rec.gambling Glossary of Poker terms v2.0 31-Mar-1995 Copyright (C) 1993, 1995, John C. Hallyburton, Jr. Copying for noncommercial use is permitted provided all copies carry this copyright.

This glossary is supposed to be readable and sensible. If it is not or (worse yet) contains an error, please send additions and corrections to John Hallyburton,, for future updating.

1-4-8, 2-4, 3-6, 6-12, 10-20, etc. adj. The betting structure for a game. See FIXED LIMIT, SPREAD LIMIT.

ACCORDING TO HOYLE adv. By the rules of the game. See also: HOYLE.

ACTION n. Money that is being bet. "No action" means a hand or game has few bettors and fewer raisers. "Gimme some action" is ostensibly a plea for calls and raises.

ACTIVE PLAYER n. A player who is still in the pot.

ALL {BLUE,GREEN,PURPLE,etc.} n. Colorful terms to describe a flush.

ALL-IN adj. To have all of one's chips in the pot. A player who is all-in cannot be forced out of the pot by more betting, but is only eligible to win that portion of the pot he has contributed to. Generally, a SIDE POT is created each time a player is all-in.

AMERICAN AIRLINES n. In Hold'em, a pair of Aces in the hole. Better known (at least in rec.gambling) as POCKET ROCKETS.

ANTE n. A small bet all players are required to make before a hand is dealt. Not all games have an ante. Related terms: BLIND, FORCED BET.

ASSAULT RIFLE n. In Omaha, hole cards that are A-K-4-7 of any suit(s).

BACK DOOR adj. Applies to a hand that was made in the last card or two, specifically not a hand the player was originally planning on having. Most often applied to straights and flushes.

BAD BEAT n. [1] A very good hand, often a full house or higher, that is beat by an even better hand.

BAD BEAT n. [2] A good hand beaten by another hand, which, when evaluated in terms of how likely the winning hand was to win and how much the winning hand could expect to win, had no mathematical justification for staying in the pot. A hand which, even though it won, had a (generally huge) negative expectation (see EXPECTATION).

BAD-BEAT JACKPOT n. In some cardrooms, a prize that is shared by the players in a game, when a very good hand (usually Aces full, or better) is beaten by a higher hand. Jackpots are usually financed by taking a drop ($1 is a common amount) from every pot. A typical division of the jackpot will give the losing hand 50 %, the winning hand 25 %, and the other players at the table share the remaining 25 % of the Jackpot.

BAD GAME n. Any game in which you figure to be the loser, because the other players are better than you.

BANKROLL n. Current total gambling funds available. To be distinguished from the current money you happen to have on the table. See also: STACK, STAKE.

BARN n. A FULL HOUSE, three of a kind and a pair.

BEE No. 92 (TM) n. Trade name for the "diamond back" cards frequently used in casino games. Compare: RIDER BACK.

BELLY BUSTER n. An inside straight draw. Same as GUTSHOT.

BET v.t. To put money into the pot, pursuant to the rules of the game, thus maintaining a chance of winning the pot.

BET FOR VALUE v.t. Betting a hand that, in the long run, is expected to win more than it loses. Antonym: BLUFF.

BICYCLE n. The best possible low hand: A-2-3-4-5. More common term: WHEEL.

BIG BLIND n. A blind bet, usually a raise of an earlier blind which would be called the SMALL BLIND. In limit poker, the BIG BLIND is usually the size of the minimum bet on the first round of betting.

BIG BOBTAIL n. An open-ended 4-card straight flush.

BIG SLICK. n. In Texas Hold'em, hole cards of A-K, suited or not.

BLACK n. When referring to chips, black usually stands for $100 casino chips. "This guy sits down with a stack of blacks and raises the first bet." Not ALL casinos use black for $100 but that is the common usage.

BLANK n. Used in describing stud and Hold'em games. Refers to a dealt card that does not offer any value; stating the actual rank and suit would detract from a description of the hand. "The last card was a blank."

BLIND n. A mandatory bet made by certain player(s) usually sitting left of the BUTTON before each new hand is dealt. Used in place of antes or in conjunction with antes. See also: ANTE, BIG BLIND, FORCED BET, LATE BLIND, LIVE BLIND, SMALL BLIND, STRADDLE.

BLUFF n. To make a bet or raise with a poor hand, in hope that the remaining active player(s) will fold.

BOARD n. The exposed cards in Hold'em and stud. Also BOARD CARDS.

