Poker Glossary


In tournament play an opportunity to purchase additional chips regardless of your chip stack. This is usually offered only once after the first break/end of the rebuy period. The add-on usually offers more chips per dollar than the original buyin and rebuys.


to have all your chips in the middle; [to move] to bet everything you have left.

American Airlines

Slang for a pair of aces, most commonly used when a player in Texas Hold'em has pocket aces.


A small bet that increases in increments with the blinds. It usually begins mid-way through a tournament to build the pot.

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A draw that requires two cards in a row to complete, e.g. having three of one suit on the flop in hold 'em means you have a backdoor flush draw: you will have a flush if two more of that suit come on the turn and the river.

Bad beat

losing a hand that you were a (big) favorite to win, "I suffered a really bad beat when I moved all-in with my pocket aces and John hit his runner-runner flush."


The overall amount of money that a player has available to wager.


Big Blind, the person two steps left of the dealer has to put an amount of money before the cards are dealt. This amount is usually (but not always) twice the size of the small blind (SB).


Big Bet, most limit poker games double the bet sizes on the last betting round(s). The larger bet sizes are called "big bets." See also SB.


To put money into the pot. Only used for the first person who does it during a betting round; the others either "call" or "raise."

Big blind special

When the player sitting in the big blind position hits a good flop or wins a hand despite holding bad cards.

Big Slick

A nickname for AK.


a card that didn't help you (often: and didn't help anyone else)


the amount of money that is put into the pot before the cards are dealt, "I raised from the button, hoping to steal the blinds."


also used to refer to the person who had to put in the money, "the big blind re-raised".


also used to refer to the relative position (which is almost the first two after the dealer), "I don't play QJo from the blinds."


betting or raising in hopes of your opponent(s) folding, as you do not believe that you have the best hand. also see semibluff.


the shared cards in Hold'em and Omaha, e.g. the flop, turn, and river. "the board paired, giving me a full house against his flush."


A hand that consists of three of a kind and a pair, e.g. A-A-K-K-K. If two people both have full houses, the one with the higher trips win. Also known as a full house. "I flopped a boat, and decided to slowplay it."


A computer program that plays poker online with little or no assistance from a person.

Bottom Pair

A pair with the lowest card on the flop.


A cash prize rewarded for eliminating players from a tournament.

Bring in

A forced bet in stud games.


The last spot in a tournament before payouts begin or the person who finishes in that spot.


The top card that is discarded from the deck is referred to as the burn card and is discarded to safeguard against players accidentally seeing the top card.


When a bluffing player is called and loses the pot. Could also refer to getting a great hand busted by a player on the come.


in live games, a little marker shows who's currently the dealer. This person has the advantage to always act last (not in Stud). A person can be said to be "on the button", as in "I was on the button and looked down to see pocket nines in the hole."


the amount of money you put in for chips at the poker table. "My usual buy-in at a $10/$20-table is $600."


the cost or entry fee of a tournament, "The main event at the WSOP has a $10,000 buy-in."

Buying the button

when your bet or raise makes all players that are in later position than you to fold, giving you last position (a huge advantage). "My raise on the flop bought me the button, so I could take the free card on the turn."

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to match someone else's bet, as opposed to raise or fold. "He went all-in, and with the odds I was getting, I had to call despite probably having the worst hand."

Calling Station

A weak-passive player who calls a lot, but doesn't raise or fold much.


To put in the last raise permitted on a betting round, typically the third or fourth raise.


The last card of a certain rank in the deck. For example if 3 Q's are already in the game the 4th Q is the case queen.

Cash game

a regular poker game for cash, that you can join or leave at any time, as opposed to a tournament.


to get one of the cards you needed to win the hand, "I caught the 9 on the river, giving me the nut straight."


to call with the worst hand, hoping to improve. Synonymous to drawing, but is often used in a derogatory sense, to mark someone as desperate. "You just keep chasing those inside straights, kid - it will bust you eventually."


to check the option of betting - can only be done if you're first to act, or if no one else has yet bet (in which case you either need to call, raise or fold). "On the river, I knew he wouldn't call with a worse hand, so when he checked, I just checked behind."


when you check, someone else bets behind you, and then you raise when the action gets back to you. "I checkraised him on the flop with my top pair."

