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POKER TERMS AND DEFINITIONS

Action

There are two possible definitions for this.

1: If it is your turn to play, it is said that the ‘action’ is with you.
2: The other is for bets and raises. For example: "If a third heart hits the board and there's a lot of action, you have to assume that somebody has made the flush."

Add-on

The “Add-on” is the last opportunity a player has to buy additional chips in an attempt to better his/her chances to win a “Re-buy” & “Add-on” tournament. The Add-on is available for a limited period of time to players after the Re-buy period is over. The amount and time restriction can be found in the tournament lobby.

Ante

A small portion of a bet contributed by each player to seed the pot at the beginning of a poker hand. Most hold'em games do not have an ante; they use "blinds" to get initial money into the pot.

All-In

To run out of chips while betting or calling. In table stakes games, a player may not go into his pocket for more money during a hand. If he runs out, a side pot is created in which he has no interest. However, he can still win the pot for which he had the chips. Example: "Poor Bob. He made quads against the big full house, but he was all-in on the second bet."

Backdoor

Catching both the turn and river card to make a drawing hand. For instance, suppose you have As-7s. The flop comes Ad-6c-4s. You bet and are called. The turn is the Ts, which everybody checks, and then the river is the Js. You've made a "backdoor" nut flush. See also "runner."

Bad Beat

To have a hand that is a large underdog beat a heavily favored hand. It is generally used to imply that the winner of the pot had no business being in the pot at all, and it was the wildest of luck that he managed to catch the one card in the deck that would win the pot. We won't give any examples; you will hear plenty of them during your poker career.

Big Blind

The larger of the two blinds typically used in a hold'em game. The big blind is a full first round bet. See also "blind" and "small blind."

Big Slick

A nickname for AK (suited or not). Its origins are unknown (to me, anyway).

Blank

A board card that doesn't seem to affect the standings in the hand. If the flop is As-Jd-Ts, then a turn card of 2h would be considered a blank. On the other hand, the 2s would not be.

Blind

A forced bet (or partial bet) put in by one or more players before any cards are dealt. Typically, blinds are put in by players immediately to the left of the button. See also "live blind."

Board

All the community cards in a hold'em game -- the flop, turn, and river cards together. Example: "There wasn't a single heart on the board."

Bot

Short for "robot". In a poker context, a program that plays poker online with no (or minimal) human intervention.

Bottom Pair

A pair with the lowest card on the flop. If you have As-6s, and the flop comes Kd-Th-6c, you have flopped bottom pair.

Bubble

1: The point at which only one player must bust out before all others win some money.
2: The person who was unfortunate enough to finish in that position.

Button

A white acrylic disk that indicates the (nominal) dealer. Also used to refer to the player on the button. Example: "Oh, the button raised."

Buy

1: As in "buy the pot." To bluff, hoping to "buy" the pot without being called.
2: As in "buy the button." To bet or raise, hoping to make players between you and the button fold, thus allowing you to act last on subsequent betting rounds.

Buy-In

The registration cost for a poker tournament is referred to as a “Buy-in”. The “Buy-in” is the amount each player must invest to enter a tournament. The Buy-in amount for each tournament can be found in the tournament lobby. Total Buy-ins from all registered players creates the total prize pool for that tournament. Players are allowed to unregister for a tournament up to a deadline found in the tournament lobby.

Call

To put into the pot an amount of money equal to the most recent bet or raise. The term "see" (as in "I'll see that bet") is considered colloquial.

Calling Station

A weak-passive player who calls a lot, but doesn't raise or fold much. This is the kind of player you like to have in your game

Cap

To put in the last raise permitted on a betting round. This is typically the third or fourth raise. Dealers in California are fond of saying "Capitola" or "Cappuccino."

Case

The last card of a certain rank in the deck. Example: "The flop came J-8-3; I've got pocket jacks, he's got pocket 8's, and then the case eight falls on the river, and he beats my full house."

Center Pot

The first pot created during a poker hand, as opposed to one or more "side" pots created if one or more players goes all-in. Also "main pot."

Check

To not bet, with the option to call or raise later in the betting round. Equivalent to betting zero dollars.

Check-Raise

To check and then raise when a player behind you bets. Occasionally you will hear people say this is not fair or ethical poker. Piffle. Almost all casinos permit check-raising, and it is an important poker tactic. It is particularly useful in low-limit hold'em where you need extra strength to narrow the field if you have the best hand.

