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Poker Glossary

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W

To view the glossary, just click on a letter above and all of the poker terms starting with that letter will appear.




A

Action: A fold, check, call, bet or raise.
Aggressive Action: A bet or raise that could make it possible for a player to win a pot without a showdown
All In: Betting all of your playable money and chips during the course of a hand. You cannot return to your pocket during the course of a hand.
Ante: A set amount placed in the pot before the start of a hand by all players. Most hold'em games do not have an ante; they use "blinds" to get initial money into the pot.


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B

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."
Bet: The act of placing a wager in turn into the pot on any betting round or the chips put in the pot.
Big Blind: The largest ‘Blind’ in a game.
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 mandatory bet made before any cards are dealt.
Blind Game: A game in which a ‘Blind’ is used.
Board: (1) The board on which a waiting list is kept for players wanting seats in specific games. (2) Faceup cards on the table which are common to each of the hands.
Boardcard: A community card in the center of the table, as in holdem or Omaha.
Bottom: 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.
Boxed Card: A faceup card in a deck where all other cards are facedown.
Broken Game: A game no longer in action.
Burn: To discard the top card from the deck, face down. This is done between each betting round before putting out the next community card(s). It is security against any player recognizing or glimpsing the next card to be used on the board.
Burncard: A card that is placed under a chip in the pot, for security purposes, after the initial round of cards is dealt.
Button A player who is in the designated dealer position. See dealer button.
Button Games Games in which a dealer button is used.
Buy-In The minimum amount of playable money required to enter any game.


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C

California Lowball: Ace-to-five lowball with a joker.
Call: To match a bet that has been made.
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.
Cards Speak: The face value of a hand in a showdown is the true value of the hand, regardless of a verbal announcement.
Capped: Describes the situation in limit poker in which the maximum number of raises on the betting round have been reached.
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."
Check: To waive the right to initiate the betting in a round, but to retain the right to act if another player initiates the betting.
Check-Raise To check, indicating weakness, with the intention of raising after someone else bets.
Collection The host fee (taken either out of the pot or from each player).
Collection Drop A fee charged for each hand dealt.
Colour Change To change the chips from one denomination to another.
Common Card A card dealt faceup to be used by all players at the showdown in the games of stud poker whenever there are insufficient cards left in the deck to deal each player a card individually.
Community Cards The cards dealt faceup in the center of the table that can be used by all players to form their best hand in the games of holdem and Omaha.
Complete the Bet To increase an all-in bet or forced bet to a full bet in limit poker.
Complete Hand: A hand that is defined by all five cards - a straight, flush, full house, four of a kind, or straight flush.
Connector: A hold'em starting hand in which the two cards are one apart in rank. Examples: KQs, 76.
Cut To divide the deck into two sections.
Cut-Card Another term for the bottom card.


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D

Dead Card: A card that is not legally playable.
Dead Collection Blind: A fee paid by the player having the dealer button, used in some games as an alternative method of seat rental.
Dead Hand: A hand that is not legally playable.
Dead Money: Chips that are taken into the center of the pot because they are not considered part of a particular player's bet.
Deal: To distribute cards to each player, or put cards on the board.
Dealer Button: A flat disk that indicates the player who would be in the dealing position for that hand (if there were not a house dealer). Normally just called "the button."
Deal Off: To take all the blinds and the button before changing seats or leaving the table. That is, participate through all the blind positions and the dealer position.
Deal Twice: Dealing a second time for half the pot when there is no more betting.
Deck: A set of playing-cards. In these games, the deck consists of either:
(1) 52 cards in seven-card stud, holdem, and Omaha.
(2) 53 cards (including the joker), often used in ace-to-five lowball and draw high.
Discard(s): To throw cards out of your hand in a draw, to make room for replacements. Or the card(s) thrown away; the muck.
Downcards: Cards that are dealt facedown in a stud game.
Draw: (1) The poker form where players are given the opportunity to replace cards in the hand. In some places like California, the word "draw" is used referring to draw high, and draw low is called "lowball." (2) The act of replacing cards in the hand. (3) The point in the deal where replacing is done is called "the draw."


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E

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.
Expectation:
(1) A term referring to the amount of you expect to gain on average if you make a certain play. For instance, suppose you put $10 into a $50 pot to draw at a hand that you will make 25% of the time, and it will win every time you make it. Three out of four times, you do not make your draw, and lose $10 each time for a total of $30. The fourth time, you will make your draw, winning $50. Your total gain over those four average hands is $50-$30 = $20, an average of $5 per hand. Thus calling the $10 has a positive expectation of $5. (2) The amount you expect to make at the poker table in a specific time period. Perhaps in 100 hours play, you have won $527. Then your expectation is $5.27/hr. Of course, you won't make that exact amount each hour (and some hours you will lose), but it's one measure of your anticipated earnings.


