When you're playing poker, you may come across words that are unfamiliar. To help you learn the lingo of poker, we've developed a handy glossary of poker terms. To help you understand the relationships between these terms, we've built links between many of them. Simply press your browser's 'back' button to return to your previous position in the glossary.
The betting aspect of the game, including checking and raising.
A small bet all players are required to make before a hand is dealt. An ante is similar to a blind, but everyone has to contribute it before a hand commences. Antes give the pot a value right off the bat.
A five-card hand containing an ace, but no straight, flush or pair.
A full house with three aces (and any pair).
When your hand contains two pairs, one of which is a pair of aces.
Any player who hasn’t folded.
A chance to buy more chips. Comes at the end of the re-buy period during a multi-table tournament (MTT), normally after 60 minutes.
Betting your entire chip stack, either as a tactic, or to call (match) another player’s bet.
A fee you pay before you see your hand, on top of the blinds – usually applies in later rounds of tournaments. The bigger the blind, the bigger the ante.
When you need the last two cards (the Quick Draw and the Shoot out) to make your hand. For instance, say your holster cards are a J, Q, A of clubs with a Duel cards being a 5 of hearts and 6 of spades. If the Quick Draw and Shoot out are K and 3 of clubs, you’re looking at a backdoor flush.
When a strong hand – one that statistically ought to win – does not. Trust us, this does happen.
The money you have to bet. Choosing the right bankroll size for you is important, and knowing when to switch up to bigger games, and back down again.
The generic term for either the big blind or the small blind. If you are one of the blinds, you are sitting either immediately to the left of the dealer button (small blind position) or one position farther left (big blind).
The amount of chips the second player to the left of the dealer has to bet. The amount depends on the stakes. Like an ante, it is a posted amount that makes the pot worth playing for before the action begins. It is equivalent to one complete first round bet. It's a called a blind because it amounts to placing a bet without seeing the cards first.
A card that doesn’t go with anything else in your hand.
When you haven’t got a great hand, but bet or raise as if you do.
In multi-table tournaments (MTTs), we put a bounty on certain players, which means a reward for whoever knocks them out of the game.
Multi-table tournaments (MTTs) can get quite long, so they often have built-in breaks, normally 5 minutes at 55 minutes past the hour.
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 small disk marking the dealer position (moves one place clockwise at each hand). In live poker, it's usually denoted by placing a plastic disk in front of the dealer. It rotates clockwise each time the dealer shuffles for a new hand. The button is in an advantageous position, for he acts last in a betting round.
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.
The money you start with in a cash game, or the entry fee in a tournament, or the minimum amount needed to sit down in a cash game at a specific table. Usually 20 times the big blind. So, for example, if you're at a $5/$10 table, you'll need $200 to take a seat.
To contribute the minimum amount of money to the pot necessary to continue playing a hand.
In tournaments, chips have a point value. In cash games they have a cash value.
To pass on betting. If there's no action (bet) to you, there's nothing to call. If you don't want to bet, you can just "check." If there's subsequent action from your fellow players in the betting round, then the action will come back to you to either call, fold or raise.
A check-raise is made when a player checks on the first opportunity to bet and later raises any subsequent bet in the same betting round.
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're cold calling.
The four cards dealt face up in the center of the table – the Duel, the Quick Draw and the Shootout (also known as ‘the deadly four’).
Sequential pocket cards. A 5 of clubs and 6 of hearts would be connectors. If the connectors are the same suit, they are "suited connectors" - e.g., 5 and 6 of clubs.
A type of bluff. Before the Duel, your hand looked like the nuts – after, not so much. Your opponent doesn’t know that, so you bet again anyway. Cunning.
A duplicate card on the board that greatly devalues your hand. If you have a pair of 6's in your hand and a 4, and Duel cards are two aces, the Quick Draw is a 7, and the shoot out card is a 7, you've been "counterfeited." You had two pairs, but now the board has two better pairs. Any other player with a card higher than a 6 in his hand now beats your hand.
The position to the immediate right of the button.
The player who shuffles the deck and deals the cards. He/She is ‘on the button’. They are the last to act in a betting round and the strongest position at the table.
The button (often a plastic disk in live poker) that indicates the dealer. It is passed clockwise after every hand.
The community cards that everyone uses in combination with their holster cards to form the best hand.
Remaining in a hand in the hopes of improving it. For example, you don't have anything concrete yet, but need one or more cards for a straight or a flush. If you call (or raise) a round of betting to see if the needed card(s) come, you are said to be "drawing." The two most common draws are flush draws (drawing for a flush) and straight draws (drawing for a straight). You can also draw for a three of a kind, full house, or better.
To receive a card that transforms your hand from a losing hand to a winning hand.
You're drawing, but it's futile because there is not one card in the deck that will create a winning hand for you. If you have two pairs and hope to make a full house on the river, but your opponent already has four of a kind, you are "drawing dead."
