ace-to-five, ace-to-six
Methods of evaluating low hands. See ace-to-five low, ace-to-six low.

To make a play (bet, call, raise, or fold) at the required time. It is Ted’s turn to act. Compare to “in turn”.


1. A player’s turn to act. The action is on you.
2. A willingness to gamble. I’ll give you action or There’s plenty of action in this game
3. A bet, along with all the calls of that bet. For example, if one player makes a $5 bet and three other players call, he is said to have $5 “in action”, and to have received $15 worth of action on his bet. Usually this term comes into play when figuring side pots when one or more players is all in. See table stakes.

action button
A marker similar to a kill button, on which a player places an extra forced bet. In a seven-card stud high-low game, the action button is awarded to the winner of a scoop pot above a certain size, signifying that in the next pot, that player will be required to post an amount representing a completion of the bring-in to a full bet. For example, in a stud game with $2 and $4 betting limits and a $1 bring-in, a player with the action button must post $2; after the cards are dealt, the player with the low card must still pay the $1 bring-in, then when the betting reaches the player who posted the $2, he is required to leave it in as a raise of the bring-in (and has the option to raise further). Players in between the bring-in and the action button can just call the bring-in, but they know ahead of time that they will be raised by the action button.

action card
In Texas hold ’em or other community card games, a card appearing on the board that causes significant betting action because it helps two or more players. For example, an ace on the flop when two players each hold an ace.

action only
In many cardrooms, with respect to an all-in bet, only a full (or half) bet can be reraised. Anything less than a full (or half) bet is considered to be action only, that is, other players can call the bet but not raise it. For example, Alice bets $100. Bob calls. Carol goes all in for $119. When the action returns to Alice and Bob, they may only call the extra $19; they cannot raise it. Carol’s raise is called action only. Compare to “full bet rule”, “half bet rule”.

active player
A player still involved in the pot. If there are side pots, an all-in player may be active in some pots, but not in others.

In a live game, to buy more chips before you have busted. In tournament play, a single rebuy for which all players are eligible regardless of their stack size. This is usually allowed only once, at the end of the rebuy period.

To make an obvious play or expose cards in such a way as to deliberately convey an impression to your opponents about your style of play. For example, to make a bad play or bluff to give the impression that you bluff frequently (hoping opponents will then call your legitimate bets) or to show only good hands to give the impression that you rarely bluff (hoping opponents will then fold when you do).

aggressive, aggression
See aggression (poker). Compare to “loose”, “tight”, “passive”.

In a lowball game, “giving air” is letting an opponent who might otherwise fold know that you intend to draw one or more cards to induce him to call.

all in
Having bet all of your chips in the current hand. See all in.

A technically legal, but borderline unethical, play. For example, deliberately miscalling one’s own hand to induce a fold, or placing odd amounts of chips in the pot to confuse opponents about whether you mean to call or raise. A player employing such tactics is called an “angle shooter”.

Forced bet that players must make before seeing any cards. This guarantees money in the pot for each hand.

ante off
In tournament play, to force an absent player to continue paying antes, blinds, bring-ins, or other forced bets so that the contest remains fair to the other players. Go ahead and take that phone call. We’ll ante you off until you get back. Also “blind off”.

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1. A draw requiring two or more rounds to fill. For example, catching two consecutive cards in two rounds of seven-card stud or Texas hold ’em to fill a straight or flush.
2. A hand made other than the hand the player intended to make. I started with four hearts hoping for a flush, but I backdoored two more kings and my trips won.

back in

1. To enter a pot by checking and then calling someone else’s open on the first betting round. Usually used in games like Jackpots, meaning to enter without openers.

back into
To win a pot with a hand that would have folded to any bet. For example, two players enter a pot of draw poker, both drawing to flushes. Both miss, and check after the draw. The player with the ace-high draw “backs into” winning the pot against the player with only a king-high draw. Also to make a backdoor draw, for example, a player who starts a hand with three of a kind, but makes a runner-runner flush, can be said to back into the flush.

A reraise from a player that previously limped in the same betting round. I decided to backraise with my pocket eights to isolate the all-in player. Also limp-reraise.

bad beat
Losing when you have a very strong hand, usually to a very unlikely draw on the last card.

