Glossary of Poker Terms

Ace-High: A hand having an ace but no pair.

Aces Up: Two pair, the highest pair being aces.

Action: The act of putting chips in the pot. gambling of any sort.

Action Player: A player who gives a lot of action, also called a ‘loose’ player.

Active Player: Any player still in the hand, competing for the pot.

Act out of Turn: A player attempting to bet or raise prior to his turn to, act.

Advertise: To bluff and then show the hand to other players in the hope that theywill call sometime later when you have a legitimate hand.

All-in: All your money or chips in the pot.

Ante: An agreed nominal bet required from each player before the start of a hand.

Babies: Small cards – a 2, 3, 4 or 5.

Back Door: To back door a flush or straight is when the last two cards make aplayer’s hand, even though this was not the original hand the playerwas drawing to.

Bad Beat: When a strong hand is outdrawn by a weaker hand, considered to be held by a player who got lucky.

Bankroll: A player’s total stake money.

Best Hand: The one that takes the pot.

Bet: To intentionally put chips into the pot.

Bet Blind: To wager without looking at one’s hole cards.

Bet Half the Pot: To bet half the amount of the pot. Half the pot is the maximum allowable bet in some UK home games.

Bet in the Dark: To bet before seeing the next or any cards.
Bet Into: To make a bet looking at what seems to be a superior hand.

Bet the Pot: To bet the amount of the pot. Pot limit is the usual maximum allowable bet in UK casino games.

Big Blind: The small forced bet made by the player in second left position to thedealer button. It is made before any cards are dealt and is a live bet.Thus the player on the big blind can raise when the action gets back tohim.

Big Slick: Ace-king as the first two cards.

Blank: A card that does not look like it has improved anyone’s hand.

Blind: A forced bet made by the two players to the dealer’s left [or to theleft of the dealer button!. It is ma,de before any cards are dealt andis a live bet.

Bluff: To bet or raise with a poor hand in the hope that other players will pass and you will win the pot.

Board: All five cards, in community card games, turned face up in the centre of the table. 

Boxed Card: A card facing the other way to the remaining cards in the deck.

Bullet: Another name for an ace.

Burn: To take a card from the top of the deck before dealing out the cards !it is an attempt to prevent cheating!. This card is removed from play.

Button: A disk used to indicate the player who would nominally be dealing if there were no house dealer.

Buy the Button: A bet or raise which makes players behind you fold, making you the last to act in succeeding betting rounds.

Buy the Pot: To bluff, (usually a big bet at a small pot).

Call: To match the previous bet.

Calling Station: A pejorative term for a player who perpetually calls and cannot be bluffed. 

Cards Speak: When the cards are laid face up on the table the correct reading of the hand will win the pot. That is, the highest hand will win the pot irrespective of what the player declares the hand to be, For instance, a player may not see that he has hit a flush and may declare something else, but it is the flush which will count.

Case Card: The last card of a particular rank when the other three are already out.

Cash In: Take your chips and leave the game.

Check: To refrain from betting, This is often indicated by a player tappingthe table. The player may still call or raise if another player bets.

Check Raise: To check and, if another player bets, to raise when the action gets back to you.

Chemmy Shuffle: Scrambling the cards face down on the table. 

Cinch Hand:     A hand that will win easily.  

Clinic: A poker game where there are a lot of post-mortems about the hands that are played.

Closed Poker: Games such as draw poker where there are no community cards and all of the cards are dealt face down.

Coffee Housing: Talking in an attempt tomislead another player about the strength of a hand. For instance, aplayer holding A-A as their first two cards might say ‘Let’s gamblehere,’ implying a much weaker holding. Coffee housing is considered badetiquette in the UK but not in the USA. This is also called ‘speechplay".

Cold Call: To call a raised pot without having any prior investment in the pot.

Cold Deck: A deck that has been rigged by cheats. It will be cooler in temperaturethan the deck used in previous hands, as it has been concealed in thecheat’s pocket and brought out when the ‘mark’ is to be cheated. Thedeck will be fixed to give the mark a good hand but the cheat will geta slightly better winning hand.

Collusion: Any act, including betting or raising, by two or more players in partnership in an attempt to cheat other players.