BOAT n. A FULL HOUSE, three of a kind and a pair.


BRODERICK CRAWFORD n. In Hold'em, hole cards of 10-4. From the 1950s TV series "Highway Patrol", starring Broderick Crawford.

BUCK n. See BUTTON. (Unrelated to one Michael Buck, this is said to be the origin of the term "buck" to represent one dollar).

BUG n. A limited wild card, represented by the Joker. May be used as an Ace, or as any card to complete a straight or flush (or straight flush). See also: WILD CARD. Only used at certain tables in certain card rooms, most frequently in draw lowball.

BULLET[S] n. Ace[s].

BUMP v.t. Slang for RAISE.

BUNNY n. An eight. So named because one can easily draw "rabbit ears" above the numeral 8, "paws" in the middle and "feet" at the bottom. (Do this only at home, and not on cards that will be used for play.)

BURN v.t. To discard the top card of the deck prior to dealing, usually done for every dealing round except the first. The theory being that if somehow the cards are marked (illegally) no one will know what card will next be dealt, only what card will be burned. This makes marked cards less of an advantage, hence tends to reduce cheating.

BUTTON n. A distinctive token held by the player sitting in the theoretical dealer's position, when a house dealer is used. The button rotates around the table so that every player has an opportunity to be the last to act. Also, "THE BUTTON" can refer to the player who currently has the button. ("I was the button and called the blind".) Synonyms: BUCK, PUCK.

BUTTON CHARGE n. A periodic fee paid by whoever is the button, perhaps every 20 minutes or 30 minutes. Constitutes part or all of the HOUSE CUT.

BUY-IN n. The minimum amount of money necessary to join a game. Also, the amount of money one actually used to join the game. See also: REBUY.

BUY IN v.i. To purchase chips at the start of a game. Thus in a game with a $100 buy-in one might buy in for $147.

CALL v.t. To put in to the pot the minimum amount of money necessary to continue playing. See also: SEE. (CALL is used mostly in the present tense with the bet as the object, SEE with future tense and the original bettor as the object).


CALLER n. One who calls. Sometimes used collectively, as in "3 callers".

CAP v.t. To cap the betting is to make the last permitted raise in a round.

CARDS SPEAK n. winner(s) of the hand are determined by turning their cards face up, the best hand(s) wins (no declaration).

CASE adj. The fourth card of a particular rank, as in "he folded the case 9" when describing where all the 9s were in a hand. Comes from the game of Faro where an employee of the house, called the "case keeper". kept track of the number of each rank of card remaining.

CHASE v.t. To continue in a hand, often at poor odds, in the hopes of catching a much better hand. "He called, chasing the flush."

CHECK n. A chip. Dealers and other casino employees often use the term "check" where most nonprofessional gamers would say "chip". See CHIP.

CHECK v.i. To bet zero, when it is legal to do so. Frequently a sign of only a fair hand, but may be a bluff.

CHECK RAISE v. To check initially, then raise a bet made later on in the same betting round. Frequently a sign of strength, but may be a bluff.

CHIP n. A round gaming token used in place of cash for convenience in handling and counting. The standard form of currency in most casinos. See also: CHECK n.

COME adj. A hand that is not yet made ("come hand") such as four cards to a flush. See also ON THE COME.

COMMUNITY CARDS n. Cards that are available for every player to use in making a hand. Usually dealt face up somewhere in the middle of the table.

COMPUTER HAND n. Texas Hold'em hole cards of Q-7 offsuit. More generically, any hand that computer analysis/simulation determines is positive but turns out to be difficult to play in practice.

COLD CALL n. Calling both a bet and raise at the same time, as opposed to calling a bet then later calling a raise made after the call.

COURT CARD n. A jack, queen or king.

COWBOY n. A king.

CUT v. To break the deck into 2 stacks of at least 5 cards each. Usually performed by the player to the dealer's right to insure that the the deck is not stacked.

CRYING CALL n. A call made with little chance of ultimately winning, but marginally better than an immediate fold.


DEAD MAN'S HAND n. Generically: two pair, aces and eights. Specifically: the black aces, black eights and nine of diamonds. The hand Wild Bill Hickok was holding when he was shot to death.

DEAD MONEY n. Money contributed to the pot by players who have folded.

DEALER'S CHOICE n. In home games, a rule that permits the dealer to name which poker game to be played that hand. Often limited to selecting from a list provided.