Also called the house, the person responsible for distributing chips, keeping track of the buy-ins, and paying winners at the end of the game.

The amount of money that a player has to wager for the duration of his or her poker career.
A very chip or money rich player.


1. Not (currently) having the best hand. I’m pretty sure my pair of jacks was behind Lou’s kings, but I had other outs, so I kept playing.
2. Describing money in play but not visible as chips in front of a player. For example, a player may announce “I’ve got $100 behind” while handing money to a casino employee, meaning that he intends those chips to be in play as soon as they are brought to him.


1. Any money wagered during the play of a hand.
2. More specifically, the opening bet of a betting round.
3. In a fixed limit game, the standard betting amount. There were six bets in the pot when I called.

betting structure
The complete set of rules regarding forced bets, limits, raise caps, and such for a particular game. See betting (poker).


A card, frequently a community card, of no apparent value. I suspected Margaret had a good draw, but the river card was a blank, so I bet again. Compare to “rag”, “brick”, “bomb”.


1. A type of forced bet. See blind (poker).
2. In the “dark”.

blind stud
A stud poker game in which all cards are dealt face down. Was popular in California before legal rulings made traditional stud legal there.

blind off, blinded

1. To “ante off”.
2. To have one’s stack reduced by paying ever increasing blinds in tournaments. Ted had to make a move soon or he would be blinded away in three more rounds.

In community card poker, refers to holding one of the opponent’s outs, typically when the board threatens a straight or straight draw. The board was A23 but with my pair of fives I held two blockers to the straight. Compare to “dry ace”.

To bet strongly with a poor hand, as if you have strong hand in an attempt to make others fold.


1. The set of community cards in a community card game. If another spade hits the board, I’ll have to fold.
2. The set of face-up cards of a particular player in a stud game. Zack’s board didn’t look too scary, so I bet into him again.
3. The set of all face-up cards in a stud game. I started with a flush draw, but there were already four other diamonds showing on the board, so I folded.

both ways
Both halves of a split pot, often declared by a player who thinks he or she will win both low and high.

bottom end
The lowest of several possible straights, especially in a community card game. For example, in Texas hold ’em with the cards 5-6-7 on the board, a player holding 3-4 has the bottom end straight, while a player holding 4-8 or 8-9 has a higher straight. Also “idiot end”.

bottom pair, bottom set
In a community card game, a pair (or set) made by matching the lowest-ranking board card with one (or two) in one’s private hand. Compare second pair, top pair.

The chip tray in front of a house dealer, and by extension, the house dealer’s position at the table. You’ve been in the box for an hour now; don’t you get a break?

boxed card
A card encountered face-up in the assembled deck during the deal, as opposed to one overturned in the act of dealing. Most house rules treat a boxed card as if it didn’t exist; that is, it is placed aside and not used. Different rules cover cards exposed during the deal.


1. In a draw poker game, to discard cards that make a made hand in the hope of making a much better one. For example, a player with J-J-10-9-8 may wish to break his pair of jacks to draw for the straight, and a lowball player may break his 9-high 9-5-4-2-A to draw for the wheel.
2. To end a session of play. The game broke at about 3:00.

bring in

1. To open a betting round. Alice brought it in for $4, and Bob raised to $10.
2. A type of forced bet. Rather than (or in addition to) antes or blinds, some games, like seven-card stud use a bring-in. The advantage of bring-in games is that the player can look at their hand before betting and can then bet the minimum bring or a full bet (usually 2.5X the bring in amount). Even though it is a forced bet, it is not considered a blind bet because the player may look at their cards before acting.


1. A casino employee whose job it is to greet players entering the poker room, maintain the list of persons waiting to play, announce open seats, and various other duties (including brushing off tables to prepare them for new games, hence the name).
2. To recruit players into a game. Dave is brushing up some players for tonight’s game.

The last finishing position in a poker tournament before entering the payout structure. He was very frustrated after getting eliminated on the bubble. Also can be applied to other situations like if six players will make a televised final table the player finishing seventh will go out on the “TV bubble”. Also used to describe any situation close to the payout structure.

burn, burn card
To discard the top card of the deck. This is done to prevent anyone from being able to determine the next card.


