Poker Terminology

A

Ace High – A made hand without at least a pair where the high card is an Ace.

Action – Can refer to any of the available options such as bet, raise, call, check, fold, etc. See this glossary entry for a breakdown.

Aces Up – Two pairs, one of which is Aces.

Add-On – An amount that can be added to our stack of tournament chips for a set fee during a designated break.

A-Game – Refers to playing poker with an optimal mindset or mental state. Also referred to as playing poker “in the zone”.

Alias – Refers to a player’s online screen name. Players who predominantly play online are often known by their alias/screen name.

All-in – Refers to the act of putting all of one’s chips in the middle.

Angle – “Angle shooting” refers to the manipulation of the rules to gain an unfair advantage.

Ante – A forced mandatory payment made by all players at the table before any cards are dealt. Tournaments often make use of antes in the later stages.

Any Two – Expression in Hold’em used to indicate an action that can be taken regardless of the hole cards – “I would 3bet any two cards in that spot”.

B

Backdoor – Refers to a draw that needs to catch two consecutive cards in order to complete.

Backraise – Refers to a re-raise made after just calling earlier on the same street.

Bad Beat – Refers to losing a hand of poker after getting unlucky. Often the money goes in as a favorite and our opponent “sucks out”.

Bankroll – Refers to the total amount of funds a player has at his disposal for the purpose of playing poker. Consult this entry for advice on how to manage a bankroll profitably.

Barrel – Refers to making a bet after already being the last aggressor on the previous street.

Belly Buster – A colloquial term for a gutshot. Otherwise known as “inside straight draw”.

Bet – To “bet” means to make the first wager on the current betting round.

Big Bet – Refers to the larger of the two designated bet-sizings in fixed-limit games. The big bet sizing is usually employed on the later rounds of betting once the pot is typically larger.

Big Blind – Refers to the mandatory investment made by the player two to the left of the dealer button before any cards are dealt.

Blank – A card that does not influence the action in any meaningful way. (Usually, a low card where no draws complete).

Blind – To perform an action blind means to do it without looking at our cards. 

Blocker – A “blocker” is a card that has a card removal effect on villain’s range. For example, if we hold a King in our hand, it’s less likely that the villain has a King in his hand.

Blocker Bet – A small bet made in the hopes of preventing our opponent from making an even larger bet if checked to.

Bluff – A bet made with a weak hand in the hopes of getting our opponent to fold a better hand.

Bluffcatch – To call with a hand that can only win if our opponent is bluffing.

Board – Refers either to community cards in variants such as Hold’em and Omaha, or “upcards” in Stud variants of poker.

Boat – Colloquial term for a full house in poker.

Bot – A non-human player at the tables. While illegal on most sites they still find a way of making it to the tables. Suspected bot players should ALWAYS be reported to the operators through their support systems.

Bounty – A prize that can be collected after knocking a specific player out of a tournament. A bounty is often put on the head of professional players, especially those that are sponsored pros at the site in question. Bounty games are excellent ways of learning from the best.

Bring-in – A forced payment made by the player with the worst upcard on the third street in stud.

Brick – A term for a card that doesn’t complete any possible draws. Especially a low offsuit card.

Broadway – Any card out of Ten, Jack, Queen, King and Ace can be referred to as a “broadway”. The Ace-high straight is also referred to as “broadway”.

BRM – Any acronym standing for “bankroll management” – the strategies which govern when to move up and down in limits

Bubble – The stage of a tournament directly before any player has made the prize pool. I.e the last player to lose the opportunity to make it to the prize pool – “Joe is Bubble Boy of the table”

Burn – In live poker games it is common for the dealer to “burn” cards to help minimize the possibility of cheating. Rather than deal from the top of the deck, the top card is discarded (or “burned”) and the second card is dealt.

Busted – The term “busted” refers to a draw (such as a straight-draw or flush-draw) that missed its card and did not complete.

Button – Refers to the position at the table where the dealer button (small plastic disc) is placed. The button is considered the best position at the table since it always gets to act last post-flop.