DECLARE v.t. In high/low games, declaring one's hand as high or low or both ways (usually done with chips in hand). Usually played in home games; casinos tend to play CARDS SPEAK.

DEUCE n. A two.

DOOR [CARD] n. A player's first upcard in stud games.

DOUBLE BELLY BUSTER n. A two-way inside straight. E.g., 3-5-6-7-9.


DOYLE BRUNSON n. In Hold'em, 10-2 in the hole. So named because Doyle Brunson won two straight WSOPs (q.v.) in 1975 and 1976 with 10-2 on the last hand. (Suited (spades) in 1975, unsuited in 1976).

DRAW n. [1] A class of poker games characterized by players being dealt 5 cards face-down and later having the opportunity to replace some of the original 5. "Draw poker" and "Five-card draw" are examples of usage.

DRAW n. [2] In stud and Hold'em games, the set of cards that will be dealt later can be collectively called "the draw".

DRAW v.t. To discard some number of cards and have dealt an equal number of replacements.

DRAWING DEAD v.i. A draw in which it is impossible to obtain a winning hand for any of a variety of reasons: an opponent's hand is better than whatever you are drawing to, the card(s) that make your hand are out of play, or (in Hold'em) give an opponent a stronger hand even if it makes yours. Frequently used in the past tense, since one rarely knows it at the time.

DRAW OUT v.i. To catch a card that improves your situation from a losing hand to a winning hand, especially when you beat someone holding a hand that usually figures to win.

EARLY POSITION n. Being one of the first players to act in a betting round. See also: MIDDLE POSITION, LATE POSITION.

EDGE n. An advantage over an opponent, either specific or subjective.

EVEN-MONEY adj. A bet that pays off exactly the amount wagered. E.g., "Double or nothing" is an even-money bet.

EXPECTATION n. The long-run [dis-]advantage of a given situation, specifically without reference to any particular outcome. I.e., what you figure to win [lose] on average after a large number of repetitions of the same situation.

FACE CARD n. A jack, queen or king (a card with a face on it, not joker).

FAMILY POT n. A pot where all of the players at the table are participating, even after each has had an opportunity to act.

FAVORITE n. Before all the cards are dealt, a hand that figures to be the winner. Ant: UNDERDOG.

FIFTH STREET n. In stud poker, the fifth card to be dealt to each player. Sometimes used to refer to the last card dealt in Hold'em, although the more common term for this is RIVER (q.v.).

FILL v.t. To draw a card that makes a five-card hand (straight, flush, full house, straight flush).

FILL UP v.t. To fill a full house.

FIRE v.i. To make the first bet in a betting round. Used to emphasize that the player bet when a check was possible, showing strength.

FISH n. A player who loses money. An old saying is "If you can't spot the fish at the table, *you* are the fish."

FIXED LIMIT adj. A betting structure where the amount of each bet is a specific fixed quantity. Usually specified as A-B, where A is the amount to bet in the first few betting rounds and B (larger than A) is the amount bet in the later rounds. Related terms: FLAT LIMIT, NO LIMIT, POT LIMIT, SPREAD LIMIT.

FLAT CALL v.t. To call a bet. Emphasizes that the caller did not raise.

FLAT LIMIT adj. A variant of fixed limit where all bets are the same amount.

FLOORMAN n. The casino representative in charge of the card room or a section of a card room. Arbitrates disputes when unusual events happen.

FLOP n. In Hold'em, the first three community cards, dealt simultaneously.

FLOP v.t. To deal a flop, or to make a hand on a flop. "I flopped trips".

FLOP GAME n. Any of a number of poker games where a flop is dealt.

FLUSH n. A poker hand consisting of five cards all one suit.

FOLD v.t. To decline to call a bet, thus dropping out of a hand.

FORCED BET n. In some stud games a player may be required to make a bet to start the action on the first card. This is similar conceptually to blinds and antes, but in this case is dependent on the cards shown rather than player position. Usually the weakest hand is forced to bet.

FOSSIL n. (derogatory) An elderly poker player.

FOUR FLUSH n. Four cards to a flush.

FOUR OF A KIND n. A hand containing all four cards of the same rank.

FOURTH STREET n. In stud poker, the fourth card dealt to each player. Sometimes used to refer to the fourth community card dealt in Hold'em, although the more common term for this is TURN (q.v.).

FREE CARD n. A card dealt after all players checked in a betting round.

FREEROLL n. A poker tournament that does not charge a buy-in fee; players must earn buy-in credits through previous play at the same establishment.