1. Not complete, such as four cards to a straight that never gets the fifth card to complete it.
2. Out of chips. To “bust out” is to lose all of one’s chips.

The marker that signifies the dealer’s spot. The player with the button receives the last card dealt in a round.

The minimum required amount of chips that must be “bought” to become involved in a game (or tournament). For example, a $4-$8 fixed limit game might require a player to buy at least $40 worth of chips to play. This is typically far less than an average player would expect to play with for any amount of time, but large enough that the player can play a number of hands without buying more, so the game isn’t slowed down by constant chip-buying.

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To match the current high bet.

call the clock
A method of discouraging players from taking an excessively long time to act. When someone calls the clock, the player has a set amount of time in which to make up his mind; if he fails to do so, his hand is immediately declared dead. In tournament play, a common rule is that if a player takes too long and no one calls the clock, the dealer or floor personnel will automatically do so.

calling station
A player who almost always calls and seldom raises.

A limit on the number of raises allowed in a betting round. Typically three or four (in addition the opening bet). In most casinos, the cap is removed if there are only two players remaining either (1) at the beginning of the betting round, or (2) at the time that what would have otherwise been the last raise is made.
Also, term for the chip, token, or object placed atop one’s cards to show continued involvement with a hand.

cap game
Similar to “cap” above, but used to describe a no-limit or pot limit game with a cap on the amount that a player can bet during the course of a hand. Once the cap is reached, all players remaining in the hand are considered all-in. For example, a no limit game could have a betting cap of 30 times the big blind.[1]

center pot

The main pot in a table stakes game where one or more players are all in.


1. To call a bet to see the next card when holding a drawing hand when the pot odds do not merit it.
2. To continue to play a drawing hand over multiple betting rounds, especially one unlikely to succeed. Bob knew I made three nines on fourth street, but he chased that flush draw all the way to the river.
3. To continue playing with a hand that is not likely the best because one has already invested money in the pot. See sunk cost fallacy.


1. To bet nothing.

2. A casino chip.

check out
To fold, in turn, even though there is no bet facing the player. In some games this is considered a breach of etiquette equivalent to folding out of turn. In others it is permitted, but frowned upon.

To check at first, then raise should anyone else bet. This is done as a way to lure other players into betting when you think they may fold if you bet outright.

chip dumping
A form of collusion that happens during tournaments, especially in the early rounds. Two or more players decide to go all-in early. The winner gets a large amount of chips, which increases the player’s chance of cashing. The winnings are then split among the colluders.

chip leader
The player currently holding the most chips in a tournament (or occasionally a live no limit game).


1. To split a pot because of a tie, split-pot game, or player agreement.
2. To play a game for a short time and cash out. Also “hit and run”.
3. A request made by a player to a dealer after taking a large-denomination chip that he wishes the dealer to make change.
4. To chop blinds.
5. An agreement by all players remaining in a tournament to distribute the remaining money in the prize pool according to an agreed-upon formula instead of playing the tournament to completion. Usually occurs at the final table of a large tournament.

cold call

To call an amount that represents a sum of bets or raises by more than one player. Alice opened for $10, Bob raised another $20, and Carol cold called the $30. Compare to “flat call”, “overcall”.

A form of cheating involving cooperation among two or more players.

color change, color up
To exchange small-denomination chips for larger ones.

combo, combination game
A casino table at which multiple forms of poker are played in rotation.

come bet, on the come
A bet or raise made with a drawing hand, building the pot in anticipation of filling the draw. Usually a weak “gambler’s” play, but occasionally correct with a very good draw and large pot or as a semi-bluff.

community card
A card dealt face up on the table that can be used by any player at the table.

Two or more cards of consecutive rank.

continuation bet
A bet made after the flop by the player who took the lead in betting before the flop (Texas hold ’em and Omaha hold ’em). Compare to “probe bet”.


1. The act of counting the cards that remain in the stub after all cards have been dealt, done by a dealer to ensure that a complete deck is being used.

The seat immediately to the right of the dealer button.

