If you’ve ever sat at a poker table, you have probably heard people say some things you didn’t quite follow. Hearing things like “the rake” or “big slick” can confuse many new poker players.
I know that when I first started playing poker, I didn’t want to sound inexperienced. Slowly, I gained knowledge of what the many slang terms at the poker table meant.
I probably could have improved my skills much faster had I known what everyone was talking about.
Well, here I am now to help those sitting at poker tables who are feeling overwhelmed with the new language they need to learn.
It seems daunting at first, but I assure you with a little knowledge and practice, that confused feeling will be a thing of the past.
This glossary of terms will give you enough knowledge to have conversations with the more experienced players at the table.
A style of play in which only the most basic poker strategy is used.
To win the pot with an ace high hand.
A hand with an Ace as its highest card and nothing else that would contribute to a win. No pairs, flush, etc.
To fulfil your turn by choosing to check, bet, raise or fold.
Acting Out of Turn:
Making a move when it’s not your turn to act.
Whose turn it is. If it’s your action, it means it’s your turn to act (check, bet, fold). Can also refer to a game with a lot of betting (example “That game has a lot of action”).
A flop that offers multiple opportunities for high hands. Usually, this involves multiple draw opportunities and can create a large pot.
A player that is involved in the current hand. Can also refer to someone who is doing a lot of betting.
Additional chips that may be purchased in addition to your original chips. Usually an option to purchase in tournament play.
Acronym for “Aggression Factor”.
Used in heads-up play. This statistic is calculated by dividing the total number of bets and raises a player has made by their total amount of calls. It is used to show how aggressive an opponent is playing.
A style of play in which a player is making frequent bets or raises.
Acronym for “All In”.
Acronym for “All in Pre-Flop”.
A hand with little to no value.
A player bets all of their remaining chips.
Acronym for “All My Chips”.
Refers to a player’s chip stack. Can also refer to their bankroll behind their chip stack.
Using distasteful “angles” to try to gain an advantage. This uses methods of questionable morality and takes advantage of other players.
A small, forced bet. This must be paid by all players before receiving their cards. Sometimes used in the late stages of tournaments.
Acronym for “Add On”.
Acronym for “Any Two Cards”.
Used in online poker. This option will automatically refill your chip stack to the maximum allowed buy-in amount. This occurs every time your chip stack falls below that amount.
Seen in online poker. This is a picture used to represent you at the poker table.
Acronym for “Brick and Mortar”. Used to describe an in-person casino venue.
B/C or BC:
Acronym for “Bet/Call”.
B/F or BF:
Acronym for “Bet/Fold”.
A term referring to a drawing hand. A backdoor draw needs a specific card on both the turn and on the river to complete the hand.
When a player is heavily favored to win the hand, but loses to an opponent on a long-shot draw.
Bad Beat Jackpot:
A side bonus offered at some casinos. Though it varies, it is usually if you lose a hand with aces full of kings or better (A-A-A-K-K).
The amount of money a player has to gamble with.
Acronym for “Bad Beat Jackpot”.
A player who acts after another player in a betting round.
The first amount of money wagered by someone on that hand. After the first wager, money bet is referred to as a raise.
Usually located two players to the left of the dealer. This position is the larger of the two forced pre-round bets in group play poker.
A good hand.
Being dealt an Ace and a King.
A community card that looks like it won’t have much of an effect on anyone’s hand.
A term referring to both the big blind and the small blind, collectively.
A bet used to keep the rest of the table from making a larger bet. This type of bet is mainly only effective in a limit poker game.
Betting or raising to represent a good hand when a poor or average hand is actually held.
The cards dealt for use by everyone. Referred to as community cards, dealt at the center of the table.
A full house; three of a kind with a pair (example 10-10-10-9-9).
Additional incentives used to entice poker players. This can be for a new sign-up, frequent use or in specific tournaments and games.
A computer program that plays poker automatically for the player. They will program the bot to play to a certain set of parameters. This is against the rules on most poker sites.
Using the lowest rank community card on the board and a card of the same rank in your hand to make a pair.
Either a prize or money awarded to a player for taking another player’s entire chip stack in a hand. Typically seen in tournament play.
Acronym for “Bankroll”.