FREEROLL v.t. Having a lock on part of a pot (sure to win a greater fraction of the pot than one is betting) and playing to win more or all of it.

FREEZE-OUT n. A table-stakes game that continues until a small number of players (possibly only one) has all the money. The major event in The World Series of Poker is a freeze-out game.


FULL HOUSE n. A hand consisting of 3-of-a-kind and a (different) pair.

FULL OF n. Describes a full house. "Fives full of queens" is 5-5-5-Q-Q.

GIVING AWAY v.t. Revealing one's hand by obvious play. See also TELL, READ.

GOOD GAME n. A game with players worse than you so that you can expect to win a lot of money.

GUT SHOT n. A draw to an inside straight, as in 2-3-4-6.

HEAD UP adj. Playing a single opponent.

HEADS UP adj. Playing a single opponent.

HELP v. To improve one's hand.

HIGH-LOW SPLIT adj. Forms of poker in which the pot is split between the best hand and best lowball hand.

HIT n. To make a hand or catch a card or cards that improves one's hand. "I hit a gut-shot draw on the river."

HOLD'EM n. [1] Generic name for a class of poker games where the players receive a certain number (2 to 4) of hole cards and 5 community cards. Usually there are betting rounds after dealing the hole cards, then after dealing 3 upcards (FLOP), after dealing a 4th upcard (TURN) and finally after dealing a 5th upcard (RIVER).

HOLD'EM n. [2] When used in the specific sense (e.g., "We're playing Hold'em") the term usually refers to the game of Texas Hold'em (q.v.). See also OMAHA.


HOLE CARDS n. In stud and Hold'em, the face-down cards dealt to each player.

HOOK n. A Jack. So named because the "J" resembles a hook.

HOT BABE (TM) n. An attractive, well-dressed female in or near a casino. The term is a trademark of rec.gambling. An example of proper usage is: "I had just raked in the pot when this Hot Babe (TM) comes up to the table and asks `Are you Frank Irwin?'".

HOUSE CUT n. Generic term for how the house profits from hosting the game. See BUTTON CHARGE, TABLE CHARGE and RAKE.

HOUSE RULE n. Rules and interpretations (e.g., use of wild cards, or rules on having to show beaten hands) that are specific to an establishment or even tables within the establishment.

HOYLE n. Edmund Hoyle (1769-?) was the authoritative source for rules of card games. Hoyle is to card rules as Webster is to word definitions.

IMPLIED ODDS n. A refinement to POT ODDS which includes money not yet in the pot. Considers the potential extra bets and winnings made when a player forms a very good hand.

IN adj. Still eligible to win the pot. "I'm in" is often spoken as one adds chips to the pot, calling.

INSIDE STRAIGHT n. Four cards to a straight, where only one rank will complete the hand. E.g., 4-5-6-8 is an inside straight since only a 7 will fill (i.e., complete) the hand. Often called a GUT-SHOT. Compare: BOBTAIL STRAIGHT, OPEN-ENDED STRAIGHT.


JACKS OR BETTER n. Draw poker in which a pair of jacks is the minimum hand permitted to start the action. See OPENERS.

JOKER n. A 53rd card in the deck, distinct from the others, used as a wild card or as a BUG.

KICKER n. In hands containing pairs and trips, the highest card not matched. In draw games, sometimes a card kept for deception purposes.

KICKER TROUBLE n. Not having as high a kicker as an opponent.

KU KLUX KLAN n. 3 Kings.

LADY n. A Queen.

LATE BLIND n. In addition to "regular" blinds, some games allow a player (particularly a new one) to post a blind bet in return for the right to enter the game immediately and act last on the first betting round. The amount of the blind is determined by house rules, usually somewhere between the last blind and double the last blind. It is frequently a LIVE BLIND.

LATE POSITION n. For a particular betting round, a player who does not have to act until most of the other players have acted.

LAY ODDS v.t. To give favorable odds to an opponent.

LEAD v. To bet first, even when one had the option to check. See also FIRE.

LEAK v. To show one's hole cards (often unknowingly).

LID n. The top card of the deck.

LIMIT POKER n. A poker game wherein the amount to be bet is fixed, or at most variable within a prescribed minimum and maximum. Ant.: NO-LIMIT POKER.

LINER n. A face card. (Because you can see a line when the card is face down and the lower right corner is lifted).