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F

Facecard: A king, queen, or jack.
Fixed Limit: Where the amount of the bet on each particular round is pre-set.
Flashed Card: A card that is partially exposed to the players.
Floorperson: A casino representative who seats players and makes decisions.
Flop: In holdem or Omaha, the three community cards that are turned simultaneously after the first round of betting is complete.
Flush: A poker hand consisting of five cards of the same suit.
Fold: To throw a hand away.
Fourth Street: The second upcard in seven-card stud or the first boardcard after the flop in holdem (also called the turn card).
Fouled Hand: A hand no longer in play.
Forced Bet: A required wager to start the action on the first betting round (the normal way action begins in a stud game).
Freeroll: A chance to win something at no risk or cost.
Full Buy: Purchase of at least the minimum requirement of chips needed for a particular game.
Full House: A hand consisting of three of a kind and a pair.


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G

Gutshot: 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.


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H

Hand: (1) All the cards in a players hand known only to the player. (2) The five cards determining the poker ranking. (3) A single poker deal.
Heads-Up Play Only two players left in play.
Holecards Cards dealt facedown to a player.
Insurance A side agreement when someone is all-in for a player in a pot to put up money that guarantees a payoff of a set amount in case the opponent wins the pot.
Joker The joker is a "partially wild card" in high draw poker and ace-to-five lowball. In high, it is used for aces, straights, and flushes. In lowball, the joker is the lowest unmatched rank in a hand.
Heads: Up A pot that is being contested by only two players - "It was heads up by the turn."
Hit: As in "the flop hit me." It means the flop contained cards that help your hand. If you have AK, and the flop comes K-7-2, it hit you.
House: The establishment running the game. Example: "The $2 you put on the button goes to the house."


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I

Implied Odds: Pot odds that do not exist at the moment, but may be included in your calculations because of bets you expect to win if you hit your hand. For instance, you might call with a flush draw on the turn even though the pot isn't offering you quite 4:1 odds (your chance of making the flush) because you're sure you can win a bet from your opponent on the river if you make your flush.


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J

Jackpot: A special bonus paid to the loser of a hand if he gets a very good hand beaten. In hold'em, the "loser" must typically get aces full or better beaten. In some of the large southern California card clubs, the jackpots have gotten over $50,000. Of course, the jackpot is funded with money removed from the game as part of the rake.


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K

Kansas City Lowball: A form of draw poker low also known as deuce-to-seven, in which the best hand is 7-5-4-3-2 and straights and flushes count against you.
Kicker: The highest unpaired card that helps determine the value of a five-card poker hand.
Kill (or Kill Blind): An oversize blind, usually twice the size of the big blind and doubling the limit. Sometimes a "half-kill" increasing the blind and limits by fifty percent is used. A kill can be either voluntary or mandatory. The most common requirements of a mandatory kill are for winning two pots in a row at lowball and other games, or for scooping a pot in high-low split.
Kill Button: A button used in a lowball game to indicate a player who has won two pots in a row and is required to kill the pot.
Kill Pot: A pot with a forced kill by the winner of the two previous pots, or the winner of an entire pot of sufficient size in a high-low split game. (Some pots can be voluntarily killed.)


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L

Leg Up: Being in a situation equivalent to having won the previous pot, and thus liable to have to kill the following pot if you win the current pot.
Live Blind A blind bet giving a player the option of raising if no one else has raised.
Lock-Up A chip marker that holds a seat for a player.
Lowball A draw game where the lowest hand wins.
Lowcard The lowest faceup card at seven-card stud, which is required to bet.


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M

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.
Misdeal: An error on the dealing of a hand which causes the cards to be reshuffled and a new hand to be dealt.
Missed Blind: A required bet that is not posted when it is your turn to do so.
Muck: (1) The pile of discards gathered facedown in the center of the table by the dealer. (2) To discard
Must-Move: In order to protect the main game, a situation where the players of a second game must move into the first game as openings occur.


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N

No-Limit: A betting structure where players are permitted to bet any or all of their chips in one bet.
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 in the above hand might say they had the "nut straight".


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O

Offsuit: A hold'em starting hand in which the two cards are of different suits.
One-Gap: A hold'em starting hand in which the two cards are two apart in rank. Examples: J9s, 64.
Opener: The player who made the first voluntary bet.
Opener Button: A button used to indicate who opened a particular pot in a draw game.
Openers: In jacks-or-better draw, the cards held by the player who opens the pot that show the hand qualifies to be opened. Example: You are first to bet and have a pair of kings; the kings are called your openers.
Option: The choice to raise a bet given to a player with a blind.
Overblind: Also called oversize blind. A blind used in some pots that is bigger than the regular big blind, and usually increases the stakes proportionally.
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.


