Understanding common poker terms are necessary whether you are playing poker. Knowing the right poker terms is important if you want to have an understanding of what is going on at the table. This poker dictionary should help you get familiar with the most common poker terms and to help you learn the lingo of poker.

Poker Terminology

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8 or better– A common qualifier for low hands in high-low split games is that they must be unpaired with no card higher than an 8. Note that “8 or better” implies high-low split.


Ace to five – In a game played for low, ace to five means straights and flushes don’t count and the ace can be used as a low card. The best possible hand in an ace to five game is therefore A2345 (often called a wheel).

Aces Full – A full house with three aces and any pair.

Ace-High – A five card hand that contains one Ace, with no straight or flush or a hand with no pair in it.

Aces Up – A hand that contains two pairs, one of which is Aces.

Action -The placing of money into the pot. A table with a lot of action is one at which there are a lot of bets, raises, and re-raises

Active Player – Any player who is still in the hand.

Add-on – A purchase of more chips (optional) at the end of the re-buy period in a tournament.

All-In – When a player bets all his/her chips.: In online poker, you may be deemed “All-in” when you are disconnected (even if you have chips remaining).

American Airlines – Two Aces.

Ante – Money placed in the pot before the hand is begun.


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Bad Beat – When a hand is beaten by a lucky draw.

Bankroll -The total amount of money one is willing to put at risk.

Behind -Before the last cards have been dealt, if you don’t have the best hand you’re said to be behind.

Belly Buster – A draw and/or catch to an Inside Straight.

Bet -To place chips into the pot.

Bet the Pot – When a player bets the amount of the pot.

Bicycle – A straight that is A-2-3-4-5.

Big Slick – A hand that contains an A-K.

Blinds – bets that must be made by the two players sitting directly to the dealer’s left which will start the action on the first round of betting. The blinds are posted before any cards are dealt.

Blind Bet – A “Blind” bet is one that is made in the dark without looking at your cards.

Blind Raise – When a player raises without looking at his hand.

Bluff – To make other players believe that one has a better hand than he/she might otherwise have by betting or raising when they do not have the best hand.

Boardcards – The cards that are dealt face-up in a poker game for all players to see. In flop games, five cards are dealt face-up in the center of the table. In Seven Card Stud, four cards are dealt face-up in front of each player.

Boat -Another name for a full house

Bottom Pair – When a player uses the lowest card on the flop to make a pair with one of his own cards.

Bring-In – The forced bet made on the first round of betting by the player who is dealt the lowest card showing in Seven Card Stud and Stud 8 or Better. In Razz (Lowball) it is the highest card showing

Broadway – An Ace high straight (A-K-Q-J-10).

Bullets – A pair of Aces.

Bump – To raise.

Burried -A buried pair is a pair in the first two down cards in seven card stud.

Button – it is a small round disk that is moved from player to player in a clockwise direction following each hand, to indicate the dealer of each hand.

Buy-In – The minimum amount of money required by a player to sit down in a particular poker game.


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Call – When a player chooses to match the previous bet.

Cap – To take the last of the maximum amount of raises allowed per round of betting.

Cardroom – The room or space in a casino where poker is played.

Case -The fourth card of a particular rank.

Cash Out – To leave a game and convert your chips to cash.

Check – When it’s a player’s turn to act and there has been no action in front of them and he opts not to bet, he “checks.”

Check-Raise – When a player first checks and then raises in a betting round.

Chop – To return the blinds to the players who posted them and move on to the next hand if no other players call. It also means to “split the pot.

Cold Call -To call both a bet and raise(s).

Color Up -To exchange one’s chips for ones of higher value.

Collusion – When two or more players conspire to cheat in a poker game.

Community Cards -Face-up cards that are shared by all the players in a hand.

Cowboys – Two Kings.


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Dead Card – A dead card is a card that is no longer available to help you.

Dead Man’s Hand – Two pair – Aces and Eights (Wild Bill Hickock was shot in the back while playing this hand).

Dominate – A starting hand that will almost always beat another starting hand is said to dominate that hand.

Door Card – This is the first exposed card, or “up” card, in a player’s hand in Stud games.

Down Cards/ Hole Cards – Cards that are dealt face down.

Draw Dead -To draw when it turns out you would lose even if you hit your draw.

Draw Out (on) – To draw to a winning hand that was losing in beginning.

Drop – to fold the hand.

Ducks – A pair of Twos.

Deuces – A pair of Twos.


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Early Position – Position on a round of betting where the player must act before most of the other players at the table. (It’s considered the two positions located to the left of the Blinds. )

EV – the rate of profit (or loss) you would expect to make on average over a very large number of trials.


