Poker Glossary

A poker player’s turn at the table. The action could be a bet, raise, check or fold.

Aggressive poker players tend to bet or raise more than other players. The aggressive playing style is the opposite to the “passive” style. The term “aggressive” in poker should not be confused with the term “loose”, which refers to playing a higher number of hands than the average player.

The amount that each player around the table must contribute before the start of each hand to the pot. Ante is typically introduced in the middle part of a poker tournament, to encourage players to participate in hands.

When a poker player bets all of their available chips.

When a card you need to win the hand is laid down by the dealer on the river, you have won through the backdoor.

For example, in a game of Texas Hold’em Poker, if your hole cards are two diamonds and you hit a diamond on the flop and a diamond on the turn, you may not win the hand unless another diamond comes up on the river. If the diamond does come on the river, you could win the hand through a “backdoor” flush.

To lose a hand after having the statistical lead over an opponent.

An action taken by a player when it is their turn in a game of poker. A bet involves contributing chips into the the pot, either because the player thinks they have the best hand, or because they think they can “bluff” their opponent out of the hand. Other actions a poker player may take when it is their turn are to fold, raise, check or fold.

Big Blind
The amount of chips that the player two seats to the left of the dealer must put into the pot at the start of a hand.

A general term referring to the combination of the big and small blinds. The blinds is the amount that must be contributed into the pot at the begging of each hand by the first and second player to the left of the dealer.

When a player makes a bet into the pot when they do not believe they have the strongest hand. A bluff is made in an attempt to make their opponent(s) fold their hand, so that they bluffer can steal the pot.

Board Cards
The cards that are laid out in the centre of the table for each player to use with their hole cards in an attempt to form the best hand. The amount of board cards varies per poker game. For example, in Texas Hold’em poker, five board cards are dealt, where as there are only four board cards in seven card stud. They may also be known as “community cards”.

The bubble is a term often used in a poker tournament. If you make the bubble you will earn a tournament prize, but the top finisher outside of the bubble will not win anything. You often find that in a poker tournament, in order to make the bubble, inexperienced poker players become more tight.

A term that is used in “live” poker, where the dealer discards the top card of the deck is discarded before each hand.

The button is the position of the dealer, usually indicated by a chip labelled “D”.

The cost to enter a poker tournament, or the minimum amount required to join a poker cash game.

The minimum amount of chips that you need to contribute into the pot to stay in the hand. Essentially a call is matching another player’s bet, who has acted before you in the hand.

Cash game
A cash game is a variety of poker game where anyone can join/ leave the poker table at any stage. Players who join the cash game must bring a money to the table to play with, which must be within the cash games pre-defined range. Cash games are usually differentiated by the level of the blinds, which do not change during the game. Cash games can also vary in the number of players that can play at the table. The main alternative to a poker cash game is a poker tournament.

If players before you have not contributed anything into the pot, then you can remain in the hand by checking, which means you do not contribute anything into the pot yourself and the action continues to the player to your left.

A check-raise usually happens when a player has a strong hand and is trying to be deceptive. The player may check initially, in an attempt to signal to the other players that they they have a weak hand, and hoping one of the other players makes a bet. Then, once one of their opponent’s bets, they then make a raise on the bet that was made.

A check-raise may also be a poker strategy used in order to bluff to the other players that you have a strong hand.

Within both online poker and live poker, chips are frequently used as the currency used to play the game. In real-money poker, chips are bought for a monetary value. The chips are used for making bets, paying rake, paying ante’s, calling and raising.

Cold Call
A cold call is calling a raise by another player after there has already been a bet and at least one raise. It involves calling two or more opponent’s bet at once.

Connectors are hole cards that are in in sequence. For example, having being dealt the hold cards 8 of hearts and 9 of diamonds would be connectors. Connectors are useful hole cards to have, because they create more possibility of a straight draw. Connectors of the same suit are called suited connectors.

Community Cards
The cards that are dealt face up in the centre of the table by the dealer for all players to use. They may also be known as “board cards”.

