Poker Lingo | Poker Game Terms
Now that you’ve chosen to become really good at playing poker, apart from being observant and having lots of self-assurance, you also need to understand the poker language. Poker has a bunch of words that people who play it use, and here’s everything you should understand about those words. At the beginning, it might seem a bit overwhelming with all these poker terms, but as you practice and learn more about the game, you’ll get the hang of them.
What is Poker Lingo?
Poker lingo consists of words and phrases that are commonly used before, during, and after a poker game. Experienced players use these words to communicate certain ideas. If you want to step up your poker skills and join a more experienced poker team, you should get familiar with these poker game terms.
Poker Game Terms
In poker, there are many special words and phrases (poker game terms) that you should know to understand the game talk. Learning this language can make your game better, more enjoyable, and improve your poker skills. It’ll also help you communicate with other players and boost your confidence, especially when you’re playing high-stakes poker.
Useful Poker Game Terms A.K.A. Poker Lingo
An “Ace-High” hand is the best hand you can have in poker when you don’t have a pair or any higher-ranking combination, but you do have an ace in your hand. For instance, it could be cards like A♥K♣9♥6♠2♦ or A♠10♥6♦5♣3♥.
“Action” is one of the often-heard poker game terms. This word from the poker lingo refers to what a player can do with their hand. These actions include betting, checking, calling, folding, or raising. After the players finish their bets, they show their cards to the dealer, which is another action in poker.
“Ante” is a common and essential term in poker. It refers to the money or poker chips that a player must pay when they start the game. Players need to provide this amount to receive their poker cards.
“All-In” is a poker lingo used when a player bets all their money or poker chips on the table. This usually happens when a player doesn’t have enough chips for regular betting. It shows the player’s confidence in winning the hand, although sometimes it could be a bluff.
“ABC Poker” means playing with a solid, basic strategy. It involves being cautious and aggressive when necessary and choosing good starting hands before the flop. Fancy bluffs and risky calls aren’t part of this approach. ABC Poker is often successful in low-stakes games.
The money you need to pay to get into a poker game. In cash games, this amount can change (but within certain limits), while in tournaments, it’s a set amount that everyone has to pay.
Bankroll is the money a player has for playing poker. It’s like their poker savings. Players use it to enter tournaments or cash games. It’s super important for players, especially when they’re starting out.
Blinds are like forced bets that get bigger as the game goes on. They make players start playing. There’s a small blind and a big blind (which is usually twice the small blind). These bets move around the table, so everyone has to take turns paying them.
The big blind is a poker lingo that means a bet that goes around the table after each hand. How much you pay for the big blind decides how much money is at stake in the game and the smallest amount you can bet.
Bluffing is when you pretend you have a good hand, even if you don’t. The goal is to try to make your opponent give up. It’s like playing a trick on them.
To “bet” means to be the first one to put some money in the pot during a round of betting.
This is the bigger of the two bet sizes in certain poker games with limits. People usually use this when the pot is quite big.
The button is a poker lingo used to depict who the dealer is. In real-life poker, it’s like a marker in front of the dealer. It moves clockwise after each round of shuffling. The person with the button is in a good spot because they get to act last in a round of betting.
If you have a card that’s a Ten, Jack, Queen, King, or Ace, it’s called a “broadway” card. Also, when you have an Ace-high straight, that’s sometimes called “broadway.”
In a poker game, when a player checks, it means they don’t want to do anything like bet, fold, or raise.
To keep playing a hand, you need to put in the smallest amount of money required in the pot.
Imagine a player checks when it’s their turn to bet, and later on, they raise when someone else bets in the same round.
C-bet – In poker, “c-bet” stands for “continuation bet.” It’s when a player makes a bet on the flop after raising before the flop. It’s a way to keep the pressure on your opponents and continue your aggressive play from the preflop.
This poker term or poker lingo is used when you have two cards in a row, like a 5 of clubs and a 6 of hearts. If these cards are also of the same suit, they’re called “suited connectors,” for example, having both 5 and 6 of clubs.
In poker, this happens when a card on the table makes your hand less valuable. For example, if you have two 6’s and the table shows ace-ace-7-4, and the last card is a 7, your hand has been “counterfeited.” Your two pairs are now not as good as the two better pairs on the table.
