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Like any other game culture, poker has an extensive vocabulary of terms used by players. Some may already be familiar, but most will probably mystify you until you learn the lingo. Studying this list will help you get into the flow of the game quicker, and you can always refer back to it if you don't understand something.
Act, An An intentional tell intended to give false information about a hand.
Action Bets or betting. "There's a lot of action on this table."
Ajax The name of an Ace and Jack in the pocket, suited or otherwise.
All-in Putting all of the chips you have at the table into the pot, creating a side pot for the remaining players.
Aggressive Adjective to describe a player who raises and re-raises and rarely calls.
American Airlines The name of a pair of Aces in the pocket.
Angle An action that isn't against the rules, but still incorporates unfair tactics.
Angle-Shooting Using unfair tactics.
Ante The pot. The total amount being wagered upon.
Backdoor Making a hand other than the one intended. Example: Having J/10 of Clubs with a flop of A of Clubs, 5 of Clubs. 6 of Spades. The turn and river are K & Q of Hearts. You made a straight instead of the intended (and more likely) flush.
Backraise A re-raise from a player who originally called.
Bad Beat When a good hand is beat by a longshot draw.
Bankroll The amount of money you have.
Bet Odds The odds you get as a result of evaluating the number of callers to a raise.
Bicycle or Bike A Straight Ace to Five
Big Blind The largest blind posted prior to the dealing of cards. This is usually the player sitting two seats to the left of the dealer.
Big Slick The name of an Ace and King in the pocket. Suited or otherwise.
Blank A useless card.
Blind A mandatory bet placed before the cards are dealt to force money into the pot. You usually have to post a blind when you join a game.
Bluff Betting even though you don't have a good hand.
Boat A full house.
Board, The 1. The communal cards dealt face up in Hold 'Em that all players can use.
2. The surface these cards are dealt onto. Typically a tabletop.
Bottom Dealing A form of live cheating where the bottom card is usually preset and dealt instead of the top card.
Burn Card In Hold 'Em, the cards before the flop, turn, and river that are discarded to prevent reading of marked cards.
Button A symbol to designate which player is sitting in the dealer's position.
Buy-In The necessary amount of money needed to join a game.
Call Matching a bet amount.
Calling Station A passive and loose player who does not raise much, but calls more than he or she should.
Cap or Capping The idea that there can only be a raise, a re-raise, another re-raise, and one final re-raise. That's four bets total per player, per round, at most.
Cards Speak Your hand is the most favorable possible combination of cards, no matter how you call it.
Cash Out Taking your money and going home.
Check When no bets are pending, to pass your turn.
Check-Raise The act of calling, then re-raising a raise.
Cleaned Out Being taken for all your money, in Hold 'Em or otherwise.
Clubs One of the four playing card suits. Formerly representing the working class
Cold Call To call more than one bet at once as result of a re-raise.
Collusion A form of cheating where multiple parties help each other in deciding the best course of action.
Community Cards Communal cards dealt face up in Hold 'Em that all players can use.
Computer Hand The name of a Queen and Six in the pocket. Called that because computers have designated that as the perfect average hand.
Connected Two sequential pocket cards. Examples : 10/J or 3/4.
Cowboys Kings
Dead Man's Hand Two Pair of Aces and Eights. The hand Wild Bill Hickock was holding when Jack McCall shot him in the back.
Dealer The man or woman who handles the cards, gives out the pots, and monitors the game.
Dealer's Position Being the last to act in a betting round. On the button.
Diamonds One of the four playing card suits. Formerly representing merchants.
Dominated Hands Hands that are okay to play, but tend to lose against similar non-straight/flush hands.
Example: A2 is dominated because against other hands with an Ace, it loses or draws without improvement.
Dominating Hands Primo hands that are not only good, solid hands, but have lots of room for improvement.
Draw 1. A drawing hand.
2. A game result where multiple players split the pot as result of having equal hands.
3. To take a card from a deck of cards.
Drawing Playing a hand to improve.