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Family Pot – When everyone at the table decides to enter a pot

Fifth Street – Also known as the “river” card. In flop games, this represents the fifth community card on the table and the final round of betting. In Stud games, this is the fifth card dealt to each player and represents the third round of betting.

Five-card Draw – A poker game in which the player is dealt five cards down. They have one draw to replace them and the best high hand wins the pot.

Flat Call – Calling a bet without raising.

Flop – In Hold’em and Omaha, the first three community cards that are dealt face-up in the center of the table all at one time.

Flop Games – Poker games (Hold ’em and Omaha) that are played using community cards that are dealt face up in the center of the table.

Floorperson – An employee of the cardroom who makes rulings and decisions.

Flush – Any five cards of the same suit.

Flush Draw – When a player has four cards in his hand of the same suit and is hoping to draw a fifth to make a flush.

Fold -To throw your hand away when it’s your turn to act.

Forced Bet – A required bet that starts the action on the first round of a poker hand.

Four of a Kind – Four cards of the same number or face value (“quads”).

Fourth Street – In flop games, it is the fourth community card dealt,also known as “the turn”.

Free Card – Whenever you get to see an additional card without having to call a bet

Freeroll – When you have won part of the pot and you still have a chance to outdraw your opponents for rest.

Freeroll Tournament – tournaments with no apparent entry fee or initial buy-in.

Freeze-Out – Any tournament format in which you cannot re-buy.

Full House – Any three cards of the same number or face value, plus any other two cards of the same number or face value.


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Gut Shot – To draw to and/or hit an inside straight.


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Hand – A player’s best five cards.

Heads up – Play between only two players.

High-Card – To decide the first dealer in the flop tournaments each user is dealt a single card and the player with the highest card (based on the card and the suit order – of spades, hearts, diamonds & clubs) becomes the theoretical dealer.

High-Low – Split pot games.

Hole Cards – These are the Down Cards in front of the players.

House – The casino or cardroom that is hosting the poker game.


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Inside Straight – Four cards which require another between the top and the bottom card to complete a straight.


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Jackpot Poker – A form of poker in which the cardroom or casino offers a jackpot to a player who has lost with a really big hand.

Jacks-or- Better – A form of poker in which a player needs to have at least a pair of jacks to open the betting.


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Kansas City Lowball – Form of lowball poker in which the worst poker hand (2, 3, 4, 5, 7 of different suits) is the best hand. It’s also known as Deuce to Seven.

Keep Them Honest – To call at the end of a hand to prevent someone from bluffing.

Kicker – The highest unpaired side card in a players’ hand.

Kick It – Raise.

Kill Pot – A method to stimulate action. It is a forced bet by someone who has just won a pot(s).

Knock – Check.

Kojak – A hand that contains a K-J.


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Ladies – Two Queens.

Late Position – Position on a round of betting where the player must act after most of the other players have acted (usually considered to be the two positions next to the button).

Lay Down Your Hand – When a player folds.

Lead -The first player to bet into a pot.

Limit Poker – A game that has fixed minimum and maximum betting intervals along with a prescribed number of raises.

Limper – The first player who calls a bet.

Limp In – To enter the pot by calling rather than raising.

Live Hand – A hand that could still win the pot.

Live One – A not so knowledgeable player who plays a lot of hands.

Loose – Is a player who plays a lot hands.

Lowball – Is a form of draw poker in which the lowest hand wins the pot.


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Main Pot – The center pot. Any other bets are placed in a side pot(s) and are contested among the remaining players. This occurs when a player(s) goes all-in.

Maniac – A very aggressive player who plays a lot of hands.

Middle Pair – In flop games, when a player makes a pair with one of his/her down cards and the middle card on the flop.

Middle Position – Somewhere between the early and late positions on a round of betting (the fifth, sixth and seventh seats to the left of the button).

Muck – To discard or throw away your hand. It’s also a pile of cards that are no longer in play.

Minimum Buy-In – The least amount you can start a game with.

Monster – A very big hand. In a tournament, a player who begins to accumulate chips after having a small stack is considered to be a monster.


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No Limit – A game where players can bet as much as they like (as long as they have it in front of them) on any round of betting.

Nuts – The best possible hand at any point of the game. A hand that cannot be beat.


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Odds – The probability of making a hand vs. the probability of not making a hand.

Offsuit – Cards of a different suit.

Omaha – A game in which each player is dealt four down cards with five community cards. To make your hand, you must play two cards from your hand and three from the board.

Open – To make the first bet.

Open-Ended Straight – Four consecutive cards whereby one additional (consecutive) card is needed at either end to make a straight.

Open Card – A card that is dealt face-up.


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Paints – Face cards (Jack, Queen and King).

Pair – Two cards of the same face or number value.

