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Poker Glossary of Terms

The following glossary is a listing of commonly used poker terms:

Aggressive Action A wager that could enable a player to win a pot without a showdown, a bet or raise.
Aces Up Two pair, one of which is a pair of Aces. (aka Aces Over)
Action The betting activity. A fold, check, call, bet, or raise.
Active Player A player who is still involved in a hand.
All Blue A flush containing either clubs or spades.
All-In When you have put all of your playable money and chips into the pot during the course of a hand, you are said to be all-in.
All Pink A flush containing either diamonds or hearts.
American Airlines A pair of Aces.
Ante A small bet all players are required to make before a hand is dealt.
Baby Any of the four non-aces needed for the lowest possible hand (2,3,4,5).
Back Door Player makes a late hand that he wasn’t originally drawing to.
Back Raise To re-raise another players raise.
Bad Beat A hand being beat by another hand that had a very low percentage of becoming a winning hand.
Bankroll Current total gambling funds available. Not to be confused with a player’s stake in a particular game.
Barn Short for a Full Barn which is slang for a Full House.
Belly Buster An inside straight draw. (same as Gutshot)
Bet 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 Betting a completed or partial hand that, in the long run, is expected to win more than it loses.
Bicycle The best possible low hand: A-2-3-4-5. (same as a Wheel)
Big Blind An early forced bet, usually a raise of an earlier blind called the Small Blind.
Big Bobtail An open-ended 4-card straight flush.
Big Slick In Texas Hold’em, hole cards of A-K, either suited or not.
Blank A card that does not add value to a hand. (same as Bad Draw)
Blind A forced bet to open the pot, usually in lieu of an ante.
Blind Game A game which utilizes a blind.
Bluff A bet or raise made with a poor hand to entice the competition to fold.
Board All the community cards in a Hold’em game – the flop, turn, and river cards together.
Boardcard A community card in the center of the table, as in Hold’em or Omaha.
Boat Short for a Full Boat, which is slang for a Full House.
Bobtail Straight Four cards to a straight in denomination sequence. (same as Open End Straight)
Broken Game A game no longer in action.
Bottom Pair Pairing the lowest card on the board.
Boxed Card A card that appears face up in the deck where all other cards are face down.
Broadway An Ace high straight.
Bug A wild card Joker.
Bullet Ace. (Bull for short)
Bump Slang for Raise.
Burn To discard the top card from the deck, face down. This is done between each betting round before putting out the next community card(s). It is security against any player recognizing or glimpsing the next card to be used on the board.
Button A distinctive token placed in front of the player sitting in the theoretical dealer’s position, when a house dealer is used. The button rotates around the table so that every player has an opportunity to be the last to act.
Button Games Games in which a dealer button is used.
Buy-In The minimum amount of money required to enter any game.
California Lowball Ace-to-five lowball with a joker.
Call To put in to the pot the minimum amount of money necessary to continue playing.
Caller One who makes a call bet.
Calling Station A weak-passive player who calls a lot, but doesn’t raise or fold much.
Cap To cap the betting is to make the last permitted raise in a round.
Capped Describes the situation in limit poker in which the maximum number of raises on the betting round have been reached.
Cards Speak The final hand values are determined by the face up cards and not what the hand holder declares.
Case Card The fourth and last card of a particular rank to become available.
Center Pot The first pot created during a poker hand. This is as opposed to one or more “side” pots that are created if one or more players goes all-in. (same as Main Pot)
Change Gears Changing your style of play
Chase To continue in a hand, often at poor odds against the competition.
Check To waive the right to initiate the betting in a round, but to retain the right to act if another player initiates the betting.
Check Raise To check initially, and then raise a bet made later on in the same betting round.
Chip A round token used in place of cash at a gaming table.
Come Hand A hand that is not yet made, such as four cards to a flush.
Cold Call When a player with nothing invested in the pot except an ante, calls a raise and a re-raise as his first bet.
Collection The fee charged in a game; taken either out of the pot or from each player.
Collection Drop A fee charged for each hand dealt.
Common Card A card dealt face up to be used by all players at the showdown in the games of stud poker whenever there are insufficient cards left in the deck to deal each player a card individually.
Community Cards Cards that are available for every player to use in making a hand. Usually dealt face up somewhere in the middle of the table.
Complete The Bet To increase an all-in bet or forced bet to a full bet in limit poker.
