Texas Hold ’em Terms

Ace In the Hole

If a player has an ace in their hand it’s known as having an ace in the hole.

Add On

In some tournaments, players can choose to add on. Usually, this occurs at the end of the rebuy period. Players will receive a set amount of extra tournament chips for a fee.

Action

The amount of money in a hand or on the table in total is known as action. In poker, this also means when it’s a player’s turn the action is on them.

Air

A hand which has no real value.

All In

In no limit games all in refers to a player betting all of their remaining chips. You can do this verbally or by placing all of your chips in the middle.

American Airlines

A slang term for pocket aces.

Ante

An extra forced bet all players must make before the cards are dealt. This is in addition to the blinds and creates a larger pot to ensure more action.

Angle Shooting

Making a questionable play against the rules in order to get more information. This is considered cheating.

Backdoor

The turn and river cards. Generally, this term is used to describe making a strong hand like a backdoor flush.

Bad Beat

When a player with a weak hand ends up beating a player with a statistically stronger hand.

Bankroll

Money that a player has set aside to play poker with.

Bet

The initial chips that are used in a poker game after a new card or cards are dealt is known as a bet. Before the flop is dealt, the small and big blinds are the first bets.

Betting On the Come

Making a bet with the hope that certain cards will fall on later streets to make a strong hand.

Big Blind

The large forced blind bet. This is made by the player two spots to the left of the dealer button.

Blank

A card that is dealt usually on the turn or river and due to its rank it won’t impact the current hands that active players have.

Blinds

To ensure action in every single hand the two players to the left of the dealer have to make forced bets. These are known as the blinds.

Bluff

Representing a hand that you don’t have by betting and acting in a certain way with the intention of getting the other player or players to fold.

Board

The cards that are dealt face up on the poker table are known as the board. These include the flop, turn, and river.

Boat

Slang for a full house.

Broadway

A straight from ten to ace is known as Broadway.

Bullets

Slang for two aces.

Burn Card

Prior to dealing the flop, turn, and river the dealer must burn a card and place it in the muck. This is done to ensure there is no card stacking and cheating.

Bust

In a tournament when you lose all your chips you bust out.

Button or Dealer Button

A white disc that designates a player as being in the dealer position for that hand. In a home game, this person will also deal the cards that hand. This position is the best at the poker table as you act last.

Buy In

When you enter a poker cash game or tournament you must pay cash to buy in.

Call

Matching another player’s bet and calling it in order to progress the hand.

Calling Station

Someone that always calls bets at the poker table and never, or rarely, bets or raises.

Case Card

The final card of a certain rank in the deck. The fourth six or the fourth king are examples.

Check

Not betting and passing the play along to the next player on the left is a check. Players can do this by saying check or patting the felt with their hand

Check Raise

Checking to another player then raising their bet is a check raise. It’s considered a strong move to make and represents a strong hand.

Chips

Small plastic or clay discs that have a cash value and are used in poker games. In tournaments, fake cash value chips are used that are different than normal casino chips.

Chop

If two player’s showdown and they have the same hand, then they will chop the pot in half and get an equal amount each. It’s essentially a draw.

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 occurs a lot when one player has a pocket pair and another has high suited connectors.

Community Cards

The same as the board. The collection of cards dealt on the table face up is known as community cards because everyone can use them in their hand.

Connectors

Two cards that are in sequential order are connectors, such as 9 and 10.

Continuation Bet

A standard move in poker where a preflop bettor or raiser will bet again on the flop. Also called a C bet.

Cooler

When two or more players are dealt extremely strong hands initially which usually results in all in bets and calls.

Cowboys

Two kings.

Cut Off

The position to the right of the dealer in poker.

Dealer

A dealer can mean two things in poker. 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 deals the cards. In a casino, the dealer is the casino employee who deals the cards and the dealer position is purely for controlling positions in relation to the current hand.

Deuce

A two.