A poker player is said to be counterfeited when a community card weakens the value of their hand, after previously strengthening the player’s hand.

An example of this in Texas Hold’Em poker is when you have two pair after the turn. Say your hole cards were 7 and 8, and the community cards are 7, 8, J and A. Then on the river, another A is dealt. This could well mean that you will now lose your hand as an opponent may have three of a kind aces, which would beat your two pair of 7 and 8. Here you would have been counterfeited.

The position to the right of the dealer.

In live poker the dealer is the person that shuffles and deals the cards. In online poker the dealer chip, usually signified by “D”, indicates who the dealer is for that round. The dealer chip moves round the table in a clockwise position after each hand, determined the order of play.

Dealer Button
The chip that is rotated clockwise after each hand to indicate the position of the dealer at the poker table.

A player is said to be drawing if they have a hand that is not complete and they are hoping certain card(s) will be dealt in the next round order to make their hand more valuable. The community card dealt in the next round, which a player is hoping to improve their hand from, is called a draw.

Draw Out
A draw out refers to the situation whereby a draw has resulted in a community card being dealt that has resulted in turning your losing hand into a winning one.

Drawing Dead
This is where you are drawing, but have no chance of winning the hand because no community card(s) could cause you to beat what your opponent has.

The first three cards dealt as community cards by the dealer after the first round of betting.

Five cards of the same suit.

To exit a round by placing your cards face down when you think your hand is too weak to compete.

Four of a Kind
A hand of all four suits of the same rank.

Full House
A hand containing a three of a kind and a pair.

To hit an inside straight.

Gutshot straight
To finish a straight by one possible card from the inside. For example, if you are dealt a 2 and 3, and the flop shows 4-6-10, only a 5 on the turn would complete the gutshot straight.

A players two pocket cards added to the three best community cards for them.

Playing against only one player.

Hole Cards
These are the cards you have been dealt, that you do not want to show the other players. You would usually place these cards face down on the poker table. Another name for hole cards is “pocket cards”.

Implied Odds
When drawing, taking other players future bets into consideration.

Inside straight
When you have four cards and requires another card between the highest and lowest of those four cards to make a straight.

At the showdown, if you and one other player have the same hand, the player with the highest kicker will win the pot. For example, if you have ace-queen and your opponent has king-jack, and the board shows 3-3-7-7-9, you would win the pot. This is because a hand can consist of 5 cards, and your best hand would be 3-3-7-7-A and your opponents would be 3-3-7-7-K. Your ace will beat your opponents king.

Another term for a “call”.

Live Poker
Poker played physically face to face with other players.

A loose poker player will play more hands than the average player. As such, they will play with a wider range of hands including those that are weaker.

When there is a limit to how much each player can bet in the poker game. Poker games can also be of a no-limit variety.

When players fold, they throw their cards into the muck, which is the pile of cards that is no longer in play.

When there is no-limit to how much a player can bet in the game of poker.

When your pocket cards are not the same suit.

A type of game where part of each players hand is exposed to their opponents.

When your hole cards are a pocket pair that is higher in value than any one of the community cards.

Open-ended straight
Where you have four cards in sequence, and complete a straight by one of two possible cards from the outside. For example, if you are dealt 3-4 and the flop shows 2-5-J, then either an ace or a 6 would complete an open-ended straight.

When each player on the table has served as the dealer for a hand, the table has completed an orbit.

The number of cards that are left to be dealt, which will likely improve a player’s hand to be a winner.

Out of the money
A term used within poker tournaments, where your low number of chips mean that you are not currently in a position that will win a prize.

Where you have cards that rank higher than any of the community cards. For example, assume you are dealt A-K in Texas Hold’Em poker, and the flop is dealt as 6-3-10. You do not have a pair in this situation, but both your hole cards are over-cards.

Two cards of the same rank, value or face.

A passive playing style in poker is where a player will check or call more on average than other players. A passive playing style is the opposite to an “aggressive” playing style.

Pocket Cards
The cards that have been dealt directly to you at the start of a game of Hold’Em.

