Poker Glossary: Terms, Expressions, Slang and LingoPoker Glossary:

Table of Contents

Poker is one of the most enthralling gambling games ever created. It is played offline in casinos and specialized poker rooms, online on countless websites, and at home as a fun pastime with friends. Whether it is played with chips, cash, or fake money, both players and spectators are amazed at the gamesmanship between poker players in one game who look to bluff and play pretend or use complex mathematical equations and ratios to determine when is the best moment to strike and bet and win. 

Poker is a game of player vs player rather than player vs casino, and the countless ways that those players can play against each other and show their mathematical, psychological, and social skills to give themselves the advantage. Whether for recreational play or a professional run for the big bucks, here is a list of over 200 terms that can help anyone grasp the most important terms, names, and acronyms easily:


ABC Poker
It stands for a poker playing strategy and not for a poker variant. Playing by this strategy, the player folds weak hands, bets on strong hands, and ignores any other tricky or complex technique. The simplest way to play poker.

Poker game situation in which the winning combination has the highest possible card - an Ace.

The player can buy additional poker chips when a rebuy period arrives. 

A technique where one player adjusts their poker strategy to another player’s game.

Poker room partner whose job is to attract new poker players to the room for a certain bet percentage.

The losing hand. But also the losing hand without any combinations or high-aces. It is a poker hand that cannot win.

The most aggressive and risky technique in poker. The player invests all his betting chips in the mutual pot (explained later). It can frighten unsure players, but if the player’s hand isn’t the strongest possible hand, the player risks losing the entire amount. Also called push.

Anna Kournikova
A mocking nickname for a good-looking hand that will still often lose - Ace and King. It is a derogatory term, both for the tennis player Kournikova and for the players with such hands.

Obligatory poker bet before any cards are dealt to the players.

Any Two
This term stands for a player betting on two value-less cards that cannot win in hopes of scaring the competition. Any two literally stands for any two cards whose pairing cannot create a winning combination.

Angle Shooting
Unfair technique to use the player’s experience to gain an advantage over a new or inexperienced player by using many tricks and cheats. However, angle shooting means doing it within the rules of the game, effectively making it legal.

Average Stack
A ratio of betting chips in the pot against the number of players still playing.


Backdoor Flush
Poker hand when the player needs two more cards of the same suit (explained later) in order to call a flush.

Backdoor Straight
Similar to backdoor flush, this time around, the player needs two more cards of the same suit to call a straight.

Backdoor Draw/Runner-Runner Draw
This draw means that the player gets to make a strong hand only after the two last dealt cards, the turn (4th) and the river (5th), are shown.

Every poker player can have a financial backer who invests money into the player but expects a certain percentage of the winning amount back. However, if the player loses all the bankroll, the backer has nothing to take back.

The Backer technique is used by groups, companies, or investors to fund other poker players and get in exchange a percentage of their winnings.

Bad Beat
When the player’s strong hand is beaten by a stronger, yet statistically far more unlikely hand.

The total amount of money the player has for placing bets. It accounts for both deposited and won money.

Bankroll Management (BRM)
A bankroll method that each player chooses or designs to minimize the investment and betting risks.

Consistent betting across multiple poker streets (term explained later).

Being In Position (IP)
The last player in the round - the one with the most information before the next bet, street, or action and it is also called button.

Being Out Of Position (OOP)
Contrary to IP, this is the first player in the round and the hardest position on the table because the player has the least amount of information from his/her competitors.

Stands for the first player bet in every betting round. The bet can be raised throughout the game so that bet becomes an obligatory bet for other players still in the game.

A poker move that happens when the player folds straight after someone else in the game raises the bet.

Big Blind (BB)
Stands both for the bet and for the player position. Big Bling is an obligatory bet that a player makes before the cards are even dealt. The first player left of the dealer bets a Small Blind, and the second player left of the dealer (in BB position) bets the big blind. Once the hands are dealt, all players must bid the big blind amount or raise the bet if they wish to continue playing.

Blank Card/Brick
Cards that come on the table face-up after the first three that don’t improve the player’s hand combinations. 

Small and big blind (which is usually double in amount) are obligatory bets by the first two players in the round.

Block Bet
A bet equaling 1/3 of the pot by the player who wants to take advantage and block other players from controlling the bets themselves.

A blocker card is the card in the player’s hands that makes it almost impossible for other players to use that very card in their winning combination.

Player technique to convince others in the superiority of their own hand. If played convincingly, it is much stronger than any hand combination. Other players will fold if they believe the bluff, even though they might have strong hands themselves.

