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POKER TERMINOLOGY

Knowing poker terminology is an imperative part of mastering Poker. This comprehensive list of terms will help you improve your game while sitting at the table.

ALL-IN

When a player bets/places all of their chips in the pot.

BACKDOOR FLUSH

A flush that is completed using both the turn and river cards. EX: You hold J-♥, the flop reveals Q-♥ and 2-♥. The turn reveals 7-♥ and the river reveals 3-♥. You have successfully completed a backdoor flush.

BAD BEAT 

When a player with the higher statistical odds of winning is beaten by an opponent. 

 

BIG BLIND

The second player to the left of the dealer has to bet this amount of chips at the start of a round. The amount of the Big Blind is equivalent to the minimum bet. 

 

BLIND

Generic term referring to the Small and Big Blind. The player left of the dealer is the Small Blind, next to him is the Big Blind. 

 

BOARD

The cards on the table that each player utilizes along with their pocket cards to create the best hand. 

 

BURN

The top card is discarded or burned at the start of each betting round. 

 

BUTTON

The button refers to the dealer's position. The dealer acts last in each hand. 

 

BUY-IN

The cost to enter a completion. The minimum monetary amount necessary to sit at that table. 

 

CALL

To call is to match a bet or match a raise. 

CHECK 

The ability to continue the hand without raising granted the player before you didn’t raise. 

 

CHECK-RAISE

When a player checks on their first betting opportunity and raises in any later bet during that same betting round. 

 

COLD CALL

When a player calls two or more bets in the same turn. EX: A pot has been bet and raised prior to reaching you and you then call. Calling the two previous moves is a cold call. 

 

CONNECTOR

Ordered pocket cards. Ex: A 7 of Spades and 8 of hearts would be connectors. Had they been the same suit they would be suited connectors. 

 

COMMUNITY CARDS

The face up cards on the table that each player utilizes along with their pocket cards to create the best hand. 

 

CUT-OFF

The position that is to the direct right of the button.  

 

DEALER

The individual who is tasked with shuffling the cards and dealing the cards to each player. 

 

DEALER BUTTON

The button which indicates the dealer. It is passed clockwise after each hand. 

 

DRAW

When a player has an incomplete hand that requires further cards to become valuable. 

 

DRAW OUT

The card that transforms a losing hand into a winning hand. 

 

DRAWING DEAD

Drawing dead means that there is no chance of winning a particular hand and you are unable to create a hand with the river cards. 

 

FLOP

The first three community cards that are displayed after the first betting round. 

 

FLUSH

A hand consisting of five cards with the same suit.

 

FOLD

The act of giving up a hand by placing your cards face down on the table. Any bets that you have made are forfeited to the pot. Players fold when they believe opposing players have a better hand or your hand is too weak to compete. 

 

FOUR OF A KIND

A hand consisting of four of the same ranked cards. 

 

FULL HOUSE

Three Cards of the Same Rank & Two Cards of Another Rank

 

HAND

Five cards, a mix of community cards and a player's pocket cards. 

 

HEADS-UP

Playing against only one other player. 

 

HIGH CARD

When a player and their opponent are unable to make any hands with the community cards and their pocket cards, the player with the highest valued card wins the showdown.  

 

IMPLIED ODDS

Implied odds are the pot odds that determine whether the pot is worth raising, calling, or folding. 

 

KICKER

The kicker is the card that is not being used to create the hand, if players have the same hand the player with the higher kicker wins. 

 

LATE POSITION

The two players to the right of the dealer as they act last. 

 

LIMP

Another word for calling. 

 

LIMIT

A game style where bets and raises are capped at a certain amount. 

 

LIVE BET

Slang term for calling in a non aggressive manner. 

 

MUCK

All of the cards that have been discarded. When folding a player tosses their cards into the muck. 

 

NO-LIMIT

A game style in which players can bet up to any amount. There is a minimum to play, however no maximum. 

 

NUTS

The best possible hand a player can have at that stage of the game: flop, turn, river. 