Chip dumping

A form of collusion between two or more players – usually by deciding to go all-in early. The winner ends up with all the chips from the other colluders increasing the chance of cashing. The winnings are then split among the colluders.

Chip leader

The player currently holding the most chips in a tournament.


An agreement by all players remaining in a tournament to divide the remaining money in the prize pool according to an agreement that is determined based on their current chip stacks.


see cut-off in this online poker glossary.

Cold streak

when someone is getting a bad run of cards, they are said to be on a cold streak, "I won a lot of hands early on in the tournament, but then I went on a cold streak and eventually had to go all-in with rags to survive."


when one person bets, another raises and you call both the bet and the raise, you are said to be cold-calling. This is usually done only with monster hands or very powerful draws, as most other holdings should usually be either raised or folded at these times. "John raised pre-flop from under the gun, and I cold-called with my KQ-suited."


A form of cheating involving two or more players.

Continuation bet

A bet made after the flop by the player bet first before the flop.


if I hold A-A in the hole in hold'em, and you have 3-6, with a board of 3-6-9-9-K, you will have had two pair on the flop, but I will have a better two pair on the turn. The 9 on the turn is said to have "counterfeited" your hand. A similar situation can happen with low or medium pocket pairs, say 6-6 on a board of 7-7-8-8-Q, where the sixes don't improve the board.


Slang for a pair of kings, most commonly used when a player in Texas Hold'em has pocket kings.


see check-raise


the seat just to the right of the button is called the cut-off. This is the second-to-last position in hold'em.

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poker players' way of saying "a two,", e.g. "the deuce of hearts came on the turn." Also see trey in this poker glossary.


Dime is a common slang term used in gambling and other activities that are involved heavily with money. A dime refers to one thousand dollars.


the person with the lowest chance of winning hand, "when he called my all-in and showed a higher set, I was a 43-1 dog to win; only the remaining five could help me".


a bad player; commonly also used to describe a good player who suddenly did something stupid - "I played that hand like a complete donk."


to unexpectedly bet "I donked the ace on the turn, hoping that the player who raised the flop would fold."


to call bets with a hand that is unlikely to be the best at the moment, but has chances of improving. "I flopped a straightdraw, but on the turn, I realized my opponent was drawing as well, so I raised him on the river and he folded."

Drawing dead

when no remaining cards can give you the best hand, you are said to be drawing dead. "I hit my straight on the river, but the big blind had flopped the nut flush, so I had been drawing dead the whole time."

Dry pot

A side pot with no money created when a player goes all in and is called by more than one opponent, but not raised.

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Your share/value of a pot. If the pot contains $100, and you have a 50% chance of winning it, you have $50 equity in the pot.

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Fake Think

This is when a player makes it appear they are thinking long and hard about a decision for a given hand, when in truth, the decision is already made, they are just acting as part of some greater purpose.

Fifth street

The last card dealt up in Hold 'em or Omaha (also known as the river), and the third card dealt up in 7-card stud.


A common (derogatory) term for bad players. By the same token, good players are sometimes called sharks, because they prey on the fish.

Flat call

To just call a bet instead of raising.


Calling a bet in order to take a pot down later.


The three community cards in Hold 'em and Omaha that are dealt face up at the same time (followed by the turn and the river). "The flop showed a king, a nine and a deuce, so unless someone had a set, I believed my pair of kings to be good."


The verb used to describe hitting a hand on the flop: "I flopped the nut flush - now I just needed to keep the opponents in the hand so they could pay me off."


A hand that consists of cards that are all of one suit. A flush is better than a straight but worse than a full house.

