A Poker Glossary
Though the game of poker is very easy to master, the language and jargon will probably take some time to learn. In order to make the life easier, we have compiled this poker glossary to help you understand the game that much better. Be sure to check out our general Poker Guide for all things poker related.
Glossary: 1 – E
2-Bet – The first raise. Preflop, this is the same as an “open”. Postflop, it is a raise of a bet.
3-Bet – A raise of a raise (a re-raise).
4-Bet – A raise of a 3-Bet.
5-Bet+ – A raise of a 4-Bet, and any raise after that.
All In – To have all your chips in the middle of the table.
American Airlines – Slang for a pair of Aces.
Ante – A small bet that increases in increments with the blinds.
Backdoor Flush – Flush that is made after having only three to a flush on the flop, and thus needing both the turn and river cards to complete the flush.
Backdoor Straight – A straight that is made after having only three to a straight on the flop, and thus needing both the turn and river cards to complete the straight.
Bad Beat – Losing a hand that you were a (big) favorite to win.
Blocker – Any card that reduces the number of hands that your opponent(s) can have or make containing that card/rank.
Big Bet (BB) – In a fixed-limit game, it is the larger of the two bet sizes. For example, in a $4/$8 Limit Hold’em game, the Big Bet amount is $8.
Big Blind (bb) – The larger of the two forced bets in a game with blinds. For example, in a $1/$2 No Limit Hold’em game, the Big Blind amount is $2. Sometimes the amount of chips a player has in front of him is measured in Big Blinds.
Big Slick – A nickname for Ace-King.
Bingo Poker – A poker game where the players have no skill, and need pure luck to win any given hand.
Blank – A card that didn’t help you.
Blind – 1. The amount of money that is put into the pot before the cards are dealt. 2. Also refers to the person who had to put in the money. 3. Also used to refer to the relative position (which is almost the first two after the dealer).
Block Bet – A small bet which is used to ‘block’ the opponent from placing large bets in position. Usually a balanced mix of thin value and nutted hands.
Bluff – Betting or raising in hopes of your opponent(s) folding.
Boat – Hand that consists of three of a kind and a pair.
Bot – Computer program that plays poker online with little or no assistance from a person.
Bottom Pair – Pair with the lowest card on the flop.
Bounty – Cash prize rewarded for eliminating players from a tournament.
Bring – Forced bet in stud games.
Bubble – The last spot in a tournament before payouts begin or the person who finishes in that spot.
Bullets – Aces.
Burn – The top card that you toss from the deck as a safeguard against players accidentally seeing the top card.
Button – A little marker which shows who’s currently the dealer.
Buy In – 1. Amount of money you put in for chips at the poker table. 2. The cost or entry fee of a tournament.
Buying The Button – When your bet or raise makes all players that are in later position than you to fold, giving you last position (a huge advantage).
Call – Match another person’s bet.
Calling Station – Weak-passive player who calls a lot, but doesn’t raise or fold much.
Cap – Put in the last raise allowed on a betting round.
Case – Last card of a certain rank in the deck.
Check Raise – Raising an opponent’s bet after having first checked.
Chop – Agreement by all players in a tournament to divide the money in the prize pool based on their current chip stacks.
Cold Call – Calling a raise when you didn’t make or call the previous bet. For example, you may cold call a preflop 3-Bet, having not made or called the original 2-Bet.
Cold Raise – Making a raise when you didn’t make or call either of the TWO previous bets. For example, when facing a 3-Bet, when you have not called or raised the original 2-Bet, you have the opportunity to make a ‘cold 4-Bet’.
Cold Streak – Getting a bad run of cards.
Collusion – Cheating involving two or more players.
Continuation Bet (C-Bet) – A bet on the flop by the preflop raiser. Also applies to a bet on the Turn by the preflop raiser (assuming he/she bet the Flop) and a bet on the River by the preflop raiser (assuming he/she bet both the Flop and the Turn).
Cooler – When two very strong hands are playing for a big pot
Cowboys – Slang for a pair of Kings
Cutoff (CO) – The position directly to the right of the Button.
Dead Man’s Hand – 1. Two pair: Aces and Eights (black suits). 2. The hand that Wild West legend Wild Bill Hickock was holding when he was murdered at the poker table.
