Poker Terms and Definitions

The following is a glossary of poker terms used in the card game of poker. A big part of learning the game of poker is becoming acquainted with and knowing how to use special vocabulary associated with the game. Some poker terms and phrases are obvious in their meaning, while others are less apparent. In our glossary, you will find the definitions of a list of poker terms, abbreviations and acronyms that are commonly used in the live and online poker field. These are the most important poker terms you need to know to feel completely comfortable at the poker tables, so you will never get left behind in poker discussions.

Click on any of the letters below to jump to that section of the glossary.

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The first reraise (putting 3 bets in).

A four bet is a reraise made after an opponent who has made a 3-bet.



The best and most focused game a player can play.

Absolute nuts
The best possible hand, based on the board cards.

Ace high
A high with an ace but no pair.

The betting in a particular hand or game. A game with a lot of action is a game with a lot of betting. The player who starts the action is the player who makes the first bet.

Acting first
The player who must check or bet before the other players.

Acting last
The last player to check, bet, calls, or raise.

Active player
A player still in the pot.

In rebuy tournaments, an add-on is a rebuy, usually allowed once per player, that any player may purchase regardless of the size of his stack. The add-on is usually offered at the end of the rebuy phase.

An abbreviation for Aggression Factor. The Aggression Factor is a measure of a player’s aggression, either in a particular betting round or over all betting rounds.

All blue (all pink)
A flush.

Have all one’s money in the pot.

A term usually used in poker to refer to the first money wagered on a hand, or the minimum amount that each player is required to put into the pot before a new hand can begin.

American airlines
A pair of aces.

Nickname for a player that is loose-aggressive. Animals are involved in too many hands and will almost always bet and raise when given the opportunity, often with garbage hands. Also known as a maniac.



Back door
Three cards to a flush or a straight after five cards have been dealt. In general, the term is used for a hand made on the end which a player was not originally trying to make.

Back door flush
A flush which is completed by the help from both the turn and river cards with the same suite.

Bad beat
Having a hand that is big favourite defeated as the result of a lucky draw, especially when the person drawing was playing incorrectly by being in the pot in the first place.

Bad game
A game in which your opponents are too good for you to expect to win; a game in which you are an underdog.

The amount of money you have available to wager.

An abbreviation for Big Blind.

Belly buster
A draw to an inside-straight. Also called a gut shot.

Best of it
A situation in which a wager can be expected to be profitable in the long run.

To put money in the pot before anyone else on any given round.

The person who first puts money in the pot on any given round.

Bet for value
To bet in order to be called by a lesser hand. You are betting to make money, not to make your opponents fold.

Big blind
The position two to the left of the button, who is forced to pay a full small bet prior to the hole cards being dealt in Texas Hold’em Poker.

Big chick

Big slick

A card that is not of any value to a player’s hand. Also known as a rag.

A forced bet that one or more players must make to start the action on the first round of betting. The blind rotates around the table with each new deal. The person whose turn it is to bet is said to be the in the blind.

Holding one of the opponent’s outs, typically when the board threatens a straight or flush draw. A blocker is also having a combination of cards that turn your opponents outs into your own, such as having four to a straight flush. The two cards to give you a straight flush are blockers against his high flush draw.

Blocking bet
An abnormally small bet made by a player out of position intended to block a larger bet by an opponent.

A bet or raise with a hand you do not think is the best hand.

The community cards in the center of the table.

Another name for Full house.

Bottom pair
Pairing the lowest card on board.

An aspect of some poker tournaments that rewards players for eliminating other players with a cash prize for each player they eliminate, separate from the tournament payout structure.

An ace-high straight.

In a tournament, the bubble is the top finisher out of the money. For instance, if there are 450 players in a tournament and the top 45 get paid, then 46th place is known as “the bubble.”

A pair of aces.

A player who raises frequently to force out more cautious players, especially one with a large stack for the size of the game.

To raise.