Fold Equity

The extra value you get from a hand when you force an opponent to fold.


Exactly what i sounds like: For instance 2-2-2-2-7 is a four-of-a-kind hand. The only hand that beats four-of-a-king (or quads) is a straight flush.

Fourth street

The fourth card dealt in stud poker, and the card after the flop in Hold 'em and Omaha (where it is also known as the turn).

Free card

When everybody checks and the next card is dealt without any bets going in, that is called a free card. "I checked, intending to checkraise the preflop raiser with my vulnerable top pair. Unfortunately, he checked behind and I ended up giving a free card which gave my opponent a flush draw."


When a player has at least half the pot won in a Hi/Lo split game, and is now drawing to win the other, he can be said to be on a freeroll.


Similarly, if two players with AKs get all their money into the pot before the flop, but one of them flop three to a flush, he is on a freeroll: He can't lose, but he can win it all.


Sticking with the "can't lose, but can win it all" definition, there are popular online tournaments that are provided by either the pokerrooms themselves or by other poker sites where it costs nothing to enter. These tournaments are essentially a marketing tool, and are called freeroll tournaments but commonly known only as freerolls.


The most common form of tournament. Once you've lost all your chips, you're out. As opposed to re-buy tournaments.

Full house

A hand that consists of three of a kind and a pair, e.g. A-A-K-K-K. If two people both have full houses, the one with the higher trips win. Also called a boat.

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A grinder is a player who "grinds out" a profit over the long haul. This player is not a showboat or a loose cannon but rather does what it takes to make even a modest profit over the long term.


Drawing to a straight with one of the middle cards missing, e.g. if you have 9-7 in the hole in Hold 'em, and the flop shows 6-10-A, an 8 would give you a straight. This is called a gutshot straight draw (also inside straight draw). "Because there were so many people in the hand, I easily got the odds to continue with my gutshot."

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Hand history

The written history of a hand (or hands) played (on the internet).


Common acronym for Hold 'em.


When there are only two players at the table, they are said to be playing heads-up. "Johnny and I got heads-up after Tim lost with his pair of jacks to my pocket queens."


A hand where everyone has folded except for two people is sometimes called a "heads-up pot". "I suspected Johnny was attempting to steal the blinds, so I three-bet him, hoping to isolate him and take the pot heads-up with him."

High-card hand

A hand without a pair, straight or flush, is called a high-card hand. For instance, having AQ on a K-8-7-5-2 board is having ace-high.


The seat just to the right of the cut-off, two off the button.

Hole, hole cards

the cards that are dealt face-down to you in hold'em and stud.


Slang for a pair of jacks, most commonly used when a player in Texas Hold'em has pocket jacks.

Hot streak

Catching great cards and winning big pots due to statistical fluctuation (no, hitting your flush draw three times in a row is not skill). Also known as a rush. The opposite to cold streak.


Common acronym for David Sklansky's and Mason Malmuth's book Hold 'em Poker for Advanced Players.


Acronym for heads-up.

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Implied Odds

Pot odds that do not currently exist, but may be included in your calculations because of bets you expect to win if you hit your hand.

In the money

To place high enough in a poker tournament to win prize money. (itm)

Inside straight draw

Drawing to a straight with one of the middle cards missing, e.g. if you have 9-7 in the hole in Hold 'em, and the flop shows 6-10-A, an 8 would give you a straight. This is called an inside straight draw (also see gutshot).

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To move all-in in a no-limit (or pot-limit) game.

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A hole card which does not formally change the rank of a hand is called a kicker. In Hold 'em, holding KT on a board of K-J-6, you are said to have a pair of kings with a 10 kicker. If someone else also has kings, it's the size of the kicker that decides who wins. "I decided to raise. There was a definitive chance that he was bluffing, and even if he wasn't, I still had 3 outs to pair my kicker and take down the pot."

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A "loose aggressive" style of play in which a player plays a lot of starting hands and makes many small raises in hopes of out-playing his opponents.


