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Poker Dictionary - Terms & SlangPoker Dictionary

Poker has enough jargon and slang vocabulary to virtually form a language of its own. Online players in particular speak in short-form, abbreviations and mathematics. 

Brush up on your vocabulary with the glossary of poker terms and definitions below, sorted from A to Z.

Whatever the poker games you play, learning the lingo can give you a strategic edge at the tables. One could say it's a +EV play.

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A Game

Playing the best one can, aka 'in the zone' with optimal decision making and reads.

ABC Player

One who plays basic poker strategy following a prescribed set of rules; one who is predictable.

Ace in the Hole

Holding an Ace as one of one's hole cards in Hold'em.

Ace to Five

A straight from Ace to Five, the lowest straight possible. In lowball games, the nut low.

Ace High

Holding no pair, just an Ace as one's highest card.


Holding a pair of Aces, esp. as hole cards.

Aces Full

A full house with Aces as trips.

Aces Up

A two pair hand where one of which is Aces.

Action The 'action' is on you when it's time to act. Your action is then to check, fold or raise.
Active Players All players still in the hand, who haven't yet folded.
Add-on A fixed addition of chips to your stack, esp. in a tournament after the rebuy period has ended.
After-Hours Game A private game held after normal opening hours in a card room.
Aggressive A player who puts his opponent to the test with raises and large bets.
Aggro Slang shorthand for 'aggressive'.
Ahead Having an equity edge on the current street.
Air Holding no pair and no strong draws.
Air-Bluff Bluffing with air, i.e. no pair, and no draw.
All Black A flop of all spades or clubs.
All Blue A flop of all diamonds, when using a four color deck.
All Green A flop of all clubs, when using a four color deck.
All Red A flop of all diamonds or hearts.
All In Committing your entire stack to the pot.
All In Over the Top Committing your entire stack as a raise over another player's bet.
American Airlines A nickname for pocket Aces.
Ammo / Ammunition Slang for the chips in your stack.
Anna Kournikova A slang term for Ace King since as the saying goes, 'it looks good but never wins'.
Announced Bet Verbally betting a given amount.
Announced Raise Verbally raising a given amount.
Ante A fixed amount of chips placed in the pot before receiving cards, by every player.
Ante Up The act of putting antes into the pot before receiving cards, done by each player.
Assault Rifle Receiving AK47 as your hole cards in Omaha; slang nickname for this hand.
ATC Abbreviation for 'any two cards'. An airball bluff is all that's required.


Backdoor A draw requiring two running cards to complete it.
Backdoor Flush A draw to a flush with three of one suit, requiring two more on the turn and river.
Backdoor Straight A draw to a straight with three connected cards, requiring two more on the turn and river.
Bad Beat Losing with a high equity edge.
Bad Beat Jackpot A prize given to players losing with an extremely strong hand, e.g. quads vs a straight flush.
Bankroll A player's available funds to grind poker with, separate from their liferoll.
Bet Placing chips in the pot to wager.
Bet in the Dark Making a bet without seeing the next card be dealt.
Bet the Pot Betting the size of the current pot, thereby offering an opponent 2:1 odds to call.
Big Blind Special Winning with a typical random hand in the Big Blind, esp. when given a free flop.
Big Blind The largest preflop forced better, paid by the player 2 spots left of the button.
Big Pair A large pair as one's hole cards, e.g. 10s or higher.
Big Slick Slang term for Ace King.
Blank A card that adds no draws to the board and probably doesn't affect anyone's hand.
Blind Fixed bets placed into the pot by two players left of the button, before receiving cards.
Bluff Representing a given hand through your actions, that doesn't match your true holding.
Board The five community cards dealt out face up.
Boat Slang term for Full House.
Bot Short for 'robot', a computer program playing in place of a human opponent. Prohibited online.
Bottom Pair Pairing the lowest card on the board.
Bottom Set Holding three of a kind with the lowest card on the board.
Bounty A prize won for eliminating an opponent from a tourney.
Brick and Mortar Term used to encompass all live poker rooms and live casino play.
Broadway The highest straight, Ten to Ace.
Bubble The point where the field size of a tourney is 1 player away from everyone being in the money.
Bubble Boy The last player to be eliminated from a tourney before the money.
Bully An aggressive, dominant player.
Burn Card A card discarded in live games before the flop, turn and river, as an anti-cheating measure.
Busted To have been eliminated from a tourney.
Button The dealer position, often represented by a physical button.
Buy-in The entry fee to play a tourney.


