Poker Glossary

Aces Wired — (Also, Bullets) Two Aces back-to-back (in the hole).
Act — When its your turn to act, you either check, call, fold, open bet, or raise.
Action — A wager or bet of any kind. The placing of money into the pot (e.g. many bets and raises is described as ‘a lot of action’).
Add-on — To buy additional chips in a tournament that allows it.
Aggressive — A player who frequently raises and re-raises is said to be aggressive.
Alligator Blood — (USA) A tough player is good under pressure.
All-in — When a player bets all his wagering money available on the table.
Ante — In poker, a small bet as the minimum bet that each player is required to put into the pot before a new hand starts. A compulsory opening or starting bet, applied in games with an ante, put up by players before each hand; e.g. Casino Stud Poker, 7-card stud.

Back Door — A hand made using the last two cards dealt in seven card stud or Texas Hold’em (e.g. ‘a back door flush’).
Back-to-back (BB) — When a player is dealt a pair with the first two cards.
Bad Beat — Losing a pot holding a very strong hand you were sure would win.
Bank — The financial backer of a gambling operation.
Banker — In a card game, dealer or the players who books the action of the other bettors at the table.
Bankroll — The total amount of money you have the intention of gambling with.
Base Deal — Dealing from the bottom of the deck. A form of cheating.
Behind — Before the last cards have been dealt, if you don’t have the best hand you are ‘behind’.
Belly Buster — An inside straight draw.
Berry Patch — (USA) An extremely easy game.
Bicycle Wheel — The hand A2345, also called a wheel or bicycle.
Big Bet — The largest betting amount in limit games.
Big Blind — In flop games, two bets are usually posted before any cards are dealt. The ‘small’ blind by the player to the left of the dealer and the ‘big blind’ (double the small blind) by the player to the left of the small blind.
Big Slick — Ace King as your hole cards in Hold’em.
Blank — A card that appears not to help anyone.
Blind Bet — A bet posted without the player sees any of his cards.
Blinds — A forced bet in Hold ’em.
Bluff — To bet strong with a weak hand, aimed at misleading the other players in the hope that they will fold.
Board — The community cards dealt face-up in the center of the table in a flop game (e.g. Hold’em) or the up cards in a stud game (e.g. seven card stud).
Boat — Another term for a full house.
Bottom Pair — Making a pair with the lowest card on the flop.
Bracelet — Winning a championship event at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) earns the player a Gold Bracelet. Highly prized amongst poker professionals.
Brass Brazilians — The best hand, also known as ‘the nuts’.
Brick — A ‘blank’ in seven card stud (e.g. a card that appears not to help your hand).
Brit Brag — A 3-card poker game, with variations. Has many combinations and options open to the player.
Bring In — To ‘bring it in’ is to make the first bet on the first round of a hand. In seven-card stud, the bring-in is a mandatory bet made by the player with the lowest upcard in the first round of betting.
Broadway — An Ace high straight.
Brush — The employee at a cardroom is sometimes referred to as the ‘brush’.
Bug — A joker.
Bullets — A pair of aces in the hole. (Also, Aces Wired)
Bump — To raise.
Buried — A buried pair is a pair in the hole in seven card stud — a pair in the first two down cards.
Burn — A ‘burn card’ is a card discarded from the top of the deck at predetermined points in deals (in case a player has seen it). In card games after a shuffle and cut, one card is placed on the bottom of the deck or in the discard tray, which is called burning the card.
Bust — To run out of money. ‘Busted out’ in competitions where its final.
Busted Hand — A hand of less value than a pair (e.g. if you miss a straight, you have a busted straight).
Button — A flat disc called the dealer button. The player with the button is the last to receive cards on the deal.
Buy — To buy a pot is to make a bet large enough that other players would be unlikely to call.
Buy-in — The chips which players buy to gamble.

