Poker Terms

This poker glossary will give you definitions of a list of terms, abbreviations and acronyms that are commonly used in poker (including some specific to online poker). Poker terminology can seem daunting to new players. Our guide to the terms you need below will help you through the learning curve and get you talking like a poker pro in no time!

1-10

6MAX

6 maximum players


A

ABI

Average buy-in

Add-on

In tournament play an opportunity to purchase additional chips regardless of your chip stack. This is usually offered only once after the first break/end of the rebuy period. The add-on usually offers more chips per dollar than the original buy-in and rebuys.

Adding-On/Add-On Period

"Adding On" to a tournament stack during the "Add-On" period (in a re-buy tournament)

AF

Aggression Factor

AI

All-in

AIPF

All-in pre-flop

All-in

To have all your chips in the middle; to bet everything you have left.

American Airlines

A poker nickname for a pair of aces, most commonly used when a player in Texas Hold'em has pocket aces.

Ante

A small bet that increases in increments with the blinds. It usually begins mid-way through a tournament to build the pot.

ATC

Any Two Cards

Ax

Ace with a 2nd card


B

B&M

Brick and Mortar (a physical, land-based casino or poker room)

Backdoor

A draw that requires two cards in a row to complete, e.g. having three of one suit on the flop in hold 'em means you have a backdoor flush draw: you will have a flush if two more of that suit come on the turn and the river.

Bad beat

A losing a hand that you were a (big) favorite to win, "I suffered a really bad beat when I moved all-in with my pocket aces and John hit his runner-runner flush"

Bankroll

The overall amount of money that a player has available to wager.

BB

1. Big Blind, the person two places left of the dealer has to put in an amount of chips before the cards are dealt. This amount is usually (but not always) twice the size of the small blind (SB).

2. Big Bet, most limit poker games double the bet sizes on the last betting round(s). The larger bet sizes are called "big bets." See also SB.

B/C

Bet and Call

BDFD

Backdoor Flush Draw

BDSD

Backdoor Straight Draw

Bet

To put chips into the pot. Only used for the first such action during a betting round; the others may either "call", "fold" or "raise."

B/F

Bet and Fold

Big blind special

When the player in the big blind position hits a good flop or wins a hand despite holding bad cards. This is because, with chips already in the pot, the big blind is more likely to see a flop holding poor cards than any other position.

Big Slick

A nickname for AK.

Bingo Poker

Derogatory term for a poker game where the players have no skill, or perhaps a tournament where the blinds increase too quickly, meaning players are generally relying on luck to win any given hand.

Blank

A card that didn't help you (and likely didn't help anyone else).

Blind

1. The small and big blinds that are put into the pot before the cards are dealt, "I raised from the button, hoping to steal the blinds"

2. The person in one of the blind positions, "the big blind re-raised"

3. The relative position (which is always the first two after the dealer), "I don't play QJo from the blinds"

4. In a live game, to make a move without looking at your cards, "I only had a few chips left so I went all-in blind from early position"

Bluff

Betting or raising in hopes of your opponent(s) folding, as you do not believe that you have the best hand. See also "semibluff".

Board

The shared community cards in Hold'em and Omaha, e.g. the flop, turn, and river. "the board paired, giving me a full house against his flush"

Boat

A hand that consists of three of a kind and a pair, e.g. A-A-K-K-K. If two people both have full houses, the one with the higher trips win. Also known as a full house. "I flopped a boat, and decided to slowplay it"

Bot

A computer program that plays poker online with little or no assistance from a person.

Bottom Pair

A pair using the lowest card on the flop.

Bounty

Prizes awarded for eliminating players from a tournament.

Bring in

A forced bet in stud games.

Broadway

An ace-high straight (10, J, Q, K, A, non-suited). A Broadway is the highest straight in poker.

Bubble

The last spot in a tournament before payouts begin, or the person who finishes in that spot.

Bullets

1. Aces

2. Refers to how many times a player has bought into a tournament, via rebuys or re-entries.

Burn

The top card that is discarded from the deck before dealing any community cards is referred to as the burn card and is discarded to safeguard against players accidentally seeing the top card.

