Poker Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Poker Terms

Online Poker, just as so many hobbies, professions and areas of interest, have its own terminology that is almost like its own language.

It's important to understand this language in order to comprehend instructions, rules, and what other players are saying. Below you will find not only many of the most common terms used by poker players, but terms commonly used in the 'lingo' of online poker. You can also check our Poker Hand Rankings guide for a list of how poker hands rank in order to win or our history of poker.

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All-in – You are said to be 'all-in' when all your chips are in the pot and you have not folded. This provides you the potential to win a share of the stakes up to, and inclusive of, your last pot contribution. If any wagers are added after you are all-in, you can not share in those. The bets made after one player is all-in are used to form a side-pot. Another use for this term is when an online poker player loses server connection while actively playing a poker hand.

Away-from-table – When playing in tournaments, no player can 'sit out' a hand as can be done in non-tournament play. When a player must be away-from-table for any reason, they continue to be dealt into each hand, posting blinds when it is their turn and, when there is a pre-flop raise, the away player's hand is folded. The away player's hand is also folded when there is a bet made after the flop. Whenever you are participating in a poker tournament and must leave the table, take a time-out, or lose the server connection in an online tournament, you are automatically considered to be away-from-table.

Bad Beat – When a highly favored player loses a hand to an opponent that is considered to be statistically very unlikely to take the hand –an underdog, in other words – that player is said to be 'bad beat'.

Bet the Pot – When playing pot limit games, this term means that your wager is equal to the current sum contained in the pot. For example, when it is your turn to bet and there is $230 in the pot, if you bet $230 you have 'bet the pot'.

Big Blind (limit poker) - In Texas Hold'em and other games where a blind is the mechanism to put money in play, the big blind is usually a sum equal to the lower limit of the wager limits for that game. For example, if the limit poker game is a $10/$20, the big blind is usually equal to $10. This sum follows the small bind, which is placed into the pot by the first player position to the dealer's left.

Blind - This term denotes certain required bets, the small blind and the big blind, which place money into the pot. These wagers are required, or mandatory, and the obligation rotates around the table so each player, in turn, must place money into the pot through the blinds.

Board – In Texas Hold'em, the community cards which are dealt face up in the center of the poker table are, together, called the board. These cards are used by each player at the table to create their best possible poker hand.

Burn - In brick and mortar poker rooms, the top card of a deck is discarded before any cards are dealt. This helps prevent cheating through someone having seen the top card during the cut or through otherwise learning the value of the top card on a deck.

Buy-in – The buy-in is the amount of money required in order to be permitted to play in a poker game. Usually, a buy-in is required in tournament poker and is used to fund the prize pool.

Call – When one player has placed or raised a wager, the 'call' occurs when another player matches that required bet in order to continue play.

Cap - The last raise permitted in a round of betting round is referred to as the cap.

Check – This is the action referred to when there is no wager open which must be matched and a player does not wish to place a bet. If there is an open wager, it must be called, raised or the player must fold.

Collusion – This is a method of cheating where two or more people try to obtain an unfair advantage by the sharing of information.

Community Cards – The cards that comprise the 'board', which means those that are placed face up on the table and are shared by each player are called 'community cards'. The games to Texas Hold'em and Omaha utilize community cards.

Dead Blind – If you have sat out of the game for a while and have missed your turn to put up blinds, when you wish to re-enter the game prior to the hand where it would be your obligation to post the big blind bet, you must put up the funds for both blinds. In this situation, the money used to fund the small blind is called a 'dead blind' and can not be used toward calling a bet.

Dead Hand – This term refers to a hand that is no longer in play in the game; such as a hand that has been folded is a 'dead hand'.

Down Cards – Cards that are dealt face down to a player, also known as hole cards, are referred to as 'down cards'.

Drawing Dead - This term refers to the scenario where a player is attempting to draw a card that will complete their hand but, even if they get that card, there is already a hand that will beat their hand.

Drop – This is another term used to refer to the action of 'folding'. The player who does not wish to continue further with that hand places their cards on the table, face down, returning their cards to the muck.

Face Down – Cards that are dealt face down are not visible to other players at the table.

Face Up – These cards are placed on the table face up and can be seem by all players.

Flop – when playing Texas Hold'em, this term refers to the set of 3 community cards which are the initial three cards placed on the board and are all dealt at one time.

Flush – This term refers to any five cards, regardless of value, which are of the same suit.

Fold – This action is also known as 'drop' and withdraws the player from further action in the current hand. It is used when a player does not have a b hand and does not wish to place any additional funds into the pot because they know someone else will beat their hand.

Forced Bet – Any bet that is mandatory rather than voluntary, such as a big blind or small blind in Hold'em, is a forced bet. In some games, a player may be required to place a bet simply for having joined the game.

Four of a Kind – A hand that contains four cards of one value such as four Queens is called four of a kind and is a top hand.

Freeroll - Poker tournaments where the entry fee, the stakes, or both the entry fee and stakes are waived is called a freeroll. There is not a minimum prize pool such as is seen in some non-freeroll tournaments.

Full House – This very b poker hand consists of three of one kind and a pair.

Hand – A 'hand' refers to a single round of shuffling, dealing, and betting. This term is also used to refer to those cards that a player is dealt in a round.

Heads Up – This refers to a situation where only two players remain in contention for the pot, as in one-on-one.

Head to Head – In this type of poker game, only two players may participate.

High Card – This term refers to the card which has the highest value or rank.

High/Low - A poker variation in which the pot is divided between the best and worst hands. The worst hand is that hand containing the five lowest cards. The hand known as 'the wheel', consisting of 5, 4, 3, 2, A, is considered to the be lowest possible hand in most poker rooms even though it creates a straight.

