Poker Glossary

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V 


1. The opportunity for a player to act when it is their turn during the course of a hand. A player may be reminded that it is "their action" if they are not paying attention and it is their turn to act. An action would be folding, checking, calling or raising.
2. The term may also be used to describe the play during a hand, particularly if there is heavy betting and raising. A player that bets or raises frequently with many hands may also be referred to as an "action player."
3. A person that backs a player is said to have part of that player’s "action."
active player
A player who is still involved in a hand that is live.
A compulsory amount of chips that must be contributed to the pot by each player before a hand is dealt. This is different from a blind, as a blind is considered to be a live bet whereas an ante is not. Antes are most commonly found in Stud games as opposed to Holdem games, which use blinds. Antes may also be used in tournaments as the blinds grow larger and are used to ensure a timely finish to the tournament.
1. Players are considered to be "all-in" when they are involved in a hand and no longer have any chips with which to call or raise.
2. A player may declare themselves "all-in," meaning that they are betting the total amount of chips in front of them.



The possibility of making a draw that requires that you catch two more cards. A backdoor draw is usually not strong enough on its own to pull for as the odds against making your hand are high. A backdoor draw is much more valuable when combined with either a made hand such as top pair or a second draw.
bad beat
To have a hand that is a large underdog beat a heavily favored hand. It is generally used to imply that the winner of the pot had no business being in the pot at all, and it was through pure luck that he managed to catch the one card in the deck that would win the pot.
1. The amount of money that a player has available with which to play poker. A proper bankroll should not be mixed with other funds such as living expenses or entertainment funds. A bankroll is also the barometer used to measure success or failure and should guide a player as to when to move up or down in levels. It is possible to play without a separate and designated bankroll assuming that one’s disposable income will in effect function in much the same manner.
2. To bankroll a player. This means that a player is using funds to play poker that have been supplied by a backer or investor who, in return for providing the money, receives a portion of the winnings.
1. The action of putting money or chips into a pot.
2. To signify a player’s turn to act: "It’s your bet."
3. The specific amount of a particular betting limit often expressed in terms of small and big bets.
betting limits
The specific amount that players may call, bet or raise with depending upon the particular game. If the game is a $2/$4 Fixed Limit game then players may act in increments of $2 for the first two rounds, and then in increments of $4 for the last two rounds. These two different amounts are referred to as the small bet and the big bet. Note that this applies only to Fixed Limit games and not Pot Limit or No Limit games.
betting round
A betting round is any point during a hand that players are allowed to bet. A betting round usually begins with cards being dealt and then players subsequently acting. There are a predetermined number of betting rounds for each specific game. For further information on game types and betting rounds please visit our Game Rules.
big blind
The big blind is a mandatory live bet that is posted before the start of each hand. It is typically anywhere from one half of the big bet amount for the table to a full big bet depending on what type of game and limit. The big blind is almost always preceded by a Small Blind, and they occupy the first two positions to the left of the dealer and move correspondingly in front of the button as it moves around the table. For further information on game types and limits please visit our Game Rules.
A card that likely does not benefit any player or impact the hand in a meaningful way. An example of a blank would be a 2 dealt as the turn card on a rainbow A-K-J flop.
A mandatory bet or forced bet which is posted by a player usually in relation to the dealer or dealer button. A blind is often a partial bet in relation to the stakes of the game and is considered a live bet meaning that the player who posted it still may act when the action comes to them.
A bet made with a weak or worthless hand which can only win by forcing the other players to fold out of the pot.
bottom pair
To make a pair with the lowest card on the flop such as holding 8-9 in your hand with a flop of K-10-9.
An Ace-high straight made up of Ace through 10.
1. A pair of Aces as a player’s hole or pocket cards.
2. Chips may be referred to as bullets.
An older expression meaning to raise a pot or a hand.
To discard the top card of the deck before each hand and any subsequent cards are dealt. The card is usually placed on the discard or muck pile. Burning a card is done to protect against the possibility of a stacked deck or the off chance that a player may see the top card before it is dealt and therefore gain an advantage.
burn cards
The cards that are discarded during the course of dealing a hand and are placed in the muck or discard pile.
1. To lose all of your money or chips is to go bust. It is often said that a player has "busted" out of a game or tournament.
2. A "busted" hand is usually one in which a player did not make their straight or flush draws.
A white plastic disk that moves around the table clockwise in games such as Holdem and Omaha and is used to signify the theoretical dealer position. A player can be said to be "on the button," meaning that they are in the dealer position and last to act.
This term is used to signify that a player is attempting to win a hand by overbetting the pot and thus "buying" it. Often this is a bluff or a bet with a marginal holding. Players may also be said to "buy the button." This is the attempt to knock out players acting behind them by making a large raise so as to become the last player to act in future betting rounds.
The amount of money that is required to sit down at a cash game table or the amount of money required to buy into a tournament. In a cash game there is often a specified minimum buy-in amount that a player must have to sit down.