Call — To call is to match the current bet.
Calling Station — A player who calls too often.
Cap — The limit on the number of raises in a round of betting in limit games.
Cardroom — Cardrooms are the rooms in which poker is played, or the organizations that run those rooms. Most casinos that offer poker have a separate room, or at least a roped-off area, designated as the cardroom.
Card Shark — A person who is an expert at cards.
Cards Speak — Is the rule that the value of your hand is determined solely by your cards. You don’t have to declare your hand properly in order to claim the part of the pot you deserve.
Caribbean Stud Poker — Also called ‘Casino Stud Poker’, A casino table game based on the standard 5-card stud poker game played on a Blackjack-type table. Some casinos also offer a progressive jackpot paid to high ranking hands. This table game is played with one deck of cards.
Carpet joint — A big card room with comforts.
Case — The fourth card of a particular rank.
Case Money — Emergency money.
Casino Hold’em Poker — Casino Hold´em poker uses the concept of Texas Hold´em Poker but allows the player to play against the house.
Catch — If cards are helping you or are treating you well, you are ‘catching cards’.
Catching Cards — Getting favorable cards.
Check — Pass the turn of calling the first bet in a betting round to the next player.
Check-Raise — To check and then raise a bet in the same betting round.
Checks — (USA) Poker chips.
Chop — To return the blinds to the players who posted them and move on to the next hand (when no-one wants to play the hand).
Coffeehousing — To talk about one’s hand, usually with the intention of misleading other players.
Cold Call — To call more than one bet (e.g. one player bets, the next raises and the next calls).
Color Up — To exchange one’s chips for ones of higher value.
Come Hand — A hand which must improve to be able to win.
Community Cards — Cards dealt face-up in the middle of the table and their rankings are shared by all the players.
Connectors (Connected) — Cards of consecutive ranks, especially pocket cards, are called connectors. If they’re also of the same suit, they’re called Suited Connectors.
Cowboys — Kings.
Crack — When a powerful hand is beat it is ‘cracked’ (e.g. pocket aces).
Crying Call — A call by a player who is virtually certain they will not win the pot, and probably knows it.
Cut — To split the deck of cards before they are dealt.
Cut Card — Colored faceless plastic card used to cut the cards after the shuffle.

Dead — A hand that is no longer eligible to win the pot.
Dead Money — An inexperienced player who has virtually no chance at winning a tournament. Their chips are said to be «dead money».
Deal — To give out the cards during a hand.
Designated Dealer — In a poker room where each game has a resident dealer, a different player serves as the designated dealer for each hand. In poker games like Texas hold‘em, the player to the left of the dealer bets first.
Deuce — Twos are sometimes called deuces.
Discard Tray — A tray on the dealer’s right side that holds all the cards that have been played or discarded.
Dominate — A starting hand that will almost always beat another starting hand is said to dominate that hand. For example, in Hold’em poker, AK dominates K2. Most of the time K2 makes a playable hand, AK will make a better hand. However, a 2 might still lose the hand.
Door Card — The first card dealt face up to each player in seven card stud poker.
Draw — To draw a card (e.g. if you need a card to make a straight, you are on a ‘straight draw’ or are ‘drawing to a straight’. In draw poker, the second round of cards that are dealt. The word draw has slightly different meanings in different contexts, although generally it has something to do with receiving more cards, with the hope of improving your hand. Draw games are games where at some point during the hand you are allowed to discard some or all of your cards, to be replaced from the deck. Drawing two is thus exchanging two of your cards. ‘The draw’ is the point during the game at which players may do this. By default, when someone asks you if you want to play some draw, they usually mean five card draw. In other poker games, drawing simply means staying in the game with the hope of improving your hand when more cards come. When you stay in a hand with the hope of improving, you are said to be ‘on a draw’.
Drop — (Also, Fold) To abandon your hand or throw away your cards without calling a bet.
Down to the Felt — Totally out of money, broke.

Eight ball — $800.00.

Face Cards — The jack, queen, and king of any suit of cards.
Family Pot — When all players enter a pot.
Fast — Aggressive.
Fast company — Tough players. Sometimes meaning unscrupulous.
Favorite — The hand that is expected to win most often in a particular situation.
Felt — The surface of most poker tables. A player who is running low on chips is said to be ‘down to the felt’.
Fifth Street — The fifth card dealt in a hand of stud poker. In seven-card stud, the third round of betting is called fifth street because players have five cards. In Texas hold‘em poker, fifth street is the fifth card on board and the final round of betting.
Fill — To draw a card that makes a five-card hand (straight, flush, full house, straight flush).
Fill up — To fill a full house.
Fish — A poor player.
Fishing — A player who stays in a poker game longer than advisable generally is fishing for the card or two that will make the hand a winner.
Fishhooks — Jacks.
Flat Call — As opposed to calling, flat calling emphasises the fact that you didn’t raise.
Flop — A number of games, such as hold’em and omaha, are played with five community cards. The first three of these cards are dealt all at once, face up, and are called the flop. Games with a flop can be called flop games.
Flush — Five cards of the same suit.
Fold — (Also, Drop) To abandon a poker hand. When a player declines a bet and drops out of the hand.
Foul — In pai gow poker, a hand is fouled when the two-card Low hand is set higher than the five-card High hand, or when the hands are set with the wrong number of cards. A fouled hand is a losing hand.
Four of a Kind — Four cards of the same rank, also known as Quads.
Fourth Street — The fourth card dealt in a hand of stud poker. In seven-card stud, the second round of betting is called fourth street because players have four cards. In Texas hold‘em poker, fourth street is the fourth card on board and the third round of betting.
Free Card — Seeing the next card without having to call a bet (e.g. if everyone checks).
Freeroll — When you have a hand that will at least share the pot but still has a chance of winning, you are said to be freerolling. Also used in online poker rooms in order to demonstrate a site’s looks and feel to new players before playing for real money. When a site offers Freeroll it means you can sign up and play for free against other players who also requested Freeroll play.
Freeze-out — Any tournament format in which you cannot re-buy.
Full House — A hand consisting of three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank.