A forced bet in Stud poker games.
An ace-high straight.
Used in tournament play. The bubble refers to the last person to place in a tournament without winning any money. If a tournament pays 1st-9th place, the bubble would be the 10th place finisher.
A player that seeks out primarily poor quality or inexperienced players as opponents.
Lost all your money.
The player who currently holds the “dealers button”. This is the last person to be dealt a card.
The amount of money or chips needed to join a game. In a tournament, this is how much it costs to enter. In live poker play, this would be the minimum amount of chips you can purchase to sit down and play at a specific table.
Buying the Pot:
Winning a pot with a bluff rather than winning due to having the best hand.
C/C or CC:
Acronym for “Check/Call”.
C/F or CF:
Acronym for “Check/Fold”.
C/R or CR:
Acronym for “Check/Raise”.
Putting in the number of chips another player has bet. This action keeps you in the hand without raising.
A term to describe a player who calls frequently, but rarely raises or folds.
Being dealt poor hands for an extended period of time.
The last card of a given rank left in the deck. If there are 3 Jacks already known to be in play, the case Jack is the last one remaining in the deck.
Also referred to as live poker. This is a type of poker game in which each hand is played with money or real money chips. Players are able to enter and leave at any time.
Refers to tournament play. A term used to describe a player who finished the tournament in a paying position.
An abbreviation for Continuation Bet.
A player who changes their style of play. This could be a change from tight to loose play, or from reserved to aggressive, etc.
Continuing to play a hand, based on the hopes that a certain card will be dealt to the community board.
Not betting on your hand. If no bets have been made, you can “check” and pass the betting opportunity to the next player.
Check and Raise:
If you check your hand, then raise another player’s bet on your next action.
The player with the highest amount of chips in a tournament. This can change frequently throughout the tournament.
Used in tournament play if all remaining players decide to split the prize pool equally. This can also be an action in live poker play, called chopping the blinds. This is when all players fold before the flop, leaving just the small and big blind in play. Those two players decide to simply take their bets back and move on to the next hand.
Acronym for “Checking”.
Acronym for “Cut Off”.
Used to describe a situation where two opponents have close to the same odds of winning the hand. Usually used to describe an all-in situation between two players.
Combination or Combo Draw:
Used to describe a drawing hand that has multiple options. For example, the player could be drawing for both a straight and a flush.
Come Over the Top:
To raise or re-raise a bet made by an opponent.
The cards dealt for all players to use to complete their hands.
Cards that are next to each other in value (example: 6-7, or J-Q).
A bet made after the flop when you also raised before the flop. Used to represent that you still hold a strong hand after the community cards come into play.
A strong hand that loses to a better hand.
Refers to having two kings as your hole cards.
To lose a hand that was originally favored to win.
When a player calls an opponent’s bet, despite the belief that they have a losing hand.
The position directly to the right of the dealer.
The player, or more commonly designated person not playing, who hands out the cards to the players. Can also refer to the player with the dealer’s button.
Used in tournament play. Refers to an abnormally high initial chip count at the start of play or to a person who has acquired a large chip stack through play.
A stack of chips with different denominations within it.
Usually refers to a hand that is heavily weighted to lose due to a common card between the players. A-9 is dominated by a player holding A-J since an ace will not help the player holding the A-9.
Donk or Donkey:
An inexperienced player, or a player using extremely poor strategy.
A long period of having losing hands.
A hand not yet complete to win. You are on a draw when waiting for a community card to complete your hand.
When there are no options for you to win the hand. Any card dealt will not change your losing outcome.
Rather than having community cards used to complete your hand, you will discard from your cards and be dealt new cards from the deck that are solely for your use.
A board that shows community cards that are unlikely to contribute to high ranking hands.
When a side pot does not have any chips or money in it.
A deuce; A 2.
Refers to having two 2’s as your hole cards.
Being in the first 1/3 of players at the table to have action.
Acronym for “Early Position”.
A mathematical evaluation of the value in playing your hand. If the pot is expected to be around $100 and you have a 60% chance of winning, you have $60 equity in that hand.
Acronym for “Expected Value”.
Is calculated relating to equity. The expected value in a hand is how much you are expected to win in correlation to the odds of the hand. If your equity is over 50%, you have a positive expected value. If your equity is less than 50%, you have a negative expected value.
