Glossary of Poker Terminology


Learn all the commonly used poker lingo that you'll hear on the tables and read on forums. It's very important to understand the terminology in order to firmly grasp the underlying thought processes behind these discussion to better understand the game.

Backdoor Draw: A draw that needs to hit two running cards on the turn and river to complete a draw from the flop.

Bluff: Is a bet that is designed to fold an opponents hand that may contain a made or better hand.

Breakeven: It is a break-even session/month, etc, if you made no profit or loss.

Bring-in: In Stud, the player with the lowest card must bring in for the first round of betting.

Busto: Broke or busted, generally used to describe a tournament exit or busting an online poker account.

Buy-in: The amount at which players buy into a tournament or sit and go. This buy-in goes mostly into the prize pool, except for a small part of the buy-in, which the casino withholds (rake/fee).

Check: If it is your turn to act and you do not wish to bet, you can check.

Cutoff: This refers to a position at the table. The cutoff is one spot before the button.

Dead Money: Is money in a pot that will be won at a later stage in the hand from an opponent with a propensity to fold to further action.

Door Card: In Seven and Five Card Stud, the first card dealt face up is called the door card.

Downswing: A string of bad luck. In this phase, you perform well below the expected value.

Equity: This is a mathematical term that is used to describe the amount of money you stand to win or lose in a pot. For example if you estimate to have a 25% of winning a hand and the pot is $100, your calculated equity is $25.

Flop: The flop is the first 3 community cards dealt on the board in games such as Hold'em and Omaha.

Fold: Releasing your cards to the dealer and you can no longer actively participate in the current hand.

Gut Shot: A straight draw where you are only drawing to a middle card. ie: A-K-Q-10 presents an inside straight draw opportunity, only a Jack will make a straight. Gut shot straight draws are a low percentage play.

Heads Up: Format of poker that is played between two people. Play at a tournament final table can also become heads up once there are only two remaining players left.

Hijack: The third-last position on the table starting from the dealer button (ie: the position of two places right of the button).

Kicker: The second card in an identical hand, which is used to determine the winning hand. For example, AK beats A8 on a board of A-A-Q-7-6.

Made Hand: A made hand is a hand that already contains some type of pair or better.

Maniac: Player who raises and re-raises a lot with a wide rang of hands. A Maniac's bluffing a lot and is generally poorly assessed.

MTT: Abbreviation for "Multi Table Tournament." This term is mainly chosen for tournaments that start at a certain time. Unlike SNGs, which start as soon as all the seats full up.

Nuts: The best possible hand you can have currently.

Outs: How many cards needed to win a hand. If you need a 5 to make a straight, you would have 4 outs.

Paint: These are cards in the deck include Kings, Queens and Jacks. Also referred to as a face card, because pictures, not numbers, depict them.

Pocket Pair: To have two of the same hole cards. In Hold'em if you are dealt two 8s, this is a pocket pair.

Pot-Limit: Betting structure, where you can put a maximum of as much as at the relevant size of the pot. Different games can be played as a pot- limit. The most popular is pot-limit Omaha.

Pot odds: The relationship between the investment that you have to bring more to be further involved in the hand, and the current size of the pot. The larger the pot odds are, the better.

Post Flop: The game on the flop and in subsequent betting rounds.

Pre-flop: The pre-flop when only two cards (hole cards or pocket cards) on the hand and has no community cards been dealt.

Poker Face: To have no expression and not giving away any tells.

Set: Three of a kind, made of a pocket pair and a community card.

Set Mining: Playing a pocket pair in the hope of hitting a set and getting paid off by an opponent.

Shark: Very strong player who wins money on average.

Short handed: Unlike full ring, a game with three to six players.

Showdown: Uncovering the cards at the end of a round. All players who are still involved in the game, turn their cards over in order (starting with the player left of the dealer button) to determine the winner. If someone in the final round, however, brings a bet or a raise, with no other opponent goes along at the table, there is no showdown.

Slow Play: A player who checks in the first round of betting, even though he has a very strong hand, in order to trap players and allow them to invest more money into the pot on later streets then they otherwise would have.

Split pot: A pot that is split between the players in any given situations when they all have the same hand.

Steaming: Being on tilt. Focusing over lost hands and bad play for emotional reasons.

Sucking out: A strong hand that ends up losing to an inferior hand due to an opponent's good luck.

Suited: All cards of the same suit (spades, clubs, hearts or diamonds)

Tight: A player who plays just a few hands and folds all the weak and marginal hands.

Tilt: An emotional state when a player is playing bad and not their normal game. This usually happens after taking a number of unlucky bad beats.

Trips: Three of a kind, three cards of the same rank, for example K-K-K-7-5.

Turn: The fourth community card in Texas Hold'em and Omaha, which is also known as

Trash: Also known as "garbage hands". In other words, a hand that has no value, and has little chance of improving to the best hand.

Underdog: A player that has only minor mathematical odds of winning. An example: When you get a flush draw on the flop, you are approximately a 2:1 "Underdog", which relates to your chances of making a flush by the river.

Underpair: A pocket pair that is lower than the lowest card of the community cards.

Under The Gun:The first person to act in the first betting round. This is the player to the left of the big blind.

Upswing: A winning streak. In this phase, you play well above the expected value.

Value: The term "bet for value" means betting in a given situation where it's expected that you very likely have the best hand and get worse hands to call (as opposed to a bluff).

Variance: Measure of the upswings and downswings experienced over the course of a poker career.

Wheel: The five high straight. The ace is the highest card normally. In this particular situation, it will still be used as the lowest card.

If you are looking for a more comprehensive and up-to-date version of a poker glossary and online poker resource for winning poker players we suggest that you check out PokerDictionary.net.