This is the position at the poker table to the right of the dealer button. It’s a good spot for trying to steal the blinds.
Calling Your Bluff
When your opponent believes you’re bluffing and they’re right, that’s called “calling your bluff.”
In these games, the chips you play with represent real money. You can join or leave the table whenever you want.
This is all about the odds or probability of something happening in poker, often expressed as a percentage.
This is when people use online poker to do illegal money transfers.
These are cards placed in the middle of the table, and all players can use them to make their 5-card hand. Not all types of poker use these cards, but the most common ones that do are Hold’em and Omaha.
In a poker game, the dealer is the person who hands out the cards and manages what happens during the game.
The dealer button, often a plastic disc in real-life poker and a circular D icon in online poker, shows who the dealer is. It gets passed around clockwise after each hand.
This means you’re waiting for specific cards to complete your hand. For example, if you have four diamonds and you’re waiting for the fifth one to make a flush, you have a “flush draw.” Draw also refers to some poker games where players exchange cards from their hand with cards from the deck during each betting round.
These are the main sets of cards used by everyone in poker, including the flop, the turn, and the river. There are five of them in total, and players can use them in any way to create the best five-card hand.
Short for “underdog.” It means that a certain hand or player is statistically less likely to win.
A drawing hand is a hand that isn’t complete yet but can get better with future community cards like the turn and river. This term is often used when talking about a hand that’s trying to get a flush or a straight because those are the most common ways to improve your hand in poker.
“Early position” in poker lingo means that you are one of the first players to act in a hand, which can be a bit more challenging because you have less information about what other players might do.
This term in poker refers to how likely a particular hand is to win when it reaches the showdown, assuming the player doesn’t fold.
When talking about poker, expected value (EV) is the value of the decision you make in a poker hand or situation, considering the results over time. It helps you make decisions that are expected to be profitable in the long run.
This term refers to any Jack, Queen, or King in a standard deck of playing cards. These cards are called “face cards” because they feature images of faces rather than numerical values.
In the context of stud poker games, “Fifth Street” is a term used to describe the third betting round. This is the point in the game where each remaining player is dealt a fifth card. It’s an important stage in the game where players make decisions based on the five cards they have in their hands.
When you “fold” in poker, it means you discard your hand because you don’t want to match the wager made by other players on the current round. This is one of the options you have in poker, and it’s often used when your hand isn’t strong enough to compete.
This term has two meanings. Firstly, it can refer to a poker tournament where there’s no entry fee or buy-in required to participate. Secondly, in a poker hand, a freeroll situation occurs when your hand can either tie with the opponent’s hand or win, but it can never lose. It’s like having a chance to win without any risk of losing.
In poker lingo, a “fish,” also known as a recreational player, is someone who is less experienced and not as skilled as regular poker players. They are often seen as easier opponents to play against.
A forced bet is a wager that you’re required to make in the initial round of betting. It can come in various forms in different poker variants, such as an “ante,” “blind,” or “bring-in.” These bets get the betting action started.
In poker, “Fourth Street” refers to the fourth community card dealt by the dealer. It’s also known as the “turn” card and is placed on the table after the flop (the first three community cards) and just before the final card, known as the “river.”
A “full house” is a poker hand that consists of three cards of one rank and a pair of cards of a different rank. For example, having three Kings and two Fives in your hand forms a full house.
Four of a Kind
A “four of a kind” is a hand where you hold all four cards of the same rank. In a standard deck, this is quite a strong hand and difficult to beat. For example, having four Aces in your hand would be a four-of-a-kind.
In poker, a “flush” is a hand that consists of five cards, all of which are from the same suit. It’s a strong hand because it’s not easy to get five cards of the same suit, and it often leads to winning the pot in a poker game.
A “gutshot” is a term used in poker to describe a specific type of straight draw. In this situation, you have four cards missing from a straight, and you need one particular card from the middle of the straight to complete it. For instance, if you have 6♠ 5♥ 3♣ 2♥ and you need a 4 to complete your straight, you have a gutshot straight draw. It’s also known as an “inside straight draw.”
