Poker Terms and Poker Definitions

If you are brand new to Internet poker and happen to hear a few seasoned online players talking about a hand, you may wonder if they are speaking a foreign language. "LAG", "open limps", and "overcalls" hardly seem like English, but the terms are common-speak for online poker players. This poker dictionary will help you learn poker terms and phrases.

To use the poker dictionary, you can either sort through the whole thing by scrolling down the page, or you can click the letter listings below:

Poker Terms beginning with "A"

  • A-Game – When a player is playing at the highest of their ability.
  • Ace in the Hole – When one of your pocket cards is an Ace.
  • Ace High – When you haven’t made a hand and an Ace is your highest card, you therefore have Ace high.
  • Ace Out – A term meaning to win with Ace-high.
  • Aces Full – When a player has a full house with three Aces and any pair.
  • Aces Up – A hand which has two pair and one of those pair is Aces.
  • Acey-Deucey – This means two pair consisting of a pair of Aces and a pair of two’s.
  • Act – An act is your choice of play (check, bet, call, raise or fold)
  • Add-on – To purchase more chips when the re-buy period is over in certain tournaments.
  • Aggressive – This describes a player who frequently raises and re-raises.
  • Alexander – A slang term for the King of Clubs.
  • All-in – When a player bets all of their chips.
  • All-in over the top – When a player moves all-in after an opponent bets.
  • American Airlines – When you have a pair of Aces.
  • Anna Kournikova – A nickname for holding A-K as a starting hand.
  • Ante – Money placed into the pot before a hand is dealt.
  • Apple – This is a description for the biggest game available at a casino. For example a player might say, ‘I was playing in the Apple last night’.
  • Argine – A term for the Queen of Clubs.
  • Assault Rifle – This term describes a player’s hole cards in a game of Omaha when they are A-K-4-7 of any suit.
  • Athos – This term means a player is holding A-10 in Texas Hold’em.

Poker Terms beginning with "B"

  • Backer – A person who finances a player (buys them into tournaments, gives them cash to play in cash games etc) for a split of the winnings.
  • Backraise – A re-raise from a player who initially called a bet.
  • Bad beat – When a player loses a hand in which they were a strong favourite.
  • Bankroll – The amount of money you have available to play poker with.
  • Bankroll Management – Managing the amount of money you have to play poker with depending on stakes. For example, if you had a bankroll of $1,000 you should only be playing at the $0.25/$0.50 stakes.
  • Barn – Short for Full Barn which is another term for Full House.
  • Bay and a Red – A term used in casinos when a player makes a $6 bet using a red $5 chip and a white $1 chip.
  • Belly Buster - A draw/catch to an inside straight.
  • Bet blind – When a player makes a bet without looking at their cards.
  • Bicycle – This is the lowest possible hand in lowball and high-low poker (A-2-3-4-5).
  • Big Slick – When you hold Ace-King as your pocket cards.
  • Big Chick – When you hold Ace-Queen as your pocket cards.
  • Blocker – A blocker is when you hold one of your opponents outs (a card they need) and is a commonly used term in Stud and Omaha games.
  • Boat – Another term for a full house.
  • Bubble – The bubble is referred to as the period before the cash places begin. For example in a 1000 player tournament which only pays the top 100 players, 101st position is known as the bubble.
  • Burn card – A card dealt face-down by the dealer when dealing each round of cards. These cards are not revealed to players and have no impact on the hand.
  • Buy-in – The amount of money it costs to enter a tournament or cash game.

