What more can casinos offer when it comes to helping players understand their games? We at LV BET decided to take things up to the next level with a comprehensive list of poker terms.
DICTIONARY – POKER TERMINOLOGY
To the inexperienced, poker can appear to be quite convoluted. More convoluted still is the poker terminology — a dictionary-long list of peculiar words that each describe a fragment or nuance of poker. The antidote to this complex situation is a comprehensive list of poker terminology that can help you navigate the complexities of this spectacular card game.
Ace high: Refers to a hand that contains an ace, but which cannot form a combination.
Act: Refers to the act of making a decision in poker.
Action: Refers to the action of making a decision, such as betting, calling, raising, checking and folding.
Active players: Refers to the players who haven’t folded, that is, players involved in the current street. Two or more players have to be active for a round to be played.
Aces up: Refers to a two pair, one of which is a pair of aces.
Add-on: A number of tournament chips added over and above the standard buy-in. Add-ons can be purchased during poker tournaments.
Advertising: Refers to the act of going to the showdown with a weak hand. This is done with the intention of having other players call your bets when you eventually play a better hand.
A-game: Refers to an optimum mindset and attitude to playing poker.
Aggression: Refers to the act of raising and going all-in.
Air: Refers to an extremely weak hand.
All-in: Refers to the act of placing all the money in the pot when making a raise, in such a way that losing an all-in bet will either boot the player out of the table or restrict them to place another buy-in.
Ante: Refers to the mandatory bets placed at the beginning of the round of betting.
Backdoor: Refers to the moment when an additional two cards are needed in order to form a hand combination.
Bad beat jackpot: Refers to a prize given when a player loses a hand despite being a likely winner. A minimum requirement is usually set in place; for example, the losing hand must be at least four-of-a-kind fives using both hole cards to claim the bad beat jackpot.
Bad beat story: Refers to the loss of a pot despite the player previously being considered the likely winner.
Bankroll: Refers to the budget at a player’s disposal used for playing cash games.
Bankroll management: Refers to the strategic use of a player’s budget. Bankroll management is a fundamental factor in every cash game, since it allows players better longevity of playing if done well. The best poker strategy is to always respect the size of your bankroll and never exceed it.
Barrel: When a player places a bet after having been responsible for making an aggressive action (raise or re-raise) as a previous bet.
Barn: Short for ‘full barn’, which refers to a full house.
bb: Refers to the big blind.
Bet: Refers to the act of placing the first wager in a round of betting.
Betting order: Refers to the sequence of turns during which players make their decision.
Big blind: Refers to the position directly following the small blind. The big blind position pays the larger of the two mandatory bets preflop; however, the player in this position will be the first in the betting order.
Blocking bet: Refers to a typically small bet placed with the hopes of deterring other players from placing a bet.
Bluff: When a player bets while having a bad hand. This is done with the hope of getting their opponents to fold.
Bluff catch: When a player calls with a hand that can only win if their opponent is bluffing.
Board: Refers to the cards visible to every player.
Bomb pot: When players agree to place an additional ante before the cards are dealt. This makes for a huge pot of higher stakes than usual.
Boss: The strongest hand during a round of betting.
Bottom pair: Refers to a pair formed with the lowest-value card on the board.
Bring-in: In the context of Stud games, the bring-in is a mandatory bet based on card values.
Brick: Refers to a card that doesn’t form any hand combinations.
Bubble: Refers to the stage of a poker tournament when any of the players are about to qualify for the prize pool.
Burn: In the context of live poker games or tournaments, dealers discard or ‘burn’ the top card of the deck as a measure to avoid cheating.
Button: Also known as the dealer button, it refers to the position to the right of the small blind. The dealer button is considered the most advantageous position to be in since this player will act last in every round of the poker game.
Buy-in: Refers to the amount of money required in order to join a poker game or tournament.
Call: Refers to the act of matching an existing wager made by another player in the same round of betting.
Calling station: Refers to a poker player who consistently calls and rarely raises, regardless of the strength of their hand.
Calling a bluff: When a player realises that someone is bluffing and makes the correct decision.
