(1) One's opportunity to make a move during a hand. (2) To place a bet or raise. (3) Used to describe a game characterized by extensive betting and raising.
ANTE A small mandatory bet that all players must contribute before the start of a hand. Unlike blinds, everyone must pay the ante before the hand begins, adding initial value to the pot.
ALL-IN A bet that places all of a player's chips into the pot.
BACKDOOR Achieving the necessary cards on the turn and river to complete one's hand. For instance, if there is one heart on the board, and you hold two hearts in your hand, and two more hearts appear on the turn and river, you've successfully hit a "backdoor" flush.
BAD BEAT When a player, despite initially having a strong statistical advantage over an opponent, loses their hand to that opponent after the flop, turn, or river.
BAD BEAT STORY A recounting or narration of a bad beat experience. Often, these stories are rather tedious and have predictable endings. For instance: "I had ace-king, and my opponent had 2-3. There was an ace on the board. The turn was a 4, and then - can you believe it? - the river was a 5!"
BIG BLIND The amount of chips that the second player to the left of the dealer must bet. The exact amount varies depending on the stakes. Similar to an ante, it's a predetermined sum that gives the pot an initial value before the action starts. It's called a "blind" because it's a bet placed without having seen any cards.
BLIND The general term for either the big blind or the small blind. If you're in one of these positions, you sit either immediately to the left of the dealer button (small blind position) or one position further left (big blind position).
BOARD The communal cards available for all players to use in combination with their hole cards to form the best hand.
BUBBLE In a tournament, the bubble is the highest-ranked player who doesn't win any money. For example, if a tournament pays the top 45 players, the player finishing 46th is "on the bubble."
BURN The act of discarding the top card before each betting round. If the top card has any distinguishing marks, the burn card conceals the following card, ensuring that no unintentional or intentional information is revealed.
BUTTON The position of the dealer. In live poker, it's typically indicated by placing a plastic disc in front of the dealer. The button rotates clockwise with each new hand, and it's a favorable position since the player in this position acts last in a betting round.
BUY-IN The entry fee to participate in a tournament or the minimum amount required to sit at a specific table in a cash game. Usually, it's set at 20 times the big blind. For example, if you're at a $5/$10 table, you'd need $200 to take a seat.
CALL To contribute the minimum amount required to continue playing a hand.
CHECK To abstain from betting. If there hasn't been any action (bets) before your turn, you can "check." If other players subsequently bet in the same betting round, you can choose to call, fold, or raise.
CHECK-RAISE A move where a player initially checks when given the opportunity to bet and later raises any subsequent bet in the same betting round.
COLD CALL To call two or more bets during your turn. This occurs when a pot has been bet and raised before reaching you, and you decide to call.
CONNECTOR Consecutive pocket cards, such as a 5 of clubs and 6 of hearts. If the connectors share the same suit, they are referred to as "suited connectors," like the 5 and 6 of clubs.
COMMUNITY CARDS Cards dealt face up in the center of the table, accessible to all players for forming their hands.
COUNTERFEIT A duplicate card on the board that significantly diminishes the value of your hand. For instance, if you have a pair of 6s in your hand and the board shows ace-ace-7-4, and the river card is another 7, you've been "counterfeited." You initially had two pairs, but now the board has two better pairs. Any opponent with a card higher than a 6 now beats your hand.
CUT-OFF The position immediately to the right of the button.
DEALER The player responsible for shuffling the deck and distributing the cards.
DEALER BUTTON The button, often a plastic disc in live poker, that signifies the dealer's position. It moves clockwise after each hand.
DRAW Remaining in a hand with the hope of improving it. For instance, when you have nothing concrete yet but need one or more cards to complete a straight or a flush. If you call (or raise) to see if the necessary card(s) come, you're "drawing." The most common draws are flush draws (aiming for a flush) and straight draws (seeking a straight). You can also draw for a three of a kind, full house, or better.
DRAW OUT Receiving a card that transforms your hand from a losing one into a winning one.
DRAWING DEAD When you're drawing, but there's no chance of improving your hand because there's no card left in the deck that would make it a winning hand. For example, if you have two pairs and hope to complete a full house on the river, but your opponent already has four of a kind, you're "drawing dead."
FLOP The first three community cards revealed after the initial round of betting.
FLUSH A poker hand consisting of five cards of the same suit.
FOLD To forfeit your hand by placing your cards face down on the table, losing any bets you've placed. You fold when you believe your hand is too weak to compete with other players.
FOUR OF A KIND A hand containing all four cards of the same rank.