Buy-in – The amount required to join a game of poker. In cash games, this can vary (within specified limits) while the buy-in amount is fixed for tournaments.

C

Call – To “call” means to match the existing wager on the current betting round. For a full list of the legal actions in poker see the glossary entry under “Action”.

Calling Station – Refers to a bad poker player who calls far too frequently.

Cap – A cap game is one where there is a limit placed on the maximum amount of chips that can be wagered post-flop.

Card Removal – The effect that our holding has on the possible combinations of hands that villain can hold. Also known as the “blocker effect”.

Case – Refers to the last card of a certain rank in the deck. For example, if there are already three Aces in play, the final Ace in the deck is referred to as “the case Ace” if it is dealt.

Cash Game – Also known as “ring game”. This is a poker format where players are free to buy in and leave at any time.

C-Game – Refers to playing poker with a poor mental state. For advice on improving the mental game, see the glossary entry under “Mental Game”.

Check – To “check” means to make no wager. The action instead passes to the player on our left. Note that checking is only a valid option if no wager has been made on the current betting round.

Check-Raise – To make a raise where our previous action on the current street was to check.

Chinese Poker – A variant of poker where cards are arranged into 3 rows and compared against our opponent’s rows to see who wins points.

Chip Dumping – The act of using online poker as a means to facilitate illegal money transfers. This is not allowed in any serious poker room, and breach of this rule will get you banned and your winnings confiscated by the operators! If you suspect chip dumping, let the operators of the poker room know through their support system.

Coinflip – The act of getting the chips in with roughly 50% pot equity. This is a rather loose term.

Cold-Call – A call made on the first betting round where the said call is the player’s first action on that betting round.

Cold Deck – An expression used to indicate that we are getting a bad run of cards.

Collusion – The term “collusion” refers to a type of cheating where 2 or more players secretly work together to win chips off other unsuspecting players. This is not allowed in any serious poker room, and breach of this rule will get you banned and your winnings confiscated by the operators! If you suspect collusion, let the operators of the poker room know through their support system.

Colouring Up – Changing lots of low denomination chips for a smaller amount of higher denomination chips.

Combination – Refers to a specific combination of cards.

Combo Draw – Refers to a drawing hand with multiple draw components. Most often this will be a straight draw which is also a flush draw.

Community Cards – Community cards are placed in the center of the table; all players may use them in constructing their 5-card hand. Not all poker variants use community cards. The most common community card variants are Omaha and Hold’em.

Complete – Can refer to calling in the small blind when facing an open limp in Omaha or Hold’em.

Connector – Refers to a hand that contains cards of consecutive rank.

Continuation Bet – Refers to betting on the current street after being the last aggressor on the previous street.

Cooler – A “cooler” is a situation where our hand is clearly too strong to fold but ends up being beaten by an even stronger hand.

Counterfeit – A situation where a previously strong hand loses a huge chunk of its value after further cards are dealt.

Cowboys – A nickname given to pocket Kings, the second best-starting hand in Hold’em.

Crack – Carries the connotation of outdrawing a strong hand.

Cripple – To make such a strong hand that there is no way our opponent can ever outdraw us.

Cutoff – A position at the poker table.

D

Dark Bet – A bet made without waiting to see which additional cards are dealt on the current street.

Dealer – The person who deals the cards.

Dealer’s Choice – A poker game where the dealer of the hand is allowed to select which poker variant will be played for that orbit/hand.

Dead Man’s Hand – Two pair, Aces and Eights (at least according to most sources).

Dead Money –  Money in the pot that is not being actively fought for and hence considered up for grabs. 

Deuce – Common nickname for a card with a rank value of two.

Depolarised – A type of range construction involving the top x% of holdings and zero bluffs.

Dirty Stack –  A chip stack that has not been correctly organized (considered bad etiquette or even cheating in some cases). Denominations of chips should be grouped together in piles with the larger denominations at the front of the chip stack.

Dog – Short for “underdog”. The term implies that a certain hand/player is statistically less likely to win.

Domination – Domination is where a weak draw or made hand is likely to be running against an even bigger draw/hand when there is a lot of action.