Bluff Catcher
A weak hand which is stronger than a bluffing hand. It does not happen often, but when it does, it dismantles the bluff player, ruining his future bluffs.

Stands for the five face-up cards placed by the poker dealer.

Bonus Hunting
There are numerous bonuses the player can win in a poker game in a casino. They can be offered to new and existing poker players.

Some poker tournaments have an award (bounty) for the player that eliminates another player from the tournament and takes away all their chips. 

Or the highest straight combination. Five cards in the correct order - 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace. It's not the strongest poker combination, though.

BSS (Big Stack Strategy)
When the player has a big stack, it can look terrifying to other and new players because it means that the BSS players can wager any bets and risk any moves, and they still won’t lose all their chips.

The cut-off point after which the remaining players in the poker tournament will be awarded at least some money, while the eliminated ones will receive no payout.

The last player in the tournament to be eliminated without the payout.

A poker player who actively searches for inexperienced, amateur, or poor poker players to play at his/her table.

Obligatory poker tournament entry fee.


Follow the previous bet given by another player.

The player always matches the bet or raise without ever folding.

Calling Station
The player who rarely folds and rarely raises the bet but always calls/follows.

It has several meanings: maximum times the player can raise the bet, the singular bet limit, or the maximum buy-in amount. 

Real money can be used instead of poker chips.

Poker players with any winning amount can call for a cash-out.

If no player bets or raises, the player can simply check or skip any action and wait for another round.

Check Behind
Check from the following players; second check in a row.

When the player checks in one round then calls in the next round.

When the player checks in one round, then raises in the next round.

Poker cash equivalent.

The player with the most chips in the tournament.

Chip Dumping
When one player deliberately loses all his/her chips to another player. 

Both players remaining in the game have equal odds of winning.

To raise a bet after other players have already bet and raised once or more.

This happens when the small blind player doubles his bid at the end of the first round to match the big blind.

Connector/Connected Starting Hand
The first two cards contain consecutive values.

The highest bet by the same player is continued both in the previous street and in the current one.

Also meaning bad luck. A poker situation is when a very strong hand loses to a stronger combination.

When the player has a pair of lower cards than the ones dealt on the turn and river, if the player has a pair of 5s, and the board reads Queen, Queen, 4, 8, and 2, the player has been counterfeited with that 8. This means that any other player with an 8 stands better than the player’s two pairs of Queens and 5s.

The player position is before the button position. It can influence or disrupt the most favorable last position by an unexpected raise.


Data Mining
A cheating technique that stands for using large databases of played hands in online poker that allow the player to exploit opponents.

Dead Money
Betting chips in the pot that belong to eliminated players. 

Statistical difference between the expected win amount and the real win amount. 

Dominated Hand
The opponent’s stronger hand. It can also be called card value. For example, the player can be dominated by a king, which means the opponent’s hand had a King that decided against the player. 

DON (Double or Nothing)
A type of poker tournament where half of the players win at least twice the amount of the buy-in while the other half is eliminated without any kind of payout.

Derogatory term for a weak or inexperienced player who folds with good cards and bets with poor cards.

A bet made out of position after Check/Calling on the previous street. It is considered too risky or foolish and takes the name after the previous demeaning term.

Long time period without the player winning on poker.

Drawing Dead
When the players want to draw a card that would improve the hand, but there are simply no such cards left in the game.

Dry Board
The board with a lot of similar cards that can’t create many different winning combinations.


Easy Fold
When the player’s cards are simply too bad to make them into a potentially good combination, easy fold allows the player to keep most of his amount safe and not risk it on poor cards.

Often stands for the advantage. It can be the casino's advantage, the player’s advantage, or the opponent’s advantage. It can be mathematical, psychological, financial, or emotional.

Effective stack
Smallest player stack in a game. It signals the biggest amount someone can win from other players, regardless of bigger stacks.

EPT (European Poker Tour)
Largest and most popular European live poker tournament series. In 2020, due to the pandemic, EPT Online was started.

Equity/Hand Equity
Player’s rightful share of the pot if victorious which changes based on the player’s current chances of winning. 


Final Table
Last tournament table. Mostly with 6,8, or 9 players left for the final game of poker.

This is another derogatory term for new and unskilled poker players who make rookie mistakes. 

Or floating, is a bluff technique to gain advantage over the opponent by betting on a weaker hand in order to even out the odds at later streets.

Flop represents the first three cards dealt by the poker dealer.

A winning combination of 5 cards with the same symbol (suit).

An incomplete hand of 4 cards with the same symbol (suit) that needs a fifth one in order to become a flush.

