One of the first things you need to understand when playing poker is the various poker terms used. While some of these poker terminology are unique to poker, others are considered to be poker slang from other gambling games and casino culture. Familiarising yourself with this language will make you more comfortable at the table and help you follow along with the game.
Here are some of the most common poker terms you need to know:
This term refers to a player’s turn to act on their hand. The options here are to call, raise, or fold.
When a player bets all of their chips on a single hand, they are said to be all-in.
This is the total amount of money a player has set aside for poker. It is important to manage your bankroll carefully to avoid going broke.
A bet is a wager made on the outcome of a hand.
Blinds are forced bets that the two players must make to the left of the dealer before any cards are dealt. The small blind is usually half of the big blind.
A boat is another term for a full house.
The bring-in is a forced bet that the player must make with the lowest card showing on the first round of betting.
Before each deal, the top card of the deck is discarded face down. This is called the burn card.
Calling means to match the current bet made by another player.
Checking means not making a bet but staying in hand.
Poker chips are used as currency at the table. Depending on the casino or home game, they come in different denominations and colours.
Community cards are cards that are dealt face up in the middle of the table and can be used by all players to make their hand. In Texas Hold’em, there are five community cards.
Connector cards are two cards that are next to each other in rank, such as an eight and a nine.
Cowboys is another term for a pair of kings.
Dead man’s hand:
The dead man’s hand is a two-pair hand consisting of aces and eights. This hand gets its name from the legend that it was the last handheld by Wild Bill Hickok before he was shot and killed.
The dealer is the person who deals the cards during the game. They also control the flow of betting and rotate clockwise after each hand is completed.
A draw is when a player has some cards that they need to improve their hand.
Face cards are the king, queen, and jack.
Fifth street is another term for the river card.
A fish is a weak or inexperienced player who regularly loses money at the table.
A flat call is when you simply call the current bet instead of raising.
The flop is the first three community cards that are dealt face up in the middle of the table.
Folding means to give up your hand and not continue betting. This is often done when you think you cannot win or have a very weak hand.
Fourth street is another term for the turn card.
A full house is a hand that consists of three of a kind and a pair. For example, three kings and two tens would be a full house.
A hand is the cards that you are dealt during the game.
Heads-up is when only two players are left in the hand, one betting and one calling.
Hole cards are the two cards that are dealt face down to each player at the beginning of the hand. These are also sometimes called pocket cards.
A kicker is a high card that can be used to break ties. For example, if two players have a pair of jacks, the one with the higher kicker card would win.
A limit game is one in which the betting is restricted to a set amount.
A loose player is one who plays a lot of hands and doesn’t fold very often.
Middle position is the group of players who are between the early and late positions. There are usually three or four players in the middle position.
The minimum buy-in is the smallest amount of money that you can use to buy chips for a game. This amount varies depending on the stakes of the game.
The muck is the pile of discarded cards. Any card that is folded or burned is placed in the muck.
In a no-limit game, there is no set betting amount, and players can bet any amount they want on any given hand.
Offsuit cards are two cards that are not of the same suit. For example, an ace of spades and a queen of hearts would be offsuit.
Outs are the number of cards that will improve your hand. For example, if you have four cards to flush, you have nine outs because there are thirteen cards in a suit, and you need one of them to make your hand.
An overcard is a card that is higher than any other card on the board. For example, if the board is showing a ten, nine, and eight, and you have an ace in your hand, you have an overcard.
A pair is two cards of the same rank. For example, two kings would be a pair.
Passive players are those who do not often bet or raise but will call bets made by others.
Pocket cards are the two cards that are dealt face down to each player at the beginning of the hand. These are also sometimes called hole cards.
Position is where you are sitting relative to the dealer button. The dealer button is the marker that indicates who the current dealer is and where the betting should start. Early position is the group of players who are closest to the dealer button, late position is the group of players who are farthest from the dealer button, and middle position is the group of players in between.
The pot is the money that has been bet on a particular hand. All of the chips that have been put in the middle of the table during a hand make up the pot.
A pot limit game is one in which the betting is restricted to the size of the current pot.
Preflop is the first betting round in a hand of poker. It occurs after the hole cards have been dealt and before the flop has been dealt.
Quads are four of a kind. For example, four aces would be quads.
A raise is an increase in the bet.
The revelation principle is a concept in poker terminology that says that a player will always reveal their true preferences by their actions.
Rivered means to hit the last card you need on the river. For example, if you are drawing to a flush and the final card dealt is the same suit as your other four cards, you would be said to have revived your flush.
The river is the fifth and final community card that is dealt in Texas Hold’em and Omaha. It is also sometimes called Fifth Street.
A royal flush is an ace-high straight flush. For example, A-K-Q-J-10 all have the same suit.
A satellite is a tournament in which the prize is not cash but rather entry into a larger tournament.
A set is three of a kind where you have two of the cards in your hand and one on the board. For example, if the board shows 9-9-2 and you have 9-9 in your hand, you have a set of nines.
The showdown is when all remaining players show their hands to see who has won the pot. In order to reach the showdown, all players must either call or fold when the last bet is made.
A side pot is a pot that is created when one or more players runs out of chips and can no longer match the bet.
Sit and go:
A sit and go is a type of poker tournament in which the players are all seated at the beginning of the tournament and play until there is only one person left. These are also sometimes called single table tournaments.
The small blind is the smaller of the two blinds in a game of poker. The small blind is typically half of the big blind.
A split pot is a situation in which two or more players have equally strong hands, and they share the pot between them. For example, if two players both have a flush, they would split the pot.
A straight is five cards in sequential order. They do not have to be of the same suit. For example, 5-6-7-8-9 or 10-J-Q-K-A.
A straight flush is a straight where all of the cards are of the same suit. For example, 8-9-10-J-Q all of clubs.
Suited means that the two cards are of the same suit. So, for example, if you have two clubs, you would be said to be suited.
A tell is a physical or verbal cue that a player gives that reveals information about their hand. For example, a player might get nervous when they have a strong hand and give away their tell.
Three of a kind:
Three of a kind is three cards of the same rank. For example, three queens or three 7s.
Tight means that a player is only willing to play a small number of hands. A tight player is often considered to be a good player because they are not willing to take unnecessary risks.
Top pair is when you have the highest card on the board and one other card of the same rank in your hand. For example, if the board shows A-7-2 and you have an ace and a 7 in your hand, you would have the top pair.
The turn is the fourth community card that is dealt in Texas Hold’em and Omaha. It is also sometimes called Fourth Street.
Under the gun:
Under the gun means that you are the first player to act in a particular round of betting. For example, if the player to your left bets, you would be said to be under the gun.
A wheel is a straight that goes from ace to five. For example, A-2-3-4-5. It is also sometimes called a bicycle or a baby straight.
A wrap is a type of straight draw in which you have two cards that are sequential and two more that are sequential but not adjacent to the first two. For example, you would have a wrap if you have 7-8 and the board shows 5-9. You would need a 6 or a 10 to complete your straight.
Odds and Probabilities
This section will give you a better understanding of the odds and probabilities involved in poker. These concepts are important to understand because they can help you make decisions that are +EV (positive expected value).
Odds are a way of expressing the probability of something happening. They are often expressed as a ratio, such as 2:1 or 3:1. The first number is the number of ways that the thing can happen, and the second number is the number of ways that it cannot happen. For example, if you flip a coin, there are two possible outcomes (heads or tails), and only one of them is heads. Therefore, the odds of flipping a head are 1:1
And there you have it, all of the poker terms used in the game.