Pocket Pair
Where the pocket cards dealt to you at the start of a game of Hold’em are of the same rank/ value/ face.

The pot is the money, or the chips, that sit in the centre of the table. When players make a bet, raise or call they contribute into the pot. The aim of the poker is to win what is in the pot.

A situation where it statistically makes more sense to call rather than fold.

A game of poker where the maximum bet is restricted to the value of the pot.

Another term for “Four-of-a-kind”.

When no two cards are of the same suit in a flop.

Where a player bets more than a bet made by an opponent before them in the round.

The amount of chips or money, taken by the company enabling the game of poker to be played. Rake is typically taken as a percentage of bet in cash games, and as a percentage of the buy-in in poker tournaments.

Ring Game
A poker game where money is wagered in each hand. Otherwise known as a poker cash game.

The last of the five community cards dealt into the centre of the table in a game of Texas Hole’em poker.

A player that doesn’t play for many pots and doesn’t bet or raise very often. They are both “passive” and “tight”.

Each time players are dealt their hole cards in Texas Hold’Em poker, there are the possibility of several rounds of betting; (1) before the community cards are dealt, (2) after the flop is dealt, (3) after the turn is dealt and (4) after the river is dealt.

Royal Flush
Ace-King-Queen-Jack-Ten, all in the same suit, the best possible hand in poker.

A tournament where the buy-in is usually small and the prizes are entry into bigger poker tournaments. This can be a cash-effective way to win entry into top poker tournaments.

Where a poker player does believe they have the best hand and wants to force their opponent(s) to fold, but also has the opportunity to improve their hand once future community cards are dealt.

Having a pair as your pocket cards in Texas Hold’Em or Omaha, and then hitting three of a kind from any of the five the community cards.

Short Stack
Having the least amount of chips compared to other players at the table.

When the final round of betting is complete, all players left must show their pocket cards. The hand will only reach showdown if there are callers in the last round of betting or if someone goes all-in before the last round of betting.

Side Pot
A side pot in poker may arise when a player goes all-in, and there are other players with more chips than the player that has gone all-in, who continue to contribute into the pot after. This will result in there being a main pot (consisting of the player’s chips that has gone all-in, and chips to the same value of all other players still in the hand) and a side pot (consisting of any chips contributed from each player over and above the value of the all-in amount).

A type of tournament that starts once a certain number of players have registered.

Slow Play
Where you have a strong hand, but do not play aggressively in the hope that you will encourage your opponents to make larger bets into the pot.

Small Blind
The amount that the player immediately to the left of the dealer must bet at the start of a hand.

Split Pot
When at least two players have the same hand at the showdown, meaning the pot is split evenly between them.

The amount that a player buys-in to a cash game with.

Five sequential cards.

Five sequential cards, which are specifically all in the same suit.

Suited connectors
Suited connectors are hole cards that are both in sequence and are of the same suit. For example, the 9 of hearts and the 10 of hearts are hole cards that are suited connectors. Suited connectors can be good hole cards, because they have higher odds of creating either a straight or flush draw than either unsuited hole cards or hole cards that are not sequential.

Where a player gives some kind of clue as to what cards they are holding. Top players tend to be good at detecting tells on other players, but rarely give them away.

Tight players participate in statistically less hands on average than other poker players. Generally tight poker players will only participate in poker hands where they hole cards are very strong.

A player is said to be “on tilt” when he/she is playing hands recklessly. Players are most likely to tilt after they have suffered from a series of bad beats.

In may poker games you can request time, which gives you more time to think about what action you will take.

Top Pair
When you have a hole card paired with the highest community card.

A poker event that has a set buy-in price, where each player receives a fixed amount of chips for that buy-in.

Players will then play until either they have run out of chips, or until they are the last player left holding all the chips. In poker tournaments, usually only the final 10% of players receive prize money.

Another word for “three-of-a-kind”.

The fourth community card, which is laid after the flop.

Under the Gun
The person in the position that will act first for each betting round.