The action of matching a bet amount during a particular round of betting as opposed to folding or raising. A player may say "I call your raise."
calling station
A player that is typically weak and passive, and who calls hands down as opposed to raising or folding them. These types of players will almost always pay off a better hand but are usually impossible to bluff.
The last raise allowed in a betting round as set out by the cardroom or casino. Typically caps on betting are seen in Limit games and are usually restricted to three or four raises per betting round.
A pot is said to be "capped" when the maximum number of raises have been made for a particular betting round.
The last or fourth card of a rank when the rest of the cards are in play. If there were three cards of the same rank on the board then the fourth card would be referred to as the "case" card of that rank.
When the cards are treating you well, you are said to be catching cards.
1. A player may decide to not bet during a betting round and instead check or take no action. Should another player bet, then the player that checked must decide to fold, call, or raise the bet when the action comes back to them.
2. Another word for a poker chip.
check raise
A player with a strong hand may decide to act weak by checking during a betting round in hopes that an opposing player will bet. This will then give the player who checked a chance to the re-raise the opposing player and thus get more money in the pot.
Small colored disks that represent real money at a cash game or theoretical tournament dollars in a tournament. Each color represents a certain denomination of money.
cold call
A call in which a player calls more than one bet at the same time. This is usually the result of there having been a bet and a raise before the action reached them, necessitating calling two bets to continue in the hand.
come hand
A hand that is a drawing hand and needs to complete to win.
A starting hand in which the player's hole cards are coordinated by rank such as a 6 and a 7, or a 10 and a J.
A hand is said to be "counterfeited" when a card is dealt that nullifies a player's hand advantage. For instance, a player holds A-2 against an opponent holding A-K on an A-10-2 board for the best hand of two pair. The turn card is then dealt and is a 10 which then "counterfeits" the A-2 player's advantage as the other player now also has two pair and a better kicker and as such holds the best hand.
Any King. A pair of Kings would be referred to as Cowboys.
To beat a very strong hand, such as Q-J making two pair to beat or "crack" a pair of Aces.
A term usually used in relation to tournaments in which one player loses heavily in a hand and is left with a small amount of chips and is then said to be "crippled."
The act of breaking the deck into two or more sections after it has been shuffled to legitimize the shuffle.



A shortened version of the term underdog. An underdog is either a player who is not favored against the competition, or a hand that is a statistically weaker against the other hands involved in a pot.
dominated hand
A situation in which one player's hand is a heavy statistical underdog to another player's hand. A typical example would be when one player holds a pair of Aces to another other player's Kings. The Kings are heavily dominated as they must catch one of the other Kings to win the hand.
door card
The first card dealt face up in a Stud game after the hole cards are dealt.
draw dead
A situation in which a player is on a draw but will not win the pot even if they make their hand. An example would be a player calling bets in hopes of making a flush when their opponent has already made a full house.
Another term for folding cards. A player can be said to "drop" their hand.