Donk – To “donk bet” means to make a bet out of position on the current street after closing the action by calling on the previous street. The term can also be used to describe an exceptionally weak player at the table. (Note that the term can be considered derogatory in this context).

Door Card – A door card in Stud is the first upcard dealt to a player. Although it belongs exclusively to the player, it is visible to the entire table.

Double Up – To double the size of our chip stack after winning an all in.

Downcard/Hole Card – “Downcard” in Stud refers to any cards that are dealt face down to the player. They belong exclusively to the player and are not visible to the rest of the table.

Downswing/Bad Beat – Refers to a prolonged period of losses.

Draw – Refers to a situation where are waiting on cards to complete our hand. For example, if we have four diamonds (and are waiting on that fifth diamond to make the flush) we have a “flush draw”. The term Draw also refers to a selection of poker variants where competitors replace cards in their hand with cards from the deck on each betting round.

Drawing Dead – A situation where none of our outs will give us the best hand.

Dry – Refers to a board texture where there are very few (if any) possible draws.

Ducks – A common nickname for pocket Twos in the Hold’em variant of poker.

E

Effective Stacks – Refers to the smaller of two stacks in play. The larger stack can’t wager more chips than the shorter stack has in play. The size of the shorter stack is hence referred to as the “effective stack”.

Equity – Describes the likelihood of a certain hand winning at showdown assuming it doesn’t fold.

Equity Calculator – A tool used to calculate the equity of hands/ranges against other hands/ranges.

Expectation – Interchangeable with the term “expected value”. 

Expected Value – The “expected value” of a certain play indicates how profitable we expect a certain play to be in the long run. This can be calculated using expected value calculations which are explained in this glossary entry.

F

Family Pot – Refers to a pot where most of the players do not fold on the initial betting round. For example, in a 6-handed Hold’em lineup, perhaps 5 or 6 players see a flop.

Fastplay – To come out betting and raising when holding a strong made hand.

Favourite – Indicates that a certain hand or player is statistically likely to win.

Fifth Street – A stud game term used to describe the third betting round (the street on which every remaining player is dealt a fifth card).

Fish – A common term used to describe a weak player at the table. Sometimes considered derogatory so discretion is advised.

Fish Hooks – A nickname given to pocket Jacks, a strong starting hand in Hold’em.

Five-Bet – The fifth bet in a betting sequence.

Flat – A term used interchangeably with “call” in poker.

Float – A call made with a speculative holding, having the intention of bluffing on a later street.

Flop – The second betting round in community cards such as Omaha and Hold’em. The term “flop” also refers to three community cards that are dealt face-up on the table during said betting round.

Flush – A hand made with five cards of the same suit.

Fold – To “fold” means to discard our holding in a scenario where we don’t wish to match the wager made on the current street.

Four-Bet – The fourth bet in a betting sequence.

Free Card – A card seen without having to invest additional chips.

Freeroll – A tournament with no buy-in required. Many online poker rooms will offer freerolls as a “bonus” to their players for deposits, in relation to events or just on random occasions. You can usually get freerolls for tournaments or even for cash games on some occasions. Should your poker room have these offers, always check terms and conditions, but we recommend you take them and have fun with them!

Full House – A five card hand made with a combination of three of a kind and one pair.

G

Gap – Refers to a gap between cards of consecutive rank.

Grinding – Refers to playing poker for long hours and slowly building up profit.

Gutshot – Refers to an “inside straight draw”. For example, we hold 5,6,8,9 and need to hit a 7 in order to complete our straight.

H

Hanger – A term used to describe a protruding bottom card when base dealing. This is highly unethical and should be reported to the poker room or pit bosses if you experience it in live play.

Hand-for-hand – A stage in tournaments where every table completes its current hand before the entire tournament moves on to the next hand.

Hand Rankings – Check out this glossary entry for a full breakdown of the different types of hand that can be made in poker.

Heads Up – Refers to a poker hand where only two players are involved. This could refer to either the initial deal or the later betting rounds after every other player folds. Heads Up games are very often the most exciting games to watch and the big live tournaments will often televise these heads up games.

