. The Poker variant in which each player receives two hole cards at the beginning of the hand. This is followed by five community cards: a three-card Flop, then the Turn card and finally the River.

Tight: A conservative, risk-adverse player.

Tilt: See On Tilt.

Toke: A small tip given to the dealer by the winner of a pot.

Top Pair: To Pair with the highest table card.

Trips: Three-of-a-Kind.

Turn: The fourth community card. AKA fourth street.

Under The Gun: The player who is required to act first in a betting round.

Underdog: When two hands go into a Showdown the Underdog is the one who looks like he's got the slimmest chance of winning.

Upcards: Cards that are dealt face up.

Wager(1): To Raise or Bet.

Wager(2): Chips used in a Bet or Raise

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