The Poker Player’s Ultimate Guide: Poker Terms & Slang

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If you’re about to start playing poker, especially if you’re going to play live poker, you should have a grasp on basic poker terms and poker slang.

I’m going to introduce you to all the poker terminology you should know and even bring up some poker phrases you probably don’t know yet. Without further ado, let’s bring you our carefully constructed poker terms list.


8-Game – A poker variant where players play a rotation of eight specific games (in order): 2-7 Triple Draw, Limit Hold’em, Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better, Razz, 7-Card Stud, Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better, No-Limit Hold’em, and Pot-Limit Omaha.


A-Game – When you’re playing your best poker.

ABC Poker – A very simple, tight, aggressive play-style that does not include bluffs or hero calls. This strategy will often allow you to be profitable at low-stakes games.

ABI – Abbreviation for “average buy in.” Sound tournament players use ABI to determine what events they should enter in relation to their overall bankroll.

Ace in the Hole – When you have an ace face down in a Stud game.

Ace to Five – A variant of poker where low hands are the goal, with 5432A being the best possible hand.

Ace-High – The best non-paired hand you can have in poker.

Add-on – At the end of some rebuy tournaments, there will be an add-on period, which allows players to buy additional chips for a certain price (usually 50-100% of the buy-in). Purchasing the add-on is almost always recommended.

Aggression Factor – A ratio that compares how many aggressive actions (betting and raising) are taken for each passive action (calling).

Airball – An airball bluff or “bluffing with air” refers to making a bluff with no blockers and no equity.

Alias – Usually refers to a player’s online screenname or their real-life pseudonym.

All-in – When a player has bet all of their chips.

American Airlines – One of the many nicknames for pocket aces.

Angle – “Angle shooting” refers to breaking an unwritten rule in poker in order to gain an unethical advantage. Pushing a bet toward the pot to get a reaction from your opponent and then pulling it back is one example of angle shooting.

Ante – A forced mandatory payment made by players at the table before any cards are dealt. Antes are typically used in Stud games as well as Short-Deck Hold’em but antes have been replaced by a big blind ante in live Texas Hold’em.

ATC – Abbreviation for “any two cards”, often referring to a situation in Texas Hold’em where the two cards don’t matter. Prime examples are someone who overcalls from the big blind and having to call an all-in bet from the big blind for a fraction of a blind.


Backdoor – When you need two more cards to hit your straight or flush after the flop.

Backing – Also known as staking, backing is when you invest money in another player’s action in order to receive a percentage of their profits in return.

Backraise – Re-raising after having only called earlier on the same street.

Bad Beat – When you lose a hand you statistically should’ve won a large majority of the time.

Bankroll – A certain amount of money a player keeps specifically for poker. Generally, professional players keep their spending money and poker money separate.

Barrel – Most often used when referring to a “double barrel” or a “triple barrel”, this refers to making a bet after being the aggressor on the previous street.

BBs – Abbreviation for big blinds, the standard measurement for how deep a player’s stack is in a tournament.

BBJ – Abbreviation for bad beat jackpot. This is a very large prize awarded for losing with an unbelievably strong hand. Most often, this hand will need to either be quads or aces full.

Belly Buster – An old school term for an inside/gutshot straight draw.

Bet – The act of being the first to put chips into the pot.

Betting Round – When players have the opportunity to check, bet, or raise.

Big Bet – The larger of the two designated bets in fixed-limit games. Most times, this is double the size of the small bet and occurs on the final streets.

Big Blind – The set amount for the required bet for the player that sits two players to the left of the dealer button. In cash games, the big blind determines the stakes of the game.

Big Blind Special – When a player makes a big hand from the big blind with what would normally be bad cards.

Big Slick – A nickname that used to be designated for ace-king suited, now used for ace-king of any variety.

Blank – A card that appears on the board that has virtually no chance of changing the action in any meaningful way.

Blinds – Blinds are forced bets that take place for the two players seated left to the dealer button before every hand. Blinds force the action and force players to be involved. If there were no blinds, the only hand that would mathematically make sense to play would be pocket aces.

Blind Bet – Someone who raises without looking at their cards, also known as betting in the dark.

Blocker – A card that has a ‘card removal’ effect on your opponents. Basically, if we hold an ace in our hand, it reduces the possible combos of hands with an ace that our opponent could have.

Blocker Bet – The act of making a small bet in hopes of preventing our opponent from making a bigger bet.

Bluff – Betting with the intention of making a stronger hand fold.

Bluff Catching – Calling with a hand that can only win if our opponent is bluffing.

Board – The community cards in Texas Hold’em and Omaha poker. These are also the upcards in Stud variants.

Boat – Colloquial term for a full house in poker.

Bomb Pot – A hand where all players put in a predetermined ante and see the flop before betting commences.

Bot – A non-human player that is playing in an online poker game, which is illegal.

Bot Farm / Bot Ring – An assembly of bots working in tandem to cheat poker players out of their money.

Bottom Pair – The worst possible pair that could be made using the community cards.

Bounty – A prize collected for knocking a player out of a tournament.

Breakeven Session – Usually in reference to a multi-table tournament session where a player plays tournaments for several hours and practically doesn’t win or lose money.