Card removal: Also known as blockers, card removal is when a player holds a card that is needed by another player to form a hand combination.
Cash games: A cash game — also referred to as a ring game — can be any game that uses money as a medium for betting. The same is the case in poker, where wagered chips represent actual money.
Chance: Used to refer to the possibility of an outcome occurring.
Check: Refers to the decision of passing the action to the next active player without placing a bet. A check cannot be made if a bet has been placed. Instead, a player can choose to call the bet, re-raise or fold.
Check-raise: When a player raises after having checked on the same round of betting.
Chinese poker: Refers to a variant of poker where points are distributed to the players’ hand combinations.
Coin flip: Refers to the situation where two players have a roughly equal chance of winning a hand.
Cold-call: When a call is made as the first move in the first round of betting.
Combination: Refers to a specific card combination.
Combo draw: Refers to a drawing hand that can form multiple combinations, such as a straight draw or a flush draw.
Community cards: Refers to the cards placed in the centre of the poker table, which players use to form hand combinations. Not all poker variants feature community cards.
Complete: In the context of Texas hold’em or Omaha, this term refers to the act of calling in the small blind position. In Stud games, it refers to raising a small bet when playing the bring-in.
Crack: When a strong hand gets beaten.
Crying call: Refers to the situation where, in the final round of betting, a player calls but isn’t confident about winning.
Cutoff: Refers to the player seated directly to the right of the button.
Dead money: The chips in a pot that have been contributed to by players who have since folded.
Dealer: The person responsible for dealing cards.
Dealer button: Also referred to as ‘the button’, it refers to the position to the right of the small blind.
Deuce: Refers to a card with a rank of two.
Diamonds: Refers to one of the card suits.
Dirty stack: Refers to a badly organised chip stick.
Discard: Refers to either folding or mucking.
Donk bet: Refers to a bet placed by a player who didn’t make an aggressive action in the previous round of betting.
Door card: In Stud poker, the door card is the first upcard dealt to a player.
Double Belly Buster: Refers to a situation when a player has more than one inside straight draw by the same hand.
Double up: Refers to the doubling of a chip stack after betting all-in and winning.
Downswing: Refers to a long losing streak.
Draw: Refers to a situation where more cards are needed to create a hand combination. For example, if a player has cards four through seven and is waiting on an eight, they have a straight draw.
Drawing dead: Refers to a situation in which a player has no possible chance to win.
Dry: Refers to a situation in which no hand combinations can be made.
Dry board: Refers to a board texture that doesn’t offer many possibilities for forming hand combinations.
Ducks: In the context of Texas hold ‘em, the term refers to pocket twos.
Early position: Refers to the first two or three seats of the table.
Effective stack: When two players go head to head, the effective stack is the smaller of the two stacks.
Entry fee: Refers to the price paid by poker players to enter a tournament
Etiquette: Refers to the unspoken understandings between poker players to create a fair and friendly atmosphere around the table.
Expectation: Refers to the expected profit margin of a specific play in the long run.
Expected value: Refers to the expected profit margin of a specific play in the long run.
Face card: Refers to jacks, queens or kings.
Family pot: Refers to a situation in which most players do not fold during the first round of betting.
Fastplay: Refers to a player placing a bet or raise while holding a strong poker hand, such as a full house.
Fifth street: In the context of Stud poker, the term refers to the third round of betting.
Fish: Refers to a weak player.
Five-bet: Refers to the fifth bet of a sequence.
Flat: Used interchangeably with the term ‘call’. The term refers to the act of matching an existing wager made by another player in the same betting round.
Flop: Refers to the second round of betting. It also refers to the three community cards dealt face up.
Flop games: Refers to a poker game that features community cards, such as Texas hold ‘em.
Flush: Refers to a hand combination of five cards of the same suit.
Flush draw: Refers to an incomplete hand that only needs one card to make a flush.
Fold: Refers to the act of discarding the hand. This prohibits the player from participating in the current and subsequent betting rounds.
Forced bet: Refers to the small and big blind; both of which are mandatory in order to start the game.
Four-bet: Refers to the fourth bet of a sequence.
