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Poker Terms | Learn the Terms of Poker

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Want to learn all the terms of poker and sound like a pro at the table? This poker glossary explains the most common poker terms and phrases you'll hear at the poker table whether playing live or online poker.

Check the following list of poker terms and definitions to find the poker phrases you're looking for and if you can't find it, contact us and we'll be sure to add it!

Add-On

The opportunity to buy additional chips in some tournaments.

Advertise

Showing a bluff in order to encourage opponents to give more action on later hands.

Aggressive Poker

A playing style characterized by frequent betting and raising.

All-In

A player is considered to be all-in when he or she bets all of his or her remaining chips.

Ante

A forced bet that all players are required to pay before each hand begins (only used in games with an "ante", such as 7-Card-Stud, or in later rounds of poker tournaments).

terms of poker

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Back Door

A hand that is made by using the last two cards dealt.

Bankroll

The money a player uses to finance his poker games and tournaments.

Big Slick

An ace and a king as your hole cards in Texas Hold'em.

Blank

A card that appears to be of no help to any player.

Blind

A forced bet posted by the two players to the left of the button before the cards are dealt.

Board

All face-up cards in games such as 7-Card Stud, Texas Hold'em, and Omaha.

Boat

A full house.

Bring-In

A mandatory bet made by the player with the lowest up-card in the first round of betting in 7-Card Stud.

Broadway

A straight from Ten-to-Ace. Cards can be any suit. Example: Tc-Js-Qh-Kd-As

Bubble

The stage of a poker tournament that separates the players who "make the money" from those that don't. Typically 10-20% of the field in a poker tournament will receive a payout starting with a min-cash, about 2x the buy-in, up to the winning share which can be 100x or more.

Buy-In

The cost of entering a poker tournament or cash game. In a poker tournament this is one-time fee at the beginning of the tournament or, in the case or a re-buy or re-entry tournament, another buy-in to purchase more chips. In cash game the buy-in for a table has both a minimum and a maximum. The standard buy-in for any no-limit game is usually 100x the big blind. So at $1/$2 blinds that would be $200. The minimum buy in for a table is usually lower, anywhere from $40-$100.

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Call

To match a bet from a player to act before you.

Calling Station

A passive player who calls a lot.

Check

To pass the action along to another player without making a bet. If you are facing a bet from another player when it's your turn to act, you cannot check. You must either call or raise. If all players before you have checked, you may also check and not put any more money in the pot.

Check-Raise

To check and subsequently raise in the same round of betting when an opponent bets.

Continuation Bet (C-Bet)

A follow-up bet on the flop from a player that initiated the betting pre-flop

Cooler

Having a very strong hand in poker beat by an opponent with an even better hand. A classic cooler in No-Limit Holdem is getting KK all in against AA. Read more on poker hand rankings:

poker definitions

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Donk (Donkey)

A slang term for a bad poker player. Short form for "donkey." 

Donk Bet

A bet after the flop from a player out of position (see below) and into a player who had raised before the flop

Downcard

Any card dealt face down (such as the hole cards and river card in Stud poker).

Draw Dead

To try to make a hand that, even if made, will not win the pot. If you are drawing to make a flush and your opponent already has a full house, you are drawing dead.

Drawing Hand

A hand that is not winning at the moment and requires improvement in subsequent betting rounds.

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Fish

A slang term for a poor poker player.

Fixed Limit

When bets can only be made in specified increments.

Flop

Texas Hold'em and Omaha are played with five community cards. The first three are dealt at the same time in the middle of the table and are called the flop.

Free Card

To see the next card without having to call a bet, for example, if everyone checks.

Free Roll (Freeroll)

Tournaments with no buy-in that still contain some sort of prizes. Read more here:

poker terms

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Heads Up

A pot or match that is being contested by only two players.

Hole Cards

Face-down cards dealt to each player in Stud, Omaha and Texas Hold'em.

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In the Money

The time after the bubble (see above) in a poker tournament where every player left will earn a share of the prize pool.

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Kicker

The highest ranked card in your hand that's not a part of a pair, a set or quads. If two or more players have the top ranking hand, the played with the highest kicker in their hand wins the pot.

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Limp In

The calling of a forced bet (blind) when no one has yet raised.

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Main Pot

The only pot an all-in player is eligible to win. The main pot consists of the all-in player's bet plus all other players' calls of that bet. Additional bets, placed in a side pot, are contested among the remaining players.

Muck

(1) The pile of folded and burned cards that sits in front of the dealer. (2) To "muck" your cards is to put them into the pile of discarded cards when folding.

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Nuts, the

The best possible hand given the current board cards.

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Odds

The probability of making or not making a hand. For example, if you have a 25% chance of making a hand, the odds are 3:1 against you making it. Further reading:

Off-Suit

Cards that are of different suits.