Pay Off – To call on the final round of betting when you may or may not think you have the best hand.

Picture Cards – Face cards (Jack, Queen and King).

Play Back – To raise or re-raise another player’s bet.

Playing the Board – In flop games when your best five card hand is all five of the community cards.

Pockets – The down cards or hole cards. Also having a pair as hole cards.

Pocket Rockets – A pair of Aces in the pocket or hole.

Position – Where a player is seated in relation to the dealer, therefore establishing that player’s place in the betting order.

Post – When you post a bet, you place your chips in the pot. (You must post the Blinds.)

Pot – The money or chips in the center of a table that players try to win.

Pot Limit – This is a game where the maximum bet can equal the pot.

Presto – nickname for pocket 5’s.

Prop – A person hired by the cardroom to sit at tables and induce games.

Push – When the dealer pushes the chips to the winning player at the end of a hand.


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Quads – Four of a kind.

Qualifier – In High-Low games, it is a requirement the Low hand must meet to win the pot.


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Rabbit Hunting – The act of asking to see what cards would have come up if a hand had continued.

Rack – A tray that holds 100 poker chips in five stacks of twenty chips each.

Rag – A card, usually a low card, that has no apparent impact on the hand.

Rail – The rim of a poker table or a barrier outside a poker area.

Railbird – Someone who hangs around a poker room who watches the games and/or is looking to get into action.

Raise – To increase the previous bet.

Rake – Chips taken from the pot by the cardroom for compensation for hosting the game.

Rank – The value of each card and hand.

Rap – When a player knocks on the table indicating that he/she has checked.

Razz – Seven Card Stud where the lowest five cards win the pot.

Re-buy – The amount of money a player pays to add a fixed number of chips to his/her stack in a tournament.

Re-raise -To raise a raise.

Ring Game – A live cash game that is not a tournament.

River – This is the last card given in all games.

Round of Betting – This is when players have the opportunity to bet, check or raise. Each round of betting ends when the last bet or raise has been called.

Royal Flush – This is an Ace high straight (A-K-Q-J-10) of the same suit.

Rush – A player who wins a large number of pots in a short period of time


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Satellite – It is a mini-tournament to gain an entry into a larger tournament.

Scoop – To win the entire pot. especially used in Hi/Lo games to indicate winning the whole pot.

Second Pair – In flop games, when you pair the second highest card on the board.

See – To call.

Set -Three of a kind with two in the hole.

Seventh Street – This is the final round of betting in Seven Card Stud and Stud 8 or Better.

Shills – Paid prop players who help start and maintain poker games.

Showdown – At the end of the final betting round, it’s when all active players turn their cards faceup to see who has won the pot.

Side Pot – A separate pot(s) which is contested by remaining active players when one or more players are all-in.

Sixth Street – In Seven-card Stud, this is the fourth “up” card dealt to the player.

Small Blind – The amount put in the pot by the person immediately to the left of the dealer “button” prior to the cards being dealt.

Smooth Call – To call one or more bets with a hand that’s strong enough for a raise.

Slow Roll – To reveal one’s hand slowly at showdown, one card at a time

Speed Limit – A pair of fives.

Split Pot -Tie.

Stack – A pile of chips.

Stay – When a player remains in the game by calling rather than raising.

Straddle – A straddle is a Blind bet which is usually double the size of the Big Blind

Straight -Five consecutive cards of any suit.

Straight Flush – Five consecutive cards of the same suit.

Structure – The limits put on the blinds/ante, bets, and raises in any particular game.

Stuck – A player who is losing in a game.


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Table Stakes – Table stakes is simply the (nearly universal) rule that a player may only wager money they have on the table at the beginning of a hand.

Tell – Any habit or behavior that gives other players more information about your hand than they would have simply from your play.

Texas Hold’em – This is also the name for Hold’em, the most popular form of poker.

Third Street – In Seven Card Stud and Seven Card Stud 8 or Better, this is the first betting round on the first three cards.

Three of a Kind – Three cards of the same number or face value also called trips.

Tight -A player who doesn’t play many pots. A tight game is one that doesn’t have much action.

Tilt – When a good player starts playing irrationally due to emotions

Top Pair – In flop games, when the player pairs one of his down cards with the highest card on


Treys – A pair of threes.

Trips – Three of a kind.

Turn – In flop games, this is the fourth card dealt. It is the third round of betting.

Two Pair – A hand consisting of two different pairs.


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Under the Gun – The first player to act after the blind bets.

Up Card – A card that is dealt face-up.


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Walking Sticks – A pair of sevens.

Wild Card – A card that can be played as any value.

Wired – A pair in the hole in seven card stud

Worst Hand – A losing hand.

WSOP – World Series of Poker.

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