Fold or folding stands for the player discarding the cards in hand and sitting out for the rest of the game. 

Fold Equity
It’s a statistical probability that the following player, after the player who folds, will fold too.

The second time, players raise the bet in one betting round.

Four Of A Kind (quads)
Four cards of equal rank - 4 Kings, 4 Queens, etc.

Free Card
A complete round of betting goes without any of the players raising or betting.

Free Play
Possibility for the last player in the round to simply check without risking any more money to see the next card.

Poker tournament without a buy-in.

Poker tournament without add-on or rebuy options.

Full ring (10-max)
Every poker table with at least 8,9, or 10 players. 

A winning combination where the player has 3 cards of the same value and 2 cards of the same value, usually called a set and a pair. For example, three Kings and two 7s. Or two Kings and three 7s.


A term to describe poker players that often play and often win. In other words, they are successful and frequent poker players.

GTO (Game Theoretical Optimum)
A poker playing strategy based in mathematics where the player cannot be exploited by other competitors. 

Inside straight draw with four cards in a broken sequence that could be completed with the right card. For example, the player holds 3,4,6,7 (or a gutshot), and if the next card is a 5, the player has a straight.


Cards that the player is given by the poker dealer during one hand coupled with the face-up cards the dealer puts on the board.

Only two players at the poker table. It can be a specific game or a tournament round.

High Card
If players have no winning combinations, then the strength of their two cards is looked at. The player with the highest card wins the pot. 

High Stakes
Cash poker games with very high amounts.

A poker player who plays only high stakes.

The player position before the cut-off position. The second player to the right of the button position.

Hit And Run
A quick and simple poker playing technique where the goal is for the player to come in, win the pot, and leave the game. It can be a good way to stop overplaying, overspending, and overconfidence.

Shorter name for Texas Holdem. World’s most popular poker variant.

Head Up Display. Used in online poker games, HUD gives players necessary information about the game without being illegal or unfair.


ICM (Independent Chip Model)
ICM or Malmuth Harville method is a mathematical method that translates the player’s chips into the player's overall equity and monetary value. ICM is only used in poker.

Instant Bet
When the player quickly bets without hesitation or waiting.

Isolate/Isolation Raise
It's a big bet against the bet of a presumably weaker player on the table. The goal is to isolate other players and force them to fold, to square off against that one opponent left.

ITM (In The Money)
Statistics that indicate someone’s poker tournament efficiency. Also a term for the special prized tournament positions.


Poker cards in the player's hand that are not included in winning combinations. For example, the player has a pair of Kings, a 4, a 7, and a Queen on the showdown and wins the game with the high pair. The kickers are the other cards unless they make a winning combination themselves.


LAG (Loose-Aggressive)
Poker style which means that the player often bets and wagers whenever given the opportunity.

Table design in online poker games.

It can mean different things: to be ahead in hand or to make the first bet in any betting round after the obligatory blinds have been made.

Weak spot. The player can have it, and the opponents can have them, too. The goal in poker is for the player to minimize his/her leaks while maximizing the opponent's leaks.

When the player calls the big bling rather than raising the amount.

The player position which is placed before the Hijack. Along that position, Lojack makes the two middle player positions (MPs) on a poker table who have the least favorable odds of influencing the game in the right way. When the poker game has six players, Lojack is also called Under The Gun because he is the first to make a decision without having enough information from other players.


An extremely aggressive poker player who bets and raises without the odds being in his/her favor. 

Mathematical Expectation
Expected value (EV) in poker or the profit that the player expects from a certain move.

When players use psychological techniques and tricks rather than mathematics in order to achieve an advantage over opponents.

Explains how the player’s stack correlates with the antes and bets yet to be made in poker games. A bigger stack means bigger and/or longer spending.

Middle Pair/High-Pair/Bottom-Pair
If there are three different cards on the board, the player has a middle pair if one card in his/her hand corresponds with the second in value on the board. For example, if there is a King, a 7, and a 3 on board, and the player has a 2 and a 7 in hand, that means the middle pair of 7s. If the player’s hand had a King, it would be a high pair, and if the player’s hand had a 3 it would be the bottom pair.

Middle Stack Strategy (MSS)
The best poker playing strategy for a beginner because there is less risk of losing the bankroll. It can be used when playing No Limit Hold’em cash poker games.

Accidental online poker click that brings the player unexpected or unwanted consequences.

A strong hand with different possible winning combinations.

MTT/Multi-Table Tournament
A Poker tournament where multiple poker tables run a game at the same time, and all poker players compete to find themselves at one final table with the biggest prizes.

Table place where all the discarded and played out cards are placed.