Fourth street: In the context of Stud poker, the fourth street refers to the second round of betting — when players will have been dealt four cards.
Free card: Refers to a situation where all players check and see the next card without having placed a bet.
Freeroll: Refers to a hand that can, at most, chop but never lose.
Freeroll tournament: Poker tournaments that don’t require a buy-in.
Full house: Refers to a hand combination consisting of three cards of identical rank and two cards of another rank.
Gap: Refers to a gap between cards of consecutive ranks, such as three, four, six and seven.
Grinding: Refers to the process of winning consistently during several games of poker.
Hand: Refers to the two cards dealt to a player.
Hand for hand: In the context of a multi-table tournament, the phrase refers to the rule that all tables must finish their current hand before the tournament can progress to the next one.
Hand rankings: Refers to the hierarchy of poker hand combinations.
High card: Refers to the higher-value card of a hand that doesn’t form a hand combination.
High hand: Refers to a poker hand that doesn’t form any hand combinations.
High roller: Refers to poker players that partake in high-stakes games or tournaments.
Hold’em: Refers to one of the most popular poker variants.
House: Refers to the establishment — whether physical or online — that runs the game.
ICM: Stands for ‘Independent Chip Model’, which refers to the specific way how chip denominations are attributed monetary value.
Implied odds: Refers to a pot odds analysis of all the chips a player stands to win in later streets should they win the hand.
ITM: Stands for ‘in the money’, which refers to players who are set to win the prize money after having survived the bubble.
Jam: Refers to the act of a player placing all their money in a bet — also known as going all-in.
Kicker: Refers to cards that don’t contribute to forming a winning combination, but they can still affect the strength of a hand.
Levelling: Refers to the act of adjusting a thought process to intercept an opponent’s thought process.
Limit: Usually used in reference to fixed-limit poker games, where bets and raises can only be done in predetermined fixed increments.
Limp: Used to describe the action of calling when there has been no raise during the first round of betting.
Lowball: Refers to a poker variant whose concept revolves around players getting the weakest hand possible.
Low hand: In the context of lowball poker variants, the phrase refers to the weakest hand on the table.
Mental game: Refers to the practice of refining one’s own attitude towards learning, improving and playing poker.
Mid stakes: Refers to poker games or tournaments that demand a relatively affordable buy-in.
Monster: Refers to an exceptionally strong hand.
Muck: Refers to the action of returning a losing hand to the dealer at showdown without allowing other players to see what the hand is.
NL: An abbreviation of no-limit poker.
Nosebleed: Refers to a high-stakes situation in poker.
No-limit: Refers to a no-limit betting structure where players can bet or raise any amount, as long as their chip stack permits. This is one of the most entertaining forms of cash games played, since players have no restriction on the amount they wish to bet.
Nuts: Refers to an extremely strong poker hand that cannot get beaten by other hands.
Offsuit: Refers to a starting hand that isn’t of the same suit.
Omaha: Refers to a poker community card game, where each player is dealt four hole cards in the first betting round.
Open-ended straight draw: Refers to a straight draw that requires one or two cards outside of the sequence to form a hand combination. For example, an open-ended straight draw could look like a three, four, five and six, where a two or a seven would form a straight.
Open-raise: Refers to the action of making the first raise during the first round of betting.
Online poker: Refers to games of poker played on online devices, including desktops and mobile devices.
Out: Refers to a card that, should it be dealt, would give a player a strong hand.
Overbet: Refers to the action of making a bet larger than the contents of the pot.
Overlimp: Refers to a limp during the first round of betting, after another player has already limped.
Pair: Refers to a hand combination of two cards of the same rank.
Pocket cards: Refers to the player’s hand.
Pocket rockets: In the context of Texas hold’em, the phrase refers to pocket aces.
Pocket pair: Refers to a situation where both pocket cards are of the same rank.
Post: Refers to the act of placing blinds.
Postflop: In the context of community card games, the term refers to the action unfolding after the second betting round.
Pot: Refers to the sum of chips currently wagered. The winner of the hand wins the entire pot.
Pot odds: Usually expressed as a ratio or a percentage, the phrase refers to how much a player could potentially win in comparison to the risks entailed.