Bring-in – A forced payment made by a player holding the worst possible upcard in Stud variants. This can be a highest card in Razz or the lowest card in 7-Card Stud. The player will have the option to pay the bring-in or “complete” to the small bet if they like their downcards.

Brick – See definition for “Blank.”

Broadway – An ace-high straight.

BRM – Abbreviation for bankroll management, a long-term strategy designed to prevent poker players from ever going broke.

Bubble – The stage in a tournament just before making the money or the final table.

Bullets – Slang for pocket aces. Also slang for multiple tournament entries.

Burn Card – The card that dealers put face down before dealing either the flop, turn, and river. Dealers deal the top card face down instead of dealing from the top of the deck to minimize cheating potential.

Busted – Slang for missing a draw. Also slang for being eliminated from a tournament.

Button – Also known as the “dealer button” or “dealer”. The button is the most-profitable position at the table as they act last on every street and are “in position” on the rest of the table.

Buy-in – The cost of a tournament or the minimum it takes to get into a cash game.


C-Bet – Short for continuation bet, it is the act of betting the current street after being the aggressor on the previous street.

Call – Matching the existing bet.

Call Behind – When you call after another player who has already called a bet.

Calling Station – A passive player that calls way too much.

Cap – In cash games, a cap refers to the highest amount of rake a casino will take. One example would be: 5% rake, $15 cap. Also known as capped rake.

Card Dead – When a player does not receive good cards for a very long time.

Card Distribution – Usually referring to the quality of hole cards over the length of a tournament.

Card Removal – Also known as a “blocker effect”, where our cards reduce the likelihood of our opponents holding specific card combinations.

Cardroom – A place with multiple poker tables where poker is played.

Case – Used to describe the last possible card of a certain rank in the deck. If an ace appeared on the board with one player having pocket aces and the other having ace-king, that ace would be considered the “case ace.”

Cash Game – A poker format where players play with chips directly representing their cash amount. Players can sit down or leave at any time.

Cashing Out – When a player leaves a cash game to exchange their chips for cash.

Catch – When you catch your card, you’ve hit the card you were looking for to improve your hand.

Chase – When you call in hopes of catching your card on later streets. Also can be used in reference to players chasing their losses, which is playing more in hopes of turning a losing session into a breakeven session.

Chance – Used mainly in reference to the odds or probability of a player winning the hand.

Check – Taking the option to make no wager. A $0 or zero-chip bet. This means you pass the action on to the next player or, if you are last to act, opt to see the next card for free.

Check-Call – Checking before calling your opponent’s bet.

Check-Fold – Checking before folding to your opponent’s bet.

Check-Raise – Checking before raising your opponent’s bet.

Check in the Dark – To check in the current betting round before the betting round’s card is exposed.

Chinese Poker – A poker variant where players arrange their 13 cards into three rows (five, five, and three) and attempt to beat their opponent. The most popular variant is called OFC (open-faced Chinese), also known as pineapple.

Chip and a Chair – An old expression still commonly used today when a player finds themselves extremely short on chips. It refers to the idea that you can still win a tournament as long as you’re alive.

Chip-Dumping – A form of cheating in a tournament in which people working together strategically “dump” their chips to another player’s stack in hopes they can win the tournament.

Chip Leader – The player who currently has the most chips in a tournament.

Chop – Used to describe a split-pot, when two or more players both have the winning hand. Also used to describe when multiple players share the remainder of the prize pool at the end of a tournament.

Clean Outs – In Omaha, these are outs that will give you the certain nuts as opposed to improving you to a strong but beatable hand.

Clicking it Up – Refers to a small raise or even a minimum raise.

Clicking Buttons – A term originating from online poker used to describe recreational players who, essentially, do not know what they are doing.

Coinflip – Usually referred to as a “flip”, it’s a loose term used to describe a scenario where both players have roughly 50% equity.

Cold Call – Calling both a bet and a raise. Highly unrecommended in Texas Hold’em tournament poker.

Collusion – When multiple players conspire to cheat a poker game.

Color Up – When smaller chips get removed from the game. This is to reduce the number of chips on the table and eliminate unnecessary denominations from play.

Combos – Short for combinations, usually in reference to the specific number of combinations of a specific hand. There are 12 possible combos of every offsuit hand, four combos of every suited hand, and six combos of every paired hand.

Combo Draw – When you have both a straight draw and a flush draw.

Community Cards – See “Board.”

Complete – In Stud variants, to complete is the act of betting the small bet following the bring-in. The term is also used to describe opening the action with a call from the small blind.

Computer Hand – A nickname for Q-7 offsuit as it is the worst-possible profitable hand against all other starting hands. Essentially the most average hand possible.

Connector – Used to describe two cards of consecutive rank, usually used to discuss suited connectors (ex: 7-6 suited).

Continue – Another term to describe a call.

Continuation Bet – See “C-Bet.”

Cooler – A common term used to describe a situation where a player plays their strong hand perfectly and is still beaten.

Counterfeit – When a strong hand loses a huge amount of its value thanks to other community cards. For example, when holding 7-6 on a K-7-6 board and a K comes on the turn, your two pair is counterfeited.

Cowboys – A nickname for pocket kings.

Crabs – An old-school nickname for pocket threes.