LITTLE SLICK n. In Hold'em, hole cards of A-2, suited or not.

LIVE [CARD] n. In stud, a card probably not held by other players.

LIVE BLIND n. The last and largest blind bet may or may not be LIVE. If LIVE, the blind bettor has the option of "raising" his own blind in the event the bet is called around to him. This is normal, and is sometimes referred to as "blinds are live".

LIVE ONE n. The best kind of opponent, a poor player with a lot of money to lose and in a hurry to lose it.

LOCK n. A hand that cannot be beat under any circumstances. Also: NUTS.

LOOSE n. Playing more hands than the norm. Antonym: TIGHT.

LOWBALL n. Generic term for poker where the lowest hand wins.

MAIN POT n. The main pot, as related to one or more side pots, when there are one or more all-in player(s). The main pot is the one in which all active players participate.

MANIAC n. A player who bets, raises and reraises without regard to the quality of his hand. Most often found in flop games.

MARKED CARDS n. Cards that have been (illegally) altered so that their value can be read from the back.

MIDDLE POSITION n. Betting positions approximately halfway around the table from the first player to act.

MILES OF BAD ROAD n. Three of a kind. Prefixed with a number, 3*<N>, to indicate 3 <N>s. Thus "24 miles of bad road" is 3 eights, etc. (This obviously doesn't work for face cards.)

MISDEAL n. A hand dealt incorrectly that must be re-dealt.

MITES AND LICE n. A hand consisting of two pair, threes over twos.

MUCK n. A collection of face-down cards near the dealer composed of discards, i.e., folded hands, burns and discards for drawing purposes.

MUCK v.t. To throw one's cards into the muck, thus folding.

NICKEL n. Five dollars, usually represented by a red casino check.

NO-LIMIT POKER n. A game where there is no maximum bet; a player can wager any amount (perhaps above some minimum) up to whatever money is on the table in front of him.

NO-PEEK[EE] n. A class of poker games where players do not get to see their cards before betting. Rarely played in public games.

NUT adj. The best possible hand of a given class. The "nut flush" is the highest possible flush, but might still lose to, e.g., a full house. Usually used in Hold'em games.

NUTS n. The best possible hand at the time. Not a LOCK unless all cards have been dealt. Usually used in Hold'em games.

OFFSUIT adj. Not of the same suit. "I held A-Q offsuit" or "The flop was 10-6-2 offsuit". When speaking of 5 or more cards, not \all/ of the same suit, i.e., no flush, as in "button had A-K-10-8-7 offsuit."

OMAHA n. A variant of Hold'em where each player receives 4 hole cards and must use exactly two of them (together with 3 of 5 board cards) to make a hand. Often played high-low split with an 8 qualifier for low.

ONE-EYED adj. The jack of hearts, jack of spades or king of diamonds. So named because the characters are drawn in profile, thus showing only one eye.

ON THE COME adj. A situation where the player does not have a complete hand but hopes to make one if the right cards come up.

ON TILT adj. Playing worse (usually, more aggressively) than usual because a player has become emotionally upset.

OPEN v.t. Make the first bet in a hand, especially in draw poker.

OPEN-ENDED STRAIGHT n. Four cards to a straight which can be completed by drawing a card at either end. E.g., 6-7-8-9 is an open-ended straight. Also: BOBTAIL STRAIGHT. Compare: INSIDE STRAIGHT.

OPENER n. The player who opens the betting, especially in draw poker. A hand may have no openers, in which case it is PASSED OUT, i.e., new hands are dealt.

OPENERS n. Cards in a hand that qualify a player to open the betting.

OPEN-HANDED n. A category of games characterized by a part of each player's hand being exposed.

OPEN PAIR n. An exposed pair.

OUT n. A card that will improve your hand, often substantially. A hand with many OUTS is preferable to a hand with only 1 or 2.

OUT adj. Folded, ineligible to bet or win this hand. "I'm out" is often a synonym for "I fold".

OVER conj. A term used in describing two pair or a full house. "Kings over tens" means two pair, kings and tens. "Jacks over", also "Jacks up" describes a hand that is two pair: Jacks with an unspecified lower pair. Also used to describe a full house, distinguishing the three of a kind from the pair. The hand J-J-J-A-A could be described as "Full house, Jacks over Aces".

OVERCALL v.t. To call a bet after one or more players already called.

OVERPAIR n. In Hold'em, a pair in the hole that is larger than any community card on the board.

PAIR n. Two cards of the same rank.