Colt 45: Reputedly the only thing that beats a royal flush.

Community Cards: The cards dealt face up in the centre of the table that are shared by all active players.

Connectors: Consecutive cards which could help make a straight, e.g. 6-7 or 10-J.

Counterfeit: When a card on the board duplicates one inyour hand. For instance, you hold 10-J and the board is K-Q-3, but if aJ comes on fourth street it counterfeits the one in your hand, makingyour hand worse as a result. Counterfeiting is common in high-lowgames.

Cripple the Deck: To have all of the cards that make up a good handwith a particular board. If you hold A-K, and the flop is A-A¬K, youwill have the deck crippled in that no one else can have a playablehand. If you bet you will not be called.

Dead Card: A card no longer in play.

Dead Hand: A hand no longer in play, perhaps due to some deviation from the rules.
Dead Man’s Hand: Two black aces and two black 8s have become known asthe dead man’s hand because Wild Bill Hickock is reputed to have heldthe hand when he was shot in the back during a saloon poker hand inDeadwood, South Dakota.

Deal: To distribute the cards to each player.

Dealer: The player who is distributing the cards.

Dealer’s Advantage: The dealer is last to act which is a big advantage. Dealer’s Choice: A g~me in which each dealer, in turn, chooses the type of poker to be played.

Dealer’s Choice: A game in which each dealer, in turn, chooses the type of poker to be played. 

Deck: The standard pack of 52 playing cards.

Deuce: The 2 of any suit (also called a ‘duck’).

Dog: Americanism for the worst or underdog hand. Big dog is used for a big disadvantage and little dog for a small disadvantage.

Dog It: To play a hand which is good, slowly, in order not to chase the other players away. Similar to ‘slow play’. 

Door Card: The first card dealt face up in five- or seven-card stud.

Double Belly Buster: A hand with two inside straight draws. An examplemight be a flop containing 10-8-6, when you have 7-4, a 9 or a 5 willmake the hand into a straight. The odds of getting the straight from adouble belly buster are the same as for an open-ended straight draw.

Down and Dirty: This expression is sometimes used while the final cardat seven-card stud poker is being dealt. Its meaning is obscure.

Down Cards: The concealed cards. In Hold ‘Em, the first two cards

Down the River: All the way to the last card at seven stud, another name for seven-card stud. 

Drawing Dead: Drawing to a hand that cannot possibly win. An example is drawing to a 4-flush when a full house is already out.

Drawing Hand: A potentially strong hand requiring a particular card/s from the draw to make it.

Draw Poker: A form of poker in which each player receives five

Driving Seat: A player holding the best hand and making the betting.

Drowning: Losing heavily.

Duck: The two of any suit [also called a ‘deuce’).

Expectation: The average amount you make in a specific event or period. Thus, if you have won £7500 in the last 34 tournaments, your expectation per tournament is £7500/34 which is £220. Conversely, if you have lost £1500 in the last 34 tournaments, your expectation per tournament is £1500/34 or -£44.

False Cut: A cut which is not properly done.

Family Pot: A pot in which all or most of the players at the table are still involved at a particular point in the progress of a hand.
Fast Game: A game with a good pace of action and frequent heavy raises.

Fast Player: A heavy bettor; a frequent raiser.

Feeler Bet: A minimum bet made to test the strength of the other players’ hands.

Fifth Street: The fifth and final community card on the board. In stud poker, it is the fifth card dealt to each player.

Fill Up: To draw cards and make your hand.

First Position: The player on the immediate left of the dealer. In Hold ‘Em this player is first to act throughout the game.

Fish: This is a derogatory term used [mainly in the US) to describe a weak or losing player.

Flop: The first three community cards, which are turned face up together before the start of the second round of betting.

Flush: Five cards of the same suit.

Flush Draw: Having four cards of the same suit and hoping to draw a fifth to make a flush.

Fold: To lay down one’s hand.

Fold Out of Turn: To fold prematurely.

Fourth Street: The fourth and final community card on the board. In stud poker, it is the fourth card dealt to each player.

Free Card: When all players check, the next card is seen without any money entering the pot. This card is a free card.

