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
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 Clu b: Four of a kind, fours.