Poker Terms beginning with "C"

  • Call – A call is when a player matches an opponent’s bet. For example a player bets $100 and you call, you would be betting $100 to match their bet and stay in the hand.
  • Calling station – Players who rarely fold and always call with any hand are referred to as calling stations.
  • Check – This is a choice of play and means a player has opted not to bet. A player can only check if the players who have acted before them have checked, if the opponents have made a bet then you cannot check - you must call, raise or fold.
  • Check-raise – When a player checks and then raises an opponent’s bet.
  • Chip dumping – When a player intentionally loses their chips to another player to give them a better advantage.
  • Community cards – Community cards are dealt by the dealer and are turned up for all players to see and use. Players can use any combination of their pocket cards and the community cards to make their best five card hand in Hold’em. Whereas in Omaha, players are dealt four pocket cards and must use two of them in combination with three of the five community cards.
  • Continuation bet – To bet in a hand after you raised pre-flop. This is also known as a C–bet.
  • Cooler – When two very strong hands are played against each other and one player loses the majority or all of their chips.
  • Cowboys – A term used to describe pocket Kings in Texas Hold’em.
  • Crap shoot – This is a term used by players in tournaments which are more luck orientated and have very loose action.
  • Cut the deck – This is a commonly used term in home games where the dealer gets a player to divide the deck in two before shuffling and dealing the cards.

Poker Terms beginning with "D"

  • Dark bet – Dark bet is another term for ‘bet in the dark’. This is when a player announces how much they are going to bet before their cards are dealt to them or before they look at them.
  • Deal me out – This term is used by players to announce that they are sitting out for at least one hand.
  • Dealer’s choice – Dealers choice is common in home games and means the dealer gets to choose which variation of poker they play.
  • Deuces – A term which means a pair of twos.
  • Deuce to Seven – A variation of poker which sees players compete to make the worst hand possible which is 2-3-4-5-7.
  • Donkey – Players refer to bad players as donkeys. They are usually inexperienced or beginner players.
  • Doyle Brunson – A term which refers to the hand 10-2 which poker legend Doyle Brunson won two WSOP Main Events in a row with.
  • Drawing dead – When a player cannot improve his hand, or has no outs to win the pot.

Poker Terms beginning with "E"

  • Early position – This is the position in a round of betting where the player acts before most of the other players. This is usually the first two positions to the left of the dealer.
  • Entry fee – This is the amount of money it costs a player to enter a tournament. For example in a $10+$1 tournament the entry fee is $1 and that is kept by the house/poker room and the $10 is added to the prize pool.
  • EtiquetteTable etiquette is important when playing at casinos, things like splashing chips into the pot is considered poor etiquette because it makes it hard for the dealer to know how much you bet.
  • Expected value – Expected value is determined by a players decision making and can either be +ev (positive expected value), or –ev (negative expected value). By always playing hands like 2-7 you will have a –ev because you will lose much more than you will win.
  • Exposed cards – Cards which are purposely dealt face-up such as in a game of Stud.

Poker Terms beginning with "F"

  • Facecard – A face card is a Jack, Queen or King.
  • Family pot – This is when all of the players at the table call to view the flop.
  • Final table – The last table left in a multi-table tournament.
  • Fish – A nickname for a poor player or someone who loses a lot of money.
  • Fishhooks – A slang term for Jacks.
  • Fixed limit – Fixed limit is a betting structure used in various poker games. The amount which a player can bet on each street is pre-set and cannot be changed.
  • Flat call – When a player just calls a bet instead of raising.
  • Floorman – A floorman is an employee at a casino who clarifies rules and decisions.
  • Flop – The first three community cards which are dealt face-up by the dealer at the same time. Then the second round of betting begins.
  • Flop games – A term used to describe poker games which involve flops dealt face-up by the dealer such as Hold’em and Omaha.
  • Flush – When a player has five cards of the same suit. For example five diamonds.
  • Flush draw – When a player holds four cards of the same suit and needs to draw a fifth to make a flush. For example a player holding 6s-7s with a board of 10s-Js-Ad-2c would be on a flush draw, needing a spade on the river to make their flush.
  • Fold – When it is a player’s turn to act and they decide to throw away their hand instead of calling or raising.
  • Foul hand – A commonly used term in home poker games when a players hand contains the wrong number of cards. The hand is voided and the cards are re-shuffled and dealt again.
  • Four of a kind – When a player has four cards of the same number or face value, for example four Jacks. A four of a kind is also known as Quads.
  • Fourth Street – Fourth street is another term used for the ‘turn’ card in community card games such as Hold’em and Omaha. In Stud games fourth street is the fourth card dealt to each player and represents the second round of betting.
  • Freeroll – A tournament which has a free buy-in.
  • Full boat – This is a slang term which means Full House.
  • Full house – When a player holds three cards of the same number or face value as well as a pair of the same number or face value. An example of a full house would be a player holding three Aces and two Kings.