Cracked – A term used to describe your hand getting beaten by an inferior hand, usually used when pocket aces are beaten. “My aces were cracked.”

Crossbook – A bet between two players for the same event where the player who lasts longer owes the other player a percentage of the difference between winnings. For example, if two players have a 10% crossbook for the same event and Player A cashes for $1,000 and Player B cashes for $4,000, Player A owes Player B $300 (10% of $3,000).

Cutoff – The position to the right of the button.


Dark Bet – Also known as “betting in the dark”, it’s where you bet before you see the current street.

Dead Man’s Hand – A nickname for aces and eights, the very hand that Wild Bill Hickok supposedly was holding when he was shot dead.

Dead Money – Money that’s in the pot that was contributed by a player no longer competing for the pot.

Dead Outs – Outs that a player needs that are no longer live.

Dealer – The person who keeps the game going by dealing the cards and taking control of the players, betting, and keeping time, if necessary.

Dealer Button – A button that revolves clockwise around the table to keep track of the ever-changing positions on the table.

Dealer’s Choice – A poker variant where the person who is in control of the dealer button gets to choose the game that will be played.

Deuce – Common name for a two.

Dirty Stack – A chip stack that is not assembled correctly and has multiple chip denominations in its assembly. Chip stacks should be in stacks of 20 of the same denomination.

Dog – Short for underdog, when you get in all in with less equity than your opponent.

Dominate – When you share a card with your opponent but your other card is larger, you are said to be “dominating” your opponent. Some players describe one pocket pair over another as “dominating” your opponent. Example: AK vs KQ or KK vs 88.

Donk Bet – When you bet out of position on the current street before action gets to the previous street’s aggressor after calling on the prior street. “Donk” is also a derogatory term to use towards a bad opponent.

Door Card – In Stud variants, the door card is the first upcard dealt to the player.

Double Belly Buster – When you have two gutshot straight draws.

Double-Up – When you win a hand that doubles the chips that you started with at the beginning of the hand, most commonly used after winning a heads-up all in.

Down Card – Normally used to describe cards that are face down. Some players use the phrase to describe the hole cards in stud variants.

Downswing – A prolonged period of losing money and/or tournaments.

The Doyle / The Brunson – Common nicknames for 10-2 offsuit, the hand legendary poker player Doyle Brunson won the WSOP Main Event with two years in a row.

Draw – When you are needing a card to complete a larger made hand. For example, if we have four spades, we are said to be on a “flush draw.”

Drawing Dead – When we have 0% equity in a hand and there are still cards left to come. This is when it’s impossible to win the hand.

Dry Flop – A flop that is very disconnected and without flush draws. Example: A-7-2 rainbow.

Ducks – A nickname for pocket twos.


Early Position – One of the first three players in a nine or 10-handed game. Exclusively the lojack player at a 6-max table.

Edge – When you have a skill advantage over another player.

Effective Stack – The smaller of two stacks in a hand, as that is the most chips that can be wagered in the pot.

Equity – The percentage of the time a player will win or tie at any given stage of the hand.

Equity Calculator – A poker tool used to determine equities for two or more players at any stage of a hand. It’s important to have a general understanding of equity percentages at any point of a hand in order to bet, call, raise, and fold correctly.

EV – Short for expected value, which is essentially the value of your decision in the long run. You want to make +EV decisions the whole time and avoid -EV decisions.


Face Card – Any jack, queen, or king – also known as paint.

Family Pot – When every player at the table is still in the hand when it goes to the flop.

Fast Play – To aggressively bet and/or raise with very strong hands.

Favorite – When you have a statistically better chance to win the hand than your opponent.

Fifth Street – More commonly known as the river in Texas Hold’em. In Stud variants, this is used to describe the third betting round after the third upcard is produced.

Fish – A derogatory term to describe a player who is not good at poker. Usually a less-experienced, recreational, and/or weak player.

Five-Bet – The fifth bet in a betting sequence.

Five-Card Draw – A game where you get five cards and you get one chance to discard between 0-5 cards and receive new cards.

Five-Card Stud – A stud variant when you receive one down card and four upcards.

Flat – Another word for a call.

Float – A call made with either nothing or a speculative hand, mainly planning to bluff on later streets.

Floor / Floorman – A casino / cardroom employee who is in charge of making critical decisions and rulings in case of controversy.

Flop – The first three community cards dealt after the preflop betting round.

Flush – Making a hand with five cards of the same suit. This hand beats a straight and a three of a kind.

Fold – To throw your hand away and end your involvement in the hand.

Fold Equity – The probability or chance that a player will fold versus a bet or raise.

Forced Bet – A required bet that starts the action during the first betting round, almost exclusively in Stud variants.

Four-Bet – The fourth bet in a betting sequence. A pre-flop two-bet is an opening raise while a three bet is a re-raise. A four-bet is raising against the re-reraise.

Four of a Kind – Also known as quads, it’s when you make four cards of the same rank. Extremely rare in just about every form of poker.

Four Pair – A situation in PLO where the board completely matches your hand on the turn and you have eight outs to a full house and double block all the sets.

Fourth Street – Also known as the turn in Texas Hold’em. In Stud variants, it’s used to describe the second betting round after the second upcard is produced.

