In your quest to become the best poker player you can be, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with all the slang and jargon used in the game. Doing so will allow you to communicate better with other players and better understand what’s happening during a hand. Not to mention, you’ll exhibit game mastery and confidence when you use poker terms fluently—and impress fellow players as you do.
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To help you on your way, we’ve compiled a list of 32 poker terms and their definitions. There are many more out there, but these are some of the most common and useful.
Use this guide as a reference for the next time you play your favorite cash games or Texas Holdem online. GGPoker, the world’s largest poker room, has games and tournaments happening 24/7, so you can always get in on the action.
An ante is a small bet made by all players at the poker table before dealing the cards. It creates action and stimulates betting by ensuring every player has something at stake from the get-go.
2) Bad Beat
A bad beat is when a player with a notably strong hand loses to an opponent with a weaker hand. It’s typically the result of drawing cards that improve an opponent’s hand such that it becomes the winning hand, despite being behind pre-draw.
A blind is a mandatory bet made by two players at the beginning of a game. It’s similar to an ante, except only the first two players to the dealer’s left need to make it.
There are two types of blinds in a poker game. The small blind is typically half the size of the big blind and is made by the player to the dealer’s left. The big blind is the larger of the two bets made by the player directly to the small blind’s left.
The board refers to the community cards dealt face-up at the center of the table and shared by all players. In Texas Holdem, these cards are dealt at the flop, turn, and river.
Bubble pertains to the point in a tournament when the money is about to be paid out. The player that gets eliminated at this juncture does not receive any winnings. For example, if 25 out of 100 players get paid, then the 26th player is “the bubble.”
The button is a small marker indicating the poker game’s dealer. It’s passed clockwise around the table after each hand is complete, so every player has a turn at being the dealer.
The button is also the last position to act in a hand, meaning the player with the button gets to make their decision last. This can be advantageous as it allows them to see how everyone else has acted before making their move.
7) Buy the Button
This is an option available to any new player that joins a live cash game. It allows them to take the button position in the next round by paying both the small and big blinds.
8) Continuation Bet
A continuation bet or c-bet is when a player who raises pre-flop continues to bet after the first set of community cards are revealed. It can be used as a bluffing technique that shows opponents that a player is confident in their hand, even if they don’t have a solid set of cards.
The cutoff or CO is the position to the right of the dealer button. It’s the second-best position at the table as the player in this seat gets to act second-last pre-flop and has more information before making a decision.
10) Drawing Hand
A drawing hand or draw is when a player has an incomplete set of cards that’s not particularly valuable in a given round but has the potential to make a winning hand with the right card. In a Texas Holdem game, for example, players who opt to play their drawing hand may get a chance to improve their poker cards at the flop, turn, or river.
Equity is the percentage of the pot a player expects to win based on their current hand and the odds of drawing the cards they need. It’s a way to compare hands and determine which one has a better chance of winning in a given situation.
Favorite in poker means the player is most likely to win. This can be determined by several factors like the player’s hand strength, position at the table, and the number of opponents in the game.
A fish is a newbie or inexperienced player who’s not very good at the game. They tend to make bad decisions, play too many hands, and generally don’t know what they’re doing.
The flop pertains to Texas Holdem poker’s first three community cards. Once the flop has been revealed, players can use these cards in combination with their hole cards to make a hand. It also prompts the first betting round in the game.
A four-bet pertains to the second re-raise in a given hand. It usually happens after the first player raises, the second player re-raises, and the first player decides to raise again. Four-bets occur more commonly pre-flop, although they can happen post-flop as well.
A heads-up game is one where only two players remain. It’s the final stage of a poker tournament where the last two players face off until one is declared the winner.
17) Late Position
A late position in poker means that the player is one of, if not the last, to bet in a hand. This is advantageous because it allows players to observe their opponents’ actions and betting patterns before making their move.
To limp in poker means to bet the minimum required to enter the pot. It’s generally not considered a good strategy as it doesn’t help players evaluate their opponents’ hands or take the reins during a game.
A lock is a hand that’s virtually guaranteed to win. It’s an unbeatable hand that gives players a high chance of taking down the pot.
20) Made Hand
A made hand does not need more poker cards or draws to make it stronger or more valuable.
The nuts refer to the best possible hand a player can have in any given situation, like the royal flush in Texas Holdem. It’s the strongest hand that any other combination of cards cannot beat.
Offsuit cards are cards of different suits. For example, a player holding an Ace of Spades and a King of Hearts would have an offsuit hand.
A range is the selection of hands that a player may have in any given situation. It’s based on the cards they’re holding and the community cards on the table.
The river is the final community card dealt in a poker game. It’s the fifth and last card to be revealed in Texas Holdem and prompts the final betting round.
25) Short Stack
A short stack is a player with a limited number of chips in front of them. It puts them at a disadvantage as they have less room to maneuver and make plays during the game, although there are strategies that can help short-stacked players fare well in a game.
A straddle is a voluntary bet made by the player to the left of the big blind. It’s typically twice the amount of the big blind and is meant to increase the pot size and inject more action into the game.
A street is a round of betting in poker. In Texas Holdem, for example, the flop would be considered the first street, the turn the second street, and the river the third street.
Suited cards are cards of the same suit. A player holding an Ace of Spades and a King of Spades would have a suited hand.
A three-bet is the second raise in a given hand. It usually happens after the first player raises and the second player decides to re-raise.
Tilt is a state of mental or emotional confusion or frustration that leads a player to make bad decisions, usually resulting in poor performance. It’s considered one of the biggest pitfalls in poker as it can lead to costly mistakes.
The turn is the second to the last community card dealt in a poker game. In Texas Holdem, it’s the third round of betting prompted by revealing the turn card.
32) Under the Gun
Under the Gun or UTG refers to the earliest position in poker. The UTG is the first player to act in a hand. This is generally considered a disadvantage as the player has less information about their opponents’ hands before deciding whether to fold, call, or raise.