George — A poor player.
Give the office — (USA) To give a warning regarding cheating.
Glimmer — Money.
Going All-in (Also known as «All-in») — In cardroom poker, to call with (to bet) all your chips. If another player bets more chips than you have in a No Limit game, you can go All-in and stake your total stack against an equivalent amount of your opponent’s stack.
Goulash joint — A restaurant or bar that runs a regular card game hidden in a back room.
Greek Dealer — (Also, Mechanic) A player who cheats when dealing.
Grinder — A player who only aims to win a little money each day.
Gutshot — An inside straight draw.

Hand — Refers to the cards that you hold, or to everything that happens in a card game between shuffles of the deck. A hand begins with the shuffling of the cards, dealing and then betting until a winner is declared which is when the hand is over. To ‘play a hand’ means to be dealt in or to call the initial bet.
Hanger — A card that juts out conspicuously when a cheater is dealing.
Heads Up — A play between only two players.
Help — Someone who needs help needs their hand to improve for a chance of winning the pot.
High (High hand) — The best hand.
High Poker — Standard poker, as compared to low poker or lowball. In high poker, high hands win.
High Society — The highest denomination of chips in a card room.
Hit — If you hit it means you have at least paired a card on the flop or hit a draw. If you miss it means you haven’t matched anything or missed a draw.
Hold ’em — A form of poker in which each player is dealt two cards face down, called hole cards. The player may then use none, one, or both of his hole cards, in combination with five community cards dealt face up, to make the best possible five card hand.
Hole — Your first two down cards are said to be ‘in the hole’.
Hole Card — In stud and Texas Hold‘em poker, the facedown cards dealt to each player. In blackjack, the facedown card that the dealer gets.

Inside Straight (Draw) — An inside straight draw is a draw to a straight that’s missing one of the cards in the middle (as opposed to on the end). 4578 is an inside straight, 4567 is an outside straight. Also called a one-gapper or a gutshot.
Isolate — To isolate a player is to raise with the intention of removing everyone else from the hand except that player.

Joker — (Also, Wild Card) The 53rd card in a deck, sometimes used as a wild card. A card that can be labelled whatever suit and rank the possessor wishes to.

Kalooki (also, Kalookie, Kaluki, kaloochi, Caloochi) — Kalooki is a card game the same as Rummy, with a number of minor exceptions. Kalooki is a game often played with wild cards. There are many variants of Kalooki and the rules may differ depending on where the game is played or which version of Kalooki is being played.
Kansas City — Kansas City lowball is Low Ball with the ace as high. Best hand is 23457.
Kicker — The highest unpaired card in your hand that doesn’t participate in a straight or flush, i.e., the card that does not contribute to the strength of your hand except by itself.

Ladies — Queens.
Limit (Limit Poker) — Any game in which there is a fixed limit on how much you can bet or raise in any round.
Limp — To flat call an opening forced bet is to limp into a hand.
Live card — A fresh card or a card that has not been seen.
Live game — A game with lots of betting action.
Lock — A hand that is guaranteed to win at least part of the pot.
Loose — A loose player plays more hands and holds on to them longer.
Lowball — A 5 or 7 card version of poker in which the lowest hand wins.
Low Poker — Also called lowball, is poker in which the pot is awarded to the hand with the lowest poker value.

Make a Hand — To get a decent hand that has a shot at winning the pot.
Maniac — A player who plays extremely loose and aggressive, often raising with just about anything.
Match Play — The competition system used in tournaments (usually card games) in which two participants play a series of games which ends when one player accumulates a required number of points. Each game could be worth one, two, or more points.
Mechanic — (Also, Greek Dealer) A cheater who manipulates the cards to his benefit when dealing.
Mechanic’s Grip — The way a cheater holds the deck of cards to facilitate his manipulations.
Middle Pair — If there are three cards of different ranks on the flop in Hold’em, and you pair the middle one, you have middle pair.
Mitt joint — (USA) A club where the house cheats the players, or one that turns a blind eye to cheating in general.
Monster — An extremely strong hand, one that is almost certain to win the pot.
Muck — To ‘muck’ your cards it to put them into the pile of discarded cards when folding.

No-limit — A form of betting where players can bet any amount they choose, from the chips or money in front of them.
Nuts (or Nut) — The nuts is the best possible hand.
Nut Straight — The highest possible straight in a given hand.