Drawing Dead A drawing hand that will lose even if it improves.
Drawing Hand A hand that needs improvement to win. Usually to a straight or flush.
Early Position Being one of the first to act in a betting round. Usually a disadvantage.
False Shuffle A form of live cheating where the deck is shuffled in a manner to prearrange the cards.
Flop 1. n. the first three community cards dealt face up on the table.
2. v. used to describe what your hand was after the flop. "I flopped the nuts!"
Flush Having a poker hand of five cards whose suits all match.
Fold To give up your hand and forfeit the pot to the remaining players.
Four-of-a-Kind A poker hand consisting of all four cards of the same type.
Free Card The card you get as result of semi-bluffing from late or last position so that all the players check to you.
Full House A poker hand consisting of three-of-a-kind and two pair. Worded as the three-of-a-kind being "full" of the two pair.
Example: Three Aces and Two Tens is verbally declared as a "full house, Aces full of Tens".
Grinding Playing in a style with minimal risk and modest gains over a long period of time.
Gutshot Draw A straight draw where only one card will complete the hand.
Hand 1. The complete playing of all the cards given out in one deal.
2. The cards used by a player.
Heads-Up When only two players are involved with a hand.
Hearts One of the four playing card suits. Formerly representing the clergy.
High Limit A game where the amounts wagered are high.
House, The The establishment where a game is being held. It may be a casino in Las Vegas, a kitchen table, or an online casino's server in Antigua.
I Forget What you say when someone asks, "So what did you have?"
Image What kind of player others currently perceive you as.
Implied Odds The odds you are getting after the assumed result of betting for the remainder of the hand.
Jackpot A prize fund awarded to a player who meets a set of predetermined requirements.
For example, some casinos will give a jackpot to someone who gets four-of-a-kind or higher and loses.
Kicker In a tie hand between one pair, two pair, or three-of-a-kind, the remaining card(s) that make up the hand. The player with the highest card(s) wins.
Kill Game A game where certain predetermined requirements creates higher stakes and/or create a third blind.
Late Position Being one of the last to act in a betting round. Usually an advantage.
Limping Calling a blind pre-flop without raising.
Live Hand An active hand. One that has not folded.
Live Game A game where you are physically near the other players.
Long Shot Making a hand despite having few outs and/or poor odds.
Loose Adjective to describe a player who plays lots of hands and gets involved with a lot of pots.
Low Limit A game where the amounts wagered are small.
Main Pot The first established pot before a player goes all-in and creates a side pot.
Maverick The name of a Queen and Jack in the pocket. Suited or otherwise.
Mechanic A player who has the ability to illegally manipulate cards for favorable results.
Middle Position Being in between early and late position.
Mneumonics Mental devices used to remember things. In Hold 'Em, often players have names for what pocket cards they have, like Big Slick or Maverick.
Muck 1. v. To discard your hand, especially after an opponent reveals a better hand.
2. n. The discard pile.
No Limit Considered one of the last true forms of poker, where the amount you can bet is limited by the number of chips in front of you.
Nuts, The The best possible hand.
Odds 1. The proportion by which one bet differs from that of another.
2. The ratio between the probability for and against something happening.
On the Button Being the last player to act in a betting round. Dealer's Position.
Outs The number of cards left in the deck that will improve your hand.
Overpair A pocket pair higher than any of the cards on the board.
Pair A poker hand comprised of two cards of the same type and three others.
Passive Adjective to describe a player who frequently calls and rarely bets.
Pocket Cards The two cards dealt to you at the beginning of a Hold 'Em hand that no one else is entitled to see.
Position In a turn-based game like Hold 'Em, your rank in the order of turns. This is typically categorized into early, middle, and late position.
Pot, The The amount of money and sum of the bets being wagered on in a game.
Pot Odds The odds you get when analyzing the current size of the pot vs. your next call.
Pre-Flop The space of time after you've been dealt your pocket cards and before the flop is dealt.