Hero Call – A call made with a speculative hand in the hopes that our opponent is bluffing.

High Hand – A poker hand where we don’t hold a pair or stronger. The strength of our hand is defined by its highest card (Aces are high in most variants).

Hijack – A position at the poker table.

Hit – We “hit” when a card falls that gives us a decent hand. “We held a flush draw on the turn but hit on the river”.

Hold’em – The most popular poker variant, sometimes referred to as the “Cadillac of Poker” and probably the easiest to learn. It is also the most accessible variant of poker online and a great place for newbies to start their journeys.

Hole Cards – Refers to cards that are dealt face down to the player and kept secret. In Hold’em players are dealt two hole cards while in Omaha they are dealt four.

House – A colloquial term referring to the entity that is running the current poker game. I.e. the casino operator or owner of the poker room.

I

ICM – Stands for “Independent Chip Modelling” and refers to a mathematical technique of assigning real monetary values to tournament chips. Learn how it works in this detailed glossary entry.

Implied Odds – A pot odds calculation factoring in the additional chips we stand to win on later streets if we make our hand.

Inside Straight Draw – Also known as a “gutshot”. For example, we hold 5,6,8,9 and need to hit a 7 in order to complete our straight.

Insurance – A side wager made with another player at the table. If the hero’s hand does not hold up, he’ll receive an insurance payout from the other player.

J

Jackpot – Some casinos and poker rooms offer a “bad beat jackpot” when an extremely strong hand gets cracked.

Jam – Colloquial term meaning to shove all-in.

K

Kicker – Cards that don’t directly formulate a hand but still contribute to the overall strength of a hand since they are used as side cards. In scenarios where two players have the same hand, the best kickers will win.

L

LAG – Stands for “Loose Aggressive” and describes a player who plays many starting hands in an aggressive manner, i.e betting high on opening hands.

Last Longer – A side bet wagered between tournament participants to see who lasts longer. The last player to bust out of the tournament wins the bet.

Laydown – To make a fold. Sometimes implies a reluctance to ditch the hand. “We thought for a long time but eventually made the laydown”.

Levelling – Refers to thinking on different levels when playing a hand of poker.

Leverage – Refers to chips that have an influence on correct strategy despite the fact that they are not currently in play.

Limit – Generally used to describe a game with a fixed-limit betting structure. All bets and raises occur in fixed increments.

Limp – Describes the action of just calling when there is no raise before us on the first betting round.

Lowball – Refers to a poker variant that makes use of a “low” hand ranking system. The easiest way to conceptualize this is:  “worst hand wins”. 

Low Hand – In lowball variants of poker the objective is to make the best “low hand”. 

M

Maniac – Refers to a player type whose style can be characterized by the words “loose and crazy”. Often tends to play aggressively even with short stacks.

Mental Game – Refers to the discipline of looking to better one’s mental outlook when playing poker at the tables. The stronger your mental game is, the better you will do at the tables over an extended period of time.

Misclick – To accidentally perform the wrong action when playing in an online setting. Chiefly used to describe clicking in the wrong location (or accidentally clicking) with a mouse.

Monotone – Describes a board texture (or hand structure in some cases) where all cards are of the same suit.

Monster – Colloquial term for a very strong poker hand.

Muck – To return a losing hand to the dealer at showdown without showing it to the table. Mucking is usually allowed when we are the caller on the final street, but not if we took the last aggressive action before the showdown.

N

Nash Equilibrium – A game theory concept. A Nash equilibrium is reached when all players are perfectly balanced and cannot improve their win rate by deviating from their current strategy.

Nit – Describes an extremely risk-averse player who hardly plays any of his starting hands. A nit simply hopes to wait for premium holdings and get a big payout.

Nosebleed – A term used to designate ultra high stakes cash game action, typically 5knl and above.

No-Limit – The term “no limit” refers to a betting structure where players are allowed to bet or raise any amount at any given time.

Nut-low – The lowball version of “the nuts”. It describes the best possible low hand in a lowball (or split pot) variant of poker.

Nut Flush Draw – A draw to the Ace high flush. This will also typically be the stone-cold nuts if it hits.