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dead blind
A blind that is not “live”, in that the player posting it does not have the option to raise if other players just call. Usually refers to a small blind posted by a player entering, or returning to, a game (in a position other than the big blind) that is posted in addition to a live blind equal to the big blind.

dead hand
A player’s hand that is not entitled to participate in the deal for some reason, such as having been fouled by touching another player’s cards, being found to contain the wrong number of cards, being dealt to a player who did not make the appropriate forced bets, etc.

dead man’s hand
Two pair, Aces and Eights. Wild Bill Hickok was mudered while holding this hand.


1. To distribute cards to players in accordance with the rules of the game being played.
2. A single instance of a game of poker, begun by shuffling the cards and ending with the award of a pot. Also called a “hand” (though both terms are ambiguous).
3. An agreement to split tournament prize money differently from the announced payouts.

deal twice
In a cash game, when two players are involved in a large pot and one is all-in, they might agree to deal the remaining cards twice. If one player wins both times he wins the whole pot, but if both players win one hand they split the pot. Also, “play twice”.


1. The person dealing the cards. Give Alice the cards, she’s dealing.
2. The person who assumes that role for the purposes of betting order in a game, even though someone else might be physically dealing. Also “button”. Compare to “buck”.

dealer’s choice
A version of poker in which the deal passes each game and each dealer can choose, or invent, a new poker game each hand.


1. A 2-spot card. Also called a duck, quack, or swan.
2. Any of various related uses of the number two, such as a $2 limit game, a $2 chip, etc.

A method of evaluating low hands. See Deuce-to-seven low.

To take a previously dealt card out of play. The set of all discards for a deal is called the “muck” or the “deadwood”.

dominated hand
A hand that is extremely unlikely to win against another specific hand, even though it may not be a poor hand in its own right. Most commonly used in Texas hold ’em. A hand like A-Q, for example, is a good hand in general but is dominated by A-K, because whenever the former makes a good hand, the latter is likely to make a better one. A hand like 7-8 is a poor hand in general, but is not dominated by A-K because it makes different kinds of hands. See Domination (poker).

door card
In a stud game, a player’s first face-up card. Patty paired her door card on fifth street and raised, so I put her on trips.
In Texas hold ’em, the door card is the first visible card of the flop.

double-ace flush
Under unconventional rules, a flush with one or more wild cards in which they play as aces, even if an ace is already present.

double-board, double-flop
Any of several community card game variants (usually Texas hold ’em) in which two separate boards of community cards are dealt simultaneously, with the pot split between the winning hands using each board.

Any of several Draw poker games in which the draw phase and subsequent betting round are repeated twice.

double suited
Used to describe an Omaha hold ’em starting hand where two pairs of suited cards are held. May be abbreviated “ds” in written descriptions. AAJT (ds) is widely considered a premium pot-limit Omaha hold ’em starting hand.

A card that is dealt facedown.

drawing dead

Playing a drawing hand that will lose even if successful (a state of affairs usually only discovered after the fact or in a tournament when two or more players are “all in” and they show their cards). I caught the jack to make my straight, but Rob had a full house all along, so I was drawing dead.

drawing live
Not drawing dead; that is, drawing to a hand that will win if successful.

drawing thin
Not drawing completely dead, but chasing a draw in the face of poor odds. Example: a player who will only win by catching 1 or 2 specific cards is said to be drawing thin.


1. To fold.
2. Money charged by the casino for providing its services, often dropped through a slot in the table into a strong box. See “rake”.
3. To drop ones cards to the felt to indicate that one is in or out of a game.

dry ace
In Omaha hold ’em or Texas hold ’em, refers to an ace in one’s hand without another card of the same suit. Used especially to describe the situation where the board presents a flush possibility, when the player does not in fact have a flush, but holding the ace presents some bluffing or semi-bluffing opportunity. Compare to “blocker”.

dry pot
A side pot with no money created when a player goes all in and is called by more than one opponent, but not raised.

To counterfeit, especially when the counterfeiting card matches one already present in the one’s hand.