Bust, Go Bust, Busted

1. When a bluffing player is called and loses the pot.

2. Could also refer to getting a great hand busted by a player on the come.

3. To lose or have lost all of one's chips, money, or bankroll.

Button

1. A little marker showing who's currently the dealer. This person has the advantage to always act last (not in Stud). A person can be said to be "on the button", as in "I was on the button and looked down to see pocket nines in the hole"

2. The dealer position.

3. The player in the dealer position, "the button raised and we all folded"

Buy-in

1. The amount of chips you buy to join a ring game, "my usual buy-in at a $3/$6 table is $600."

2. The cost or entry fee of a tournament, "the main event at the WSOP has a $10,000 buy-in."

Buying the button

When your bet or raise makes all players behind you fold, giving you last position (a huge advantage). "My raise on the flop bought me the button, so I could take the free card on the turn"


C

Call

To match someone else's bet, as opposed to raising or folding. "He went all-in, and with the odds I was getting, I had to call despite probably having the worst hand."

Calling Station

A weak-passive player who calls a lot, but doesn't raise or fold much. Hard to bluff.

Cap

In a game with limited raises, to put in the last raise permitted on a betting round (typically the third or fourth raise).

Case

The last card of a certain rank in the deck. For example if 3 Q's are already in the game the 4th Q is the case queen.

Cash game

A regular poker game for cash, that you can join or leave at any time, as opposed to a tournament. A ring game.

Catch

To get one of the cards you needed to win the hand, "I caught the 9 on the river, giving me the nut straight"

Chase

To call with the worst hand, hoping to improve. Often used in a derogatory sense, to mark someone as desperate. "You just keep chasing those inside straights, kid - it will bust you eventually"

Check

To stay in the hand without betting - can only be done if you're first to act, or if no one else has yet bet (if they had you could only call, raise or fold). "On the river, I knew he wouldn't call with a worse hand, so when he checked, I just checked behind"

Check-call

When you check, a player acting behind you bets, and you call their bet.

Check-fold

When you check and then fold after a player acting behind you bets.

Check-raise

When you check, someone else bets behind you, and then you raise when the action gets back to you. "I check-raised her on the flop with my top pair"

Chip dumping

A form of collusion between two or more players, where some players deliberately lose chips to their 'partners'. In a tournament, the winner ends up with all the chips from the other colluders increasing their chance of cashing. The winnings are then split among the colluders.

Chip leader

The player currently holding the most chips in a tournament.

Chop

An agreement by all players remaining in a tournament to divide the remaining money in the prize pool, usually in proportion to their current chip stacks.

CK

Check

CO

The position to the right of the button. See "cut-off".

Cold streak

The opposite of a hot streak - when someone is getting a bad run of cards, they are said to be on a cold streak, "I won a lot of hands early on in the tournament, but then I went on a cold streak and eventually had to go all-in with rags to survive"

Cold-call

When one person bets, another raises and you call both the bet and the raise, you are said to be cold-calling. This is usually done only with monster hands or very powerful draws, as most other holdings should usually be either raised or folded at these times. "John raised pre-flop from under the gun, and I cold-called with my KQ-suited"

Collusion

A form of cheating involving two or more players working together in some way.

Combo Draw

Having multiple draws at the same time.

Continuation bet

A bet made on the flop by the player who was the preflop aggressor.

Cooler

When two very strong hands are involved in a big pot (e.g., KK gets coolered by AA when AA wins)

Counterfeit

If I hold A-A in the hole in hold'em, and you have 3-6, with a board of 3-6-9-K-9, you will have had two pair on the flop, but I will have made a better two pair on the river. The 9 on the river is said to have "counterfeited" your hand. A similar situation can happen with low or medium pocket pairs, say 6-6 on a board of 7-7-8-8-Q, where the board makes it easy to beat a hand that was strong on the flop.

Cowboys

Slang for a pair of kings, most commonly used when a player in Texas Hold'em has pocket kings.

CR

See check-raise.

Cut-off

The seat just to the right of the button is called the cut-off. The second-to-last position in a hold'em game.


D

Dead

A tournament chipstack that is undefended (i.e. the player is registered but not seated), or a space on a tournament table that is empty but considered to be occupied in terms of position of button and blinds.

Dead Man's Hand

Two pair, Aces and Eights. Derives from speculation that it was this hand (in black suits) that Wild West legend Wild Bill Hickock was holding when he was shot and killed at the poker table.