Call Matching an opponent's bet without raising.
Cold Call Matching the 3bet of an opponent, with an initial raiser left to act.
Calling Station A sticky player, who doesn't like to fold any value hand.
Card Protector An item placed over one's hold cards to keep them in place.
Case Card The fourth and final card of a given rank that hasn't been dealt yet.
Cash Game A game where players can sit down, leave, and add chips at any time.
Change Gears Adjusting one's playing style to deceive opponents.
Chase To draw to a hand, esp. with unfavorable odds.
Check Opting to neither bet nor raise, allowing opponents to act or, when in position, the next card to be dealt.
Check-Fold Checking then electing to fold to any bet.
Check-Raise Checking then opting to raise an opponent's bet.
Chips Tokens used in live games to represent money or tournament equity.
Chip Leader The holder of the largest chip stack (tournament equity) in a tourney.
Chip Up To gain in chips; a slang term for increasing one's stack.
Chop To split the pot, with equal hands at showdown or as a verbal agreement to divide up equity e.g. at a tournament final table.
Coin Flip An equal equity 50/50 'race' between two hands.
Colt 45 A slang term for the hole cards 45.
Come Over the Top The act of raising an opponent’s bet.
Community Cards The face up cards on the board players can use to make a 5 card hand.
Connectors Close together cards that have straight potential, e.g. Jack Ten.
Counterfeited When your made hand becomes worthless on a later street.
Cowboys Slang term for pocket Kings.
Crabs Slang term for pocket 3s.
Cracked When one's made hand is beat by an inferior hand, esp. pocket Aces.
Cut the deck To separate the deck in half; an anti-cheating measure.
Cut Card A card placed under the deck to prevent the bottom card from being seen.


Dark Bet Betting before a card is revealed on a given street.
Dead Card Cards not in play that cannot be dealt, i.e. mucked hole cards and burn cards.
Dead Man's Hand Aces and Eights, the two pair hand named after Wild Bill Hickok who was shot dead holding the hand.
Dealer Button The position of the dealer, often represented by a physcial button.
Dealer's Choice A rotation of poker games decided by the dealer.
Deuces A pair of twos.
Discard The act of replacing one of your cards with one in the deck, in Draw games.
Disconnect Protection Extra time given to reconnect in online poker, to guard against being timed out and folded.
Donkey Slang term for a recreational player who relies on luck and makes dubious plays.
Double Up Doubling your chip stack by winning an all-in hand.
Double Belly Buster A two-way inside straight draw, or 'double gutter'.
Doyle Brunson A nickname for Ten Deuce, which Doyle Brunson made famous using it to win the World Series of Poker in both 1976 and 1977.
Draw Poker A version of poker where instead of community cards each player is dealt five cards. Players may discard cards for replacements in an attempt to improve.
Drawing Dead When no remaining cards can result in you winning the hand.
Ducks A nickname for pocket twos, aka 'Deuces'.


Early Position The first few players to act on each street.
Edge An equity advantage.
Edge Shot  A bet made by someone with an equity edge.
Eliminated When a player has zero chips in a tourney, aka 'busted'.
Equity Your share of the pot in statistical terms. For example, if the pot contains $400, and you have a 50% chance of winning, then you have $200 equity in the pot.
Even Money A proposition with a payout of 1:1.
Expected Value (EV) A measurement of expected earnings. For example KK has an equity of ~80% vs lower pairs, so when going all in preflop for $200 your EV would be ~$160 in profit. [Want to know more?  Explore Expected Value in depth.]  
+EV A +EV ("plus EV") play is one that you deem to show a profit in the long run, i.e. show a positive expectation.
Exposed Cards Cards dealt face-up in Stud (also 'up cards' or 'dead cards'). Or, cards misdealt face up in other forms of poker, seen by all and placed in the muck.