Dead Money – 1. Inexperienced player who has little to no chance of winning. 2. Money in the pot that was contributed by players no longer in the hand.
Delayed Continuation Bet – Also known as a “Delayed C-Bet”. A bet on the turn by the preflop raiser, after the flop was checked through (no betting).
Example: Player A raises preflop and Player B calls from the big blind. On the flop, both players check. On the turn, Player B checks and Player A bets. Player A’s bet is a “Delayed Continuation Bet”.
Deuce – Poker players’ slang for “a two.”
Dog – Person with the lowest chance of winning hand.
Donk – 1. A bad player; commonly also used to describe a good player who suddenly did something stupid. 2. To unexpectedly bet.
Donk Bet – An out-of-position bet made on the flop, turn, or river before the aggressor on the previous street has had a chance to act.
Example: Player A raises preflop and Player B calls from the big blind. On the flop, Player B is first to act and bets out. Player B’s bet is a “Donk Bet”.
Donk Stack – Tournament stack won by luck and open to prey.
Double Gutshot – A hand that contains two different gutshot straight draws simultaneously, thus giving it the same number of outs (8) as an open-ended straight draw.
Example: T9 on a board of 6-8-Q
Double Up – When a player goes all-in and is called by a bigger stack, and wins the hand.
Dry pot – A side pot with no money created when a player goes all in and is called by more than one opponent, but not raised.
Effective Stack – At any point in the hand, the Effective Stack is equal to the smallest of the active stacks remaining in the hand.
Example: Player A, Player B, and Player C all see the flop. Player A has $150, Player B has $250, and Player C has $100. On the flop, the Effective Stack is $100.
Example: Player A and Player B are heads-up to the Turn. Player A has $125 and Player B has $200. On the Turn, the Effective Stack is $125.
Early Position (EP) – Being one of the first players to act, such as the under-the-gun position. The exact number of positions deemed to be “early position” will vary, depending on the table size.
Equity – Your equity is the percentage of the pot that you expect to win over an infinite number of samples. In other words, it is the percentage chance that you have of winning the pot. In monetary terms, your equity is equal to your percentage of winning the hand multiplied by the total pot.
Expected Value (EV) – The average amount won or lost for a given bet/hand/situation/etc., considering all of the possible outcomes and their probabilities.
Exploitative – A strategy which aims to play the highest value option versus an opponents strategy with hopes that they will not counter that strategy. Usually a losing strategy to equilibrium, exploitative strategies are offensive strategies therefore they do not need mixing as they do not aim to be unexploited. Every strategic option in an exploitative strategy can be 100%.
Poker Glossary: F – L
Fake Think – When a player makes it appear they are thinking long and hard about a decision for a given hand, when in truth, they know what they’re doing.
Fifth Street – Last card dealt up in Hold ’em or Omaha (also known as the river), and the third card dealt up in 7-card stud.
Fish – A common (derogatory) term for bad player(s). By the same token, good players are “Sharks”, because they prey on the fish.
Flat Call – To call a bet instead of raising.
Float Bet – An in-position bet made after having called a bet (or preflop raise) of the preflop raiser on the previous street.
Example: Player A raises preflop and Player B calls in position. On the flop, Player A bets and Player B calls. On the turn, Player A checks, and Player B bets. Player B’s bet is a Float Bet.
Flop – The three community cards in Hold ’em and Omaha that are dealt face up at the same time (followed by the turn and the river).
Fold – Surrender the cards.
Fold Equity – The extra value you get from a hand when you force an opponent to fold.
Fourth Street – Fourth card dealt in stud poker.
Free Card – When everybody checks and the next card is dealt without any bets going in.
Freezout – A tournament that has no re-buys or add-ons.
Full House – A hand that consists of three of a kind and a pair.
Game Theory Optimal (GTO) – Game Theory Optimal, or GTO for short, is a highly mathematical approach to poker. It centers around devising a strategy that is balanced and unexploitable.
Grinder – A player who “grinds out” a profit over the long haul. Not a showboat or a loose cannon but rather does what it takes to make even a modest profit over the long term.
Guarantee – Tournament prize pool in which a certain amount will be paid out by the House.