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P

Pass: (1) Decline to bet. In a pass-and-out game, this differs from a check, because a player who passes must fold. (2) Decline to call a wager, at which point you must discard your hand.
Pat: Not drawing any cards in a draw game.
Pay Off: To call a bet where the bettor is representing a hand that you can't beat, but the pot is sufficiently large to justify a call anyway. Example: "He played it exactly like he made the flush, but I had top set so I paid him off."
Play Behind: Having chips in play that are not in front of you (allowed only when waiting for chips that are already purchased). This differs from table stakes.
Play the Board: Using all five community cards for your hand in holdem.
Play Over: To play in a seat when the occupant is absent.
Play Over Box: A clear plastic box used to cover and protect the chips of an absent player when someone plays over that seat.
Play the Board: To show down a hand in hold'em when your cards don't make a hand any better than is shown on the board. For instance, if you have 22, and the board is 4-4-9-9-A (no flush possible), then you must "play the board" - the best possible hand you can make doesn't use any of your cards. Note that if you play the board, the best you can do is to split the pot with all remaining players.
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."
Position: (1) The relation of a player's seat to the blinds or the button. (2) The order of acting on a betting round or deal.
Pot-Limit: The betting structure of a game in which you are allowed to bet up to the amount in the pot.
Potting Out: Agreeing with another player to take money out of a pot.
Proposition Bets: Side bets between players that are not related to the outcome of the hand.
Protected Hand: A hand of cards that the player is physically holding, or has topped with a chip or some other object to prevent a fouled hand.
Push: When a new dealer replaces an existing dealer.
Pushing Bets: When two or more players make an agreement to return bets to each other when one of them wins a pot in which the other or others play. Also called saving bets.


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Q

Quads: Four of a kind


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R

Rack: (1) A container in which chips are stored while being transported. (2) A tray in front of the dealer, used to hold chips and cards.
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.
Raise: To increase the amount of a prior wager.
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."
Reraise: To raise someone's raise.
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 end, you can throw away just about anything but the nuts.
Runner: Typically said "runner-runner" to describe a hand which was made only by catching the correct cards on both the turn and the river - "He made a runner-runner flush to beat my trips." See also "Backdoor."


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S

Saving Bets: Same as pushing bets.
Scoop: To win both the high and the low portions of a pot in a split-pot game.
Scramble: Mixing the cards facedown on the table.
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.
Semi-bluff: 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. Setup: Two suited decks, each with different colored backs, to replace current decks in a game.
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. Furthermore, any more bets that Al and Beth make go into that side pot. Carl, however, can still win all the money in the original or "center" pot.
Short Buy: A buy-in that is less than the required minimum buy-in.
Showdown: The final act of determining the winner of the pot after all betting is completed.
Shuffle: The act of mixing the cards.
Slow Play: To play a strong hand weakly so more players will stay in the pot
Small Blind: In a game with multiple blind bets, the smallest blind.
Split Pot: A pot that is divided among players, either because of a tie for the best hand or by agreement prior to the showdown.
Splitting Blinds: When no one else has entered the pot, an agreement between the big blind and small blind to each take back their blind bets instead of playing the deal (chopping).
Splitting Openers: In high draw jacks-or-better poker, dividing openers in hopes of making a different type of hand. Example: You open the pot with a pair of aces. One of your aces is a spade, as are the three other cards in the hand. If you throw away the non-spade ace to go for the flush, you announce to the table, "Splitting openers."
Stack: A players Chips.
Straddle: An additional blind bet placed after the forced blinds, usually double the big blind in size or in lowball, a multiple blind game.
Straight: Five cards in consecutive rank.
Straight Flush: Five cards in consecutive rank of the same suit.
Street: Cards dealt on a particular round in stud games. For instance, the fourth card in a player's hand is often known as fourth street, the sixth card as sixth street, and so on.
String Raise: A bet made in more than one motion, without a declaration of a raise (not allowed).
Stub: Cards that have not been dealt.
Supervisor: A cardroom employee qualified to make rulings, such as a floorperson, shift supervisor, or the cardroom manager.


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T

Table Stakes: (1) The amount of money you have on the table. This is the maximum amount that you can lose or that anyone can win from you on any one hand. (2) The requirement that players can wager only the money in front of them at the start of a hand, and can only buy more chips between hands.
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.
Time: An expression used to stop the action on a hand. Equivalent to "Hold it."
Time Collection: A fee for a seat rental, paid in advance.
Toke: A small amount of money (typically $.50 or $1.00) given to the dealer by the winner of a pot. Quite often, tokes represent the great majority of a dealer's income.
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.
Tournament: A poker competition, normally with an entry fee and prizes.
Turncard: The fourth street card in holdem or Omaha.


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U

Upcards: Cards that are dealt faceup for opponents to see in stud games.
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 who is 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).


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V

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 which, 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.


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W

Wager (1) To bet or raise. (2) The chips used for betting or raising.


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