Poker Terms

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ACE HIGH: A poker hand that has no special card rankings with the highest being an ace.

ACES FULL: A poker hand with 3 aces and a pair of any other value.

ACES UP: Two pair, a pair of Aces and any other pair.

ACTION: A fold, check, call, bet, or raise in a poker game.

ACTIVE PLAYER: A player still involved in a poker hand.

AGGRESSIVE ACTION: A wager that could enable a poker player to win a pot without a showdown- a bet or raise.

ALL BLUE: A flush containing either clubs or spades in a poker game.

ALL-IN: When a player bets all his chips in a poker game.

ALL-IN OVER THE TOP: Raising with all of your poker chips after an opponents bet.

ALL PINK: A flush containing either diamonds or hearts in a poker game.

ANTE: A prescribed amount posted before the start of a hand by all poker players.


BACK DOOR: Making a poker hand that the player wasn’t drawing at.

BACKING INTO A HAND: To draw cards that make a poker hand that is different from the hand you were originally trying to make.

BACK DOOR STRAIGHT: In a poker game, when you have three cards that would support a straight, but you need the turn and river to make a straight.

BACK RAISE: To reraise another players raise in a poker game.

BAD BEAT: When a lucky poker hand beats a strong hand.

BANKROLL: Amount of money that a poker player has to wager for the duration of his/her poker career.

BATTLE OF THE BLINDS: In a poker game, when everybody folds to the players who have forced bets.

BEHIND: When your poker hand is not the best hand before all the cards have been dealt.

BET: In a poker game, the act of placing a wager in turn into the pot on any betting round, or the chips put into the pot.

BET FOR VALUE: In a poker game, when you bet in order to increase the pot size, not to make your opponents fold.

BET THE POT: In a poker game, when you make a bet that is the size of the pot.

BIG ‘DOG: An underdog. A poker player who has a very low chance of winning.

BIG BLIND: The largest regular blind in a poker game.

BIG SLICK: Poker slang for A-K (very strong starting poker hand).

BLANK: A card that has little value to the poker hand.

BLIND: required bet made before any cards are dealt in a poker game.

BLIND GAME: A poker game which utilizes a blind.

BLUFF: A bet or raise with a poker hand that is unlikely to beat the other players.

BOARD: (1) The board on which a waiting list is kept for poker players wanting seats in specific games. (2) Cards faceup on the poker table common to each of the (poker) hands. BOARDCARD: A community card in the center of the poker table, as in Texas hold’em or Omaha.

BOXED CARD: A card that appears faceup in the deck where all the other cards are facedown.

BROKEN GAME: A poker game that is no longer in action.

BUST A PLAYER: To eliminate a (poker) player from the game by taking all of his/her poker chips.

BUST OUT: To lose all of your (poker) chips and thus be eliminated from a poker tournament.

BUTTON: A poker player who is in the designated dealer position.

BUTTON GAMES: Games in which a dealer button is used.

BUY-IN: minimum amount of money required to enter any poker game.


CALIFORNIA LOWBALL: Poker game, Ace-to-five lowball with a joker.

CALL: To match the previous bet in a poker game.

CARDS SPEAK: The face value of a poker hand in a showdown is the true value of the poker hand.

CAPPED: Situation in limit poker in which the maximum number of raises on the betting round have been reached.

CHANGE GEARS: In a poker tournament, to strategically alternate your play between conservative and aggressive.

CHASE: To play a (poker) hand that is most likely worse than at least one other poker player.

CHECK: To not bet. To waive the right to initiate the betting in a round, but to retain the right to act if another poker player initiates the betting.

CHECK RAISE: In a poker game, to waive the right to bet until a bet has been made by an opponent, and then to increase the bet by at least an equal amount when it is your turn to act.

COLD CALL: In a poker game, to call a bet or multiple bets for the first time in a round.

COLLECTION: The fee charged in a poker game.

COLLECTION DROP: A fee charged for each poker hand dealt.

COLOR CHANGE: A request to change the poker chips from one denomination to another.

COME OVER THE TOP: To raise or re-raise another poker players bet in a poker game.

COMMON CARD: A card dealt face-up to be used by all poker players at the showdown in games of stud poker whenever there are not enough cards left in the deck to deal each poker player a card individually.