Geometric Bet – Betting a constant fraction of the pot so that you are all-in within X number of streets (streets being considered individual bets/raises here).
Gutshot – A straight draw that is complete with only one rank, thus giving it four outs. Also known as an “Inside Straight Draw”.
Example: T9 on a board of 4-8-Q
Hand History (HH) – A text version (file) produced by an online poker site for every single hand that is played on a given table, or by a given player. It contains the full details of every hand, including stack sizes, positions, bets, board cards, etc.
Heads Up – When there are only two players at the table.
High Card Hand – Hand without a pair, straight or flush.
Hijack (HJ) – The position immediately right of the Cutoff; two seats to the right of the Button.
Hole Cards – Cards that the dealer puts face-down to you in hold’em and stud.
Hollywood – To take extra time to make a decision and act like you don’t know what you are doing, or that you are not sure of your hand; usually to try to trap your opponent.
Hooks – Slang for a pair of jacks.
Hot streak – Catching great cards and winning big pots due to statistical fluctuation.
House – The entity that is the host of the game, usually a casino or poker room.
Inside Wrap Straight Draw – In Omaha it’s a straight draw with eight or nine outs. It occurs when you have three ranks in your hand that are all outs to your straight (the eight outs scenario occurs when one of these three cards is paired in your hand).
9 Out Inside Wrap: 789x on T-6-x
8 Out Inside Wrap: 89TT on J-7-x
In The Money (ITM) – To place high enough in a poker tournament to win prize money.
Jam – To move all-in in a no-limit (or pot-limit) game.
Kicker – A card that is used to break “ties” when multiple players have the same hand rank.
Example: The board is A-9-9-5-4. Player A holds AJ. Player B holds A8. Both players have the same hand rank (two pair, aces and nines), but Player A has a better hand than Player B, since Player A’s Jack kicker is higher than Player B’s 8 kicker.
Last Aggressor – At any point in a hand, the player who most recently bet or raised.
Late Position (LP) – Being one of the last players to act, such as the Cutoff and Button positions. The exact number of positions deemed to be “late position” will vary, depending on the table size.
Laydown – A tough choice to fold a good hand if you think your opponent has you beat.
Leak – A systematic mistake that a poker player makes is called a leak. This is because the mistake is costing him (leaking) money in the long run.
Limp – Entering the pot preflop (when there has been no raise) by calling the amount of the big blind, as opposed to raising.
Lock – A hand so strong that it’s either impossible or at least wholly unlikely that it can lose.
Lojack (LJ) – The position immediately right of the Hijack; three seats to the right of the Button.
Loose – Player who calls bets with weak hands or when he doesn’t have the odds to justify it.
Luckbox – Player who gets lucky frequently.
Glossary: M – R
Made Hand – Hand with more than high-card value, e.g. pair or up.
Maximally Exploitative Strategy (MES) – The highest value exploitative strategy.
Micro-Limit – Usually $.25-.50 and lower are referred to as “micro-limit” online.
Minimally Exploitative Strategy – This exploits one or more nodes but does not aim to exploit everywhere in the game tree. Minimally exploitative strategies tend to wait until after the opponent has made a mistake to adjust a.k.a. downstream. This makes it harder for the opponent to counter the strategy.
Mixed Strategy – When the estimated value of two or more strategic options are the same these strategic options will be mixed.
Move In – To go all-in.
Muck – Another term for ‘fold’.
Nash Equilibrium – Opponents are each playing an optimal strategy against one another, such that they have no incentive to deviate from this optimal strategy. In other words, if one player was to make any adjustments, it would just result in them playing a “less optimal” strategy than their opponent(s).
Nit – A tight-passive player that doesn’t take risks and is normally easy to read.
Node – Where decisions are made in a game tree. Nodes consist of all the actions a player can take at that point in time. eg flop node after OOP checks may contain [check, bet 40%].
No Limit – A player may bet any amount of chips when it’s his turn.
Nut Flush Blocker – When there are two or more of a given suit on board, the highest rank of that suit that is not on the board.
Ace of Spades on a board of Qs-Js-3s
Queen of Spades on a board of As-Ks-7s
Nuts – Someone who has the best possible hand.
