Sit down at a poker table for the first time and you’ll soon discover that the game has a language of its own – and you just may be at a disadvantage if you aren’t sure what some of these terms are that the other players are using. Thankfully, we’ve put together this poker lingo section to help you become familiar with strange poker terms such as “pocket rockets”, “sand bags” and “snowmen”.
ABC Player: A player who is very predictable. This type of player generally reads a poker book or two and then follows them to the word. These players may often win at lower level games, but are easily beaten by advanced players.
Action: Refers to the amount of betting going on at a given table.
Advertise: A player advertises when he/she alters their regular playing strategy to confuse opponents.
Aggressive player: An "aggressive" player is one who bets high early in order to make other players uncomfortable. They frequently bet the maximum limit and are in until the end.
Ajax: When your pocket cards contain an Ace and a Jack.
All-in: When you have put all of your playable money and chips into the pot during the course of a hand.
American Airlines: Pocket aces.
Angle: Something that isn't against the rules, but is still unfair.
Angle-Shooting: Poker lingo for using unfair tactics.
Ante: The total amount in the pot being wagered on.
Backdoor: Making a hand by catching both turn and river cards.
Backraise: A raise from a player who originally called.
Bad Beat: A hand being beat by another hand that had a very low percentage of becoming a winning hand.
Ballerina: Two two's in your hand
Bicycle or Bike: A straight running from ace to five. Also known as a "wheel".
Big Blind: The largest regular blind in a game.
Big Slick: When your pocket cards contain an ace and king.
Blank: A card that has no value.
Blind: A required bet made before any cards are dealt to force money into the pot.
Bluff: A bet or raise with a hand that is very unlikely to win.
Boat: Another term for a full house.
Board: The cards dealt face up in the middle of the table in games such as Texas Hold'em that all players can use.
Bottom Dealing: When a dealer cheats by dealing a card from the bottom of the deck.
Bottom Pair: Pairing the lowest card on the board.
Button: A player who is in the designated dealer position.
Buy-In: The minimum amount of money required to enter a poker game or tournament.
Call: Matching a bet amount.
Cap or Capping: A limit placed on the number of bets that can be made per player per round.
Cards Speak: Meaning the value of a particular hand is according to the cards, not what the player says their hand is worth.
Check: To pass on your turn when there are no pending bets.
Check-Raise: Not betting until a bet has been made by an opponent, and then raising the bet by at least an equal amount when it is your turn.
Collusion: A form of cheating where one or more persons at a poker table help each other.
Community Cards: The cards dealt in the middle of the table in Omaha and Hold'em games that all players can see and use.
Computer Hand: Having a queen and seven in the pocket.
Connected: Two cards that are sequential.
Dead Card: A card that is not legally playable.
Dead Hand: A hand that is not legally playable.
Dead Money: Chips placed into the center of the pot because they are not considered part of a particular player’s bet.
Dominated Hands: A hand that will almost always lose to a better hand that people will usually play.
Drawing: Playing a hand to improve.
Drawing Dead: Trying to make a hand that, even if made, will not win.
Drawing Hand: A hand that has potential, but needs improvement to win.
Early Position: Being one of the first players to bet.
False Shuffle: Cheating by shuffling the deck to prearrange the cards.
Flop: In Hold’em or Omaha, the three community cards that are turned simultaneously after the first round of betting is complete.
Flop Games: Poker games (Hold'em and Omaha) that are played using community cards that everyone can use – these are dealt face up in the center of the table.
Flush: A hand wherein the suits of five cards all match.
Fold: To forfeit your hand.
Four-of-a-Kind: Having four of the same denomination of cards.
Free Card: A turn or river card on which you don't have to call a bet because of play earlier in the hand.
Full House: A hand consisting of three of a kind and a pair. The three of a kind are considered to be “full of” the pair.
Gutshot Draw: A straight draw where there is only one card that will complete the hand.
Heads-Up: Poker lingo referring to when only two players are involved in play.
Implied Odds: Assumed odds used in the calculation of the correctness of a bet when taking into account probable action on future betting rounds.
Kicker: The remaining unpaired card(s) in hands that help determine a winner between two hands with pairs that would otherwise have been a tie.
