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Poker Terminology and Meaning

Poker players use their own terminology to refer to different plays, hands and situations during the game, even using some poker hand nicknames. Here is a list of the most basic poker terminology a beginner player should know for playing Texas Hold'em or Omaha.

Add-on: Some tournaments allow add-ons, additional chips that may be purchased to your current chip stack. This can happen at specific Re-buy periods.

All-in: A player plays all of his remaining chips.

Bad Beat: When the player has the best odds to win the hand, but gets beaten by an improbable draw.

Bankroll: The money the player has to gamble with.

Behind: The player who comes after the present active player.

Best of It: The player with the odds at his side.

Big Blind: A forced bet that comes after the "Small Blind". It sets the minimum wager any player must make to continue in the round unless another player makes a raise. The Big Blind changes to the player to left on each round.

Big Hand: A great hand.

Big Slick: Ace-King hole cards.

Bluff: The player is making a raise so the other players think he has a great hand, when in fact he doesn't. This falls into the realm of game psychology.

Boat: Full House (aka "full boat"). three of one card, two of another. Example: 3 aces and 2 kings.

Broadway: A straight with Ace-high.

Bubble: Term used in tournaments when a player is one step away from winning.

Busted: The player losses all of his chips and cannot make further buy-ins. He is out of the game.

Button: A disc that marks which player is the dealer for the round. The button is dealt the last card in the round and is the last player to act giving him an advantage after seeing the betting round.

Buy-In: The minimum amount of chips a player must buy to enter a tournament or cash game. The buy-ins can have limited or unlimited amounts for cash games.

Buying the Pot: Winning the pot with a bluff.

Call: To wager the same amount the last player to bet did.

Calling Station: A player who always calls the same as other players but rarely raises on his own. Depicts a weak player psychology.

Case Card: The last card from a given set. The other three are already out.

Chasing: The player needs a community card to complete his hand.

Check: To not make a raise when it is your turn. Say "check" or just tap the table.

Check and Raise: Check the first time, but if another player makes a raise, you raise again once it's your turn.

Chop: The final remaining players in a tournament decide to split the pot instead of playing to the end. Draws can also result in a chop.

Community Cards: Cards dealt by the dealer on the table. The players use them to complete their hands.

Counterfeit: In Omaha Eight or Better, when the board pairs one of your low cards.

Cracked: To lose when the odds were in your favor at the beginning. Usually happens to high pair holders, like AA.

Crying Call: A call you did not want to make, but had no other choice.

Dealer: A player or casino dealer who deals the card to the players.

Dead Man Hand: Black of eights and black of Aces. Famous in the game culture.

Deep Stack: When the player begins a tournament with a huge amount of chips in relation to the blind.

Dominated: Getting your hand beaten from shared cards. Example A-9 is dominated by A-K.

Draw: A hand that needs more cards to become a winning hand.

Drawing Dead: When there are no more card in the deck left to help make a winning hand.

Draw Poker: A specific rule in a certain type of poker variant, in which a player can replace his dealt cards with other dealt from the remainder of the deck.

Duck: Same of a deuce, a pair of twos.

Early Position: The first set of players who have to make a decision during a hand.

Face Down: Cards that are not exposed to the other players.

Face Up: The card every player can see.

Fish: Unskilled player not likely to win and easy target for the pros.

Flop: First three cards dealt on the table.

Flush: A hand with 5 cards of the same suit.

Fold: Forfeiting the hand by getting rid of one's cards.

Four-Flush: When a player has secured 4 of the cards needed for a flush, but is still missing the last.

Free Card: A betting round in which all players check, allowing the next card on the table to be placed without any wagers.

Freeroll: A free entry tournament with no fees. Usually has a player limit and might pay a real money pot.

Four-of-a-Kind: Hand with 4 cards of the same rank, like 8 8 8 8.

Full House: Hand with 3 of one rank and 2 of another, like 2 2 5 5 5.

Hand: The cards the player has combined with the table cards, to make the best possible combination of 5 cards.

Hi/Lo: Type of poker game in which the highest and lowest hand both take half the pot.

Implied Odds: The odds a player has to win in relation to the cost of playing that hand.

Inside Straight Draw: When only one card is required to form a straight hand, Example; 6, 7, _, 9, 10. Eight is the only missing card.

Isolate: Raise a hand against weaker players or/and with smaller hands.

Joker: Used when a final card comes up to change the odds on who will win.

Kicker: Unmatched card used only when a draw happens. Example; 6,6 and 9,9 with a Kicker "Ace" beats a same had with a kicker "J".

Late Position: The final set of players to make a bet.

Laydown: the same as fold.

Limit: Used in limit poker to set the maximum amount that can be wagered per hand.

Limit Poker: Variant of poker that limits the amount players can bet or raise per turn.

Limp: Call. A player limps when he doesn't raise or fold.

Live Card: A card that has not appeared on the table and presumably is not on another's players hand.

Lock: A hand that cannot be beaten.

Look Up: To call.

Loose: A playing style that calls a lot and makes hard raises, even with bluffs.

Made Hand: Secured hand from the beginning.

Middle Position: Middle set of players to act.

Muck: Fold.

No-Limit: A variant of poker that allows the highest possible of bets or raises.

One Pair: A hand with two cards of the same rank. Example; 2, 2.

Overcard: A higher card.10 is an over card to 9.

Pot: The total wagered amount on the table. The hand winner will take it all unless it ends on a draw.

Preflop: Before the flop.

Premium Starting Hands: Starting the hand holding premium cards like A A, Q Q, K K.

Raise: Raising the bet from the previous player, forcing everyone else to withdraw, call, or raise even more before the hand can continue.

Rake: The house will take out a small percentage from each pot as the fees for running the game.

Reraise: Raise once more the raise from another player.

River: The last card to be dealt on the table.

Royal Flush: The highest form of flush and in the game of poker; A-K-Q-J-10 of the same suit.

Satellite Tournament: A small size tournament in which the prize is the entry to a bigger one.

Set: Three of a kind formed by the pocket cards and one from the community hand.

Shorthanded: Poker game with 5 players or less.

Showdown: Final moment of a poker hand. All players display their cards and compare their pocket cards with the river to determine who won.

Slowplay: Playing very slowly with small to no raises to trick the other players into raising and remaining in the following hands.

Small Blind: Located left of the button or dealer, makes a smaller wager than the big blind.

Steal the Blinds: Bluffing to make the blind holders fold.

Straight: Sequence of five cards. Example; 1-2-3-4-5.

Straight Flush: Sequence of five cards that are also of the same suit.

Swing: Fluctuation of a player's chip count.

Three-of-a-Kind: Three cards of the same rank. Example; A-A-A.

Trips: Same as Three-of-a-Kind.

Turn: The fourth card to be dealt on the table.

Two Pair: A hand with two different pairs. Example; A-A and 8-8.

Under the Gun: The first player to act on a hand.

Value Bet: Getting into a hand that does not look like much at the beginning but that can transform into a big winning hand.

Wheel: A five high straight hand. A-2-3-4-5. Also known as bicycle.

Wired: To have a pair from the very beginning on the holding cards.

For more poker terms, please refer to WSOP.com.


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