PASS v.i. Opposite of bet. To check, if checked to. To fold, if bet to.

PASSED OUT. adj. A hand in which nobody opens. What happens next is a function of the game being played.

PAT adj. Holding or being dealt a pat hand. "I'm pat" would mean "I don't want to draw any cards.

PAT HAND n. In draw poker, a hand that does not need any more cards. Specifically, a straight, flush, full house or straight flush. One might bluff and represent a pat hand but actually hold something else.

PAY OFF v.t. Calling a bet with little expectation of winning, unless the opponent is bluffing.

PAY STATION n. A player who rarely folds, thus who frequently calls better hands and loses. Almost as much fun as a LIVE ONE (q.v.).

POCKET [CARDS] n. Hole cards in stud and Hold'em.

POCKET ROCKETS n. In Hold'em, a pair of aces for hole cards.

POCKET PAIR n. Generic Hold'em term for 2 hole cards of the same rank.

POSITION n. One's location in the betting sequence, relative to the players still in the hand. First position is first to act.

POSSIBLE [STRAIGHT/FLUSH] adj. up cards that quite possibly could lead to a straight and/or a flush.

POT n. The total amount of money bet so far in a hand.

POT LIMIT n. A game where the maximum bet is determined by the size of the pot at the time. Note that a player wanting to raise first calls the bet, then totals the pot to determine the maximum amount he can raise.

POT ODDS n. The amount of money in the pot divided by the amount of money you must bet in order to call. Often used to determine if a pot offers enough reward to play on the come.

PRESTO! e. In Hold'em, what one says when revealing pocket 5's. This term, specific to rec.gambling, is still evolving and subject to redefinition. The term comes from a more well-established background in Blackjack where one says "Presto!" when turning over a blackjack. When a player says "PRESTO!" at an appropriate time, the correct countersign is to say "IRWIN". This is a method of identification, not a compulsory ritual.

PROP n. Also PROPOSITION PLAYER. An employee of the gaming establishment whose primary purpose is to keep enough players at a table to prevent breaking up the game for lack of players. Unlike SHILLs (q.v.) "props" make a small hourly wage but play with their own money, winning or losing based on their skill.

PUCK n. A token denoting the dealer position. See BUTTON.

QUADS n. Four of a kind.

QUALIFIER n. A minimum standard that a hand must meet in order to win. Usually applied to the lowball side of a high-low split pot.

QUARTER n. Twenty-five dollars, often symbolized by a green casino chip.

QUARTER v. To divide half a pot between two tying hands. In split pot games, a player who "ties" another player for their half of the pot is said to be "quartered". One might say "I didn't bet my A-2 because I figured I'd get quartered".

RACE v.t. In tournaments it is sometimes convenient to remove all lower- denomination chips from play, as the remaining players' stacks tend to grow. Small chips are converted to larger chips and any odd chips are "raced off" in the following way: each player with odd chips places them in front of his stack and is dealt one card for each chip. Highest card (rank and suit) takes all the small chips and converts them to higher-denomination chips.

RAGS n. Board cards that are small, not suited and not in sequence, e.g., 9-5-2. When "rags flop", it is unlikely that anyone has a good hand, except possibly the big blind in an unraised pot.

RAIL n. A barrier dividing the card playing area from a public area.

RAILBIRD n. A spectator behind the rail.

RAINBOW adj. In flop games, a flop in which no two cards are of the same suit. "The flop was A 9 7 rainbow."

RAISE v.t. To wager more than the minimum required to call, forcing other players to put in more money as well.

RAISER n. One who raises.

RAKE n. Money taken from each pot and given to the house in return for hosting the game. Usually a percentage of the pot (5%-10%) up to some maximum amount.

READ v.t. To determine whether an opponent has a good, medium or bad hand by observing his personal behavior. An inexact science.

REBUY v.i. To purchase additional chips after an initial buy-in, usually after losing most or all of the previous buy-in. This term is most often used in certain tournaments where if one loses all one's chips, or falls below a certain minimum chip level, for an additional sum of money one can purchase a fixed amount of additional tournament chips. Usually there is a time limit (The "REBUY PERIOD") as to how long rebuys are allowed.

REBUY n. The additional chips "rebought" in tournament play.

REPRESENT v.t. Implying, by one's betting style, that one has a particular hand.

RERAISE v.t. To raise after an opponent has raised.