Free Card – When action checks around and you get to see the next card without investing any additional money into the pot.

Freeroll – Refers to a tournament that is free to play and a situation where you cannot lose but you can win the hand. The most common form of a freeroll is having the same hand as your opponent but having a flush draw to go along with it.

Freezeout – A tournament that you can only enter once. When you bust, you are eliminated.

Full Boat – Nickname for a full house. Most of the time, players shorten this to just a boat.

Full House – When you have three cards of the same rank as well as a pair. This hand beats a flush and a straight.

Full Wrap – When you have 20 straight outs in Omaha.


Gapper – When you have a hand where the cards are separated by two ranks, most often referring to a “suited gapper.” Example: 8-6 suited, J-9 suited.

GG – Short for good game, players say “GG” to a player who has busted.

Ghosting – When a more-skilled player illegally takes over for a lesser-skilled player in key moments of an online poker tournament.

Going South – When a player illegally removes chips off the player so they play with less in their stack. You must keep all your cash that you’ve won on the table at all times until you leave the table.

Grind – Refers to playing a long session. Example: “I’m gonna grind today.”

Grinder – Somebody that plays far more poker than the average poker player. This type of player usually earns profit slowly but steadily.

GTO – Short for “game theory optimal”, it’s the best way to play poker according to mathematics and game theory.

Guarantee – The minimum amount of money that will be in the prize pool, regardless whether or not the players contribute enough money. If the players contribute $60,000 into a $75,000 guaranteed tournament, it’s said that there is $15,000 in overlay.

Gutshot – Short for gutshot straight draw, it’s when only one specific rank in the deck can give you a straight. Also known as an inside straight draw.


Hand – The cards that you are holding/your best five cards.

Hand-for-Hand – When play is on or near the bubble, a tournament will enter a stage where all tables must wait for every table to finish the current hand before the tournament moves onto the next hand. Hand-for-hand play stops when the bubble bursts.

Hand Rankings – The order that determines which hand is more valuable than the next.

Heads-up – When only two players are left.

Hero Call – Making a call with a non-premium hand almost always hoping that your opponent is bluffing.

Hero Fold – Making a fold with a very strong hand when most players would call, usually when you feel that your opponent just doesn’t have any bluffs.

Hi-Lo / High-Low – Split-pot games where half the pot goes to the high hand and half the pot goes to a low hand, if a low hand qualifies (almost always requires five cards 8 or lower.)

Hijack – The player that sits two players to the right of the button.

High Card – When you have a hand that’s worse than one pair.

High Roller – Often refers to players with a huge bankroll that plays very large cash games and/or tournaments. Also the name of a tournament in a series that’s almost always significantly more expensive than their Main Event.

Hit – When we “hit” our card, we’re usually significant underdogs but still win the hand.

Hit-and-Run – When we win a huge pot in a cash game and immediately rack up and leave the table. This is usually done after not playing for a very long amount of time. Often frowned upon by regular players, it’s a controversial subject as players are allowed to leave whenever they want.

Hold’em – A card game where you get two hole cards and share five community cards.

Hole Cards – Refers to the face down cards that a player receives that are kept secret from other players. In Texas Hold’em, you receive two hole cards while in PLO, you receive four.

Hollywooding – When a player with a huge hand takes a very long time or even acts/says something in order to make themselves look weak.

Hooks – A nickname for pocket jacks.

H.O.R.S.E – A poker tournament that involves playing five poker variants (in order): Hold’em, Omaha Hi-Lo, Razz, Stud, and Stud 8 (Hi-Lo).

HUD – An acronym for “Heads-Up Display”, which is online poker tracking software. HUDs are legal and can be used with most online poker platforms.

Hyper Turbo – A poker tournament that has an extremely fast blind structure, sometimes also with a shallow starting stack.


ICM – Short for “Independent Chip Model”, ICM is a mathematical technique used to determine the monetary value of your chipstack. Advanced players use ICM to rework their ranges in the later stages of a tournament. A must-learn technique for players to know, with effects at their highest on the ITM bubble and the final table bubble.

Implied Odds – A consideration that you can make much more money/chips on future streets if you can hit your hand.

In Position – When you are the last player to act, you are considered to be in position.

Inside Straight Draw – Old-school poker term for a gutshot straight draw.

ITM – Abbreviation for “In the Money.” This is when the bubble has burst and you are guaranteed to receive a payout.


Jackpot – Some cardrooms have a high hand jackpot or a bad beat jackpot for their cash games. Some poker rooms may have jackpots and/or promotions for hitting specific hands.

Jam – Colloquial term for going all in.

Jiggities – Brad Owen coined this term for pocket jacks.

Joker – An extra card added to the deck for some uncommon poker variants. Jokers are often used as wilds, which can be a substitute for any card, making it the most powerful card in the deck.


Kicker – The unpaired side card in a player’s hand that’s often used to break ties when the kicker is used in a five-card hand. Example: AK vs AJ on a AT632 board gives the AK the win with a pair of aces, king kicker.

Knock – An old school term for a check. Term based on the act of tapping the table with your fist to signify a check.


Ladies – Colloquial term for a pair of queens and/or pocket queens.

LAG – An abbreviation for a “loose, aggressive player.” This player will play with a wider range and continuously bet.

