Gambling A-Z: Poker Terms
Poker is a popular form of gambling covering many different card games. In order to play well, it is important to understand the rules of the game and to be strategically smart with your actions. But it’s not just the rules that you have to grasp – there is also a lot of poker terms that might be used in the games.
If you are not used to the poker phrases or poker slang being used, you might end up losing your bet out of pure confusion. We therefore decided to go through some poker terms explained. Here, we have outlined a full poker glossary covering all common (and some less common) terms you might come across while playing poker. Hopefully it can help you become an even better poker player!
Common Poker Terms & Their Meaning
Ace in the hole: One of the hole cards (face-down cards) is an Ace.
Act: Making a play (such as bet, call, fold or raise).
Action card: A community card on the table that causes a lot of betting action, as it is helpful for two or more players.
Active players: Players that are still playing and involved in the pot.
Aggressive/aggression: A player style of opening with an opening bet or raise rather than check or call.
All-in: The act of betting all chips for the current hand. “To go all-in.”
Ante: A forced bet that is required by all players before the dealing begins and cards are seen. This is to have a starting pot and works as a entry fee to the hand. It is not used in all types of poker games.
Backdoor: A hand that requires two or more draws, the turn and the river, to fill it (including community cards). For example if you have a diamond on hand and there are two on the board, you require at least two more draws to (hopefully) get two more diamonds for a flush.
Bad beat: An unlucky losing hand where a player loses against someone who had a slim chance starting of, but got “lucky”.
Bet: To make a wager.
Bink: A big win in a tournament.
Blind: A type of forced bet by specific players before the dealing begins and cards are seen. A two-blind structure of a small blind and a big bland is typically used.
Board: The community cards available in some games. Face-up cards that all players can use for their hand.
Burn: Discarding the top card of the deck at the start of a deal in order to prevent cheating.
Bubble: The last finishing position in a poker tournament before the payout structure. For example if 10 players get paid in a tournament of 100 people, the 11th position is the bubble.
Button: The position of the dealer at the table.
Bluff: Betting or raising on a hand that is unlikely to win in the hope that the opponent(s) will fold in “fear”.
Buy-in: The minimum amount of chips required to join a game/tournament. The minimum bet.
Call: To call someone is to match or raise the amount of the previous bet to stay in play.
Cooler: Slang describing the second best hand – a player with a good hand losing to a player with an even better hand.
Cutoff (CO): The position to the right of the button (dealer).
Check: If no one has opened the betting round yet, it is possible to pass/bet zero by checking. Declining to make a bet while still keeping their hand in play.
Chech-raise: Raising after previously checking in the same betting round.
Community cards: Cards that are dealt in the center of the table, showing face up. In games using community cards, all players can use these cards to make their hand. Also called “board”.
Dealer: The person distributing the cards. The position of the dealer on the table is called button.
Donk/donkey: A weak player (known as donk, donkey or fish).
Draw: Staying in play and drawing more cards hoping for a stronger hand.
Drawing dead: Drawing for a hand that will lose to an opponent even if the desired cards are dealt.
Fish: A weak player (see donk).
Flop: The act of dealing – and the name for – the first three face-up cards to the board after the first round of betting.
Flush: A hand made of five cards of the same suit.
Fold: Discarding one’s hand and getting out of the game round, forfeiting any wins from the pot.
Hijack: The position second right of the button (dealer).
Heads up: Playing a pot or tournament against just one opponent.
Hole cards: Cards that are dealt face down, individual to each player. Also known as pocket cards.
Jam: Another (slang) term for going all in.
Kicker: Cards that are not used to make a hand but as side cards to determine a winner. If two players have the same hand, the best kicker will wil.
Limp: Slang for entering a pot by calling, not raising.
Muck: The pile of discarded cards.
Mucking: Another word for folding, as the cards are discarded into the much (or pot).
Nit: A player that doesn’t take any risks and hardly plays any of the starting hands, only waiting for premium holdings.
Nuts: The best possible hand that can not lose.
Overcard: A card that is higher than the board or a player’s current holding.
Pot: The sum of money that is wagered and collected during play and that the winner(s) win.
Quads: Four of a kind.
Raise: Increasing the size of an existing bet in the same betting round.
Re-raise: A second or subsequent raise of a betting round.
River: The fifth and final community card dealt out of five.
Rag/ragged: A low-valued card.
Rainbow: A flop in which every card is of a different suit.
Set: A hand with three of a kind, where two cards are from the hole cards.
Shove: Another term for being all in, “shoving” all chips in
Straddle bet: An optional and voluntary blind bet after small and big blind, before cards are dealt.
Tilt: Playing with reckless abandon due to negative emotions.
Trips: A hand with three of a kind, where only one card is from the hole cards.
Turn: The fourth community card dealt out of five.
Under the gun (UTG): The player positioned to the left of the blinds and therefore has to act first in the first betting round.
Whale: A weak player with a large bankroll.
Basic Poker Terms You Have to Know
In the list above, there’s a lot of poker terminology and slang covered. And while it might be nice to know it all, it can also feel a bit overwhelming all at once. Therefore, if you are an absolute beginner, you can get started by focusing on the rules of the game and the following poker terms:
- Ante: A forced bet that is required by all players before the dealing begins and cards are seen. This is to have a starting pot and works as a entry fee to the hand. It is not used in all types of poker games.
- Bet: To make a wager.
- Call: To call someone is to match or raise the amount of the previous bet to stay in play.
- Raise: To increase the size of an existing bet in the same betting round.
- Fold: To discard one’s hand and getting out of the game round, forfeiting any wins from the pot.
- Pot: The sum of money that is wagered and collected during play and that the winner(s) win.
Become a Pro with these Poker Terms
Now that you have learnt some basic poker terminology and more advanced poker slang, you might feel ready to play some poker? Luckily, there are many online casinos offering virtual and live poker games. Check out our list of recommended poker sites and sign up at your preferred platform to start playing!