Poker Terms beginning with "G"

  • Grinder – A player who plays without risking much of their bankroll and usually play at the same stakes for a long time without making much profit.
  • Gut shot – This is when a player draws to and/or hits an inside straight.

Poker Terms beginning with "H"

  • Heads-up – When only two players are playing against each other, this is known as heads-up play.
  • Heater – This refers to a player who has won a lot of money in a short period of time.
  • High roller – Someone who plays very high stakes poker games.
  • Hit and run – This is when a player joins a cash table and wins a lot of money in a short period of time then leaves.
  • Hold’em – Hold’em refers to the poker game Texas Hold’em where players are dealt two pocket cards and then the dealer reveals five community cards. The player with the best five card hand wins the pot.
  • Hole cards – The cards which are dealt to every player face down.
  • Horse – A horse is a player who has been backed by someone else to play poker.
  • H.O.R.S.E – This is a mixed game variation of poker consisting of the following games: Limit Hold'em, Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Seven Card Stud, and Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo.
  • Hot hands – When a player has a run of premium hands such as pocket Aces or Kings.

Poker Terms beginning with "I"

  • Idle card – This is a car which adds no value to the players hand.
  • In the money – When a player makes it to the cash places in a poker tournament.

Poker Terms beginning with "J"

  • Jack up – This is another term for raising and means to ‘jack up’ the pot.

Poker Terms beginning with "K"

  • Keep them honest – A term used by players who call a hand to stop their opponent from bluffing.
  • Key hand – A term used by players when they describe their fortunes in a tournament (basically the turning point of their tournament either for the best or for the worst).
  • Kibitzer – A spectator who comments on a game being played by others.
  • Kicker – A kicker comes into play when two players are holding the same hand such as a pair of Aces. The player whose other pocket card is higher will win the hand because they have a stronger kicker.
  • Kick it – Another term to describe a raise.
  • Knock – Sometimes players say knock or tap the table to indicate they are checking.
  • Komodo Dragoned – A term used to describe a player losing a hand because their opponent made a straight or flush on the river.

Poker Terms beginning with "L"

  • Ladies – A term used to describe two Queens.
  • LAG – LAG stands for loose-aggressive is a description for a player who plays a lot of hands and plays them aggressively.
  • Lay odds – This means you are giving favourable odds to your opponent.
  • Lead – This is the first person who bets into the pot (they are making the ‘lead’ bet).
  • Legitimate hand – A term used by players to tell opponents they were not bluffing them and had a made hand.
  • Let slide – A term used when a player folds even though they think their opponent is bluffing.
  • LHE – LHE stands for Limit Hold’em.
  • Lid – The ‘lid’ is the top card of a deck of cards.
  • Limit – A limit is the maximum amount every player is allowed to bet or raise.
  • Limp – This is when a player calls the big blind to see a hand. This is seen as a weak play because players with strong hands should be making a raise.
  • Live one – This is a term used by poker players to describe poor players who play a lot of hands and are unknowledgeable about the game.
  • Loose game – This describes a game where most of the players are seeing the flops and playing weakly.
  • Lowball – This is a form of Draw poker and the winner is the player who has the lowest hand.
  • Luck out – A term used by players when a strong hand is beaten by a player who made their draw.

Poker Terms beginning with "M"

  • Make – To make the deck, meaning to shuffle the deck.
  • Maniac – A maniac is a player who plays very aggressively and bets with weak hands, or makes big bets in the hope of bluffing their opponents.
  • Marked cards – These are illegal cards which have been marked so that other players know when their opponent is holding it. For instance a player might mark all the Aces in a deck, then if their opponents are dealt them, they will be able to see the dot. This is a major form of cheating and is most common in home games.
  • Meet – This is another term for calling a bet and means to ‘meet’ it.
  • Middle position – The position a player is seated at the poker table. This is normally seats five, six and seven in full ring tables.
  • Minimum buy-in – This is the smallest amount you can buy-in for at cash tables.
  • Misdeal – A mistake made by the dealer when dealing the cards. The hand is voided and all cards are reshuffled and re-dealt.
  • Mites and lice – A nickname for a full house or two pair which consist of twos and threes.
  • Muck – When a player folds their hand without showing their cards.

