Texas Hold’em Terms
Our complete Texas Hold ’em terms list will help you understand the game. You’ll encounter many of these words at brick-and-mortar casinos and real money online poker sites.
Save this list in case you see or hear a word you aren’t familiar with at the tables.
List of Texas Hold ’em Terminology with Definitions
This glossary covers all the regularly used Texas Hold ’em words and probably some jargon you’ve never heard before. We’ll explain all the poker hands, bet types, why people sometimes use the name of an airline, and what the rake at online casinos means.
Ace In the Hole
If a player has an ace in their hole cards, it’s known as having an ace in the hole.
In some casino tournaments, players can choose to add on. Players will receive a set amount of extra tournament chips for a fee. Usually, it occurs at the end of the re-buy period.
The amount of money in a hand or on the table is known as the action. In a poker game, this also means when it’s a player’s turn, the action is on them.
A player has air if they have a hand that has no real value.
In no-limit games, all in refers to a player betting their remaining chips. You can do this verbally or by placing all of your chips in the pot.
American Airlines (AA) is a slang term for pocket aces.
An ante is an extra forced bet all players must make before the cards get dealt. This wager is in addition to the blinds and creates a larger pot to ensure more action.
Angle shooting is when you try to look at other players’ hole cards or make a questionable play that is against the rules to get more information. This action is cheating.
A backdoor win uses the turn and river cards in succession to create a strong hand. One example would be hitting two more hearts for a backdoor flush.
A player with a statistically strong hand is “taking bad beats” when a player with a weaker hand ends up beating them.
Money players set aside to play poker is their bankroll. Sometimes you’ll hear this term used for someone’s chip stack as well.
The initial chips used in a poker game after a new card or cards get dealt are known as a bet. Before the flop happens, the small and big blinds are the first bets.
Betting On the Come
Betting on the come is making a wager with the hope that certain community cards will fall and complete a stronger hand you don’t have yet.
The big blind is the larger forced blind bet. This wager comes from the player two spots to the left of the dealer button.
Similarly to a gun blank, a blank card won’t impact the current hands that active players have due to its rank. It usually comes on the turn or river.
To ensure action in every single hand, the two players to the dealer’s left must make forced bets. These are known as blinds.
A bluff is faking a stronger hand than you have by betting and acting in a certain way to get the other player or players to fold.
The community cards that are face-up on the poker table are known as the board. These include the flop, turn, and river.
A boat is a poker slang term for a full house.
A straight from ten to ace is known as Broadway.
The term bullets is slang for a pair of aces. It often refers to hole cards or pocket aces.
Before the flop, turn, and river, the dealer burns a card by taking the top card of the deck and placing it in the muck. This action ensures there is no card stacking and cheating.
In a tournament, when you lose all your chips, you bust.
When you enter a poker cash game or tournament, you must pay cash to buy in.
Matching another player’s bet is a call. You need to call at least or fold to progress the hand.
Someone is a calling station when they always call bets at the poker table and never, or rarely, raise.
The final card of a certain rank in the deck is the case card. The fourth six or the fourth king to get dealt are examples.
Not betting and passing the play to the next player on the left is a check. Players can do this by saying check or patting the felt with their hands.
Checking the bet to another player and then raising their bet is a check-raise. It’s considered a strong move to make and represents a strong hand.
Chips are small plastic or clay discs that represent an actual or artificial value in poker games. Tournament chips are typically different than standard casino chips since their value is inflated.
When two players face off with the same hand, they will chop the pot in half, and each will get an equal amount.
A hand is a coin flip when two players are all in and both have close to a 50% chance of winning. It’s sometimes also called a race and often occurs when one player has a pocket pair, and another has high-suited connectors.
The collection of cards dealt on the table face-up is known as community cards because everyone can use them in their hand. They are the same as the board.
Two cards that are in sequential order are connectors, such as 9 and 10.
C Bet / Continuation Bet
A continuation bet is a standard move in poker where a pre-flop bettor or raiser will bet again on the flop. It is also called a C bet.
A cooler is when two or more players in a hand have strong hole cards. This situation usually results in all-in bets and calls and a lot of action.
A pair of kings are sometimes called cowboys.
The cut-off position is to the right of the dealer button at the poker table.
Dead Man’s Hand
Aces and eights are the dead man’s hand. These are the cards purportedly held by Wild Bill when he was shot dead at the poker table.
A dealer can be one of two things in Texas Hold ’em. It’s the actual person who deals the cards and also a position on the poker table.
