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Poker Dictionary



A hand containing an Ace as the highest card with no pairs Straights or Flushes.

Aces Full

A Full House or a Boat consisting of three Aces and any pair. The best Aces Full Aces Full hand is three Aces and two Kings; the worst is three Aces and two Deuces.

Aces Up

A hand with Two Pair consisting of a pair of Aces and another Pair. As with Aces Full, the best Aces Up hand is a pair of Aces and a pair of Kings; the worst is a pair of Aces and a pair of Deuces.


Depending upon context, "action" can have various meanings. One definition refers to which player's turn to act in a hand, e.g., bet, call or fold. Another describes a poker game rules with many players involved in pots. For example, "Our Friday night poker game rules is an 'Action' game with lots of loose, aggressive players players."

Active Player

As with "action," this term has multiple meanings depending upon context. One definition refers to a player who plays lots of pots. Another describes any player still playing in a hand.


In a Multi-Table Tournament (MTT), an additional Buy-In available to all players. This option, depending upon tournament structure, may be allowed either once or multiple times. An "Add-On" permits a player to purchase additional poker chips at any time until the end of the rebuy period. As a rule, almost all players take advantage of this option if available to them.


Describes a player who seldom calls bets but raises and re-raises instead.


Refers to a player's betting action when committing all of one's chips to a pot. It can refer to either a player either betting, calling or raising . See "Shove."

Anna Kournikova

see "Big Slick."


A forced pre-flop bet of equal amount committed by all players prior to the deal. Antes are frequently used in Hold 'Em tournaments to increase the value of the pot and to induce action. Antes normally occur after a number of levels have been played and their value increases as the tournament progresses through each level. Compare with "Blinds."


Bad Beat

Refers to action when a hand with superior odds favored to win a pot is beaten by a worse hand which wins due to a fortunate draw on either the Flop, the Turn or the River or by a combination of streets, e.g.,"Backdoor Flush" or "Running Cards" aka "Runner-Runner." Another example is "Cracked Aces" where Pocket Aces, statistically the strongest starting hand in poker rules, are beaten by a lesser starting hand after the community cards are dealt.


This term has multiple definitions. One is used to describe catching "Running Cards" on the Turn and the River to make a hand, e.g. "Backdoor Flush" or "Backdoor Straight." Consider a player holding an Ace and a Five. If among the five cards dealt to the board include a Deuce, a Trey and a Four (with two of the cards coming on the Turn and the River), the player makes a "Backdoor Wheel" aka "Bicycle" Straight . A less common definition refers to a hand a player inadvertently makes while drawing for another. For example, a player may hold a Seven and an Eight of Spades when two Spades hit the Flop along with the Six of Hearts. So the player intends to draw to a Flush. Instead, two Running Cards (e.g., the Five of Diamonds and the Nine of Clubs) are dealt on the Turn and the River to make the player a Backdoor Straight.


Refers to a player who calls first and then re-raises after a raise by a player in later position. Compare to "Three Bet" or "Four Bet."


An amount of money a player sets aside from poker winnings or living expenses, used to Buy-In to poker rules games. Also known simply as "Roll."

Bankroll Management

Describes guidelines on how to manage a poker bankroll so as to protect against Variance, Tilt and substandard play. Good Bankroll Management is perhaps the most important attribute for a professional poker player. Part of good Bankroll Management is the player's recognition of Buy-Ins corresponding to the size of his or her bankroll.

Belly Buster Draw

See Gutshot.


The initial wager of the first player to enter the pot on any street. Pre-flop, the Blinds would be considered the first bets.

Bet Odds

More commonly known as "Pot Odds." It's the ratio of the current size of the pot vis-à-vis the price of a considered call or raise. Compare to "Implied Odds."

Bet the Pot

Betting or raising an amount of chips equal to the amount of chips in the pot. This bet/raise gives your opponent no better than 2:1 Pot Odds—an important consideration if your opponent is trying to draw to a "Made Hand."

Big Blind

A pre-determined bet made by the player usually sitting two seats to the left of the dealer before the deal and typically is twice the amount of the Small Blind .Blinds are used to encourage action in a poker hand. Note that as a rule players entering a game must post a Big Blind. This can be made from any position at the table although players may wait until the Big Blind rotates to their position (i.e., when the Dealer Button is two seats to their right).

Big Slick

A starting hand containing an Ace and a King. One of the best starting hands in Hold 'Em but still a drawing hand drawing hand (i.e., not a made hand). Also known as an "Anna Kournikova."


A community card that apparently does not improve the relative strength of any player's cards and is not anticipated to alter the result of the hand in progress. Also known as a "Brick."


A pre-flop forced bet, designed to encourage action, posted by players immediately to the left of the dealer button. The number of blinds may vary from one to three; two ("Big Blind" and "Small Blind") is most common. Compare to Ante.

