Poker Terms

There are a number of terms and phrases that are used often in poker. In this glossary we have provided definitions and explanations of the most common ones, as well as abbreviations, acronyms, and slang terms used for poker hands. You can check out the different sections on this page below:

General Poker Terms

The following is a list of the general terms that are most often used while playing poker. Knowing the phrases listed below will help you fit in better at any poker game or tournament that you might play in and some of these may even be useful while sitting in at a table.

A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
X
Y
Z
A
A-Game:

A player playing their A-game is playing to the very best of their ability.

ABC Poker:

A playing style that's strategically sound but does not involve making any particularly advanced moves.

Ace Out:

To beat an opponent with ace high.

Act:

To make a move (bet, fold, call, raise etc.) at the required time. For example, "It's your turn to act".

Acting Out of Turn:

A player that makes a move when it's not their turn is said to have acted out of turn.

Action Card:

A community card that's likely to result in significant betting from two or more players.

Action Flop:

A flop that's likely to create multiple draws and/or strong hands.

Active Player:

A player who is still involved in the pot.

Add-On:

A single purchase of additional chips in a tournament, that's usually offered to all players at the end of a rebuy period.

Aggressive:

A style of play that involves frequently opening or raising pots.

Aggression Factor:

A statistic found in most heads up displays that provides an indication as to how aggressive a player is. It's calculated by dividing the total number of bets and raises made by the total number of calls made.

Air:

A very weak hand. Commonly associated with a bluff (e.g. "he raised with air" means he made a bluff with a weak hand).

Alligator Blood:

A resilient player that copes well with bad results is said to have alligator blood.

All In:

Betting all of your chips on the current hand.

Ammunition:

A slang term used to refer to a player's chips, often shortened to ammo.

Ante:

A forced bet that all players must pay before the hand starts in some forms of poker; it's also used in tournaments, usually in the later rounds.

Angle Shooting:

The deliberate breaking of a rule, or spirit of a rule, to try and gain an advantage.

Auto Top-Up:

A cash game feature offered by most online poker sites that automatically tops up a player's stack to the maximum buy-in if they fall below it, providing they have enough money in their account.

Avatar:

An image used to represent each player at the table at online poker sites. Usually the avatar can be customized.

B
Backdoor:

A term applied to a drawing hand that needs an appropriate card on both the turn and river to complete the river.

Bad Beat:

Losing a hand that was the favorite to win at one point.

Bad Beat Jackpot:

A jackpot that's offered by many poker rooms, live and online, and is paid out when a particularly bad beat occurs. Typically it has to be a very strong hand, such as quads, beaten by an ever stronger hand.

Bankroll:

The total amount of money that a player has to play poker with.

Barrelling:

The act of betting out in a round having already bet out in the previous round, or rounds.

Battle Of The Blinds:

When the only remaining players in a hand are those who paid the blinds in that hand.

Bet:

To put money into the pot when you are the first person to act (subsequent bets are either calls or raises).

Big Blind:

The larger of the two forced bets that must be placed before the hand starts in some forms of poker.

Bink:

A word used to describe a player hitting one of their outs.

Blank:

A card that is of no value (e.g. "I was hoping for a heart on the river, but it came down a blank").

Blind:

A forced bet that must be placed before the hand starts in some forms of poker.

Blocking Bet:

A bet made with the aim of keeping an opponent's bet smaller than it might otherwise have been, and controlling the size of the pot.

Bluff:

Betting or raising to try and make your opponent(s) fold when you don't think you have the best hand.

Board:

The shared cards, or community cards, used in some forms of poker.

Bonus:

Extra funds that many online poker sites offer customers as an incentive for joining or playing.

Bot:

An automated computer program that plays poker online without the need for human interaction. Not allowed at most poker sites.

Bottom Pair:

A pair made using the lowest card on the board and a matching card in your hand.

Bounty:

A cash prize offered in some tournaments for eliminating a specific player, or players.

Bring In:

A forced bet in stud poker games.

Bubble:

The highest finishing position in a poker tournament that's outside the pay outs. For example, if the top ten players are paid then eleventh place is the bubble.

