If you are new to the poker world, I advise that you read our "Poker Lingo" glossary.
Poker has its own terminology, and reviewing our glossary will help you understand the
articles and essays on this site.
Getting Started with Poker Lingo:
3-Bet - To make the 2nd raise in poker (It is referred to as 3-bet because the blinds are technically the first bet). e.g. in limit - UTG+1 calls, MP1 raises, HERO 3-bets
e.g. in no-limit - UTG+1 calls $1, MP1 raises to $5, HERO re-raises to $18
3xBB / 4xBB - to raise before the flop 3 or 4 times the big blind. This is known as the "standard" raise. e.g. The blinds are 50/100; a 3xBB raise would be 300.
Aces up - Two pair, one of which is Aces. e.g. You hold A7, board is A74, you have Aces up.
Act – Making a play (check, call, bet, raise, fold)
Air – A hand with no value (no pair) typically associated with a bluff
All-in/AI - That moment when your chips are in the middle and your fate is resting with the poker gods.
Angle – A form of deception or cheating. An unethical play used to deliberately deceive one's opponent by calling one's hand or action incorrectly to gain an advantage.
Ante – A forced PF bet from the entire table. Ante's are typically used in later stages of tournaments and in Stud games. The ante is typically a small fraction of the blinds, typically 5-10%.
Backdoor – A draw which takes the final two streets to complete. In Hold'em a backdoor flush happens when a player needs both the turn and river to complete their draw.
Backraise – Also known as a limp-raise, a raise from a player after he/she initially called a bet.
Bad Beat - this refers to losing a hand when you were the strong odds favorite to win. i.e. - an example of a bad beat
would be holding pocket Aces against a player holding pocket 2's,
and your opponent ends up beating you by hitting another 2 on the last card. Visit the Play-By-Play Examples to view
an example of a bad beat.
Bankroll/BR - The amount of cash you have available to pursue your poker dreams! All professionals separate their bankroll from their normal spending money.
Bankroll Management - Properly managing the amount of money you have for poker with the stakes you play. e.g. You have a bankroll of $1000, so you only play $.25 - $.50 or less until you have enough money to move up stakes. You would never play at $5 - $10 where you could lose it all in a single hand.
Belly-Buster - This is also known as an inside straight draw or gut shot. See "Gut Shot".
Bet – Wagering money in during the play of a hand
Betting Structure – The guidelines for all bets in a given games. Typically includes the blinds, antes, raise caps, and structure (limit, spread-limit, pot-limit, no-limit).
Big Slick - refers to holding an Ace and King as your two private (pocket) cards.
Big "Chick" - Refers to holding an Ace and Queen as your two pocket cards.
Blank – A card which does not improve/affect the texture of the board, one that does not complete and obvious drawing hands.
Blinds - Texas Hold'em Poker uses what's called a "blind" structure, meaning that two people on the table must post
a bet prior to seeing their cards. Since they are forced to bet without seeing their cards, they are playing
"blind", thus the name of those bets are called "blinds". There are two blinds, the big blind and the small blind.
The small blind position must post half the minimum bet and sits immediately to the left of the dealer. The big blind
must post the full minimum bet, and sits immediately to the left of the small blind, two seats to the left of the dealer.
As the deal rotates around the table, each player takes turns posting the small blind and the big blind bets.
This blind structure forces the action on the table since there will always be a pot to win.
So, for example, if you are seated at a $1-2 limit hold'em table, the small blind must post $.50 and the big
blind must post $1 bet. As play rotates around the table, each player may choose to call that $1 bet, raise, or fold.
When it's the small blind's turn, that player only needs to call $.50 to play the hand.
Blocker – Holding one of your opponent's outs, most typically in Stud or Omaha games.
Blocking Bet – A smaller bet designed to deter an opponent from putting in a larger bet or raise.
Board - The board refers to the community cards that are dealt face up on the table.
In Texas Hold'em, there will ultimately be five community cards on the "board".
The board does NOT include the two private card dealt to each player. So, if someone were to say, "the board plays",
the player means that the five community cards make his best poker hand and he is not using any of the two private
cards dealt to the player.
Boat – A synonym for a full house
B.O.C./boc - Ballin' Out of Control. BOC is the culture and attitude of most FTR'ers. Visit our
FTR Community Forum and read up/search
on the Ballin and B.O.C. threads!
Brick – Also known as a blank, a card which does not complete any obvious draws.
Bubble - The period just before the paid places begin. e.g. The last 4 in a SnG that pays 3 places.