Nut Flush – The Ace-high flush. Often the stone-cold nuts in games such as PLO and NLHE.

Nuts – The best possible hand. The nuts can never lose, it can only chop.

O

Offsuit – Typically used to describe a starting hand where there is no coordination between the suits. Suited hands are nearly always better than offsuit hands.

Omaha – A popular poker variant utilizing community cards. Each player is dealt four hole-cards on the preflop betting round.

One-Gap – A term used to describe two cards that are not in direct consecutive order but instead contains a gap of one. For example, 3-5 in Hold’em can be described as a “one-gapper”.

Open-ended Straight Draw – A straight draw where a player is waiting for one of two cards on the outside of his structure. For example, we hold 5678 and make a straight if we pick up any 9 or 4.

Open-raise – To make the first raise on the first betting round.

OOP – An acronym standing for “out of position”.

OMC – Old man coffee. It’s used to describe an older player at the poker table who exhibits certain characteristics.

Out – A card that will likely give us the best hand if it falls.

Overbet – To make a bet sizing larger than the current size of the pot.

Overcall – To make a call when another player has already made a call before us on the current street. I.e. to call behind.

Overcard – A card that is either higher than the board or higher than our current holding. For example, we hold a pair of Jacks on the flop in Hold’em and the turn card is a King. The King is an overcard to our pair.

Overlay – Additional money injected by the poker room into a tournament prize pool. This generally only happens when a guaranteed tournament can’t deliver the promised payout based on player buy-ins alone i.e. there is a shortfall in the pots.

Overlimp – An overlimp is a limp on the first betting round after another player has already limped. (A limp is where we just call when first to act on the first betting round). An overlimp is sometimes also referred to as a ‘limp behind’.

Overpair – A pair in the hole that is higher than the highest card on the board in community card games such as Hold’em and Omaha.

P

Pair – We make a pair when we hold two cards of identical rank.

Play the Board – Can refer to a situation where we formulate our hand entirely using community cards. Can also refer to a scenario where we make plays without a legitimate hand based purely on the board texture (in community card games) or the appearance of our upcards (in Stud games).

Paint – A term used to designate any cards between (and including) Jack and Ace. Also frequently referred to as “broadways” or “face cards”.

Pocket Rockets – A nickname given to pocket Aces in Hold’em. This is the best possible starting hand.

Pocket Pair – This refers to a starting hand where we have a pair in the hole.

Position – Can refer to the specific position at the table we are occupying. It can also be used to refer to whether we are “in position” or “out of position”.

Post – The term “post” is typically used in conjunction with mandatory blind payments whether that be the small-blind, big-blind, or antes. “Before each hand, every player at the table posts the antes.”

Postflop – In community card variants such as Hold’em or Omaha, the term “post-flop” describes everything from the second betting round (the flop) onwards.

Pot odds  – The amount we need to call when facing a bet relative to what is already in the pot. Typically expressed either as a ratio or a percentage.

Pot Limit  – A betting structure where the maximum allowed bet or raise is a pot-sized bet. For example, Omaha is commonly played with a pot-limit betting structure.

Preflop – The first betting round in community cards games such as Hold’em and Omaha.

PRF – Stands for “preflop raiser”. A statistic that indicates how frequently a player is raising pre-flop when given the opportunity.

Probe – Traditionally a small bet designed to gather information.

Price – How much something costs, such as the amount we need to call when facing a bet. Often used interchangeably with other terms such as pot odds.

Protection – A bet or raise with a made hand, primarily to fold out our opponent’s live equity rather than with the intention of getting called by worse.

Polarised – A type of range construction where hands are divided into two categories, value hands, and bluffs.

Pot – The pile of chips in the middle of the table that players are competing for. Any time a player at the table makes a wager, it’s placed into the pot.

Q

Quads – A very common nickname for “four of a kind” in poker. Despite being an unofficial name, it is currently the most popular way of referencing this type of hand.

Qualify – In split pot games, a low hand must “qualify” before it is counted as a legitimate low hand. In most variants, this means holding 5 cards 8 or lower.