Poker Terms beginning with "N"

  • Nit – A nit is another term for a tight player (someone who is scared to bet and doesn’t want to risk their money/chips).
  • NLHE – This is an abbreviation for poker game No-Limit Hold’em.
  • No-limit – In no-limit poker games such as Texas Hold’em, players can bet as much as they want in any betting round as long as they have that amount in front of them.
  • Nursing – When a player only has a few chips left and is playing conservatively.
  • Nuts – The nuts is the best possible hand at any point of the game, for example being dealt pocket Aces pre-flop.

Poker Terms beginning with "O"

  • Odds – A players odds is the probability that they will make a hand vs the probability that they won’t make a hand.
  • Offsuit – Cards of different suits. For example you could be dealt 6s and 9 h meaning you have 6-9 offsuit.
  • Omaha – A variation of poker where you are dealt four pocket cards face-down and must use two of the four cards in conjunction with three of the five community cards to make your best five card hand.
  • On the button – This means you are the dealer and act last in each betting round.
  • Open – The person who makes the first bet (the person who ‘opens’ the action).
  • Open at both ends – When a player has a sequence of four cards and needs one card at either end to make a straight. For example a player with 4-5-6-7 would need a 3 or an 8 to make their straight.
  • Open card – A card which is dealt face-up for everyone to see.
  • Open limp – Being the first person to act in a pot pre-flop but not raising.
  • Open pair – A pair of cards which have been dealt face-up.
  • Outdraw – When a player wins the hand by outdrawing their opponents hand.
  • Out of the money – When a player finishes outside of the paid places in a tournament.
  • Outs – This is the number of cards left in the deck to make your winning hand. For example, if you have four suited cards you would have 9 outs to make a flush because there are 13 cards of each suit in a deck.
  • Overbet – When a player makes a bet which is larger than the pot is currently worth. For example, a player betting $100 when the pot is only worth $50.
  • Overcall – When a player calls a bet after one or more of the other players have already called.
  • Overcard – When a player has a card higher than any currently on the board. For example a player holding A-K on a flop of 6-10-J has two overcards.
  • Overpair – When a player has a pair greater than the highest card on the board. For example, a player hold pocket tens would have an overpair if the board is only 8-5-2.

Poker Terms beginning with "P"

  • Pair – Two cards of the same value. For example two Kings.
  • Pass – Another term meaning to fold.
  • Passive – This describes a player who checks and calls most hands instead of raising.
  • Picked off – This means a player got called when they were bluffing.
  • Play back – When a player plays back at another player. For instance if one player bets and you raised them this would be playing back at them.
  • Playing the board – When your best five cards are the community cards. Players usually say ‘the board plays’.
  • Pocket cards – The cards dealt face down to each player at the beginning of each hand.
  • Pocket rockets – When a player holds two Aces as their pocket/dealt cards. This hand is also known as American Airlines.
  • Poker face – A player who shows no emotion or facial expressions when playing, therefore making it hard for opponents to get tells on them.
  • Pot limit – In pot-limit games players the maximum bet each player can make is the value of the pot. For example if a pot contains $1000 no-one can bet more than that.
  • Push – This also known as ‘all-in’ and is when a player pushes all their chips into the middle.
  • Pwned – This is slang which is commonly used in online poker meaning a player got ‘owned’ or outplayed.

Poker Terms beginning with "Q"

  • Quads – Another meaning for when a player has four-of-a-kind.
  • Quart – A four-card straight flush.
  • Quint – This is another term for straight flush.
  • Quorum – This is the minimum number of players needed for a poker game to start. For example if the quorum was four, the game wouldn’t begin until four players were seated and ready to play.