Cards dealt that are not seen by the group. This would include your hole cards, as well as the “burn” cards.
Cards dealt that are visible to all playing.
To pretend to think about the action you want to make when you’ve already made your decision.
A hand in which all, or at least most, players are actively playing.
A game with a high amount of betting and raising.
The hand most likely to win based on odds.
Acronym for “Fold Equity”.
A term used to refer to the top covering of the poker table.
Acronym for “Full House”.
The total number of players in a tournament.
The last active table in a tournament that consisted of multiple tables.
The first player to have action at the poker table.
A lower skilled player expected to lose.
A poker game that has a set limit for the amount that can be bet and raised in each round of play.
Acronym for “Fixed Limit”.
Refers to the act of calling a bet rather than raising.
First three community cards dealt face up on the board.
A hand containing five cards of the same suit.
To get rid of your cards and no longer be involved in that round of gameplay.
The amount of equity you can gain in a hand if an opponent folds in response to your action.
A bet that is required and not the choice of the player. This includes antes and blinds.
Four of a Kind:
A hand with four cards of the same rank (example 9-9-9-9).
When no betting is made during that round. If all players involved “check”, another community card is dealt without anyone having to pay any additional money. This card is considered a free card.
Used in tournament play. Refers to a tournament in which no entry fee is paid to play.
Refers to tournament play. In a freezeout tournament, a player is eliminated when their chip stack is gone. There are no opportunities for re-buys or add-ons.
Acronym for “Final Table”.
A hand with three cards of the same rank along with a pair (9-9-9-8-8). Also referred to as a
A full table in a cash game; a table with 9 or 10 players.
Acronym for “Good Game”.
Acronym for “Good Luck”.
Refers to a specific style of poker play. A grinder is a player that plays for a long period of time aiming for smaller payouts to make a profit rather than large pots over a shorter period.
This type of tournament will have a guaranteed prize pool amount regardless of how many players pay the entry fee to play.
Hand for Hand:
Refers to tournament play. This usually occurs when preparing to move to a final table. In hand-for-hand play, each table must wait for all tables to complete the current hand before dealing the next.
A record of your previous hands. Available in online poker play.
Acronym for “Hold ‘Em”.
Two players competing only against each other.
Heads Up Display:
An option available in online poker play that displays statistical information about your opponent.
A long stretch of winning hands.
Acronym for “Hand History”.
The position two seats to the right of the dealer.
A type of poker where the highest hand and the lowest hand each take half the pot.
Hit and Run:
Refers to a player that wins a large sized pot in a cash game, then immediately leaves the table.
Cards held by a player. These are unknown to the other players.
Acronym for “Heads Up”.
Acronym for “Heads Up Display”.
Acronym for “Independent Chip Mode”.
The amount earned if a hand is won balanced against the cost to play the hand.
In the Dark:
Making an action (bet, check, raise) before the card is dealt that starts that betting round.
In the Money:
Refers to tournament play. Any player that has made it to a position in which they will be paid from the prize pool has finished “in the money”.
Independent Chip Model:
Refers to tournament play. A mathematical equation that calculates a player’s equity based on the number of chips they possess in comparison to the total amount of chips in play.
Inside Straight Draw:
Needing one card unit, and one card only, to complete a straight (example 5-6-7-9, can only be completed with an 8).
Acronym for “In the Money”.
Refers to the act of placing all your chips in the pot.
Another term for the “rake”.
A very poor-quality hand.
An unmatched card that is still in play for your final hand and can be used to determine the winner (Example: With a hand containing two pair, a higher 5th played card can break a tie. 9-9-10-10-A beats 9-9-10-10- Q. In this hand, the ace “kicker” beats the other player’s queen “kicker”).
Acronym for “Loose Aggressive”.
Refers to the last 1/3 of players at the table to have action.
To fold your hand.
Acronym for “Limit Hold ‘Em”.
The maximum amount that can be raised or bet at one time.
A poker game with a maximum amount that can be raised or bet at one time.
To put the minimum amount needed to stay in a hand into the pot. You will be calling someone’s bet rather than raising.
A card believed to still be available to be dealt from the deck. Not currently on the board or believed to be in a player’s hand.
