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Glossary

Poker Terms

Below, you will find a list of popular poker terms used in the game of poker. Some of these terms are particular to online poker. This is not a formal or a complete dictionary and is intended for informational purposes only.

A set

A pocket pair that connects with the board, making a three-of-a-kind.

Action

Another term for "betting".

Ante

A small sum of money placed in the pot by each player. Antes are used in Stud and Draw, but not in Hold'em or Omaha.

Bad beat

A hand that is beaten by someone getting very lucky and drawing out that hand.

Bankroll

The sum of your total account stack.

Betting rounds

Every poker hand played is divided into four betting rounds which start at the player to the left of the button in the first position making an action. These are as follows:

Pre-flop The betting round before the flop.
Flop round The flop has been dealt and betting starts again.
Turn round The turn has been dealt and betting starts again.
River round This comes after the fourth and final betting round. This is followed by the showdown.

Big Blind

A bet that must be posted by the player two seats to the left of the button. It is equal to the amount of the smaller betting limit in a game, for example, in a $10-20 game, the big blind would be $10.

Blind

Forced bets placed in the pot by the first two players in front of the dealer button, in Hold'em and Omaha. See "small blind" and "big blind."

Bluff

To bet when you are holding a weak hand, hoping that the intimidation factor of your bet can win the hand.

Board

The five community cards that all the players can see and use to build their hand.

Flop The first three community cards to be dealt.
Turn The fourth community card.
River The fifth and final community card.

Bring-in

In Stud, a bet that must be made on the very first betting round. Usually the player showing the lowest card is forced to make a bet; in some games, the player showing the highest card is forced. The bring-in applies only on the very first betting round, though. On all further rounds, the player showing the highest hand on board has the OPTION to bet first, but need not.

Bust

You're bust when you lose your entire table stack or bankroll.

Button

Virtual dealer marker moved from player to player in a clockwise direction after each hand. The player on the button always acts last. Consequently the player left of the button, in the first position, always acts first.

Call

To match a bet that has been made.

Cap

There can only be a maximum of three raises in any given betting round. The last raise is called the cap.

Check

To possess the option to bet, but decline. A player cannot check once someone else has bet; at that point, the player must call, raise, or fold. But if no one has yet bet, a player can check, allowing the betting option to pass to the next player.

Check-raise

To check, indicating weakness, with the intention of raising after someone else bets.
Check-raises are allowed in all casino poker games; in some home games, they are frowned upon.

Community cards

The five cards on the board shared by all players.

Connectors

Starting hands that are connected through their value like J-10, A-K and 7-8.

Cracked

When the fantastic starting hand of two aces is beaten – the aces are cracked.

Dominated

A hand that is subdued by another hand. For example, AK would dominate AJ if an ace falls on the board. The dominated hand has a lower kicker (J) and little chance of winning.

Draw hand

A hand that needs a certain community card to come into play in order to win – most commonly with a straight or a flush. The starting hand of J10 of spades on a 8s 9s and Ah flop would be a very good drawing hand. You need a 7 or a Q for the straight and any spade for the flush. If Qs or 7s are dealt, then you even have a straight flush! But if none of these cards are dealt, the hand is worthless.

Drawing dead

A hand that cannot win even though the entire board is not yet on the table.

Edge

In the long run, luck evens out and skill alone defines the difference required to win. Edge is the slight advantage one player has over another through better skill, a larger stack or a better position.

Fifth Street

The fifth community card in Hold'em or Omaha (in these games, 5th street is more often called "the river"). Also sometimes used to refer to the fifth card received in 7 Card Stud.

Fish

A nickname for bad players who lose regularly – usually given this name by superior, winning players.

Flat call

Making a call in a situation where a raise would have been feasible.

Flop

In Hold'em or Omaha, the first three community cards, turned up all at once.

Fold

To drop out of a hand.

Fourth Street

The fourth community card in Hold'em or Omaha (in these games, 4th street is more often called "the turn."). Also sometimes used to refer to the fourth card received in 7 Card Stud.

Freeroll

A tournament that is free to enter.

Grinder

A player who consistently plays for hours with the intent of slowly and carefully building a large bankroll.

Gut shot

To draw to a very unlikely draw like an inside straight.

Heads-up

A one-on-one poker game.

Hole cards

Cards that are face down and cannot be seen by the other players.

Hole cards

Your starting hand. These are sometimes referred to as pocket cards.

Inside straight

On a 5, 9, Q flop with 6, 7 hole cards, an 8 would make the inside straight!