A tough choice to fold a good hand if you think your opponent has you beat.


A systematic mistake that a poker player makes is called a leak. This is because the mistake is costing him (leaking) money in the long run. "One of my biggest leaks was to constantly be folding overcards in a big pot on the flop."


Acronym for Limit Hold 'em.


To just call the big blind instead of raising it is known as a limp. "There were three limpers to me on the button, and I decided to raise with my pair of jacks."


A hand so strong that it's either impossible or at least wholly unlikely that it can lose no matter what comes on the coming streets. Having a lock on the pot means that it's time to figure out how to extract the most money out of the other players.


A player who calls bets with weak hands or when he doesn't have the odds to justify it. The opposite of tight.

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Made hand

A hand with more than high-card value, e.g. pair or up. Usually used as the opposite of a draw: "I checkraised the flop with my flushdraw figuring I could get my opponents to lay down if they missed, but when Johnny made it three bets to go, I was sure he had a made hand."


Popular way to describe someone who seemingly bet or raise with any hand. "I really wanted to isolate the maniac, but unfortunately the big blind decided to come along too. This was a problem for me, because he had been playing very tightly so far, and I was afraid that he had me beat."


Usually $.25-.50 and lower are referred to as "micro-limit" online.

Move in

To go all-in.


Middle Position, or the players in the 3 to 5 seats off the button at a full table.


Multi-table tournament.


To fold your cards – or can be referring to the actual pile of discarded cards.

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No-limit Hold 'em.


A version of poker in which a player may bet any amount of chips that he has when it is his turn.


Someone who has the best possible hand is said to be holding the nuts. The best possible hand is always at least a set.

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Omaha 8-or-better (Hi/Lo split)


Two cards that are not of the same suit. Popularly denoted "o", as in AKo.

On the come

To bet or call with a draw. "On the flop, I thought he might be betting on the come with a flush draw. When the third heart came on the turn, I was willing to lay my pair down, but he checked, and folded when I bet."


To bet first.

Open limp

Being the first person to call preflop, but not raise.


Even if you currently do not have the best hand, there may be ways for you to get the best hand at the table. A card that will give you that hand is called an out. If you have no outs, you are said to be drawing dead.


On the river (or 7th street in Stud), someone bets and another person calls, you have to have a very strong hand to make an overcall, or to be the second person to call the first person's bet. It's possible that the person who bet is bluffing, but he who called first cannot possibly be bluffing - he has to have something. "The first player bet straight into my nut flush on the river, and I had to choose between raising him, or to call him and hope for overcalls by the three players yet to act behind me."


A card higher than any card on the board.


A pocket pair higher than any card on the flop.

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Two-of-a-kind. A pair is beaten by two pair, and can only in turn beat a high-card hand.


A style of play characterized by checking and calling.


Pot-limit Hold 'em.


Pot-limit Omaha 8-or-better.

Pocket pair

when you have a pair in the hole in hold'em, "I had pocket jacks, but had to fold when the flop came A-K-7 suited."


The turn in the betting order. Being in first position means that you act first on this betting round, and being in last position means you act last. Having position, or being last to act, is a tremendous advantage.


The money that is up for grabs. The player who shows down the best hand at the end, or who can make all the others fold, wins the pot.

Pot Odds

The amount of money in the pot compared to the amount you must put in the pot to continue playing.


A situation where you are essentially forced to call the rest of your stack because of the size of the pot and your remaining chips.


A version of poker in which a player may bet up to the amount of money in the pot whenever it is his turn to act.


The time when players already have their pocket cards but no flop has been dealt yet.


To go all-in.

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See four-of-a-kind in this poker glossary.

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A small card, or insignificant card. "I started making serious money from poker when I learned not to play Ace-rag from early positions."


When the cards on the board are all of different suit, it is said to be rainbow. "The flop came A-K-5 rainbow" means that the ace, the king and the five were all of different suits.