Bumhunter:

An online poker player who plays only those players that are perceived to be weak.

Busto:

A slang term for being knocked out of a tournament or running out of money.

Button:

A marker used to show which player is the dealer in the hand.

Buy-In:

In a cash game, the amount of money used to buy chips. In a tournament, the cost of entry.

C
Call:

To match the current bet in a betting round.

Calling Station:

A player that tends to call frequently, rarely raising or folding.

Card Dead:

A term used to describe a prolonged period of bad cards.

Case Card:

The last card of a particular rank in the deck. For example, if three Aces have been dealt, then the fourth Ace is the case Ace.

Cash Game

In cash games, as opposed to tournament games, each hand is played for real money and players can join or leave at any time.

Cashing:

To finish in the pay out positions in a tournament.

Change Gears:

To change a style of play. For example, moving form a tight aggressive style to a lose aggressive style.

Chase:

To call a bet, or bets, hoping to improve a hand.

Check:

To bet nothing, which is only possible if no-one else has bet during a betting round.

Check-Raise:

To check and then raise a bet made by another player in the same round.

Chip And A Chair

A poker expression used to state that no matter how low in chips a player gets in a tournament they still have a chance; all they need is a chip and a chair.

Chip Leader:

In a tournament, the player currently with the most amount of chips.

Chop:

An agreement by the players left in a tournament to divide the remaining prize money between them.

Coffee Housing:

Using verbal statements in a way deliberately meant to deceive an opponent, or opponents.

Coin Flip

A situation where two players are all-in in a pot, and they both have a roughly even chance of winning.

Combo Draw:

A drawing hand that has more than one chance to improve. For example, four cards to a straight and a flush is a combo draw.

Coming Over The Top:

Raising, or re-raising, another player's bet.

Community Card(s):

The shared card(s) that are dealt face up for all players to use in some forms of poker.

Connectors:

Two, or more, cards that are of consecutive rank; for example Jack/10 or 3/4.

Continuation Bet:

In some forms of poker, a type bet that is made after the flop by the player who opened the betting in the first round.

Cooler

A situation where a very good hand is beaten by one even better. For example, four of a kind being beaten by a straight flush.

Crying Call:

A call that's made by a player that thinks he's probably beaten, but calls anyway.

Cut Off:

A position at the poker table that's directly to the right of the dealer button.

D
Dealer:

The person dealing the cards, or the player that's in the dealer position with someone else actually dealing the cards.

Dealer's Choice:

A game where the dealer gets to choose which particular form of poker is played in each round.

Deuce:

A slang term for the 2 card.

Donk / Donkey:

A low standard player.

Downswing:

A prolonged period where a player loses consistently.

Draw:

Holding a draw, or drawing hand, means there's a good chance for the hand to improve from additional cards. For example (in Texas Holdem), if you hold a Queen and a Jack in your hand and there's a 10 and 9 on the flop you are drawing to a straight if the turn or river is a King or an 8.

Drawing Dead:

When you hold a hand that cannot beat an opponent's hand no matter what cards come.

Dry Board:

When the community cards make it unlikely that any player can have made a particularly strong hand, such as a flush or a straight.

Dry Pot:

A side pot that has no money in it. When a player goes all in and is called (but not raised) by more than one opponent, a side pot is created, but it doesn't contain any money.

E
Early Position:

Describes the position of the first few players to act during a round of betting.

Equity:

SThe amount of expected value a player has in any given situation. For example, if a player has a 60% chance of winning a $100 pot, then their equity at that point is $60.

Expected Value:

Commonly known as "EV", a concept in poker that defines the long term profitability of a specific action or situation.

Exposed Cards:

Cards that are face up for everyone to see. They can be the community cards in a game such as Texas or the face up cards in a player's hand in 7 Card Stud.

F
Fake Think:

When a player pretends to think about a decision when in fact they have already made their mind up.

Family Pot:

A pot in which all, or most, of the players in the game are active.

Fancy Play Syndrome:

The act of getting unnecessarily tricky in any given hand or situation.

Felt:

A slang term for a poker table. For example, "I just had a great session at the felt".