Large-Field MTT – Usually refers to an online poker tournament of at least 1,000 players.

Last Longer – A common side bet between two or more players that’s winner-takes-all. The player who lasts the longest in the tournament will take the whole pot.

Late Position – Often refers to the blinds and/or the button and/or the cutoff.

Late Registration – A period after a tournament starts where people can still join the tournament with a starting stack.

Laydown – To make a reluctant fold. Example: “I had top pair with a bad kicker. He triple barreled and I tanked for five minutes but eventually made the laydown.”

Lead / Lead Out – The same as a donk bet, where a player is the first player into the pot on the current betting round before the last aggressor gets a chance to ask.

Leak – A repeated mistake in a player’s game that continuously costs them money.

Limit Poker – A game that has fixed minimum and maximum betting amounts for each street along with a predetermined maximum number of raises.

Limp – When a player calls before the first raise is made during the first betting round. Not a recommended strategy to use in Texas Hold’em (aside from playing in the small blind) when a player has a deep stack.

Live Card(s) – When a player can still hit cards/a card and win the hand. Example: AK vs QT. The QT will be happy to still have two live cards when they could have been dominated by AQ, KQ, AT, KT, QJ, QQ, KK, or AA. Example: When you have A3 vs AK, your three is live/threes are live.

Lojack – The position three players to the right of the button.

Loose – A loose player is someone who plays a lot of hands.

Lowball – Poker variants such as 2-7 Triple Draw and Razz where the lowest hand wins the pot.

Low Hand – In Hi-Lo poker variants, the winning low hand is the lowest five-card hand with all five cards having to be an eight or lower and unpaired. 5-4-3-2-A is usually considered the nut low hand.

Low Stakes – For live cash games, low stakes is considered to be any cash game below $5/$10. For online poker tournaments, low stakes is usually considered to be anything below a $30 buy in.

Luckbox – A player who is constantly winning regardless of skill level, though usually referring to a player who isn’t that good.


Made Hand – A hand that usually doesn’t need to get better in order to win the hand.

Main Pot – When there is one player all in and multiple players still competing for the pot, the main pot is the most the all in player can win and all other chips/money goes into the side pot(s).

Mallards – Poker commentator Brent Hanks’ nickname for pocket deuces.

Maniac – An extremely loose and unpredictable player who is often playing a lot of junky hands.

Mark – An old-school term that refers to a weak player that should be targeted.

Mental Game – The ability to stay positive and patient for long periods of time at the poker table. Players with weak mental games hardly ever win in the long run.

Middle Pair – When you make the second pair on the flop. Example: Having T9s on a QT4 flop.

Middle Position – Refers to the player to the right of the lojack, four players to the right of the button. In 9-handed or 10-handed games, the player five players to the right of the button may also be considered to be in middle position.

Mid-Stakes – In live cash games, mid stakes is considered to be $5/$10 up to $10/$25. Anything above is considered to be high stakes. For online tournaments, mid-stakes is usually considered to be $30-$200 tournaments.

Misclick – To accidentally press the wrong button when playing online. This term has graduated to the live felt, so players who accidentally do the wrong thing now consider that a misclick.

Misdeal – When a dealer has made a mistake that requires players to return their cards and the dealers to reshuffle and redeal.

Miss – When a player does not hit the card they’re looking for.

Mississippi Straddle – When the player on the button is allowed to straddle in a cash game.

Monotone Board – When the community cards at any stage are just one suit.

Monster – A huge hand. Also a player that constantly dominates.

MTT – Abbreviation for multi-table tournament, which refers to an online poker tournament with more than one table.

Muck – Mucking our cards means that we have acknowledged we have lost the hand and are not required to show our hand. This can be useful so we do not give our opponents free information.


Nit – Someone who plays an extremely low percentage of hands and rarely bluffs. You can overfold against these players because they almost always have a great hand.

No-Limit – An extremely popular style of poker where you can bet any amount at just about any time when it’s your turn.

Nosebleed Stakes – Usually refers to ultra high-stakes online cash games, usually $25/$50 (5KNL) and above.

Nut Low – The worst possible hand on a specific board. Also a positive term to use in lowball/Hi-Lo variants.

Nuts – The absolute best possible hand on a specific board. Example: T9 on 876QA.

Nut Flush – An ace-high flush that is the best possible hand.


OESD – Common abbreviation for an open-ended straight draw, which a player has four consecutive ranked cards and can make a straight by getting one of two cards. Example: QJ on T94 – a player can make a straight with a K or an 8.

Offsuit – A hand that has cards with different suits.

Omaha – A variant of poker that’s most often played with four cards. Can also be played with five or six cards.

OMC – An abbreviation for “Old Man Coffee”, a typical older player who plays tight and passive.

One Gapper – A hand that is separated by one rank. Ex: 97.

On the Button – Playing a hand from the button.

OOP – A common abbreviation for “out of position”, when you have to play a hand and aren’t the last person to act.

Open-Raise – The player that makes the first raise during the preflop betting round.

Option – When a player is in the big blind and faces a limp, they have the option to check or raise.

Outs – The number of cards in the deck that can improve a player’s hand to the best hand.

Overbet – When you make a bet that’s larger than the pot.

