Besides the terms listed here, there are thousands of common and uncommon informal or slang terms and this is not intended to be a comprehensive dictionary for all poker games.
Ace: An ace is both the highest and lowest ranked card. It may be used in a wheel (5-4-3-2-A), or a Broadway straight, (A-K-Q-J-10).
Act / Action: When a player folds, checks, bets or raises.
Add-on: During a tournament with rebuys, players may have a once only add-on of chips after the rebuy period closes, usually during the first break.
Active player: A player with cards who has a claim on some part of the Pot. May also refer to a player who has folded and is eligible to play in the next hand.
Air: A bet with nothing, inasmuch as your hand is extremely unlikely to win a showdown.
All-in: To risk all of one's chips either by betting or calling.
American Airlines (AA): Nickname for a pair of aces.
Ante: A compulsory stake usually paid by all the players before the cards are dealt, as opposed to a blind which is a forced bet paid by players nominated by the rules.
Any two cards: (ATC): Slang term for a very wide hand selection.
Backdoor: When the Turn and the River card are both necessary to complete a hand, such as a Straight, Flush or better. Also known as runner-runner.
Bad beat: When a strong hand is beaten unexpectedly, especially when beaten by a hand which was played unconventionally.
Bankroll management (BRM): The decision making process that determines which games a player chooses to play, based on their bankroll, the stakes of the game but most importantly, their perceived risk of ruin in that game.
Behind: To be seated in a position whereby you act after another player has acted, or to have an inferior hand to another player.
Bet: The act of opening the action on a street by making the first wager.
Belly buster: An inside straight draw. Needing a card of a specific rank to make a Straight. A double belly buster is when a card of two different ranks make a Straight, either time completing a different inside Straight. For example, holding 8-7 on a 4-6-10 board requires either a 5 or a 9.
Big blind (BB): The larger of the forced bets made by the two players immediately to the left of the Dealer before cards are dealt. Usually, but not always, an amount greater than that posted by the Small blind.
Big blind position: The seat to the left of the Small blind, where the player paid the Big blind.
Big slick: Nickname for an Ace and a King comprising a Hold’em hand.
Big stack bully: Slang for a player who appears to be using their stack size to make life difficult for other players in a tournament.
Blank / Brick: A card which is dealt that does not appear to change the probability of a draw being completed.
Blind: A forced bet put in by one or more players before cards are dealt in order to stimulate action in the Pot.
Blocker: Having cards in your hand which are required for opponents to complete their hand, especially if they are drawing to a Straight or Flush.
Bluff: To bet with a hand you know is not winning, in order to win the hand by making others fold.
Board: The Community cards, comprising ALL of the Flop, Turn and River.
Boat: Nickname for a Full house.
Bounty: A prize received when eliminating a player from a tournament, other than the prizes in the Prize pool related to finishing positions.
Brick and mortar (B&M): Live venues such as casinos or cardrooms, as opposed to online games.
Bring in: When a player opens the betting on a round. Derived from stud poker where players are forced to bet when they have the highest, or lowest hand showing.
Broadway: All the cards ranked Ten and above. A Broadway Straight is A-K-Q-J-10.
Bubble: The situation in a tournament where it is necessary to eliminate one player for the prize to be increased by a level. Most commonly refers to when the lowest prize is imminent and the next player eliminated gets nothing.
Bully: Nickname for a player who tries to drive opponents off hands with an aggressive strategy of betting.
Buy-in: In Ring games, the amount a player brings to the table. In Tournaments, the cost required to play the tournament initially.
Call: To match all previous players' bets.
Cap: In Fixed limit to reach the pre-determined maximum number of raises allowed.
Case card: When just one card of all left in the deck is able to win the hand.
Cashing: Winning a prize from a tournament.
Catch: Complete a draw or match a card in your hand to a board card to make a pair.
Ceiling: In Hi/Lo games the maximum high card allowed in a low hand for it to qualify to qualify for the low Pot.
