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Poker Terms

Welcome to our UK Poker terms guide


Ace-High A hand having an ace but no pair
Aces-Up Two-pair, the highest being aces
Action The act of putting chips in the pot, gambling of any sort
Action Player A player who gives a lot of action, also called a “loose player”
Active Player Any player still in the hand, competing for the pot
Act Out of Turn A player attempting to bet or raise prior to his turn to act
Advertise To bluff and the show the hand to other player in the hope that they will call sometime later when you have a legitimate hand
All-in All your money or chips in the pot
Ante An agreed nominal bet required from each player before the start of a hand


Babies Small cards – a 2, 3, 4 or 5
Back Door To back door a flush or straight is when the last two cards make a player’s hand, even though this was not the original hand the player was drawing to
Bad Beat When a strong hand is outdrawn by a weaker hand, considered to be held by a player who got lucky
Bankroll A player’s total stake money
Best Hand The one that takes the pot
Bet To intentionally put chips into the pot
Bet Blind To wager without looking at one’s hole card
Bet Half the Pot To bet half the amount of the pot. Half the pot is maximum allowable bet in some UK home games
Bet in the Dark To bet before seeing the next or any cards
Bet Into To make a bet looking at what seems to be a superior hand
Bet the Pot To bet the amount of the pot. Pot limit is the usual allowable bet in UK casino games
Big Blind The small forced bet made by the player in second left position to the dealer button. It is made before any cards are dealt and is a live bet. Thus the player on the big blind can raise when the action gets back to him.
Big Slick Ace King as the first two cards
Blank A card that does not look like it has improved anyone’s hand
Blind A forced bet made by the two players to the dealer’s left [or to the left of the dealer button]. It is made before any cards are dealt and is a live bet
Bluff To bet or raise with a poor hand in the hope that other players will pass and you will win the pot
Board All five cards, in community card games, turned face up in the centre of the table
Board Card A card facing the other way to the remaining cards in the deck.
Bullet Another name for the ace
Burn To take a card from the top of the deck before dealing out the cards. It is an attempt to prevent cheating. This card is removed from the deck
Buy the Button A bet or raise which makes players behind you fold, making you the last to act in succeeding betting rounds
Buy the Pot To bluff (usually a big bet at a small pot)

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Call To match the previous bet
Calling Station A perjorative term for a player who perpetually calls and cannot be bluffed
Cards Speak When the cards are laid face up on the table the correct reading of the hand will win the pot. That is, the highest hand will win the pot irrespective of what the player declares the hand to be. For instance a player may not see that he has hit a flush and may declare something else, but it is the flush which will count
Case Card The last card of a particular rank when the other three are already out
Cash in Take your chips and leave the game
Check To refrain from betting. This is often indicated by a player tapping the table. The player may still call or raise if another player bets
Check Raise To check and, if another player bets, to raise when the action gets back to you
Chemmy Shuffle Scrambling the cards face down on the table
Cinch Hand A hand that will win easily
Clinic A poker game where there are a lot of post-mortems about the hands that are played
Closed Poker Games such as draw poker where there are no community cards and all the cards are dealt face down
Coffee Housing Talking in an attempt to mislead other players about the strength of a hand. For example a player holding A-A as their first two cards might say “lets gamble here”, implying a much weaker holding. Coffee housing is considered bad etiquette in the UK, but not in the USA. This is also called speech play.
Cold Call To call a raised pot without having any prior investment in the pot
Cold Deck A deck that has been rigged by cheats. It will be cooler in temperature than the deck used in previous hands, as it has been concealed in the cheat’s pocket and brought out when the ‘mark’ is to be cheated. The deal will be fixed to give the mark a good hand, but the cheat will get a slightly better winning hand.
Collusion Any act, including betting or raising, by two or more players in partnership in an attempt to cheat other players
Colt 45 Reputedly the only thing that beats a royal flush
Community Card The cards dealt face up in the centre of the table that are shared by all active players
Connectors Consecutive cards which could help make a straight e.g. 6-7 or 10-J
Counterfeit When a card on the board duplicates one in your hand. For instance, you hold 10-J and the board is K-Q-3, but if a J comes on fourth street it counterfeits the one in your hand, making your hand worse as a result. Counterfeiting is common in high-low games
Cripple the Deck To have all of the cards that make up a good hand with a particular board. If you hold A-K , and the flop is A-A-K, you will have the deck crippled in that no-one else can have a playable hand. If you bet you will not be called.