Two or more online poker room accounts belonging to the same player. It is forbidden and considered cheating.

A multi-way pot is any pot including more than two players.

When one player plays multiple online poker room games at the same time.


Nash Equilibrium
An equation that means the player won’t get better winning chances by changing his/her strategy unless other opponents change their strategies too.

NH/Nice Hand
Online poker room term meaning a good, solid hand.

A very careful poker player who does not dare to risk and bets only on a strong combination is most likely to win.

NL/NLH/No-Limit Hold'em
There is no limit to bets or raises at any given moment of the game.

Certain poker players keep notes about the events of the round, betting, opponent behaviors, and similar aspects of the game.

The strongest possible hand in poker.


OESD/Open Ended Straight Draw
Incomplete winning combination that misses one card before or after the sequence to complete the five card straight. For example, if the player has 4,5,6,7 in hand, both a 3 and an 8 can complete the straight.

Offsuited Cards
Two cards of the different symbol (suit).

A variant of poker where the dealer deals 4 cards to the player, not just 2, but only 2 of those 4 cards can be used to make a combination.

Open Raise
The first time one player calls a raise in a game.

An orbit is completed when every player has been served by the dealer in that round.

Every card that completes an incomplete combination such as straight-draw, flush-draw, etc.

A bet that exceeds the current pot size.

That card in the player's hand that exceeds the value of face-up cards on the board.

A positive difference between guaranteed prizes and the buy-in to take part in a poker tournament.

The second limp in a row, done by the following player.

A pair of strong cards in the player’s hand that is bigger than any pair on the board.

Highest set (a pair of three cards of the same value) in the game.


PFR/Pre-Flop Raise
Statistics that indicate how likely players will raise the bets on the pre-flop (before the dealer has placed any card on the board).

Fake chips or fake money to play poker. It is considered a fun, carefree version of poker.

Pocket Pair
Any pair in the player’s hand.

Poker Bot
A program created to play instead of the player. Due to the AI superiority, poker bots are considered illegal and unethical in poker gaming.

Poker Face
Poker face has many forms, and the best explanation is this - the poker player’s facial expressions that are meant to gain an advantage against opponents.

Poker Tracker
Leading industry analysis program that helps online poker players analyze their games and improve their skills.

Postflop plays come after the dealer has placed three face-up cards on the board.

The total amount of betting chips (or money) put in the game by all players.

Pot Odds
The ratio between the size of the pot and the size of the bet the player puts in.

The player’s desire not to inflate the pot too much but to keep the bets at similar or even amounts.

A betting limit where no raise can be bigger than the amount in the pot at that time.

A poker play before the dealer shows the first three cards. During this play players bet the small blind, the big blind and antes to allow the game to start.


Any increase on the bet.

A fixed amount that the players pay in poker games to the organizers.

Under certain conditions, the organizers can return the rake to the player. It does not depend simply upon winning or losing.

Raked Hand
Any player who contributes a certain amount to the organizers of poker rooms.

All combinations of cards the player can have at a certain time.

A chance to buy additional chips at poker tournaments.

When the player has a strong hand with a winning combination already, but the next dealt card on the board could turn that hand into a stronger winning combination.

A time-limited second entrance into a tournament after getting eliminated.

A regular poker professional.

Re-Raise/Or 3-Bet)
The second raise in a row in one betting round.

The last player position in a poker round, the button position, can raise the bet, effectively stealing from the blind. However, if the small blind or big blind positions decide to raise the bet themselves, that situation is called restealing.

The last card the dealer puts on the board face-up.

Ring Game
Non-tournament cash-only poker variant game without a definitive ending where players can exit and enter whenever they please.

RNG/Random Number Generator
Used in online poker rooms to shuffle the cards as close as possible to the regular, live shuffling in person.

ROI/Return On Investment
The player’s correlation of invested money in the poker tournament against the profit in that tournament.

The ultimate poker combination. The highest possible straight with the same symbols (suits). A 10, a Jack, a Queen, a King, and an Ace.

As is usual in sports, the second in a competition.


A specific type of tournament whose prizes are not monetary but open up the chance to play at higher-ranked, more expensive, and elite events.

When the player bets or raises in order to make the opponent fold. It only makes sense if the player has a solid chance to win, even if the opponent doesn’t fold.

Three cards of the same rank. 

A strong, clever poker player.

Short Stack
Smallest stack in the game. It is also a term for the player with the smallest number of chips.

Short-Handed Game/SH
A poker game with only 5 or 6 players.

The last play of the game, when all poker players in the game show their hands.