Field:

A collective term for all the players in a tournament.

Final Table:

The last table in a multi-table tournament.

First Position:

Describes the position of the first player to act during a round of betting.

Fish:

A low standard player.

Fixed Limit:

A betting structure where there's a maximum amount that can be bet and raised in each betting round.

Float:

The act of calling a bet with the intention of making a bluff in a subsequent betting round.

Flop:

In some poker games that involve community cards, these are the first three community cards that are dealt.

Flatting:

The act of calling a bet without raising.

Flush:

A hand that's made up entirely of cards from one suit.

Fold:

To discard a hand and become inactive in the current pot.

Fold Equity:

The probability of a player causing his opponent to fold by raising or betting.

Forced Bet:

A bet that a player must make, such as a big blind or an ante.

Four Of A Kind:

A hand that contains four cards of the same rank.

Freeroll:

A type of poker tournament that.'s free to enter.

Freezeout:

A type of poker tournament that has a fixed entry fee and where players are eliminated when they lose all their chips, until one player has won all the chips in play.

Full House:

A hand that contains three card of one rank, and two cards of another rank.

Full Ring:

A cash game with 9 or 10 players.

Fundamental Theory/Theorem of Poker:

A theory that appears in "The Theory of Poker", a book written by David Sklansky. The theory essentially states that the basic idea of poker is to make an opponent play differently than he would if he could see all the cards.

G
Going South:

The act of removing winnings from the poker table but continuing to play; this is a practice that's frowned upon.

Grinder:

A player that seeks to make consistent, usually small, profits over a prolong period of time.

Guaranteed Tournament:

A type of tournament where the prize pool is guaranteed to be at least a certain amount, regardless of number of entrants.

Gut Shot:

A slang term for an inside straight draw.

H
Hand For Hand:

A stage of a multi-table tournament where each table must wait until all tables have finished their current hands before starting the next.

Hand History:

A record of hands played at online poker rooms. Used by players to study and analyze their play.

Heads Up:

A game, or stage of a tournament, when there are just two players.

Heads Up Display:

A tool used when playing poker online that overlays the screen with a display that shows various useful statistics on a player's opponents.

Heater:

A period where a player gets a run of very good results.

Hero Call:

A call based on a marginal read on an opponent.

Hijack:

A position at the poker table that is two seats to the right of the dealer button.

Hit And Run:

Winning a big pot and then leaving the table straight after.

Hole Cards:

The face down cards that are dealt to each player.

I
Independent Chip Model:

A mathematical model that can be used to calculate a player's equity in a tournament.

In The Money:

A position in a poker tournament that wins a share of the prize money.

Inside Straight Draw:

A drawing hand that needs one more card to complete a straight, where the required card is somewhere in the middle of the straight. For example, 9/8/6/5 or 9/7/6/5.

Insta Call:

To call a bet immediately without having to think about it.

J
Jack It Up:

A slang term for raising a pot.

Jam:

A slang term for going all in. For example "I jammed the pot".

Juice:

A slang term for rake.

Junk:

A hand that has very low value.

K
Kicker:

The highest unpaired card in a hand.

Knockout Tournament:

A tournament in which each entrant has a bounty and players win a bounty every time they knock another player out.

L
Late Position:

Describes the position of the last few players to act in a hand.

Limit:

The minimum or maximum bet or raise that can be made. Also a term used instead of fixed limit.

Limp:

To call a bet rather than raising, when entering the pot.

Loose:

A style of play that involves playing a lot of hands.

Loose/Aggressive:

A combination of the loose and aggressive styles of play.

M
Made Hand:

A hand that doesn't need further cards to improve.

Misdeal:

A deal where there has been a mistake made and must then be redealt.

Muck:

A slang term for folding a hand.

Multi Table Tournament:

A type of tournament that is played over more than one table.

Multi Tabling:

The act of playing online poker at several tables simultaneously.

Multi Way Pot:

A pot where several players are involved.

N
Nit:

A slang term for a very tight player, that only plays high value hands.

No Limit:

A betting structure where players can bet as many of their chips as they want.