Dead Card A card no longer in play
Dead Hand A hand no longer in play, perhaps due to some deviation from the rules.
Dead Man’s Hand Two black aces and two black 8s have become known as the dead man’s hand because Wild Bill Hickock is reputed to have held the hand when he was shot in the back during a saloon poker hand in Deadwood, South Dakota
Deal To distribute the cards to each player
Dealer The player who is distributing the cards
Dealer’s Advantage The dealer is last to act which is a big advantage
Dealer’s Choice A game in which each dealer, in turn, chooses the type of poker to be played
Deck The standard pack of 52 playing cards
Deuce The 2 of any suit (also called a “duck”)
Dog Americanism for the worst of underdog hand. Big dog is used for a big disadvantage and little dog for a small disadvantage
Dog It To play a hand which is good, slowly, in order not to chase the other players away. Similar to ‘slow play’
Door Card The first card dealt face up in five- or seven-card stud
Double Belly Buster A hand with two inside straight draws. An example might be a flop containing 10-8-6, when you have 7-4-a9 or a 5 will make the hand into a straight. The odds for getting the straight from a double belly buster are the same as for an open-ended straight draw
Down and Dirty Theis expression is used while the final card at seven-card stud poker is being dealt. Its meaning is obscure
Down Cards The concealed cards. In Hold ‘Em, the first two cards that are dealt to each player face down. Also called the ‘hole cards’
Down the River All the way to the last card at seven stud, another word for seven-card stud
Drawing Dead Drawing to a hand that cannot possibly win. An example is drawing to a 4-flush when a full house is already out
Drawing Hand A potentially strong hand requiring a particular card/s from the draw to make it
Draw Poker A form of poker in which each player receives five cards and after the first round of betting has the option of discarding one or more of them and receiving new cards in their place
Driving Seat A player holding the best hand and making the betting
Drowning Losing heavily
Duck The two of any suit (also called a Deuce)


Expectation The average amount you make in a specific event or period. Thus, if you have won £7500 in the last 34 tournaments, your expectation is £7500/34 which is £220. Conversly, if you have lost £1500 in the last 34 tournaments, your expectation per tournament is £1500/34 or -£44


False Cut A cut which is not properly done
Family Pot A pot in which all or most of the players at the table are still involved at a particular point in the progress of a hand
Fast Game A game with a good pace of action and frequent heavy raises
Fast Player A heavy bettor, a frequent raiser
Feeler Bet A minimum bet made to test the strength of the other player’s hands
Fifth Street The fifth and final community card on the board. In stud poker, it is the fifth card dealt to each player
Fill Up To draw cards and make your hand
First Position The player on the immediate left of the dealer. In Hold ‘Em this player is first to act throughout the game
Fish This is a derogatory term used (mainly in the US) to describe a weak or losing player
Flop The first three community cards, which are turned face up together before the start of the second round of betting
Flush Five cards of the same suit
Flush Draw Having four cards of the same suit and hoping to draw a fifth to make a flush
Fold To lay down one’s hand
Fold out of Turn To fold prematurely
Fourth Street The forth and final community card on the board. In stud poker, it is the fourth card dealt to each player
Free Card When all players check, the next card is seen without any money entering the pot. This card is a free card
Free Roll In Hold ‘Em or other flop games where two players have the same hand, but one also has the chance of improving to a better hand. For instance, both players may have A-K-Q-J-10, except one player has a flush draw and the other does not
Freeze Out A game or tournament in which all players start with the same amount and play until one player has won all the chips
Friend A card that assists or improves the hand
Friendly Game No such game
Full House Any three cards of the same rank, plus any pair of a different rank
Full Table At Hold ‘Em, a table of 11 or 12 players


Gambler A player that bucks the odds
Gap The missing inside card that would make a straight
Gut Shock A card that will make a straight. An inside straight draw

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Hand A player’s best five cards
Head to Head Two players head’s up in a game of poker
Heads-Up A game between just two players, often the two remaining players in a tournament
High Roller A heavy bettor. One who playes for high stakes
Hold ‘Em A form of poker in which players use five community cards in combination with their two hole cards to form the best five card hand. Also called Texas Hold ‘Em
Hot seat The seat that has or has had a run of winning hands


Ignorant End The low end of a straight. For instance, if the flop in Hold ‘Em is 9-8-7 the ignorant end straight would be the 6-5
Inside Straight Four cards requiring one in the middle to fill a straight
Insurance A side bet (usually when a large pot is involved) made between two players, but can also involve others
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Kibitzer A spectator, usually unappreciated by the players
Kicker The second highest card in a hand. If the holding is A-9, then the kicker is the 9
Kicker Trouble When the second card is low, say a 7 or below, the player will have difficulty winning the pot if another player also holds the highest card because his kicker is liable to be bigger


Lay Down To fold one’s hand. Often refers to folding a reasonably good hand
Live Blind When the player is allowed to raise even if no-one else raises first
Live Card A card which has not yet been exposed
Lock The winning hand; a hand which is unbeatable
Locked Up To hold a winning or unbeatable hand and have the pot as good as won. This phrase is also used to describe a player who has won a lot of chips and is very unlikely to lose them again. The player is said to have the chips locked up