The discarding of the top card before each betting round. In the case that there is a distinguishing mark on the top card, the burn card keeps the next card to be dealt concealed before it comes out. That way no unfair information is being intentionally or unintentionally conveyed.

Busted hand
A hand that does not develop into anything of value.

When there is a house dealer, as in the card rooms of Las Vegas, the button is a round disc that rotates around the table to represent the dealer for the purposes of indicating which player is to be first to act.

Buy in
The minimum amount of money required to sit down in a particular game.

Buy the button
Betting or raising in order to make any players between you and the button fold. If successful, you are now last to act on any subsequent rounds of betting.

Buy the pot
To bluff bet or raise in order to win the pot.



Card room
The area in a casino where poker is played.

To put in the pot an amount of money equal to an opponent’s bet or raise.

Call a raise cold
To call a double bet – that is, a bet and a raise.

A person who calls a bet or raise.

Calling station
See Pay station.

To continue in a hand trying to outdraw an opponent’s hand you are quite sure is better than yours.

To decline to bet when it is your turn.

To check and then raise after an opponent bets.

A round token in various denominations representing money. Among many professional gamblers it is also called a check.

The best possible hand, given the cards on board, when all the cards are out.

Cold call
To call two or more bets on your turn. If a pot has been bet and raised before it gets to you, and then you call, you are cold calling.

A form of cheating involving cooperation among two or more players.

Color down
Exchanging chips for those of a lower denomination.

Color up
Exchanging chips for those of a higher denomination.

Come hand
A hand that has not yet been made, with more cards still to be dealt. Thus, a four-card flush would be a come hand.

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

Complete hand
A poker hand that is defined by all five cards. That is a straight, flush, straight flush, or a full house.

Consecutive suited or unsuited cards that assist in making a straight.

A pair of kings.

A pair of threes.

Cripple the deck
Your hand contains most or all of the beneficial cards that could be used in conjunction with the board.

Crying call
A call with a hand you think has a small chance of winning.

The dealer divides the deck of cards into two parts and then inverts them after they have been shuffled.

Cut the pot
To take a percentage from each pot as the profits for the person or the casino running the game.

The player who acts right before the button or dealer.



Dead hand
A hand a player may not continue to play because of an irregularity

Dead money
Money put in the pot by players who have already folded their hands.

Deal twice
In a cash game, when two players are involved in a large pot and one is all-in, they might agree to deal the remaining cards twice. If one player wins both times he wins the whole pot, but if both players win one hand they split the pot. Also known as Run it twice.

A casino employee who deals the various games.

Deep stack
A stack of chips that is relatively large for the stakes being played.

An abbreviation for Department of Justice.

Double belly buster
See Open-ended straight.

Double up
Winning a heads-up pot when you have gone all-in. Thus, doubling your chip total.

Drawing dead
Drawing to try to make a hand that cannot possibly win because an opponent already holds a bigger hand. A player drawing to make a flush when an opponent already has a full house is drawing dead.

Draw out
To improve your hand so that it beats an opponent who had a better hand than yours prior to your draw.

A pair of twos.

To fold a hand.



Early position
A position on a round of betting in which you must act before most of the other players.

An advantage over an opponent.

Effective odds
The ratio of the total amount of money you expect to win if you make your hand to the total amount of bets you will have to call to continue from the present round of betting to the end of the hand.

The value of a particular hand or combination of cards.

Having nothing due or owed on either side: an even-steven transaction.
Having an equal score, as in a game or contest.

The average profit (or loss) of any bet over the long run.



Face cards
The king, queen or jack of each suit.

In poker, before all the cards are out, a hand that has the best chance of winning.

Family pot
A pot in which most of the players at the table are involved.

Fifth street
The fifth and final community card on board.

To draw a card that makes a hand. For example, to fill a flush is to draw a fifth card of that suit.

Fill up
To make a full house

A poor player who usually loses money. Generally refers to players who draw to very weak hands and often play many poor starting hands.