Nosebleed Stakes:

Very high stakes games of poker.

Nuts:

A slang term for the best possible hand in a particular situation.

O
Off-suit:

Cards that aren't of the same suit.

Open:

To make the first bet in a hand.

Open Ended Straight Draw:

A drawing hand consisting of four cards in ranking sequence, needing one more card to complete a straight. For example, 9/8/7/6 or 6/5/4/3.

Out of Position:

When a player has to act before his opponent (s) in a betting round.

Out Of The Money:

Any position in a tournament that isn't awarded any of the prize money.

Outs:

Cards that will improve a hand and make it more likely to win. For example, if you have four cards of one suit then all other cards of that suit are outs to complete your flush.

Over Bet:

A bet that is bigger than the size of the pot.

P
Pair:

A hand that contains two cards of the same rank.

Passive:

A style of play that involves mostly checking and calling rather than betting and raising.

Pocket Cards:

The face down cards dealt to a player.

Pocket Pair:

A pair dealt to a player in his pocket cards.

Position:

The location of a player in the betting order during a hand.

Pot:

The total amount of money and/or chips wagered in a hand that's won by the player with the best hand.

Pot Limit:

A betting structure where the maximum bet is equal to the current size of the pot.

Pot Sized Bet:

A bet that's equal to the current size of the pot.

Pot Sized Raise:

A raise that's equal to the current size of the pot.

Pre-Flop:

The stage of a hand when the flop hasn't yet been dealt.

Push:

A slang term for going all in. For example "I thought my hand was best, so I pushed".

Q
Quads:

A slang term for four of a kind.

Qualifier:

A tournament where the winner, or winners, qualify for another tournament with a larger entry fee.

R
Rag:

A low value/worthless card.

Railbird:

A spectator of a poker game.

Raise:

To make a bet larger than previously made bets in the betting round.

Rake:

Money that's taken from a pot by the house at the end of each round, as payment for running the game.

Read:

Insight into what an opponent may be holding. For example, "I had a read on him, and thought I was beat so I folded".

Rebuy Tournament:

A type of tournament where players can buy back in after they have lost all their chips, for an agreed period of time.

Re-raise:

To raise after a raise has already been made.

Ring Game:

An alternative term for cash game.

River:

In some poker games that involve community cards, this is the final community card that's dealt.

Rock:

A slang term for a very tight player.

Royal Flush:

A hand that contains the Ace, King, Queen, Jack and 10 of one suit; the best possible hand.

S
Set:

A three of a kind using a pocket pair and a matching card on the board.

Shark:

A slang term for a very strong player.

Short-Handed:

A cash game with six players or less.

Short Stack:

In cash games, a stack that is smaller than half the maximum buy-in. In tournaments, a stack that is noticeably lower than the average stack.

Shove:

A slang term for going all in. For example, "I wanted him to fold, so I just shoved".

Showdown:

The stage of a hand when, if more than one player has completed the final betting round, remaining players show their hands to see who has won.

Side pot:

An additional pot that can be created during a hand if one player goes all in and other players continue to bet.

Single Table Tournament:

A tournament that involves players at one table only.

Sit and Go:

A type of tournament that has no fixed start time and begins whenever the required number of players have joined.

Slow Roll:

To take an unnecessary amount of time to make a decision when holding a strong hand.

Small Blind:

The smaller of the two forced bets that must be placed before the hand starts in some forms of poker.

Snap Call:

To call a bet immediately without a great deal of thought.

Split Pot:

When two, or more, players have the same value hand and share the pot.

Straight:

A hand that consists of five sequentially ranked cards. For example, 9/8/7/6/5.

Straight Flush:

A hand that consists of five sequentially ranked cards, of the same suit. For example, the 9 of Spades, the 8 of Spades, the 7 of Spades, the 6 of Spades, and the 5 of Spades.

Suck Out:

To win against a hand that was favorite to win at some point during the hand.

Suited:

Cards of the same suit.

Suited Connectors:

Two, or more, cards that are of consecutive rank and the same suit.

T
Tell:

A noticeable change in the behavior/demeanor of a player that provides a clue to how strong their hand might be.