The amount of money in the pot that can be considered a player's due to the hand they are holding. If there is a $100 in a pot and they have a 50% chance of winning the hand, then their equity in the pot would be $50.
The amount of money a player will make in a particular game over time. To calculate your expectation, simply divide your total net win/loss figure by the number of hours played in a particular game. This figure will be your hourly expectation. For instance, if you win $1,000 over the course of 100 hours then your expectation would be $10/hr.



family pot
A hand in which most of the players at the table call before the flop. Family pots are not typically raised pots and are an excellent opportunity to play suited connectors and small pairs due to the high implied odds that you are typically getting from having so many players in the pot.
To play a hand fast means to play it as aggressively as possible in the early betting rounds. This is often done with a hand that is currently best but is vulnerable to draws. An example would be flopping a small set on a flush draw board with overcards, such as a set of 3-3 on a board of A-K-3 with two of the same suit.
A nickname used for a pair of Jacks, often derisively.
In games using community cards such as Holdem or Omaha, the flop is three cards that are dealt together immediately after the pre-flop betting round. The flop is then followed by a single card on the turn and a single card on the river.
To withdraw from the hand by laying down one's cards and relinquishing any claim to the pot.
A hand which is ruled unplayable due to a breach in rules or procedure. An example of a foul would be if there were no cards burned by the dealer during the course of a hand.
free card
A situation in which there is no betting in a particular round and all players receive or get to see the next card for no risk. This is especially powerful for those players who are on a draw and do not have made hands.
free roll
A type of tournament that is free for any player to enter and typically has a prize pool provided by the house or organizer.
full house
A hand consisting of three cards of the same rank and two cards of another rank. An example of a full house would be a pair of Kings in the pocket with a board of K-2-2.



gutshot straight
A gutshot straight is one in which a player makes their hand by catching one specific card in the middle of the straight, also know as an inside straight. An example would be holding 7-6 with a flop of 3-4-9 and needing to catch a 5 to fill the straight.



1. A complete round or game beginning with the posting of any blinds or antes and all players receiving cards. The hand ends with the pot being awarded to the winner or winners.
2. Also referring to the combination of cards that a player has, such as "I have a good hand."
heads up
A pot that is being contested by only two players, or a game where only two players play.
high hand
1. The high hand is the best hand out of all the hands competing for a pot.
2. In Hi/Lo games such as Omaha Hi/Lo, the high hand is the best hand that does not count as a low hand. For more details on Hi/Lo games please visit our Poker Rules section.
To catch the card needed to make a hand such as a card that completes a straight draw or turns a full house. One can also say that the flop "hit me" meaning that the flop strongly complemented a player's hand.
1. The name often given to the casino or card room or organization that is providing the space in which the game is being played. Also applies to anyone that works for the establishment particularly in management.
2. A "house" is also used to refer to a full house.



ignorant end
The bottom end of a straight that can be costly if another player holds the higher end of the straight. For instance, a player that holds 6-7 on a flop of 8-9-10 has the bottom or ignorant end of the straight, which leaves them drawing dead to any player holding Q-J.
implied odds
The pot odds that a player is not currently getting in relation to the amount of money in the pot during a hand, but may expect to get from future bets assuming that they make their hand.
inside straight
A situation where a player has four cards to a straight and needs one of the middle cards to complete it, such as holding 10-J on a 2-Q-8 board. Often players do not have the correct pot odds to draw to an inside straight, so it is usually best to play them only when there is a large amount of money in the pot.



A prize pool that is awarded when a player has a very strong hand beaten by an even stronger hand, such as four Aces being beaten by a straight flush. There is usually an established minimum qualifying hand requirement, often four of a kind beaten or better, and it is usually required that both players use both of their hole cards.
To jam a hand or a pot is for a player to play very fast and aggressive. Games can often be referred to as "Ram and Jam," meaning that the betting is heavy and the action is fast.



The second unpaired card of the two hole cards that is used to break a tie situation between hands. For example, if three players are involved in a pot with a board of K-J-9-7-2 and the players hold A-K, K-10, and K-3 respectively, then the player holding A-K has an Ace high "kicker" or second card and so wins the pot.



1. Cards that have not yet been dealt or exposed are considered "live," meaning that they are unseen and are still available to be drawn or dealt to complete a hand.
2. A game or a player can be considered "live," meaning that there is plenty of action and opportunity to be had.
3. A hand is considered to be "live" if it has not been folded or discarded.
live blind
A live blind is a forced bet, which in games like Holdem or Omaha, is posted just ahead of the button before a hand begins. The blind is considered to be live as the player who has posted the blind must still act by checking, calling or raising depending on the action which has taken place during the pre-flop betting round.
A term used to describe either a player or game and refers to the tendency of too many hands being played. This term is used in opposition to the term tight which would describe a player or game in which very few hands are being played. Loose players tend to play almost any starting hands and often stay too long in the hand without a reasonable chance of winning. For further information on playing against loose players or in loose games visit our Gentleman's Guide to Playing Poker.
An unbeatable hand that is guaranteed to win the pot.