 

OFF-SUIT

When you hold pocket cards of different suits. 

 

OVER-PAIR

When you hold a pair that is larger than any community card on the board. 

 

OPEN-ENDED

The required card to complete a straight appears on the outside of the structure. Ex: community cards are 4-5-Jack, you hold the 6-7, you need a 3 or an 8 to complete the open-ended straight. An open-ended straight is twice as likely to hit compared to a straight. 

 

ORBIT

After each player has served as dealer for a hand and the button returns to you. Every time the button completes the rotation is an orbit. 

 

OUT

An out is any card that will complete our hand in that given round. 

 

OVER-CARDS

Over-cards are community cards that rank higher than our pocket pair. Ex: You hold J-J and the flop reveals Q-7-8. The queen is considered an over-card in this instance as it is higher than your J-J.

 

PAIR

Two Cards that have the same rank. 

 

POCKET CARDS

The cards in your hand that are not the community cards. 

 

POT

The central portion of the table where wagered chips are placed. The winner receives all of the chips in the pot at the end of the hand. 

 

POT-COMMITTED

A player's inability to fold due to the current pot odds. Ex: Having bet a significant amount already shows pot commitment. 

 

POT-LIMIT

This is a style of gameplay where the max bet can equal the pot.

 

QUADS

Four of a kind. 

 

RAINBOW

A flop that contains three different suits. 

 

RAKE

Chips taken from the pot by the cardroom for hosting the game.

 

RING GAME

A non tournament game played with real money. 

 

RIVER

The last card given/turned over in all games. It also goes by 5th street. 

 

ROCK

A tight and passive player.

 

RAISE

An increase on the previous bet. 

 

ROYAL FLUSH

Ten, Jack, Queen, King, Ace. All of the Same Suit.

 

SEMI-BLUFF

A bet with an inferior hand with the ability to improve later in the round. 

 

SET

Three of a kind created with a pocket pair.

 

SHORT STACK

A significant amount of chips less than your competition. Ex: You have $10 and your opponents each have $100. 

 

SHOWDOWN

The cards that are shown after the final betting round. The cards are compared to determine the winner. 

 

SIDE POT

A side pot occurs once a player is all in and others continue to bet. The short stack is only able to win up to his all in amount x the amount of players still in. If players continue to bet on top of this the resulting amount will be a side pot between the players who still have chips.

 

SIT-AND-GO

A tournament that begins as soon as the tournament registry is full. Often abbreviated as SNG. 

SIT OUT

When a player decides to sit out for a few hands and leave the table. If a player misses more than two rounds of blinds they will be removed from the table. 

 

SLOW PLAY

The act of playing a strong hand weakly so that other players continue adding to the pot. This is also known as sandbagging. 

 

SMALL BLIND

The player immediately to the left of the dealer has to bet this amount of chips at the start of a round. The amount of the small blind is normally half of the big blind. 

 

SPLIT POT

Players with equivalent hands will share or split the pot. 

 

STRADDLE

A straddle is the action of raising the blind before cards have been dealt.

 

STRING BET

A string bet is an illegal move where a player makes an initial bet and attempts to place more chips into the pot after the first chips have been placed.  

 

STRAIGHT

Five Consecutive Cards.

 

STRAIGHT FLUSH 

Five Consecutive Cards. All of the Same Suits.

 

TELL 

An action that displays to your opponent what cards you are holding or vice versa. 

 

TILT

A state of poor play due to emotions. Players on tilt often play looser, more aggressive, and display poor decision making processes. 

 

TIME

A player can request time to suspend play. Time can be called to ponder a decision. 

 

TOP PAIR

A pair with the highest winning card on the board. Ex: You hold J-2 The flop shows J-4-6, you have a top pair with the J-J combination. 

 

TOURNAMENT

A Poker competition, typically tournaments have an entry fee and prizes.

 

TRIPS

Trips is another term for three of a kind. 

 

TURN

The turn is the fourth card that is flipped. 

 

UNDER THE GUN

The first or earliest person to act.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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