Dead Money

1. An inexperienced player who has little to no chance of winning.

2. Money in the pot that was contributed by players no longer in the hand.

Dead outs

Outs which improve one players hand, but at the same time give their opponent a stronger hand. For example, if a card completes one player's straight, but gives a flush to the other, that card is considered a dead out to the first player.

Deuce

A poker player's way of saying "a two,", e.g. "the deuce of hearts came on the turn"

Dime

Dime is a common slang term used in gambling and other activities that are involved heavily with money. The 10 cent coin is used to describe one thousand dollars (e.g. 10 x hundreds). A "big dime" would refer to $10,000.

Dog

The player with the lowest chance of winning hand; an underdog. "When she called my all-in and showed a higher set, I was a 43-1 dog to win; only the remaining five could help me"

Donk

1. A bad player, or a good player who suddenly did something stupid. "I played that hand like a complete donk"

2. To bet from out of position. "I donked the ace on the turn, hoping that the player behind me who raised on the flop would fold"

Donk Stack

A large tournament stack won by a poor player using dumb luck, and considered vulnerable to a more skilled player.

Double-up

When a player goes all-in, is called by a bigger stack and wins the hand, thus doubling their stack.

Draw/drawing

To check or call bets with a hand that is unlikely to be the best at the moment, but has chances of improving with the cards to come. "I flopped a straight draw, but on the turn I realized my opponent was drawing as well, so I raised them on the river and they folded"

Drawing dead

When no remaining cards can give you the best hand, you are said to be drawing dead. "I hit my straight on the river, but the big blind had flopped the nut flush, so I had been drawing dead the whole time"

Dry pot

A side pot containing no chips, created when a player goes all in and is called by more than one opponent, but not raised.


E

Effective Stack

The actual number of chips played for in a hand between players with unequal stacks. E.g. one player has a 12,000 chip stack and the other player has a 6,000 chip stack. The effective stack is 6,000 since that is the most that either player can win in the hand.

EP

Early position.

Equity

Your share/value of a pot. If the pot contains $100, and you have a 50% chance of winning it, you have $50 equity in the pot. How to calculate equity.

EV

See "expected value".

Expected Value

Expected value is the average outcome in terms of chips or money earned when taking into account the probability of certain events.


F

Fake Think

When a player makes it appear they are thinking long and hard about a decision for a given hand, when in truth the decision is already made, they are just acting as part of some greater purpose.

FD

Flush draw.

FE

See "fold equity".

Fifth street

The last card dealt up in Hold 'em or Omaha (also known as the river), or the third card dealt up in 7-card stud.

Fish

A common (derogatory) term for bad players. By the same token, good players are sometimes called sharks, because they prey on the fish.

Fixed Limit

Any poker game where the betting is restricted to predetermined units, as opposed to no limit or pot limit.

FL

See "fixed limit".

Flat call

To just call a bet when one might be expected to raise.

Float

Calling a bet without particularly strong cards, usually on the flop, in order to take the pot down later in the hand (perhaps with a bluff, or by improving your hand using the cards to come).

Flop

1. The first three community cards in Hold 'em and Omaha that are dealt face up at the same time (followed by the turn and the river). "The flop showed a king, a nine and a deuce, so unless someone had a set, I believed my pair of kings to be good"

2. The verb used to describe hitting a hand on the flop: "I flopped the nut flush - now I just needed to keep the opponents in the hand so they could pay me off"

Flush

A hand that consists of cards that are all of one suit. A flush is better than a straight but worse than a full house.

Fold

To surrender your cards and quit the current hand.

Fold Equity

The extra value you get from betting when it may force an opponent to fold.

Four-bet (4bet)

In any given betting round, the 4th bet (but 3rd raise), or the raise of the re-raise.

Four-of-a-kind

Exactly what it sounds like: For instance 2-2-2-2-7 is a four-of-a-kind hand. The only hand that beats four-of-a-king (or quads) is a straight flush.

Fourth street

The fourth card dealt in stud poker, and the next community card after the flop in Hold 'em and Omaha (where it is also known as the turn).