R

Rabbit Hunt – Seeing the remaining community cards after folding. This has no impact on the game but allows players to see if they would have hit their hand or not.

Ragged – Often used to describe a non-coordinated board texture.

Rap – A term used interchangeably with “tap”, potentially used to describe the act of tapping the table twice as the visual signal for checking in a live game.

Rainbow – Used to describe a board texture (or sometimes starting hand) where every card is of a different suit.

Raise – To “raise” means to increase the size of the wager on the current street.

Rake – A small amount taken from the pot each hand as payment for running the poker game.

Range – The term “range” is used to describe a distribution of possible holdings that a player might hold.

Range Advantage – This term is used when one player has a better range than his opponent.

Rank – The term “rank” simply refers to a card’s value/number. I.e. Jack, Four, Ace etc.

Ratholing – Describes the action of leaving a ring game and then rebuying in for a smaller amount of chips.

Razz – The lowball version of seven card Stud.

Read – Sometimes used interchangeably with the term “tell”. It indicates that we have a good vision over the type of holdings our opponent is likely to show up with. “Normally I would have folded, but I had a read that villain likes to bluff, so I made the call”.

Rebuy – To purchase additional chips. Predominantly applies to cash games although rebuy tournaments do exist. Check the possibility of rebuys before you join if you prefer to play with this option in your games.

Redraw – A possible draw has completed on the board texture but we are drawing to an even bigger hand.

Regular – A poker player who regularly plays in a certain game. Usually seen as of above-average skill levels.

Reverse Implied Odds – An adjusted pot odds calculation taking into account chips we might lose on the later streets after we complete our draw.

Re-raise – To re-raise means to raise after there has already been a raise on the current street. .

Ring Game – This term is used interchangeably with “Cash Game”. Since not all poker games are actually played with real money, the term “ring game” might be considered more applicable in some contexts.

River – Refers to the final betting round in Hold’em, Omaha and Stud variants.

River Rat – A player who gets lucky and sucks out on the river. Especially applies to players who are clearly calling too wide on the earlier streets.

Rock – Refers to a player type who only enters the pot with an extremely tight range. This term might be sometimes used interchangeably with the word “nit” although some assign the two words completely different meanings.

Rolled Up – A Stud term that indicates being dealt three of a kind on third street, i.e. rolled up trips.

Royal Flush – The best possible hand in poker. We hold the Ten, Jack, Queen, King and Ace, all of the same suit.

Run – A term used to describe the fall of cards over a period of time. “Running good” and “running bad” are terms commonly used to describe a lucky and an unlucky streak respectively.

Rundown – The term “rundown” is generally used to describe connected starting hands in Omaha variants. For example, the starting hand T987 is referred to as a “Ten-high rundown”.

Run it Twice – After all remaining players are all-in, the final board cards are dealt twice – half the pot being awarded to the winner of each runout. This is a useful tool for reducing variance.

Runner Runner – Making a strong made hand after catching consecutive running cards. For example, we hold three hearts on the flop and catch running hearts on both the turn and river to make our flush.

S

Sandbagging – A term used interchangeably with “slowplaying” or “trapping”. It means to play a strong hand deceptively by using passive lines such as checking and calling.

Satellite – A tournament event that awards winners a ticket to an even bigger tournament. Satellites run over an extended period of time and winners progress from table to table to eventually win entry to live tournaments or online tourneys with big buy-ins. For live tournaments, the prize might even include airfare to the tournament, accommodation and other freebies. Satellites are the best way for player with small bank rolls to get into the BIG boy tournaments if they do not have people to stake them.

Scare Card – A card that might scare our opponent and cause him to fold more frequently.

Semi-Bluff – A bluff made with a drawing hand. For example, we make a bluff while holding a flush draw. Even if we don’t manage to pick up the pot, there is a possibility we’ll make our flush on the next street.

Set – Three of a kind made specifically with a pocket pair in the hole.

Short Handed – Describes a poker table with six players or less. Heads up poker is a form of short-handed poker for example.

Short Stack – A player without many chips in his stack, and has nothing to do with pancakes. Short Stack in poker terms generally refers to stack sizes less than 100big blinds (BB), and frequently refers to stack sizes less than 50 BB.