Flat call
To call a bet without raising.

Calling a bet with the intention of bluffing on a later betting round. A player might do this when he suspects an opponent of making a continuation bet on the flop in the hopes that the bettor will give up his unimproved hand and check on the turn, allowing the caller to bet with a weak hand and hopefully take the pot away from the preflop aggressor.

The first three exposed community cards, which are dealt simultaneously. The word is also used as a verb. For example, to flop a set is to make three-of-a-kind on the flop.

Five cards of the same suit.

To drop out of a pot rather than call a bet or raise.

Four cards to a flush.

Four cards of the same rank. Four jacks is four-of-a-kind.

Fourth street
The fourth community card on the board.

Fox Hunt 
A fox hunt is when you look through the cards that would have come in a round that was broken off early. This will tell a player who folded, for instance, whether he would have hit his draw had he continued playing.

An abbreviation for Full Ring. It generally refers to full ring game, where the table is filled to the maximum allowable players, usually 9 players.

Free card
A card that a player gets without having to call a bet.

Free ride
A round in which no one bets.

Free roll
A situation where two players have the same hand but one of them has a chance to make a better hand.

Full house
Three cards of one rank and two of another. Example,  is a full house.

Full table
A game with nine or ten players.



Giving a hand away
Playing your hand in such a way that your opponents should know what you have.

Good game
A game in which there are enough players worse than you for you to be a substantial favourite.

A poker player who earns a living by making small profits over a long period of consistent, conservative play.

Gut shot
A draw to an inside straight. Also called a belly buster.



Five cards, made of player’s pocket cards and the community cards.

Playing against a single opponent.

Hero Call
Calling when a player has a relatively weak hand but suspects his opponent may be bluffing.

When the flop cards are helpful to your hand.

Hold up
When a hand that is leading manages to win the pot at showdown.

Your unique cards that are hidden from everyone else. Also known as pocket.

A pair of jacks.

Hourly rate
The amount of money a player expects to win per hour on average.



An abbreviation for Illegal Gambling Business Act.

The perception that other people have of your playing style.

Implied odds
The ratio of the total amount of money you expect to win if you make your hand to the bet you must now call to continue in the hand.

Inside straight
A straight which can be made only with a card of one rank, usually somewhere in the middle of the straight. When you hold ten-nine-seven-six, only an eight will give you a straight. Thus, you are drawing to an inside straight, or you have an inside-straight draw.

Acronym for In The Money.



Lots of action, especially raising.

Money collected by the house or poker site.



A side card.

To check (as in knocking on the table).



Late position
A position on a round of betting in which you act after most of the other players have acted.

Lay down
To fold a hand.

A leak is a weakpoint in a player’s style or strategy that causes him to lose money.

Legitimate hand
A hand with value; a hand that is not a bluffing hand.

The amount a player may bet or raise on any round of betting.

Limp in
To call a bet rather than raise. (This usually applies only to the first round of betting.)

Live one
A loose, weak player with a lot of money to lose.

A cinch hand. A hand that cannot lose.

Long odds
A low probability of a certain thing happening.

Lone opponent
When only one opponent is contesting the pot.

Long shot
A hand that has little chance of being made.

Playing more hands than the norm.

Loose game
A game with a lot of players in most pots.



A supper aggressive player who is constantly raising the pot and plays most of his hands.

To become too attached to a hand, usually seeing a showdown when it was clear that you should have folded earlier.

Mathematical expectation
The mathematical calculation of what a bet can be expected to win or lose on average.

Starting hand of Queen-Jack.

Middle pair
Pairing the second highest card on board.

Middle position
A position on a round of betting somewhere in the middle. In a ten-handed game middle position generally refers to those players four or five seats to the left of the big blind.

A superior hand that is unlikely to lose.

To discard a hand; the pile of discards in front of the dealer.

Multi-way pot
A pot in which more than two players are involved.



