Poker Terminology

by Joseph MacNaughton

A Definitive Guide to Poker Language, Phrases, terminology and their Meaning

This guide to Poker Terminology lists the most widely used words, terms and phrases used in Poker. Whether you are playing poker live or online, you are bound to hear many of these terms frequently.

Poker Terminology

Betting Structures and Formats:

Describe the different types of poker games and betting formats.

No Limit

when it is your turn to bet you may wager any amount of chips you like. Whether that's as small as 1 Big Blind or every chip you have in front of you.

Fixed Limit

To bet a precise amount of chips agreed in advance. No more, no less. 

Limit

The same as Fixed Limit just a shorter phrase for it.

Pot Limit

A bet any amount of chips starting from 1 Big Blind, with the maximum wager being the current size of the pot.

Ante

An Ante is a small amount of money every player at the table must put into the pot before any cards are dealt.

Bring-in

The bring-in forces players to place a small amount of chips, with the option to bring in a slightly larger amount if desired. Mostly used in Fixed Limit games.

Tourney

Short for tournament.

Comp

A term used in the UK to refer to a poker tournament.

Heads-Up

Describes the situation when there are two players a the table involved in a pot.

Sit And Go

A small tournament that has a maximum amount of players. As soon as the max number of players has registered, the tournament starts.

Poker Position Terminology:

Describe player positions on the betting table.

Dealer Button

A Button placed on the table that indicates the player who is currently dealer.

Cutoff

Is the player sitting right of the dealer.

Hi-jack

Is the player right to the Cutoff

Middle Position(s)

The player(s) right of the Hi-jack

Early Position(s)

The player(s) right to the Middle Position and left of the Big Blind.

Under the Gun

Another name for a player in an early position.

Blinds

The players in the blinds positions must put a set amount of chips in the pot before any cards are dealt, similar to an Ante.

The Big Blind

The Player sitting left of the small blind. The big blind is twice the amount of the small blind.

The Small Blind

The player sitting to the Left of the dealer, who must place a predetermined amount in the pot

Hand Strength Terminology:

Describes the different types of poker hands possible.

Royal Flush

Top five cards in sequence in the same suit. E.g. A♥+K♥+Q♥+J♥+10♥

Straight Flush

Any five cards in sequence in the same suit. E.g. 3♣+4♣+5♣+6♣+7♣

Four of a Kind

Four identical cards of any value. E.g. J♣+J♦+J♠+J♥+K♥

Full House

Three of a Kind + 1 pair. E.g. 7♥+7♦+7♠+A♠+A♣

Flush

Any five cards the same suite. E.g. A♣+7♣+4♣+3♣+10♣

Straight

Five cards of any suit in number sequence. E.g. 8♥+9♦+10♦+J♥+Q♣

Three of a Kind

Three cards of the same value any suit. E.g. A♣+A♦+A♠+4♠+J♦

Pair

Two cards of same value any suit. E.g. K♦+K♥+2♥+7♣+10♦

High Card

The highest value card in hand where A is Highest. E.g. A♦+7♦+4♣+Q♣+9♦

Trips

Another word to describe a Three of a Kind

Quads

Another word to describe a Four of a Kind

Flush Draw

A hand that is typically one card away from a flush with more cards to come.

Straight Draw

A hand that is typically one card away from a straight with more cards to come.

Open-ended Straight Draw

Complete your straight with one card on either end of your hand when there are more cards to come.

Gutshot Straight Draw

Complete your straight with one specific number when there are more cards to come.

A Set

A set is similar to 3 of a kind but with one significant difference. A set refers to having one pair in your hand with the third card being face up on the board.

Full Boat

Another way to say Full House

Outs

Refers to the number of up and coming cards that could beat your opponent.

Drawing Dead

When there isn't a card in the entire deck that can help you win the hand.

The Nuts

Having the nuts means you currently have the best possible hand.

Over-pair

You have a pair in your hand that is higher than any pair possible on the board.

Kicker

This is your high card to your poker hand and will determine the winner if the strength of you and your opponent's hands are the same.

Backdoor flush draw

when you have 3 of 1 suit, and there are still two more cards to follow, it is still possible for you to hit a flush if the next two cards are both the suit you have.

General Poker Terms and Phrases

Words and Phrases frequently used to describe poker situations

Bubble

A player who was one position away from earning money in a tournament but lost all his chips and walks away with nothing.

Burn card

The dealer will discard the card on top of the deck before dealing the next card. This is done in case anyone had caught a glimpse of the top card and gained an unfair advantage.

Stack

The amount of chips currently in a player position is called a stack.

Stacked

When all the chips of one player have been won or lost to another player.

 

Limp-in

To limp-in is to call the big blind without raising.

Three-Bet

The Big Blind is considered the first bet, someone then raises the big blind and then if a player raises the one who raised the big blind it is called a Three-Bet.

Four-Bet

raising a person who did the Three-Bet.

All-in

Risking your entire stack by Putting all your chips into the middle.

Shove

Another way to describe an all-in bet.

Shipped it

Can have several meanings but generally means winning

Blink/Blinked/Blinking

Means to catch some luck can be associated with, catching a card you needed or to winning a tournament etc.

Rake

The amount of money the Casino or host will be taking from the pot or the players to compensate for running the game.

Timebank

In Online poker games, you will have a certain amount of time to play your hand before it is considered dead and forcefully folded. The Timebank is an additional amount of time you may have to think about your decision.

Nit

This is a slightly derogatory term used to someone they deem to be playing too few hands and folding frequently.

LAG

Stands for a Loose Aggressive player. This player plays quite a few hands and plays them all generally quite aggressive.

Donk

A player someone thinks is playing similar to a Donkey.

Fish

A player someone believes to be an amateur and someone that can be exploited.

Whale

A player believed to be incredibly bad and their edge against them is so big they can take them for a lot of chips/cash.

Shark

A player who is believed to be good at poker and will eat fishes' chips similar to a shark.

Float

Calling one round of betting with the intention to bluff on a future round.