Three Of A Kind:

A hand that consists of three cards of the same rank.

Tight:

A style of play that involves playing only strong hands.

Tight/Aggressive:

A combination of the tight and aggressive styles of play.

Tilt:

When a player loses control of their emotions, usually caused by a bad result or a bad beat, and plays recklessly. For example, "I got sucked out on too many times and went on tilt for a while".

Top Pair:

A pair made using the highest card on the board and a matching card in your hand.

Trey:

A slang term for the 3 card.

Trips:

A three of a kind hand using one card from hole cards and two from the community cards.

Turbo Tournament:

A type of tournament where the blind levels increase more quickly.

Turn:

In some poker games that involve community cards, this is the fourth community card that's dealt.

Two Pair:

A hand consisting of two cards of equal rank and another two cards of a different equal rank. For example, two Kings and two 10s.

U
Under The Gun:

A position at the poker table that is directly to the left of the blinds.

Under The Gun + 1::

A position at the poker table directly to the left of Under The Gun.

V
Value Bet:

A bet made by a player that is hoping to get called because they expect to win.

Voluntarily Put In Pot:

A statistic used for heads up display which shows, as a percentage, the number of times a player chooses to enter a pot.

W
Went To Showdown:

A statistic used in heads up displays that shows, as a percentage, the number of times a player goes to showdown.

Wheel:

A slang term for a straight consisting of Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Poker Acronyms & Abbreviations

The following is a list of acronyms and abbreviations that are often used in poker. Some of these aren't unique to poker, but they are often used in chat at online poker rooms and forums where poker is discussed.

AF: Aggression Factor

AFAIK: As Far As I Know (used in chat/forums)

AI: All In

AIPF: All In Pre Flop

AK: Ace King (an ace and a king as your hole cards)

AMC: All My Chips

AO: Add On

APPT: Asia Pacific Poker Tour

APT: Asia Poker Tour

ATC: Any Two Cards

B&M: Bricks & Mortar (used to describe a live poker room, as opposed to an online one)

B/C: Bet / Call (describes when a player bets and then calls a raise)

B/F: Bet / Fold (describes when a player bets and the folds to a raise)

B3B: Bet - 3 bet (describes when a player bets, is raised, and then re-raises)

BBJ: Bad Beat Jackpot

BR: Bankroll

BRB: Be Right Back (used in chat/forums)

BTW: By The Way (used in chat/forums)

BWDIK: But What Do I Know (used in chat/forums)

C/C: Check / Call (describes when a player checks and then calls a bet)

C/F: Check / Fold (describes when a player checks and then folds to a bet)

C/R: Check / Raise (describes when a player checks and then raises a bet)

C-Bet: Continuation Bet (a bet made after the flop by the pre-flop raiser)

CK: Check

CO: Cut Off

EP: Early Position

EV: Expected Value (+EV for positive expected value, -EV for negative expected value)

FE: Fold Equity

FH: Full House

FL: Fixed Limit

FPS: Fancy Play Syndrome

FT: Final Table

FTOP: Fundamental Theory/Theorem of Poker

FWIW: For What It's Worth (used in chat/forums)

FYI: For Your Information

GG: Good Game (typically used in chat at online poker rooms when a player busts out)

GL: Good Luck (used in chat)

GTD: Guaranteed (as in guaranteed prize pool in a tournament)

HE: Hold'Em

HH: Hand History

HJ: Hijack Position

HoH: Harrington on Hold'em (a very popular poker strategy book)

HTH: Head To Head

HU: Heads Up

HUD: Heads Up Display

ICM: Independent Chip Model

IIRC: If I Recall Correctly (used in chat/forums)

IMHO: In My Humble Opinion (used in chat/forums)

IMO: In My Opinion (used in chat/forums)

ITM: In The Money

LAG: Loose Aggressive

LHE: Limit Hold'Em

LP: Late Position

MHIG: My Hand is Good (used in chat)

MTT: Multi Table Tournament

NH: Nice Hand (used in chat)