Shove – Colloquial term for betting all-in. See the glossary entry under “All-in” for advice on when it makes sense to commit all of our chips.

Showdown – Refers to revealing the strength of our hand to determine the winner. This happens after all the betting rounds are complete.

Sick – A term used to either mean “extremely cool” or “extremely unlucky”. The exact meaning depends on the context.

Side Pot – A second pot formed when one player is already all-in but there are still players left in the hand with additional chips to play for.

Sit and Go/Sit’N’Go – A type of poker tournament which starts as soon as a designated number of entrants is reached.

Sizing – Refers simply to the size of our bet. Bet sizing is an important aspect of high level play.

Slowplay – To play a strong made hand passively and deceptively. The hope is that our opponent will either launch big bluffs or pay us off on a later street after he believes we are genuinely weak.
Slowroll – To take a long time to call when we are closing the action and have the effective nuts. This is considered inappropriate and unethical behaviour.

Solver – A poker calculator that generates game theory optimal solutions to a hand given a specific game tree. These are usually banned both during online play and definitely during live play. Getting caught will get you kicked from the table.

Small Bet – Used in poker games with a fixed limit structure. Denotes the smaller of two designated bet sizings (the small bet and the big bet).

Small Blind – The mandatory payment made in community card games and draw games by the player directly to the left of the button. The small blind payment is typically half of the big blind payment and occurs before any cards are dealt.

Splash the Pot – To put our chips into the middle of the table in a disorderly fashion. It’s considered good etiquette to keep your chips in neat piles when making big bets and not just throwing them in even though you may have seen this in the movies and it “looks cool”. If you do have huge amounts of chips, shoving the whole pile to the table if you go all-in is considered OK. Otherwise, keep it tidy.

Split – A split pot variant of poker is where half of the pot is awarded to one type of hand while the other half is awarded to another type of hand. The most common example is hi/lo split variants; half the pot is awarded to a high hand, the other half is awarded to the best low hand.

Split Pot/Chop Pot – A split pot is one that is awarded to multiple players. This could be in the eventuality that a hand ties, or when playing a split pot variant of poker.

Spread Limit – A betting structure where players may bet/raise within a range of allowable sizes. Sometimes considered the middle ground between fixed-limit and no-limit.

Squeeze – A raise made against multiple players where there has already been a bet and a call on the current street. Especially used to describe 3betting against multiple opponents on the preflop betting round in Omaha and Hold’em.

Stab – To make a bet, especially in a scenario where our opponent has just shown weakness. An example of such weakness might be skipping a continuation bet opportunity.

Stack to Pot Ratio – This is a ratio that describes the relationship between what is in the pot compared to how many chips are remaining in the effective stacks.

Stand Pat – This is a legal option in draw games. To “stand pat” means to decline the option to draw additional cards and stay with the current hand.

Steam – To be tilted. A player can be described as “steaming” if he is extremely angry, perhaps as a result of a bad run of cards.

Stealing – Stealing refers to an attempt to win the pot outright on the first betting round, especially as the first raiser. For example, in Hold’em, any open-raise from the small blind, button or cutoff is considered a “steal attempt”.

Steel Wheel  – Refers to the Ace to Five straight flush. This is an especially strong hand in PLO8 since it can win both the high and the low pot.

Straddle – A straddle is an optional blind bet made before any cards are dealt.

Straight – A five card hand consisting of all 5 cards in consecutive rank order i.e. 5,6,7,8,9.

Straight Flush – A five card hand consisting of all 5 cards in consecutive rank order and also of the same suit. 

Street Poker – An unwritten agreement between players to play insupportably loose poker.

String Bet – String bet refers to splitting a wagering decision into multiple parts. For example “I call your bet…..and raise you by another 50”. In a modern casino, the player would be obligated to just call, since this was what he originally announced.

Structure – The term “structure” can refer to a range of different variables pertaining to the format of a certain poker game.

Stud – A poker variant without community cards where players are dealt a combination of upcards (visible to the table) and downcards (secret).