A hand “on lock” cannot be beaten. Everyone else will be “drawing dead”.
A hand that has poor odds of winning the round.
A style of play in which the player is “chasing” a lot of hands. Players will continue to play many hands even though their odds of winning are low.
A style of play in which a player is engaging in both loose and aggressive play styles.
Acronym for “Late Position”.
A hand that does not require any additional cards to be complete; not a drawing hand.
A hand that is void and must be redealt due to an error.
A hand with an extremely high probability of winning.
Acronym for “Multi-Table Tournament”.
To fold your hand.
A tournament in which more than one table is needed due to the number of participants.
Refers to online poker play. The act of playing in more than one poker table at the same time.
A pot in which more than two players are involved.
Refers to a very tight style of play. This player will only play the most premium of hands.
Acronym for “No Limit”.
A poker game in which there is no maximum amount that can be bet in a round. Players can bet any amount they choose.
Refers to a poker game with exceptionally high stakes.
The best possible hand at that point in the round.
Acronym for “Omaha Hi-Lo”.
Acronym for “Open Ended Straight Draw”.
Acronym for “Open Ended Straight Flush Draw”.
Cards of varying suits.
Acronym for “Out of Position”.
Acronym for “Out of the Money”.
To make the initial bet to start that round of betting.
Open Ended Straight Draw:
A straight draw in which two different value cards are being drawn to. For example, a 6-7-8-9 can be completed by being dealt either a 5 or a 10.
Out of Position:
Completing an action before it is your turn to act; making a bet, check or raise out of position.
Out of the Money:
Refers to tournament play. A player that finishes the tournament in a position that does not pay any money from the prize pool.
The number of cards you are drawing to that will complete your hand. Also refers to the number of cards available to a completed hand to win when not favored already.
In no-limit poker, when a player bets more than the total amount of the pot in a single action.
A card that is a higher rank than another (example a 10 is an overcard to any card 9 or lower).
Two cards of the same rank.
A style of play in which the player prefers to check or call, as opposed to making a bet or raise.
Acronym for “Pre-Flop”.
Acronym for “Pre-Flop Raise”.
Acronym for “Pot Limit”.
Acronym for “Pot Limit Omaha”.
Acronym for “Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo”.
A player’s hole cards. The cards dealt to that player for use only in their hand.
A pair that is dealt to the player, made up of their hole cards.
Where a player sits, relative to the dealer’s button.
The amount of money players are competing to win for that round.
A poker game in which the maximum bet allowed is equal to the current size of the pot. No overbets are allowed.
Pot Sized Bet:
A bet that has a value equal to the current size of the pot.
Before the “flop”.
Acronym for “Pot Sized Bet”.
Acronym for “Player to my Left”.
Acronym for “Player to my Right”.
To make an all-in bet.
A low-level card that has no value in completing your hand.
A term that refers to a poker spectator, not an active participant.
Making a bet higher in value than another player’s original bet.
The money taken from the “pot” by a poker game facilitator. This is used to cover the costs associated with facilitating the poker game.
A players educated guess of an opponent’s current hand and odds of winning.
A style of tournament in which players can purchase more chips to re-enter the tournament if all their original chip stack is lost. These tournaments usually only allow a player to rebuy for a specific period of time in the beginning.
To make another raise over an opponent’s original raise.
Another term for a cash game.
The 5th and final community card dealt.
A style of game play in which a person is playing very tight (only participating in top quality hands).
Acronym for “Return on Investment”.
An A-K-Q-J-10 of the same suit. This is the highest-ranking hand in poker.
Refers to having two 4’s as your hole cards.
Used in tournament play. A tournament that, if won, allows you a chance to play in a larger tournament.
Acronym for “Small Blind”.
A hand with three cards of the same rank.
Acronym for “Short-Handed”.
Refers to a very skilled player among players of a lower skill level.
A poker game without as many players as intended. Usually refers to 6 or less players.
Refers to a player with a significantly shorter chip stack than the average in the field.
Another term for making an all-in bet.
The act of determining a winner after all action has been completed. All players still active in the hand will flip their hole cards over to determine the winner of the hand.