Face Card A card with a depiction of a face: King, Queen, or Jack.
Fake Tank When action is on a player and they pretend to think about their hand for a long time to make it look like they’re making a big decision, when in fact they have already made their decision. Also known as 'Hollywooding'.
Family Pot A pot where all the players at the table see the flop (in Holdem) or 4th street (in Stud).
Fast Playing aggressively and hurriedly.
Fast Fold Poker A fast paced, quick fold version of poker, where there's no need to wait for hole cards. Format names (e.g. Zoom) vary depending on the online poker room.
Feeder In a casino there is a main table and other secondary tables. When someone leaves the main table there is an empty seat and a new player is 'fed' in from a secondary table to the main table.
Felt The cloth material that covers a poker table.
Fifth Street The 5th community card, also known as the River in Texas Holdem.
Fill Up To get the last card needed for a full house.
Fish An inexperienced or recreational player.
Fishhooks A nickname for pocket Jacks (JJ).
Fixed Limit In some variations of poker the bet amount is pre-determined and cannot be changed.
Flat Call A somewhat outdated term for calling a bet without raising.
Float Calling a bet with a hand with little or no strength with the intention of bluffing later.
Floorman A casino employee who makes rulings and decisions in the cardroom.  To call the floorman, simply shout, “Floor!”
Flop The first three community cards the dealer deals.
Flush Having five cards of the same suit.
Flush Draw Having four cards of the same suit and waiting for the 5th card of that same suit.
Fold To dispose of your hand and forfeit the money you’ve already put into the pot.
Fourth Street The 4th community card also known as the Turn in Texas Holdem.
Free Card When there is no betting in a round, and the next card (or round of cards) is seen for no additional money.
Freeroll Tournament A tournament with no entry fee.
Freezeout A tournament or Sit & Go where rebuys are not allowed. Once a player has lost his chips, he is eliminated.
Full House When your five card hand contains 3 of a kind and a pair.  For example, you have 5-5-5, and 3-3. That’s full house: 5s over 3s.



To play poker, especially for long periods of time with low risk and consistent profits, as a result of correct bankroll management.


One who grinds, i.e. has the discipline to grind out an income as opposed to gambling and taking shots short-term.

Gut Shot

An inside straight draw, e.g. holding 56 on an 89x board. Your straight draw is not open-ended, a 7 being your only out.


Heads Up When only two players are playing against each other. Aka 'Head Up'.
High Roller A gambler who players high stakes. Also, a type of tournament with an exceptionally high buy in and (therefore) small field.
High Carding A method for determining who will be the dealer (button). The player who draws the highest card wins.
Hi/Lo Split A variant of poker where the highest hand splits the pot with the lowest qualifying low hand.
Holdem A variant of poker where each player is individually dealt ‘hole’ cards and use community cards. Popular types are Texas Holdem and Omaha.
Hole Cards Your two cards, dealt face down preflop in Holdem and visible only to you.
Hooks Slang term for pocket Jacks (JJ).
House The casino or poker site raking the games; or short for 'full house'.


Ignorant End The weaker end of a straight.
Implied Odds Extra money you may make above the current direct pot odds, should you hit your draw.
In the Hole The cards you hold face down as your hole cards.
Indexing Marking cards for cheating purposes, e.g. in Punto Banco.
Insurance Side agreements taken out to reduce variance from losing pots.


Jack Up To raise the pot.
Jackson Five A nickname for the Holdem hand J5.
Jagging The act of a cheater marking a card.
Jam To move all in.
Joker Poker A poker variation where the Joker cards are wild.


Kicker The highest unpaired card in a player’s hand.
King High Holding just a King as your highest card, with no pair or made hand of any value to go with it. The second best highcard hand behind Ace high.
KOFEK Pre Black Friday, a meaningless word that when typed in the Full Tilt Poker chat box would result in a brief chat ban - presumably as it somehow triggered the profanity filter - to the amusement of opponents.
Kojack A nickname for KJ, named after the US television series.