Negative expectation
The amount a wager may be expected to lose on average. A play with negative expectation is a play that will lose money over the long run.

A nit is a tight-passive player that avoids confrontations. Nits tend to avoid big pots and do not like to gamble. A nit is also known as a Rock.

A structure of the game in which players can bet their entire stack. There’s a minimum to what you can bet, but not a maximum.

The best possible hand at any given point in a pot.



The chance, expressed mathematically, that an event will occur. Also, in the term pot odds, the ratio of the size of the pot to the amount of the bet you must call to continue.

Not the same suit.

A variety of hold’em in which players receive 4 hole cards and must use exactly two of them, together with 3 of the 5 board cards, to make a hand.

On the come
Playing a hand that has not yet been made. For instance, if you bet with four cards to a flush, you are betting on the come.

On tilt
Playing much worse than usual because, for one reason or another, you have become emotionally upset.

Open-ended straight
Four cards to a straight, which can be made with cards of two different ranks. Thus, nine-eight-seven-six is an open-ended straight, which can be made with either a ten or a five. Theoretically, jack-nine-eight-seven-five is also open-ended in that wither a ten or a six will make the hand. The latter hand is also called a double belly buster.

One complete rotation around the table.

To lose to another hand with a better kicker than yours.

To beat a hand that you were losing to on an earlier street.

Cards which will improve your hand. Also, ways of improving your hand. The term is used particularly in reference to a hand that needs to improve to become the best hand.

Over call
A call of a bet after another player has already called.

Over card
A card higher than any card on the flop, or any card higher than those in your hand.

Over pair
A wired pair that is higher than any card on board.



Another term for a face card.

Two cards of the same rank. Two eights is a pair.

To check. Also, to fold.

Pay off
To call a bet or raise when you don’t think you have the best hand.

Pay station
A player who calls bets and raises much more than is correct. He is also referred to as a calling station. This type is great when you have a legitimate hand, but he’s just about impossible to bluff out of a pot.

An abbreviation for Pot Limit Omaha.

Your unique cards that are hidden from everyone else.

Pocket cards
The cards in your hand that are not part of the community cards. In hold’em, it’s your two down cards. In Omaha, it’s your four down cards. Also known as hole cards.

Pocket pair
Two pocket cards that are with the same rank.

Pocket rockets
Another term for 2 aces as your hole cards.

The spot in the sequence of betting in which a player is located. A player in first position would be the first person to act; a player in the last position would be the last person to act.

Positive expectation
The amount a wager may be expected to win on average. A play with positive expectation is a play that will win money over the long run.

The total amount of money wagered at any point in a hand. A hand itself is also referred to as a pot. Thus, three people in the pot means there are three active players still playing the hand.

Pot committed
A situation that likely requires you to call due to the amount of money in the pot is so large compared to your remaining stack of chips. In these situations, it makes no sense to fold.

A structure of the game in which bets and raises are capped by the current size of the pot.

Pot odds
The ratio of the amount of money in the pot to the bet you must call to continue in the hand.

The first betting round when the players receive their two hole cards.

Holding a pair of 5’s as your hole cards.

The chance that an event will occur, generally expressed in percentage terms.

Betting or raising to guard your cards so that your opponents must pay a price to try and draw to beat your hand.


Put someone on a hand
To determine as best you can the hand (or hands) an opponent is most likely to have.

Pure nuts
The best possible hand. If the board is , a player holding a 65 has the pure nuts.



Four of a kind.



See Blank.

A board containing cards that do not appear helpful.

The rail is the sideline at a poker table, the rail separating spectators from the field of play. Watching from the rail means watching a poker game as a spectator.

Game observers.

A flop with three different suited cards.

To bet an additional amount after someone else has bet.

A player who raises.

An amount retained by a casino from each pot, usually no more than $2 or $3.