Odds — The probability of making or not making a hand (e.g. if you have a 25% chance of making a hand, the odds are 3 to 1 against your making it).
Off-suit — Not of the same suit.
Omaha — A flop game dealt similar to Hold’em but with four down-cards each. A hand is made using five from a possible nine, but two and only two must be used from the players hand.
On the Finger — Money given on credit.
On tilt — Going ‘on tilt’ is a bad reaction to an unlucky hand resulting in uncontrolled wild play.
Open — To ‘open betting’ is to make the first bet in a round.
Outdraw — To make a better hand than an opponent by drawing more cards.
Outs — Live cards or fresh cards remaining in the deck that may improve one’s hand.
Overpair — In flop games, a pocket pair higher than the highest card on the board. If you hold AA and the flop is K62, you have a nice overpair.

Paint — A card with a picture (Jack, King or Queen).
Pair — Any two cards that have the same rank.
Pasadena — Fold.
Pass — To not bet, to fold.
Passive Play — A style of play that is characterized by reluctance to bet and raise.
Pat — In draw poker, a hand that does not need any more hands. In blackjack, an unbusted hand worth at least 17 points.
Pineapple — A variation on Hold’em where players receive three cards each and are forced to discard one of them after the flop is dealt. Thus reverting to Hold’em.
Play Back — To play back at someone is to raise their opening bet.
Playing the Rush — A poker term referring to a player who has just enjoyed a short-run of good luck marked by winning a very large pot of money in one hand or winning several hands in close succession. If the player subsequently begins to play more loosely or more aggressively they are said to be ‘playing the rush’.
Play on Your Belly — To play without cheating.
Play the Board — In flop games like Hold’em, if your best five card hand uses the five community cards, you’re playing the board.
Poker Hand — A collection of exactly five cards that constitute a hand according to the accepted list of hands.
Pocket Cards — Cards dealt face down.
Position — Refers to your betting position at the table (e.g. the first players to act are in an early position).
Position Bet — A position bet is a bet made more on the strength of one’s position at the table than on the strength of one’s hand. A player on the button in hold’em poker is in good position to steal the pot if no one else opens.
Post — To post a bet is to place your chips in the pot (or, commonly, out in front of you, so that your bet can be counted). In poker, posting usually means a forced bet, such as a blind.
Pot — In a poker game, the amount of money that accumulates in the middle of the table as each player antes, bets, and raises. The pot goes to the winner of the hand.
Pot-Limit — Any game in which the maximum bet or raise is the size of the pot.
Pot Odds — The ratio of the amount of money in the pot to the amount of money it will cost you to call a bet.
Prop — Short for proposition player (see below).
Proposition Player (Similar to ‘Shill’ in casinos) — A proposition player, or ‘prop’, is a player who is paid by a cardroom to play poker, usually in order to keep games going when they get shorthanded, or to get games started. Props are paid a salary, but they gamble with their own money.
Protect — To protect a hand is to bet so that more people will fold, reducing the chances of anyone outdrawing you.
Pushka — (USA) An arrangement between two or more of the players to share part of the pot’s win, or more precisely, the container into which the shared chips are played.

Quads — Four of a kind.
Qualifier — In poker, the minimum standard a hand must meet in order for it to be eligible for part of the pot.