Button - Also called the "Dealer Button", this is a white puck (usually with the word "Dealer" on it), that signifies the dealer's position on the table.
The dealer's position is significant because he is the last player to act for that hand. The Dealer Button rotates around the table, so each player
takes turns being "on the button".
Buy-in – The required amount of chips to play in a certain tournament or cash game.
Buying the Button – Coming into the deal at the small blind (not having posted the big blind yet) and posting both the sb and bb in order to have the button the next hand. If you don't buy the button you have to sit out and come in when the button passes..
C-Bet/cBet/Continuation bet - To make a follow-up bet on a flop after you have raised pre-flop. e.g. Hero raises 4xbb with AK and the bb calls. Flop comes 2 6 9 rainbow, bb checks and Hero bets even though he didn’t improve his hand because he raised preflop.
Calling Station – A player who typically never folds, often calling bets/raises with mediocre hands other players would easily fold.
Capping - To make the final raise in a round of betting at limit poker (4 bets). e.g. UTG+1 calls, MP1 raises, HERO 3-bets, CO Caps
Check-raise - the act of checking a hand, in hopes of luring your opponent to bet, so that you may then raise
over him and build a bigger pot to win.
Chip Dumping – A type of cheating where one player intentionally loses chips to another player to help improve their status in a tournament.
Chop – To agree to certain pay-outs at the end of a tournament before it's over. Chops are typically seen with 2-3 players left at a major final table.
Cooler – An unavoidable situation in which two strong hands are pitted against one another, usually resulting in one player losing all their chips.
Cutoff – The player to the right of the dealer button.
Deuce-to-Seven – A game typically consisting of either one or three draws where the goal is to make the worst poker hand, or 2-3-4-5-7.
Dominated – A situation in which one hand has another in bad shape. For example, AK dominates AQ.
Donk/Donkey - Someone who is very bad at poker.
Donk Bet - When you lead into the preflop raiser and take away their continuation bet. e.g. Villain raises 4xbb preflop and you call in the sb. Instead of checking you lead out taking away their betting opportunity. This is referred to as a donk bet because it is a play many bad players make (although the bet in itself can have its advantages).
DUCY - Do You See Why? (Forum/Internet acronym)
Drawing Dead – A situation where an opponent cannot improve his hand enough to win the pot.
Early Position – Players who must act first before the flop, also known as UTG or Under The Gun.
Equity – One's expected portion of the pot. Equity is determined by multiplying the size of the pot by one's chance of winning. For example, someone with 30% chance of winning a $200 pot has $60 in equity.
Expected Value/EV - The long term effect of making certain decisions. Can be either negative (-ev) or positive (+ev). e.g. Constantly calling raises w/ 93o is –EV (as in, u keep doing it, u are going to lose money in the long run)
Final Table/FT - The last table of a large multi-table tournament. ahhh .... the promised land!
Fixed Limit – A betting structure in which players can only choose one bet/raise size on each street. In Limit poker the bet-size double on the turn/river.
Float - Calling a bet in order to take a pot down later, kind of like a bluff slowplay or a bluff call. e.g. You call suspected continuation bets on the flop in the hopes that the bettor will give up his unimproved AK and check on the turn. You then bet and hopefully take the pot away from the preflop aggressor. We are floating over the other guys flop bet looking for an opportunity to take the pot.
Flop - In Texas Hold'em, each player has two cards dealt to them, and then share five community cards.
These five community cards, however, do not all get dealt at the same time. There are rounds of betting at certain
intervals during the deal. After the first two cards are dealt to each player, there is a round of betting.
Then, three of the five community cards are dealt at one time on the board. This is what's known as the "flop" -
the first three cards being dealt on the board.
The fourth card is called the "turn", and the final, fifth card is known as the "river".
Flush Draw - a hand where you have 4 of the 5 cards needed to make a flush. For example, if you are holding
two clubs, and the board flops two more clubs, you would be holding a flush draw. You would need to draw an
additional club to complete the flush.
Fold Equity/FE - The value you get from the times your opponent(s) folds. Fold Equity = (% of the time your opponent folds) * (the amount of money you win when he folds i.e. the pot size)
Fourth Street - see "Turn". Known as the turn in Hold'em and Omaha, also the fourth card dealt in Seven Card Stud.
Fifth Street - see "River". Known as the river in Hold'em and Omaha, also the fifth card dealt in Seven Card Stud.
Freeroll – 1. A tournament with out a buy-in fee and a real money prize pool.
2. An opportunity to win a pot with no chance of losing it. For example both players in a hand flop the same straight, except one of the two has a flush draw as well.