Connector

A hold'em starting hand in which the two cards are one apart in rank. Suited connectors are two hold cards of the same suit which are in sequence (eg: 7d8d , 10sJs)

Counterfeit

To make your hand less valuable because of board cards that duplicate it. Example: you have 87 and the flop comes 9-T-J, so you have a straight. Now an 8 comes on the turn. This has counterfeited your hand and made it almost worthless.

Crack

To beat a hand -- typically a big hand. You hear this most often applied to pocket aces: "Third time tonight I've had pocket aces cracked."

Dominated Hand

A hand that will almost always lose to a better hand that people usually play. For instance, K3 is "dominated" by KQ. With the exception of strange flops (e.g., 3-3-X, K-3-X), it will always lose to KQ.

Draw

To play a hand that is not yet good, but could become so if the right cards come. Example: "I'm not there yet -- I'm drawing." Also used as a noun. Example: "I have to call because I have a good draw."

Draw Dead

Trying to make a hand that, even if made, will not win the pot. If you're drawing to make a flush, and your opponent already has a full house, you are "drawing dead." Of course, this is a bad condition to be in.

Equity

Your "rightful" share of a pot. If the pot contains $80, and you have a 50% chance of winning it, you have $40 equity in the pot. This term is somewhat fanciful since you will either win $80 or $0, but it gives you an idea of how much you can "expect" to win.

Family Pot

A pot in which all of the players call before the flop.

Fast Play

To play a hand aggressively, betting and raising as much as possible. Example: "When you flop a set but there's a flush draw possible, you have to play it fast."

Fish

A poor player -- one who gives his money away. It's a well-known (though not well-followed) rule among good players to not upset the bad players, because they'll stop having fun and perhaps leave. Thus the phrase, "Don't tap on the aquarium."

Flop

The first three community cards, put out face up, all together.

Fold Equity

The extra value you get from a hand when you force an opponent to fold. That is, if you don't have to see a showdown, your hand has more value than if you do.

Free Card

A turn or river card on which you don't have to call a bet because of play earlier in the hand (or because of your reputation with your opponents). For instance, if you are on the button and raise when you flop a flush draw, your opponents may check to you on the turn. If you make your flush on the turn, you can bet. If you don't get it on the turn, you can check as well, seeing the river card for "free."

Gap Hand

A starting hand with cards more than one rank apart. For instance, T9 is a one-gap hand. 86 is a two-gap hand

Gutshot Straight

A straight filled "inside." If you have 9s-8s, the flop comes 7c-5h-2d, and the turn is the 6c, you've made your gutshot straight.

Hand-For-Hand

In the later stage of a tournament, when each position represents a substantial difference in prizes and there is more than one table remaining, the tournament may be played "hand-for-hand". This means that each table will play each hand at the same time until a player is eliminated. Table(s) may have to wait until all hands from the other table(s) are completed in order to start the next hand. Hand-for-Hand play may happen more than once during the same tournament.

If two or more players are eliminated from a different table during "Hand-for-hand" play, they are considered to be eliminated in the same hand regardless if one of the hands finished earlier than the other. Chips stacks will be compared to determine the finishing

Heads-up

When a contest is between 2 players only, it is referred to as "Heads-up". Heads-up Shoot-out tournaments are a good way to improve your winning game, as you will end up facing one opponent most of the time to win any tournament. The rules are the same with "Heads-up" play with the exception that the player with the "dealer button" posts the small blind and will act first pre-flop then last for the remainder of the hand. The player who posts the big blind is dealt first.

Hit

As in "the flop hit me," meaning the flop contains cards that help your hand. If you have AK, and the flop comes K-7-2, it hit you.

In the Money

When a player has qualified for a prize in a tournament, it is called "In the Money". If a player is "In the Money" that means that he will win at least the minimum prize available for that tournament.

Kicker

An unpaired card used to determine the better of two near-equivalent hands. For instance, suppose you have AK and your opponent has AQ. If the flop has an ace in it, you both have a pair of aces, but you have a king kicker. Kickers can be vitally important in hold'em.

Leak

A weakness in your game that causes you to win less money than you would otherwise. Example: "She takes her pocket pairs too far; it's a leak in her game."

Limp

To call. Generally the term refers to pre-flop action. For instance: "He limped in early position with 77."

Maniac

A player who does a lot of hyper-aggressive raising, betting, and bluffing. A true maniac is not a good player, but is simply doing a lot of gambling. However, a player who occasionally acts like a maniac and confuses his opponents is quite dangerous.