NL: No Limit

O8: Omaha Hi-Lo

OESD: Open Ended Straight Draw

OESFD: Open Ended Straight Flush Draw

OOP: Out Of Position

OOTM: Out Of The Money

OTOH: On The Other Hand (used in chat/forums)

PF: Pre Flop

PFR: Pre Flop Raise (a raise before the flop is dealt)

PL: Pot Limit

PLO: Pot Limit Omaha

PLO8: Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo

PSB: Pot Sized Bet

PSR: Pot Sized Raise

PTL: Player To My Left

PTR: Player To My Right

R + A: Rebuy and Add-On

ROI: Return On Investment

SB: Small Blind

SH: Short Handed

SNG: Sit and Go Tournament

SS: Short Stack

STT: Single Table Tournament

TAG: Tight Aggressive

TPBK: Top Page Best Kicker

TPTK: Top Pair Top Kicker

TY: Thank You (used in chat/forums)

UTG + 1: 1 position to the left of Under The Gun

UTG: Under The Gun

VB: Value Bet

VNH: Very Nice Hand (used in chat)

VPIP: Voluntarily Put In Pot

WPT: World Poker Tour

WSOP: World Series of Poker

WTSD: Went To Showdown

Poker Hand Slang

Our guide to the slang terms used to describe poker hands is divided into two lists. The first contains popular terms used to describe combinations of hole cards and the second contains terms used for other hands. These lists are by no means exhaustive but do a great job of getting you started.

Slang Terms for Hole Card Combinations

Ace Magnets: A pair of kings.

Ace Rag: An ace and a low card.

Acey-Deucey: An ace and a two.

Aja: An ace and a jack.

American Airlines: A pair of aces.

Anna Kournikova: An ace and a king.

Apple Jacks: An ace and a jack.

Athos: An ace and a ten.

Beer Hand: A seven and a two.

Big Chick: An ace and a queen.

Big Lick: A nine and a six .

Big Slick: An ace and a king.

Bookends: An ace and a ten.

Bullets: A pair of aces.

Candy Canes: A pair of sevens.

Canine: A king and a nine.

Cherries: A pair of sixes.

Countdown: A ten and a nine.

Cowboys: A pair of kings.

Crabs: A pair of threes.

Dimes: A pair of tens.

Ducks: A pair of twos.

Hockey Sticks: A pair of sevens.

Jaybirds: A pair of jacks.

Kojak: A king and a jack.

Ladies: A pair of queens.

Little Slick: An ace and a two.

Magnum: A pair of fours.

Nickels: A pair of fives.

Pocket Rockets: A pair of aces.

Pothooks: A pair of nines.

Quack: A queen and a jack.

Rounders Hand: An ace and a nine.

Royal Couple: A king and a queen.

Snakes: A pair of fives.

Snowmen: A pair of eights.

Tina Turner: A queen and a ten.

Slang Terms for Other Poker Hands

Aces and Spaces: A pair of aces with three other worthless cards.

Aces Up: A two pair hand, when one of the pairs is aces.

Aces Uppy: See Aces Up.

Alabama Knight Riders: Three of a kind, kings.

Arkansas Flush: A flush made using four suited cards from the community cards.

Baby Flush: A flush made with low hole cards.

Big Bobtail: An outside straight flush draw.

Boat: Any full house.

Bobtail: An outside straight draw.

Broadway: A straight of ten to ace.

Dead Man's Hand: Two pair, aces and eights.

Devil's Hand: Three of a kind, sixes.

Forest: Four of a kind, threes.

Four Horsemen: Four of a kind, kings.

Four Pips: Four of a kind, aces.

Golf Bag: An all club flush.

Gutshot: An inside straight draw.

Huey, Dewey, and Louie: Three of a kind, twos.

Mighty Ducks: Four of a kind, twos.

Mommas and Poppas: Two pair, kings and queens.

Quads: Any four of a kind.

Slot Machine: Three of a kind, sevens.

Steel Wheel: A five high straight flush.

Three Wise Men: Three of a kind, kings.

Trips: A three of a kind hand using one card from hole cards and two from the community cards.

Wheel: A five high straight.

Yacht Club: Four of a kind, fours.

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