Overlay – When the guarantee is higher than the amount of money players have contributed to the prize pool, the difference between the two numbers is the overlay. Overlays always benefit the players.

Overpair – When you have a pocket pair that’s higher than the board. Example: Holding JJ on 974.

Overs – When you have cards that are higher ranks than the board. Example: You would have two overs with KQ on 985.


Paint – A nickname for jacks, queens, and kings. Also known as picture cards.

Pair – Having two cards of the same rank.

The Pits – What poker players call the games on the casino floor (slots, craps, roulette, baccarat, etc).

Playing the Board – When your two hole cards don’t contribute to your best possible five-card hand. Example: 44 on AA55K.

Pocket Pair – Having two hole cards of the same rank.

Pocket Rockets – A nickname for pocket aces.

Poker Room – A place in the casino or poker club where you play poker.

Polarized Range – When a range is constructed based on large value hands and bluffs.

Position – Usually referring to “In Position” or “Out of Position.” Also can refer your preflop position at the table.

Post – Usually when you have to put mandatory chips into the pot before any action takes place, you must “post” the blinds or antes.

Postflop – The action after preflop action has taken place. When community cards have been dealt.

Pot – The place in the middle of the table where the chips accumulate. The winner of the hand wins all the chips in the pot, though there can be split pots or multiple winners, depending on the game being played.

Pot Committed – When a player has bet so many of their chips that it’d be a mathematically bad decision to fold at any time to any bet.

Pot-Limit – A type of poker where the maximum bet is the size of the pot. This style of betting is typical with Omaha variants.

Pot Odds – The amount we need to call when facing a bet compared to what’s already in the pot. Pot odds can be displayed either as a ratio or a percentage.

Preflop – The action before any of the community cards have been dealt.

Preflop Raise – A raise that’s made during the first round of betting.

Probe Bet – Small-to-medium-sized bets usually designed to either gather elicit information or to get your opponent to fold.

Prop Bets – A side bet made by players that can be made for any reason, usually to keep games light and fun. Example: A player gives another player 10:1 odds at $100:$10 to launch a water bottle into a garbage can from 30 feet away.

Prop Players – A player that is paid an hourly wage by the casino to either start a cash game or keep a game going. Props play with their own money.

Protection – When we bet for protection, we often believe we have the best hand but will lose or be uncomfortable against a large number of future cards. We are attempting to fold out future equity, meaning protection bets are usually on the larger size.


Quads – Colloquial term for four-of-a-kind.

Qualify – In order to qualify for the low hand in a Hi-Lo game, you must have five different cards that’s an eight or lower.


Rabbit – Also known as rabbit hunting, this is seeing the remaining community cards after the action has ended. This is mostly illegal or frowned upon at casinos and tournaments.

Rack – A tray that’s used to hold and/or transport up to 100 chips at a time: five rows of 20 chips.

Rag – Used to describe a small card that goes along with a big card. Example: Describing A4 as ace-rag.

Rail – A poker term used to describe the barrier between the playing area and onlookers. People who watch their friends play poker are also said to be “railing” them and are considered “railbirds.”

Rainbow – A word used to describe a board where every suit is different, usually on the flop or the turn. Essentially used to imply that there are no flush draws or flushes possible.

Raise – To raise means your increase the size of the wager during the current round of betting.

Rake – The rake is the amount the poker room or casino takes out of the pot or tournament fees.

Rakeback – A percentage of the rake that’s given back to players as a reward.

Range – The distribution of potential holdings an opponent could have based on their actions and their position at the table.

Range Advantage – When one player’s range is considerably better than their opponents on a certain board. Example: UTG has a huge range advantage against the big blind on an AAKT board.

Rank – Rank refers to a card’s number/value.

Razz – A Stud variant where the five lowest cards make the nuts. 5432A is considered the best Razz hand.

Read – Using all the information you have on an opponent to make a decision on a specific hand.

Rebuy – When you have been eliminated from a tournament and are buying back in. Some tournaments have a rebuy limit.

Redraw – When we make a strong hand but are also drawing to an even bigger hand.

Represent – When you use your image, your position, and the community cards in order to represent strong hands when making a bluff.

Re-Raise – When we are raising against someone else’s raise.

Reverse Implied Odds – When we have to adjust our pot odds if we have a card that could make our hand but also make an even larger hand for our opponent. Example: When we can hit a card to make a small straight that can give our opponent a larger straight.

Ring Game – Another term for a cash game.

River – The final betting round, also known as the fifth and final community card.

RNG – An acronym for random number generators, which online poker sites use to determine who gets what cards and which cards hit the board. RNGs on regulated poker sites are monitored by an independent auditor to make sure that cards are truly dealt at random.

Rolled Up – A Stud term when a player is dealt a three of a kind with their first three cards. Example: 66 downcards with a 6 upcard are called “rolled up sixes.”

Rounders – The most popular poker movie of all-time. Also an old-school terminology for hustlers.

Royal Flush – The best possible poker hand: AKQJT of the same suit.

Rundown – An Omaha poker term used to describe four sequential hole cards. Example: 8765 is considered to be an eight-high rundown. The best rundowns are double-suited.

Running Good / Running Bad – A term used to describe how a tournament is going, whether or not you’re hitting big cards or getting bluffs through.