GTO stands for “Game Theory Optimal,” which represents a theoretically mathematically perfect way to play poker. It’s a strategic approach in poker that aims to find the most balanced and optimal way to make decisions at the table. GTO strategies consider various factors to help players make the best choices in different poker situations.
Gutshot Straight Draw (or Inside Straight Draw)
This is a type of straight draw in poker where you are waiting for a specific card from the inside of your potential straight to complete it. In other words, you have four consecutive cards, and you need the one in the middle to complete the straight. For example, if you hold 6♠ 5♥ 3♣ 2♥ and you’re waiting for a 4 to make your straight, you have a gutshot straight draw. It’s also known as an “inside straight draw.”
These are the cards that poker players are dealt face down and keep secret from their opponents. In games like Texas Hold’em, players receive two hole cards, while in Omaha, they are dealt four.
“Heads up” is a poker game where only two players are involved. This can either be during the initial deal or in later betting rounds after all other players have folded.
A “high hand” in poker is a hand that doesn’t contain a pair or anything stronger. The strength of this hand is determined by the highest card in it, with Aces usually considered the highest card in most variants.
A “high roller” is a poker lingo used to describe gamblers who participate in the highest-stakes games. These players are known for wagering large sums of money.
In poker, the “hijack” is a specific position at the table. It’s often considered a favourable position for making strategic decisions.
In a tournament setting, a “last longer” is a bet made between two players. The player who busts out of the tournament first loses the bet, and the other player wins.
This is the most popular variant of poker, often referred to as the “Cadillac of Poker.” In games like Texas Hold’em, players are dealt two hole cards and use a combo of community cards in an attempt to make the best possible hand.
A “hyper-turbo” is a type of poker tournament, or sit-and-go, known for its extremely fast blind structure and shallow starting stacks. These games progress at a rapid pace, requiring quick decisions from players.
In poker, a “hand” refers to a set of five cards that a player holds. The goal in poker is to create the best possible combination of these five cards. The player with the best hand among those still in the game wins all the money that has been bet and placed into the pot. The strength of a poker hand is determined by the specific combination of cards it contains, and different hand rankings exist to establish which hand is the best.
This is a calculation in poker that considers not only the current pot odds but also the potential chips you might win in later rounds if you complete your hand. It’s about looking beyond the immediate situation to assess the full value of continuing with a hand.
Inside Straight Draw
Sometimes called a “gutshot,” this is a straight draw where you need a specific card from the inside of your sequence to complete the straight. For example, if you hold 5, 6, 8, 9 and need a 7 to complete your straight, you have an inside straight draw.
Certain casinos and poker rooms offer a “bad beat jackpot.” This happens when an exceptionally strong hand gets beaten by an even stronger hand. In such cases, players can win a jackpot prize.
A kicker, also known as a side card, is a poker lingo used for a card that doesn’t contribute to the rank of your hand. They are used to break ties between hands that have the same rank. The hand with the higher kicker wins.
This term is often used to describe poker games with a fixed-limit betting structure. In such games, all bets and raises must occur in predetermined, fixed increments.
“Lowball” refers to a poker variant that uses a “low” hand ranking system. In these games, the goal is to make the lowest possible hand. It’s like a “worst hand wins” concept, but it’s a bit more complex in practice.
When a player starts the preflop betting round by calling the minimum bet rather than raising, it’s called “limping.” This can be seen as a passive approach, as the player isn’t aggressive with their bet.
In lowball variants of poker, the objective is to create the best possible “low hand,” which is the opposite of traditional high-hand poker where you aim for strong hands.
In poker, “middle position” refers to the players who are situated between the early and late positions. In a full-ring game, this typically includes players like the hijack, lojack, and MP1. On a 6-handed table, it specifically refers to the hijack position.
These are poker games with buy-ins that fall between “low stakes” and “high stakes.” It’s the category of games with a moderate buy-in.
“Muck” means to discard or surrender your hand. It can be used at any time during the game, and it’s similar to “folding.” Players can also “muck” their hands at the showdown if they don’t want to reveal their cards.
This term means playing poker with very high bets.
“No limit” in poker lingo means you can bet as much as you want at any time.