Ladies A nickname for pocket Queens (QQ).
Late Position The last two positions before the button.
Laydown A fold, especially a big fold / the act of folding a strong hand
Lead To bet out ('lead out') in first position, into a pot, especially into an aggressor when you had previously taken passive action on earlier streets.
Limit Poker A variation of poker where the betting amount is fixed. Also, the amount of times someone can raise within a single betting round is usually fixed. 
Limp In To just call the big blind preflop, without raising. An open limp i.e. being the first limper is typically seen as a weak play.
Live Hand A hand that isn't dead, i.e. is still in play, hasn't been folded yet, and hasn't touched the muck (folded cards in front of the dealer).
Lowball A variation of draw poker where the lowest hand wins.


Made Hand A completed hand (contrast with Drawing Hand), e.g. a pair.
Marginal Hand A weak or questionable hand, e.g bottom two pair on a 4-flush board. 
Matrix Tournament type featured on Full Tilt Poker where you play 4 different tournaments against the same pool of players.
Mechanic Player or dealer who uses card tricks to deal advantageous hands to himself or an accomplice to cheat other players.
Metagame Advanced strategies of thinking 2-3+ levels ahead in order to trick opponents. From the Nash Equilibrium standpoint, players develop a metagame to anticipate other players moves allowing themselves to gain an advantage. Taking a certain action 'for metagame' is one intended to e.g. tilt an opponent or set up an image for yourself.
Microstakes The smallest stakes available online, starting from $0.01/$0.02.
Midstakes Usually defined online as NL Holdem of $1/2 to $3/6 and Pot Limit Omaha from $.5/$1 to $3/6.
MTT Abbreviation for multi-table tournament.


Nash Equilibrium When all the players of a single game know the strategy of each player so no one as an advantage, they just break even against each other. If you are playing a Nash equilibrium strategy, your opponents cannot exploit you.
nh Online poker chat favorite comment, abbreviation of 'nice hand'.  Used both seriously and sarcastically in equal parts.
No Limit The form of poker where you may bet anything up to and including your entire stack at any time.
November Nine Marketing name for the 9 players who reach Final table of the World Series of Poker Main Event.
Nuts Best possible hand on the current board.  Can change every street.


Odds Your outs divided by all the cards left in the deck; probability to win.
Offsuit When your two hole cards are of two different suits in Holdem.
Omaha A form of Holdem poker similar to Texas Holdem, except played with four hole cards, and at showdown, you must use exactly two of them to determine your hand.
Open Ended A straight draw which can make you a straight from both the low and high end.
Option While in the big blind, if no one has raised the pot, you have the option to check or raise.
Outs When you have a weaker hand than your opponent or a draw, your outs are the cards which could improve your hand.
Overbet In No Limit Texas Holdem, when the size of bet is bigger than the pot. Some players use it to bluff, or to represent a bluff and get paid off with a strong hand.
Overcard A card higher than your current pair, e.g. holding QQ on JT2, a King on the turn would be an overcard to your pair of Queens.


Paint A jack, queen or king is considered a paint card; synonym for face-card.
Pass Another word for fold.
Pat The option to stand pat is to keep your current holding without discarding any cards to replace them. Used in the draw poker games such as Badugi or 2-7 Triple Draw.
Getting called at showdown when your hand is the winning hand.
Play Money Non-monetary games. Most online poker sites allow you to practice with play chips.
Pocket Pair A preflop pair in Texas Hold’em, e.g. holding two Kings as your hole cards and having that as a made hand before the flop even comes out.
Position Acting after your opponent gives you ‘position', the power to act after seeing what they do.
Post To place forced bets (blinds and/or antes) on the table.
Pot The sum of chips in the middle during a poker hand, available to be won that hand.
Premium Hand Any one of the top 10 or so starting hands. E.g. TT+ and AQs+ in Texas Holdem.
Prize Pool The sum of all buy-ins, rebuys, add-ons, and overlays in a tournament which then determines the payouts.
Prop Bet A proposition bet, e.g. a verbal bet where one person proposes to the other he can live in a bathtub for a week, and another person offers odds. Popular with poker players looking to make money off the tables.
Prop Player A poker player paid to play poker in order to keep games running while shorthanded.
Push A tie situation, e.g. in a prop bet an outcome where neither party has to pay the other.