Concealed Pair Both of the pair cards are face down.
Counterfeit To make your hand less valuable because of board cards that duplicate it.
Court Card A jack, queen or king.
Cowboy A king.
Crack To beat a hand, typically a big hand.
Cripple As in to cripple the deck. Meaning that you have most or all of the cards that somebody would want to have with the current board. If you have pocket kings, and the other two kings flop, you have crippled the deck.
Cut To divide the deck into 2 stacks.
Cut-Card Another term for the bottom card.
Crying Call To complain when making a call, sometimes a tactic to keep other players in the hand.
Dark Bet To bet without looking at your hand.
Dead Card A card that is not legally playable.
Dead Collection Blind A fee posted by the player having the dealer button, used in some games as an alternative method of seat rental.
Dead Hand A hand that has been fouled or has too many or too few cards.
Dead Man’s Hand Two pair, aces and eights. The hand Wild Bill Hickok was holding when he was shot to death.
Dead Money Chips that are taken into the center of the pot because they are not considered part of a particular player’s bet.
Deal To give each player cards, or put cards on the board. As used in these rules, each deal refers to the entire process from the shuffling and dealing of cards until the pot is awarded to the winner.
Deal Off To take all the blinds and the button before changing seats or leaving the table. That is, participate through all the blind positions and the dealer position.
Deal Twice When there is no more betting, agreeing to have the rest of the cards to come determine only half the pot, removing those cards, and dealing again for the other half of the pot.
Dealer Button A flat disk that indicates the player who would be in the dealing position for that hand (if there were not a house dealer). Normally just called “the button.”
Deuce A two.
Discard In a draw game, to throw cards out of your hand to make room for replacements.
Dominated A hand that yields three or less outs which makes improving it very difficult.
Door Card A player’s first up card in stud games.
Double Belly Buster A two-way inside straight, i.e. 3-5-6-7-9. (aka Double Gutshot)
Double Pop When the second player re-raises a raise.
Down To The Green When a player has gone all in.
Draw To discard some number of cards and have dealt an equal number of replacements.
Drawing Dead Drawing to a hand that cannot win because someone already holds a hand that will beat what you are drawing to.
Draw Out To catch a card that improves your situation from a losing hand to a winning hand.
Early Position Being one of the first players to act in a betting round.
Equity Your “rightful” share of a pot. If the pot contains $100, and you have a 50% chance of winning it, you have $50 equity in the pot.
Exposed Pair An exposed pair, as opposed to a split pair or a hidden pair.
Face Card A jack, queen or king.
Family Pot A pot in which all (or almost all) of the players call before the flop.
Fast As in “play fast.” To play a hand aggressively, betting and raising as much as possible.
Fill To draw a card that makes a five-card hand: straight, flush, full house, or straight flush.
Fill Up To fill a Full House.
Fish A player who loses money. An old saying is “If you can’t spot the fish at the table, you are the fish.”
Fixed Limit In limit poker, any betting structure in which the amount of the bet on each particular round is pre-set.
Flat Call To call a bet. Emphasizes that the caller did not raise.
Flat Limit A variant of fixed limit where all bets are the same amount.
Floorman The casino representative in charge of the card room or a section of a card room.
Flop In Hold’em, the first three community cards, dealt simultaneously.
Flush A poker hand consisting of five cards all one suit.
Fold To decline to call a bet, thus dropping out of a hand.
Forced Bet In some stud games a player may be required to make a bet to start the action on the first card.
Foul A hand which may not be played for one reason or another. A player with a foul hand may not make any claim on any portion of the pot.
Four Flush Four cards to a Flush.
Free Card A card dealt after all players checked in a betting round.
Freeroll Having a lock on part of a pot.
Freeze-Out A table-stakes game that continues until a small number of players (possibly only one) has all the money.
Full Barn Slang for Full House.
Full Boat Slang for Full House.
Full Buy A buy-in of at least the minimum requirement of chips needed for a particular game.
Full House A hand consisting of 3 of a kind and a pair.
Grifter A cheat.
Gutshot Straight A straight filled “inside”. If you have 9-8, the flop comes 7-5-2, and the turn is the 6, you’ve made your Gutshot Straight.
Head(s) Up Playing a single opponent.
Help Card A card that improves one’s hand.
High-Low Split Forms of poker in which the pot is split between the best hand and best lowball hand.
Hit As in “the flop hit me.” It means the flop contained cards that help your hand.