In poker, “nuts” means having the absolute best hand based on the cards on the table. For example, if the cards on the table are K-J-T-4-2, and there are three spades, then having an Ace and any other spade card is considered the best hand, even if someone has a different straight. It’s like having the “ultimate” hand in that situation.
When we talk about an “offsuit” starting hand in poker, it means the cards in the hand have different suits and don’t match. In general, hands with cards of the same suit are usually better than offsuit hands.
Open-ended Straight Draw
An open-ended straight draw in poker is when you’re waiting for one of two specific cards at the ends of your potential straight. For example, if you have 5, 6, 7, and 8 in your hand, you’ll complete a straight if you get a 4 or a 9.
This refers to a category of games where some of each player’s cards are visible to everyone.
An “out” is a card that can improve your hand in poker. For example, if you have a pair of kings, and your opponent has a pair of aces, you need one of the two remaining kings (your “outs”) to beat your opponent.
Omaha is a popular type of poker game where players are dealt four-hole cards at the beginning and community cards are used to make the best hand.
In Texas Hold’em, an over-pair is when the two hole cards you have, form a pair, and that pair is higher than any pair that can be made with the community cards on the table.
Out of Position
“Out of position” in poker means that a player is in a situation where they have to act first in a betting round or they are not the last one to make a move.
Pot odds are like a comparison between how much money is in the pot and how much someone bets.
A pair is when you have two cards that have the same number or rank.
To “pay off” in poker means to place a bet even if the other player seems to have a better hand, but the pot is really big, so it’s worth taking the risk.
When we talk about poker game terms, we also come across Pot-limit (PL) which is a rule that allows players to bet any amount between a specific minimum bet and the amount of money already in the pot.
These are the cards in your hand that only you can see. In some games, you have two pocket cards, while in others, you have four. They’re also known as “hole cards.”
The pot is like a collection spot in the middle of the poker table where all the chips that have been bet are placed. The player who wins the game takes all the chips from the pot.
Poker rooms are like special areas in casinos where people come to play poker. These areas have tables where you can join poker games or tournaments. The term can also refer to websites where you can play poker online, but it’s usually about the physical places in casinos.
In games like Hold’em or Omaha, “postflop” is a poker lingo that means everything that happens from the second round of betting, which is the flop, onwards.
This poker lingo talks about where we’re sitting at the poker table. It can also tell us whether we’re in a good position, called “in position,” or not, which is “out of position.”
The initial betting round in games like Hold’em and Omaha is called “preflop.”
“Pocket Rockets” is a fun name for having two Aces in your starting hand in Hold’em. This is the best possible way to begin a game.
This is one of those common poker game terms and a casual way used to describe having “four of a kind” in poker. Even though it’s not an official term, it’s the most popular way to talk about this hand.
To “raise” means to make the bet on the table bigger during the current round of the game. If you want to learn more about all the things you can do, check out our article on poker actions.
The word “range” is used to talk about all the different hands that a player might have. It’s like guessing what cards they could be holding.
“Rebuy” is a poker lingo which means getting more chips to play with after you’ve already started the game. In some tournaments, players can do this one or more times, but only if their chip stack is at or below the starting level.
The “river” is the very last card dealt in a poker hand. After this card, there’s one more round of betting, and if needed, players show their cards. In games like Texas Hold ’em and Omaha, it’s the fifth and final community card after the flop and turn. If someone loses because of this card, they say they got “rivered.”
A “rounder” is a poker expert who goes looking for high-stakes games to play in.
“Royal cards” are also called “face cards” or “picture cards.” They’re the jack, queen, and king of every suit.
The “rake” is a tiny bit of money taken from the pot in every hand of poker. It’s like a fee for running the poker game.
“Rakeback” is a part of the rake (that small fee) that’s given back to the players as a kind of reward. Sometimes this poker lingo is part of a VIP system.
A “royal flush” is the best hand in poker. It’s like having a straight flush with the top five cards of any suit. This is the highest possible hand you can get.
This is a version of seven-card Stud poker, but in this game, you’re trying to get the lowest hand instead of the highest.