Chase: Call bets to try and complete a draw. Slang for trying to recoup losses.
Check: When no one has opened the betting round, a player may pass the action or check for free.
Check call (C/C) / Check fold (C/F)/ Check raise (C/R): Shorthand description of multiple actions by a player on a particular street.
Chip: The table currency used in poker games.
Chop: Slang for splitting a Pot or making an agreement to divide the Prizes in a tournament in a way other than the Prize structure.
Closing the betting: Making a call as last player to act on a round of betting.
Coffee housing and speech play: 'Talking over the cards’ in order to mislead opponents. This is considered unethical in many poker games.
Cold call: To call an amount which is a bet and a raise from multiple previous players.
Community cards: In Hold’em, Omaha and their variants, the ‘board’, consisting of the Flop, Turn and River cards, which everyone in the hand is able to use in conjunction with their Hole cards.
Complete the bet: In Fixed limit games, when a player has the choice to call an all-in bet that is less than the standard full bet for that round, they may have the option to bet the full amount of the betting round without it counting as a raise.
Connector: Two cards of consecutive ranks, for example, a seven and an eight.
Continuation bet: To bet at the next opportunity after making a raise. Usually refers to a bet on the flop after a preflop raise in Hold’em or Omaha and variants.
Cooler: A situation where it is apparent after the showdown that the losing hand was expected to cost the player the maximum, regardless of how they played.
Counterfeit / Duplicate: In Omaha Hi/Lo games when a Turn or River card matches the Hole card already being used by a player for their low, usually making a better low possible and thus possibly helping opponents improve their hands.
Cowboys. Nickname for a pair of pocket kings.
Crack: To beat a much stronger hand, usually refers to when Aces are beaten in Hold’em.
Crying call: Calling when you are fairly sure you are beaten.
Cut off: The seat immediately to the right of the Dealer button.
Dead blind: A bet collected before the hand is dealt, which is part of the Pot, but does not count toward the posting player's contribution if they are required to call any other bets or raises. The most common occurrence is when a player is required to pay a Small blind and a Big blind at the same time in order to rejoin a game they previously played, and the Small blind amount is dead.
Dead Man's Hand: Traditionally two black aces and two black eights, allegedly the cards held by Wild Bill Hickok when he died.
Dealer / Dealer button: In live poker, the players originally dealt the hands themselves in rotation. When a Dealer is employed to deal all the hands on behalf of everybody, a Dealer button is used to show which player is the nominated Dealer for that hand. The action in a poker hand should always start immediately to the left of the Dealer. The Dealer position has strategic advantage, due to seeing what all the other players actions are before their turn.
Deep stack: Having many more chips than most of the other players.
Deuce: The two of any suit. May also be known as ducks.
Dog / Underdog: The hand that is mathematically least likely to win the hand.
Dominated hand: A situation when a hand is difficult to win with because of the opponent's specific holding. For example, AJ is dominated by AK and K4 by KQ.
Donk bet: A bet made by a player who had not previously shown aggression in the hand, especially if the bet was made before the turn of players who had bet or raised during previous rounds.
Double suited: In Omaha, when a player has at least two cards in each of two different suits in their Hole cards.
Double through: To win a hand and have all your chips called by just one opponent.
Downswing: A persistent run of losses.
Drawing dead: Trying to make a hand that will lose if you complete it. For example, drawing to a Straight or Flush when an opponent already has a Full house.
Drawing thin: Drawing to try and hit a very small number of outs.
Dry board: When the texture of Community cards does not make it easy for someone to have completed a strong hand already.
Early position: Being one of the first players to act in a betting round.
Eight or better: In Hi/Lo games, a hand must have 5 cards which qualify as ‘low’ cards according to the game rules to claim the low Pot. Usually the ceiling is 8, but may be even lower.