Hold'em – A poker variation also called Texas Hold'em, which is one of the most popular poker games. Each player gets two down cards and can use three, four, or five of the community cards placed on the board to create the best possible poker hand.

Hole Cards – These are the cards dealt face down (down cards) in a player's hand.

In – Any player that is actively playing in a hand and has not folded is 'in'.

Inside Straight – This refers to the scenario when a player have four out of the five cards needed to build a straight but the missing card is inside the sequence rather than at the end of the run. If a player holds 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 and they get the 7 to complete the straight, they are said to be 'making the inside straight'.

Jackpot – This is a special bonus that can be won under criteria established by the poker room.

Kicker – When two players have tie hands, such as one player holding two Q's and the other player holding two Q's, the card used to break the tie, called the 'kicker' would be the card of highest value in each hand. For example, a Q-Q-10 would beat a Q-Q-6 hand and the 10 and 6 would be the 'kicker' cards.

Live Blind - A blind that counts towards any bet you call or raise.

Main Pot – This refers to the initial pot for a hand. When a player (or more than one player) goes all-in, a side pot must be created for each all-in player which is maintained separate from the main pot.

Muck – When used as a noun, this means the pile of folded and/or discarded cards. When spoken as a verb, at showdown time, it refers to returning a losing hand to the dealer facedown, so that other players do not see the cards.

Multi-Table Tournament - A tournament where each player begins with the same number of chips and play is conducted at more than one table until, eventually, one player wins all the chips. Payouts of prizes are based on the number of players entering the tournament and, when playing online, are posted on the tournaments page. These games have a posted start time and require that players register in advance in order to participate.

No Limit - A betting rule variation in which the only limit to the number of chips which can be wagered is the chips the player has on the table (NL).

Omaha - A poker variation where each player is dealt four face down cards and shares five community cards. Hands must be created using exactly two of the down cards and three of the community cards. There is also a high/low variation of Omaha.

Omaha High/Low - This game allows players to compete for a pot split between the highest and the lowest hands using two down cards and three community cards. A player may use different sets of cards to make up the best high and the best low hands.

On the button - This term refers to the person designated as the dealer when playing Texas Hold'em and Omaha games.

One on One – This is the same as head to head.

Pair - This is a hand where the player's best hand is made up of 2 cards of the same value or rank.

Pass – Depending on the situation, this term may be used in stead of check or fold.

Playing the Board – In Hold'em poker, this refers to using only the community cards to create your best hand.

Pocket Cards - The term for two cards dealt face down at the beginning of a hand.

Pot - The chips available to be won in any given hand.

Pot Limit – In this betting variation, each player is limited to wagering not more than the amount which is currently contained in the pot (PL).

Raise - The act of increasing the amount bet by a prior bettor.

Rake - This refers to the amount of money, in chips, taken by the house as a service fee.

Rank – This refers to the value of a card. The rank of the 2 of Spades is 2 while the rank of the Queen of Hearts is Queen. Rank value increases from 2 through 10, followed in order by Jack, Queen, King, and Ace. In High/Low games, the Ace may be used both for its high rank and as the lowest rank card.

Re-buy – This refers to the act of purchasing more chips during a game but not during a hand that you are playing and applies to real money and tournament play.

Reducing - The act, considered to be poor poker etiquette, refers to removing chips from the table and returning immediately with fewer chips.

River - The fifth and final community card, also called Fifth Street.

Round - This refers to the dealing of a set of cards and the betting associated with that set of cards. An example is the dealing of the river and the bets that follow immediately.

Royal Flush – This is the best possible high poker hand and consists of a straight flush of 10, J, Q, K, A.

Showdown – This refers to the period after the final bet when all players must show their hands or fold.

Side Pot - This is a pot created when a player goes all-in. The side pot is available to all players not all-in at that point. Infrequently, there can be situations where multiple side pots exist.

Single Table Tournament - A poker table at which you may buy-in to a seat and all the buy-in money goes into the prize pool. The prize pool is then returned to the top finishers per the payout table on the tournaments page. A fee is usually required to play at this type of table. Players being with the same number of chips and continue to play until one player wins all the chips. These table tournaments start once the table is filled.

Small Blind - In Hold'em and Omaha, this is the required bet which must be placed by the player to the left of the dealer.

Stakes - See buy-in.

Straight - A hand in which the player has five cards in rank order, regardless of suit. For example, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen.

Straight Flush - A straight comprised of cards that are the same suit.

Stud - The generic term for poker games where players receive the first card or cards face down, then receive some cards dealt face up, all of which are used only by that player. In the case of 7 card stud, there may be a further card dealt face down as the final card.

Suit - Any of the four sets, Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, and Spades, in a deck of cards.

Texas Hold'em – A poker variation where players are dealt two cards face down followed by five face up community cards.

Three of a kind - A hand containing three cards of the same rank such as Q-Q-Q.

Tournament Buy-In – This is the cost to enter a tournament. The buy-in money funds the prize pool and is paid out to winning players.

Tournament Entry-Fee - A small fee, much like a service charge, paid to the house by players entering a tournament.

Trips – A common slang reference to three of a kind; short for triplets.

Turn - The reference to the fourth community card in Hold'em and Omaha.

Two Pair - A hand in which the player has two pairs of cards such as A-A-7-7.

Under-raise - This scenario is when a player raises a bet but must go all-in to do so by placing an mount less than the full raise into the pot.

Up Card - A card dealt face up, visible to all players.

Wheel - A common name for the lowest low hand 5, 4, 3, 2, A.

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