FR

A full ring game (generally 9 or 10 seats in No Limit Hold'em)

Free card

When everybody checks and the next card is dealt without any chips being bet, that is called a free card. "I checked, intending to check-raise the preflop raiser with my vulnerable top pair. Unfortunately, she checked behind and I ended up giving her a free card which gave my opponent a flush"

Freeroll

1. When a player can't lose, but can improve to win more of the pot. For example, if a player has at least half the pot won in a Hi/Lo split game, and is now drawing to win the other half, they can be said to be on a freeroll.

2. Similarly, if two players with AKs get all their money into the pot before the flop, but one of them flops three to a flush, they are on a freeroll. They can't lose, with half the pot guaranteed, but could still win it all.

3. Sticking with the "can't lose, but can win it all" definition, there are popular online tournaments that are provided by poker rooms and poker sites which cost nothing to enter. These tournaments award cash prizes, are essentially a marketing tool, and are called freeroll tournaments or freerolls.

Freeze-out

The most common form of tournament. Once you've lost all your chips, you're out. As opposed to re-buy or re-entry tournaments.

FT

Final Table.

Full house

A hand that consists of three of a kind and a pair, e.g. A-A-K-K-K. If two or more players each have a full house, the one with the higher trips win. Also called a boat.


G

Grinder

A grinder is a player who "grinds out" a profit over the long haul. This player is not a showboat or a loose cannon but rather does what it takes to make even a modest profit over the long term.

Guarantee

A tournament prize pool in which a certain amount is guaranteed to be paid out by the House. If not enough players register to cover the guarantee, it must still be honored (see "overlay").

Gutshot

Drawing to a straight with one of the middle cards missing, e.g. if you have 9-7 in the hole in Hold 'em, and the flop shows 6-10-A, an 8 would give you a straight. This is called a gutshot straight draw (also inside straight draw). "Because there were so many people in the hand, I easily got the odds to continue with my gutshot"


H

Hand history

The written history of a hand (or hands) played.

HE

Common acronym for Hold 'em.

Heads-up

When there are only two players at the table, they are said to be playing heads-up. "Johnny and I got heads-up after Tim lost with his pair of jacks to my pocket queens." A hand where everyone has folded except for two people is sometimes called a "heads-up pot". "I suspected Johnny was attempting to steal the blinds, so I three-bet him, hoping to isolate him and take the pot heads-up with him"

Heater

Another term for a hot streak.

HH

See "Hand History".

High-card hand

A hand without a pair, straight or flush is called a high-card hand. For instance, having AQ on a K-8-7-5-2 board is a high-card hand (ace-high). The worst hand in the hierarchy of poker hand rankings.

Hijack

The seat just to the right of the cut-off, two off the button.

Hole, hole cards

The cards that are dealt face-down to you in Hold'em, Omaha or SStud.

HORSE

A mixed game incorporating Holdem, Omaha/8, Razz, Stud and Stud Eight or better.

Hollywood

To take extra time to make a decision and act like you don’t know what you are doing, or that you are not sure of your hand; usually to try to trap your opponent.

Hooks

Slang for a pair of jacks, most commonly used when a player in Texas Hold'em has pocket jacks.

Hot streak

Catching great cards and winning big pots due to luck, variance or statistical fluctuation (no, hitting your flush draw three times in a row is not skill). Also known as a rush. The opposite of a cold streak.

House

The entity that is the host of the game, usually a casino or poker room.

HPFAP

Common acronym for David Sklansky's and Mason Malmuth's influential book "Hold 'em Poker for Advanced Players".

HR

Hourly Rate. How much you win in a cash game over time, often described as big blinds per hour.

HU

Acronym for heads-up.

HUD

A Heads Up Display, sometimes used in online poker to collate and display information on player habits and tendencies.


I

ICM

The "Independent Chip Model", a mathematically advanced model for calculating equity in late stage tournament play, which takes matters such as payout jumps into account.

Implied Odds

Pot odds that do not currently exist, but may be included in your calculations because of chips you expect to win if you hit your hand.

In the money (ITM)

To place high enough in a poker tournament to win prize money.

Inside straight draw

Drawing to a straight with one of the middle cards missing, e.g. if you have 9-7 in the hole in Hold 'em, and the flop shows 6-10-A, an 8 would give you a straight. This is called an inside straight draw (also see "gutshot").


J

Jam

To move all-in in a no-limit (or pot-limit) game.