Rabbits — Weak players.
Rabbit Hunting — Is the act of asking to see what cards would have come up if a hand had continued. For example, if a hold’em poker player folds a flush draw, but would like to know if the flush would have come in, he or she might ask the dealer to deal out the next few cards. Some cardrooms prohibit it.
Rack — Plastic, wooden or metal tray to place rows of poker chips.
Rainbow — Three or four cards of different suits.
Raise — In poker, a player raises by matching the previous bet and then betting more (adding more money to the pot), to increase the stake for remaining players.
Rags — Cards that do not help a hand.
Railbirds — Spectators.
Railroad bible — Deck of cards.
Rake — The percentage of a pot that the casino/house keeps. The money that the casino charges for each hand of poker. It is usually a percentage (5-10%) or flat fee that is taken from the pot after each round of betting.
Rank — The worth of a set of cards.
Read — To read someone is to have a good idea what their cards are based on the way they play (or by spotting tells).
Re-buy — When you first sit down at a game, you buy in with a certain amount of money. Re-buying is what you do when you buy more chips before you leave. Re-buys are also allowed in some tournaments to players who fall below a certain point — usually only up until a certain point and often limited to a fixed number of re-buys. The time during which one may re-buy, usually lasting from the start through the early stages of the tournament, is called the re-buy period. Tournaments with re-buys are called, generically, re-buy tournaments.
Represent — To bet in such a way as to indicate that you have a certain hand.
Riffling (Card Riffling) — A commonly used shuffling process. To accomplish a riffle, the deck is divided roughly in half and the two halves are interleaved by pulling the card corners up with the thumbs and letting the two halves ‘riffle’ together. Riffling is also sometimes called ‘zipping’ the cards. Like card Stripping (see below), the riffling process can span a range from a fine riffle to a coarse riffle.
River — The final (seventh) card dealt in Hold’em, Omaha or Seven Card Stud. In seven-card stud, staying in until the fifth and final round of betting is called going to the river.
Road gang — Team of cheats.
Rock Garden — A game of tight players.
Rolled Up — In Seven Card Stud, three of a kind on the first three cards.
Round — Refers to either to a round of betting or a round of hands.
Rounder — An astute player who knows all the angles and earns his living at the poker table. The opposite of a ‘sucker’.
Round of Play — A round or hand of play can consist of a single wager or several wagers made during the time of a short wagering event. For example, in poker the round of play (wagering event) begins with the dealing of the cards and ends when the winning player takes the pot. In casino craps a round of play begins with the ‘come out’ roll and ends when the passline wagers are decided. This may take one or several rolls of the dice. In between, the player might have multiple wagers riding on several different numbers and other betting options. All wagers made between the time of the come out roll and the decision roll are considered to be part of that round of play. In roulette each spin is counted as a round of play, no matter how many bets you place.
Royal Flush (Also, Royal Straight Flush or Royal) — An Ace-high straight flush; the best possible poker hand.
Running — Two needed cards that come as the last two cards dealt are said to be running.
Rush — A player who wins a large number of pots in a short period of time is said to be on a rush.

