Learning to play poker takes a little bit of time, and a big part of it is learning the terminology of the game. You need to be aware of what everyone’s saying during the game, and what you should say, in order to fully understand what’s happening.
So before you head to the casino floor to join a poker game, take a look at this helpful glossary we’ve put together of the most common poker terms.
Action Checking/Playing/Raising: A game in which people are playing a lot of pots is considered an “action” game.
Active Person: Any person 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 person plays 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.
Bad Beat: When a hand is beaten by a lucky draw.
Belly Buster: A draw and/or catch to an Inside Straight.
Bicycle: A straight that is A-2-3-4-5.
Big Blind: A designated amount that is placed by the person sitting in the second position, clockwise from the dealer, before any cards are dealt.(People joining a game in progress must post a Big Blind, but may do so from any position.)
Big Slick: A hand that contains an A-K.
Blind: The play(s) that must be made by the two people sitting directly to the dealer’s left which will start the action on the first round of playing. The blinds are posted before any cards are dealt. (A “Blind” play is one that is made in the dark without looking at your cards.)
Blind Raise: When a person raises without looking at his hand.
Boardcards: The cards that are dealt face-up in a poker game for all people 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 person.
Broadway: An Ace high straight (A-K-Q-J-10).
Bring-In: The forced play made on the first round of playing by the person who is dealt the lowest card showing in Seven Card Stud and Stud 8 or Player. In Razz (Lowball) it is the highest card showing
Bring It In: To start the playing on the first round.
Broomcorn’s Uncle: A person who antes himself broke.
Bullets: A pair of Aces.
Bump: To raise.
Button: Also known as the dealer button, it is a small round disk that is moved from person to person in a clockwise direction following each hand, to theoretically indicate the dealer of each hand.
Buy-In: The minimum amount of money required by a person to sit down in a particular poker game.
Call: When a person chooses to match the previous play.
Cap: To take the last of the maximum amount of raises allowed per round of playing.
Cardroom: The room or space in a casino where poker is played.
Case Chips: A person’s last chips.
Cash Out: To leave a game and convert your chips to cash.
Check: When it’s a person’s turn to act and there has been no action in front of them and he opts not to play, he “checks.”
Collusion: When two or more people conspire to cheat in a poker game.
Community Cards: Cards that are face-up and used by all people.
Cowboys: Two Kings.
Dead Man’s Hand: Two pair – Aces and Eights (Wild Bill Hickock was shot in the back while playing this hand).
Door Card: This is the first exposed card, or “up” card, in a person’s hand in Stud games.
Down Cards: Hole cards. Cards that are dealt face down.
Doyle Brunson: A Holdem hand consisting of a 10-2 (Brunson won the world championship two years in a row on the final hand with these cards).
Draw Lowball: Form of poker where each person is dealt five cards with the option of discarding one or more and replacing them with new ones and the low hand wins.
Draw Poker: Form of poker where each person is dealt five cards down with the option of discarding one or more and replacing them with new ones to attempt to make a player hand.
Ducks: A pair of Twos.
Deuces: A pair of Twos.
Early Position: Position on a round of playing where the person must act before most of the other people at the table. (It’s considered the two positions located to the left of the Blinds.)
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 playing. In Stud games, this is the fifth card dealt to each person and represents the third round of playing.
Five-card Draw: A poker game in which the person is dealt five cards down. They have one draw to replace them and the best high hand wins the pot.
Five-card Stud: A poker game in which each person is dealt five cards, one down and four up, with playing after 2, 3, 4, & 5 cards.
Floorman: An employee of the cardroom who makes rulings and decisions.
Flush: Any five cards of the same suit.
Flush Draw: When a person 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 Play: A required play 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“) and represents the third round of playing. In Stud games, it is the fourth card dealt to each person and represents the second round of playing.
Full House: Any three cards of the same number or face value, plus any other two cards of the same number or face value.
Gut Shot: To draw to and/or hit an inside straight.
Hand: A person’s best five cards.
High-Card: To decide the first dealer in the flop tournaments each player is dealt a single card and the person 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 people.
House: The casino or cardroom that is hosting the poker game.
Inside Straight: Four cards which require another play for the top and the bottom card to complete a straight. People who catch this card make an Inside Straight.
Jackpot Poker: A form of poker in which the cardroom or casino offers a jackpot to a person who has lost with a really big hand (usually Aces full or better).