To make a hand means that a player has caught the necessary cards to get a hand of some value. Another player may ask "Did you make your hand?"
A player that will continually raise and re-raise without regard to the hand they are holding. Maniacs are feared for their volatility and unpredictability but are not generally strong players.
1. The pile of discarded and burned cards collected in front of the dealer. Any cards in the muck are considered to be dead and should a player’s hand accidentally come in contact with the muck they are automatically ruled dead.
2. Muck may also be used to describe folding a hand such as saying "I mucked my hand."



no limit
A type of poker in which a player may bet all their chips whenever it is their turn to act, as opposed to Limit poker in which bets may be only placed in multiples of the game's limits or stakes. No Limit is typically played in a Texas Holdem format.
The best possible hand given the exposed cards or community cards. What constitutes the nuts may change as more cards are dealt.



Any starting hand in poker in which the cards are not of the same suit, as opposed to suited.
Omaha is a variation of Texas Holdem in which players are dealt four hole cards instead of two. Players may use any combination of the four cards to make their best five card hand but must always use exactly two of their hole cards and three of the community cards. This is different than Holdem in which players may use two, one, or none of their hole cards to make their best five card hand. Omaha can also be played in a Hi/Lo format either as a Limit or Pot Limit game.
A starting hand in Holdem in which a player's two hole cards are separated in rank by one, such as having K-J in the hole.
A card that can further improve a player's hand. For instance, if a player has a flush draw then any of the remaining cards of the same suit would be considered "outs" or cards that would make a flush.

A player is outdrawn when they are initially ahead in a hand but lose to another player who catches the cards they needed to make a better hand.
To call a bet after one or more other players have already called.
1. A pocket card or cards higher than any card on the board. For instance a player holds A-K on a board of 7-2-5.
2. Conversely, community cards higher than a player’s hole cards. For instance a player holds 5-6 and the flop is 10-Q-A.
A player's pocket pair which is higher than any card on the flop.



Any of the face cards such as a King, Queen or Jack.
The term passive may apply to a player or a game and denotes that there is a lack of raising or betting, with most of the action involving checking and calling. For a further discussion of passive play, please read the Gentleman's Guide to Poker.
pay off
When a player calls a bet believing that they are behind in a hand, but are calling to see the other player's cards anyway.
play the board
To use all of the community cards in a flop game such as Holdem or Omaha to make the best five card hand. If no one has a better hand utilizing any of their hole cards then the pot will be split evenly between all the players in the hand.
pocket cards
The cards that are dealt face down to a player and remain unexposed for the rest of the hand until showdown.
Your unique cards that only you can see.
To put in a blind or forced bet either when first sitting down at a table or when in the blinds.
The total amount of chips that have been put into play during a hand and are eligible to be won. The pot continues to grow until the last cards are dealt and all the betting is finished at which time the pot is awarded to the winner or winners.
pot limit
A type of game limit in which a player may bet up to the total amount of money in the pot whenever it is their turn to act. For a further explanation of Pot Limit please see the Poker Rules section.
pot odds
The odds offered by the amount of money in the pot compared to the amount you must call to continue. Pot odds are extremely important for measuring whether it is profitable or not to continue playing a hand.
The pot odds you are getting for a draw or call, which in turn dictate whether or not to continue competing for the pot.
1. To protect one's cards so that they are not accidentally taken by the dealer and put into the muck or touched by another player's cards at which point they would automatically be ruled dead. Often players will place a chip or a marker of some kind on top of their cards which prevents this from happening.
2. To call a raise out of the blinds with an average hand so as to "protect" or ensure that other players are not continually stealing your blinds.
3. To bet out with a made hand in an attempt to "protect" your hand against drawing hands.



Four of a kind. A player may say "I flopped quads."



A rag is typically a low card that doesn't appear to affect anyone's hand in a meaningful way. A player might say "the board was all rags," meaning that the community cards were uncoordinated and low.