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One’s mathematical expected value from the current deal, calculated by multiplying the amount of money in the pot by one’s probability of winning. For example, if the pot currently contains $100, and you estimate that you have a one in four chance of winning it, then your equity in the pot is $25. If a split is possible, the equity also includes the probability of winning a split times the size of that split; for example, if the pot has $100, and you have a 1/4 chance of winning and a 1/5 chance of taking a $50 split, your equity is $25 + $10 = $35.

expectation, expected value, EV
See expected value. Often used in poker to mean “profitability in the long run”.

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family pot
A deal in which every (or almost every) seated player called the first opening bet.

fifth street

1. The last card dealt to the board in community card games. Also “river”.
2. The fifth card dealt to each player in stud poker.

final table
The last table in a multi-table poker tournament. The final table is set when a sufficient amount of people have been eliminated from the tournament leaving an exact amount of players to occupy one table (typically no more than ten players).


1. An unskilled player who plays loosely and passively, calling a lot of bets.
2. To risk money on a long-shot bet.
3. The action of calling bets on the flop and the turn to make a hand on the river.

flat call

A call, in a situation where one might be expected to raise. Normally I raise with jacks, but with three limpers ahead of me I decided to flat call. Also “smooth call”. Compare to “cold call”, “overcall”. See slow play (poker).

floorman, floorperson
A casino employee whose duties include adjudicating player disputes, keeping games filled and balanced, and managing dealers and other personnel. Players may shout “floor!” to call for a floorperson to resolve a dispute, to ask for a table or seat change, or to ask for some other casino service.

The first three community cards in games such as Texas Hold’em or Omaha

fold equity

The extra value gained by forcing your opponents to fold, rather than seeing the showdown. See also equity.


Four cards of the same suit. A non-standard poker hand in some games, an incomplete drawing hand in most.

four of a kind
A hand containing four cards of equal rank. Also “quads”. See rank of hands (poker).

Four cards in rank sequence; either an open-ender or one-ender. A non-standard poker hand in some games, an incomplete drawing hand in most. Sometimes “four to a straight”.

fourth street

1. The fourth card dealt to the board in community card games. Also “turn”.
2. The fourth card dealt to each player in stud.

free card
A card dealt to one’s hand (or to the board of community cards) after a betting round in which no player opened. One is thereby being given a chance to improve one’s hand without having to pay anything. I wasn’t sure my hand was good, but I bet so I wouldn’t give a free card to Bill’s flush draw.

The most common form of tournament. There’s no rebuy, play continues until one player has all the chips.

full, full boat, full hand, full house
A hand with three cards of one rank and two of a second rank. Also “boat”, “tight”. See rank of hands (poker).

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gap hand
In Texas hold ’em, a gap hand is a starting hand with at least one rank separating the two cards. Usually referred to in context of one-gap and two-gap hands.

going south
To sneak a portion of your chips from the table while the game is underway. Normally prohibited in public card rooms. Also “ratholing”.

A player who earns a living by making small profits over a long period of consistent, conservative play. Compare to “rock”.

guts, guts to open

1. A game with no opening hand requirement; that is, where the only requirement to open the betting is “guts”, or courage.
2. Any of several poker variants where pots accumulate over several hands until a single player wins. See guts.


half bet rule
In some casinos, the rule that placing chips equal to or greater than half the normal bet amount beyond the amount required to call constitutes a commitment to raise the normal amount. For example, in a game with a $4 fixed limit, a player facing a $4 opening bet who places $6 in the pot is deemed to have raised, and must complete his bet to $8. Compare to “full bet rule”. See Public cardroom rules (poker) and “all in” betting.

handhistory, hand history
The textual representation of a hand (or hands) you played.

head up, heads up
Playing against a single opponent. After Lori folded, Frank and I were heads up for the rest of the hand.

high, high hand
The best hand using traditional poker hand values, as opposed to lowball. Used especially in high-low split games.

high card

1. A no pair hand, ranked according to its highest-ranking cards.
2. To defeat another player by virtue of high-ranking cards, especially kickers.
3. To randomly select a player for some purpose by having each draw one card, the highest of which is selected (for example, to decide who deals first). When all the players get here, we’ll high card for the button. Often high card by suit is used for this purpose.

hole, hole cards

1. Face-down cards. Also “pocket cards”. I think Willy has two more queens in the hole.
2. A seat, often preceded by a number relative to the button. Sara opened from the 2-hole.

hole cam
a camera that displays a player’s face-down cards (“hole cards”) to television viewers. Also “pocket cam”.

home game
A game played at a private venue (usually the home of one of the players), as opposed to a casino or public cardroom.