Doyle Brunson

One of the best no limit Texas hold’em players of all time. The Doyle Brunson is also the 10, 2 hand as he won two world series of poker championships in a row with this hand.

Draw or Drawing

When you need one or more cards to make a five-card poker hand you’re drawing.

Drawing Dead

Having absolutely no way of winning a poker hand no matter what cards come on the turn or river.

Ducks

A pair of twos.

Expected value or EV

A rating on whether a certain way of playing a hand will result in winning or losing in the long run. Usually, this is represented as positive or negative, or +EV and -EV. To be a winning poker player you’ll need to make +EV plays most of the time.

Family Pot

When everyone or almost everyone at the table enters a pot pre-flop.

Fish

An inexperienced and weak player.

Float

Calling a bet with no real hand and hoping to bluff for the win later on.

Flop

Three cards that are dealt face up on the table after all the pre-flop betting has occurred.

Flush

A five card hand of all the same suit.

Fold

Exiting a hand and mucking your cards is a fold.

Fold Equity

The amount of money or equity a player can get by making a bet and getting their opponent to fold.

Four of a Kind

Four cards of the same rank.

Fourth Street

The turn card which is the fourth dealt face up on the board.

Full House

Three of a kind and a pair.

Free Card

When everyone checks and the turn or river is dealt it’s known as a free card.

Freeroll

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 of the players is free rolling as they win if they complete the flush and chop the pot if they don’t.

Freeze Out

A type of tournament with no rebuys.

Grinder

A player that plays standard poker for many hours on end to win small amounts consistently.

Gut Shot

A straight draw that is completed by one of the internal cards. This means there are only four cards that can make the straight for the player. Usually, due to the low odds players won’t draw on a gut shot. This is also called an inside straight draw.

Hand

This can refer to three things in poker. The round of play is a hand, the player’s cards are a hand, and the final five card ranking the player has is a hand.

Hand History

When playing online poker, the client can be set up to track every hand. This can then be studied by the player when they’re reviewing how they played.

Heads Up

In a tournament when two players are left. Also, when only two people are left in a standard poker hand.

Heater

A player is on a heater when they’re hitting lots of strong hands and winning a lot of pots.

Hijack

The position to the right of the cut off and two spots to the right of the dealer.

Hole Cards

Players two cards that are dealt to them face down by the dealer at the start of the poker hand.

Hooks

A pair of jacks.

Implied Odds

Odds that include the amount of money you could make if you hit a particular hand later on. Implied odds can be a powerful tool when deciding if a play has a +EV or -EV.

In Position

Acting after another player is known as being in position due to the fact you get all information on other players before you make your own move. It’s always good to be in position in poker.

Kicker

An unused card in a poker hand that can be used to determine 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.

Late Position

One of the last people to act in a poker hand.

Laydown

Another term used for a fold.

Limp

Just calling a blind pre-flop to enter the hand.

Loose

A player that plays lots of hands and bets a lot is a loose player.

Made Hand

A strong hand that is complete.

Middle Position

In between early and late positions.

Muck

Another term used for a fold. It’s also used for the pile of all the cards that have been folded and burnt in a hand.

No Limit

You can bet any amount you like in no limit Texas hold’em.

Nuts

Holding the best possible hand as determined by what cards are face up on the board.

Offsuit

Cards of different suits.

Odds

The percentage likelihood of a certain outcome. Also, can be represented as a ratio.

Open Ended Straight Draw

Four cards in sequential order where a fifth card at either end will make a straight.

Option

When no raise has occurred pre flop the big blind position has the option to check or bet.

Orbit

A complete rotation of the dealer button around the table.

Outs

The specific number of cards in the deck that can make a hand for a player.

Out of Position

Having to act before your opponent.

Over Bet

A large bet that is usually more than is currently in the pot.

Pair

Two cards of the same rank.

Play the Board

Using all five cards on the board as your hand and not using your hole cards at all.

Pocket Pair

When the first two cards that are dealt to the player are a pair.