COMMUNITY CARDS: Cards dealt face-up in the center of the poker table that can be used by all poker players to form their best poker hand in the games of Texas hold’em and Omaha.

COMPLETE THE BET: To increase an all-in bet or forced bet to a full bet in limit poker. CONNECTORS: Consecutively ranked cards that can help a poker player make a straight. CUT: To divide the deck into sections in such a manner as to change the order of the cards. CUT-CARD: Another term for the bottom card.


DEAD CARD: A poker hand that is not legally playable.

DEAD COLLECTION BLIND: Fee posted by a poker player having the dealer button, used in some poker games as an alternative method of seat rental. DEAD HAND: A poker hand that is not legally playable.

DEAD MONEY: Money that was put into the pot by players who have since folded. DEAL: To deal is to give out the cards during a poker hand. DEALER BUTTON: Flat disk that indicates the poker player who would be in the dealing position for that hand. Normally called “the button.” DEAL OFF: To take all the blinds and the button before changing seats or leaving the poker table.

DEAL TWICE: When there is no more betting, agreeing to have rest of the cards to come determine only half the pot, removing those cards, and dealing again for the other half of the pot.

DECK: Set of playing cards; 52 cards in seven-card stud, Texas hold’em, and Omaha; 53 cards with joker, used in ace-to-five lowball and draw high poker games.

DISCARD(S): In a draw game, to throw cards out of your poker hand to make room for replacements, or the card(s) thrown away; the muck.

DOUBLE UP: Betting all your poker chips and winning, ending up with twice as many poker chips.

DOWNCARDS: The playing cards that are dealt facedown in a stud game.

DRAW: (1) The poker form where a poker player is given the chance to replace cards in hand. (2) The act of replacing cards in the hand. (3) The point in the deal where replacing is done is called “the draw.”

DOMINATED: A poker hand that yields 3 or less outs which makes improving it very difficult.

E & F

EARLY POSITION: Position in which a poker player must act before most of the other poker players during a round.

FACECARD: King, queen, or jack.

FIFTH STREET: In a poker game, the final round of betting and the 5th card on the poker table- the river.

FIXED LIMIT: Any betting structure in limit poker in which the amount of the bet in each round is pre-set.

FLOP: In a poker game, the first three community cards dealt up at one time at a poker table.

FLASHED CARD: A partially exposed card.

FLOORPERSON: Casino employee who seats players and makes decisions.

FLUSH: In a poker game, a poker hand consisting of 5 cards of the same suit.

FOLD: To throw a hand away; to withdraw from a poker game and give up your cards.

FOUR OF A KIND: In a poker game, four cards with the same value.

FOURTH STREET: In a poker game, the fourth card on the poker table and the third round of betting (also called the turn card).

FOULED HAND: A dead poker hand.

FORCED BET: A required wager to start the action on the first betting round in a poker game.

FREEROLL: A chance to win something at no risk or cost.

FREEZE OUT: A poker game or a poker tournament that is played until one player has all the poker chips.

FULL BUY: A buy-in of at least the minimum requirement of poker chips needed for a given game.

FULL HOUSE: A poker hand consisting of three of a kind and a pair. (Ex: K, K, K, 3, 3)


GET FULL VALUE: In a poker game, to raise, bet or re-raise with the intention of getting the max pot odds if you win the poker hand.


HAND: (1) A single poker deal. (2) A poker players best five cards made by combining his/her cards with the community cards. (3) All a player’s personal cards.

HEADS-UP: Only two poker players involved in play.

HOLE CARD: The two cards dealt facedown to a poker player.


INSURANCE: A side agreement when someone is all-in for a player in a pot to put up money that guarantees a playoff of a set amount in case the opponent wins the pot.


JAMMED POT: A pot that has been raised the maximum number of times.

JOKER: “A partially wild card” in high draw poker and ace-to-five lowball. In high draw poker, it is used for aces, straights, and flushes. In lowball, it is the lowest unmatched rank in a poker hand.


KANSAS CITY LOWBALL: A form of draw poker low (deuce-to-seven), in which the best poker hand is 7,5,4,3,2 and straights and flushes count against you.

KEY HAND: A poker hand that proves to be a turning point in a poker tournament- for better or worse.