Made Hand

A hand to which you're drawing, or one good enough that it doesn't need to improve.

Micro-Limit

Games so small that they couldn't be profitably dealt in a real cardroom. They exist only at online poker sites. You might arbitrarily call games $.25-.50 and smaller "micro-limit."

Muck

The pile of folded and burned cards in front of the dealer. Example: "His hand hit the muck so the dealer ruled it folded even though the guy wanted to get his cards back." Also used as a verb. Example: "He didn't have any outs so he mucked his hand."

No-Limit

A version of poker in which a player may bet any amount of chips (up to the number in front of him) whenever it is his turn to act. It is a very different game from limit poker.

Nuts

The best possible hand given the board. If the board is Ks-Jd-Ts-4s-2h, then As-Xs is the nuts. You will occasionally hear the term applied to the best possible hand of a certain category, even though it isn't the overall nuts. For the above example, somebody with Ah-Qc might say they had the "nut straight."

Offsuit

A hold'em starting hand with two cards of different suits.

Out

A card that will make your hand win. Normally heard in the plural. Example: "Any spade will make my flush, so I have nine outs."

Overcall

To call a bet after one or more others players have already called.

Overcard

A card higher than any card on the board. For instance, if you have AQ and the flop comes J-7-3, you don't have a pair, but you have two overcards.

Overpair

A pocket pair higher than any card on the flop. If you have QQ and the flop comes J-8-3, you have an overpair.

Prizes

The total prize pool and number of players being paid is determined by the number of registered players in a tournament. The more players that enter a tournament, the larger the prize pool will be and ultimately the more players who will receive prizes. The number of players, prize pool and prize distribution can be found in the tournament lobby. All monies paid from all Buy-ins account for the prize pool for each tournament.

Pat

A hand that you make on the flop. For instance, if you have two spades in your hand and the flop has three spades, then you've flopped a pat spade flush.

Pocket

Your unique cards that only you can see. For instance, "He had pocket sixes" (a pair of sixes), or "I had ace-king in the pocket."

Pocket Pair

A hold'em starting hand with two cards of the same rank, making a pair. Example: "I had big pocket pairs seven times in the first hour. What else can you ask for?"

Post

To put in a blind bet, generally required when you first sit down in a cardroom game. You may also be required to post a blind if you change seats at the table in a way that moves you away from the blinds. Example: a player leaves one seat at a table and takes another in such a way that he moves farther from the blinds. He is required to post an extra blind to receive a hand. See also "extra blind."

Pot-Committed

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

Pot-Limit

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. Like no-limit, this is a very different game from limit poker.

Pot Odds

The amount of money in the pot compared to the amount you must put in the pot to continue playing. For example, suppose there is $60 in the pot. Somebody bets $6, so the pot now contains $66. It costs you $6 to call, so your pot odds are 11:1. If your chance of having the best hand is at least 1 out of 12, you should call. Pot odds also apply to draws. For instance, suppose you have a draw to the nut flush with one card left to come. In this case, you are about a 4:1 underdog to make your flush. If it costs you $8 to call the bet, then there must be about $32 in the pot (including the most recent bet) to make your call correct.

Put On

To mentally assign a hand to a player for the purposes of playing out your hand. Example: "He raised on the flop, but I put him on a draw, so I re-raised and then bet the turn."

Quads

Four of a kind.

Re-buy

When a player qualifies to purchase another “Buy-in” during a tournament, it is called a "Re-buy". A Re-buy allows for a player to continue competing in a tournament. Re-buys are available in a Re-buy & Add-on tournament only. The number of Re-buys, time restriction, amount and conditions for Re-buys can be found in the tournament lobby.

Ragged

A flop (or board) that doesn't appear to help anybody very much. A flop that came down Jd-6h-2c would look ragged.

Rainbow

A flop that contains three different suits, thus no flush can be made on the turn. Can also mean a complete five card board that has no more than two of any suit, thus no flush is possible.

Rake

An amount of money taken out of every pot by the dealer. This is the cardroom's income.

Rank

The numerical value of a card (as opposed to its suit). Example: "jack," "seven."

Rebuy

An option to buy back into a tournament after you've lost all your chips. Tournaments may offer one or more rebuys or (often) none at all.

Represent

To play as if you hold a certain hand. For instance, if you raised before the flop, and then raised again when the flop came ace high, you would be representing at least an ace with a good kicker.

Ring Game

A regular poker game as opposed to a tournament. Also referred to as a "live" game since actual money is in play instead of tournament chips.