Pocket Cards

The two face down cards that are initially dealt to the players.

Position

Where the player is sitting at the table in relation to the dealer button.

Pot

All of the money that is in play in the middle of the table in a particular hand.

Pot Odds

The comparison between the money currently in the pot and how much a player has to put in the pot to make a call. Pot odds can help players in determining whether to call or not with a certain hand.

Pot Committed

When there is so much money in the pot that a player can’t fold.

Pre-Flop

The initial round of betting and action before the flop is dealt.

Protect

A bet to try and get other players to fold so that you’re playing against as few other hands as possible.

Quads

Slang for four of a kind.

Rags

Bad cards that don’t help at all and can’t make a good hand.

Rainbow

Cards of all different suits.

Raise

Betting more on top of another bet.

Rake

The way casinos make money is cash games is by taking a rake. This is a certain percentage amount of the pot that they take out for themselves. It’s usually capped so too much money isn’t taken from larger pots.

Re-Buy

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.

Ring Game

A poker cash game.

River

The final card that is dealt face-up on the board. It’s also called fifth street.

Royal Flush

A straight from ten to the ace of all the same suit. This is the highest ranked hand in poker.

Runner

The turn or river card is a runner when both or either of them is used to make a hand for a player.

Scare Card

A card that is dealt on the board that can ruin a made hand. It will usually be a higher ranked card.

Semi Bluff

Making a bet with a strong drawing hand.

Set

Three of a kind, with two of them in a player’s hole cards.

Shark

A strong poker player.

Short Handed

A table with only a few players on it.

Showdown

Revealing cards to see who is the winner of the hand.

Side Pot

A separate pot that is generated when a player is all in midway through a hand, and there are other players still going.

Sit and Go

A tournament which starts once the required number of people have entered.

Slow Play

Trying to represent a weak hand by not betting or raising when you have a strong made hand.

Slow Roll

Acting slowly when your hand strength dictates otherwise. This is considered unethical in poker.

Small Blind

The player to the immediate left of the dealer has to bet the small blind. This is the smaller of the two forced bets.

Squeeze

An aggressive raise after players have already called a prior raise.

Stack

Your chips at the table.

Straddle

A bet that is made to the left of the big blind which is usually double the amount and is considered another blind bet.

Straight

Five cards in sequential order. The ace can be high or low.

Straight Flush

Five cards in sequential order of the same suit.

Streets

Another term for the cards dealt face up on the board. The turn is fourth street and the river fifth street.

Suck Out

A bad beat.

Suited

Two cards of the same suit.

Suited Connectors

Two cards of the same suit in sequential order.

Tank

Taking a long time to make a decision.

Tight Aggressive or TA

A common 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.

Tell

Information given by a player either physically or verbally that tells others what their hand may be.

Three of a Kind

Three cards of the same rank.

Tight

A player that doesn’t play many pots and doesn’t raise or bet often.

Tilt

When a player loses a lot of hands they may begin to play poorly which is known as going on tilt.

Time

Asking for time to make a decision, or clicking the time button online to get more time to decide on what to do.

Top Two

The highest two pair that are available based on the community cards.

Tournament

A type of poker where players buy in for tournament chips and play until there’s only one player left who is the winner.

Trips

A poker slang term for three of a kind.

Turbo

A type of tournament where blinds go up a lot quicker and players have a limited amount of time to act.

Turn

The fourth card dealt on the board. 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.

Underdog

The player that is statistically meant to lose the poker hand.

Value Bet

A smaller bet placed on the river which is meant to entice the player to call so that your stronger hand gets paid off.

VPIP

Voluntarily put money in the pot is a measure of how often a player enters a pot when they aren’t in the small or big blind.

Walk

If everyone folds pre-flop, then the big blind gets a walk and wins the small blind.

Wheel

A straight from ace to five.

Additional Resources

  • PokerStars has an extensive dictionary of poker terms.
  • Predictem also has a nice section.