Poker Glossary of Terms


Ante: A small part of the bet that is contributed by every player in order to seed the pot at the start of the hand. However, most Hold’em games don’t use an ante but rather use blinds to get the initial amount for the pot.

All-In: When a player runs out of chips while calling or betting. In most table stakes, games players can go into their pocket for more money when playing a hand.

Backdoor: Catching both the river and turn card in order to make a drawing hand.

Bad Beat: This means to have a hand that is considered as an underdog against favored hands. This term usually implies that the winner of the pot has such a bad hand that he has no business being a part of the pot. But due to good luck he was able to catch just one card from the deck that allowed him to win the pot.

Bet: These are the chips that are placed in the pot on the street. Usually, pre-flop, small blinds would be classified as a first bet.

Big Blind: The larger of two blinds and a part of most Hold’em games. Usually, this is a full first round of betting.

Blind: Usually, a forced bet or even a partial bet that are put in by either one or more players prior to the cards being dealt. The blinds are put in by the players who are located to the left of the dealer.

Board: Cards that are dealt face up in the middle of the table.

Bottom Pair: This is a pair that has the lowest card on the flop.

Burn: This means discarding the topmost cards from the deck, usually face down. This can be done between every betting round prior to dealing the next set of community cards. This is often used as assurance against the players who try to glimpse or recognize the following cards that may make it to the board.

Button: Usually, a white disk that indicates the dealer.

Call: This means adding an amount of money which is equal to the recent bet or the recent raise.

Calling Station: This often refers to a week or passive player who often calls but does not fold or raise much. This is the type that the most professionals like to have.

Cap: To add the last raise that is allowed during the betting round. This is usually either the third or the fourth raise.

Check: Choosing not to bet, while holding the option to raise or call later during the betting round.

Check Raise: To first check and then raise when the player behind you places a bet. Usually, people say this is not fair or an ethical tactic. But all casino, both online and offline allow check-raising, and it can be a very smart tactic during low limit hold’em.

Complete Hand: This is a hand that is defined by all the five cards i.e. a flush, straight flush, full house or straight.

Dominated Hand: This is a hand that will always lose to a much better hand that people usually have. For instance, K3 is often considered to be a dominated hand when someone has KQ. This is with exceptions of rare and strange flops like 3-3-X, K-3-X.

Draw: To play a hand that is not good yet but has a chance of improving with the right cards.

Equity: Your share of the pot. So, if a pot has $80, and you have around a 50% chance of winning, then you have a $40 equity in that pot. This is a rather a fanciful term because it gives the players an idea of how much they can expect to win.

Extra Blind: This is a blind added by the player who enters into the game, returning to it or if he is changing his position at the current table.

Family Pot: This is a pot where all players call prior to the flop.

Flop: The initial three community cards that are placed face up on the table together.

Fold: This means to forfeit any chance of your winning the present pot. In other words, you law down your cards instead of raising or betting.

Free Roll: This is when two players have the same hand, but only one player can get the pot. The freeroll determines which of the two players gets the pot.

Hole Cards: These are cards that are dealt face down to the players.

Kicker: This is an unpaired card that is used to determine which of the two near equal hands is better.

Live Blind: This is a forced bet that is put in by either one or multiple players prior to the cards being dealt. The “live” usually means that those players also have the option to raise when the actual action gets started.

Pot Odds: The overall amount of money that is in the pot as compared to the amount that you need to put in to proceed with playing. For instance, if the pot was for $60, and someone has bet $6, the pot will be $66, so it costs $6 to call, so the pot odds for you are 11:1. Then, if you have a 1 out of 12 chance of getting the best hand, then you should call.

Raise: To increase the bet

Rake: An amount, taken out of every pot by the dealer.

River: Refers to the fifth and the final community card that is dealt face up. This is also called fifth street.

Short Stack: Having a comparatively lower number of chips as compared to other players who are at the table. So, if you have $10 and everyone has $100, then you are playing with a short stack.

Small Blind: This is the smaller of the often used two blinds during a hold’em game. The small blind is usually two-thirds or one-third lesser than the first round bet.

Spread-limit: This is a betting structure whereby a player is allowed to bet any amount within a particular range during every round. A typical limit structure is between $2-$6, where the lowest is a $2 bet, the highest being $6.

Tilt: This means playing recklessly or wildly. So, a player is said to be on a tilt if he is not playing at his best, often playing multiple hands or trying out wild bluffs.

Under the Gun: This is the position of the player who needs to act first during a betting round. For instance, if you are the one seated to the left of the big blind, you are now under the gun prior to the flop.

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