Quarter 1. What you need to call your friend to pick you up after you lose all your money playing Hold'em before reading up on strategy.
2. What your opponent will need to call his or her friend after playing you after you read up on strategy.
Raise Putting in the first bet in a round.
Rake Money taken by the house to compensate for expenses.
Rank of Suits An uncommon ranking system to determine who wins in a game with no draws. The cards in your final five-card hand are evaluated. The winner is decided by the highest pocket card involved with that hand. The player with the better rank wins. In order the ranks are Spades, Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs. If the players still have the same hand, the highest pocket card is the winner, if it is still a tie then the highest ranked pocket card wins.
Ratholing The illegal action of taking money off the table and putting it somewhere else.
Re-raise Putting in another bet on top of a previous raise or raises.
Reading Analysis of a player based on how they play, mannerisms, and tells.
Ring game A normal game, as opposed to a tournament game or a non-money game with your uncles.
River The fifth and last community card dealt face up in a Hold 'Em game.
Rock A passive, tight player.
Royal Flush The highest ranking hand. Having a straight 10 to Ace of all the same suit.
Run, Going on a The act of playing with more money than is typical or reasonable for you to play.
Rush A winning streak
Sandbagging Holding back and calling despite the fact that you have a very good hand, usually to disguise strength, provoke bluffs, and to check-raise.
Semi-Bluff Betting with a mediocre or drawing hand.
Set Having a pocket pair that matches one of the cards on the board.
Short Buying Purchasing chips after your initial purchase. Usually the minimum for a short buy-in is less than the initial buy-in.
Short-Handed An adjective used to describe a game with few players.
Showdown The final phase after all betting has ended and players reveal their cards.
Side Pot Bets made into a new pot after a player has gone all-in.
Signaling A system used by colluding players to let each other know what they hold.
Slow Playing Playing deceptively with a strong hand by checking and calling with the intention of raising once the pot is larger.
Small Blind The smaller or the two blinds posted prior to the dealing of cards. This is usually by the player sitting directly to the left of the dealer.
Soft Seat A seat or game which is favorable because of the lack of skill at the table.
Spades One of the four playing card suits. Formerly representing nobility.
Splashing the Pot An illegal move where chips are placed in a haphazard way. Such as being tossed directly into the pot before being counted.
Spread Limit A betting structure where you can bet any amount within a certain range.
Stash A poker player's "gamblin' money".
Steal Raise A raise by someone in late position in an attempt to reduce the number of players and/or steal the pot.
Steamrolling Re-raising to make a player(s) call two bets instead of one.
Straddle Posting an extra blind when one sits to the left of the big blind.
Straight A poker hand with five sequential cards. In Hold'Em, Aces can be high or low.
Straight Flush A poker hand comprised of five sequential cards all of the same suit.
String Bets Saying "I'll call your bet....and I'll re-raise!", instead of just "Raise" or "Re-raise". Generally not allowed because of ethics involving angle shooting.
String Calls An illegal call like saying "I've got a pair of Jacks.", then after your opponents have revealed their hands or just simply reacted to that, saying "Oh, and I've also got a pair of sevens, too" or a similar situation.
Suit A characteristic of a playing card. The card being either of Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, or Spades.
Suited Usually used in reference to your pocket cards when they are of the same suit.
Table, The 1. The surface on which poker is played.
2. A term used in reference to the players at a table. "A tight table."
Table Stakes The rule that you can only play a hand with the money you have at the table.
Tell An action that gives clues about the cards someone is holding.
Three-of-a-Kind A poker hand consisting of three cards of the same type.
Tight Adjective to describe a player who selects hands very carefully and folds easily.
Tilt, On Behavior as a result of losing, usually negative.
Top Pair Having a pair with the highest card on the board and one in the pocket.
Top Two Pair Having both your pocket cards match the highest two cards on the board.
Turn The fourth community card dealt face up in a Hold 'Em game.
Under the Gun Being the first person to act, being in the earliest position.
Underpair A pocket pair of lower value than the lowest card on the board.