Hole Cards In stud and Hold’em, the face down cards dealt to each player.
Hook A Jack. So named because the “J” resembles a hook.
House The establishment running the game.
House Cut Generic term for how the house profits from hosting the game.
Ignorant End The lower end of a straight in a game that has community cards.
Implied Odds A refinement to Pot Odds, which includes money not yet, but expected to be in the pot.
Inside Straight Four cards to a straight, where only one rank will complete the hand, i.e. 4-5-6-8.
Insurance A side agreement when someone is all-in for a player in a pot to put up money that guarantees a payoff of a set amount in case the opponent wins the pot.
Jackpot A special bonus paid to the loser of a hand if he gets a very good hand beaten.
Jacks Or Better Draw poker in which a pair of jacks is the minimum hand permitted to start the action.
J Hook A Jack.
Jam A pot where several players are raising.
Joker A 53rd card in the deck, distinct from the others, used as a wild card or as a Bug.
Kansas City Lowball A form of draw poker low also known as deuce-to-seven, in which the best hand is 7-5-4-3-2 and straights and flushes count against you.
Kicker The highest side card that is not part of the basic final hand. In the hand 7-7-7-J-3 the jack would be the Kicker.
Kill An oversize blind, usually twice the size of the big blind and doubling the limit. Sometimes a “half-kill” increasing the blind and limits by fifty percent is used. A kill can be either voluntary or mandatory. The most common requirements of a mandatory kill are for winning two pots in a row at lowball and other games, or for scooping a pot in high-low split. (aka Kill Blind)
Kill Button A button used in a lowball game to indicate a player who has won two pots in a row and is required to kill the pot.
Kill Pot A pot with a forced kill by the winner of the two previous pots, or the winner of an entire pot of sufficient size in a high-low split game.
Lady A Queen.
Late Position For a particular betting round, a player who does not have to act until most of the other players have acted.
Lay Odds To give favorable odds to an opponent.
Leak To show one’s hole cards, often unknowingly.
Leg Up Being in a situation equivalent to having won the previous pot, and thus liable to have to kill the following pot if you win the current pot.
Lid The top card of the deck.
Limit Poker A poker game wherein the amount to be bet is fixed, or at most variable within a prescribed minimum and maximum.
Limp In To call along as cheaply as possible.
Liner A face card, because you can see a line when the card is face down and the lower right corner is lifted.
Live Card In stud, a card that has not been exposed.
Live Blind The last and largest blind bet may or may not be Live. If Live, the blind bettor has the option of raising his own blind in the event the bet is called around to him.
Live One The best kind of opponent, a poor player with a lot of money to lose and in a hurry to lose it.
Lock A hand that cannot be beaten. (same as the Nut)
Lock-Up A chip marker that holds a seat for a player.
Loose Playing more hands than the norm.
Loose Game A game with a lot of players in most hands.
Lowball Generic term for poker where the lowest hand wins.
Main Pot The main pot, as related to one or more side pots, when there are one or more all-in player(s). The main pot is the one in which all active players participate.
Maniac A player who bets, raises and re-raises without much regard to the quality of his hand.
Marked Cards Cards that have been illegally altered so that their value can be read from the back.
Mechanic A cheat, who can manipulate the cards to deal himself or another player a good hand.
Middle Pair Pairing the second highest card on the board.
Middle Position Betting positions approximately halfway around the table from the first player to act.
Misdeal A hand dealt incorrectly that must be re-dealt.
Missed Blind A required bet that is not posted when it is your turn to do so.
Mites And Lice A hand consisting of two pair, threes over twos.
Muck A collection of face down cards near the dealer composed of discards and burn cards.
Must Move In order to protect the main game, a situation where the players of a second game must move into the first game as openings occur.
Nickel Five dollars, usually represented by a red casino chip.
No-Limit Poker A game where there is no maximum bet; a player can wager any amount (perhaps above some minimum) up to whatever money is on the table in front of him.
Nut The best possible hand or the best possible of a given class. The “nut flush” is the highest possible flush.
Nut Player A very tight player who plays only the best hands.
Offsuit Not of the same suit.
On The Come A situation where the player does not yet have a complete hand.
On Tilt Playing worse (usually, more aggressively) than usual because a player has become emotionally upset.
One-Gap A Hold’em starting hand in which the two cards are two apart in rank.
Open Take the first bet in a hand, especially in draw poker.
