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Poker Terms

The following is a poker glossary containing almost all of the lingo/jargon/definitions to words that you'll hear in a real-live poker room and/or in online poker room chat. If we've missed some, please feel free to let us know by dropping us an email. Enjoy!

ACTION: In short, your move; at any given point in time you may fold, check, call, bet, or raise.

AGGRESSIVE PLAY: A style of play that bets and raises more often than checks and calls.

ALL-IN: The total amount of money on the table for any player. When a player bets the last of their money, they are all-in. No further money may be added to the table until the hand is over.

ANTE: In non-blind games and in tournaments, an ante is a pre-determined amount posted by all players before the start of a hand.

BANKROLL: The amount of money a player has stored away for playing poker.

BET: The amount of money wagered during a player’s action.

BIG BLIND: The largest regular blind in a game. This is the minimum bet to see the flop.

BLIND: A forced bet made before any cards are dealt; usually the two players to the right of the dealer’s button.

BLIND GAME: A game which utilizes a blind.

BOARD: The board on which a waiting list is kept for players wanting seats in a game.

BOARDCARD: The five community cards in the center of the table, as in Hold’em or Omaha.

BROKEN GAME: In casinos, when too many players leave, the game is considered “broken” and disbands.

BURNCARD: After the hole cards are dealt, the top card on the deck in each community round is placed under a chip in the pot. Doing so is to “burn a card.” The card itself is called the “burncard.” This keeps players who have potentially marked the deck from knowing the first card that will be on the flop.

BUTTON: A player who is in the dealer position. The button shows where the dealer would be IF the deal was rotated (as is customary in home games).

BUY-IN: The minimum amount of money required to enter any game.

CALLING STATION: A player whose style is loose and weak. The kind of player that likes to have action on every hand.

CAPPED: In limit poker, the maximum number of raises on a single betting round has been reached. This is usually a total of three or four raises between MORE THAN two players. When there are only two players, raises are often NOT capped.

CARDS SPEAK: When the cards are flipped face up at the showdown, the value of a hand is the ACTUAL value of the hand, regardless of a verbal announcement. If a player has a better or worse hand than they announce, the actual value of the hand is what matters.

CHECK: When the action begins, a player may choose to pass rather than bet. A player may check as long as no one has begun the betting. A common beginner’s error is that people fold when they are still able to check.

CHECK-RAISE: When a player chooses to check when the action first comes to them, but chooses to raise after their opponent makes the initial bet.

CHOPPING: When everyone folds to the small blind, an agreement between the two blinds to each take back their blind bets instead of playing the deal. Typically, if a player either always chops or always does not. The cards you are folding should NOT influence whether or not you chop.

COLLECTION: The fee charged in a game. This is taken either out of the pot (the rake) or from each player at a timed interval (timed collection).

COLOR CHANGE: Changing your chips from one denomination to another.

COMMON CARD: A card dealt face-up to be used by all players in stud poker. This usually occurs when there aren't enough cards in the deck to deal to all remaining players a card individually.

COMMUNITY CARDS: The cards dealt face-up in the center of the table that can be used by all players to form their best hand in the games of Hold'em and Omaha.

DEAD CARD: A card that is dead, often exposed by a player or dealer, is not playable for that hand.

DEAD HAND: A hand that is either mucked or been dealt to an absent player. In either case, it is no longer playable.

DEAD MONEY: (1) Chips that are taken into the center of the pot because they are not considered part of a particular player’s bet. (2) A term describing inexperienced tournament players that stand little chance of winning.

DEALER BUTTON: A plastic 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.”

DISCARD(S): In a draw game, the cards that you take out of your hand to make room for replacements. Also, the cards thrown into the muck.

DOWN-CARDS: The cards that are face-down in stud games.

DRAW: (1) A type of poker where players are given the opportunity to replace cards from their original hand with new cards. (2) The act of replacing cards in the hand. (3) The point in the deal where replacing is done is called “the draw.”