Blind Raise

Usually refers to a raise made by a player without looking at her hand. May also refer to the forced raise made pre-flop by the Big Blind to the Small Blind.


A bet or raise made by a player holding a relatively weak hand or no made hand, designed to look strong to opponents. May be used to either win pots or disguise betting strategies.


May refer to the five community cards dealt face-up in a "Flop" game and available for use by all players or the cards dealt face-up in a Stud game.


In a community card game (e.g., Hold 'Em, Omaha , etc.), five cards dealt face-up and available to be used by all players to make their hands. Also known as "community cards."

Bottom Pair

In a community card game (e.g., Hold 'Em, Omaha etc.), a Pair made from the lowest value boardcard and a card from a player's hand. Compare with Top Pair and Middle Pair.


Bounty A feature of some Multi-Table Tournaments (MTTs) where a cash award is awarded to the player who eliminates a player designated as a bounty. This award comes from a prize pool separate from the tournament payout schedule.

Broadway Straight

The "Nut" Straight; an Ace-high Straight (e.g., Ace-King-Queen-Jack-Ten).


In a poker tournament, the last player who finishes "out of the money" with the remaining players receiving cash payouts. For instance, if 50 players in a tourney receive payouts, the 51st player finishes "on the bubble" and wins no money.


A term describing a Pair of Aces.


Specifically, the Dealer Button-known by a variety of colloquial names such as "Buck," "Hat," "Biscuit" and "Puck." The Button designates the player playing from the dealer's position and rotates clockwise around the table after each hand is played. The player who is "On the Button" has the last action in a poker hand.


For a Cash Game , the amount a player spends on chips to join the game. In a tournament, the money spent for the entry feeentry fee. These payments are used to calculate the total prize pool as well determining the House's share ("Rake") for hosting the tourney.



A player's Action matching the current Bet amount by any and all previous players.

Call Cold

A player's action calling a bet and subsequent raises. The player who "Calls Cold" has no money in the pot before making his play. For instance: "The player Under the Gun raised and was three bet by the player in the Cutoff position. I was On the Button and made a cold call."

Calling Station

A derisive term describing a player who frequently calls bets but seldom raises or folds , regardless of his or her hand strength. Usually a Loose-Passive player, Calling Stations are immune to most Bluffs and should be regarded with caution unless one makes a big hand.


A term with multiple meanings. In Limit Hold 'Em poker, a "Cap" is the limit of raises permitted in a round of betting, which usually occurs after three or four raises and the opening Bet. It can also be used as a verb, e.g.: "I capped the action on the Turn with my raise." Or Cap may also refer to a card protector such as a chip or object a player places atop her hole cards to denote her continued involvement in a hand and to keep the dealer from placing her cards in the Muck.

Cash Out

The act of redeeming one's chips for cash at the cashier's cage of a casino after leaving a game. May also refer to the withdrawal of money from an online poker site.

Cash Game

When a player’s chip stack in a cash game represents its real money value. Blinds and antes are set for the table and don't increase as in a tournament. A player can enter or leave a cash game at any time they choose. Also known as "Ring Game" or "Live (Action) Game."


A player's decision to decline to bet when there has been no previous action in the hand. By checking, the player ends her turn for the round and the game continues to the next round or to a Showdown unless players in later position bet and/or raise. Then the player who checked has the option to call, raise or fold. The universal gesture for checking is tapping the table with one's hand or fingers.


A guileful act by a player where he checks in a round of betting with the intent of raising if other player(s) bet and/or raise first. This aggressive play is generally an indication of a strong hand held by the player who check-raises.


A term with multiple meanings. In a cash game, "Chopping the Blinds" is an agreement between the Blinds to end the hand and return thebets bets to the players who posted them after the Flop if no betting occurs in the round. In a tournament, a "Chop" is an agreement negotiated between the tourney leaders to divide up the prize pool instead of playing down to the last player. Usually done deep in tourneys with only a few players left in contention. "Chop the Pot" aka "Split the Pot" refers to a pot divided between players who have the same winning hand.


One of the four suits (the others are Hearts, Diamonds and Spades) in a deck of playing cards. Unlike Bridge, suits in poker have no ranking order. Diamonds were originally meant to represent peasantry and hard work.

Community Cards

Also known as boardcards, window Cards or common cards. Collectively these five cards are called "The Board." They're dealt face-up by the dealer and available for use in any player's hand in community games like Hold 'Em or Omaha Poker.


To defeat a favored strong hand in a showdown—in particular, Pocket Aces—with a relatively weaker one. For example: "I took a Bad Beat when my Pocket Aces were cracked by a Backdoor Flush."