Kill Game: A game where additional predetermined elements create higher stakes and/or a third blind.
Late Position: Being one of the last players to bet in a round.
Live Game: A game where you are playing with the other players physically, not online or otherwise.
Loose: Refers to a player who plays a lot of hands and gets involved with many pots.
Lowball: A draw game where the lowest hand wins.
Maverick: A Queen and Jack in the pocket.
Middle Position: Player in between early and late position.
Muck: The discard pile.
No Limit: A betting structure wherein players can bet as much as they want on any given hand.
Nuts: The best possible hand.
On the Button: Being in the dealer’s position. The dealer bets last.
Out: Poker lingo for a card left in the deck that will improve your hand.
Overpair: A pair in your pocket that is higher than any of the cards on the board.
Pair: A hand that has two cards of the same demonination.
Passive: Used to describe a player who often calls, but rarely bets.
Pigeon: An easy player to beat.
Pocket Cards: The cards a player is dealt that only they can see in games that also have communal board cards.
Pocket Rockets: A pair of aces in the hole.
Pot: The money being wagered on in a game.
Pot Odds: The amount of money in the pot divided by the amount of money you must bet in order to call.
Pre-Flop: The space of time after you've been dealt your pocket cards and before the flop is dealt.
Quads: Four of a kind.
Quartered: To divide half a pot between two tying hands in split pot games.
Raise: To wager more money than the minimum required to call, forcing other players to put in more money.
Ratholing: Illegally taking money or chips off the table during play.
Re-raise: To raise after an opponent has raised.
Reading: Analyzing other players to tell what sort of hand they have based on how they play, mannerisms, and tells.
Ring game: A standard poker game where players can come and go as they choose.
River: The last card dealt in a hand of stud or Hold'em.
Rock: Poker lingo for a very tight, solid, passive player.
Royal Flush: The best possible hand in regular poker. A straight 10 to ace of all the same suit.
Rush: A winning streak.
Sandbagging: Playing a strong hand as if it were only a fair one.
Semi-Bluff: Betting with a mediocre hand or a drawing hand that requires certain cards to win.
Set: Three of a kind with two in your hand and one on the board.
Showdown: The end of a game after betting has ended and players reveal their cards.
Side Pot: A pot resulting from a player going all in.
Slow Playing: Playing a strong hand weakly by checking and calling in order to keep players in the pot, raising once the pot is larger.
Small Blind: In a game with multiple blind bets, the smallest blind.
Splashing the Pot: When chips are illegally placed in a haphazard way - tossed directly into the pot before being counted, for example.
Spread Limit: A betting structure in which a player may bet any amount in a range on every betting round.
Steal Raise: A raise made by someone in a late position in an attempt to get other players to fold.
Steamrolling: Re-raising in order to cause other players to call two bets instead of one.
Straddle: An extra blind bet placed after the forced blinds.
Straight: A hand with five sequential cards.
Straight Flush: A hand of five sequential cards of the same suit.
String Bet: A bet (often a raise) in which a player doesn't get all the chips required for the raise into the pot in one motion.
Suited: A reference to a hand all being the same suit.
Table Stakes: A rule that the amount of money a player has on the table is the maximum amount that anyone can win in a given hand. Also, the rule that players can wager only the money in front of them and can only buy more chips between hands.
Tell: An action that gives clues as to the cards someone is holding.
Three-of-a-Kind: A hand consisting of three cards of the same type.
Tight: Refers to a player who selects hands very carefully and folds easily. Also, a tight game doesn't have much action.
Top Pair: In flop games, when a player pairs one of his pocket cards with the highest card on board.
Top Two Pair: When both of a player’s pocket cards match the highest two cards on the board.
Turn: The fourth community card dealt face up in a flop game.
Under the Gun: Poker lingo for being in the earliest position in a betting round.
Underpair: A pocket pair of lower value than the lowest card on the board.
Walking Sticks: A pair of sevens.
Whore: A queen.
Widow: AA card or cards common to all hands
Zombie: A player who has a poker face, shows no emotion, and exhibits no behavior to give away his/her hand.
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