FACECARD: A king, queen, or jack.

FIXED LIMIT: In “limit” poker, any betting structure in which the amount of the bet on each particular round is pre-set.

FLASHED CARD: A card that is exposed. Flashed cards become dead-cards.

FLOORPERSON: A casino employee who makes rulings when situations arise.

FLOP: In Hold’em or Omaha, the first three community cards that are turned over simultaneously after the first round of betting is complete.

FLUSH: Five cards of the same suit. Example: 5 clubs, 5 hearts, 5 diamonds or 5 spades.

FOLD: Discarding a hand and discontinuing your efforts to win that pot.

FOURTH STREET: The second up-card in seven-card stud or the first board-card after the flop in Hold'em (also called the turn card).

FORCED BET: A required bet that starts the action on the first betting round (this is the normal way that action begins in a stud game).

FREEROLL: A chance to win something with no risk or cost.

FULL BUY: A buy-in of at least the minimum requirement of chips needed for a particular game.

FULL HOUSE: A hand consisting of three of a kind and a pair.

HAND: (1) A player’s personal cards. (2) The five final cards that determine what a player has. (3) A single “deal” of poker.

HEADS-UP PLAY: When only two players are in the game.

HOLECARDS: The cards dealt face-down to a player.

JOKER: The joker, also called “the Bug” is sometimes used as a partially wild card in high draw poker and ace-to-five lowball. In high, it can be used as an ace, as any card in a straight, or any card in a flush. In lowball, the Bug is the lowest unpaired rank for the hand.

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. Straights and flushes count as high hands.

KICKER: The highest unpaired card that helps determine the value of a five-card poker hand. The Kicker helps break ties between players that have the same hand. For instance a hand with a pair of Aces and a King kicker, would be higher than a pair of aces with a Queen kicker. Kickers are counted until five cards are used.

KILL (OR KILL BLIND): 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.

KILL POT: When there is a winner of two consecutive pots in some lowball games, a pot with a forced kill may be enacted. (Some pots can also be voluntarily killed.)

LIST: The list of players waiting for a seat in a game.

LOCK-UP: A marker that holds a seat for a player.

LOOSE PLAYER: A player who plays many hands.

LOWBALL: A draw poker game where the lowest hand wins. A, 2, 3, 4, 5 is the best hand possible. Some variations have A, 2, 3, 4, 6 as the best hand, when straights count against you.

LOWCARD: When playing non-blind games, such as seven-card stud, the lowest up-card on third-street is forced to pay the initial bet.

MANIAC: A player whose style of play is loose and aggressive.

MISDEAL: If the cards are not dealt in the approved manner or there is a mistake during the dealing of a hand, the hand is forfeit and the cards are to be reshuffled and a new hand dealt.

MISSED BLIND: When a player is absent for their required blind, they must pay that blind(s) when they return.

MUCK: To discard a hand.

MUST-MOVE: In order to protect the main game, a secondary game of newer players that will be moved to the main game when seats open. Players at the must-move are awarded seats in the order that they sat down.

NO-LIMIT: A betting structure where players are allowed to wager any where from the minimum bet (usually the Big Blind) or all of their chips in one bet.

OPTION: The Big Blind’s choice to raise preflop.

OMAHA: A stud form of poker where each player is dealt four hole cards. The five community cards, like Hold'em, are dealt with a flop, turn, and river. Unlike Hold'em, a player MUST use two cards from his down-cards and MUST use three cards from the community cards. This game can be played limit or pot-limit. In some versions, the game is played high-low, where the lowest hand of five cards UNDER an 8 would receive half of the pot. If no low hand is present, the high hand takes the whole pot.

PASS: (1) Checking/ choosing not to bet during your action. (2) Decline to call a wager, fold.

PLAY BEHIND: Using a marker to play a hand while the chips a player has bought are being transported to him. This is only when waiting for chips that have already been purchased from a chip runner.

PLAY THE BOARD: If the highest hand a player can make with his cards are the five community cards in Hold'em.

