Home/ How to Play Poker/ Poker Terms

Poker Terms:  What to Know to Sound Like a Pro

Poker players can benefit from learning two sets of poker lingo - poker vocabulary, and poker slang.

Both types of poker terms can help you gain information on your opponents, and keep you dialed into any poker games you join. Using these terms incorrectly could also see you labelled as ‘the fish at the table’.

Top Poker Terms

Bubble   The period of time in a tournament when there is one more elimination needed to reach the money.
Backdoor   A draw to two running cards, e.g. J♥ 9♠ on 6♦ 7♣ 2♠ has a backdoor straight draw. 
+EV   A situation that is profitable in theory; showing positive expectation.
Freeroll    Any scenario where you may win, but cannot lose, e.g. a tourney with no entry fee or holding the same hand as an opponent plus a backdoor draw.
Nuts   The best possible hand on a given board, or A♠ A♥ preflop.
Overlay   The amount of money not represented by entrants in a guaranteed tournament. (i.e. a $100 buy in with a $10k guarantee, that only has 80 entrants, has a $2k overlay).
Run It Twice   An all-in showdown where players agree to run the remaining board twice (or more), to lower variance, and split the pot accordingly. In the example below Phil Hellmuth runs it four times vs an amateur.

For a full list of poker terms and definitions, see the complete Poker Dictionary.

Poker Slang Examples & Correct Usage





'The big stack will exploit the bubble until we reach the money.'

Are we on ‘A’ bubble? (always 'the')


'Unless this tourney gets 50 more people, there’s going to be a significant overlay.'

'There was a huge turn out so there is a ton of overlay.'

Run it Twice

'Do you want to run it twice?'

NEVER use this phrase during anything but a cash game.

Run it twice in any hand at Full Tilt Poker.

Can’t get enough poker slang? See the full list of poker slang terms.