Free Roll: In Hold ‘Em or other flop games where two players have the same hand, but one also has the chance of improving to a better hand. For instance, both may have A-K-Q-J-10 except one player has a flush draw and the other does not.

Freeze Out: A game or tournament in which all players start with the same amount and play until one player has won all the chips.

Friend: A card that assists or improves the hand.

Friendly Game: No such thing!

Full House: Any three cards of the same rank, plus any pair of a different rank.

Full Table: At Hold ‘Em, a table of 11 or 12 players.

Gambler: A player that bucks the odds.

Gap: The missing inside card that would make a straight.

Gut Shot: A card that will make a straight. An inside straight draw.

Hand: A player’s best five cards.

Head to Head: Two players heads-up in a game of poker.

Heads-Up: A game between just two players, often the remaining two players of a tournament.

High Roller: A heavy bettor. One who plays for high stakes.

Hold ‘Em: A form of poker in which players use five community cards incombination with their two hole cards to form the best five-card hand.Also called Texas Hold’Em.

Hole Cards: The concealed cards. In Hold ‘Em, the first two cards that are dealt to each player face down. Also called the ‘down cards’.

Hot Seat: The seat that has or had a run of winning hands.

Ignorant End: The low end of a straight. For instance, if the flop in Hold ‘Em is 9-8-7 the ignorant end straight would be the 6-5.

Inside Straight: Four cards requiring one in the middle to fill a straight.

Insurance: A side bet [usually when a large pot is involvedl made between two players, but can also involve others.

Kibitzer: A spectator, usually unappreciated by the players.

Kicker: The second highest card in a hand. If the holding is A¬9, the 9 is the kicker.

Kicker Trouble: When the second card is low, say a 7 or below, the player will have difficulty winning the pot if another player also holds the highest card because his kicker is liable to be bigger.

Lay Down: To fold one’s hand. Often refers to folding a reasonably good hand.

Live Blind: When the player is allowed to raise even if no one else raises first.

Live Card: A card which has not yet been exposed.

Live One: Refers to a player who plays more hands than the game structure justifies.

Lock: The winning hand; a hand that is unbeatable.

Locked up: To hold a winning or unbeatable hand and have the pot as good as won.This phrase is also used to describe a player who has won a lot ofchips and is very unlikely to lose them again. The player is said tohave the chips locked up.

Main Pot: When a player puts all of his chips in the pot [goes all¬inJ. that player is only eligible to win the pot consisting of the bets he was able to match. This is called the main pot. Additional bets are placed in a ‘side pot" and are contested among the remaining players. The names main and side pots remain irrespective of which contains the most chips.

Maniac: An American expression meaning a very aggressive player who plays lotsof hands and raises often. This type of player seems to bet and raisewith very weak hands.

Mechanic: A card cheat.

Miscall:  An error made when announcing one’s hand. [See also Cards Speak].

Monkey: £500.

Move-In: To move all your chips into the pot in a no-limit game.

Muck: To discard or throwaway a hand. Also refers to all dead cards in the discard heap.

No-Limit Poker: A game in which players can bet up to the amount they have in front of them on any given betting round, irrespective of the amount of chips in the pot. Also called ‘table stakes’.

Nut Flush: The best available flush.

Nuts: The best possible hand at any point in the game; a cinch hand.

Offsuit: Term used to describe the first two cards if they are of different suits.

Omaha: A flop game similar to Hold ‘Em, but where each player is dealt four cards instead of two. In Omaha, a hand must be made using exactly two pocket cards, plus three from the table.

One Way Action: When only one player is in against you.

On Tilt: Becoming emotionally upset and hence playing badly.

Open-ended Straight Draw: Four consecutive cards requiring one at either end to make a straight.

Open Poker: Games where some of the cards are dealt face up.

Out: A card remaining in the deck that improves your hand.

Outdraw: To beat an opponent by drawing a card or cards to improve a lesser hand into a winner.

Out of Turn: Not in proper sequence.

Overpair: A pair higher than any card on the board. If a player holds K-K and the flop comes Q-1 0-3, that player has an overpair.

Pair: Two cards of the same rank.

Pass: Fold.