Equity: One's Expected value in a hand, calculated by multiplying the chances of winning by the investment in the hand. For example, a hand with a 30% chance of winning a 600-chip Pot has 180 equity. Can also be applied to tournaments where deal-making is allowed. Players can calculate equity according to chip stacks and the existing prize structure.
Expected value (EV): The profitability in the long run if any situation is repeated many times. Negative EV refers to an expected loss.
Exposed cards: Cards that are turned face up, usually at showdown. May also refer to cards that are voluntarily shown by a player when they fold or when they win a hand by betting.
Family pot: A hand where all, or nearly all of the players show an interest and call one or more bets.
Fast play: To play aggressively, either to protect one's hand by making it expensive for callers to draw, or to maximize return on a strong hand that is unlikely to be beaten.
Felt / Felted / to the felt: Live poker games are usually played on tables with a cloth covering and many terms relate to this, even when the game is online.
Field: The competitors in a poker tournament, or any event where competition is taking place. May be applied to just a few players in a single incident or hand.
Fifth street / River: The last card dealt to the board in community games or the fifth card dealt to players in stud games.
Fill up: To complete a hand, most commonly a Full house.
Final table: When all the remaining players in a multi-table tournament (MTT) are seated at just one table.
First position: The player who must act first on a betting round.
Fish: A derogatory term for an unskilled poker player who is expected to lose in the long run.
Fixed limit: A poker game where the bet size for each street is pre-determined and players may only bet and raise in increments of that amount. Usually there is a ‘cap’ or limit to the number of bets which can be made on any round with the exception that when just two players remain they may make an unlimited number of bets.
Flat call / Smooth call: To call a bet instead of raising with a strong hand, in order to deceive opponents into believing one's hand is weak or still drawing, in the hope of increasing profits later in the hand.
Float: To call a bet regardless of hand strength in order to attempt a bluff on later rounds of betting.
Flop: The first three Community cards.
Flush: A poker hand comprising five cards of the same suit.
Fold: To discard ones hand and forego any interest in the Pot.
Fold equity: Term used to describe the difference in expected return by betting and sometimes winning by opponents folding, instead of allowing the hand to go to showdown.
Four-of-a-Kind: Four cards of the same rank in a poker hand. Also known as quads.
Fourth street: The Turn card in community games or the fourth card dealt to players in stud games.
Freeroll: A situation where one's investment is zero, but there are prizes offered.
Freezeout: A poker tournament where throughout the event, players are unable to rebuy or re-enter upon elimination.
Full house: A five-card hand with three cards of one rank and two of another. The hierarchy of a Full house is decided by the rank of the three cards. For example 7-7-7-2-2 beats 4-4-4-A-A.
Full ring: A poker table with more than 6 players, typically 9 or 10. Six players or less is known as short handed.
GG / GH: Chat shorthand for good game and good hand. May also be extended to ggs for good game(s) or good game, sir.
Gap: In community card games, a gap hand is when two Hole cards are separated by at least one rank. For example 8-6 or K-Q-J-9.
Get away / Get off: Fold a hand, especially in reference to folding a strong hand which may have been an expensive loser.
Grind / Grinder: Used in relation to players who play poker for extensive periods of time with the intention to make a long term profit from many slightly profitable plays.
Gutshot: An inside Straight draw. For example, having 6,7 at Hold'em after a flop of A-4-3 requires exactly a 5 for a Straight.
Hand: Comprised of exactly five cards which are compared to other players' holdings to determine the awarding of the Pot.
Hand-for-hand: During a tournament, when multiple tables are active, and it is necessary to eliminate one player for an increase in the prize structure. Most commonly used when the lowest prize is about to be won, and one more player will miss out on any prize. (The Bubble). For example, if there are 18 prizes and 19 players split on 3 tables of 7-6-6 the tables will all deal the same number of hands with each hand being completed on all tables before the next hand is dealt simultaneously on them all. When two players are eliminated in a hand-for-hand scenario, albeit on different tables and not exactly at the same time, their position is determined as though they were on the same table in the same hand, by comparing chip stacks before the last hand.