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inside straight
See inside straight draw. Also “belly buster”, “gutshot”. Compare to outside straight draw.

in the money
To place high enough in a poker tournament to get prize money. Also “ITM”.

in turn
A player, or an action, is said to be in turn if that player is expected to act next under the rules. Jerry said “check” while he was in turn, so he’s not allowed to raise.


Money collected by the house. Also “vig”, “vigorish”.


A pool of money built by collecting small amounts from certain pots, often used to buy refreshments, cards, and so on. The home-game equivalent of a rake.


A tough choice to fold a good hand in anticipation of superior opposition.

The player who makes the last bet or raise in a round of betting is said to have the lead at the start of the next round.

leg-up (also, leg-up button)
The button used to signify who has won the previous hand in a kill game. Winning a pot in a “2 consecutive pots” kill game with the leg-up button in front of you, results in a kill.

The minimum or maximum amount of a bet.

limp, limp in
To enter a pot by simply calling instead of raising.

A reraise from a player that previously limped in the same betting round. I decided to limp-reraise with my pocket eights to isolate the all-in player. Also backraise.

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Internet poker games with stakes so small that real cardrooms couldn’t possibly profit from them, are said to be at the “micro-limit” level (e.g. 25¢-50¢).

A deal which is ruined for some reason and must be redealt.

move in
In a no-limit game, to “move in” or to “go all in” means to bet one’s entire stake on the hand in play. See table stakes.


1. To fold.
2. To discard one’s hand without revealing the cards. Often done after winning without a showdown or at a showdown when a better hand has already been revealed.
3. The discard pile “There were only a couple of cards in the muck”



Cards that are not of the same suit. The ace of clubs and the king of spades are called ace-king offsuit

To bet first.

open ended, open ended straight draw
An outside straight draw. Also “two-way straight draw”.

To call a bet after others have called, esp. big bets. Jim bet, Alice called, then Ted overcalled. Compare to “cold call”, “flat call”, “smooth call”.


1. A community card with a higher rank than a player’s pocket pair.
2. A higher card. Ted held two overcards to Jill’s pair with two cards to come.

In community card games such as Texas hold ’em and Omaha hold ’em, a pocket pair with a higher rank than any community card.

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play the board
In games such as Texas hold ’em, where 5 community cards are dealt, if your best hand is on the board and you go to the showdown you are said to “play the board”.

pocket pair
In community card poker or stud poker, when two of a player’s private cards make a pair. Also “wired pair”.

position bet
A bet that is made more due to the strength of the bettor’s position than the strength of the bettor’s cards.

More often in the context of a no limit game; the situation where you can no longer fold because the size of the pot is so large compared to the size of your stack.

probe bet
A bet after the flop by a player who did not take the lead in betting before the flop (and when the player that did take the lead in betting before the flop declined to act). Compare to “continuation bet”.

proposition player, prop
A player that gets paid an hourly rate to start poker games or to help them stay active. Prop players play with their own money, which distinguishes them from shills, who play with the casino’s money.

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Four of a kind.


rabbit hunt
After a hand is over, a rabbit hunt means to reveal the last card that would have come up in a community card game with a fixed number of cards. Such activity is usually prohibited in casinos. Also “fox hunt”.

1. A collection of 100 chips of the same denomination, usually arranged in 5 stacks in a plastic tray.
2. A plastic tray used for storing a rack of chips.

Three or four cards of different suits, especially said of a flop.

Rebate/repayment to a player of a portion of the rake paid by that player, normally from a non-cardroom, third-party source such as an affiliate. Rakeback is paid in many ways by online poker rooms, affiliates or brick and mortar rooms. Many use direct money payments for online poker play. Brick and Mortar rooms usually use rate cards to track and pay their rakeback.

An amount of chips purchased after the buy-in.

To represent a hand is to play as if you hold it (whether you actually hold it or are bluffing).