Pat Hand: A hand which is complete, usually refers to games such as draw poker.

Play Over: An American term and concept meaning to temporarily play in the seat ofan absent player. A transparent box is placed over the chips of theabsent player.

Pony: £25.

Position: Your seat in relation to the dealer, and thus your place in the betting order.

Pot: The money or chips in the centre of the table.

Pot Limit: A game in which the maximum bet is the total in the pot at the time of betting. The limit used in most UK casino games.

Pot Odds: The amount of money in the pot divided by the amount of money it will cost you to continue in the hand. If there is £300 in the pot and it costs you £120 to call the bet you are getting pot odds of 300/120 or 5/2.

Protect Your Hand (1): To place a chip or chips on your cards to prevent them from being accidentally discarded by the dealer.

Protect Your Hand (2): A bet to protect the money you have already put in a pot. Also called ‘defending your hand’ e.g. protecting/defending the Big Blind means to put an extra small bet into the pot no matter how bad your hand is.

Put a Player On: To guess or otherwise determine an opponent’s hand and play accordingly.

Quads: Four of a kind.

Rag: A card which is small and appears to help no one.

Rag Off: To get a final card that doesn’t help you.

Ragged Flop: Flop cards that are seemingly of no use to any player’s hand.

Rags: Worthless cards. Blanks.

Rail:  The sideline around a poker table or playing area.

Railbird:     A non-playing spectator or kibitzer. The term is often used pejoratively to describe an ex-player who has lost and is now out of the game.

Rainbow Flop: A flop with three different suits.

Raise: To call and increase the previous bet.

Rake: In the USA and in some European countries, the casino/house makes a charge by taking a fixed percentage from each pot. In the UK, charges are made by the hour for the seat.

Random Card: A card selected from a group of unknown cards not yet in play which have an equal chance of being chosen.

Random Card Concept: The substitution of a random card for a player’s proper card which he may be unable to receive for any reason, leaves the player with the same mathematical chances of winning the pot before the irregularity occurred. It is therefore assumed that the player has not been materially injured.

Rank: The value of a card. Each card has a suit and a rank. The 10C and 10D are two cards of the same rank

Rat Hole: To pocket part of one’s table stakes secretly. It is considered unethical to take money off the playing surface.

Read: To try and determine, using logical deduction, your opponent’s cards or betting strategy.

Re-buy: An additional entry fee in tournament play. When a player loses all hischips, a re-buy is allowed in some types of competitions for a fixedperiod of time, usually the first 1 – 2 hours.

Represent: To bet in a way that suggests you are holding a strong hand. For example, if the flop comes A-J-3 and you hold 9-9 and have bet before the flop, you might also bet on the flop hoping that the other players will think you have an ace (you are representing an ace).

Re-raise: To raise a raise.

Ring Game: A game with nine to eleven players, the optimum size at Hold ‘Em poker.

River: The last community card on the board, also called fifth street.

Rock: A very conservative and tight player.

Rock Garden: A table populated with rocks.

Roll: A winning streak.

Rolled Up: A term indicating the first three cards at seven stud all of the same rank.

Rounder: A poker player, usually professional, who does the rounds of poker games in the area or country. Playing in Glasgow on Monday, Newcastle on Tuesday, back to Glasgow on Wednesday and then on to Dundee on Thursday is an example of a rounder’s schedule.

Round of Betting: The period during which each active player has the right to check, bet or raise. It ends when the last bet or raise has been called by all players still in the hand.

Royal Flush: The best possible poker hand, consisting of 10-J-Q-K-A, all of the same suit.

Run: A straight; sometimes also refers to a series of hands.

Running Pair: Two cards of the same rank that fall consecutively, usually on fourth and fifth street in Hold ‘Em or Omaha.

Rush: A winning streak.

Satellite: A small-stakes tournament where the winner(s) gains entry into a biggertournament. (A super satellite is where there is a very small entry andthe winner(s) gains entry into a very big tournament.)

Scare Card: A card which could make your hand a loser. For example, if you held Q-Qand the flop is A-6-3, then the ace is a scare card for you.

See: To call.

Sell Your Hand: Make a small bet with a strong hand, hoping to get a call. Usually made when you think a bigger bet would make your opponents pass.