Run It Twice – When you are playing a cash game, you can often decide to have two flops, turns, and/or rivers in order to reduce variance. Some rooms allow you to run it three times or more.

Runner-Runner – When you hit your turn and your river hand to come from behind and beat your opponent. Example: “I can’t believe he hit his runner-runner flush” or “He was bluffing but he caught runner-runner two pair and I’m out.”


Sandwiched – When you are second of three players to act, so you are not able to act first or last. This is often a very difficult place to maneuver if you have a moderate holding.

Satellite – A smaller tournament where the aim is to win a ticket/seat into a bigger tournament. Sometimes these satellites also include hotel and airfare.

Scare Card – Cards that may hit our range or make the board extremely wet, which we can use to possibly make our opponent fold to a bet. Example: River aces for an early position player against a big blind opponent.

Scoop – To win the whole pot in a Hi-Lo game.

Semi-Bluff – A bluff made with a drawing hand. We are often hoping to make our opponent fold immediately but are also drawing to a giant hand, which will allow us to turn our bluff into a huge value-betting hand on later streets.

Set – Making a three of a kind using a pocket pair.

Set-Over-Set – One of the nastiest coolers in poker, where two players both make a set on the same hand, often leading to a giant pot and an inescapable situation.

Seven-Card Stud – A poker variant where players are dealt two downcards and an upcard, followed by three upcards one at a time, and then a third downcard. The goal is to make the highest hand possible.

Seventh Street – The last card dealt in Stud variants. The final betting round.

Shills – See definition of prop player.

Shootout – A poker format where you have to win your table in order to advance to the next round of a tournament. Often capped at either 100 players or 1,000 players and played on 10-handed tables.

Shorthanded – When we are playing at a table that isn’t full. Example: When we are playing only four-handed poker at an eight-max table.

Short Stack – Having a small stack that is in desperate need of a double up.

Shot-Taking – The act of buying into a much more expensive cash game or tournament than you normally would. This should be done very sparingly.

Shove – The act of going all in.

Showdown – When both players pass through the final betting round and at least one player is forced to show a winning hand.

Side Pot – When one player is all in and other players are still in the hand, all the money between them will be put in the side pot, while the all in player can only win what’s in the main pot.

Sit and Go (SNG) – A tournament that starts once a certain number of players have registered. Online, SNGs are usually 6, 9, 18, 27, 36, 45, 90, or 180 players with some exceptions.

Sizing – Refers to the size of a player’s bet, usually in terms of a small, medium, or large sizing as well as overbets.

Slowplay – Also known as trapping, this is when we play a huge hand passively in hopes that our opponent will blast off.

Slowroll – Often frowned upon, a slowroll usually occurs when we are all in and our opponent takes a long time to call with the nuts or the effective nuts, thinking that they are being funny.

Soft-Play – A form of collusion, this is when you illegally play passively against a player because of either friendship or financial interest.

Solvers – Poker calculators that work as trainers that spit out GTO-based solutions for just about any situation.

Small Blind – The player that is seated to the direct left of the button and has to pay a forced bet of 0.5 big blinds (or the predetermined blind amount) before the cards are dealt.

Smooth Call – Making a call with a hand that should normally be raised.

Snap – A word that means immediately in poker. Usually referring to snap-calls and snap-folds.

Snowmen – Nickname for pocket eights.

Solid Player – A tight player with sound fundamentals that is usually pretty good. These players usually do very well at $1/$2 and $2/$5 games.

Splashing the Pot – An act that’s frowned upon and will cause the game to slow way down as a player makes a bet that hits the pot before the bet has been called or the amount has been verified.

Split Pot – When multiple players share the pot due to a tie or if one player wins the high and one player wins the low.

Spread Limit – A middle ground between fixed limit and no-limit, spread limit allows players to make bets and/or raises within a range of allowable sizes. Spread limit poker is usually only played in order to comply with local gambling laws. Example: In Washington State, you are only permitted to bet between $2 and $300 per betting round, regardless of blinds or the size of the pot.

Squeeze – A preflop three-bet made after there’s already been a raise and at least one call.

SRP – An abbreviation for a single-raised pot. This involves an open-raise and at least one call.

Stab – A bet used to try to take the pot down after your opponent has shown weakness, usually as a bluff or with thin value that needs protection.

Stack – The current number of chips that you have.

Staking – The act of investing in a player in exchange for the same percentage of their profits. Example: Paying $100 for 10% of a player’s $1,000 tournament entry. The player wins $2,500, which sees the staker receive $250.

Stand Pat – The act of declining any additional cards in draw games, usually a very polarizing sign.

Starting Stack – The number of chips you receive before playing your first hand of a tournament.

Steel Wheel – Ace-to-Five straight flush. An unbelievably powerful hand, especially in Hi-Lo games.

Stone Cold Nuts – An exaggerated nickname for the nuts: the best possible hand.

Straddle – An optional blind bet in cash games made before cards are dealt. Players who are allowed to straddle are usually to the left of the big blind.

Street – The current betting round.

STP – Abbreviation for “Stack to Pot Ratio.” This is the ratio between how much is in our effective stack with how much is in the pot, which allows us to size appropriately and/or take the best course of action.