After the first round of betting, two cards are dealt face-up on the table. This are the ‘Duel’ cards, which starts the second round of betting.
First in the betting order, usually two positions to the left of the blinds.
The house’s portion of the tournament entry stake, usually 10%.
Unlike the buy-in (purely the cost of entering a tournament), entry stakes are the amounts players bring that make up the total prize pool.
A new player, easy pickings for the more experienced ‘sharks’ at the table.
Calling a bet without raising.
A poker hand consisting of five cards of the same suit.
When you have four cards in the same suit, hoping you’ll get a fifth to make a flush.
To give up by placing your cards face down on the table, losing whatever you have bet so far. You only fold when you think your hand is too weak to compete against the other players.
FOUR OF A KIND
Four cards of the same number or face value, also known as ‘quads’.
A tournament that’s free to enter.
A hand of three same-value cards, plus a pair. For example three aces and two queens.
When you have three of a kind as your holster cards.
A straight completed from "inside" by one possible card. For example, if your pocket cards are 5 and 6 and the flop shows 4-8-king, a 7 and only a 7 on the turn or river would complete your "gutshot" straight. It is the opposite of an open-ended straight, which is completed by any one of two cards from the outside. A gutshot is half as likely to hit as an open-ended straight.
Five cards, made of a player's holster cards and the four community cards
When there are only two players in a hand. Also known as ‘1 on 1’ at Deadwood Poker.
In a hand of poker that has 5 different cards that do not form any kind of match, the highest card is the high card and it is only useful against another hand of 5 unmatched cards if a showdown takes place.
The three cards every player gets before betting starts.
Taking future calls from your fellow players into consideration when you are drawing to something. If you draw successfully, you expect they'll call with their hands. These funds are speculative and not concrete, as they aren't in the middle yet and won't be unless you hit your card and they call your bets - hence, "implied."
IN THE MONEY
In the final part of a tournament when everyone left will win a prize, we say the players are ‘in the money’.
If you have the same hand as another player at showdown, the one with the highest kicker wins the pot. If the board is 7-7-5-5 and you have ace-king-two and your opponent has king-queen-two, you win because your ace beats his king. Your ace is the "kicker." The highest card completing a five-card hand is the only determination between winning and losing in this example.
Usually two places left of the button – the last players to bet, except the dealer. A strong position on the table.
A game where betting is capped at 4 raises per round, with no bet bigger than the big blind.
When you enter the pot by calling rather than making a raise. Most often seen when the first person to act only calls the big blind.
MICRO CASH GAME
Where you only need a small amount of cash to join the table, and the blinds are very small – perfect for the new player.
Somewhere between the early and late positions on a round of betting (the fifth, sixth and seventh seats to the left of the button on 10 seater tables).
MINIMUM SIT DOWN
The minimum amount of cash chips you are allowed to join a cash game with. This is normally a multiplier of the big blind (e.g. $1 / $2 blinds with a multiplier of X 35 will require $70 to join the table.
Multi Table Tournament, a tournament with many entrants, the bigger the number the bigger the prize money!.
All the discarded cards in a hand. If a player folds, he tosses his hand "into the muck."
A game with no limit to the amount you can bet.
The best possible hand at any point of the game. If you have the nuts after the river card you cannot be beaten.
The statistical likelihood of whether you’ll make a hand (or not).
Holding holster cards of different suits.
ON THE BUTTON
Dealer's position. The last player to act in a round.
ON THE TABLE
When the Challenge, Quick Draw and Shootout cards are all on display, this is known as 'on the table'.
ON THEIR BACKS
When two or more players are all-in and no-one else has bet. Players turn their cards over and the remainder of the board is dealt.
When you’ve had a few bad beats and emotions take over, you risk making things worse by chasing your losses rather than moving on.
Four consecutive cards where one more at either end will make a straight.
A category of games characterized by a part of each player's hand being exposed.
After each player at a table has served as the dealer for a hand. Each time the button passes you is a complete orbit.
A card that will improve your hand. If all the money is in the middle, and you turn over a pair of kings and your opponent has a pair of aces, you need one of the two remaining kings - your two "outs" - to beat your opponent. Or lets say after the Quick Draw you have 4-5-6, you need either an 7 or a 3 for a straight, there are 4 of each left, you have 8 outs.
A pair in the holster that is larger than any community card.
To fold your cards.
Two cards of the same rank.
Where you sit in relation to the dealer, which gives you your place in the betting order.
The place in the center of the poker table where wagered chips are placed. The winner of the hand wins all the chips in the pot..
A situation that likely requires you to call due to the amount of money in the pot vis-a-vis 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.