Kicker

When two players hold equal hands such as the same pair, the highest unpaired card is called the kicker and it decides the winner. For more info, see Dominated.

Limit

The Dollar value of the blind. Defines how "big" the game is. Obviously, you need a much larger stack to play a $50-limit game than a $0.50 game.

Limping

Calling the big blind in pre-flop action.

Narrowing the Field

To bet or raise in the hopes that you will drive out some players whose hands are currently worse than yours, but who might improve if allowed to stay in.

Nuts, The

The best possible hand. This phrase is almost always used in the context of a particular hand (otherwise "the nuts" would just be a term for a royal flush). For example, in Hold'em, a player holding 8-9 would hold "the nuts" if the flop came 6-7-10. At that moment, the 6-7-8-9-10 straight is the best possible hand. However, if the Turn card were a Jack, and the River a Queen, a player holding A-K would then have the nuts-a 10-J-Q-K-A straight.

Off-suit

A starting hand with two different suits.

Open-ended straight

A straight draw that can hit both ways. With a J10 on the flop, a player holding KQ has an open-ended straight draw, hitting with an ace or a nine. See Inside straight.

Outs

The total number of possibilities a player has to win a pot, based on the current situation. If he holds 99 and needs another 9 to win, then he would have a total of two outs.

Over card

Pocket cards that have a value higher than the highest card currently on the board. An ace and a king are over cards to a 57J flop.

Pocket pair

Holding two equally valued cards like AA, KK, 77 or 22.

Position

A player's position in relation to the dealer's button. As the button moves, so does your position. These are defined as follows;

Position

Description

Early First three seats left of (after) the button. The least desirable positions as these players must make their moves first.
Middle Seats 4 to 7 after the button.
Late Positions 8 and 9. Playing out of this position gives players an edge since they have already seen the other player's moves.
On the button This seat acts last and as such, has an even bigger edge than the late position.

Pot

The money in the center of the table, being contested for by the players still remaining in the hand.

Rag

A low-value community card that will probably have no effect on the outcome of a hand.

Rake

The amount of money the casino takes from the pot to make money from the poker game. In low-limit games, the casino usually rakes some percentage of the pot, usually a maximum of 10% of the pot. In higher limit games, the casino makes money either by charging players an hourly fee to play, or by collecting a fee each time a player holds the button.

Ring game

Single table game where all bets are made directly from a player's stack and not put into a prize pool and divided at the end as in a tournament. It's every hand for itself. Players can join and enter these games as they please. Sometimes referred to as a cash game.

River

In Hold'em or Omaha, the fifth and final community card. Also sometimes called fifth street.

Rock

A player known to be very conservative, who usually bets or raises only when he has a very powerful hand.

Showdown

All players still left in the pot after the final betting round show their cards to reveal the winner.

Small Blind

A bet that must be posted by the player seated to the left of the button. It is usually equal to one half of the smaller betting limit in a game, for example, in a $10-20 game, the small blind would be $5. Occasionally, the small blind is some other fraction of the big blind.

Stack the pot

Winning the pot and adding it to your stack.

Starting hand

The two face-down cards dealt to each player at the start of a hand.

Steam

When players lose their tempers and start playing badly, they're steaming.

Streak

To be "in the zone" and win with whatever cards you are dealt.

Suited hand

Starting hand with matching suits – hearts, clubs, spades or diamonds.

Tells

Behavioural patterns that provide subtle clues of a player’s moves and strategies.

Tilt

To completely lose it and play like a madman. This is most common after a player has taken several bad beats.

Trap

To lure other players to stay in and preferably raise a pot you are absolutely sure you are going to win.

Hand nicknames

AA Pocket Rockets, Bullets, American Airlines
KK Cowboys, King Kong
QQ Double date, Canadian Aces, Siegfried and Roy
JJ Fish hooks
99 Wayne Gretzky
88 Snowmen
77 Sunset strip
66 Route 66
55 Speed limit
44 Magnum, Sail boat
33 Crabs
22 Ducks
AK Big slick
AQ Big chick
AJ Black Jack, Jack-ass
KQ Royalty, Marriage
KJ Kojak
J5 Jackson five
Q3 Gay waiter
95 Dolly Parton
A8 Dead man's hand
Back in 1876, a player named Wild Bill Hickock was shot after winning with it!
K9 Canine
J4 Flat tyre

Chat

nh Nice hand
vnh Very nice hand
gg Good going
lol Laugh out loud
tu Thank you
wtf What the f***?
str8 Straight
wp Well played

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