Freezeout – A standard poker tournament where once a player loses all of his/her chips they are eliminated
FYP - Fixed your post (Forum/Internet acronym). Usually if you make a mistake someone will change your words and type FYP letting you know.
FWIW - For what it's worth (Forum/Internet acronym).
Gut Shot - a hand where you have 4 of the 5 cards needed to make a straight, but your 4 cards are not "connected"
or in sequential order, so you need a single card in the middle of your straight to complete the straight.
ie - you are holding 5 6, and the board shows 7, 9, 10. At that moment, you have a gut shot, only the 8 will
make your straight. This type of hand is also known as an "inside straight draw" or a "belly-buster straight draw".
Gap Concept - See ToP (Theory of Poker) for a detailed description of this one. But, essentially, the Gap Concept dictates that you need a stronger hand to call a raise with than you do to open the raising yourself. The difference between the strengths is called the “gap”. E.g., most people would raise with a hand like KJ if folded to them but would be reluctant to call a raise with it.
Going South – An unethical action where a player removes chips from the table during a cash game.
Hand History/HH - The transcript of a specific hand or complete tournament, usually obtained from the specific online site.
Heads-Up/HU - One on one play, usually the final two at the end of a tournament
Heater – A player who is on a nice run, winning many pots in a short time.
HUD/PAHUD - (Poker Ace) Heads Up Display. A program that uses the information in your PokerTracker database to provide relevant, customized stats on your opponents and displays them as an overlap to the table you are playing on, such as how often they enter a pot, how often they raise etc. Very helpful for multi-tabling.
Horse – A player who is backed in a tournament by another person
HORSE – A common mixed game consisting of Limit Hold'em, Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Seven Card Stud, and Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo.
IMHO - In My Humble (or Honest) Opinion (Forum/Internet acronym).
Implied Odds - Implied Odds refers to the odds or percentage of making your winning hand compared to the odds or percentage
of the bet you must call compared to the POTENTIAL size of the pot. For a more detailed explanation, please review the
Post-flop Strategy - Pot Odds Essay.
In Position - Having position on your opponent; being able to act last postflop. e.g. UTG raises and you call on the button and will be in position for the rest of the hand.
In the Money/ITM - Landing the paid places in a tournament.
Independent Chip Model/ICM - Works out your stack as a % of the prize pool and works out the EV of decisions based thereon. Very difficult to summarize in one sentence, so click here to learn more about the Independent Chip Model, or search for ICM using Forum Search.
Inside Straight Draw - Also known as a belly-buster straight draw gut shot straight draw. See "Gut Shot".
Isolation – Raising after a player has limped in order to get the pot heads-up.
Jackpot – A prize pool collected as part of the rake which is paid to the players when a player loses with four-of-a-kind. In most cases players must use BOTH cards from their hand to qualify for the prize.
Kicker - the kicker refers to your tie-breaking card. For example, if I am holding an Ace and King,
and the board shows Ace, 5, 8, 2, 6 - I would have a pair of Aces with a King kicker. My opponent may have an
Ace also, but with a weaker kicker, in which case I will win the showdown.
Kill Game/Pot – In fixed limit games a kill pot occurs after the same player wins consecutive pots. In this instance this player is given the kill button, which forces them to either post 1.5bb's or 2bb's, thus raising the betting limits for the current game.
LAGG/LAgg/LAG - Loose aggressive; a player at your table who plays more hands than average and plays them aggressively.
Leak - A hole or shortcoming in your game. Usually a fairly small mistake, but one in which you are ‘leaking’ chips – most notable is completing from the SB (largely because of the discount price) with moderate to poor holdings looking miracle flops.
Level – 1. The current betting limit during a tournament
2. To deceive an opponent through some form of ethical trickery.
LHE - Limit Hold‘em
Limp - to limp into the hand refers to calling the minimal bet, the big blind, to play your hand.
Line Check - You post a hand you played and then ask people to comment on how you bet (or the line you took) on each street.
M - From Harrington on Hold ‘Em; your M represents your stack relative to the size of the blinds and antes. e.g. you have a 1500 stack and the blinds are 100/200 – your M is 1500/(200+100) = 5. e.g. 2, there are 8 players left in a tournament and the blinds are 100/200 w/ a 25 ante. Your 1500 stack is now 1500/(200+100+25*8)=3, M=3.
Maniac - A maniac is a player who plays ultra-aggressively, making big bets on poor cards, throwing his money
around in the hopes of winning by bluffing and intimidation. A maniac can be a difficult player to play against, but
may also be a big source of profits. Here are two examples of playing against a maniac -
14-Feb-2004 - Maniac Opponent and
14-Feb-2004 - Maniac Opponent II.
meh - A sign of indifference, typically used on internet forums.