Main Pot When a player puts all of his chips in the pot (goes all-in), that player is only eligible to win the pot consisting of the bets he was able to match. This is called the main pot. Additional bets are placed in a ‘side pot’ and are contested among the remaining players. The names main and side pots remain irrespective of which contains the most chips
Maniac An American expression meaning a very aggressive player who plays lots of hands and raises often. This type of player seems to bet and raise with very weak hands.
Mechanic A card cheat
Miscall An error made when announcing ones hand (See also Cards Speak)
Monkey £500
Move-in To move all your chips into the pot in a no-limit game
Muck To discard or throw away a hand. Also refers to all dead cards in the discard heap


No-Limit Poker A game in which players can bet up to the amount they have in front of them on any given betting round, irrespective of the amount of chips in the pot. Also called ‘table stakes’
Nut flush The best available flush
Nuts The best available hand and any point in the game; a cinch hand


Offsuit Term used to describe the first two cards if they are of different suits
Omaha A flop game similar to Hold ‘Em but where each player is dealt four cards instead of two. In Omaha, a hand must be made using exactly two pocket cards, plus three from the table
One Way Action When only one player is against you
On Tilt Becoming emotionally upset and hence playing poorly
Open-ended Straight Draw Four consecutive cards requiring one at either end to make a straight
Open Poker Games where some of the cards are dealt face up
Out A card remaining in the deck that improves your hand
Outdrawn To beat an opponent by drawing a card or cards to improve a lesser hand into a winner
Out of Turn Not in proper sequence
Overpair A pair higher than any card on the board. If a player holds K-K and the flop comes Q-10-3, that player has an overpair
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Pair Two cards of the same rank
Pass Fold
Pat Hand A hand which is complete, usually refers to games such as draw poker
Play Over An American term and concept meaning to temporarily play in the seat of an absent player. A transparent box is placed over the chips of the absent player
Pony £25
Position Your seat in relation to the dealer, and this your place in the betting order
Pot The money or chips in the centre of the table
Pot Limit A game in which the maximum bet is the total in the pot at the time of betting. The limit used in mose UK casino games
Pot Odds The amount of money in the pot divided by the amount of money it will cost you to continue in the hand. If there is £300 in the pot and it costs you £120 to call the bet you are getting pot odds of 300/120 or 5/2
Protect your hand (2) To place a chip or chips on you cards to prevent them being accidentaly discarded by the dealer
Protect your hand (1) A bet to protect the money you have already put in a pot. Also called defending your hand. E.g. protecting/defending the Big Blind means to put an extra small bet into the pot no matter how bad your hand is
Put a Player On To guess or otherwise determine an opponent’s hand and play accordingly