Open-Ended Straight Four cards to a straight in denomination sequence, i.e. 5,6,7,8.
Opener The player who starts the betting, usually in draw poker.
Opener Button A button used to indicate who opened a particular pot in a draw game.
Openers In jacks-or-better draw, the cards held by the player who opens the pot that show the hand qualifies to be opened.
Open-Handed A category of games characterized by a part of each player’s hand being exposed.
Open Pair An exposed pair.
Option The choice to raise a bet given to a player with a blind.
Out A card that will improve your hand, often substantially.
Overblind A blind used in some pots that is bigger than the regular big blind, and usually increases the stakes proportionally. (aka Oversize Blind)
Overcall To call a bet after one or more players already called.
Overcard A hole card that is higher than any other card on the board.
Overpair In Hold’em, a pair in the hole that is larger than any community card on the board.
Paint A face card.
Pair Two cards of the same rank.
Pass Opposite of bet. To check, if checked to. To fold, if bet to.
Passive Checking and calling hands rather betting and raising hands.
Pat Not drawing any cards in a draw game.
Pat Hand Holding or being dealt a complete hand.
Pay Off Calling a bet with little expectation of winning, unless the opponent is bluffing.
Pay Station A player who rarely folds, thus who frequently calls better hands and loses.
Play The Board Using all five community cards for your hand in Hold’em.
Picked Off To get called when you are bluffing.
Pigeon An easy player.
Pocket Your unique cards that only you can see.
Pocket Rockets A pair of aces in the hole.
Position One’s location in the betting sequence, relative to the players still in the hand.
Post To put in a blind bet, generally required when you first sit down in a cardroom game.
Pot The total amount of money bet so far in a hand.
Pot Limit A game where the maximum bet is determined by the size of the pot at the time.
Pot Odds The amount of money in the pot divided by the amount of money you must bet in order to call.
Premium Hands The best possible hands.
Proposition Bets Side bets between players that are not related to the outcome of the hand.
Proposition Player An employee of the gaming establishment whose primary purpose is just to play and help keep enough players at a table. The proposition player does not participate in wins or losses. (aka Prop)
Puck A token denoting the dealer position. (same as Button)
Puppy Feet Club flush or just the suit of Clubs. (aka Pups)
Push When a new dealer replaces an existing dealer at a particular table.
Pushing Bets The situation in which two or more players make an agreement to return bets to each other when one of them wins a pot in which the other or others play. Also called saving bets.
Quads Four of a kind.
Qualifier A minimum standard that a hand must meet in order to win. Usually applied to the lowball side of a high-low split pot.
Quartered To divide half a pot between two tying hands in split pot games.
Rags Board cards that are small to medium, not suited and not in sequence. (aka Ragged)
Rail A barrier dividing the card playing area from a public area.
Railbird A spectator behind the rail.
Rainbow Small groups of cards with no two in the same suit.
Raise To wager more than the minimum required to call, forcing other players to put in more money as well.
Raiser One who raises.
Rake The usually small percentage of money taken from each pot and given to the house in return for hosting the game.
Rank The numerical value of a card.
Rat-Hole To take money or chips off the table during play.
Read To determine whether an opponent has a good, medium or bad hand by observing his personal behavior.
Represent Implying, by one’s betting style, that one has a particular hand.
Re-Raise To raise after an opponent has raised.
Ribbon Clerk A small time gambler.
Ring Game A standard game where players can come and go as they choose.
River The last card dealt in a hand of Stud or Hold’em.
Rock A very tight, solid poker player.
Rolled-Up In seven-card stud, being dealt three of a kind in the first three cards.
Royal Flush An Ace-high straight flush, the best possible hand in regular poker.
Runner-Runner A hand made using both of the last two cards dealt.
Rush A winning streak.
Sandbag Playing a strong hand as if it were only a fair one.
Scoop To win all of the pot in a split pot game.
Scare Card A card which may well turn the best hand into trash.
Scramble A facedown mixing of the cards.
Second Pair A pair with the second highest card on the flop.
Sell As in “sell a hand”. In a spread limit game, this means to bet less than the maximum when you have a very strong hand, hoping players will call whereas they would not have called a maximum bet.
See To call a bet.
Semi-Bluff To bluff with a come hand that figures to win if it hits.
Set 3 of a kind or 4 of a kind. In Holdem, a pair in your hand with one (or two) on the board.