This poker lingo is used to refer to a clever move in poker. It’s when you make a bet or raise, hoping that your opponents will fold, but you also have some cards that could help you if they don’t fold. It’s like a mix of making a real bet and pretending you have a great hand. This can be a good strategy when just betting for real isn’t the right move, and a full-on bluff doesn’t make sense. It’s like finding a balance between the two to increase your chances of winning.
This is a word used to describe a sneaky strategy in poker. It’s like playing a strong hand in a tricky way, often by acting passive, like checking and calling instead of betting big.
When you have two cards of the same rank in your hand and there’s one more of the same rank on the board, you have a “set.” It’s also called “three of a kind.”
Another poker game term is Split pot. If there is more than one winner in a hand, the prize money in the pot is evenly divided among them. This is called a “split pot.”
In some cash games, a player can make a blind bet before the cards are even dealt. This bet is called a “straddle,” and it’s usually at least double the size of the big blind.
A “straight flush” happens when a player has a hand with five cards all in a row and all of the same suit. It’s a pretty strong hand in poker.
A “straight” is a poker hand with five cards in a sequence (like 5, 6, 7, 8, 9), but they don’t all have to be the same suit.
The “small blind” is a small bet made by the player to the left of the dealer button. Then, the player to their left makes the “big blind,” which is usually double the small blind. The big blind is often the minimum bet in a hand.
“Satellite” tournaments don’t give out cash prizes. Instead, they award entry to bigger tournaments as a reward. It’s a way for players to get into more significant events without paying the full buy-in.
In some poker games, there’s a “split pot” where half of the prize goes to one type of hand, and the other half goes to another type of hand. For example, in hi/lo split games, half goes to the best high hand, and the other half goes to the best low hand.
When all the betting rounds are done, the “showdown” is the moment when everyone reveals their cards to see who has the strongest hand and wins.
Sit and Go
Sit and Go or Sit n Go is a type of poker tournament that begins as soon as a set number of players sign up. It’s more like an on-the-spot tournament.
When your starting hand has two or more cards of the same suit, you use this poker lingo to say it’s “suited.”
In poker games with a fixed limit, there are two set bet sizes: the small bet and the big bet. The “small bet” is the smaller one out of the two.
“Structure” can mean a bunch of different things in poker, but usually, it’s about the rules and format of a particular poker game.
This is a type of poker where there are no shared community cards. Players get a mix of cards that everyone at the table can see (upcards) and some that are kept secret (downcards). It’s a unique way to play poker.
In poker, “stakes” refer to the amount of money you’re playing for in a game. It’s how much you’re betting and what’s at risk. The stakes can be low, like playing for a few rupees, or high, like playing for hundreds or even thousands of rupees. It’s what makes the game exciting!
This is a poker tactic where you have a strong hand, but you don’t bet big to trick your opponents into thinking your hand isn’t as good as it really is. It’s a way to try and get more money into the pot later on.
This is all the chips and money that a player has at the poker table at any given time. It’s what they can use to bet and play.
This word talks about the order of the cards. For instance, having five cards in a row, like 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, makes a “straight” in poker.
Refers to playing poker with an affected mental state – especially anger, but also fear, lack of motivation, and more.
Generally refers to the board texture in community card games like Hold’em & Omaha, but they can ultimately be used to describe any group of cards like boards in the Stud variant.
This hand is made when you have three cards of the same rank, along with two other cards that don’t match.
“Top pair” is when you have a pair, and it’s the highest-ranked card on the flop.
In games like Hold’em and Omaha, the “turn” is the third round of betting. It’s where another community card is revealed, and players have another chance to bet.
Under the Gun
This is the position of the player who has to act first on a betting round. For example, if you’re the first to the left of the big blind, you’re “under the gun” before the flop.
An “upcard” is a card that’s played face-up, visible to everyone at the table.
An “upswing” is when a player is winning more money (or losing less) than they expected during a period of time.
A “value bet” is a bet made by a player who wants their opponents to call. It’s not a bluff; it’s a bet made when you believe you have a strong hand and want to get more money in the pot.
“Variant” is just another word for different types of poker. For example, there’s Hold’em, Omaha, Stud, and many more.
“Variance” is a poker lingo used to describe the natural ups and downs in a poker player’s career. Sometimes you win more or lose less than you expect.