RIDER BACK (TM) n. A brand of playing cards that feature a bicycle rider on the back of the cards. Often used in home games. Compare: BEE No. 92.

RING GAME n. A standard game where players can come and go as they choose. The opposite of TOURNAMENT.

RIVER n. The last card dealt in a hand of stud or Hold'em.

ROLLED UP adj. In seven-card stud, being dealt three of a kind in the first three cards.

ROYAL FLUSH n. An ace-high straight flush, the best possible hand in regular poker.

RUNNER-RUNNER adj. A hand made using both of the last two cards dealt.

RUSH n. A winning streak. Also "ON A RUSH".

S&M n. Sklansky & Malmuth. Generally refers to the ideas and algorithms published by these two authors. When used in a 7-card stud context, often refers to '7 Card Stud For Advanced Players', and when used in a Hold'em context, often refers to 'Texas Hold 'em For Advanced Players'.

SANDBAG v.i. Playing a strong hand as if it were only a fair one. See also SLOWPLAY.

SCOOP v.t. To take all of a pot that is normally split, either by winning both halves outright or winning one half when no players qualify for the other half.

SEAT CHARGE n. A periodic fee for playing poker, paid by all players at a table. Most often seen at all tables in California card rooms and at higher limit tables everywhere. Also TABLE CHARGE.

SEAT POSITION n. The actual seat a player has, normally numbered sequentially starting with 1 as the first seat to dealer's left. Not to be confused with POSITION in a particular pot. Typically unrelated to play of a hand but often important in peripheral aspects, e.g.: "Seats 1 and 10 are nonsmoking here", "Seat 5 has a good view of the table", "Seat 3 is in a high-traffic area".

SEE v.t. To call, as in: "I'll see you" or "I'll see that bet".

SEMI-BLUFF n. To bluff with a come hand that figures to win if it hits.

SET n. In Hold'em, three of a kind where two of the cards are hole cards.

SEVENTH STREET n. The seventh card dealt in 7-card stud.

SHARK n. A good/crafty player often posing as a fish early in the game.

SHILL n. A card room employee who plays with House money, and does not share in any of his (her) winnings or losses. Shills are used to facilitate starting games, and keeping them going. Compare: PROP.

SHORT-STACKED adv. Playing with a only a small amount of money, thus limiting one's risk and reward.

SHOWDOWN n. The point at the end of the hand where all active players reveal their cards and the pot is awarded to the winner(s).

SIDE POT n. When an active player runs out of money during the course of a hand, the remaining players participate in a second or SIDE POT for the rest of the hand. Additional side pots are possible if several players run out of money at different points in a hand.

SIXTH STREET n. The sixth card dealt in 7-card stud.

SLOWPLAY v.t. To play a strong hand weakly, by checking instead of betting or by calling instead of raising. Usually done to win extra bets by keeping more players around for future rounds of betting. See also SANDBAG.

SMALL BLIND n. In games with two blinds the first blind is the SMALL BLIND because it is usually one-half (or less) the second or large blind.

SPLIT [OPENERS] v.t. In draw poker, to discard one or more openers, usually to draw to a straight or flush. Normally requires the opener to declare the act and retain the discards so that the act of opening can later be validated.

SPLIT [POT] n. A pot that is split between two or more hands.

SPLIT [THE POT] v. To split the pot between two or more players. Related term: QUARTER.

SPREAD v.t. To offer a particular game, as in "Shorty's casino spreads razz on weekends and holidays".

SPREAD LIMIT n. A variation on fixed limit wherein the minimum and maximum bets are different. A 1-4-8 game allows bets from 1 to 4 in the early rounds and 1-8 in the last round. A 1-4-8-16 game allows bets from 1 to 4 in the early rounds, 1 to 8 in the next-to-last round, and 1 to 16 in the last round.

STACK n. The amount of money (the stack of chips) a player has on the table. See also: STAKE.

STACKED [DECK] n. A deck that has been arranged to give one player a huge advantage. Also: RIGGED.

STAKE n. The amount of a player's BUY-IN, or the amount of money they are willing to play with in a given session. Compare: BANKROLL.

STAND OFF v.i. To call a raise. "Opener raises, I stand off".

STEAL v.t. To win the pot by bluffing.

STEAM v.i. Playing wildly, calling and raising a lot, because one is upset. Compare: ON TILT.

STRADDLE n. In some games with blinds the player left of the last blind may make a "straddle" wager, essentially a raise of the blind, before any cards are dealt. The player making the straddle then has the privilege of acting last on the first betting round. Straddles, like blinds, are real bets that the rest of the table will have to call or raise. See also: BLIND.