The ratio of money in the pot compared to what you need to call to keep playing. For example, suppose there is $100 in the pot. Somebody bets $10, so the pot now contains $110. It costs you $10 to call, so your pot odds are 11-to-1. Do you think the odds of your hand being the best are better than 11-to-1? If so, you should call. Similarly, if you are getting the same 11-to-1 odds and you don't have a made hand but the odds of drawing to a better hand are greater than 11-to-1, it would also be correct to call.
Bets made and called (action) before the Duel is dealt.
PRIZE FUND OR PRIZE MONEY
A calculation of total tournament entrants multiplied by the entry stake gives the total amount in the prize fund.
Four of a kind.
Where the duel comes down all different suits, the odds of hitting a flush are much lower.
To increase the previous bet. To wager more than the minimum required to call, forcing other players to put in more money as well.
The small charge made by the house in cash games, normally 5% of the pot, up to a maximum of a few dollars.
The value of each card and hand.
Enables a player to buy back into a tournament (normally the first hour) if they were to lose all their chips. This is only applicable to tournaments explicitly stated as a re-buy tournament.
When someone has already raised the bet, and you raise it further.
Slang for a "tight" player. A rock can sit at a table orbit after orbit without playing for a pot. When he enters a pot, you know he's got the goods.
An ace high straight (A-K-Q-J-10) of the same suit. The best possible hand in poker.
The amount of players taking part in a tournament.
A tournament with a smaller buy-in that pools all the entrants' funds and awards seats to a higher-value tournament rather than cash. For example, a $500 satellite that awards a Main Event seat ($10,000 value) would award one seat for every 20 entrants in the satellite tournament. Satellites give players the chance to enter into an expensive tournament by winning or placing well in a less expensive tournament.
A bluff with a hand that has the potential to improve should the bluff itself be ineffective.
Having a pocket pair that hits on the board, making three of a kind.
A player deemed to be a winner who grows his bankroll by feeding from “Fish”.
The fourth and final community card put out face-up, which starts the final round round of betting.
Having fewer chips than the rest of the players at the table or in the tournament.
When, after the final round of betting, players turn their hands face-up. A poker hand will only reach a showdown if there are callers in the last round of betting, or if someone is all-in prior to the last betting round.
Separate from the main pot. If one or more players is all-in, the pot to which the all-in players contributed is the main pot. A side pot is created from any additional money bet by the remaining players. There can be many side pots if there are more than one all-in player. An all-in player is only eligible to win a pot to which he has contributed.
A poker tournament that starts whenever a specified number of players have registered. As the name suggests, you "sit" (register), and, when there are enough of your fellow players to start the game, you begin, or "go."
The smaller of two blind bets before the cards are dealt. The position to the immediate left of the dealer button position, and to the right of the big blind position.
When two or more players make the same hand and the pot is divided between equivalent high hands.
The two cards dealt to each player before betting starts.
STARTING CARDS VALUE
All starting hands have a value, based on how likely they are to win the pot. The best would be a pair of aces is the best, followed by K-K, Q-Q, A-K and so on.
The amount of chips each player begins with, in a tournament.
An optional pre-deal bet, typically made by the player to the left of the big blind. The straddle amount is twice the big blind (same as a legal raise). The straddler earns the "option" from the big blind. He may re-raise when the action comes around to him. A straddle is a cash game convention and is not usually permitted in a tournament.
A hand consisting of 5 consecutive cards of any suit.
A hand consisting of 5 cards in sequence and the same suit.
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.
Two consecutive cards of the same suit, for example 9 and 10 of hearts.
The action is on you means it is your turn to call, pass, raise or fold.
The third community card dealt (also known as the 'Quick Draw') community card 'on the table' and the second to last round of betting.
An interpretation of a physical action or a betting pattern that seemingly reveals how strong or weak a player's hand is. The best players do not provide many tells themselves and have an ability to detect tells of their opponents in order to determine how to play a hand.
Usually the result of taking a bad beat or series of bad beats, a player is said to be "on tilt" when he plays with reckless abandon. Presumably, the term derives from tilting a pinball machine.
After the duel, players will only have 30 seconds to check, bet or fold during the Quick Draw and Shootout.
A pair with the highest card on the table. For example, if you have an ace and 7 in the hole, and it's a 4-7 duel, you've got a "top pair" with an ace kicker. If you had a pair greater than sevens in your pocket, you'd have an over-pair.
A poker event involving one or more tables of players who each begin with a fixed amount of tournament chips. They play until they have either lost that amount, are the last player remaining holding all the chips, or the remaining players enter into an agreement to end the game. In a tournament, players buy in for a certain amount, which goes into a prize pool that is distributed to the top performers, usually the final 10% of the remaining players. You cannot get up with your chips and leave the game like a cash game. You are in the tournament until its conclusion.
Having three aces as your holster cards.
Slang for three of a kind.
The third community card put out face-up, by itself that starts the third round of betting.
UNDER THE GUN
The first person to act in a betting round. Or, to put it another way, the first player left of the button still holding cards.
A straight including the cards ace to five.