K

Kicker

A hole card which does not formally change the rank of a hand is called a kicker. In Hold 'em, holding KT on a board of K-J-6, you are said to have a pair of kings with a 10 kicker. If someone else also has kings, it's the rank of the kicker that decides who wins. "I decided to raise. There was a definite chance that they were bluffing, and even if they weren't, I still had 3 outs to pair my kicker and take down the pot"


L

Lag, LAG

1. A "loose aggressive" style of play in which a player plays a wide range of starting hands and makes many raises in hopes of out-playing their opponents.

2. A loose aggressive player.

Lpa, LPA

A "Loose Passive" style, or player who adopts that style. Sometimes known as a "calling station", they will often call but rarely raise, making them difficult players to bluff.

Laydown

Folding a good hand when you think your opponent has you beat.

Leak

A systematic mistake that a poker player makes is called a leak. This is because the mistake is costing them (leaking) money in the long run. "One of my biggest leaks was to constantly be folding overcards in a big pot on the flop"

LHE

Acronym for Limit Hold 'em.

Limp

To just call the big blind instead of raising it is known as a limp. "There were three limpers to me on the button, and I decided to raise with my pair of jacks"

Lock

A hand so strong that it's either impossible, or at least highly unlikely, that it can lose no matter what comes on the coming streets. Having a lock on the pot means that it's time to figure out how to extract the most money out of the other players in the hand.

Lojack

Slang term for the seat before the hijack.

Loose

A style of play that plays a wide range of hands. The opposite of tight.

Lowball

Any form of poker where the winning hand is the lowest possible hand, rather than the traditionally highest ranking poker hand.

LP

Late Position.

Luckbox

Mildly derogatory term for player who frequently gets lucky.


M

Made hand

A hand with more than high-card value, e.g. pair or up, which doesn't need to improve to have a good chance of winning the pot. Usually used as the opposite of a draw: "I check-raised the flop with my flush draw figuring I could get my opponents to lay down if they missed, but when Johnny made it three bets to go, I was sure he had a made hand"

Maniac

Popular way to describe a very loose player who will seemingly bet or raise with any hand. "I really wanted to isolate the maniac, but unfortunately the big blind decided to come along too"

Micro-Limits

The lowest stakes available. Usually $.5-.10 and lower are referred to as "micro-limits" online.

Move in

To go all-in.

MP

Middle Position, or the players in the 3 to 5 seats off the button at a full table.

MTT

Multi-table tournament.

Muck

To fold your cards, or the actual pile of discarded cards at a physical poker table. "If your cards touch the muck, they're considered dead and you're out of the hand"


N

NFD

Nut Flush Draw.

Nit

A tight-passive player that does not take risks and is typically easy to read.

NLHE

No-limit Hold 'em.

No-Limit, NL

A version of poker in which a player may bet any amount of chips that they have when it is their turn.

Nuts

The strongest hand possible. Someone with the best possible hand is said to be holding the nuts. The best possible hand is always at least a set, but the nuts can change as more cards are dealt.


O

O8

Omaha 8-or-Better (also known as Omaha Hi/Lo or Omaha split).

OESD

Open Ended Straight Draw.

OESFD

Open Ended Straight Flush Draw.

Offsuit

Two hole cards that are not of the same suit. Popularly denoted "o", as in AKo.

Omaha

A four-card variant of Hold'em, where two hole cards must be used with three community cards. Omaha can be played as a split hi-lo game, and is often played for pot limit stakes.

On the come

To bet or call with a draw. "On the flop, I thought he might be betting on the come with a flush draw. When the third heart came on the turn, I was willing to lay my pair down"

OOP

Out Of Position. Acting before your opponent(s).

Open

To bet first.

Open-ender/open-ended

A straight draw where a straight can be made if a card on either side of the sequence of 4 cards is drawn from the deck. For example, holding a combo of 4-5-6-7, you would make a straight if either the 3 or the 8 were to come.

Open Faced Chinese Poker, OFC

A short-handed, poker-related game in which players make multiple poker hands, face-up. Played for points, there are no betting rounds in OFC.

Open-limp

Being the first person to call preflop, but not raise.

Open-shove

Being the first person to bet, and going all-in.

OPP

Opponent.

OS

Offsuit.

Out

Even if you currently do not have the best hand, there may be ways for you to get the best hand at the table. A card that will give you that hand is called an out. If you have no outs, you are said to be drawing dead.