In a home game, the dealer position will also be the person who distributes the cards. In a casino, the dealer is an employee. Still, the dealer position gets marked by the button and controls the bet progression.
A two is also called a deuce.
Doyle Brunson is one of the best no-limit Texas Hold ’em players of all time. The Doyle Brunson is also the 10, 2 hand that he used to win two world series of poker championships in a row.
Draw / Drawing
When you need one or more cards to make a five-card poker hand, you’re drawing.
When you’re in a hand looking to hit community cards but have absolutely no way of winning, no matter what cards come, you are drawing dead.
A pair of twos are sometimes called ducks.
Expected Value (EV)
Expected value is a rating on whether a certain way of playing a hand will win or lose in the long run. Usually, this is positive or negative, like +EV and -EV. To be a winning poker player, you’ll need to make +EV plays most of the time.
A family pot is when everyone or almost everyone at the table enters a pot pre-flop.
The river card is also called the fifth street. It is the fifth card dealt face-up on the board.
A fish is an inexperienced and weak player.
Calling a bet with no real hand and hoping to bluff for the win later in the round is a float.
The flop is the first three cards that are dealt face-up on the table after all the pre-flop betting has occurred.
A five-card hand of all the same suit is a flush.
Exiting a hand and mucking your cards is a fold.
The amount of money or equity a player can get from the pot by making a bet and getting their opponent to fold is the pot’s fold equity.
Four of a Kind
Four cards of the same rank are four of a kind.
The turn card is also called the fourth street. It is the fourth card dealt face-up on the board.
A five-card hand made of three of a kind and a pair is a full house.
When everyone checks and a new community card gets dealt, it is a free card.
A freeroll is a tournament that is free to enter and also a hand where you can only win or chop due to the position that you’re in. If both players have ace-king and are all in pre-flop and three of the same suited cards are dealt on the flop, then one is free rolling as they win if they complete the flush and chop the pot if they don’t.
A freeze-out is a poker tournament with no re-buys.
Grinder / Grinding
A player is grinding when they play standard poker for many hours on end to win small amounts consistently.
A gut shot is a straight draw that you complete with one of the internal cards. That means there are only four cards that can make the straight for the player. Usually, due to the low odds, players won’t stay in during this situation. It is also called an inside straight draw.
A hand can refer to three things in poker. The round of play is a hand, the player’s cards are a hand, and the player’s final five-card ranking is a hand.
When playing online poker, the client may track every hand and display a hand history. You can use it to study your game and review how you played.
In a tournament, when two players are left, they are playing heads-up poker. Also, when only two people are left in a standard Texas Hold ’em hand or at a table.
A player is on a heater when they’re hitting lots of strong hands and winning many pots.
The position to the right of the cut-off is sometimes called the hijack spot. It is two spots to the right of the dealer.
The players’ two cards face-down cards they get from the dealer at the start of the poker hand are their hole cards.
A pair of jacks are also called hooks or fishhooks.
Odds that include the amount of money you could make later on if you hit a particular hand are implied odds. They are critical when deciding if a play has a +EV or -EV.
Acting after another player is known as being in position because you get all information on other players before making your move. It’s always good to be “in position” in poker.
The kicker is the extra card in a poker hand that determines which player wins when two players have the same hand. You can also use multiple kickers in a two or three-card hand to work out who wins.
The late positions are the last people to act in a poker hand.
Laydown is another term used for a fold.
Limping is just calling a blind pre-flop to enter the hand.
A player that plays lots of hands and bets a lot is loose.
A made hand is a strong hand that is complete and requires no drawing.
Middle positions fall in between early and late positions.
Muck is another term used for a fold. It’s also the pile of all the cards that have been folded and burnt in a hand.
You can bet any amount you like in no-limit Texas Hold ’em.
The nuts are the best possible hand based on what cards are face-up on the board.
Cards of different suits are off-suited.
Odds are the percentage likelihood of a particular outcome. Some sites display it as a ratio.
Open-Ended Straight Draw
An open-ended straight draw is any four cards in sequential order where the fifth card at either end will make a straight.
When no raise has occurred pre-flop, the big blind position has the option to check or bet.
A complete rotation of the dealer button around the table is an orbit.
Outs are the specific number of cards in the deck that can make a winning hand for a player. The term mostly refers to how many cards a player can hit to beat another player.
Out of Position
Being out of position is having to act before your opponent.
An over bet is a large bet that is usually more than is currently in the pot.
Two cards of the same rank are a pair.