Sailboats or Sail Boats — Pocket fours (4,4 starting hand).
Sandbag — To check and then raise the opener, or to check holding back raising to get more money in the pot.
Scare Card — A card that when it appears makes a better hand more likely (e.g. In Hold’em, a third suited card on the river is a scare card, because it makes a flush possible).
Scarne Cut — To cut by pulling cards from the center of the deck and placing them on top of the deck.
Schenck’s Rules — First known rules of poker.
Schoolboy Draw — An unsound, unwise draw.
Scoop — To win an entire pot, especially in high-low split games.
Scoot — Scooting is the practice of passing chips to another player after winning a pot. Typically, scooting partners will agree to ‘scoot’ each other a predetermined number of chips after winning each pot. Most Casinos prohibit this.
Seating List — In most cardrooms, if there is no seat available for you when you arrive, you can put your name on a list to be seated when a seat opens up. Typically, games are listed across the top of a board, and names are written below each game so that players are seated for games in the order in which they arrive.
Seat Position — The position of a player relative to the other players.
Seconds — Cheating by dealing the second card instead of the top card.
See — To call a bet.
Semi-bluff — Similar to a Bluff, except that the Semi-bluff has some chance of making a winning hand.
Sequence — Cards of consecutive value as in a straight.
Sequential Declaration — The last bettor or raiser being required to declare his hand in high-low poker.
Session — The time period in which a poker game is held.
Set — Three of a kind with two in the hole. In pai gow poker, players set their seven cards into two separate hands of two and five cards each.
Seven Card Flip — Seven-card stud poker in which the first four cards are dealt facing down and then the player turns any two, face up.
Seven Card Stud — A variation of poker dealing seven cards to each player, but only five cards are used to make a hand.
Sevens Rule — A rule in low-ball poker in which a player with seven low or better must bet or forfeit further profits from the pot.
Seventh Street — In seven-card stud, the fifth and final round of betting is called seventh street because players have seven cards.
Shiner — A tiny mirror or any reflecting device used by a cheater to see unexposed cards.
Short Call — To call part of a bet (short call) in table stakes with all the money one has on the table.
Shorthanded — A game is said to be short-handed when it falls below a certain number of players.
Short Pair — A pair lower than openers, such as a pair of tens in jackpots.
Short Stack — A player who is ‘short stacked’ has too few chips to cover the likely betting in a hand.
Short Stud — Five-card stud poker.
Shotgun — Draw poker with extra rounds of betting that start after the third card is dealt.
Shove Them Along — Five-card stud poker in which each player has the choice to keep his first up card dealt to him or to pass it to the player on his left.
Showdown — When all the betting’s done, if more than one player is still in the pot, the players who remain in the pot must show their hands in the showdown to determine the winner.
Shuffle — Before each hand the dealer mixes up the order of the cards.
Shuffling (Card Shuffling) — Is a generic term which encompasses all card mixing techniques used to prepare a deck or a shoe for continued play. All casino shuffling processes employ a combination of mixing techniques. These may include ‘Stripping’ or ‘washing’ the cards as well as ‘riffling’, ‘boxing’, ‘plugging’, ‘cutting’ and other off-spring techniques. All shuffling processes employ multiple riffles of ‘clumps’, ‘picks’, or ‘grabs’ to achieve some level of randomization. The shoe games, which use multiple decks of cards (4, 6, or 8 decks), will often employ the most intricate riffling patterns of all. In these, the picks are riffled together and then re-picked and re-riffled in complex symmetric patterns.
Side Money — The amount set aside from the main pot in table stakes. See ‘Side Pot’ below.
Side Pot — If the call bet or the raise bet is $20 and a player has $15 only, this player makes an ‘all in’ bet (he puts all his money into the pot). In this case a side pot is created for those players who have more money to bet. The $5 difference is placed into this side pot. All other active players carry on betting and and their money is placed into this side pot and if at the end one of them has the best hand, he or she wins both; the main pot and the side pot. If the ‘all in’ player has the best hand, he or she claims the main pot, and the side pot is awarded to the best hand among those players who were still active in betting. You win a pot that you put money into.
Sign on Your Back — Someone identified as a cheater.
Singleton — In poker, a card that is the only one of its rank.
Sixth Street — In seven-card stud, the fourth round of betting is called sixth street because players have six cards.
Skin — A dollar.
Skin Game — A game having two or more collusion cheaters.
Skinning the Hand — A cheater’s technique to get rid of extra cards.
Skoon — A dollar.
Slowplay — To slow-play is to underbet a very strong hand.
Slowroll (Slow rolling) — An annoying habit that means you slowly reveal that you have the winning hand. To reveal one’s hand slowly at showdown, one card at a time (to irritate other players who think they won).
Small Blind — See ‘Big Blind’.
Smooth Call — To call one or more bets with a hand that’s strong enough for a raise.
Snap Off — To beat someone, often a bluffer, and usually with a not especially powerful hand, is to snap them off.
Snarker — A player who wins a pot and then ridicules the loser.
Soft — Easy.
South — (USA) Fold.
Spikes — A pair of aces.
Splash (the pot) — To throw your chips into the pot, instead of placing them in front of you.
Spread Limit — Betting limits in which there is a fixed minimum and maximum bet for each betting round, and any amount in between these limits may be bet.
Squeeze Bet or Squeeze Raise — To bet or raise against another strong hand in order to extract more money from a third player holding a weaker hand.
Stack — All your chips.
Steal — To (attempt to) steal a pot is to make a bet when it appears no one else has anything. To win the pot by bluffing.
Steam — A player who is on ‘Tilt’ is sometimes said to be steaming.
Stenographers — Four queens.
Still Pack — The deck of cards not in play when two decks are used.
Stonewall — One who calls to the end with a poor hand.
Straddle — Doubling the blind. Live straddle is a live bet equivalent to two big blinds. The player placing the straddle effectively becomes the ‘bigger blind’. It is a voluntary additional blind made by the player ‘under the gun’ (UTG, the player who is first to act) after the posting of the small and big blinds, but before cards are dealt. The person who makes the straddle bet gets to bet last in the pre-flop round. A straddle counts as a blind and not a bet, so the player who made it can still raise if everybody calls his straddle.
Straight — Five cards of consecutive ranks or in sequence.
Straight Draw — Draw poker not requiring openers.
Straight Flush — A hand consisting of five cards of consecutive ranks and of the same suit.
Streak — A run of winning or losing hands.
Street — The betting interval in a hand, e.g. the fifth card dealt in Seven Card Stud is known as fifth street.
Stringer — A straight.
Stripping (Card Stripping) — Is a shuffling technique which reverses the sequential order of the cards in the deck. For instance, imagine if a dealer took the first card off the top of a deck and placed it on the table and then took the second card off the top and placed it on top of the first card. If this process were continued until the 52nd card was placed on top, then the sequential ordering among the cards would have been completely reversed. This characterizes the basic process of striping. The process described above would be a very fine strip. Often the dealers will speed up the process by rapidly pulling small clumps of cards off the top of the deck rather than a single card at a time. The number of cards in the clumps determine how fine or coarse the striping process is.
Stud Poker — One of the two basic forms of poker game (the other is draw poker) and played with open or exposed cards (up cards) and with one or more concealed cards known as hole cards (down cards).
Suicide King — The king of hearts (showing a sword pointed at its head).
Suit — Any one of the four types of cards: clubs, diamonds, hearts or spades.
Super Stud Poker — A five-card poker game known as Caribbean Stud Poker and Casino Stud Poker, but with a Progressive Jackpot. The «Super» (used in UK casinos) is to say that the game runs a Progressive Jackpot. Tables of the same game are interconnected with other participating casinos, and any player that makes a Royal Flush wins the Jackpot. There are smaller prizes for the top hands such as «four of a kind» and «full house».