Quads Slang term for Four of a Kind.
Quality Street Hitting your draw, giving you the winning hand while giving your opponent second best.
Quarantine Avoiding another player completely.
Queens Holding a pair of Queens, QQ.
Quick fold The fold button in fast fold poker games, which as well as folding instantly takes you to a new table with new cards.
Quickie Losing your entire stack quickly.


Race A 50/50 coin flip situation between two all-in hands.
Rainbow A board will all suits represented, i.e. no flush draws on the flop.
Raise Adding more chips to the pot than an opponent's bet to increase the current wager.
Rake The fee to play poker the house takes. Approximately 5% or less online, and higher in live rooms.
Rakeback A cash rebate on part of your rake paid, and a way to boost your earnings. Sign up to poker rooms via an affiliate to get rakeback. 
Range The spectrum of hands you assign a player to potentially hold in any given situation.


Satellite A tournament offering entry to a higher value tournament as the prize.
Semi-bluff A bluff with a value hand or draw that could improve to the best hand even if called by better.
Set As opposed to trips, holding three of a kind where two of the cards are in your hand; you hold a pocket pair matching one card on the board.
Set Up A seemingly rigged, unlikely clash of strong hand vs strong hand.
Shootout A tournament in which each table plays down to one winner, then winners combine at new tables.
Shorthanded A table with usually between two to five players.
Showdown The end stage of a hand where the winner must reveal his cards if called.
Side Pot A pot on the side formed in a multiway hand where one shorter stacked player is all in.
Sit & Go A tournament that starts as soon as a set number of players sit in to play.
Sit Out When players take a break from play by not being dealt cards.
Split Pot A pot split by two identical hands at showdown.


TAG Acronym for tight-aggressive.
Tell Anything an opponent does to give away the strength of their hand.
Tens Hole cards TT; aka 'pocket tens'.
Texture 'Wetness' on a board, i.e. connectedness opening up potential for drawing hands to have hit.
Third Street The third card dealt in 7 Card Stud. The first card dealt face up.
Three-bet / 3bet The 3rd bet, a re-raise of a raise.
Three Flush Holding three of the five cards needed for a flush. A backdoor draw.
Tight A conservative, value-oriented player.
Tile To place online poker tables side by side on one's desktop.
Tilt  Non-optimal play as a result of stress, losses or anger.
Time Bank Extra time allotted to an online player to act.
Tourist A 'fish', in the game for recreation rather than to make a living.
Tournament As opposed to a cash game, a game where players buy in and play until one holds all the chips in play.
Trap To deceive an opponent into a given action through your own actions.
Tricky A player who oftens traps opponents, or uses unorthodox plays.
Trips As opposed to a set, holding three of a kind where two of the three cards are on the board face up.
Turbo A tournament structure where the blinds rise faster than normal to force the action.
Turn The fourth community card, after the flop and before the river.


Underdog Having negative equity in a hand, or being unlikely to win an event.
Under The Gun First to act on a given street, and hence under pressure with no information.
Up Cards Face up cards visible to all players.


Value Bet A bet to extract value from lesser hands.
Variance The standard up and down swings in poker results.


Walking The Dog Having all of your value bets easily called, across multiple streets.
Wheel Slang term for an Ace to Five straight.
Winrate Amount won per unit time, usually expressed as big blinds per 100 hands or $/hr.
WSOP Abbreviation for the annual World Series of Poker.
WSOP ME Abbreviation for the World Series of Poker Main Event.
WSOPE Abbreviation for the annual World Series of Poker Europe.


X Factor An unquantifiable quality of a player, propelling them to success. For example Phil Ivey's presence or 'aura' at the tables.


YOLO Pop culture slang term 'you only live once', used to justify reckless actions.
Yoyo Term used to describe high fluctation variance, i.e. up and down swings.


(In The) Zone The feeling that you can't make a wrong move, and all your reads are spot on.
Zoom Fast fold poker on online poker room PokerStars.

Slang, banter and railbird chat is legendary at Full Tilt Poker.