STRAIGHT n. A hand consisting of 5 cards in sequence but not in suit.

STRAIGHT FLUSH n. A hand consisting of 5 cards in sequence and the same suit.

STRING BET n. An unethical and often illegal means of raising whereby a player puts a call-size stack of chips into the pot and, after observing the reactions of the players, then goes back to his stack and puts out more, thus raising.

STUCK adj. Down a nontrivial amount of money, as in "he's stuck $800".

STUD n. Any of several poker games in which some of each players' cards are exposed.

SUICIDE KING n. King of Hearts. So named because in the drawing the king appears to be stabbing himself in the head.

SUITED n. Two or more cards all the same suit. Ant: OFF-SUIT.

TABLE CHARGE n. A fee paid for playing. See SEAT CHARGE.

TABLE STAKES n. A standard rule whereby during a hand players can only bet the money they have on the table. If the bet to a player is more than the player's stack, that player may call with all his chips and be eligible to win only that portion of the pot he contributed to equally. A side pot is created, for which only the remaining players may compete.

TAP v.i. In no-limit games, to wager all of one's money in one bet.

TAPPED [OUT] adj. Out of money. Can refer to a player running out of money in the course of a hand, thus still active for the main pot; or can refer to a player who has lost his bankroll and can no longer play.

TELL n. Any personal mannerisms that reveal the quality of one's hand. E.g., constantly looking at one's hole cards is often a tell of a poor hand. (Some players, knowing this, will at times check their hole cards when they have a great hand and don't need to look.)

TEXAS HOLD'EM n. A Hold'em game where players receive two hole cards and may use zero or more of them, together with 5 board cards, to make their hands. See HOLD'EM.

THREE OF A KIND. n. Three cards all the same rank.

THIRD STREET n. In stud, the third card dealt to each player.

THREE FLUSH n. Three cards of the same suit.

TIGHT adv. A style of play that entails playing fewer hands than average. Antonym: LOOSE.


TO GO v.i. The current betting level, as in "$20 to go" meaning every player must contribute $20 (total) or drop. A $10 raise would then make the pot "$30 to go".

TOKE v.t. Gambling term for "tip", as in "Toke the cocktail waitress". Comes from the term "Token of appreciation".

TOP PAIR n. In flop games, having a hole card that matches the highest card on the board.

TOP TWO PAIR n. In flop games, having hole cards that make the highest possible two pair hand.

TOURNAMENT n. A highly structured game involving potentially dozens of tables where all participants pay an entry fee and obtain a fixed number of chips. Once a tournament has started, additional players may not enter. As the game progresses players bust out and are eliminated until only one winner remains.

TREY n. A three.

TRIP adj. Three of a specific kind, as in "Trip sixes".

TRIPS n. Three of a kind. In Hold'em the term SET is used when two of the three cards are hole cards.

TURN n. The fourth community card in Hold'em.

TWO FLUSH n. Two suited cards.

UNDERDOG n. Before all the cards are dealt, a hand that does not figure to be the winner. Ant: FAVORITE.

UNDER THE GUN n. The position that has to act first in a round of betting.

UP adj. Designates the higher card of a hand consisting of two pair. Thus, "Queens up" refers to two pair, of which the higher pair is queens and the lower pair is unspecified. See also OVER.

WALK n. A pot won by the last blind when no one opens.

WHEEL n. A-2-3-4-5. Usually discussed in the context of lowball where it is the best possible hand. Can also refer to a 5-high straight in high games. Also: BICYCLE.

WHITE BLACKBIRD n. A hand so astonishingly rare as to be unworthy of the opponents' consideration, e.g., being dealt a pat royal flush in 5-card draw.

WILD CARD n. A joker or standard card that, by player agreement and/or dealer's choice, can be used to represent any card desired. See also BUG.

WIRED [PAIR] n. A pair in the hole. In 5-card stud, a door card that pairs the hole card.

WORLD SERIES OF POKER n. A series of several different poker games with relatively large buy-ins, culminating in a $10,000 buy-in no-limit Hold'em tournament, the winner of which is crowned the World Poker Champion. Sponsored by Binion's Horseshoe Club in Las Vegas.


Darse Billings
John Hallyburton
Steve Jacobs
Ken Kubey
Andy Latto
JP Massar
Tom Sims