Semi-Bluff: To bet with a hand which isn’t the best hand, but which has a reasonable chance of improving. This term was first coined by Oavid Sklansky.

Set: Usually refers to three of a kind or trips where the pair in a player’shand matches a card on the board. Can also be used in the context offour of a kind, i.e. a set of quads.

Shill: An American term and concept where a casino employee sits in on a gameto keep it going. This is not allowed in the UK and is not known inEurope.

Shiner: A mirror or other reflective object used by cheats in an attempt to seehidden cards as they are dealt. In home or self-dealt games, the playermay wear a ring with a reflective surface.

Showdown: The process of determining who has the best hand after all cards are dealt and all bets are completed.

Shuffle: Mixing of the cards before and between deals.

Side Pot: A separate pot contested by other players when one player is all-in.

Slow Play: To bet less than the strength of the hand would normally deserve inorder to get more players into the pot and to deceive other playersabout the strength of your hand.

Snake Eyes: A pair of aces.

Soft Play Agreement: This is where a player bets less than they normally would or checks good hands when against friends, husbands or wives. It is not prohibited, but is unethical. 

Speech Play: See Coffee Housing.

Speeding Around: Playing loose for one period and then tight for another with no definable pattern.

Splash the Pot: To throw your chips into the pot instead of placing them in front of you. This makes it difficult for the dealer to determine the amount of the bet.

Split: A tie.

Split Pot: A pot in which two or more hands are equal, and the pot is shared.

Stack: The pile of chips in front of a player.

Standard Deck: A deck of cards having four suits with thirteen cards to each suit.

Stay: Call a bet.

Steal: A type of bluff usually made in late position.

Steaming: Playing badly as a result of an upset – see also On Tilt.

Straddle: An additional blind, the largest in the game. Often refers to a blind made voluntarily.

Straight: Five consecutive cards of different suits.

Straight Flush: Five consecutive cards of the same suit.

String Bet: An illegal bet in which a player puts some chips in the pot, then reaches back to his stack for more, without having first stated the full amount of his bet. 

Strip Deck Poker: This is where certain cards are removed from the pack and play takes place without them. For instance, the 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s and 6s can be removed from the deck, making a 32-card deck. In the UK, five-card stud with a 32-card stripped deck was widely played until recently.

Suited: Cards of the same suit.

Super Satellite: A very small-stakes tournament where the winner(s) gains entry into a very big tournament. [See also Satellite.]

Sweeten the Pot: An archaic expression meaning to raise the pot (with a view to making it more attractive to win).

Table Stakes: A game of poker in which a player may use only the money on the table in front of him. This amount can be added to between, but not during, hands. Usually, players are not permitted to take money back off the table unless they are leaving the game.

Tap City: To be broke.

Tap Out: To bet all one’s chips.

Tapped Out: To be broke.

Tell: A player’s nervous mannerism or habitual behaviour which might give clues to his hand.

Texas Hold ‘Em: A form of poker in which players use five community cards in combination with their two hole cards to form the best five-card hand. Also called Hold ‘Em.

Third Pair: Pairing the third highest card on the flop/board. (Sometimes referred to as ‘third button pair’.)

Three of a Kind: Three cards of the same rank, also called ‘trips’.

Tight: A conservative player who only plays strong hands, or playing on fewer hands than the norm.

Tight Game: A game where there is a lot of conservative play, with small numbers of players in most pots,

Tilt: Going ‘on tilt’ means to loose control of one’s emotions and play (uncharacteristically) badly. See also On Tilt.

Toke: An Americanism meaning a gratuity or tip.

Ton: £100.

Trey: A three of any suit.

Triplets: Three of a kind.

Trips: Slang for triplets; three of a kind.

Turn Card: The fourth communal card at Hold ‘Em.

Under the Gun: The first player to act.

Under-Raise: To raise less than the previous bet, which is only allowed if a player is going all-in.

Value Bet: Betting with the hope that an opponent will call with a worse hand.

Vigarish: A charge made by a poker club for the facilities offered.

Wire: To inadvertently let someone know the value of your hand.

Wired Pair: A pair in the first two cards of any poker game.