Pot limit: Refers to a betting structure where players are limited to a predetermined maximum bet or raise.
Preflop: The term refers to the first betting round.
Protection: Refers to a bet or raise with a made hand in the hopes of making opponents fold.
Quadruplets: Refers to a four of a kind.
Quads: Another term for a four of a kind.
Qualify: In the context of split-pot games, the term refers to the fact that a low hand must ‘qualify’ in order to count.
Ragged: Refers to a flop with little to no potential of forming hands.
Raise: Refers to the action of increasing the size of a wager placed by another player in the same street.
Rake: Refers to the amount withdrawn from each pot in order to fund the running of the game.
Range: Refers to the possible cards a player might hold.
Rank: Refers to the card’s value. For example, five, seven and jacks are card ranks.
Rap: Another term for ‘tap’, which refers to the action of tapping the table twice as a sign of wanting to check.
Razz: Refers to the lowball poker variant of seven-card Stud.
Read: Also referred to as ‘tell’, the term refers to the act of having a good guess of which cards an opponent has.
Rebuy: In the context of cash games — and tournaments, to a less frequent extent — it refers to the action of purchasing additional chips.
Regular: Refers to a poker player who regularly plays a certain game.
Remaining players: Refers to the active players who haven’t yet folded during a certain betting round.
Re-raise: Refers to the action of raising when another player has already raised in the same street.
Ring game: A substitute term for ‘cash game’.
River: Refers to the final round of betting in poker variants such as Texas hold ‘em, Omaha and Stud games.
River card: Refers to the final card dealt in variants such as Texas hold ‘em. The river card marks the beginning of the last round of betting.
Rock: Refers to a tight poker player, that is, one who folds almost all their hands unless they are extremely strong.
Rolled up: In the context of Stud poker, the phrase refers to the situation when a three of a kind is dealt on the third street.
Royal flush: Refers to the best hand possible: the ten, jack, queen, king and ace of the same suit.
Run: Refers to a player’s performance.
Rundown: In the context of Omaha variants, the term is used to refer to connected starting hands.
Running good: Refers to a winning streak.
Runner runner: Refers to the situation when a player makes a hand after two consecutive running cards are dealt.
Sandbagging: Another term for ‘slow playing’.
Scare card: Refers to a card that might spook an opponent into folding.
Semi-bluff: Refers to a bluff made with a drawing hand that could potentially complete in future streets.
Set: Refers to a three of a kind made with a pocket pair as hole cards.
Sequence: Refers to the order of the cards.
Short-handed: Refers to a poker table consisting of six players or less.
Short stack: Refers to a player whose chip stack is relatively small.
Shove: Refers to the act of going all-in.
Showdown: Refers to the moment in the final betting round when players reveal their hands and the winner is decided.
Show hand: Refers to the act of revealing a hand. This usually happens during the showdown.
Sit and go: Refers to a type of tournament that immediately begins as soon as a predetermined number of spots has been filled.
Sizing: Refers to the practice of tailoring the size of a bet. This is a very fundamental part of betting, especially in high-stakes games and tournaments.
Slowplay: Refers to the act of playing a strong hand passively in order to trick opponents into thinking that the hand is weak or not promising.
Slowroll: Refers to the act of taking a long time to make a decision.
Small bet: In the context of fixed-limit poker tables, the phrase is used to address the smaller of the two bets.
Small blind: Refers to the position to the left of the button — not to be confused with the big blind.
Snap call: Refers to the act of calling without hesitating.
Split: Refers to a poker variant where the pot is split and awarded to two hands. In hi/lo variants, half the pot is awarded to the high hand while the rest is awarded to the best low hand.
Split pot: Refers to a pot split between two or more players in the event that a hand ties.
Squeeze: Refers to a raise made in a street where multiple bets and calls have been made.
Stab: Refers to a bet made upon recognising a potentially weak hand.
Stack to pot ratio (SPR): Refers to the number of chips currently in the pot in relation to the players’ remaining stacks.
Stand pat: In the context of draw games, to ‘stand pat’ refers to the act of declining additional cards and sticking to the ones dealt initially.