Microstakes – Stakes so low their typically only found online. Generally anything under $.25/.50 limits.
Muck - the act of folding one's hand without showing your cards.
Nit - A gambler who is afraid to gamble, or a tight player at the table.
NLHE - No Limit Hold‘em
Nuts or Nut Hand - the Nuts or Nut hand is the best possible hand at that particular moment. For example,
if I am holding the Ace and Jack of hearts, and the flop brings the 2, 6, 9 of hearts,
I would be holding the "nut" hand or just the "nuts" - there is no hand that I can lose to at this moment.
Of course, the nut hand can change as the fourth and fifth cards come out (a straight flush).
The highest possible straight or flush is often called the "nut" straight or "nut" flush.
OESD – Acronym for an Open-Ended Straight Draw which refers to an 8-out draw. For example, a player holding JT on a board of 89A has an OESD. Also known as an “open-ender”.
OOP - Out of Position, being first to act postflop.
Open Limp - Being the first person in the pot preflop, but not raising.
Option – The Big Blind's choice whether to raise/check in a limped pot.
Out of the Money/OTM - The opposite of ITM! Placing outside of the places that pay in a tournament.
Outs - The number of "outs" refers to the number of cards in the deck to make your winning hand. For example, if I
have a flush draw (4 suited cards), I have 9 outs to make my flush since there are a total of 13 cards of each suit.
Overbet – A raise/bet larger than the size of the current pot.
Overpair – Holding a pocket pair greater than the highest card on the board, for example, a player holds JJ on a board of 852
Paint – A face card, jack, queen, or king
Pocket Rockets - also known as American Airlines, refers to holding two Aces as your private, pocket cards.
Poker Tracker/PT - A database program that keeps track of how many hands, your profits, and much more for online poker. Very helpful (and almost necessary) for documenting your progress.
Position - What spot you are in as the button moves around the table.
UTG = Under The Gun, MP = Middle Position, HJ = HiJack, CO = Cut Off, BTN = Button, SB = Small Blind, BB = Big Blind
Pot Odds - Pot Odds refers to the odds or percentage of making your winning hand compared to the odds or percentage
of the bet you must call compared to the CURRENT size of the pot. For a more detailed explanation, please review the
Post-flop Strategy - Pot Odds Essay.
Prop/Proposition Bet – A wager between two or more players on the outcome of a certain event. Prop bets can be quite interesting and have known to been made for millions of dollars.
Push - To push or move all–in. Literally; push all of your chips into the middle.
pwn/pwned - Slang from own/owned. When someone outplays or otherwise outclasses someone else. "You got pwned."
QFT - Quoted for truth (Forum/Internet acronym).
Quads – Four-of-a-kind
Quartered – In a Hi/Lo game, losing the Hi or Lo and splitting the other side resulting in only receiving one-fourth of the pot.
Rabbit Hunting – After a hand is over looking at the turn/river cards that would have been dealt.
Rake - This is the commission the house takes from every pot. The rake can be set dollar amounts or a percentage of the pot, depending on the casino.
Rakeback – A form of reward a poker site offers to its members. Players receive a certain portion (typically 25-40%) of the rake they paid at the end of the week or month.
Range – A group of hands that make up what your opponent could have. For example, if villain raises all-in preflop over your raise he might have 88+,KQs+,AQo+.
Rathole – Leaving the table after winning a big pot.
Rebuys & Add-ons/R&A - A tournament which allows you to re-buy (usually restricted to the first hour) if you lose all your chips or drop below your starting stack and also addon after the rebuy period is over.
River - The "river" is the dealing of the fifth and final card of the five community cards dealt in Texas Hold'em.
The "river" is also known as "Fifth Street". The river card is the fifth and final card on the board.
Return on Investment/ROI - The net profit you made divided by the money you invested to make that profit (the sum of all your buy ins). e.g. If you played 10 $10+1 sngs and won $150, then you risked 10x11=$110 and your net profit was $40. So your ROI will be 40/110 = 36%.
Rolled-Up – Being dealt three-of-a-kind in Seven Card Stud
Satellite – A smaller buy-in tournament which awards a seat to a larger buy-in event.
Scare Card – A card which completes an obvious draw, thus slowing down action.
Scoop – Winning the entire pot in a Hi/Lo game
Set - Three of a kind when your pair matches one of the community cards. e.g. You have 55 and the flop brings 4 5 A, you now have a set of 5s. (One of the strongest hands on NLHE.)