Overcall

On the river (or on 7th street in Stud), when someone bets and another player calls, you have to have a very strong hand to make an overcall, or to be the second person to call the first player's bet. It's possible that the person who bet is bluffing, but the first caller must have a hand which beats a bluff, at the very least.

Overcard, Overcards

Cards that rank higher than the cards on the board. For example, if the board shows 10-5-3, and you have AK, you hold two overcards.

Overlay

When the amount of buy-ins in a guaranteed tournament does not cover the guaranteed amount. In the case of an overlay, the House pays the difference between the buy-ins and guarantee, making it a good value tournament for players.

Overpair

A pocket pair higher than any card on the flop.


P

Pair

Two-of-a-kind. A pair is beaten by two pair, and can only in turn beat a high-card hand.

Passive

A style of play characterized by checking and calling, with little raising.

PF

Pre-flop.

PFR

Pre-flop Raise.

PFR%

Pre-flop Raise Percentage.

PL

Pot-limit.

PLHE

Pot-limit Hold 'em.

PLO, PLO8

Pot-limit Omaha, Pot Limit Omaha 8-or-Better.

Pocket pair

A pair in the hole in hold'em. "I had pocket jacks, but had to fold when the flop came A-K-7 suited"

Pocket Rockets

A pair of aces as your hole cards.

Position

Each player's turn in the betting order is a different position. Being in first position means that you act first in the betting round, while being in last position means you act last. Having position, or acting after an opponent, is a tremendous advantage.

Pot

The chips that can be won. The player who shows down the best hand at the end, or who can make all the others fold, wins the pot.

Pot Odds

The amount of chips in the pot compared to the amount you must put in to continue playing. Comparing pot odds to the odds of hitting an out can help determine whether a call is correct or not.

Pot-Committed

A situation where you feel obliged to call with the rest of your stack because of the large size of the pot, the amount you have already put in, and the small size of your remaining stack.

Pot-Limit

A version of poker in which a player may raise up to the amount of chips in the pot whenever it is their turn to act.

PP

Pocket Pair.

Pre-flop

The point where players already have their pocket cards but no flop has been dealt yet.

Push

To go all-in.


Q

Quads

See "four-of-a-kind".


R

RA

Rebuy/Add-on.

Rag

A low or insignificant card. "I started making serious money from poker when I learned not to play Ace-rag from early positions"

Rail

1. The spectator area of a poker room or game.

2. To watch a poker game without playing in it yourself.

Rainbow

When the cards on the board are all of different suits, it is said to be rainbow. "The flop came A-K-5 rainbow" means that the ace, the king and the five were all of different suits.

Raise

To increase the amount of the existing bet. "It was folded to me in the cut-off, and so I raised with a mediocre hand, hoping to steal the blinds"

Rake

The money that a poker room (or poker site) charges per pot. It's usually a small percentage of the pot, 5% or so, with a clear maximum. It varies between different rooms and sites, so it pays to look into how much it costs to play at each site.

Rakeback

Payment to a player of a portion of the rake paid by that player, usually from a third-party source such as an affiliate.

Read

Having a read on someone means that you've picked up on something significant about the way they play. "From a read I picked up earlier, I knew that he slow-played trips on the flop, so his bet did not mean that he had the case 8. Instead, he was likely either semi-bluffing a draw or he was betting a small pocket pair. I raised"

Rebuy

1. An option to buy back into a tournament after you've lost all your chips, usually within a limited time-frame, restricted in number and limited by the size of your stack (i.e. you may be able to rebuy for 2 hours, up to 3 times each, and only when you have under 1,000 chips).

2. In a cash game, buying back into the game after "busting".

Represent

To attempt to make your opponents believe you have a particular hand - often a strong hand when you are weak, or a weak hand when you are strong. "When the flop came all hearts, I bet out to represent strength"

Re-raise

If you raise another player's raise, you are said to be re-raising.

Ring game

As opposed to a tournament, a ring game is played for the chips in each pot, not prizes awarded to the highest finishers. Players can leave whenever they like and cash in their chips. A cash game.

River

The last card dealt up. This is fifth street in Hold 'em and Omaha, and 7th street in Stud.