Poker Terms beginning with "R"

  • Rabbit hunting – When players look at the cards which would have come after a hand has been folded.
  • Railbird – Someone who watches poker games without playing in them.
  • Rake – The amount of money the poker site/casino takes from every pot. This is their way of charging you for playing and is usually a percentage of the pot.
  • Rakeback – A form of reward in which poker rooms pay back players a percentage of their rake.
  • Range – This is an estimate of what hand a player might hold. For example a player moving all-in pre-flop might have a range of JJ+, meaning you think they would only go all-in with a pocket pair of jacks or better.
  • Rathole – A term people label players when they win a big pot and then leave the table without giving others the chance to win their money back.
  • Razz – A variation of the poker game Seven Card Stud where the player with the lowest five cards wins.
  • Re-buy – In some tournaments re-buys are allowed. This means that for a certain period, if a player busts they can re-buy and get more chips so they stay in the tournament.
  • Re-raise – When a player raises a player who has already made a raise.
  • Re-deal – When the dealer re-deals the cards after making a mistake.
  • River – The river is the last card dealt by the dear. In Texas Hold’em and Omaha this is the fifth of the five community cards, whereas in Stud games the river is known as ‘7th street’.
  • ROI – ROI stands for return of investment and is the net profit you made divided by the amount you invested. For example if you played ten $10+$1 tournaments and won $150 in total, you would have earned $40 profit because you invested $110. Your ROI would then be 40/110 = 36%.
  • Royal Flush – A Royal Flush is an Ace-high straight with the cards of the same suit, for example A-K-Q-J-10 all of spades.
  • Rush – This a term used by players to describe a winning streak.

Poker Terms beginning with "S"

  • Sandbagging – When a player just calls a bet when they have a very strong hand. This is normally done to get more money from opponents and to make them try to bluff you.
  • Satellite – A satellite is a tournament which rewards players with entry to bigger tournaments.
  • Scoop – When a player wins the whole pot in a poker game (they ‘scoop’ the pot).
  • Second pair – In flop games such as Hold’em when you pair the second highest card on the board.
  • See – A term used by players meaning to call. To ‘see’ an opponent’s bet.
  • Set – This is another term for holding three-of-a-kind. For example on a J-7-4-9-K board if you held pocket Jacks you would have a set.
  • Seven Card Stud – A poker game where players are dealt three cards down and four cards up with the goal to make the best five-card hand.
  • Shark – A very good player who takes advantage of the weaker players at the table.
  • Ship it – This is a term commonly used by online poker players and is typed in to the chat box when they win a big pot. This is seen as quite arrogant by many players and can help tilt some.
  • Short-handed – A short handed game is when there are between 2-6 players instead of a full table of 10 players.
  • Short stack – A player who has very few chips compared to the other players. For example a player with $10 would be a short-stack if most of the other players had $100+.
  • Showdown – This is when the final betting round has ended and all remaining players reveal their cards to see who has the best hand and wins the pot.
  • Shuffle – This is when the dealer mixes the cards.
  • Sixth Street – In Seven Card Stud this is the fourth ‘up’ card dealt to each player (or their sixth card in total). This is also the fourth round of betting.
  • Slow-play – When a player plays a strong hand such as pocket Aces passively to try and make their opponents think they hold a weak hand. Players usually do this to get their opponents to try and bluff so they can get more money from them.
  • Slow roll – When a player takes a lot of time at showdown before showing their winning hand. This is something which angers a lot of players.
  • Smooth call – When a player only calls a bet or raise instead of raising. This is usually done by players to hide how strong their hand is.
  • Snow job – This is a term used by players meaning a successful bluff.
  • Speed limit – A nickname meaning a pair of fives.
  • Split pot – A hand where two or more players win because they have the same hand. The pot is then split between those players.
  • Squeeze – When a player makes a big raise after one player has already raised the initial raiser in a hand. This is very strong play and indicates the player has a premium starting hand.
  • Stacked deck – This is a form of cheating where the deck of cards have been arranged so that one player has an advantage.
  • Stone cold bluff – This is when a player bets or raises with no chance of winning the hand, except for making their opponent fold their hand.
  • Straight – Five consecutive cards of any suit.
  • Straight flush – Five consecutive cards all of the same suit.
  • Street – Cards dealt on a particular round in Stud games. For example the fourth card in a players hand is known as ‘fourth street’.
  • Stub – The portion of the deck of cards which has not been dealt.
  • Suicide King – A nickname for the King of Hearts. This is because in the drawing of the card the King appears to be stabbing himself in the head.
  • Suit – The characteristic of a playing card. There are four suits in a deck of cards – Hearts, Diamonds, Spades and Clubs.
  • Suited connectors – When a player holds two cards of the same suit which are sequentially ordered. For example a player hold 9-10 of diamonds has suited connectors.