Rake Chase 
In a rake chase, players will be entered into the tiered VIP Point promotion with cash prizes for reaching monthly VIP point targets. The prize levels are broken down into checkpoints with payouts increasing as players pass each one. Players will be awarded a cash prize which corresponds to the highest checkpoint they reach.

Rake Race 
A Rake Race is a competition to generate more rake than other players on a particular online poker site in a given time frame, usually based over a monthly or weekly period. During a rake race you can advance in position if you generate more rake than the other competitors.

Rakeback is the cash refund to a player of a portion of the rake paid by that player, normally from a third-party source such as an affiliate. It is usually expressed as a percentage and basically players get given back this amount of the rake that they play.

Rakeback Pro 
Rakeback Pro refers to a type of online poker players who regularly play many tables simultaneously and use rakeback as a means of increasing profits or cutting their losses. Depending upon the stakes the player is playing, how many tables they are playing at once, and the number of hours played daily, rakeback pros can earn thousands of dollars in rakeback every month.

An abbreviation for rakeback.

To make your opponents believe you have a better hand than you really do.

To raise after an opponent has raised.

Reverse implied odds
The ratio of the amount of money now in the pot to the amount of money you will have to call to continue from the present round to the end of the hand.

Ring game
A standard poker game in which money is wagered during each hand.

The fifth and last community card.

Losing a hand on the river, while you were ahead and the clear favourite on the turn. Can also be used to describe a hand being made using the river card.

A player who is very tight and rarely bluffs.

Rock garden
A game comprised of many rocks.

See Pocket rockets.

Round of betting
A sequence of betting after one or more cards have been dealt. A round of betting continues until each active player has wither folded or called.

A professional poker player, whose primary means of earning a living is by playing cards.

Royal flush
An ace-high straight flush.  is a royal flush.

A draw that requires both the turn and river card to improve. For example, the turn and river card are both suited giving you a backdoor flush, also called a runner-runner flush.

Running bad
Losing for a period of time.

Running pair
Fourth- and fifth-street of the same rank (but of a rank different from any of the other cards on board.)

Several winning hands in a short period of time.



A tournament with a smaller buy-in that pools all the entrants’ funds and awards seats to a higher-value tournament rather than cash. Satellites give players the chance to enter into an expensive tournament by winning or placing well in a less expensive tournament.

To play weakly with a strong hand. To check-raise or slow play with the probable best hand.

An abbreviation for Small Blind.

Scare card
A board card that can easily turn a winning hand into a losing hand.

An abbreviation for Spring Championship of Online Poker.

A big win.

Seat charge
In public card rooms, an hourly fee for playing poker.

Second pair (third pair)
Pairing the second (third) highest card on board.

To bet with a hand which you do not think is the best hand but which has a reasonable chance of improving to the best hand.

A period of time spent playing in a poker game, normally measured in hours.

Three-of-a-kind. Usually referred to a player holding a pocket pair and matches one of the board cards with the same rank.

Set mining
A player who catch the set and decided to slow play the hand, setting a trap/mine for his opponents. It usually referred to a play when the set was completed on the flop.

A very good player.

Short odds
The odds for an event that has a good chance of occurring.

Short stacked
Playing in a game with a relatively small number of chips remaining.

The turning up of all active players’ cards at the end of the final round of betting to see who has the best hand.

Side pot
A second pot for the other active players when one or more players is all-in.

Sit and Go
A poker tournament that starts whenever a specified number of players have registered.

To check or just call an opponent’s bet with a big hand in order to win more money on later rounds of betting.

Small blind
The position one to the left of the button, who is forced to pay a fraction (usually 1/2) of a small bet prior to the hole cards being dealt in Texas Hold’em Poker.

Smooth call
To call one or more bets without raising, when you are quite sure that you have the best hand.

An abbreviation for Supernova Elite. Supernova Elite is the ultimate VIP status in PokerStars’ VIP club. A PokerStars player is required to earn minimum yearly VPPs of 1,000,000 to achieve the Supernova Elite status.