Quads Four of a kind


Rag A card which is small, and appears to help no one
Rag-Off To get a final card that doesn’t help you
Ragged Flop Flop cards that are seamingly of no use to any player’s hand
Rags Worthless cards. Blanks
Rail The sideline around a poker table or playing area
Railbird A non-playing spectator or kibitzer. The term is often used perjoratively to describe an ex-player who has lost and is now out of the game
Rainbow Flop A flop with three different suits
Raise To call and increase the previous bet
Rake In the USA and in some European countries, the casino/house makes a charge by taking a fixed percentage from each pot. In the UK charges are made by the hour for the seat
Random Card A card selected from a group of unknown cards not yet in play which have an equal chance of being chosen
Random Card Concept The substitution of a random card for a player’s card which he may be unable to receive for any reason. Leaves the player with the same mathematical probablilty of winning before the irregularity occurred. It is therefore assumed that the player has been materially injured
Rank The value of a card. Each card has a suit and a rank
Rat Hole To pocket part of one’s table stakes secretly. It is considered unethical to take money off the playing surface
Read To try and determine, using logical deduction, your opponent’s card or betting strategy
Re-Buy An additional entry fee in tournament play. When a player loses all his chips a re-buy is allowed in some types of competition for a fixed period of time, ususally 1 1/2 to 2 hours
Represent To bet in a way that suggests that you are holding a strong hand. For example, if the flop comes A-J-9 and you hold 9-9 and have bet before the flop, you might also bet on the flop hoping that the other players will think that you have an ace (you are representing an Ace)
Re-Raise To raise a raise
Ring Game A game with nine to eleven players, the optimum size for Hold ‘Em poker
River The last community card on the board, also called fifth street
Rock A very conservative or tight player
Rock Garden A table populated with rocks
Roll A winning streak
Rolled up A term indicating the first three cards at seven stud all of the same rank
Rounder A poker player, usually professional, who does the rounds of poker games in the area or country.
Round of Betting The period during which each active player has the right to check, bet or raise. It ends when the last bet or raise has been called by all players still in the hand
Royal Flush The best possible poker hand consisting of 10-J-Q-K-A, all of the same suit
Run A straight, sometimes also refers to a series of hands
Running Pair Two cards of the same rank that fall consecutively, usually on fourth or fifth street in Hold ‘Em or Omaha
Rush A winning streak
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Satellite A small-stakes tournament where the winner(s) gain entry into a bigger tournament (A super satellite is where the is a very small entry and the winner(s) gains entry into a very big tournament)
Scare card A card which could make your hand a loser. For example, if you held a Q-Q and the flop is A-6-3, then then ace is a scare card for you
See To call
Sell your Hand Make a small bet with a strong hand, hoping to get a call. Usually when you think that a bigger bet will make your opponent pass
Semi-Bluff To bet with a hand which isn’t the best hand, but which has a reasonable change of improving. This term was first coined by David Sklansky
Set Usually refers to three of as kind or trips where the pair in a player’s hand matches a card on the board. Can also be used in the context of four of a kind. I.e. a set of quads
Shill An American term and concept where a casino employee sits in on a game to keep it going. This is not allowed in the UK and is not known in Europe
Shiner A mirror or other reflective object used by cheats in an attempt to see hidden cards as they are dealt. In home or self-dealt games, the player may wear a ring with a reflective surface
Showdown The process of dermining who has the best hand after all the cards are dealt and all bets are completed
Shuffle Mixing of the cards before and between deals
Side Pot A separate pot contested by other players when player is all-in
Slow Play To bet less than the strength of the hand would normally deserve in order to get more players into the pot and to deceive other players about the strength of your hand
Snake Eyes A pair of Aces
Soft Play Agreement This is where a player bets less than they normally would or checks good hands when against friends, husbands and wives. It is not prohibited, but it is unethical
Speech Play See Coffee housing
Speeding Around Playing loose for one period and then tight for another with no definable pattern
Splash the Pot Throw yor chips into the pot instead of placing them in front of you. This makes it difficult for the dealer to determine the amount of the bet
Split A tie
Split Pot A pot in which two are more hands are equal, and the pot is shared
Stack The pile of chips in front of a player
Standard Deck A deck of cards having four suits with thirteen cards of each suit
Stay Call a bet
Steal A type of bluff usually made in late position
Steaming Playing badly as as result of an upset – see also On-Tilt
Straddle An additional blind, the largest in the game. Often refers to a blind made voluntarily
Straight Five consecutive cards of different suits
Straight Flush Five consecutive cards of the same suit
String Bet An illegal bet in which a player puts some chips in the pot, then reaches beck to his stack for more, without having first stated the full amount of his bet
Strip Deck Poker This is where certain cards are removed from the pack, and the play takes place without them. For instance, the 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s and 6s can be removed from the deck, making a 32-card deck. In the UK, five card stud with a 32-card deck was widely played until recently
Suited Cards of the same suit
Super Satellite A very small-stakes tournament wher the winners gains entry to a very big tournament
Sweeten the Pot An archaic expression meaning to raise the pot (with a view to making it more attractive to win)


Table Stakes A game of poker in which a player may use only the money on the table in front of them. The amount can be added to between, but not during, hands. Usually, players are not permitted to take money back off the table unless then are leaving the game
Tap City To be broke
Tap Out To bet all one’s chips
Tapped Out To be broke
Tell A player’s nervous mannerism or habitual behaviour which might give clues to his hand
Texas Hold ‘Em A form of poker in which players use five community cards in combination with their two hole cards to form the best five card hand. Also called Hold ‘Em
Third Pair Pairing the third highest card on the flop/board. (Sometimes referred to as ‘third button pair’)
Three of a Kind Three cards of the same rank, also called ‘trips’
Tight A conservative player who only plays strong hands, or playing on fewer hands than is the norm
Tight Game A game where there is a lot of conservative play, with small numbers of players in most pots
Tilt Going ‘on Tilt’ means to lose control of one’s emotions and play (uncharateristically) badly.
Toke An Americanism meaning a gratuity or tip
Ton £100
Trey A three of any suit
Triplets Three of a kind
Trips Slang for triplets, three of a kind
Turn Card The fourth communal card at Hold ‘Em


Under the Gun The first player to act
Under-Raise To raise less then the previous bet, which in only allowed if the player is going all in


Value Bet Betting with the hope that an opponent will call with a worse hand
Vigarish A charge made by a poker club for the facilities offered


Wire To inadvertantly let someone know the value of your hand
Wired Pair A pair in the first two cards of any poker game

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