KICKER: The highest unpaired card that helps determine the value of a five-card poker hand (to create three-of-a-kind, pair, etc).

KILL BUTTON: A button used in a lowball game to indicate a poker player who has won two pots in a row and is required to kill the pot.


LATE POSITION: A position in which a poker player acts after most of the other poker players during a round.

LAY DOWN: This is when a poker player folds a strong poker hand in a critical situation.

LEG UP: Being in a situation that is equivalent to having won the previous pot, and thus liable to have to kill the next pot if you win the current pot.

LEGITIMATE HAND: A strong poker hand.

LIMP IN: In a poker game, when you enter a round by only calling, rather than raising, a bet.

LIST: The ordered roster of poker players waiting for a poker game.

LIVE BLIND: A blind bet giving a poker player the option of raising if no one else has.

LIVE HAND: A poker hand which is eligible to win the pot.

LOCK UP: A chip marker that holds a seat for a poker player.

LONG ODDS: When there is a very low probability that something will happen in a poker game.

LOOSE: Playing more poker hands than normal.

LOOSE PLAY: When a poker player plays many weak poker hands.

LOOSE GAME: A poker game with a lot of poker players in most hands.

LOWBALL: A draw game where the lowest poker hand wins.

LOWCARD: The lowest upcard at seven-card stud, which is required to bet.


MAIN POT: When a poker player goes all-in, he/she is eligible to win the main pot.

MIDDLE PAIR: In a poker game, pairing the second highest card on the board.

MIDDLE POSITION: Position in which a poker player acts somewhere between most of the other poker players during a round.

MISCALL: A wrong verbal declaration of the ranking of a poker hand.

MISDEAL: A mistake on the dealing of a poker hand which causes a new poker hand to be dealt.

MISSED BLIND: A required bet that is not posted when it is a player’s turn to do so.

MONSTER: A poker hand that has a high probability of winning.

MUCK: (1) The pile of discarded poker hands. (2) To discard a poker hand.

MUST MOVE: In order to protect the main poker game, when poker players of a second poker game must move into the first game as openings occur.


NO-LIMIT: At any time, any poker player can bet any or all of his/her poker chips.

NUT FLUSH: The best flush available within each poker hand.

NUT FLUSH DRAW: This is when one flush will give a poker player the best possible flush.

NUTS: The best possible poker hand.


ODDS: The probability of making vs. not making a poker hand.

ON A SHORT STACK: This is when a poker player has very few poker chips.

ON THE BUTTON: The poker player who acts last in a round.

ON TILT: Playing recklessly because of frustration.

OPEN CARD: Card that is dealt face-up

OPENER: The poker player who made the first voluntary bet.

OPENER BUTTON: A button used to indicate who opened a particular pot in a draw game.

OPEN END STRAIGHT DRAW: Four consecutive cards in a poker game.

OPEN PAIR: In a poker game, two cards of the same value that are dealt face-up.

OPTION: The choice to raise a bet given to a poker player with a blind.

OUTS: The cards that are still in the deck that could improve your poker hand.

OUT OF POSITION: When a poker player is at the disadvantage of having to act before his/her opponent.

OUTDRAW: When one person beats an opponent by drawing a better poker hand.

OVERBLIND: A blind used in some pots that is bigger than the regular big blind, and usually increases the stakes proportionally. Also called the oversize blind.

OVERCARD: In a poker game, a hole card that is higher than any other card on the board.

OVERPAIR: In a poker game, two hole cards paired and higher than any other card on the board.

OVER THE TOP: Making a large raise in a poker game.


PAIR: In a poker game, two cards with the same value.

PASS: Decline to bet. When a poker player folds his/her hand.

PASSIVE: In a poker game, the act of checking or calling hands rather than betting and raising hands.

PAT: Not drawing any cards in a draw game.

PLAY BEHIND: To have poker chips in play that are not in front of you.

PLAY FAST: To bet aggressively on a poker hand.

PLAYING THE BOARD: The use of all five community cards for your poker hand in Texas hold’em.

PLAY OVER: To play in a seat when the occupant is absent. POSITION: (1) The order of acting on a betting round or deal. (2) Where a poker player sits in relation to the dealer.

POT: The amount of poker chips that have been bet.