A flop or board that is not coordinated either by rank or suit and is unlikely to make anyone a strong hand.
A flop with all cards being of different suits, or a final board that does not contain any more than two cards of the same suit which means that there is no possibility for a flush.
After a bet is made in a betting round, any further increases to the bet amount are referred to as a "raise." The amount of money that a player may raise is dependent upon the game type. For further information on game types visit our Games Limit section.
A percentage of every pot which is taken out by the dealer during the hand. The rake is how a cardroom makes an income and the amount of rake is dependent on the individual room. The rake at Bodog is one of the lowest of any online poker room at 5% to a maximum of $3. Typical land-based poker room rakes are 10% to a maximum of $5 and in some cases are even higher.
The denomination of each card which represents the value of the card and determines its worth for various games. For example, in a high game such as Holdem, a 9 is of a higher rank than an 8 and is therefore stronger. In a low game, however, typical ranking hierarchies are reversed and as such a 9 would be a weaker holding than an 8. For further information on hand strengths please visit our Hand Rankings page.
To play a hand in such a way to convince a player that you are holding something other than your actual holdings. For instance, if a player makes a large bet pre-flop, and then on a flop of A-10-4 bets heavily again, the player is said to be "representing an Ace" as it would seem natural that they have a strong holding given their pre-flop raise.
A re-raise is the action of raising a raise. For instance if Player A bet, and Player B raised that bet, Player C would be said to re-raise if he raised Player B's raise.
ring game
A ring game is an ongoing poker game with fixed blinds that runs as long as there are players willing to take a seat. This is as opposed to a tournament which has a specific start time, increasing blinds as it progresses, and ends when one player has accumulated all the chips. Ring games are also often referred to as cash games as the chips in play represent real money as opposed to tournament chips which represent an artificial amount.
The fifth or last card in a community board game such as Holdem or Omaha.
A very conservative player who takes very few chances and does not play many hands. A game full of tight conservative players is sometimes referred to as a "rock garden."
A card that comes on the turn to give a player a draw that was not present on the flop, such as a player holding 9-10 with a flop of 4-Q-5, and the turn card is a Jack which then gives the player an open ended straight draw. The term "runner-runner" is then used when the fifth and final card then successfully completes the draw.