One reference is to a poker dealer of a game hosted by a casino or a cardroom. A poker dealer is an employee of the cardroom who deals cards, oversees play and distributes pots to winners. He never plays in the game and thus will never be in Dealer's Position. It also refers to a player "on the button" (in the Dealer Position) who is the last to act post-flop. Compare with "On the Button."

Dealer's Position

Also known as "On the Button." The Dealer's Position and button rotate to the left on the poker table after each hand. The most advantageous position in a community card game, the player in this seat is the last to act following the Flop, the Turn and the River. Compare with "Dealer."


One of the four suits (the others are Hearts, Clubs and Spades) in a deck of playing cards. Unlike Bridge, suits in Poker have no ranking order. Diamonds were originally meant to represent merchants.

Disconnect Protection

A tool offered by some online casinos and cardrooms to safeguard players in case their Internet connection to the website is lost while playing in a pot.

Dominated Hand

Refers to a hand that is a significant underdog statistically to another specific hand despite being playable under other circumstances. One example is a hand sharing a high card with an opponent but has a lower kicker, such as Ace-Queen vs. Ace-King. Dominated hands may also be the losing hand in Pair over Pair (e.g., Aces vs. Kings) or Set over Set (e.g., Three Aces vs. Three Kings) matchups.

Dominating Hands

Refers to hands superior to others in a poker game, usually winning the pot in the event of a showdown. Even though they may be a made hand, they have potential for improvement. Example: a player may make a Set on the Turn and improves to a Full House on the Full House. May also refer to a hand with a Pair or a Set supported by a higher kicker "dominating" a Pair or a Set supported by an inferior kicker.


In Hold 'Em and Omaha, they're hole cards dealt face-down. In Five-Card Stud, the first card dealt to a player is a In downcard. In Seven-Card Stud, the first two cards and the final card dealt to a player are downcards. See Hole Cards and Pocket Cards.

Drawing Dead

Can either refer to playing a drawing hand that will lose even if made or playing a hand that has no chance of beating an opponent's hand. For example: if a player is drawing to a Flush but an opponent has already made a Full House, the player is drawing dead, as he has no chance to win the pot.

Drawing Hand

An incomplete combination of cards in a hand that needs community cards on the board to become a made hand, often a Flush or Straight. Compare to Drawing Dead.


Fold one's hand.


A Pair of Twos.


Early Position

Refers to the positions in a Hold 'Em game where players are the first to act and have a considerable disadvantage to those in later positions. Early Positions include the Blinds, Under the Gun (the player to the left of the Big Blind ) and in a full ring game, Under the Gun +1 (the player to the left of Under the Gun). The Under the Gun position is the first to act pre-flopand third to act on all subsequent streets.streets.

Entry Fee

A small fee (as compared to the Buy-In ) charged by a casino or cardroom for hosting a tournament. Note that the entry fee is separate from the Buy-In. A typical Buy-In and entry fee in a No Limit Hold 'Em tourney could be advertised as NLHE $54+$6 (a total cost of $60 to the player).

Extra Blind

May refer to a number of plays at a poker table . An Extra Blind could be one committed by a player entering the game for the first time, or returning to the game after being absent for a full rotation of the button around the table. It could be also be levied on a player who changes seat position at the poker table. Extra Blinds include Straddle and Sleeper bets, if allowed by the casino or cardroom. Compare with "Blind" and "Post."


Family Pot

A jocular term describing a multiway pot into which most if not all players at the table have made pre-flop opening bets.

Fifth Street

The round of betting that occurs after the fifth/last card is dealt in community card games such as Hold 'Em and Omaha. In Stud , it's the fifth card dealt to a player. See "River."


A weak or inexperienced player, especially one who loses substantial sums of money in a poker game. Compare with "Sucker," "Donkey" and "Shark."


Describes the first three community cards dealt face-up, all at once, after which a round of bettingoccurs. Also denotes these three cards, dealt after the first (pre-flop) round of betting. Compare with "Turn" and "River."


A hand consisting of any five cards of one suit (Spades, Hearts, Diamonds or Clubs) and ranked between a Straight and a Full House. Should multiple players hold Flushes, the player with the highest card held as part of her Flush is the winner of the hand. The "Nut" or best Flush is an Ace-high Flush.

Flush Draw

Occurs when a player has four cards of the same suit and remains in the hand in hopes of drawing a fifth card to make a Flush. "Semi-Bluffs" are frequently made by players on a Flush draw.


To release one's hole cards into the Muck and forfeit any further action in the current hand. See "Drop."

Forced Bet

Mandatory wagers required from each player at various table positions (depending upon game variant) in the first round of betting to induce action. May include Antes, Blinds, Posts,mandatory Straddles and "Bring-Ins" (found in Stud poker).

Four of A Kind

A hand containing all four cards of the same value, e.g., four Queens. Also called "Quads" or "Quadzilla."