Steam: Also referred to as ’tilt’, the term refers to an emotional state in which players appear frustrated, mostly owing to an unlucky streak or an unfavourable event.
Stop and go: Refers to the situation when a player bets on the flop, checks the turn and fires the river.
Straight: Refers to a hand combination consisting of five cards in consecutive rank. For example, a six, seven, eight, nine and 10 would make a straight.
Straight flush: Refers to a hand combination consisting of five cards in consecutive rank, but also of the same suit. For example, a six, seven, eight, nine and 10 of diamonds would make a straight flush.
String bet: Refers to the act of calling or even raising after a bet has been made.
Structure: Refers to the rundown of features and rules of a tournament, including details about no-limit or fixed-limit bets, antes and more.
Stud: Refers to a poker variant that doesn’t feature community cards. Instead, additional cards are dealt face up and face down.
Suited: Refers to pocket cards of the same suit.
Table stakes: Refers to a rule that prohibits players from spending more than the chips they initially brought to the table.
TAG: Stands for ‘tight aggressive’ and refers to a player who enters the pot and plays aggressively in later betting rounds.
Tell: Also referred to as ‘read’, the term refers to the act of having a good guess of which cards an opponent has based on the player’s behaviour.
Texture: Refers to the cards dealt on the table, from the flop through to the river.
Three-bet: Refers to the third bet in a sequence.
Three of a kind: Refers to a hand combination consisting of three hands of identical rank.
Three pair: In the context of Omaha variants, the phrase refers to the situation where three of the hole cards are paired.
Tie: Refers to the situation when two hands are completely equal in strength. In this case, the pot is shared between the players.
Tilt: Refers to an emotional state in which players appear frustrated, mostly owing to an unlucky streak or an unfavourable event.
Tournament: Refers to a format where players play poker until their chips run out and the last person standing wins.
Trap: Also known as ‘slow-playing’, the term refers to the act of passively playing a strong hand in order to get opponents to underestimate the hand, bluff, or value bet too wide.
Trey: Refers to the rank ‘three’.
Trips: Refers to a three of a kind that doesn’t feature the pocket cards.
Turn: In the context of Texas hold ‘em and Omaha, the term refers to the third betting round. It also refers to the fourth community card dealt.
Two-bet: Refers to the second bet in a sequence.
Two pair: Refers to a hand combination that includes two cards of the same rank. For example, two kings and two fives make a two pair.
Underbet: Refers to any bet worth less than 50% of the pot’s value.
Underdog: Refers to a hand or player that is considered less likely to win.
Upcard: The term refers to any cards dealt face up, thus being visible to all the players at the table.
Upswing: Refers to a winning streak.
Up the ante: Refers to the act of placing more chips in the pot.
Value bet: Refers to the act of placing a bet with the hopes of being called by weaker hands.
Variance: Refers to the random element of a poker player’s successes and failures.
Variant: Refers to another branch or type of poker that includes a different set of rules.
Villain: Refers to the player’s opponent.
Vulnerable: Refers to hands that are susceptible to failure at the hands of others.
Whale: Refers to a relatively bad poker play who participates in high-stakes games or tournaments.
Wheel: Refers to the ace-to-five straight.
Wrap: In the context of Omaha variants, the term refers to a long straight draw.
Wrap around straight: Refers to a straight in which the ace lies in the middle position; for example, a queen, king, ace, two and three.
WSOP: Refers to the World Series of Poker — one of the biggest tournaments within the poker scene.
Z-Game: Refers to the lowest-stake game offered by the casino.
Zip: Refers to a very weak hand.
✅ What are ‘calls’ in poker?
In the context of a poker room, ‘calls’ refer to bets that match a previous bet.
✅ What do you call a person good at poker?
Such a player is often referred to as a ‘shark’.
✅ What are common poker tells?
In the context of poker rooms, tells are often accurate guesses made about a bluff or semi-bluff. With that said, a player slowplaying their hand can be identified by another player’s accurate tell.
✅ What do you call the best winning hand in poker?
The royal flush is the best hand in the game. Such a hand can be called a ‘monster’, but the name can also be given to similarly powerful hands.