POT-LIMIT: The betting structure of a poker game in which you are allowed to bet up to the amount of the pot.

POT ODDS: The amount of money in the pot versus the amount of money it costs to continue playing.

POTTING OUT: The agreement with another poker player to take money out of a pot.

PROPOSITION BET: A side bet between poker players that is not related to the outcome of the poker hand.

PROTECT A HAND: To make a bet in order to convince other poker players to fold, and decrease the risk of having them outdraw you.

PUSH: When a new dealer replaces an existing dealer at the poker table.

PUTTING ON THE HEAT: Pressuring other (poker) players by betting aggressively in a poker game.


QUADS: Four of a kind


RACK: A tray in front of the dealer, used to hold poker chips and cards.

RAGS: Cards that are not worth playing.

RAGGED FLOP: Flop cards that do not help any poker players hands.

RANK: The value of the card or poker hand.

RAISE: To increase the amount of a previous wager in a poker game.

RE-RAISE: In a poker game, to raise someone’s raise.

RIVER: The final card dealt in a poker game.

ROCK: Tight and conservative poker player.

ROUNDER: Professional poker player who plays in high-stakes poker tournaments.

ROYAL FLUSH: A poker hand containing: A-K-Q-J-10 in the same suit.

RUNNING BAD: Losing streak

RUNNING GOOD: Winning streak.


SCOOP: When a poker player wins the high and low portions of a pot in a split-pot game.

SEE: To call a bet in a poker game.

SET-UP: Two suited decks, each with different colored backs, to replace the current decks in a poker game.

SIDE POT: A separate pot that is formed when one or more poker players are all in.

SHORT BUY: In a poker game, a buy in that is less than the required buy in.

SHORT ODDS: When there is a very high chance that something will happen.

SHORT STACK: The player with the fewest poker chips at the poker table.

SHOWDOWN: In a poker game, the final act of determining the winner of the pot after all betting has been completed.

SHUFFLE: The act of mixing the cards before a poker hand. SIDE POT: A separate pot contested by the other poker players when one poker player is all-in.

SLOW ROLL: Stalling before showing a winning poker hand to frustrate your opponent.

SMALL BLIND: The smallest blind in a poker game with multiple blinds.

SPLIT POT: A pot that is divided among players in a poker game.

STACK: Poker chips in front of a player at the poker table.

STEAL: To cause an opponent to fold by betting or raising, when you may not hold the best (poker) hand.

STEAMING: Playing recklessly due to frustration.

STRADDLE: An additional blind bet placed after the forced blinds, a multiple blind game.

STRAIGHT: Five consecutive cards with mixed suits in a poker game.

STRAIGHT FLUSH: Five cards in consecutive rank of the same suit in a poker game.

STUB: The portion of the deck that has not been dealt.

STRUCTURE: The schedule by which antes and blinds increase.

SUITED CONNECTORS: In poker, two cards which are consecutive in rank and of the same suit.

SUPERVISOR: An employee who is qualified to make rulings, such as, a floorperson, a shift supervisor, or a cardroom manager.

SUITED: Cards that are of the same suit in a poker game.


TABLE STAKES: The maximum amount that a poker player has on the poker table that he/she can lose or that anyone can win from him/her on any one poker hand.

TELL: An involuntary gesture or expression that shows the strength of a player’s poker hand.

TIGHT: Playing fewer poker hands than normal.

TIGHT PLAYER: A poker player who only plays very strong poker hands.

TIME: An expression used to stop the action on a poker hand.

TIME COLLECTION: A fee paid in advance for a seat rental in a poker tournament.

TOP PAIR: (In a poker game, pairing the highest card on the board.

TOURNAMENT: A poker competition with an entry fee and prizes.

TURN: In a poker game, the fourth card dealt on the board. Sometimes called fourth street.


INDER THE GUN: The position of the player who acts first on a betting round. For instance, if you are one to the left of the big blind, you are under the gun before the flop.

UNDERDOG: A person or hand not mathematically favored to win a pot. For instance, if you flop four cards to your flush, you are not quite a 2:1 underdog to make your flush by the river (that is, you will make your flush about one in three times).


WAGER: To bet or raise in a poker game.

WIRED PAIR: When a poker player’s two hole cards form a pair.

WEAK: A poker player who folds too many poker hands.