Fourth Street

In Hold 'Em and Omaha, it's the fourth community card dealt and initiates a third round of betting. More commonly called the "Turn." In Stud , it's the fourth card dealt to each player and initiates a second round of betting.


May refer to a tournament with no entry Fee or Buy-In or a hand in which a player will do no worse than split the pot but also, should the right cards fall, win the pot outright. The latter describes a scenario typically found in a High-Low Split game before the final card is dealt.

Full House

A poker hand comprising of a Set (Three of a Kind) with a Pair . A very strong hand, it ranks between a Flush and Four of a Kind. Should multiple players hold a Full House in a hand, the player with the higher valued Set wins the pot. Also known as a "Full Boat," "Boat" and "Tight."


Gut Shot

An Inside Straight Draw; a drawing hand containing four of the necessary five cards to complete a Straight but needs a card in the middle to make the hand. For example: a player holds 8-7 offsuit. On the Flop comes A-9-5. Here, a 6 would be needed to complete the gut shot. See Belly Buster and Inside Straight Draw.



A collection of five cards (in Hold 'Em and Omaha) held by a player in a game and ranked by value (i.e., Pair, Set, Straight, etc.).


A poker game between two opponents only; it can refer to the final two players remaining in a tourney, the last two players in a cash game breaking up, two players attempting to start a game while waiting for others to join in or the last two players left in a hand's showdown.


One of the four suits (the others are Diamonds, Clubs and Spades) in a deck of playing cards. Unlike Bridge, suits in Poker have no ranking order. Hearts were originally meant to represent the clergy.


Refers to a procedure in tournaments to determine the opening Dealer's Position where each player is dealt a single card and the player with the highest card and suit (in order—Spades, Hearts, Diamonds,span style="color:red;font-weight:bold;">Hearts, Clubs) gets the Button for the first hand of the tourney. May also refer to a poker hand with no Pairs, Sets, Straights, etc., and thus the ranking of the hand comes from its highest card. For example: a "King-High" hand could consist of the five cards ranked K-10-6-5-2. Thus the hand is "King-High" with the remainder of the cards kickers.

High Limit

A high-stakes poker game requiring relatively large Buy-Ins with correspondingly high value Blinds. Often casinos and cardrooms set aside a "High Limit" room apart from other tables to accommodate high rollers ("Whales") and professionals with large bankrolls. An example of a "High Limit" cardroom is "Bobby's Room" (named after renowned pro Bobby Baldwin) at the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas.


A poker game, usually variants of Omaha or Stud, where the pot is split between a conventional hand (aka "High Hand") and a qualifying Low Hand (aka "Qualifier"). Usually a specific hand value is needed to win the Low Hand. For example: Omaha Eight-or-better ("8ob") or Stud Eight-or-better ("Stud8") requires that the Qualifier's highest card must be 8 or less in order to win the low share of the pot. Hence the High Hand may win the entire pot if there is no Qualifier. The best Qualifier in Eight-or-better is the "Wheel" or "Bicycle" Straight (A-2-3-4-5). Note that suits do not count in making a Qualifier and low hands are counted from the highest card down (e.g., 2-3-4-6-7 is lower than A-2-3-4-8).


A poker game with two hole or pocket cards dealt face-down to each player and five board or community cards dealt face-up in three "streets." The first Street is the Flop where three cards are dealt at once. One card each is dealt on the second street (Turn) and the third street (River). Hold 'Em games generally require the posting of two Blind Bets ("Big Blind" and "Small Blind") to encourage table action. A round of betting occurs before the Flop and on each Street. Each player tries to beat his opponents by making the best five card hand from a combination of community and hole cards. Note that unlike Omaha,Hold 'Em does not require a player to use any of his hole cards to make a Hand. Also known as Texas Hold 'Em.

Hole Cards

In poker,hole cards are dealt face-down to a player. The number and order of hole cards depend upon game. For example, in Hold 'Em, players receive two hole cards at the start of each hand . In Omaha, players receive four hole cards at the beginning of each hand. In Stud, the number of hole cards can either be one or three, depending upon variation. Only the player knows what her hole cards are. In Hold 'Em, hole cards can be used in any combination with the board or community cards to make the best five-card hand. See Pocket Cards.


Implied Odds

Also Implied Pot Odds; refers to the anticipated value of the pot built from future bets by opponents should a player draw to a made hand (e.g., Straight or Flush). Compare with Bet Odds.

In The Money

To win a cash prize or to finish high enough in a tournament to win prize money based on the tourney's payout distribution schedule, no matter if the tourney is still playing.