Shark A good, crafty player who often posing as a fish early in the game.
Shill An employee of the gaming establishment whose primary purpose is just to play and help keep enough players at a table. A shill is staked to the game by the house as his compensation.
Short Buy A buy-in that is less than the required minimum buy-in.
Short-Stacked Playing with a only a small amount of money.
Showdown The point at the end of the hand where all active players reveal their cards and the pot is awarded to the winner(s).
Shuffle The act of mixing the cards before a hand.
Side Pot When an active player runs out of money during the course of a hand, the remaining players participate in a second or Side Pot for the rest of the hand. Additional side pots are possible if several players run out of money at different points in a hand.
Slow Play To play a hand not aggressively and risk as little as possible.
Small Blind In games with two blinds the first blind is the Small Blind because it is usually one-half (or less) the amount of the Big Blind.
Snapped Off To have a good hand beat.
Solid Player A strong, all around player.
Split Openers In draw poker, to discard one or more openers, usually to draw to a straight or flush.
Split Pair A pair in Stud with one card up and the other down.
Split Pot A pot that is split between two or more hands.
Splitting Blinds When no one else has entered the pot, an agreement between the big blind and small blind to each take back their blind bets instead of playing the deal.
Spread For a casino to offer a particular game.
Spread Limit A betting structure in which a player may bet any amount in a range on every betting round.
Stack The amount of money (the stack of chips) a player has on the table.
Stacked Deck A deck that has been arranged to give one player a huge advantage.
Stake The amount of a player’s buy-in, or the amount of money they are willing to play with in a given session.
Stand Off To call a raise. “Opener raises, I stand off”.
Steal To win the pot by bluffing.
Steal Position The next to last or last position.
Steam Playing wildly, calling and raising a lot.
Straddle An additional blind bet placed after the forced blinds, usually double the big blind in size or in lowball, a multiple blind game.
Straight Five cards in consecutive rank.
Straight Flush Five cards in consecutive rank of the same suit.
Street Cards dealt on a particular round in stud games. For instance, the fourth card in a player’s hand is often known as fourth street, the sixth card as sixth street, and so on.
String Bet An unethical and often illegal means of raising whereby a player puts a call-size stack of chips into the pot and, after observing the reactions of the players, then goes back to his stack and puts out more.
Stub The portion of the deck which has not been dealt.
Stuck A significant amount of money lost.
Stud Any of several poker games in which some of each player’s cards are exposed.
Suicide King King of Hearts. So named because in the drawing the king appears to be stabbing himself in the head.
Suited Two or more cards all the same suit.
Table Charge A fee paid for playing.
Table Stakes A standard rule whereby during a hand players can only bet the money they have on the table.
Tap In no-limit games, to wager all of one’s money in one bet.
Tapped Out Out of money.
Tell Any personal mannerisms that reveal the quality of one’s hand.
Three Of A Kind Three cards all the same rank.
Three Flush Three cards of the same suit.
Tied On When your hand is good enough to play it to the end.
Tight A style of play that entails playing fewer hands than average.
Tight Player A person who plays on the premium hands.
Tilt To play wildly or recklessly.
Time A request by a player to suspend play while he decides what he’s going to do. If a player doesn’t request time and there is a substantial amount of action behind him, the dealer may rule that the player has folded.
Toke Gambling term for “tip”. Comes from the term “Token of appreciation”.
Top Pair In flop games, having a hole card that matches the highest card on the board.
Top Two Pair In flop games, having hole cards that make the highest possible two pair hand.
Tournament A poker competition, normally with an entry fee and prizes.
Trey A three.
Trips Three of a kind.
Turn The fourth community card in Hold’em.
Two Flush Two suited cards.
Underdog Before all the cards are dealt, a hand that does not figure to be the winner.
Under The Gun The position that has to act first in a round of betting.
Uphill To chase or try to outdraw a better hand.
Value As in “bet for value.” This means that you would actually like your opponents to call your bet (as opposed to a bluff).
Variance A measure of the up and down swings your bankroll goes through.
Walk A pot won by the last blind when no one opens.
Weak One who folds too many hands.
Wheel A-2-3-4-5, the best possible low hand. (same as Bicycle)
Wild Card A joker or standard card that, by player agreement and/or dealer’s choice, can be used to represent any card desired.
Wired Pair A pair in the hole. In 5-card stud, a door card that pairs the hole card.
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