Table Stakes — Stakes in which the betting and raising is limited to the amount of money a player has in front of him. The amount of money or chips a player puts on the table, which he may not add to or reduce, during the hand.
Take It or Leave It — See ‘Shove Them Along’ above.
Talon — The remainder of the deck after the deal.
Tap — Tap the table means to check. Also, to bet all one’s money in table stakes. Also (USA), to bet the amount of an opponent’s entire stack, forcing him to go ‘all in’ if he calls the bet.
Tap City — A player having gone broke in a game.
Tapioca — Out of money.
Tap Out — To bet and lose all one’s cash, forcing one to leave the game.
Tap You — A raise. Also, an expression for a player betting an amount equal to all the money his opponent has on the table in table stakes.
Tell — An unconscious gesture that reveals information about your hand.
Tell Play — Observing the dealer’s body language and expressions to determine his hole card. In poker game ‘tells’ pertain to quirks or readable aspects of a players actions, verbal behavior, or body language that give away information about what cards they are holding.
Texas Hold’em — (or simply Hold’em) Is a poker game in which each player gets two pocket cards, while five community cards are dealt face up on the table.
Third Street — In seven-card stud, the first round of betting is called third street because the players have three cards.
Thirty Days or Thirty Miles — Three tens.
Three Of A Kind — Three cards of the same rank.
Tierce — A three-card straight flush.
Tiger — A low hand from the two to the seven.
Tight — Conservative.
Tight Player — A player who seldom bets unless he has a strong hand.
Tilt (Tilting) — Players who are ‘on tilt’ make bad betting decisions because of their emotions (e.g. frustrated, angry or upset).
Time Cut (Also, Axe or Collection) — Money charged each player on a time basis by the casino or by the poker room owner. Charge is usually on a 3 minute or an hourly basis.
Top Pair — If there are three cards of different ranks on the flop in Hold’em (or any flop game), and you pair the highest one, you have top pair.
Trap — You’re ‘trapped’ if after putting some money in the pot you’re faced with the proposition of calling a raise in order to continue, especially an uncomfortably large raise.
Trey — A three.
Tricon, Trio, Triplets, or Trips — Three of a kind.
Turn — The fourth of five community cards in flop games (e.g. Hold’em and Omaha). Sometimes called fourth street.
Two-Card Poker — A poker game in which the best two cards win.
Two Pair — A hand consisting of two sets of pairs and a singleton. A hand consisting of two cards of one rank, and two cards of another rank, and an unpaired card (e.g. KK992).

Underdog — When two hands face off, the underdog is the one that is less likely to win.
Under the Gun — The first player to act after the blind bets is said to be under the gun.
Unlimited Poker — Poker in which no limit is placed on bets or raises.
Up — Refers to the highest pair of two (e.g AA883, you have aces up as they are the higher pair).
UTG — Short for ‘under the gun’, the player immediately to the left of the big blind who is first to act.

Valet — A jack.
Value — The return you get on your betting investment.

Washing (Card Washing) — A card shuffling technique where the dealer spreads the cards on the table face down and then proceeds to mix them around with his hands flat in a face-washing-like action before gathering them up and performing a more normal shuffle. Card washing is intended to remove any consistencies in the sequencing among the cards that new decks of cards have, or that were produced in play prior to the present shuffle. In standard table poker the cards are washed after every hand before they are subjected to a more conventional shuffling. In blackjack and baccarat, the the cards are washed when old decks are taken out of play and fresh new decks brought in to replace them.
Weak — A style of play characterized by a readiness to fold and a reluctance to raise. Also describes a poor player.
Whangedoodle — A round of jackpots played after a big hand such as four of a kind.
White Meat — Profit.
Wild Card — (Also, Joker) A card that can be labelled whatever suit and rank the possessor wishes to.
Wired (Back-to-Back) — A pair, trips, or four of a kind dealt consecutively or back-to-back in a hand, usually in a stud hand starting with the first card.
Wire-up — Three of a kind with the first three cards.
World Series of Poker — A Hold’em poker tournament with a $10,000 buy-in held every year (in May) at Binion’s Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas.

Poker Rules

The Basics

Poker originated in the saloons of the Wild West and has probably the most game variants. It is played player against players and not just against the dealer as in Blackjack, and there is a lot of psychology involved during play. Poker takes a moment to learn and a lifetime to master.

Poker is played from a standard deck of 52 cards. Some variant games use multiple decks or add Jokers or Wild Cards.

The cards are ranked in descending order starting from the highest; Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, Ace. Ace can be high or low. There are four suits; spadesheartsdiamonds and clubs, but no suit is higher than another.

Each player is dealt five cards and is called a hand. The hand highest in ranks wins. In some games there are Wild Cards or Jokers, which can be labelled whatever suit and rank the possessor wishes to.