To bet more than the previous person to act. "It was folded to me in the cut-off, and so I raised with a mediocre hand, hoping to steal the blinds."


The money that a pokerroom (or poker site) charges per pot. It's usually a small percentage of the pot, 5% or so. It varies between different rooms and sites, though, and you should look into how much it costs you to play at the site you're currently at.


Payment to a player of a portion of the rake paid by that player, usually from a third-party source such as an affiliate.


Having a read on someone means that you've picked up on something significant about the way he likes to play his hands. "From a read I picked up earlier, I knew that he slowplayed trips on the flop, so his bet did not mean that he had the case 8. Instead, he was likely either semi-bluffing a draw or he was betting a small pocket pair. I raised."


An option to buy back into a tournament after you've lost all your chips.


Your actions can be said to represent a hand. For instance, if you raise you are said to represent strength. What you choose to represent can either be honest (representing what you have) or deceiving (hiding your hand, or representing another hand). "Since I had raised preflop, he had no reason to believe I was bluffing when I checkraised him on the turn when the ace hit to represent that I had one. Unfortunately, the donk didn't fold, so it ended up costing me another 2BB on a stupid bluff."


If you bet, someone raises you and you raise their raise, you are said to be re-raising.

Ring game

As opposed to a tournament or a satellite, a ring game is played directly for money. Compare to cash game.


The last card dealt up. This is the fifth street in Hold 'em and Omaha, and the 7th street in stud.


A very tight player is often called a rock because they don't get out of line. When a rock raises, you better have a strong hand to call or re-raise him.


Catching two cards in a row that you need for a hand is called catching (or needing) runner-runner. An example of this is having three cards to a flush on the flop - you need to hit runner-runner cards of the same suit in order to make your flush.

Running bad

When statistical fluctuations cause you to get bad hands and lose money. Also called a cold streak.


See hot streak.

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Synonymous to checkraising someone. Sandbag has a slightly negative feel to it, and is usually used by people who feel that there's something unethical about this play.


To trap someone (or be trapped yourself) between two raisers. This can get very expensive for the person who is sandwiched.


A tournament in which the prize is a free entry into another (larger) tournament.


Small Blind, the person one step left of the dealer has to put an amount of money before the cards are dealt. This amount is usually (but not always) half of the size of the small bet.


Small Bet, how much you're allowed to bet in the first rounds of limit poker.


A card which likely completed someone's draw. If you have been (falsely) representing a draw to this hand, a bet when the scarecard falls can win you the pot.


To win both the Hi and the Lo in a split game is called to scoop.


Betting or raising on the come. The idea behind this tactic is that the combined chances of you hitting your draw and your opponent folding makes it profitable.


A pair in the hole that gives you three-of-a-kind with something on the board.


Stands for straight flush.


A poker tournament format where the last remaining player of a table goes on to play the remaining players of other tables until a final table is reached.

Short Stack

A stack of chips that is relatively small for the stakes being played and compared to other's chip stacks.


A less-than full table. A full table is usually 9-10 players, so anything less than that can be considered shorthanded. A common form online is the sixmax table (where there are only six seats).


Yet another way of saying all-in.


The point at which all players remaining in the hand turn their cards over and determine who has the best hand.

Side pot

When there are three or more players in a pot, and one of them is all-in a sidepot is (or can be) created by the other two players. Since the player who is all-in is not entitled to win more of his opponents' stacks than he has pushed in himself, his opponents can gamble for the sidepot created by their surplus.

Sit and go

A poker tournament with no scheduled starting time that starts whenever the required number of players have joined the tournament. )Usually nine or ten players).


To check and call with a made hand, instead of betting or raising. Most often used as a way to trick opponents into thinking your hand is weaker than it really is.

Smooth call

Calling a bet or a raise, instead of raising yourself with strong hands.


Sit And Go (or Sit'n'Go). A form of online tournament where it starts as soon as all the seats are filled. The most common form is the one-table SnG.