FULL HOUSE A hand consisting of a three of a kind and a pair.
GUTSHOT Completing a straight from the inside with only one possible card. For instance, if your pocket cards are 5 and 6, and the flop shows 4-8-king, you'd need a 7, and only a 7 on the turn or river, to complete your "gutshot" straight. It's the opposite of an open-ended straight, which can be completed by two different cards from the outside. A gutshot has only half the chance of hitting compared to an open-ended straight.
HAND Five cards, including a player's pocket cards and the community cards.
HEADS-UP Playing a pot or tournament against just one other player.
HIGH CARD In a poker hand consisting of 5 unrelated cards, the highest card is the high card. It's relevant only if a showdown occurs against another hand with 5 unmatched cards.
IMPLIED ODDS Taking into account potential future calls from opponents when drawing to a hand. If you draw successfully, you anticipate that they'll call with their hands. These funds are speculative and not guaranteed since they aren't in the pot yet and will only enter if you hit your card and they call your bets - hence, "implied."
KICKER When two players have the same hand at a showdown, the one with the higher kicker wins the pot. For instance, if the board shows 7-7-5-5-2, and you have ace-king while your opponent has king-queen, you win because your ace beats his king. The ace serves as the "kicker." The highest card completing a five-card hand determines the winner in such cases.
LATE POSITION The position in a round of betting where a player must act after most other players have acted. Typically, it refers to the two positions immediately to the left of the button.
LIMP Slang for calling, indicating a non-aggressive move.
LIMIT A game structure in which bets and raises are capped at a fixed amount.
LIVE BET Slang for calling, indicating a non-aggressive move.
MUCK The collection of discarded cards in a hand. When a player folds, they place their hand "into the muck."
NO-LIMIT A game structure in which players can bet their entire stack. There's a minimum bet, but no maximum limit.
NUTS The best possible hand at a given moment. For example, if you have pocket 7s and the flop shows 7-6-2, you have the "nuts" at that point since three 7s make the best possible hand. If the turn card is a 5, your hand is no longer the nuts, as anyone holding 8-9, forming a straight, would now have the nuts. If the river card is another 7, your hand is again the nuts, as you have four 7s.
OFF-SUIT Having pocket cards of different suits.
OMAHA A variant of hold'em where players receive 4 hole cards and must use exactly two of them, along with 3 of the 5 community cards, to create a hand.
OPEN-HANDED A category of games where a portion of each player's hand is exposed.
OVER-PAIR In hold'em, a pocket pair higher than any community card on the board.
OPEN-ENDED Completing a straight from the outside with one of two possible cards. For instance, if your pocket cards are 5-6 and the flop shows 4-7-king, you can complete your open-ended straight with either a 3 or an 8 on the turn or river. An open-ended straight is twice as likely to hit as a "gutshot."
ORBIT After each player at a table has dealt for one hand. Each time the button goes around the table, it completes one orbit.
OUT A card that would improve your hand. For example, if all the money is in the pot, and you reveal a pair of kings while your opponent has a pair of aces, you need one of the two remaining kings (your "outs") to beat your opponent.
OVER-CARDS Holding cards higher than the community cards or your opponent's pocket cards. For example, in a heads-up scenario where one player is all-in, the remaining two players reveal their cards. If it's a pair of sevens versus ace-king, the ace and king are considered "over-cards."
PAIR Two cards of the same rank.
POCKET CARDS The cards in your hand that are not part of the community cards. In hold'em, these are your two hole cards, and in Omaha, your four hole cards. Also known as "hole cards."
POT The central location on the poker table where players place their chips for wagering. The winner of the hand receives all the chips in the pot.
POT-COMMITTED A situation where you are likely compelled to call due to the amount of money in the pot relative to your remaining chip stack. In such cases, folding doesn't make sense.
POT-LIMIT A game structure in which bets and raises cannot exceed the current pot's size.
POT ODDS The ratio of money in the pot compared to the amount you need to call to stay in the game. For instance, if there's $100 in the pot, and someone bets $10, the pot now contains $110. You need to call $10, so your pot odds are 11-to-1. Do you believe your hand's odds of being the best are greater than 11-to-1? If so, you should call. Similarly, if you receive the same 11-to-1 odds and your hand isn't yet made but has a good chance of drawing to a better hand (greater than 11-to-1 odds), it would also be a correct call.
QUADS Four cards of the same rank.
RAINBOW In flop games, a flop where no two cards share the same suit. For example, "The flop was ace-9-7 rainbow."