Jacks-or-Better: A form of poker in which a person needs to have at least a pair of jacks to open the playing.
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.
Key Card: A card that gives you a big draw or makes your hand.
Key Hand: In a session or tournament, the one hand that ends up being a turning point for the person, either for better or worse.
Kicker: The highest unpaired side card in a person’s hand.
Kick It: Raise.
Kojak: A hand that contains a K-J.
Ladies: Two Queens.
Late Position: Position on a round of playing where the person must act after most of the other people have acted (usually considered to be the two positions next to the button).
Lay Down Your Hand: When a person folds.
Limit Poker: A game that has fixed minimum and maximum playing intervals along with a prescribed number of raises.
Limper: The first person who calls a play.
Live Card(s): In Stud Games, cards that have not yet been seen and are presumed to still be in play.
Live One: A not so knowledgeable person who plays a lot of hands.
Loose: A person who plays a lot of hands.
Make: To make the deck is to shuffle the deck.
Maniac: A very aggressive person who plays a lot of hands.
Middle Position: Somewhere between the early and late positions on a round of playing (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 person who begins to accumulate chips after having a small stack is considered to be a monster.
No Limit: A game where people can play as much as they like (as long as they have it in front of them) on any round of playing.
Nuts: The best possible hand at any point of the game. A hand that cannot be beat.
Odds: The probability of making a hand vs. the probability of not making a hand.
Offsuit: Cards of a different suit.
Open: To make the first play.
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.
Open Pair: A pair that has been dealt face-up.
Out Button: A disc placed in front of a person who wishes to sit out a hand(s) but remain in the game.
Paints: Face or picture cards (Jack, Queen and King).
Pair: Two cards of the same face or number value.
Pass: To fold.
Picture Cards: Face cards (Jack, Queen and King).
Play: To place chips into the pot.
Playing the Board: In flop games when your best five card hand is all five of the community cards.
Position: Where a person is seated in relation to the dealer, therefore establishing that person’s place in the playing order.
Pot: The money or chips in the center of a table that people try to win.
Pot Limit: This is a game where the maximum play can equal the pot.
Push: When the dealer pushes the chips to the winning person at the end of a hand. It’s also when dealers rotate to other tables.
Quads: Four of a kind.
Rack: A tray that holds 100 poker chips in five stacks of twenty chips each.
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 play.
Rank: The value of each card and hand.
Rap: When a person knocks on the table indicating that he/she has checked.
Re-buy: The amount of money a person 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” game that is not a tournament.
Rounders: Guys who hustle for a living. This is also the name of a popular poker movie starring Matt Damon and Ed Norton.
Royal Flush: This is an Ace high straight (A-K-Q-J-10) of the same suit. It is the best possible hand in poker.
Satellite: A mini-tournament to gain an entry into a larger tournament.
Scoop: To win the entire pot.
Seating List: A waiting list. A person would put his or her name on this list if there were no seats at the table at which they wish to play.
Second Pair: In flop games, when you pair the second highest card on the board.
See: To call.
Seven-card Stud: A well-known poker game in which people get three down cards and four up cards. You play the best five of those seven cards.
Seventh Street: This is the final round of playing in Seven Card Stud and Stud 8 or Player.
Shills: Paid props who help start and maintain poker games.
Showdown: At the end of the final playing round, it’s when all active people turn their cards face up to see who has won the pot.
Sixth Street: In Seven-card Stud, this is the fourth “up” card dealt to the person (their 6th card). It is also the 4th round of playing.
Solid: A fairly tight person (and reasonably good).
Speed Limit: A pair of fives.
Stack: A pile of chips.
Steel Wheel: A five high straight (A-2-3-4-5) of the same suit.
Straddle: A straddle is a Blind play which is usually double the size of the Big Blind (and that person may raise when the action gets to him).
Straight: Five consecutive cards of any suit.
Straight Flush: Five consecutive cards of the same suit.
Stud Games: Games in which people get down cards and up cards.
Stuck: A person who is losing in a game.
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 playing round on the first three cards.
Thirty Miles: Three tens.
Three of a Kind: Three cards of the same number or face value (“trips”).
TOC: Tournament of Champions.
Top Pair: In flop games, when the person pairs one of his down cards with the highest card on board.
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 playing.
Up Card: A card that is dealt face-up.
Walking Sticks: A pair of sevens.
Wild Card: A card that can be played as any value.
Worst Hand: A losing hand.
WSOP: World Series of Poker.