Hand history (HH): Shorthand for the notation of a poker hand.
Heads up: A situation where just two players are active in the betting, due either to just two players being dealt cards, or all other players folding.
Heater / Rush: A prolonged winning streak, or a run of good hands.
Hero call: Calling with a very weak hand despite all indications being the hand is losing.
High hand: In Hi/Lo split games, half the Pot is awarded to the highest hand and half to the best low hand that qualifies according to the ceiling assigned to the game.
Hijack: The position to the immediate right of the cut-off and two seats to the right of the Dealer.
Hole cards / Pocket cards: Face down cards which only the player using them can see.
Hooks / Fishhooks: Nickname for a pair of Jacks, due to the ‘J’ having the appearance of a fishhook.
Ignorant end / Idiot end: Derogatory term for drawing to the low end of a Straight when a larger Straight is possible.
Hyper: A tournament where blind levels increase at a very fast rate compared to standard or turbo speed events.
Implied odds: When the potential return in a hand is increased by expected high profit on the occasions when a draw is completed, even though a call on an earlier street is apparently not profitable in itself. For example, calling 100 chips for a 300 chip pot with a flush draw does not offer immediate correct odds, but the prospect of winning all of an opponents stack when one completes the draw makes the call more reasonable.
Improve: For a hand to get better, such as when a Straight, Flush or Full house is completed or increases in strength.
Inside straight: Needing a card of just one specific rank to make a Straight.
In position (IP): The order in which the players act is said to be their position. A player acting after another is said to be ‘in position’ compared to the earlier player and has a strategical advantage due to having more information when it is their turn to play.
In the chips / In the money: In the prize winning places in a tournament.
Isolation bet / Raise: The act of driving one or more players from the hand in order to concentrate on competing with just one particular opponent.
Jackpot game: A table, or a group of tables where a prize is offered for a specific occurrence. Usually for making a rare hand, such as a Royal Flush using both Hole cards at Hold’em or having a very strong hand, such as a Full house or Four-of-a-Kind beaten. The Jackpot is accumulated by a separate charge taken every hand in addition to the standard rake.
Juice: The rake collected by the house.
Junk: A weak holding that is unlikely to win.
Kicker: Also called a side card. A kicker is sometimes necessary to break ties in a poker hand when two players have identical pairs. For example, a hand such as A-A-9-9-Q will beat A-A-9-9-7 because the Q and the 7 kickers are part of the five cards. A kicker may also be a Community card and thus, used by more than one player. For example, if two Hold’em players are holding A-2 and A-3, with the board reading A-K-K-9-6, they will both have A-A-K-K-9 and the Pot will be split.
Kill game: A variation of Fixed limit poker where the players have agreed that under certain circumstances, i.e., after winning a big enough Pot or a certain number of consecutive Pots, a player has to post a ‘kill blind’ and the stakes of the next hand are increased.
Ladies: Nickname given to a pair of pocket queens.
LAG: A loose aggressive player. Used to describe a player who likes to play a wide range of hands in the expectation of winning in the long run with a combination of selective aggression and sound strategy.
Laydown: To fold, usually in the context of folding an apparently playable hand based on information derived from the other players' actions.
Lead into the pot: To bet.
Level: In tournaments, the current blind sizes.
Light: A description of an action where one's hand is considered less than average, such as call light, bet light, etc.
Limit: The minimum and maximum bets allowed. Sometimes applied to describe the blind Levels in a tournament.
Limp: To enter the Pot for the minimum call instead of raising. Limp/call and Limp/raise can be used as to include a later action in the round of betting if another player raises.
Loose: A style of play where one plays more hands than expected.
Low: In Hi/Lo games the half of the Pot awarded to the best Low hand, according to the qualifier necessary.