Side Pot
A poker pot split from the main one. For example, if three players bet on the pot, and one invests 10$, second 7$ and third his total of 5$ there will be 15$ in the main pot (5$ from each player). But the side pot will equal 7$ difference, and this one will only be available to the first and second poker player.

Sit And Go/SnG
A poker tournament variant, SnG tournament doesn’t start at a specific time but rather when enough players have registered. They are very quick and oftentimes placed as online events for recreational poker players or quick grinders who don’t like spending hours on one game.

Simple size of a bet.

A method of slowly trapping the opponent when the player has a very strong (and most likely) winning combination.

When poker players intentionally doubt and hesitate their moves on a strong hand. Many consider this move unfair and unethical.

Small Blind
The first obligatory preflop bet. Half the amount of the big blind. 

Small Stack Strategy/SSS
Short stack poker playing strategy focuses on playing without big bets, big bluffs, and big risks.

Snap Call
Player’s quick call without hesitation. Usually, it represents strong confidence in a winning hand.

Split Pot
In the event of a tie between poker players in the showdown, the pot is evenly split.

The ratio of the effective stack (or the smallest stack) against the size of the pot. SPR signals the correlation between risk and profit.

When the player raises a bet after a raise and a call from other players in the preflop phase of poker play, squeezers want to eliminate players that only call from the game.

Any amount of betting chips or cash money for poker playing that belongs to the player.

Stop And Go
When the player calls on the preflop only to go all-in when the dealer has placed the three face-up cards.

A playing method where players stop playing after losing big bets in order to save money and not take additional psychological toll.

Five poker cards in sequence.

Incomplete hand that misses one card to complete a straight.

Stands among the stronger poker combinations - a straight in the same symbols (suits).

It describes periods of both bad luck and good luck while playing poker.

String Bet
A bet where the player doesn’t invest the full amount but only a portion of his/her chips at different intervals to finally invest the full amount needed.

A poker variant where the dealer deals a mix of face-down and face-up cards to the players, effectively changing the entire dynamic of a standard poker game.

An umbrella term for the symbols on poker cards - clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades.

Supernova Elite
Once it was the highest PokerStars VIP status. Currently defunct.


Intentionally choosing a poker table with inexperienced or amateur poker players.

Players that play a small hand very often and in an aggressive manner.

Team Play
The combined player effort to disadvantage opponents or advantage one single player. A technique prohibited by poker rooms.

A player’s cue, either willingly or unwillingly, that could show other players what that player truly intends to do. Also called a spoiled bluff.

The Distance/The Long Run
After the player has played numerous hands and games, The Distance is a statistical tool that helps other players analyze the player’s poker playing strategy. 

The Starting Hand
Two cards are dealt face-down to the player. They remain hidden until the showdown. Even if the player folded earlier, cards are discarded and not shown to anyone.

Tight Play
A poker playing technique where the player bets only on strong cards without making aggressive or risky moves. 

Bad playing groove. When the player makes poor and wrong decisions because of the psychological effects of losing. 

An additional time period is given to players before they have to make an important decision.

Top Pair Top Kicker. If the player has in his hand an Ace and a King, and the flop reads King, 6, and 4, the player has a Top Pair (two Kings) and a Top Kicker (an Ace).

Three cards of the same rank, but only when two are on the board, and one is in the player's hand.

Fourth card, the dealer deals. 

Two Pair
A winning poker combination of two pairs.


A poker player whose hands have a minimal chance of winning the pot.

Signals that the pair of cards in the player’s hand is below the values on the board. Effectively meaning that other players might have stronger pairs.

Winning period for the poker player.

Value Bet
A bet that can be given by a poker player with a poor hand.

VOD/Video on Demand
A term describing poker training videos.

VPIP/Voluntarily Put In Pot
The ratio of player’s participation in bets that is shown in a percentage. It best describes the poker player’s style.


W$SD/Won $ at Showdown
Another ratio that shows how the poker player ended the showdowns and whether those were wins, splits, or losses. Also expressed in percentage.

Wet Board
The board with a lot of different potential combinations that could win the pot.

The lowest poker straight - an Ace, 2, 3 ,4 and a 5.

Ratio that puts the amount of money the player has won against 100 played hands.

WSOP/World Series Of Poker
The most popular poker tournament series played in Las Vegas. Winners get a gold bracelet - one of the most coveted poker prizes.

WWSF/Won When Saw Flop
The ratio of won games that haven’t included a showdown.


A cash-only poker variant where players can get transferred to other tables if they fold or finish their hand and start a new game straight away. Players at the table are consistently changed and updated.

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