An abbreviation for a “Sit and Go” tournament, as opposed to a scheduled tournament.

Tossing your chips into the pot, rather than placing them on the table in front of your cards. Splashing the pot is frowned upon.

Split the pot
Dividing the pot equally between two or more opponents who have the same hand.

The amount of money you currently have at the table.

Starting requirement
The minimum initial hand a player considers he needs to continue in a pot.

Start the action
To make the first bet in a particular hand.

To cause your opponents to fold when you probably do not have the best hand. The term is used especially in reference to stealing the antes – that is, raising on the first round of betting so that everyone remaining in the pot folds.

To play badly because you are emotionally upset – especially to play considerably more pots than you normally would when your hands do not justify it. Also known as on tilt.

Steel wheel
A 5-high straight flush.  is a steel wheel.

Five cards of mixed suits in sequence.  is a straight.

Straight flush
Five cards of the same suit in sequence.  is a straight flush.

A betting round such as the flop, turn, or river.

String bet
Placing a bet on the table in a staggered motion or multiple motions. String bets are not allowed, and the dealer will remove the added amount of the bet if he determines a bet to be a string bet. It’s not permitted because it could be used to gauge the reaction of other players before you commit the entire intended amount of the raise.

The limits set upon the ante, forced bets, and subsequent bets and raises in any given game.

Losing money, especially a substantial amount of money, in a given session or over a period of time. We might say, “Sammy is stuck $1,500 in the game.” That is, Sammy has lost $1,500.

Suck out
To win a hand with a hand that was a heavy underdog. This implies that the winner should not have been in the hand, and was very lucky to win the pot.

A player who can be expected to lose money, especially one who is not as good as he thinks.

Two or more cards of the same suit.



Table coach
The table know-it-all who likes to tell everyone how he or she should be playing their cards.

Tank refers to the process of being lost in deep thought in the middle of a poker hand, or the time one takes to make a difficult decision.

Tap out
Losing all of your money.

A mannerism a player exhibits that may give away his hand.

See 3-Bet.

Three cards of the same rank.  is three-of-a-kind.

Throwing a party
When several loose or amateur players are making significant monetary contributions to the pot.

Playing fewer hands than the norm.

Tight game
A game with a small number of players in most pots.

See On tilt.

Top pair
Pairing the highest card on board.

When one player is caught between 2 (or more) bettors/raisers, and is unlikely to win the pot.


The fourth community card.

Two flush
Two cards of the same suit.



An abbreviation for Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act.

Under the gun
The first person to act on the first round of betting is under the gun. On later betting rounds, the player to the immediate left of the bettor is said to be under the gun.

A hand that does not have the best chance of winning.

A pocket pair that is lower than the lowest board card.

Expressions like aces up, kings up, and sixes up mean two pair with two aces, two kings, or two sixes as the highest of the two pair. Unless an opponent has a top pair of the same rank, the rank of the second pair is of no importance.

An abbreviation for Under The Gun.



What a hand is worth in terms of its chance of being the best hand.

Value bet
A bet in which you wish for your opponent(s) to call. This could be because you have the best hand or because you have enough outs in order to make this bet profitable in the long run.

It is customary to describe the opposing player in a hand as Villain, while the player whose side is being watched is called Hero.



Walking sticks
A pair of sevens.

A bet.

An abbreviation for World Championship of Online Poker.

A 5-high straight, also known as a bicycle.

Wired pair
A pair in the hole.

An abbreviation for the “World Poker Tour”.

World Series of Poker (WSOP)
An annual series of poker tournaments with buy-ins ranging up to $10,000, which is held each spring at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The competition is generally recognized as the premier competition among the best poker players in the world.

Worst of it
A situation in which a wager will be unprofitable in the long run.


If you have any questions about any of the definitions or can’t find a term you are looking for, please feel free to post a comment below. We will try to clear things up for you.

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