Raise after one has been raised. Also coming “over the top”.


1. A very tight player (plays very few hands and only continues with strong hands).
2. A bundle of chips held together with a rubber band, or other token signifying an obligatory live straddle. If the player under the gun has the rock, he must use it to post a live straddle. The winner of the pot collects the rock and is obligated to use it in turn.

A hand made by hitting two consecutive cards on the turn and river. Also “backdoor”. Compare to “bad beat” and “suck out”.


A tournament in which the prize is a free entrance to another (larger) tournament.

scare card
A card dealt face up (either to a player in a game such as stud or to the board in a community card game) that appears to create a strong hand for someone. The Jack of spades on the turn was a scare card because it put both flush and straight possibilities on the board.

second pair
In community card poker games, a pair of cards of the second-top rank on the board. Compare bottom pair, top pair.

When a player bluffs on one round of betting with an inferior or drawing hand that might improve in a later round. See semi-bluff.

Three of a kind, esp. the situation where two of the cards are concealed in the player’s hole cards. Compare to “trips”.

A professional player. See also card shark.

A poker tournament format where the last remaining player of a table goes on to play the remaining players of other tables. Each table plays independently of the others; that is, there is no balancing as players are eliminated. This format is particularly common in European televised poker programs, including Late Night Poker.

short stack
A stack of chips that is relatively small for the stakes being played.

shorthanded (SH)
A poker game that is played with around six players or less, as opposed to a full ring game, which is usually nine or ten players.

side pot
A separate pot created to deal with the situation of one player going “all in”.

sit and go
A “Sit and Go” is a poker tournament which has no starting time that will start as soon as a set number of players, usually 9 or 10, sign up. Also called sit n’ gos and a variety of other similar spellings.

To intentionally go easy on a player (e.g. not betting or raising against him when you usually would).


1. The total chips and currency that a player has in play at a given moment.
2. A collection of 20 poker chips of the same denomination, usually arranged in an orderly column.

The definition of the amount one buys in for and can bet. For example, a “low stakes” game might be a $10 buy-in with a $1 maximum raise.

stop and go
Stop and go or stop ‘n’ go is when a player bets into another player who has previously raised or otherwise shown aggression. Example: On the flop, Bill bets into Tom, Tom raises, and Bill just calls. On the turn, Bill bets into Tom again. Bill has just pulled a stop ‘n’ go play.
Another version of the “stop and go” is in tournament poker when a player raises pre-flop with the intention of going all in after the flop regardless of the cards that fall. This is typically done when the blinds are high and every chip becomes vital.

super satellite
A multi-table poker tournament in which the prize is a free entrance to a satellite tournament or a tournament in which all the top finishers gain entrance to a larger tournament.

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See tilt (poker). Compare to “steam”.

top kicker
In community card poker games, top kicker is the best possible kicker to some given hand. Usually it would be an Ace, but with an Ace on the board it would be a King or lower. Having “top pair, top kicker” is frequently enough to win a Texas hold ’em hand.

top pair
In community card poker games, top pair is a pair of the same rank as the highest ranking card on the board. Compare second pair, bottom pair.


under the gun
The playing position to the direct left of the blinds in Texas hold ’em or Omaha hold ’em. The player who is under the gun must act first on the first round of betting.

An underdog or dog is a player with a smaller chance to win than another specified player. Frequently used when the exact odds are expressed. Harry might have been bluffing, but if he really had the king, my hand was a 4-to-1 dog, so I folded.

up the ante
Increase the stake. Also commonly used outside the context of poker.


value bet
A bet made by a player who wants it to be called (as opposed to a bluff or protection bet). This is typically because he has a superior hand that he expects to win at showdown, or a very good draw for which he can increase his pot equity by more than the amount of his bet. See value (poker).

vig, vigorish
The rake.


wake up
To “wake up with a hand” means to discover a strong starting hand, often when there has already been action in front of the player.

weak ace
An ace with a low kicker (e.g. four). Also “small ace,” “soft ace,” “ace-rag.”


1. A 5-high straight (A-2-3-4-5), with the Ace playing low. See wheel.
2. In deuce-to-seven lowball, the nut low hand (2-3-4-5-7).

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