The Ranking of Poker Hands

The ranking of poker hands based on probability starting from the highest are as follows.

There are 2,598,960 possible combinations of cards in a poker hand you can be dealt. In brackets below next to the ranking of hands, are 1st the number of possible hands of that rank in 2,598,960 possible combinations, and 2nd your chances of getting one in percentage probability:


  • Five of a Kind (with a Wild card or Joker)
  • Royal Flush (4 possible hands in 2,598,960. Chance to get one: 0.000154%)
  • Straight Flush (36 possible hands in 2,598,960. Chance to get one: 0.00139%)
  • Four of a Kind (624 possible hands in 2,598,960. Chance to get one: 0.0240%)
  • Full House (3744 possible hands in 2,598,960. Chance to get one: 0.144%)
  • Flush (5108 possible hands in 2,598,960. Chance to get one: 0.197%)
  • Straight (10,200 possible hands in 2,598,960. Chance to get one: 0.392%)
  • Three of a Kind (54912 possible hands in 2,598,960. Chance to get one: 2.11%)
  • Two Pair (123,552 possible hands in 2,598,960. Chance to get one: 4.75%)
  • Pair (1,098,240 possible hands in 2,598,960. Chance to get one: 42.26%)
  • High Card (1,302,540 possible hands in 2,598,960. Chance to get one: 50.12%)


Five of a Kind is only possible when using wild cards and is the highest possible hand. If more than one hand has five-of-a-kind, the higher rank wins; e.g. five Acesbeat five kings, which beat five queens, and so on.

Straight Flush is the best natural hand. A straight flush consists of five cards in sequence and of the same suit. An Ace high straight-flush is called a Royal Straight Flush or Royal Flush and is the highest natural hand.

Four of a Kind is a hand that contains of four cards of the same rank. The hand with the highest rank of four-of-a-kind beats other four-of-a-kind hands. If there are many wild cards, as used in some game variants, there could be two four-of-a-kind hands with the same rank. In this case, the hand with the higher ranking fifth card wins. This rule applies to hands that tie, such as a pair or two pairs. Dead heats split the pot.

Full House is a hand consisting of three-of-a-kind and a pair. Again, where Wild Cards are used, ties are compared first by the three-of-a-kind ranking, then the pair.

Flush is a hand consisting of cards that are all of the same suit in any order.

Straight is a hand consisting of 5 cards in sequence, such as 5-6-7-8-9. An Ace may either be high (A-K-Q-J-10) or low (A-2-3-4-5).

Three of a Kind is a hand similar to the four-of-a-kind hand, except that if the remaining two cards are a pair, then it becomes a Full House.

Two Pair is a hand that contains two pairs only.

Pair is a hand that contains one pair only.

High Card is a hand that is none of the above and is a weak hand. If no player has a pair or better, then the hand that contains the highest ranking card wins. If multiple players tie with the highest card, then the second highest card decides, followed by the third and so on.

Note on Wild Cards

How the wild card can be used depends on the game you are playing and the rules. A wild card can be defined as a joker or standard card that, by player agreement and/or dealer’s choice, can be used to represent any card desired.

When a joker is in play, it usually can only be used as an Ace or to complete a straight or flush. It cannot be used as a true wild card, for example, as a king to make KK75X play as three kings. When playing for low, the joker becomes the lowest rank not already held, so 864AX is played as 8642A, with the joker used as a deuce.

Wild cards add an additional hand, five of a kind, which normally ranks above a straight flush. They can also cause confusion when two players hold the same hand composed of different wild card combinations. The standard rules of poker do not distinguish between such hands, but some players prefer to rank hands using fewer wild cards above less ‘natural’ versions of the same hand.

Playing Poker

In most games players must ‘ante’ a nominal amount just to have the cards dealt. Once the cards are dealt, the betting starts. Players bet into the pot in the middle of the table and it is done in turn clockwise.

The player with the highest rank showing, is the first to speak and to bet. He can either bet or check. By saying ‘Check’, he passes the decision to bet to the next player who can also check. If all players check, then it is the end of the round. Everyone opens his cards and the highest hand wins.

Only after one player places a bet the real betting starts. Each player in turn can either ‘Call‘, ‘Raise‘ or ‘Fold‘. To fold is to pass or drop out of the round and not play. To call means willing to match the bet, and the same amount must be placed on the pot. To raise means to match the bet and add an extra bet.

Say you start with a $5 bet. If someone else raises $10, he puts $15 in the pot. When your turn comes again you need to add $10 difference to the pot to stay in the game, and if you want you can also raise or even say ‘Pot‘. Pot is a raise to the maximum, which means to bet the same amount as the total money available in the pot.

If there are no more raises and all the cards have been dealt, then it is the end of the round. Everyone opens his closed cards and the highest hand wins the pot.