Outs

A card or cards that allows you to hit or improve the strength of your poker hand. This is a term that is normally spoken in the plural, for example, "any heart will give me a flush, so I have nine outs."

Overpair

A pair in your hole cards higher than any card on the board of community cards. Eg. if you have pocket jacks on a flop of 8-7-5 you have an overpair to the board.

poker expressions

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Position

The relative position of a player at the table in respect to the other players. Generally broken up into early position, middle position and late position when determining which starting hands to play and proper poker strategy. Being in late position means you are last to act in a hand and is a major asset in poker. The player with the dealer button in front of them is last to act after the flop in any poker hand.

Pot Odds

The ratio of the money in the pot to the money it will cost you to call a bet. The greater the "pot odds", the more likely you should call.

Pot-Limit

Poker stakes in which the maximum permitted raise is the size of the pot. If there is a bet in front and a player wants to raise, the amount of money put in the pot to call is included in the amount allowed for the raise.

Pre-Flop

Before the flop is dealt.

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Re-Buy

When you buy more chips before you leave the game. Re-buys are permitted in some tournaments for players who fall below a certain point. The time during which one may re-buy is called the "re-buy period." Tournaments with re-buys are called "re-buy tournaments."

Round of Betting

The action sequence in which each player is allowed to check, open, bet, raise, or fold.

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Scare Card

A card that, when it appears, makes a better hand seem more likely. For example, in Texas Hold'em, a third suited card on the turn is a scare card because it makes a flush possible.

Semi-Bluff

A bet or raise with a medium-strength hand or draw that you hope will not be called but you have "outs" if it is. A semi-bluff gives you two chances to win - by making your opponent fold or by hitting another card to hit your hand.

Set

A set is three-of-a-kind consisting of two hole cards (a pair) and a single card on the board.

Short-Handed

A game where the total amount of players falls below a certain number. In Texas Hold'em usually 4 or 5.

Showdown

The point at which all players remaining in the hand have to turn their cards over and determine who has the best hand. For instance, when the last round of betting is completed. If a bet or raise is not called and a player mucks their cards, and concedes the pot there is no showdown.

Sit-and-Go

A poker tournament that begins as soon as a pre-determined number of players have registered (or sat down) to play. Sit & Gos can be one-table or more.

Slow Playing

Slow playing means to play a big or strong hand somewhat passively to try and trick your opponents into betting or raising into you. In other words you don't aggressively bet or raise to try to disguise the strength of your hand.

Slow Roll

You know you have the best hand and will win the pot but wait to show your cards, giving the other player the idea he or she might have the best hand. Considered a terrible breach of poker etiquette.

Splashing the Pot

Tossing your chips into the pot in a wild or aggressive manner. Considered a breach of poker etiquette as it makes it difficult to know how many chips have been added to the pot.

Squeeze Play

Suspecting a player that has called a bet in front of you has a weak hand, you make a raise to force that player to fold one or both players out of the hand.

Stack

The pile of chips in front of a player.

Starting Hand

The cards dealt to players at the beginning of the hand and before any betting occurs.

Straddle

An additional pre-flop bet made by the player to the left of the big blind (and possibly others) to regain the option for the last bet in the hand. The straddle must be twice the value of the big blind.

String Bet

Trying to make a bet with more than one motion. Eg. Putting in a stack of chips and then going back into your stack to add more chips to your bet. String bets are forbidden because players can try to get a reaction from other players before making their final action.

Suck Out

Being behind in a hand but hitting one of your outs (see above) to make a better hand and win the pot.

poker terms

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Tell

A physical, verbal or betting pattern that unintentionally reveals information about your hand (or your opponent's hand). Classic examples of poker tells including shaking fingers when making a big bet, a pulsating neck vein when bluffing or feigning to have a weak hand when you actually have a strong hand.

Three-Bet (3-Bet)

The "third bet" in a sequence of betting. Eg. bet, raise, reraise - the re-raise is the “3-bet.” Subsequent bets in the sequence are called the "4-bet," "5-bet" and so on.

Top Pair

A pair made up of one of your hole cards plus the highest card on the board. Eg. if you have KQ as your hole cards and the board shows K-J-5 you have top pair, Kings. 

Top Pair, Top Kicker

A poker hand made up of a pair with one of your hole cards and the highest card showing on the board and the highest other card as your second hole card. 

Trips

Three-of-a-kind consisting of one hole card and two cards from the community cards on the board.

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Under the Gun

The first player to act after the blinds.

Upcard

Any card dealt face up, most commonly cards dealt on third, fourth, fifth and sixth street in Stud games.

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Value Bet

A bet made to "get value" from another player while you believe you have the best hand.

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Walk

When all players in the hand fold to the big blind who wins the pot unopposed.

Wheel

The lowest straight possible with ace as the low card and running up to a five. ie. A-2-3-4-5