Suited – The term “suited” typically describes a starting hand where two or more of the cards share the same suit.

T

Table Stakes – A ruling which prevents players from being forced to wager more chips than they brought to the table in the first place.

TAG – Short for “Tight Aggressive”. Describes an aggressive player who enters the pot with a relatively tight and strong range of holdings.

Tank – An abbreviation of “time bank”. This refers to the act of thinking about a decision at the tables.

Tell – Often used interchangeably with “read”. A tell is an unconscious indication from our opponent that he has a certain type of holding. It takes much practice to learn to read other players tells. Mostly used for live playing, although there are tells online as well, then based on playing style rather than body language etc.

Texture – Usually refers to the board texture in community card games such as Hold’em and Omaha but could ultimately be used to describe any group of cards such as boards in Stud.

Three-Bet – Refers to the third bet in a sequence of bets.

Three of a Kind – We make this hand when we hold three cards of identical rank along with two kickers.

Three Pair – A term that is used mostly in Omaha variants. Only two of the pairs count, but the third pair provides additional outs to make a boat.

Tie – When two hands are of equivalent strength and hence split/chop the pot.

Tilt – Refers to playing poker with an affected mental state – especially anger, but also fear, lack of motivation, signs of desperation, inappropriate behaviour at the table etc. A tilted player is often unpredictable and may play unexpected hands and make irrational bets.

Time Bank – The optional extra time available to online poker players during a hand.

Tournament – A poker format with a fixed buy-in. Players continue playing until they run out of chips. The last man standing is typically the tournament winner. Tournaments, especially live tournaments, will last over days and end up with one final table of players.

Tracking Software – Software that tracks poker results along with a range of other features.

Trap – To play a strong made hand passively in the hope that our opponent launches a big bluff.

Trey – Commonly used term to describe a card of rank “Three”.

Trips – Colloquial term for three of a kind when not made with a pocket pair in the hole.

Turn – The third betting round in variants such as Hold’em and Omaha.

Two-bet – The second bet in a betting sequence.

Two Pair – A hand made by holding two sets of pairs along with one kicker.

Two-tone – Describes a board texture or group of cards consisting of two distinct suits.

U

Under the Gun – A term used to describe the play er who is first to act on the first betting round.

Underbet – A bet sizing less than 50% of the pot. See this glossary entry for advice on when a small bet sizing makes sense.

Underdog – Sometimes abbreviated to the word “dog”. Describes a hand or player which is statistically unlikely to win.

Upcard – A card dealt to the player in Stud face up, meaning it is visible to the entire table.

Upswing – A prolonged period of winning (especially when the winrate is higher than anticipated). I.e. running good.

Up the Ante – A common expression meaning to “up the stakes”. Also can be used to described the increase antes on each blind level of a poker tournament.

V

Value Bet – A bet with a made hand hoping to get paid off by a worse holding.

Variance – A term used to describe the ups and downs of a poker players career. Variance is much larger than many players realise.
Variant – A particular brand of poker: there are many. For example, Hold’em, Omaha, Stud, 5-card Draw etc etc.

Villain – A common poker term used to describe our opponent in a hand of poker.

VPIP – Stands for ‘voluntarily put in pot’. It’s a percentage which describes how often a player voluntarily invests chips into the pot preflop when given the opportunity. High VPIP means a loose player.

W

Whale – An extremely bad poker player. Especially used to describe bad poker players at higher stakes games.

Wet ­– Describes a board texture with excellent coordination, allowing for a large number of possible draws.

Wheel – The Ace to Five straight. This is an especially strong hand in PLO8 since it has a shot at winning both the high and the low pot.

Wired – Refers to a pair on the third street where both of the cards are downcards.

Wrap – Refers to a large straight draw in Omaha variants. Unlike in Hold’em, some of the big straight draws in Omaha can have as many as 20 outs.

Wrap Around Straight – A straight where the Ace falls somewhere in the middle of the five cards. Not a legal hand in the majority of poker variants.

WSOP – An acronym for perhaps the most prestigious poker event of all time The World Series of Poker. Held every year in Las Vegas.