Poker Terms, Slang and Common Lingo

Ace – The highest card in a suit, ranking above the King. In some variations of poker, it may also be counted as the suit’s lowest card, one.

Act – This refers to any of five possible actions that can be taken on a hand: check, call, fold, open betting, or raise.

Action – Any type of wager or bet; the opportunity to act.

All-in – To wager all chips available at a given time; to run out of chips when betting or calling.

Ante – The minimum bet required of a player to seed the pot at the beginning of a hand.

Bad Beat – Said of a weak hand that wins over a very strong one.

Bank – The financial backer of the game, in most cases the casino or House.

Banker – In some versions of poker, the hand held by the Bank or Dealer.

Bankroll – The total amount of money available to a player for a session of play.

Betting Order – The order in which players make their bets.

Big Blind – The larger of the two blinds posted in a poker game.

Blind – A force bet made by one or more players to seed the pot at the beginning of a hand.

Bluff – Playing a hand that should be folded.

Brush – Slang for a card room employee.

Bullets – Slang for a pair of Aces.

Burn – One or more cards discarded from the top of the deck face down before dealing.

Button – A table marker that indicates the position of the Dealer for each hand.

Buy-in – The chips purchased by a player for the purpose of gambling.

Call – A wager matching the most recent bet or raise.

Cap – The last raise permitted in a betting round.

Card Room – A separate room or designated area within a casino where poker is played.

Card Sharp – A card-playing expert.

Cards Speak – The rank of the hand is counted as the highest possible, not declared by the Player.

Catch – To receive a favorable card.

Check – To refrain from betting when betting is possible; also, slang for a casino chip.

Check Raise – To make a raise after an intervening bet, when having checked in the previous round of betting.

Color Up – To exchange lower-denominated chips for higher value ones.

Community Cards – Face up cards that are shared by all players.

Connector – A card one rank apart from another, such as 7-6 or Q-J.

Court Cards – The King, Queen, Jack of any suit; aka Picture Cards or Face Cards.

Cowboy – Slang for King.

Crack – To beat a big hand.

Cut – The act of dividing the deck into two separate groups of cards, typically performed after the shuffle and before to dealing.

Cut Card – A solid-colored, faceless plastic card used for cutting the cards.

Deal – The act of distributing the cards to the players.

Dealer – The player responsible for dealing the cards, whether actually or theoretically.

Deuce – Slang for the card with a value of two.

Discard Tray – A receptacle for storing cards that have been burned or played.

Dog – Slang for underdog.

Draw – To receive replacement cards; a form of poker in which cards can be replaced.

Drop – Alternative term for Fold.

Equity – One’s expected share of a pot at any given time; the value of the pot divided by the number of player’s remaining in the hand.

Face Cards – The King, Queen, Jack of any suit; aka Picture Cards or Court Cards.

Favorite – The hand most likely to win.

Fish – Slang term for a novice or poor player.

Fishhook – Slang for a Jack.

Flop – The first three community cards dealt face up.

Flush – Any five cards of the same suit, not all in sequence.

Fold – To drop out of play, abandon the hand and surrender any wagers made.

George – Slang for a novice or poor player.

Hand – The cards each player holds; also, all that happens between deals.

Heads Up – A pot contested by just two players.

High Card – A hand containing cards of different suits and values, not all in sequence and with no pairs; Aces count as high. Also referred to as “nothing.”

Hit – To take a card; also, to receive a favorable card.

Hole or Hole Cards – Cards dealt face down to a player.

House – The organizer of the game.

House Rules – The specific rules by which the game is played at a particular card room, setting the betting limits, amount of buy-ins, the rake, etc.

Jackpot – A bonus paid for certain hands.

Kicker – The unpaired card in a hand.

Knave – Slang for a Jack.

Lady – Slang for Queen.

Limit – A poker game in which bets may not exceed a preset maximum.

Maniac – Any hyper-aggressive player, especially one who frequently, bets, raises and bluffs.

Mechanic – Slang for a cheater, especially a dealer who benefits the House by manipulating the cards.

Muck – Discarded cards; to fold a hand face down, unseen.

No Limit – A poker game in which players may wager any amount up to the total amount of chips they hold at a given time.

Nuts – The best possible hand based upon the community cards.

Odds – The probabilities related to poker play.

Off-suit – A card or cards not of the same suit as others.

One-Eyed Jack – Either the Jack of hearts or spades, whose face shows in profile.

Out – Any card that will turn a hand into a winner.

Paint – Slang for any Face Card—the King, Queen or Jack.

Pair – Two cards of the same rank.

Picture Cards – The King, Queen, Jack of any suit; aka Face Cards or Court Cards.

Play – To bet or raise.

Pocket – The hole or hole cards.

Pocket Pair – Two cards of the same rank in the hole.

Poker Room – Card Room.

Post – The act of betting, especially placing an Ante.

Pot – The total amount of wagered by all players at any give time.

Pot Limit – A poker game in which no wager may exceed the amount currently in the pot.

Pot Odds – The amount of money in the pot compared to the amount that must be added to the pot in order to continue playing.

Push – To tie or draw, with no winner or loser declared. In most poker games, players who push split the pot equally.

Quads – Slang for Four of a Kind.

Rabbit – Slang for a weak player.

Rack – A wooden, plastic or metal tray that holds casino chips.

Railbirds – Slang for spectators.

Rainbow – Cards of different suits.

Raise – To increase the amount previously bet.

Rake – The House commission deducted from each pot.

Rank – The relative value of a card or a hand.

Reraise – To increase the raise previously made.

Ring Game – Alternative term for a cash game; a non-tournament game.

River – The last community card dealt face up.

Rock – Slang for a very tight, uncreative player.

Run – Another term used for a straight.

Running Flush – Another term for a straight flush.

Session – Any period of time for which a game is played.

Set – Three of a Kind.

Short Stack – A small amount of chips compared to the stacks of opponents.

Showdown – To compare players’ hands after all betting has concluded.

Shuffle – Randomly mixing up the order of the cards between deals.

Singleton – Any card in a hand that is the only card of its particular value.

Skin or Skoon – Slang for dollar.

Slow Play – To play a strong hand as if it were a weak one.

Small Blind – The smaller of the two blinds posted in a poker game

Spikes – Slang for a pair of Aces.

Split Pot – A pot shared by two of more players.

Spread Limit – A poker game in which wagers may be any amount between certain preset limits.

Stack – The total amount of chips a player holds at any given time.

Straight – Any three cards in sequence, not all of the same suit.

Straight Flush – Three sequential cards, all of the same suit.

Streak – A run of winning hands or losing hands.

Suited – When two or more cards are of the same suit.

Suicide King – Slang for the King of hearts, holding sword pointed at his head.

Suit – One of the four groups of cards in a deck: Spades, Hearts, Diamonds or Clubs.

Table Limits – Minimum and maximum wagers allowed at the table.

Table Stakes – Betting is limited to the amount on the table at any given time; players may not exchange cash for additional chips when a hand is in play.

Tell – Any behavior that gives a clue or hint to the strength of a player’s hand.

Three of a Kind – Three cards of identical value.

Tilt – To play wildly or recklessly.

Trey – Slang for a card with a value of three.

Trio, Triplets, or Trips – Three of a Kind.

Turn – The forth community card dealt face up.

Underdog – A hand unlikely to win.

Under the Gun – The player who must act first in a betting round.

Valet – Slang for Jack.

Wild Card – A card that can substitute for the value of other cards.

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