PLAY OVER: To play in a seat when the player who “owns” that seat is absent for a prolonged period.

POSITION: (1) A player’s seat in relation to the button. (2) The order in which you act on a betting round or deal. (early, middle, or late).

POT-LIMIT: The betting structure of a game in which a player is allowed to bet a maximum of the money in the pot at any given time.
***If you are RAISING the initial bet in pot-limit, the pot is considered to contain the following: the current money in the pot, the other player’s bet, money from other people who have called the bet, and the money that you must call.***

PROPOSITION BET: A side bet between players that are not related to the outcome of the hand. For instance, a player may offer to bet that the flop will come all red on the next hand.

PROTECTED HAND: When a hand has a marker on it so that the cards will not be accidentally taken by dealer. This protector is often a chip, coin, or small object that indicates that the cards are not meant to be folded.

RACK: Chip holding containers used for transport.

RAILBIRD: Spectator at a game. Online, these clowns will often times beg for money at high limit tables. Don't ever give them anything. Tell them to get a job!

RAISE: To increase the amount of the original bet. In limit games, this is a set wager equal to the first. In no-limit games, this wager is equal to OR greater than the original bet.

RE-RAISE: The second raise (third bet) in a betting round.

ROCK: A player whose style of play is weak and tight.

SCOOP: In high-low games, when a player wins both the highest hand and lowest hand to take the whole pot.

SEVEN CARD STUD: A stud form of poker where each player receives two down-cards and one upcard to begin the hand. There are no community cards. The 4th, 5th, and 6th cards are also given to the players face up. The 7th card comes face-down. Players make the best five card hand that they can. Unlike Hold'em and Omaha, this game usually is played with only 8 players due to the number of cards that are needed from the deck.

SHIP IT: Another way of saying "send it" as in move that pile of chips over here, because I won and you lost. Surely a good way to piss off your opponent.

SIDE POT: A pot created when more than one player calls an all-in bet. Remaining players have the option to continue betting into a pot that the all-in player does not have access to.

SHOWDOWN: When the final bet has been called, opponents reveal their hand to determine the winner of the pot.

SHUFFLING: Mixing the cards before a hand.

SMALL BLIND: A blind bet, usually ½ of the minimum bet (big blind).

SPLIT POT: A hand where the pot is divided among players, either because of a tie for the best hand or because of a high-low game.

STACK: The number of chips in front of a player.

STRADDLE: A blind bet placed after the forced big blind, usually double the big blind in size. This becomes the minimum required bet for that hand.

STRAIGHT: Five cards in consecutive rank.

STRAIGHT FLUSH: Five cards in consecutive rank of the same suit.

STREET: The card(s) dealt on a particular round in all stud games. For instance, the third card in a player’s hand is often known as third street, the sixth card as sixth street, and so on.

STRING RAISE: An illegal bet made by making more than one motion toward a player’s chips, without declaring a raise.

TABLE STAKES: (1) All money in play on a given table. This is the maximum amount that you can lose or that anyone can win from you on any one hand. (2) The requirement that players can wager only the money in front of them at the start of a hand, and can only buy more chips between hands.

TIGHT PLAYER: A player who choose to play few hands.

TILT: a state of mind where a player is making emotional plays instead of rational plays.

TIME: A common saying used to stop the action on a hand. Essentially, it means “I need some time to decide what to do.”

TIME COLLECTION: A fee for a seat rental, usually in no-limit games.

TOURNAMENT: A poker competition that is paid for with an entry fee and percentage of the buy in is returned as prizes to the players who last the longest.

TURN: The fourth up-card in Hold'em or Omaha.

UNDER THE GUN: The first player to the left of the Big Blind. They act first pre-flop.

UP-CARDS: Cards that are dealt face-up for opponents to see in stud games.

WAGER: (1) To bet or raise. (2) The chips that are used for betting or raising.

WEAK PLAY: A style of play that checks and calls more often than bets and raises.


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