To go easy on another player at the table (e.g., not betting or raising against him).

Splashing the pot

In brick and mortar poker, when a player drops their chips into the pot in an unorganized manner which wouldn't allow the other players to confirm the player is contributing the proper amount. Usually considered to be in poor taste!

Split Pot

A pot that is shared by two or more players because they have the same winning hand.


Small Stakes Hold 'em, a book by Ed Miller, David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth.


The amount one buys in for and can bet.


When it is checked to someone in late position who raises preflop in Hold 'em, he may be on a steal - raising with a worse-than-usual hand, because of the added possibility of him picking up the blinds uncontested.


When someone posts a big blind plus a raise in the first position after the BB. This is volountarily, and quite frankly, stupid. Some people do this because they like to gamble, but there's no good reason (except maybe to cheaply create a wild and loose image at the table you're sitting at) to ever post a straddle.



A hand where the five cards have consecutive values, e.g. 4-5-6-7-8 or 10-J-Q-K-A, or A-2-3-4-5. A straight can not go "over the ace", however, as in Q-K-A-2-3.

Straight flush

The strongest hand in poker. A straight with all the cards in the same suit.


A single table tournament.


Someone who has lost money is said to be stuck. "I was going to leave sooner, but I was stuck $130, and I wanted to get some of that money back."


When someone draws against the odds (or draws at all, really) to beat your hand and hits, you are the victim of a suckout. It is also sometimes used about a person, "You're suck a suckout!".


The suit of a card in the deck: Clubs, Spades, Hearts or Diamonds.


When cards all share a suit, they are said to be suited. "the flop came 678-suited. Someone had to have a strong draw, but it wasn't me - I folded."

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A mannerism or a quirk in someone's behavior that signals the strength of their hand. The person giving the tell is not aware of what he's doing. It can be a slight shake of the hand, or the way he holds his good cards (as opposed to his bad ones), etc.

Third street

The first face-up card in Stud.


In limit poker, this is when someone has bet, someone else raised him, and it's now being raised once again. It's someone synonymous with reraise.


A hand where three of the cards have the same value. This hand is stronger than two pair, and weaker than a straight.


Someone who plays only good hands and tosses his hands when he doesn't have the goods, is said to play tight.


Going on tilt or tilting is when for one reason or another, you're not thinking straight. The most common reason for this to happen is that you've had a series of bad cards, or been the victim of a bad suckout. Your judgment gets clouded, and you begin playing cards that you should fold, for the wrong reasons.


To play wildly or recklessly usually after a series of losses.

Top kicker

In community card poker games the best possible kicker to some given hand.

Top Pair

A pair with the highest card on the flop.

Top Set

The highest possible trips.


As opposed to cash games. A tournament can have any number of entrants, and any number of buy-in, but once started, you're there until you've either been knocked out or won.


The book Tournament Poker for Advanced Players, by David Sklansky.


When you slowplay a big hand in order to get someone else to bet at it big (typically making someone bluff at the pot), you've set a trap.


What poker players call a 3.


See three-of-a-kind in this poker glossary.


The fourth community card in Hold 'em and Omaha, after the flop and before the river.

Two pair

A hand like A-Q-Q-6-6. Two pair of matching cards. This hand is stronger than one pair, and weaker than three-of-a-kind.

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Under the gun

The position at the table just left of the big blind, e.g. the first person to act pre-flop in Hold 'em and Omaha.


A person or hand not favored to win a pot.


See under the gun.

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Value bet

A bet made by a player who wants it to be called.


A measure of the up and down swings your bankroll goes through.

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The lowest straight - A-2-3-4-5. In O8, this hand is likely to win both the Hi and the Lo, because it's the lowest possible hand, while simultaneously having very strong high-hand potential.


Winning Low Limit Hold 'Em, a beginner's book by Lee Jones.


The World Poker Tour.


The World Series of Poker.

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