A purse of money awarded to a player or players for a rare occurrence, typically a Bad Beat, if they meet specific, pre-set requirements. Jackpots vary by casino/cardroom and are funded with extra rakes collected by the dealer at the beginning of each hand. Some casinos offer a jackpot to a player who hits a Royal Flush. More often, the jackpot is used to provide relief against phenomenal Bad Beats, like a Straight Flush losing to a higher Straight Flush or Quads losing to higher Quads. Depending upon casino rules, a Bad Beat jackpot can divided between the winner and loser of the Bad Beat hand, or divvied up between all the players involved in the action of the hand, or all the players at the table or in the cardroom at the time of the Bad Beat. Specific qualifications are usually imposed by the casino or cardroom on the awarding of a jackpot, e.g., a player must play both hole cards, see action through to a showdown, the pot must be of a certain minimum size, the table must have a minimum number of players seated and playing, etc.



A unpaired card, usually a hole card, that plays no part in making a hand but only comes into play to break ties between hands of the same rank. A Pair or a Set with a higher kicker dominates a Pair or a Set with a lower kicker, i.e., J-J-A-K-Q vs. J-J-K-Q-10. Also called a Side Card. See Dominating Hands.

Kick It

As in "Kick it up." To raise a bet.


Refers to the motion a player makes with his hand or fist on the poker table to convey his intention to check his hand.



A Pair of Queens.

Late Position

Refers to players who are the last to act on the Flop, Turn and River. They have a considerable advantage over players in earlier positions since they have more opportunity to control play and the size of the pot. Late Positions include the Button (aka Dealer Position), the Cutoff (the player to the right of the Button who may try to "cutoff" action from the dealer) and the Hijack, so-called because players in this position may try to "hijack" action from the Button and the Cutoff by raising.

Limit Poker

There are a number of Limit Poker games, ones that have fixed-limit betting structures set by rule. In most Limit Hold 'Em( LHE) and Limit Omaha games, the fixed bet doubles after the Flop . So, for example, while a $4/$8 LHE game has a $2 Small Blind and a $4 Big Blind, the first bet pre-flop and on the Flop is $4. Note the Small Bet is always the size of the Big Blind. Any raises in these rounds are limited to $4 increments. However, on the Turn and the River, the first bet is now $8 (the Big Bet) and raises are now in $8 increments. Raises are usually capped after four or five wagers, depending upon the cardroom's rules. Once betting is Capped, players may no longer raise but only call or fold until the next street is dealt. One exception often seen is unlimited raising when two players go heads-up to win a pot. Variants of LHE include Spread-Limit Hold 'Em—where all bets and raises are made in increments between the minimum and maximum ("the Spread") amounts—and LHE with "Full Kill" or "Half Kill." In these games, a Kill Button (similar to a Dealer Button) is given to a player who wins three pots in a row. The player then has to post an over-blind double the amount of the Big Blind (Full Kill) or an amount 1.5x the size of Big Blind (Half Kill). See Straddle. Other fixed limit games are Pot Limit Hold 'Em (PLHE) and Pot Limit Omaha (PLO), games where a player can bet up to the amount in the pot—which also includes all bets currently on the table and any call before raising.


Also "Limp In." A pre-flop bet equal to the amount of the Big Blind. Used by players with drawing hands such as suited connectors who hope to enter the pot without raising.

Live Cards

In Hold 'Em, a player's cards that, if paired on the board, will put the player in the lead against other players in the pot. Usually denotes a relatively weak hand that is not dominated. Compare to Dominated Hand. In Stud, live cards are those that improve a player's hand and have not yet been dealt as upcards to anyone's hand and thus are presumably still obtainable from the deck.

Live Hand

A hand in play, one that is not folded or mucked and eligible to win the pot. Also, a hand with the correct number of cards. May also refer to a player's hand behind in a showdown but with outs to win. See Live Cards.

Low Limit

Refers to poker games with relatively small Blinds and wagered amounts.


Main Pot

Should a player go All-In and other action follows, the dealer will set up a main pot,used for action concerning the All-In player, and at least one side pot for wagers made by other players following the All-In bet. Compare to Side Pot.

Micro Limits

Online poker games and tournaments played for stakes too small for brick-and-mortar casinos and cardrooms to host. Players at this level usually wager no more than a few dollars per hand.

Middle Pair

Also Second Pair; a Pair made on the Flop from one of a player's hole cards and the second-highest ranked board card.

Middle Position

Refers players in seats located in turn order between Early Position and Late Position. In a 10-player ring game, middle positions may be abbreviated as MP-1, MP-2 and MP-3; i.e., the fifth, sixth and seventh players to act on streets post-flop. Players have "position" on opponents acting ahead of them and are "out of position" to opponents with later action in the hand.

Minimum Buy-In

In a casino or cardroom, the smallest amount of money allowed for a player to join a game. This amount is usually set by the casino or cardroom as a ratio to the number of Blinds; i.e., 10x the Small Blind or 20x the Big Blind.