RAKE The portion of the pot that the house collects as compensation.
RING GAME A standard poker game where money is wagered in each hand.
RIVER The fifth and final community card, placed face-up on the board.
ROCK Slang for a "tight" player. A rock may sit at a table for numerous hands without entering a pot. When they do enter a hand, it usually indicates they have a strong hand.
RAISE To bet more than the minimum required, compelling other players to contribute more to the pot.
ROYAL FLUSH An ace-high straight flush, the highest possible hand in standard poker.
SATELLITE A tournament with a lower buy-in, where the pooled funds award seats in a higher-value tournament instead of cash prizes. For instance, a $500 satellite tournament that awards a seat in a WSOP.com Main Event ($10,000 value) would grant one seat for every 20 participants in the satellite tournament. Satellites offer players the opportunity to enter expensive tournaments by winning or performing well in less costly ones.
SEMI-BLUFF A bluff made with a hand that has the potential to improve if the bluff is not successful.
SET Having a pocket pair that connects with the board, forming three of a kind.
SHORT STACK Having fewer chips than the other players at the table or in the tournament.
SHOWDOWN When, after the final round of betting, players reveal their hands face-up. A showdown occurs if there are calls in the last betting round or if a player goes all-in before the final betting round.
SIDE POT A separate pot from the main one. If one or more players are all-in, the pot they contributed to becomes the main pot. Any additional money bet by remaining players goes into a side pot. Multiple side pots can occur if more than one player is all-in. An all-in player can only win a pot to which they've contributed.
SIT-AND-GO A poker tournament that begins as soon as a predetermined number of players register. Participants "sit" (register) and, when enough players are ready, the game "goes."
SIT OUT When a player decides to leave the table for a few hands. If a player sits out for over fifteen minutes or misses two rounds of blinds, they are removed from the table.
SLOW PLAY Intentionally playing a strong hand less aggressively than necessary, with the aim of enticing other players to continue calling your bets. For example, if you have a full house on the flop, you might slow-play it to allow opponents to make their hands and keep calling.
SMALL BLIND The smaller of the two blind bets, positioned to the immediate left of the dealer button and to the right of the big blind position.
SPLIT POT When two or more players create the same hand, the pot is divided evenly among the equivalent high hands.
STRADDLE An optional pre-deal bet, typically made by the player to the left of the big blind. The straddle amount is twice the big blind, effectively functioning as a legal raise. The straddler receives the "option" from the big blind and may re-raise when it's their turn. Straddles are typically allowed in cash games and are not commonly permitted in tournaments.
STRING BET Placing a bet on the table in a series of staggered or multiple motions. String bets are prohibited, and if detected by the dealer, the added amount is removed from the bet. String bets are disallowed because they could be used to gauge other players' reactions before committing to the full intended raise.
STRAIGHT A hand consisting of 5 cards in sequence but not necessarily of the same suit.
STRAIGHT FLUSH A hand consisting of 5 cards in sequence and all of the same suit.
TELL An interpretation of a physical action or betting pattern that appears to reveal the strength or weakness of a player's hand. Exceptional players do not provide many tells themselves and are skilled at recognizing tells in their opponents to inform their playing decisions.
TILT Often the result of enduring a bad beat or a series of them, a player is considered to be "on tilt" when they play recklessly and emotionally. The term may have originated from tilting a pinball machine.
TIME Requesting additional time to contemplate a decision. A player might request time to prevent the dealer from declaring their hand dead due to inactivity. Conversely, a player who consistently takes excessive time to make decisions may have a "clock" called on them by other players who wish to maintain the game's pace.
TOP PAIR A pair formed with the highest card on the board. For example, if you have an ace and 7 in your hole cards, and the flop shows 3-4-7, you have a "top pair" with an ace kicker. If you have a pair higher than sevens in your pocket, it's considered an over-pair.
TOURNAMENT A poker competition involving one or more tables of players, each starting with a set number of tournament chips. Players continue until they've either lost all their chips, are the last player remaining with all the chips, or the remaining players agree to conclude the game. In tournaments, players pay a buy-in fee that contributes to a prize pool, typically distributed to the top-performing players, often the final 10% of participants. In contrast to cash games, you cannot leave a tournament with your chips; you remain in the tournament until it concludes.
TRIPS Slang for three of a kind.
TURN The fourth community card, placed face-up on the board.
UNDER THE GUN The player seated in the first position to act. This is the position immediately to the left of the big blind pre-flop and to the left of the button in subsequent betting rounds.