A Beginners A-Z Guide to poker terminology

Poker is potentially one of the world’s most famous table games. Online poker is become increasingly popular with a range of live casino tables, making it just as exciting as playing face-to-face.

However, there’s a lot of terminology which might sound confusing, so we want to make things easy for you to understand.

So, if you’re a complete novice, here are some handy terms to help you get a grip on the basics. Ready to get started?


Online poker glossary: the most popular poker terms

Poker is arguably the first table game you think of when asked about a casino. It’s a simple, fun game that can be played anywhere as long as you have a pack of cards. There are many variations of the game, but the terminology largely remains the same. Below are some of the most common phrases players will hear at the poker table.


Poker terms starting with A-B

Ace high – A hand without at least a pair, where the high card is an Ace.

Add-on – In tournament play, the player has the option to add to their stack of chips after the first period of play.

All-in – When a player bets all his remaining chips into the pot.

Ante – When a player places a bet before the cards are dealt.

Bad beat – When one player loses to another despite having better odds of winning.

Bank roll – A player’s total amount of funds.

Barrel – When a player makes a bet after already being the last aggressor in the previous round of play.

Bicycle – A term for a low straight, which contains the following: A-2-3-4-5.

Big slick – This is the term used for a hand dealt with A-K.

Blind(s) – These are compulsory bets placed before the cards are dealt. These are placed by the two players sitting to the left of the dealer.

Bluff – When a player attempts to win the pot by deceiving other players into thinking they have a better hand than their actual hand.

Board – The cards that are showing on the table.

Boat – A nickname for a full house.

Burn – The dealer will ‘burn’ the top card before dealing the flop, turn and river.

Button – The dealer button which signifies which player is in the seat of the dealer.

Buy-in – The exchange of cash for chips in order to sit at a table.


Poker slang beginning C-D

Call – Matching the highest bet placed.

Cash-in – Leaving the table to exchange chips for cash.

Check – Sometimes indicated by tapping the table in live games, to ‘check’ is to not make a bet when no other player has made a bet either.

Check-raise – When a player checks at first but once an opponent bets, they raise.

Cold-call – When a player calls on the first round of betting, this will be the player’s first action.

Community cards – The flop, turn and river which are all dealt face up in the middle of the table.

Cowboys – The term used for when a hand dealt includes K-K (pocket Kings).

Dead man’s hand – A two-pair of Aces and Eights.

Dirty stack – A chip stack that is incorrectly laid out due to poor etiquette or cheating.

Drawing dead – When a player has no outs.

Ducks – When a player is dealt a pair of twos.


Poker terminology E-H

Fifth street – The fifth and final community card, also known as the river.

Final table – The last table of players when all others have been eliminated.

Fish – Refers to a player that, against the odds, stays in pots with the hope the right cards turn.

Flop – The second round of community cards.

Flush – Five cards of the same suit.

Flush draw – When a player has four cards of the same suit and is hoping subsequent cards present a fifth.

Fold – To throw away your cards.

Fourth street – The fourth community card, also known as the turn.

Full house – A hand made up of a combination of three-of-a-kind and one pair.

Heads up – Head-to-head play at a table containing two players.

High roller – A player that competes for high stakes.

Hole cards – The two cards that are dealt face down to the player, and only the player can see.


Poker dictionary I-Q

Kicker – Cards not part of a poker formation, but still part of the five-card poker hand.

Lay down – When a player concedes their hand.

Limp in – To call the blind without raising it.

Loose – A player likely to play a lot of hands while making speculative bets.

Muck – When a player folds a hand without showing opponents their cards.

Nuts – The best possible hand.

Offsuit – When there is no co-ordination between the suits.

Outs – Cards which will promote a player’s hand to a winning one.

Overcard – Higher cards than those in the community cards, or higher cards in the community cards than those in a player’s hand.

Pocket rockets – When a player is dealt A-A.

Pocket pair – When a player is a dealt a starting hand pair.

Position – A player’s position at the table measured by the dealer button.

Pot – The collection of chips that will be earned by the winner of the hand.

Quads – A common reference to a ‘four-of-a-kind’.


Poker glossary R-S

Raise – Increasing the size of the biggest bet at the table.

Re-buy – When a player loses all their chips early on, they may be allowed to pay the entry fee again for another set of starting chips.

Re-raise – When a player raises when another has already raised.

River – The fifth and final community card.

Rock – When a player only chooses to play with the best hand, and only bets when he is sure he has the best.

Royal flush – The best possible hand in poker, consisting of 10-J-Q-K-A all suited.

Rush – A sequence of successful plays.

Sandbagging – When a player plays a strong hand deceptively, by checking or calling.

Satellite – A qualifying event for a large poker tournament.

Second pair – A pair which is formed by the second highest card on the board.

Set – Three-of-a-kind (trips).

Short sack – When a player has less than the average amount of chips.

Short-handed – A poker table that has fewer players than usual.

Shove – Another term used for when a player goes ‘all-in’.

Showdown – When a bet is called after the river and all players must show their hands to determine the winner.

Side pot – A secondary pot formed when a player goes all-in and cannot bet anymore into the pot still contested by the remaining players.

Slow play – When a player gives the impression of uncertainty by checking and calling bets instead of raising them.

Straight – Five cards in a sequence, for example, 5-6-7-8-9.

Straight flush – A suited straight.

Suited – Cards of the same suit.


Poker phrases T-Z

Tell – An indication, which is usually unrecognisable by the player, by which another player gains insight into the strength of their hand.

Three-bet – The third bet in a betting sequence.

Tilt – When a player plays too many hands of poor quality resulting in them losing many chips.

Top pair – A pair formed by the highest cards on the board.

Turn – The fourth community card.

Two pair – When a player’s hand includes two pairs.

Whale – A player with great wealth, where big loses are not important.


Take a seat at the live poker table with Mr Green.

Oct 13, 2021