Straight – A hand with five consecutive ranked cards, which beats three of a kind and two pair. Example: T9876.

Straight Flush – A hand with five consecutive ranked cards of the same suit. This hand beats every hand except for the royal flush, the nut straight flush. Example: KQJT9 of spades.

Street Poker – Straying away from GTO poker and playing based on feel.

String Bet – An illegal way of making a wager where you make multiple motions to make a bet without announcing your bet.

Structure – How the tournament is going to run based on blinds, blind levels, and antes.

Stuck – When you are down in a cash game.

Stud – A variant of poker that involves a combination of upcards and downcards. Usually played in 5-card and 7-card varieties.

Suck Out – To win a hand as a huge underdog, oftentimes after already being all in.

Suit – Referring to spades, clubs, diamonds, and hearts.

Suited – Hole cards of the same suit.


TAG – An acronym for “Tight, Aggressive Player”, a player that waits for their cards but is often very aggressive when they are in the action.

Tank – Abbreviation for time bank, this refers to a player taking a long time to make a decision.

Tell – When a player uses a physical read in order to make a decision. For example, if they realize their opponent scratches their nose every time they bluff.

Texture – Referring to the board texture in Hold’em and PLO games. There are dry boards, wet boards, monotone boards, rainbow boards, and everything in between.

Three-Bet – The first re-raise in a pot.

Three-of-a-Kind – When you make three cards of the same rank.

Three Pair – While only two pair count, three pair in Omaha allows players to have more outs to a full house.

Tilt – When a player makes mostly bad decisions after losing a big hand. A complete loss of control of their emotions which usually will lead to a quick exit.

Time Bank – When a player is not allowed to take as much time as possible and has limited time bank cards to give them 30-60 seconds a certain number of times in a tournament.

Tournament – A poker format that has a fixed buy-in and players play until they either run out of chips or finish in first place with all the chips. A certain percentage, generally 10-15%, get paid around at least 1.75x their buy-in.

Trapping – When you play a monster hand passively in hopes that your opponent will bet big.

Trey – A nickname for a three.

Trips – Making a three of a kind but only using one of two hole cards.

Turn – The penultimate betting round, the fourth of five community cards.

Two-Bet – The opening preflop raise and the first postflop raise. The second bet in the betting sequence.

Two Pair – When you have two of the same rank twice with once mainly irrelevant side card. Two pair beats one pair.

Two-Tone Board – When there is two cards of one suit and one card of a second suit on the flop.


Underdog – The hand that is not statistically favored to win.

Upcard – The card in Stud variants that is face up on the initial deal.

Upswing – A prolonged period of winning money and/or tournaments.

UTG – An abbreviation for the Under the Gun position, the first player that can bet during preflop action.


Value Bet – A bet made with what is presumed to be the winning hand hoping to be paid off by a worse hand.

Variance – The statistical measure of how much your results differ from mathematical expectation. Variance essentially shows how much luck you have or don’t have. It is also a broad term used to describe the expected ups and downs in a long-term poker career. The only way to beat variance is to put in a large tournament volume.

Variant – A specific style of poker.

Villain – A typical term used to describe the opponent we are playing against in a specific hand.

Volume – Refers to the number of cash games and/or tournaments you are playing over a long period of time.

VPIP – Stands for “Voluntarily Put in Pot.” A very popular poker analytics term used to describe how active a player is preflop. This percentage will show how tight or loose a player is.

Vulnerable Hand – A hand is considered to be vulnerable if there are a number of cards that can beat it on later streets. Example: 99 on an 852 board with two spades.


Whale – A bad poker player who either plays at high-stakes poker games or is willing to fire a large number of bullets into a tournament. A player who will splash a lot of money who doesn’t have a lot of skill.

Wet Board – A board that is full of straight, flush, and/or full house possibilities. Allows for a large number of very big hands.

Wheel – An ace-to-five straight. An extremely strong hand in PLO8/Stud8 because it’s the nut low and can also make the high hand.

Whiff – To completely miss your hand. Example: Holding T9 of spades on a A52 monotone hearts board.

Wild – A card that can be played as any card in the deck.

Wrap – Refers to a very large straight draw in a PLO game. The biggest wraps in Omaha can have as many as 20 outs, which is known as a full wrap.

WSOP – Acronym for the World Series of Poker, the most prestigious poker series in the world.

WPT – Acronym for the World Poker Tour.

WTSD – Stands for “Went to Showdown”, a statistic used by online poker trackers to show how often a player gets to showdown after seeing a flop.

WWSF – A statistic that stands for “Won When Saw Flop”, a pretty self-explanatory measurement.

Blaise Bourgeois
Poker and Gambling Expert
Blaise Bourgeois
Poker and Gambling Expert

Blaise is an Expert Gambling Writer and a professional poker player in Brazil. He has played and traveled throughout Latin America for the last four-and-a-half years and recently won his first WSOP Circuit ring! He received his Master's in Sport Management and Sports Analytics from St. John's University. Blaise also holds a Mathematics and Computer Science degree from SUNY Purchase, where he still holds the school's Men's Soccer record for goals in a season. Blaise has worked for Catena Media, OddsSeeker, WSOP, PokerNews, and Poker.Org in various capacities. He has a passion for extensive research and aims to provide accurate…