Abbreviation for Multi-Table Tournament; a tourney involving multiple tables in play simultaneously. Compare to Sit and Go (SnG).


May be used as a verb meaning to fold or discard one's hand, usually without revealing its cards. One may muck a losing Hand without showing the hole cards to the table. A winning hand may also be mucked without showing its hole cards if its action was not called. Muck may also be used as a noun, referring to folded hands the dealer places in a discard pile of cards and includes Burn Cards, Fouled Cards or any hole cards inadvertently dealt face-up.


No Limit

Poker games with stakes permitting players to wager any size of their chip stack in a single bet at any time in any round of betting. Abbreviated as NL, the betting structure invariably requires the posting of Blinds.


Also "the Nuts." It's the absolute best hand possible in a community card poker game such as Hold 'Em or Omaha. By evaluating their pocket cards with the community cards, players can ascertain if they holds the Nuts or the second-nut (the second best possible hand in the game) or the third-nut (the third best possible hand in a game), etc. The term also applies to specific hand rankings, e.g., Nut Flush and Nut Straight.



The probability of making a hand against the probability of not making a hand determined by the number of cards left in the deck that will improve a player’s hand versus the number of cards that won't improve their hand.


Usually used when describing a player's pocket cards, the term describes cards of different suits.

On the Button

The player in the Dealer's Position, which rotates clockwise around the poker table after each hand.

On Tilt

Also known as "Steaming." Describes a player's frustration following a Bad Beat or other adverse result, leading to the player making poor decisions when playing. Manifestations of this condition include the player becoming overaggressive in play, joining in too many pots or verbally haranguing other players.

Open Card

Describes a card all players at the table are allowed to see, such as a community card, an exposed card, a fouled card, etc.

Open-Ended Straight Draw (OESD)

Also known as "Up-and-Down Straight Draw," "Outside Straight Draw," "Two-Way Straight Draw" and "Double-Ended Straight Draw." Refers to a draw for a hand that needs either the first or the last card in a sequence to complete a Straight. For example: a player holds 7-8 of Spades when a 9 and a 6 come on the Flop. Thus the player has an OESD, as either a 10 or 5 of any suit makes his Straight.

Open Pair

In "Flop" games, a Pair among the community cards and visible to all players. In Stud, an exposed Pair dealt face-Up to a player's hand.

Out Button

A marker placed before the seat of a player absent from a poker game but who wishes to reserve his seat during his absence.


In poker games with multiple rounds of betting, it refers any card left in the deck that if drawn will likely win the pot for a player on the draw. Knowing outs is of strategic importance to any player since they are integral to pot odds and implied odds calculations. Referring to the OESD entry above, the player has eight outs—the four 10s and the four 5s in the deck.


A pocket Pair ranked higher than any possible pair that could be made from the community cards.



Two equal cards of different suits with the same value, e.g., a Pair of 7 s.


A term with two similar yet very different meanings. One refers to the act of folding and is most often used among British players. The other is when a player declines to bet when it is his turn to act. In this case, "pass" does not necessarily mean a player folds his hand; he merely passes the action to the next position at the table.

Play Back

The act of raising or three-betting another's bet.

Playing the Board

In Hold 'Em, it refers to the player using the five board cards to make the best hand. Note that in Omaha one cannot "play the board" since a player must use her hole cards to make a hand.

Pocket Cards

The cards dealt face-down to a player to start a hand, visible only to the player to whom they were dealt. See Hole Cards and Downcards.

Pocket Pair

A Pair in the hole , dealt to a player pre-flop and visible only to him.

Pocket Rockets

A Pair of Aces in the hole. The strongest starting handin poker, it's dealt on average once every 220 hands.


Describes a player's location in a game compared to the Dealer's Position and its strategic import for the player. Early positions are to the left of the Dealer Position and late positions are to the dealer's right.


Likely sourced from the word "jackpot," it refers to the chips or money wagered in a poker hand and available to the winner of the hand. Note that if a player is All-in, side pots may be used to determine the winner of wagers made by players after the All-In.

Pot Limit

A game in which any player can raise no more than the amount of the total pot. This includes the starting pot (wagers from previous rounds),action made on the current street ("Trail") and the call from the player making the raise.

Pot Odds

The ratio of the amount in the pot versus the cost of calling an opponent's bet or raise. Often factored into this calculation is the probability of being dealt a needed card to make a hand so as to determine the value of the action. For example: the current pot holds $40 and your opponent bets $10. A player must pay 20% of the pot in order to have the chance to win it; thus by calling, a player receives pot odds of 5:1. Compare with Implied Odds.


In community card poker games (i.e., Hold 'Em, Omaha), the action that occurs after the players receive their hole cards but before the Flop is dealt.