Rock

A very tight player is often called a rock. When a rock raises, you'd better have a strong hand to call or re-raise them.

ROI

Return on Investment.

ROW

Rest of the World.

Royal Flush

A Royal Flush is the highest possible straight flush, involving the 10, J, Q, K A of the same suit. The best hand in poker.

Runner-runner

When you need, or catch, ideal cards on both the turn and river to make your hand. Catching two cards in a row that you need to make a straight, for example, is called catching a runner-runner straight.

Running bad

When statistical fluctuations cause you to get bad hands and lose money. Also called a "cold streak".

Rush

A run of good fortune or results. See "hot streak".


S

S&G, SNG, Sit And Go

Sit and Go tournament. These begin as soon as the required number of players have registered, rather than at a specific time.

Sandbag

Synonymous with check-raising someone, "Sandbag" has a slightly negative feel to it, often used to imply there's something unethical about this play.

Sandwich

To trap someone (or be trapped yourself) between two raisers. This can get very expensive for the person who is sandwiched.

Satellite

A tournament in which the prize is entry into another (larger) tournament.

SB

1. Small Blind, the player one position left of the dealer, who has to put in a predetermined amount of chips before the cards are dealt. This amount is usually (but not always) half of the size of the Big Blind.

2. Small Bet, how much you're allowed to bet in the first rounds of limit poker.

SC

See "Suited Connectors".

Scarecard

A card which likely completes someone's draw. If you have been (falsely) representing a draw to this hand, a bet when the scarecard falls can win you the pot.

Scoop

To win both the Hi and the Lo in a split game.

Semi-bluff

Betting or raising on the come. The idea behind this tactic is that the combined chances of you hitting your draw and your opponent folding makes it profitable.

Set

A pair in the hole that gives you three-of-a-kind with one card on the board.

SF

Straight flush.

Shootout

A poker tournament format where the last remaining player of a table goes on to play the remaining players of other tables, until a final table is reached.

Short Stack

A stack of chips that is relatively small for the stakes being played and/or compared to other's chip stacks.

Shorthanded

A less-than-full table. A full table is usually 9-10 players, so anything less than that can be considered shorthanded.

Shove

Yet another term for all-in.

Showdown

The point at which all players remaining in the hand turn their cards over to determine who has the best hand and wins the pot.

Side pot

When there are three or more players in a pot and one of them is all-in, a sidepot can be created by the players who still have chips. Since the all-in player is not entitled to win more of their opponents' chips than they have put in, their opponents can gamble for the sidepot created by their surplus.

Sit Out, Sitting Out

To take a break from a cash table (removing one's chips from play and not paying blinds or being dealt cards, but possibly retaining one's seat), or not being present (seated) at a tournament table but continuing to pay blinds in one's absence - a frequent occurrence online.

Slowplay

To check and call with a made hand, instead of betting or raising. Most often used as a way to trick opponents into thinking your hand is weaker than it really is.

Smooth call

Calling a bet or a raise with a strong hand, when one might usually expect you to raise.

Soft-Play

To go easy on another player at the table (e.g., not betting or raising against them). Considered a form of collusion.

Splashing the pot

In brick and mortar poker, when a player drops their chips into the pot in an unorganized manner which wouldn't allow the other players to confirm the player is contributing the proper amount. Usually considered to be in poor taste.

Split Pot

A pot that is shared by two or more players because they have the same winning hand, or a pot split between the high and low hands in a hi-lo game.

SSHE

"Small Stakes Hold 'em", an influential book by Ed Miller, David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth.

Stakes

A term which covers the amount one buys in for ("I sat down with my $100 stake in front of me"), the size of the blinds ("the stakes were $1/2"), or the way one can bet ("they were playing limit stakes, so I tried to find a no-limit table").

Steal

Raising with a worse-than-usual hand, usually from late position, in an attempt to make everyone fold so one may pick up the blinds uncontested.

Straddle

In some ring games, an optional extra blind, at least twice the size of the big blind, posted by the player in the first position after the BB (UTG). This is considered a live blind, so if it has not been raised by the time the action passes back to the UTG player, they may check or raise. Straddles are rarely an option when playing online.

Straight

A hand where the five cards have consecutive values, e.g. 4-5-6-7-8, 10-J-Q-K-A, or A-2-3-4-5. A straight can not go "over the ace", however, so Q-K-A-2-3 is not a straight.