A separate pot available to win by only some of the active players. This is due to one player having their entire chip stack in the pot. If the other players continue to bet after this time, a side pot will be made and only the players betting into it are eligible to win that particular pot. It is also possible to have multiple side pots if multiple players make all in wagers.
Single Table Tourney:
A tournament that consists of only one table of participants.
Sit and Go:
A tournament that begins when a specific number of participants enter, rather than starting at a specified time.
Having a strong hand that you are trying to pose as weak. This is used to increase betting action against you in order to increase pot size.
Purposely waiting to show your hand during showdown to make your opponent believe they have won the hand. This is universally considered to be terrible poker etiquette.
The player one position to the left of the dealer’s button. This player has the smaller of the two forced pre-round bets.
An immediate call on an opponent’s bet.
Acronym for “Sit and Go” tournaments.
Refers to having two 8’s as your hole cards.
When multiple players finish the hand with cards of the same value. They have essentially tied, and the pot is split between them.
Acronym for “Short Stack”.
A raise made by a player that is typical of the circumstances. Usually, this bet is three times the amount of the “big blind”.
Steal the Blinds:
Making a bet in an attempt to collect the small and big blinds without any community cards being dealt.
Having 5 cards connected in rank (example 8-9-10-J-Q).
Having 5 cards connected in rank and all the same suit (example 8-9-10-J-Q, all of spades).
Acronym for “Single Table Tournament”.
To receive a card you were on a draw for and win the pot. Usually having very poor odds to win.
Cards that are of the same suit.
Two or more cards next to each other in rank and of the same suit (example 9-10 of diamonds).
A player can only play with the money/chips he or she has on the table in front of him or her. The player’s bet, call, or raise is limited to the number of chips he or she currently has, and the player cannot buy, borrow or produce more chips in the middle of a hand.
Acronym for “Tight Aggressive” play style.
Information an opponent is able to gather about the strength of your hand based on a change in behavior or demeanor.
Having three cards of the same rank.
A style of game play in which a player only participates in premium hands.
A style of game play that combines both tight and aggressive styles. A tight-aggressive player will only play premium hands, but will bet heavily when involved in a hand.
Making emotional decisions regarding your game play rather than using odds or reason resulting in reckless action.
Having a pair consisting of the highest community card on the board and one of your hole cards of the same rank.
Acronym for “Top Pair Top Kicker”.
To give the appearance of having a weak hand in order to lure others into betting or bluffing a weaker hand. To trap, you must possess a strong hand.
Having three cards of the same rank.
A tournament in which the length of each round of play is shorter, increasing the amount of the blinds at a faster rate.
The fourth community card dealt.
A hand that contains two different pairs.
Under the Gun:
The first player to have betting action in that pre-flop round. In most poker games, this is going to be the person one position to the left of the big blind.
Under the Gun +1:
The second player to have betting action in a pre-flop round. This is the person immediately to the left of the player in the under the gun position.
Acronym for “Under the Gun”.
Acronym for “Under the Gun +1”.
Making a smaller bet on a hand without being sure of its strength. This is usually used to gain information on the other hands active in that round.
Acronym for “Value Bet”.
Acronym for “Very Nice Hand”.
Voluntarily Put in Po:
A mathematical equation which determines the percentage of hands in which a player has voluntarily entered into a pot. This is included in heads-up displays to gain knowledge of your opponent’s style of play.
Acronym for “Voluntarily Put in Pot”.
Refers to having two 9’s as your hole cards. This is in reference to the famous hockey players jersey number.
Went to Showdown:
A mathematical equation which determines the percentage of hands in which a player has gone to a showdown. This is included in heads-up displays to gain knowledge of your opponent’s style of play.
A 5-high straight (example A-2-3-4-5); also known as a bicycle.
To start the round with a pair. You were dealt two cards of the same rank.
Acronym for “World Series of Poker”.
Acronym for “Went to Showdown”.
Understanding what other players are talking about, and being able to communicate effectively in return, is a huge step toward being taken seriously at the poker table.
Keep in mind that the game of poker has a lot to do with the credibility you can gain from the other players.
This list can seem never-ending at first. It’s no wonder that the poker table can feel so confusing for the inexperienced player.
With a little practice, hopefully you will be chatting it up with the “big boys” in no time.