Prize Pool

Sourced from player Buy-ins, the prize pool is the total amount of the purse at stake in a poker tournament and—depending upon tournament structure—is divvied to the top 10-20% of the tourney's contestants. Note that a player's Buy-in includes an entry fee and often a rake for the casino, cardroom and/or dealers. Compare with Entry Fee.

Put Down

Aka Lay Down. To Fold.



Aka Quadzilla. See Four of a Kind.




A flop with three different suits dealt to the board.


A player's action increasing the size of a previous bet in the same round of betting. Invariably the amount of the raise must be at least twice the size of the bet ("minraise") unless a player is All-in.


Also called Vigorish , Vig or Juice. A commission or percentage taken by a casino or cardroom for hosting a poker game, scaled to the size of the pot. A rake may vary between 2.5-10% of the pot from each hand with a predetermined maximum dollar limit set; 4% is the usual rake taken by Las Vegas casinos. Different casinos/cardrooms have varying house rules regarding rakes, e.g., "no flop, no rake", no rake if the game has four players or less, or an hourly rake instead of a rake per hand.


May refer to the placement of a card to determine its value—e.g., the Ace is either highest and/or lowest (depending upon game) with the Deuce next to lowest—or to hand rankings, ranging from lowest ("High Card," e.g., "Ace High") to highest (Royal Flush).


Refers to the hand motion a player makes when checking a hand.


The art of evaluating opponents' table mannerisms and play in order to "get a read" on their hands. Compare with Tell.


A feature of some poker tournaments allowing players to purchase additional chips after the initial Buy-in, often used if a player "busts" (loses all of one's chips) early in the tourney. The Re-Buy period is limited to the early levels of a tourney and generally can only be used if a player's chip stack is at or under the amount of the original Buy-In. Compare with Add-On.


Also called a Three-Bet; a second raise in a round of betting after an initial raise made by a player in earlier position.

Ring Game

Also known as

Also called a "cash" or "live (action)" games where players wager "real" money and chips have cash value, with no pre-set conclusion and contestants may enter and leave as they wish. By contrast, tournaments are played with chips that have no cash value outside the tourney structure, have a specific number of contestants and end when one player wins all available tourney chips or by negotiation between tourney leaders when only a few players remain.


Also called "Fifth Street"; the last board card dealt face-Up in a "Flop" game and marks the final round of betting in the hand.

Round of Betting

In "Flop" poker games, the opportunity players have to bet, raise or fold their hands. Each round of betting concludes when the final bet is made or raise is called.

Royal Flush

The absolute "Nuts" in poker; the highest ranked hand, consisting of an Ace-High Straight Flush. The wizardofodds.com website estimates the probability of a Royal Flush occurring at any given time in a Hold 'em 6-player game at 0.000186 and at 0.000309 in a 10-player game.



A qualifying tournament used by players as low-cost option to win a seat into a larger tournament. Compare with Super Satellite.

Seating List

A waiting list used by casinos and cardrooms during busy periods when seats are unavailable at the room's poker tables. On weekends, wait periods may be as long as an hour or more for the most popular cardrooms in Las Vegas and pagers are loaned to players to notify them when a seat comes open.

Second Pair

In a "Flop" poker game, a Pair made from a hole card and the second-highest card dealt to the board; Middle Pair. Compare with Top Pair and Bottom Pair.


Three of a Kind, aka "Trips." A strong hand, particularly when a card on the board matches a player's pocket pair.


A professional or expert poker player, a Card Sharp; one who consistently wins through aggressive play. Their counterparts (and victims) are known as Fish or Donkeys.

Short Stacked

Refers to a player with a relatively small stack of chips compared to the wagers made in the game he's currently playing. Can apply to either ring games or tourneys. A tourney player is generally considered to be if he has 10-15x the amount of the Big Blinds remaining. Compare with Stack.


To bet All-In.


A situation in a poker game where, if multiple players remain following the last round of betting, the contestants in the hand expose their hole cards to ascertain the winner of the pot.

Side Pot

Created by the dealer in a game once a player has gone All-In, it is separate from the main pot and eligible to be won only by players still betting in the hand. Note that multiple side pots can be created if more than one player goes All-In. Compare with Main Pot.

Single Table Tournament (STT)

A tourney consisting of only one table, as compared to a Multi-Table Tournament (MTT). Often called Sit and Go, they're often used as satellite tourneys. Compare with Sit and Go and Multitable Tournament (MTT).

Sit and Go (SnG)

Usually a STT, it has no scheduled start but begins whenever the number of players needed have paid their entry fee and ends when the last player wins all the available chips in the tourney, usually in about an hour. SnGs usually consist of anywhere between 6 and 10 players. Compare with Single Table Tournament (STT) and >Multitable Tournament (MTT).