Poker Terms beginning with "T"

  • TAG – TAG stands for tight-aggressive and means a player plays fewer hands than average, but when they do play in a hand they bet aggressively.
  • Tell – This is when a player does something which gives their opponents an indication about the hand they are holding.
  • Texas Hold’em – The most popular variation of poker where players are dealt two cards face down. The dealer then deals five community cards (Flop, Turn and River), which are visible to all players and the winner is the person with the strongest hand using any combination of their pocket cards and the community cards.
  • Thirty miles – A slang term meaning a set of tens.
  • Three of a kind – Three cards of the same number or face value. For example three Jacks.
  • Tight – This is a term frequently used to describe players who don’t play many hands.
  • Tilt – This is when a player is angry or upset and lets it affect their game. For example if a player loses a hand in which they were a big favourite, they will become angry and then play more hands than normal and become more aggressive.
  • Tournament fee – When registering or entering tournaments most will include a tournament fee. This is a small percentage which goes to the organisers. For example if a tournament has a buy-in of $50+$5, the $5 represents the tournament fee and the $50 goes towards the prize pool.
  • Trips – This is another term for holding three-of-a-kind or a set.
  • Turn – The turn is the fourth card dealt out of the five community cards. For example the dealer deals a Flop consisting of 5-7-J, after a round of betting the dealer then deals the Turn card.

Poker Terms beginning with "U"

  • Underpair – When a player has a pair lower than the lowest valued card on the board. For example a player holding pocket two’s on a flop of 4-6-8 has an underpair.
  • Up card – A card which is dealt face-up.
  • Uphill – This means to chase or try to outdraw a better hand.
  • UTG – An abbreviation for under-the-gun which means the first player to act before the flop is dealt.

Poker Terms beginning with "V"

  • Value bet – When a player bets or raises knowing that players with weaker hands will call.
  • Variance – A term used to describe the up and down swings of a player’s bankroll.

Poker Terms beginning with "W"

  • Walk – When the player in the big blind wins the hand without any action (all other players fold before the flop).
  • Walking sticks – A term used to describe a pair of sevens.
  • Wash – To shuffle the deck of cards.
  • Wheel – A wheel is A-2-3-4-5 which is the best possible low hand and is also known as a ‘bicycle’.
  • Whore – A slang term meaning a Queen.
  • Wing – This means to be on a winning streak. Players might announce ‘I’m on a wing’ meaning they are having a good run.
  • Wooden hand – A hand which cannot improve or win the pot.
  • Worst hand – This describes a losing hand.
  • Wrap – A straight-draw in Omaha in which 2 or more cards can make a player a straight. For example a player holding 5-6-7-10 on a board of 8-9-x can make a straight with a Six, Seven, Ten or Jack.

Poker Terms beginning with "X"

  • Xylophone - Slang for an Omaha starting hand of 3-4-5-6.

Poker Terms beginning with "Y"

  • Yard – A slang term meaning $100.
  • Yeast – Another term meaning to raise.

Poker Terms beginning with "Z"

  • Z-Game – The lowest stake game available at a casino.

Thank you for checking out my poker dictionary. If there are any poker terms I missed, please feel free to contact me and I'll add the term.

The next (and final) portion of my guide is the "Recommended Reading" section, where I recommend other poker websites that you should check out.

Next Article » Further Reading - Our List of Other Poker Resources