Poker terms



Poker terms

Starting players may be unfamiliar with some poker terms. Therefore we are listing up the most common poker terms for you to broaden your horizon.


A player betting all of his or her chips is going all-in. He or she cannot make anymore bets in the running hand after this action. Other players may continue to bet after this all-in and create a side pot. The all-in player can never win anything from this side pot.


The ante is a mandatory bet just like the small and big blinds. There are many variants of this ante bet. The standard ante is payed by every player at the table and is about one eighth of the big blind. If the blinds are 100 – 200 then the ante will be 25. Nowadays a lot of casino’s and poker rooms work with a button ante or a big blind ante. In these cases only one player is paying the whole ante bet, being the player on the dealer button or the player in the big blind position. He or she is paying an ante the size of the big blind most of the time preventing other players to pay any ante at all. We find these alternative betting systems a much more practical use of the ante because the dealer doesn’t have to pay attention to 9 different playing whether they paid their ante or not. Just one player needs to pay it. Ante is more common in tournament poker and rarely is used during cash game poker.

Back Door

Making a hand using both the turn and the river. For example: you hold 89 and the flop comes: 327. Next a 6 and a 5 are showing on the turn and the river, giving you a back door straight. Back door is also called runner-runner.

Bad Beat

When your good hand gets destroyed by a weaker hand at first, but getting there in the end with a lot of luck involved. For example: you hold a pair of Aces but get beaten by a pair of Sixes because the river is another 6 making trips. Every player is bound to get bad beats from time to time.


The blinds are mandatory bets made by the two players left from the dealer button. They are called  small blind (sb) and big blind (bb).


You are bluffing when you decide to bet with a weaker hand in order to get a stronger hand to fold and win the pot.

Calling Station

A player who often finds it hard to fold a hand – and keeps on calling hands – is called a calling station. This player is bound to loose more than win, but once in a while he or she will manage to win a big pot that he or she should normally have given up. Imagine the frustrations of the opponent.

Check Raise

A check raise happens when you first check a turn, another player makes a bet and when the turn comes back to you, you decide to raise that bet. Check raising comes off as a rather strong play because it’s often used to win more chips by allowing the opponent to bet first.


A nickname for a bad player. Playing bad or making the wrong decisions all of the time gets you called a donkey from time to time.

Drawing Dead

If you have a hand that has no chance of beating your opponent even when you manage to improve it, you are drawing dead. For example: you have a straight draw but your opponent already has a flush. You are drawing dead because even with the straight coming in you cannot win this hand.


A fish is in fact nothing more than a donkey. Playing bad and waiting to get lucky.


The first 3 community cards that come on the board after the first betting round.


If you are trying to make a straight with one specific card. For example: you are holding KJ and on the board lies Q95. So now you only need a T for your straight and this is called a gutshot.


When two players are playing against each other, they are playing heads-up. At the end of a tournament, when only 2 players are remaining, this is also called a heads-up.

Inside Straight Draw

An inside straight draw is the same as a gutshot. You are drawing to a straight with only 1 specific card missing.


When you’re raising to get a lot of players out of the hand and to hopefully continue with one (specific) player. You are isolating a player to play against.


Limping before the flop is just paying the big blind. It’s often said to be a bad strategy, but in some cases it’s also done to hide your rather strong hand.


A very strong hand is called a monster hand.


Folding can sometimes be called mucking as well. The dealer collects all folded cards on a pile which is called the muck.


The best possible hand in combination with the board is called the nuts. If you have the nuts after the river you are 100% sure to win the pot, or at least split it when the nuts is shared.


An out is a card that improves your hand to become the winning hand. For example: if you have a pocket pair, you have 2 outs to make a set (trips).

Pocket Rockets

A pair of aces in your hands are also called pocket rockets. Bullets of American Airlines are commonly used as well.

Pot Odds

When there is a lot of money or chips in the pot, it can be more interesting to call a bet than when less chips are at stake and the same bet is made. For example: when the pot is already € 100 and you have to pay € 10 after the flop to stay in the hand you get better “pot odds” than when there’s only € 10 in the pot and you also have to pay that € 10 bet. You actually get a better price to make the call because there’s more to win for the same price.


Quads is just another name for Four of a Kind.


If the flop is showing 3 cards of a different suit (colour) then it’s often called a rainbow board. The term is mostly used to make clear there’s no flush draw possible. Because if the turn delivers yet another suit, the board is still a rainbow board and there’s no chance for a flush anymore.


A runner-runner or back door hand is a hand made with help of the turn and the river.


Slowplay is when you play a strong hand very slow in order to hide its strenght. The tactic is mainly used to win more chips in the end. For example: the flop comes and you have four of a kind with trips on the board, so it might be interesting to slowplay this hand allowing other players to make a solid hand on the turn or river. This way they still might end up paying your bets.


When a player waits rather long before showing the best hand after all betting rounds have finished, we use the term slowrolling. Slowrolling is often quite frustrating for the other players who might briefly believe they had won the pot.

String Bet

A string bet is a particular way of putting chips on the table when betting that is not allowed. When trying to bet with several chips but not putting them on the table at the same – for example one by one – then this is not allowed. Otherwise one might see a reaction from his or her opponent and start adding chips as a result of this reaction. A correct bet implies you bet your chips all at once in one fluent movement of the hand.


Tilt is a mental status in which frustrated players often end up. A bad beat might be a trigger for this. A tilted player is know for playing very badly the next few hands.


Trips is just another name for three of a kind. You make trips using one of your own cards together with two similar cards on the board. Attention, it’s not the same as a set. A set is three of a kind using your pocket pair and just one card of the board. So in fact more players can make the same trips in a hand, but just one player can hit the set.

Under the Gun

The player under the gun is the first player that needs to make an action. He or she is sitting left of the big blind.

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