Play the Board
You are playing the board when you use all five cards on the board as your hand and not using your hole cards at all.
When the first two hole cards dealt to the player are a pair they have a pocket pair.
The two face-down cards that are initially dealt to the players are their pocket cards. They are also called their hole cards.
A player’s position is where they are sitting at the table in relation to the dealer button.
All of the money that is in play in the middle of the table during a particular hand is the pot.
Pot odds are the comparison between the money currently in the pot and how much a player has to make a call. This number can help players determine whether to call or not with a specific hand.
When a player has put so much money in the pot that they strategically cannot fold they are pot committed.
The pre-flop period is all bets placed before the first community cards get dealt.
A protection bet tries to get other players to fold so that you’re playing against as few other hands as possible.
Quads is slang for four of a kind.
Bad cards that don’t help at all and can’t make a good hand are rags.
You have a rainbow when you have cards of all different suits.
Betting more on top of another bet is a raise.
The way casinos make money in cash games is by taking a rake. This fee is a certain percentage of the pot that they take out for themselves. They typically cap it, so too much money doesn’t drain from larger pots.
Some tournaments will allow players to re-buy back in once they lose all of their chips. Usually, you can re-buy in these tournaments until the first break.
A cash poker game is also called a ring game.
The river is final card that is dealt face-up on the board. It’s also called the fifth street.
A royal flush is a straight from ten to the ace of all the same suit. It is the highest-ranked hand in poker.
The turn or river card is a runner when they make a hand for a player.
A scare card is one on the board that can ruin a made hand. It will usually be a higher-ranked card or match the suit of several other cards.
Making a bet with a solid drawing hand is a semi-bluff.
Three of a kind, with two of them in a player’s hole cards is a set.
A strong Texas Hold ’em player is sometimes called a shark.
A table with only a few players on it is short handed.
Two players enter a showdown by revealing cards to see who is the winner of the hand.
A side pot is a separate pot that forms when a player is all-in midway through a hand, and other plays and bets are still happening from non-all-in players.
Sit and Go
A sit-and-go tournament starts once the required number of people have entered.
Slow playing is trying to represent a weak hand by not betting or raising when you have a strong made hand.
Acting slowly when your hand strength dictates otherwise is slow rolling. This move is considered unethical in poker.
The player to the immediate left of the dealer has to bet the small blind. This wager is the smaller of the two forced bets and is usually half of the big blind.
A squeeze is an aggressive raise after players have already called a prior raise.
A player’s total chips at the table are their stack.
A straddle bet happens to the left of the big blind and is usually double its size and is considered another blind bet.
Five cards in sequential order are a straight. The ace can be high or low.
A straight draw is when you have four cards in sequential order and are trying to draw the fifth on the turn or river.
Five cards in sequential order of the same suit are a straight flush.
A suck-out is another term for a bad beat.
Two cards of the same suit are suited.
Two cards of the same suit in sequential order are suited connectors.
Tanking is when you take a long time to make a decision.
Tight Aggressive (TA)
Tight aggressive refers to a typical poker strategy where players are very tight with their starting hands and entering pots. When they do enter pots, they bet and raise aggressively regardless of what comes on the board.
A tell is a sign that either physically or verbally lets other players know what their hand may be or if they are bluffing.
Three of a Kind
Three cards of the same rank are three of a kind.
A player that doesn’t play many pots and doesn’t raise or bet often is tight.
When players lose many hands, they may get mad and begin to play poorly, which is known as tilt.
Calling time is asking for longer to decide. Some online games have a button for this.
The highest two pairs available based on the community cards are the top two.
A tournament is a type of poker match where players buy in for chips and compete until there’s only one player left.
Trips is a poker slang term for three of a kind.
Turbos are tournaments where blinds go up a lot quicker, and players have a limited amount of time to act.
The fourth card dealt on the board is the turn. It is also known as “fourth street.”
Under the Gun
The first player to act based on their position at the table in relation to the dealer button is under-the-gun.
An underdog is a player that should statistically lose a poker hand.
A value bet is a smaller wager placed on the river meant to entice the player to call so that your stronger hand gets paid off.
VPIP stands for Voluntarily Put In Pot. It measures how often players enter a pot when they aren’t in the small or big blind.
If everyone folds pre-flop, then the big blind gets a walk and wins the small blind.
A wheel is a straight from ace to five.
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Use This List of Texas Hold ’em Terminology While You Play
There are a ton of poker terms out there. Keep this page handy so you have an explanation of any Texas Hold ’em slang you encounter.
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