scare card
A card that appears to help the opposition or a card that is higher than any of a player's hole cards. For instance, if there is a raise pre-flop and an Ace comes on the flop, this would be considered a scare card to anyone holding a weaker hand then a pair of Aces as it is easy to imagine a pre-flop raiser holding a strong hand with an Ace.
second pair
Making a pair using the second highest card on the flop and one of your hole cards. Often also referred to as "middle pair."
To play a hand in such a way that induces a call or a raise from your opponents as your hand is very strong. This may be done by making a small to medium size bet that is meant to convey to your opponents that your hand is weak or mediocre. The idea is to bet enough so that you get paid off properly, but not too much as your opponents may be scared off.
A bluff with a hand that is probably not best at the moment but has the possibility to improve to a winning hand should an opponent call or re-raise. This provides a player with two ways to win the hand, as their opponents may fold to the semi-bluff bet, or the player's hand may improve on the subsequent rounds and be the best at showdown.
A set is the same as three of a kind but specifically means that you have a pocket pair along with another card of the same rank on the board. A set is different from trips, in which a player uses one of their hole cards to make three of a kind with two cards of matching rank on the board.
7-card stud
A poker game that is a Stud variation in which each player is dealt seven cards with which to make their best five card hand. The first two cards are dealt face down, followed by four up cards and then a final down card. Unlike community card games like Holdem or Omaha, there are no common cards and each player plays their cards individually.
short stack
A player with a limited number of chips compared to other players at the table, whether in a cash game or a tournament. A short stack is considered in danger of being busted out, particularly in a tournament where the blinds increase over time.
A showdown occurs after all the cards have been dealt and all action has been completed. Players then turn their cards over to determine who has the best hand and therefore wins the pot.
side pot
A side pot is created after one or more players are all-in during a hand and have no further chips or money with which to bet or call with. Any subsequent bets after the all-ins are now put into a second or side pot for the remaining players involved in the hand. The all-in players are only eligible to win the original pot and cannot win any part of the side pot.
slow play
A strong hand that is not raised or aggressively bet early in a hand so as to keep as many other players in the pot as possible in hopes of making the most amount of money as possible. Also know as "sand bagging."
small blind
A mandatory live bet that is posted before the start of each hand. It is typically anywhere from one-quarter to one-half of the big bet amount for the table depending on what type of game and limit. The small blind is almost always followed by a big blind, and they occupy the first two positions to the left of the dealer and move correspondingly in front of the button as it moves around the table. For further information on game types and limits please visit our Game Rules.
split pot
If two or more players have the same hand then the pot they are competing for is split evenly between them. This may occur if all the players involved start off with similar holdings and end up holding equal hands in combination with the community cards, or if the best possible hand is made up of the five board cards and as such is used by all the players involved in the hand.
split two pair
A hand in which a player's two hole cards are each paired by cards on the board.
An extra blind voluntarily posted by the player to the immediate left of the big blind to stimulate the action. A straddle is typically twice the size of the big blind and is considered to be live, meaning that the player who posted the straddle may re-raise.
string bet
A bet or raise in which a player places their chips into the pot in two separate physical motions without declaring that they are betting or raising. Typically, the dealer will rule this as a "string bet" and the player is only allowed to call in this situation and is not allowed to raise. A string bet is not allowed as a player may deliberately do this to gauge their opponent's reactions to the initial call, and then use that information to their advantage.
structured limit
A structured limit is one in which the betting stakes are pre-determined along with which betting round they may be used in. This is typical of Limit Holdem games in which players may only bet and raise in fixed amounts. In a $2/$4 Limit game, for instance, players may only bet in increments of USD$2 for the first two rounds and USD$4 for the last two rounds.
Used to apply to a certain betting structure in "flop" games such as Holdem. The typical definition of a structured game is a fixed amount for bets and raises before the flop and on the flop, and then twice the amount on the turn and river.
A starting hand in Holdem where the pocket cards are of the same suit, or in Seven-Card Stud when a player's first three cards are of the same suit.



table stakes
A rule in a poker game meaning that a player may not go into his pocket for money during a hand. He may only invest the amount of money in front of him into the current pot.
A clue or hint that a player unknowingly gives about the strength of his hand, his next action, etc. May originally be from "telegraph" or the obvious use that he "tells" you what he's going to do before he does it.
Texas Holdem
A flop or community card game that begins with each player being dealt two pocket or hole cards, and then five cards are eventually dealt out as community cards that may be used by any player. The game consists of four betting rounds. For further information visit our Texas Holdem Rules section.
A player is said to be on "tilt" if they are playing very poorly due to being emotionally upset or angry. This is often due to having suffered from a bad beat in which their strong hand was beaten by a much weaker hand.
1. A player may ask the dealer for time when pondering a difficult decision particularly during a hand in a tournament.
2. A way in which some cardrooms or casinos make revenue off their tables as opposed to taking a rake. Depending on the stakes involved, each player is required to pay a set fee at an interval such as every half hour to play at the table.
A tip that is given to the dealer by the winner of a pot. It is not mandatory to toke the dealer but it is considered good etiquette to do so.
top pair
When a player pairs one of their hole cards with the card of the highest rank on the board, they are said to have top pair.
Trips is another term for three of a kind along with "set". Trips differs from a "set" as a player is using only one hole card along with two cards of the same rank on the board.
The fourth or second to last card in a community board game such as Holdem or Omaha. It is also the betting round in Limit games in which the betting limit doubles.



under the gun
The term for the player sitting to the immediate left of the big blind and first to act in the pre-flop betting round. It may also be used to generally describe any player that is first to act in subsequent betting rounds.

Either a player who is not favored against the competition or a hand that is statistically weaker against the other hands involved in the pot.



Often used in the phrase "bet for value," which means to bet a hand as you are confident that you are ahead and want to ensure that you get paid off by an opponent calling with a worse hand.
Variance is a measure of the money that flows in and out of a player's stack or bankroll over time. Variance is not a measure of how much you win or lose but rather how large your swings will be during a set period of time. The more hands a player plays the larger their variance or swings will typically be, and vice versa for a player that plays very few hands.