River

The fifth and final community card, put out face up, by itself. Also known as "fifth street." Metaphors involving the river are some of poker's most treasured cliches, e.g., "He drowned in the river."

Rock

A player who plays very tight, not very creatively. He raises only with the best hands. A real rock is fairly predictable: if he raises you on the river, you can throw away just about anything but the nuts.

Round

A round is a term referred to in “Shoot-out” tournaments; it is like an individual “Freeze-out” tournament. Rounds have their own Level Structure and the winner(s) from each table per round advance to the next round.

Satellite

A tournament that does not always award cash to its winners, but normally a seat (or seats) in a subsequent "target" tournament.

Second Pair

A pair with the second highest card on the flop. If you have As-Ts, and the flop comes Kd-Th-6c, you have flopped second pair. See "top pair."

Semi-Bluff

A powerful concept first discussed by David Sklansky. It is a bet or raise that you hope will not be called, but you have some outs if it is. A semi-bluff may be correct when betting for value is not correct, a pure bluff is not correct, but the combination of the two may be a positive expectation play. Example: you have Ks-Qs, and the flop is Th-5s-Jc. If you bet now, it's a semi-bluff. You probably don't have the best hand, and you'd like to see your opponents fold immediately. Nevertheless, if you do get callers, you could still improve to the best hand.

Set

Three of a kind when you have two of the rank in your hand, and there is one on the board.

Short Stack

A number of chips that is not very many compared to the other players at the table. If you have $10 in front of you, and everybody else at the table has over $100, you are playing on a short stack.

Showdown

The point at which all players remaining in the hand turn their cards over and determine who has the best hand -- i.e., after the fourth round of betting is completed. Of course, if a final bet or raise is not called, there is no showdown.

Side Pot

A pot created in which a player has no interest because he has run out of chips. Example: Al bets $6, Beth calls the $6, and Carl calls, but he has only $2 left. An $8 side pot is created that either Al or Beth can win, but not Carl. Carl, however, can still win all the money in the original or "center" pot.

Slow Play

To play a strong hand weakly so more players will stay in the pot.

Small Blind

The smaller of two blind bets typically used in a hold'em game. Normally, the small blind is one-third to two-thirds of a first round bet. See also "big blind" and "blind."

Split Pot

A pot that is shared by two or more players because they have equivalent hands.

Split Two Pair

A two pair hand in which one of each of your cards' ranks appears on the board as well. Example: you have T9, the flop is T-9-5, you have a split two pair. This is in comparison to two pair where there is a pair on the board. Example: you have T9, the flop is 9-5-5.

Stop-and-Go

A play where you call (rather than re-raising) a raise, but then come out betting on the next card.

Suited

A hold'em starting hand in which the two cards are the same suit. Example: "I had to play J-3 -- it was suited."

Tell

A clue or hint that a player unknowingly gives about the strength of his hand, his next action, etc. May originally be from "telegraph" or the obvious use that he "tells" you what he's going to do before he does it.

Tilt

To play wildly or recklessly. A player is said to be "on tilt" if he is not playing his best, playing too many hands, trying wild bluffs, raising with bad hands, etc.

Top Pair

A pair with the highest card on the flop. If you have As-Qs, and the flop comes Qd-Th-6c, you have flopped top pair. See "second pair."

Top Set

The highest possible trips. Example: you have Tc-Ts, and the flop comes Td-8c-9h. You have flopped top set.

Top Two

Two pair, with your two hole cards pairing the two highest cards on the board.

Top and Bottom

Two pair, with your two hole cards pairing the highest and lowest cards on the board.

Trips

Three of a kind.

Turn

The fourth community card. Put out face up, by itself. Also known as "fourth street."

Under the Gun

The position of the player who acts first on a betting round. For instance, if you are one to the left of the big blind, you are under the gun before the flop.

Underdog

A person or hand not mathematically favored to win a pot. For instance, if you flop four cards to your flush, you are not quite a 2:1 underdog to make your flush by the river (that is, you will make your flush about one in three times). See also "dog."

Value

As in "bet for value." This means that you would actually like your opponents to call your bet (as opposed to a bluff). Generally it's because you have the best hand. However, it can also be a draw that, given enough callers, has a positive expectation.

Variance

A measure of the up and down swings your bankroll goes through. Variance is not necessarily a measure of how well you play. However, the higher your variance, the wider swings you'll see in your bankroll.

Wheel

A straight from ace through five.