Semi-bluff - The act of betting on your hand when your hand is not made yet. ie - you have four cards to a straight
or flush and you make a bet or raise a bet - even though you do not have a strong hand now, you have a chance of
bluffing your opponent out of the pot or hitting the card that will complete your winning hand.
Ship It - - Same as "send it." Phrase exclaimed by the winner of a big pot. Most often exclaimed via the
chat box of an online poker game. Has sarcastic, obnoxious overtones and could infuriate your opponent!
Short-handed - A short-handed game refers to a table that has few opponents. A table of 2-6 players (as opposed to a
full table of 10) would be considered a short-handed game.
Sit 'n' Go Power Tools/SNGPT - A Program that allows you to work out EV in situations of a SnG.
Slow-play - The act of intentionally under-playing a very strong hand in the hopes of tricking your opponent into
thinking that he has you beat, which leads to your opponent betting more in later rounds. ie - holding pocket Aces and just
checking or calling on the first round of betting to show weakness, in hopes of luring your opponent into more
aggressive play later and a larger pot. Here is an example of a slow-play in a real hand -
11-Feb-2004 - Slow Play.
Slow Roll – Taking a long time to showdown the winning hand, usually to set off one's opponent.
Smooth Call - A smooth call is the act of just calling a bet or raise with a very powerful hand in order to conceal your strength and keep all the attention on the initial raiser.
Here is an example of a smooth call used in a real hand played out - 15-Jan-2004 - Smooth Call.
Squeeze – Re-raising PF after another player has called the initial raiser.
Standard - Said by someone who thinks the particular hand doesn’t need much discussion; it was played standard. (Many times the word standard can be said sarcastically in reply to a bad beat).
STBY - Sucks to be you. Often said when people post bad beats (Forum/Internet acronym).
Stone Cold Bluff - This is the act of betting your hand with no real possibility of winning the hand if your bet is
called. Unlike the semi-bluff, where you still have the potential to make a winning a hand, the stone cold bluff
is not relying on the cards, but on your opponent folding.
Stop ‘n’ Go - A move whereby you call a raise, but you are first to act on the flop and you push all-in regardless. Usually where you will probably get called by a better hand if you push pre-flop or you are going to get called anyway, but you may get that better hand to fold if they miss the flop or may have just enough money to make a better hand fold. Read vqc's Sit n Go Poker Plays for more.
Structure – See Betting Structure
Suited Connectors - Holding two cards that are of the same suit and sequentially ordered. ie - 8, 9 of spades.
TAGG/TAgg/TAG - Tight aggressive; someone who is tight with their starting hands but always plays them aggressively. Can also be known as solid.
Tilt - This term refers to a player who is angry, upset, or emotionally unstable, impacting his poker
game in a negative manner. For example, a player who just suffered a "bad beat" may go on "tilt". A player on tilt
will often play erratically and more aggressively than his usual tendency.
ToP - The Theory of Poker by David Sklansky.
TP - Top Pair.
TPGK - Top Pair, Good Kicker. e.g. you hold KQ or KJ and the board reads K 5 7
TPTK - Top Pair, Top Kicker. e.g. you hold AQ and board shows Q 9 3
Trips - Also known as a three-of-a-kind.
Turn - The "turn" is the dealing of the fourth card of five community cards dealt in the game of Texas Hold'em.
The "turn" is also referred to as "Fourth Street". The turn card would be the fourth card on the board.
UTG – Under-The-Gun, the first player to act before the flop.
Value Bet – Betting/raising for value, a bet which will be called by worse hands.
VP$IP%/VPIP - Voluntary Put Money in the Pot %. A category on Poker Tracker which demonstrates how often you play outside of the blinds (quite literally, how often you voluntarily – as oppose to compulsory – put money into the pot).
W$SD - Won $$ at Show Down %. Poker Tracker’s way of showing you how much cash you win at show down.
Walk – The Big Blind winning the pot with out contest. A situation where all players fold before the flop.
Wrap – A straight-draw in Omaha in which more than 2 cards can complete the straight. For example someone holding 567T on an 89x board can make a straight with a Six, Seven, Ten, or Jack.
WtSD - Went to Show Down %. A further Poker Tracker category which demonstrates how often you go to showdown.
x BB/100 = Winrate expressed as Big Bets per 100 hands played. e.g. You have played 50,000 hands with a bb/100 of 5 which earned you $10,000.
You can read a little more about the top 10 most used poker lingo
here or for a complete guide, search our poker dictionary
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