Straight draw

Having 4 cards to a straight.

Straight flush

The strongest hand in poker. A straight with all the cards in the same suit.

STT

A single table tournament.

Stuck

Someone who has lost money is said to be stuck. "I was going to leave sooner, but I was stuck $130 and I wanted to win some of that money back"

Stud

A form of poker involving some cards face-up and some face-down, with no communal cards. Seven Card Stud is the most commonly played form of Stud poker today, and is called Razz when played for low, and Stud Eight-or-Better when played as a split game.

Suckout

When someone draws against the odds to beat your hand and hits, you are the victim of a suckout. It is also sometimes used about a person, "You're such a suckout!"

Suit

Clubs, Spades, Hearts or Diamonds.

Suited

When cards all share a suit, they are said to be suited. "the flop came 6-7-8 suited. Someone had to have a strong draw, but it wasn't me - I folded"

Suited Connectors

A pair of hole cards that are of the same suit and also in sequential rank, for example 8-9 of clubs, or J-Q of hearts. Good drawing potential.


T

TAG

1. Tight Aggressive player

2. Playing in a Tight Aggressive style

Tank

To become quiet and pensive for a time while making a decision.

Tell

A poker tell is a noticeable mannerism or a quirk in someone's behavior that signals the strength of their hand.

Third street

The first face-up card in Stud.

Three-bet

The first reraise in a betting round (as it is the third bet after 1) the initial bet and 2) the raise).

Three-of-a-kind

A hand where three of the cards have the same value. This hand is stronger than two pair, and weaker than a straight.

Tight

A playing style where only good starting poker hands are played, and few risks taken.

Tilt

Going on tilt or tilting is when, often due to a bad beat, a suckout or series of losses, you're not thinking straight. Your judgment gets clouded and you begin making the wrong decisions.

Top kicker

The best possible kicker for a given hand.

Top Pair

A pair using the highest card on the flop.

Top Set

Three-of-a-kind using a pair in the hole and the highest card on the board.

Top Up

Buying chips on a cash table to bring one's chip stack up to the table limit.

Tournament

As opposed to cash games. A tournament can have any number of entrants, and any number of buy-ins, but once started you're there until you've either been knocked out or won it.

TPFAP

The book "Tournament Poker for Advanced Players", by David Sklansky.

TPTK

Top Pair, Top Kicker

Trap

When you slowplay a big hand in order to get someone else to make a big bet (typically making someone bluff at the pot), you've set a trap.

Trey

What poker players call a 3.

Trips

In flop games, three-of-a-kind using one or no hole cards in combination with the board. Otherwise, synonymous with three-of-a-kind.

Turn

The fourth community card in Hold 'em and Omaha, after the flop and before the river.

Two pair

A hand like A-Q-Q-6-6, with two pairs of matching cards. This hand is stronger than one pair, and weaker than three-of-a-kind.


U

Under the gun, UTG

The position at the table just left of the big blind, e.g. the first person to act pre-flop in Texas Hold 'em and Omaha.

UTG+1, UTG+2

The table positions immediately following the player under the gun. For example, UTG+1 represents the position one place left of UTG; UTG+3 would be the position three places to the left.

Underdog

A person or hand which is statistically less likely to win a pot, or a tournament.


V

Value bet

A bet made by a player with a good hand, who wants it to be called.

Variance

A measure of the up and down swings your poker bankroll goes through. Luck.

VP, VPIP

Voluntarily Put Money In Pot. A key metric displayed in a poker HUD, which conveys information regarding how generally tight or loose a player is.


W-Z

W

Won money at showdown, as used in hand histories or compiled play statistics.

WA/WB

Way ahead/Way behind

Wheel

The lowest straight - A-2-3-4-5. In O8, this hand is likely to win both the Hi and the Lo, because it's the lowest possible hand while simultaneously having very strong high-hand potential. Some lowball games disqualify hands which are flushes or straights, in which case the Wheel would be 2-3-4-5-7.

WLLHE

"Winning Low Limit Hold 'Em", a beginner's strategy book by Lee Jones.

WPT

The World Poker Tour.

WR

Win Rate

WSD

Went to Showdown. An abbreviation one might find in a hand history.

WSOP

The World Series of Poker.