Small Blind

Smaller of the two Blinds (Forced Bets) in a "Flop" game of poker, it is the position immediately to the left of the Dealer Position and the first to act after the Flop. The Big Blind is seated immediately to the left of the Small Blind . The Small Blind wager is usually (but not always) half the amount of the Big Blind.


Can refer to splitting the pot equally between players who hold the same exact hand or divide the pot between multiple winners in a split-pot poker variant (e.g., Eight or Better) where half the pot goes to the High Hand and the other half goes to the Low Hand. Compare with Chop.


May be used as either a verb or a noun. As a verb, it refers to the act of winning an opponent's chips. For example: "I won the showdown and stacked his chips." As a noun, it may refer the total amount of chips in play for a contestant (e.g., "He has a stack of $200 in front of him") or an amount of 20 chips stacked in an orderly fashion (e.g., "I asked the dealer to sell me a stack of red chips").

Starting Stack

The amount of chips a player starts a tournament with. Each player has the same starting stack at the beginning of a tourney. Compare with Add-On.


Ranked between a Set and a Flush, it consists of five unsuited cards in consecutive order (e.g., 5-6-7-8-9). Note that depending upon game variant the Ace can be used in a Straight as either the top ranked card ("Broadway") or below the Deuce ("Wheel" or "Bicycle").

Straight Flush

The best Hand in most poker games, ranked above Quads, and a Royal Flush is the best Straight Flush Hand. It contains five suited cards in consecutive order (e.g., J-10-9-8-7 of Clubs). As with Straights, depending upon game variant the Ace can be used as either the top or bottom ranked card in a hand.


Refers to either the cardroom rules for a particular game, including table and bet limits, Blinds and rakes or a tournament's format specifying time levels, Blinds, antes and starting stacks.


One of four classifications, each consisting of 13 cards ranging from Ace to King, in a deck of 52 cards — Spades, Hearts, Diamonds and Clubs.

Suited Connectors

Suited hole cards in sequential order, e.g., King and Queen of Clubs.

Super Satellite

A Satellite Multi-Table Tournament (MTT), awarding several seats to a larger, more lucrative tournament at a lower cost than the target tourney entry fee.



The arena where poker games are played; also refers to the act of displaying hole cards after a call during a poker hand.

Texas Hold'em

Alternate name for Hold 'Em.


A re-raise, made after a bet and a raise during the same round of betting.

Three Of A Kind

Three Cards of the same poker ranking or face value held by a Player. See Set.


May either refer to a game with little action or a player who folds most hands dealt to him. Tight players are categorized as either "Tight-Agressive"—players who play few hands but aggressively bet their them when involved in a game—and "Tight-Passive" (aka "Nits")—weak players who play few hands and passively bet them when they do play. Compare with Loose .

Top Pair

In "Flop" poker games, a Pair made from one of a player's hole cards and the top-valued board card. Compare with Second Pair, Middle Pair and Bottom Pair.

Top Two Pair

Also known as Split Two Pair, a hand with unpaired pocket cards matching the value of the two highest board cards.


Fourth Street; in "Flop" games like Hold 'Em and Omaha, the fourth of five community cards, dealt face-up to the board and followed by a round of betting. In Seven Card Stud, a player's fourth card, also dealt face-up.

Two Pair

A poker hand ranked between a Pair and a Set. In a showdown, the hand with the highest-valued first Pair wins, e.g., Aces and Tens beats Kings and Jacks. In case both players have the highest valued Pair, the highest-valued second Pair determines the winner. For example: a Two Pair hand with Kings and Jacks beats a hand with Kings and Tens.



A pocket pair ranked below the value of the lowest ranked board card; any pocket pair that loses to Bottom Pair.

Under The Gun

The position to the immediate left of the Big Blind and the first to act pre-flop. One of the seats in Early Position.

Up Card

In poker, a card dealt face-up and visible to all players in the game.



An advanced mathematical concept used in probability theory and statistics. In poker, it refers to the divergence of results compared to an expected result. Any action with an absolute outcome has low variance. For example: folding has a variance of zero. Anomalies in variance may result in marked losing fluctuations for players, as actual results may differ greatly from a player's expectations.



World Poker Tour— a televised series of high stakes international tournaments that broadcasts the final table of each event, founded by Lyle Berman and Steve Lipscomb in 2002.


World Series of Poker—Founded by Benny Binion in 1970 as an invitation-only single tournament at the Horseshoe Casino in downtown Las Vegas, it's now a series of events held each summer at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino and sponsored by Caesar's Entertainment Corporation.


Also known as a Bicycle; a five-high Straight (eg., 5-4-3-2-A). The lowest-valued Straight.

Worst Hand

May refer to a losing hand in a game of poker or to 7-2 offsuit—the worst starting hand in Hold 'Em.

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