Nut Straight Blocker – Any card that blocks the nut straight.
All Tens and all Queens on 8-9-J-x-x
All Eights and all Jacks on 7-9-T-x-x
O8 – Omaha 8-or-better (Hi/Lo split)
On The Come – To bet or call with a draw
Open-Ended Straight Draw (OESD) – A straight draw with eight outs, such that one card on either “end” of the draw will complete the straight.
JT on 9-8-x
75 on 8-6-x
98 on T-7-x
Open Raise – Preflop raise when no one else has entered the pot. Same as Raise First In.
Overbet – Betting more than the size of the current pot.
Overcall – Calling any bet/raise after at least one other player has already done so.
Overcard (to the board) – Any card that has a higher rank than the highest card currently on board.
Overlimp – Entering the pot preflop with a limp when one or more other players have also limped.
Over Pair – A pocket pair higher than any card on the flop.
Pair – Two-of-a-kind. A pair is beaten by two pair, and can only in turn beat a high-card hand.
Passive – A style of play characterized by checking and calling.
PFR – Pre-flop Raise.
PL – Pot Limit.
PioSolver – A popular software program (“solver”) for analyzing and studying NLH. Solvers to teach you how to play a Game Theory Optimal (GTO) strategy, in which your play will be a nice balance and also exploitable. Solvers work by having the user input data about the specific situation (hole cards, board cards, stack size, opponents’ ranges, possible bet sizes etc.) and then generating optimal betting frequencies for the different bet sizes and hole cards that were input.
Pocket Rockets – Having Ace/Ace as your hole cards.
Position – The turn in the betting order.
Pot – The money that is up for grabs.
Pot Limit – A version of poker in which a player may bet up to the amount of money in the pot.
Pot-Odds – The amount of money in the pot compared to the amount you must put in the pot to continue playing.
Pre-Flop – The time when players already have their pocket cards but no flop has been dealt yet.
Preflop Raise(r) (PFR) – The player who made the last raise preflop. Or in terms of stats/percentages, it is the percentage of times that a given player raises preflop.
Probe Bet – An out-of-position bet after the player who could have made a continuation bet on the previous street failed to do so. A Probe Bet can occur on the Turn or the River.
Example: Player A raises preflop and Player B calls from the big blind. Both players check the Flop. Player B bets the Turn. Player B’s bet is a Probe Bet.
Pure strategy – When the estimated value of one strategic option is higher than another at a given node. The result is the use of that option 100% of the time – or purely.
Push – To go all-in. One of the best jackpot winning strategies to use.
Rag – A small or insignificant card.
Rail – Spectator area of a poker room or game.
Rainbow – When the cards on the board are all of different suits.
Raise – Bet more than the previous person to act.
Raise First In (RFI) – A preflop raise when no one else has entered the pot. Same as Open Raise.
Rake – The money that a poker room (or poker site) charges per pot. It’s usually a small percentage of the pot, 5% or so.
Rakeback – Payment to a player of a portion of the rake paid by that player, usually from a third-party source such as an affiliate.
Range – All of the possible hands that a player may have in a given situation.
Read – Pick up on something significant about the way he likes to play his hands.
Re-raise – If you bet, someone raises you and you raise their raise.
Reverse Float – When a player calls OOP OTF and donks the turn.
River – The last card dealt up. This is the fifth street in Hold ’em and Omaha, and the 7th street in stud.
Rock – A very tight or careful player who doesn’t get out of line.
Root Node – The first node of the game tree.
Royal Flush – Flush involving the 10, J, Q, K A of the same suit.
Running Bad – When statistical fluctuations cause you to get bad hands and lose money. Also called a “Cold Streak”.
Poker Glossary: S – W
Sandbag – Synonymous to check-raising someone. Sandbag has a slightly negative feel to it, and is usually for people who feel that there’s something unethical about this play.
Sandwich – To trap someone (even yourself) between two raisers.
Scoop – To win both the Hi and the Lo in a split game.
Set – Three of a kind, specifically when you hold a pocket pair and the board contains the third card of that rank.
SF – Straight Flush.
Shootout – Poker tournament format where the last remaining player of a table goes on to play the remaining players of other tables until a final table is reached.
Showdown – The point at which the best hand is determined and the pot is awarded.
Slow Play – To check and call with a made hand, instead of betting or raising. Most often used as a way to trick opponents into thinking your hand is weaker than it really is.
Soft Play – To go easy on another player at the table.
Split Pot – A pot that two or more players are sharing because they have the same winning hand.
Squeeze – A preflop re-raise (3-Bet) after there has been a raise (2-Bet) and at least one call of that initial 2-Bet in front.
Example: Player A opens the pot for a raise. Player B calls the raise. Player C “squeezes” by re-raising.
Stab – Postflop bet made when no one seems interested in the pot. Generally, it’s a bet that isn’t a likely follow up with more bets.
Stakes – The amount one buys in for and can bet.
Steal – An open raise by the cutoff, button, or Small Blind.
Steal Defense – When you’re in the small blind or big blind, and are facing an open raise by the cutoff, button, or small blind (a steal), and no one else has called or raised.
Example: The button open raises. The small blind is then in a steal defense situation. If the small blind then folds, the big blind is also in a steal defense situation. However, if the small blind calls or raises, then the big blind is not in a steal defense situation.
Straight – Hand where the five cards have consecutive values. Almost always wins when playing jackpot poker.
Straight Blocker – Any card that blocks any straight.
All Eights, Jacks, and Kings on Q-T-9-x-x
All Fours, Sixes, and Nines on 5-7-8-x-x
Straight Flush – Strongest hand in poker. A straight with all the cards in the same suit.
Strategic Option – Any action a player can take at any node.
Stuck – Player who has lost money.
Suck Out – Someone who draws against the odds.
Suited – All cards have the same suit.
TAG – Tight Aggressive player.
Tank – Become quiet and pensive for a time while making a decision.
Tell – Mannerism or a quirk in someone’s behavior that signals the strength of their hand. The person giving the tell is not aware of what he’s doing. It can be a slight shake of the hand, or the way he holds his good cards (as opposed to his bad ones).
Third Street – The first face-up card in Stud.
Tight – Someone who plays only good hands and tosses his hands when he doesn’t have the goods.
Tilt – 1. Going on tilt or tilting is when you’re not thinking straight. The most common reason for this to happen is that you’ve had a series of bad cards, or been the victim of a bad suck-out. You begin playing cards that you should fold, for the wrong reasons.
Top Up – Buying chips on a cash table to bring one’s chip stack up to the table limit.
Trap – Slow-playing a big hand in order to get someone else to bet at it big (typically making someone bluff at the pot).
Under the Gun (UTG) – Player directly on the left of the Big Blind. The UTG player is first to act preflop.
Value Bet – Bet made by a player who wants it to be called.
Variance – A measure of the up and down swings your bankroll goes through.
Voluntarily Put Money In Pot (VPIP) – VPIP refers to any time a player enters the pot, excluding times where they check their option from the big blind in an un-raised pot.
Wrap Straight Draw – In Omaha, a wrap draw is a straight draw with anywhere from twelve to twenty outs.
12 Out Wrap: TT98 on 7-6-x
13 Out Wrap: T98x on 7-6-x
17 Out Wrap: 975x on 8-6-x
20 Out Wrap: KQ98 on J-T-x
Went to Showdown (WTSD) – The percentage of hands that a given player got to showdown with, assuming that he at least saw the flop. So a high WTSD percentage means that the player is more inclined to play hands until showdown, once he sees the flop.
Won at Showdown (WSD) – The percentage of hands that a given player wins, assuming that he went to showdown. For example, a high WSD percentage means that the player wins most of the hands that he goes to showdown with.
Won When Saw Flop (WWSF) – The percentage of hands that a given player wins, assuming that he at least saw the flop in the hand. So a high WWSF percentage means that the player wins more than his fair share of pots once he sees the flop, by either having the best hand at showdown, or forcing the other players to fold before then.
Now you’re discovered our poker glossary, have a look through our list of the best poker jackpot sites to find the best casino to play in. Also take a look through our Poker Strategies for finding a means to be a consistent winner. Finally we have a couple of guides on two different forms of Poker: Casino Stud Poker and Pai Gow Poker.