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A Guide to Poker Terminology

Here's a list of the most frequently used poker terms and abbreviations.

Advertise: Making a move intended at falsely exposing oneself as a weak or bluffing player.

Ante: A small forced bet sometimes placed by all players before each hand. Common in big tournaments to provoke aggressive play.

Back door: Making a hand other than the one intended, for example drawing for a straight and hitting a runner-runner flush.

Bad beat: A hand that is a huge favourite to win, but loses nonetheless.

B&M: Abbreviation for a real life "Brick and Mortar" Poker Room or Casino.

Bounty: A tournament where additional prize money is rewarded to players who eliminate certain target players with bounties on them.

Bubble: Placing just outside the money in a tournament not winning anything.

Bust: Losing your entire table stack or your entire bank roll.

Calling station: A player who passively calls with a lot of hands and doesn't fold or raise very often.

Cap: To max out the number of allowed raises, usually four, in a fixed limit poker game.

Coffee-housing: Discussing a hand currently being played with the intent of providing misleading information.

Coin Toss: An all-in situation where both players have a close to equal chance of winning.

Connectors: Pocket cards that connect in rank, for example 7-8 or Ace-King.

Counterfeit: Having your made straight duplicated by the board cards and become worthless as all players now share that hand.

Cracked: To have the best hold’em starting hand there is, two aces, beaten.

Crap Shoot: A table where the players are aggressive and the action is wild and crazy.

Crying Call: A call made by a player despite declaring that he is certain he will lose.

Dealer's choice: A game variation where the seated players take turns deciding what game to play. Choices often include Texas Hold'em, Omaha and 7-Card Stud.

Drawing dead: A draw hand that will lose even if it hits its draw.

Draw hand: A hand that needs to improve on the turn or the river in order to win.

Edge: In the long run luck evens out and only skill remains as a deciding factor between players. Edge is the slight advantage one player has over another through more skill, larger stack or better position.

Freeroll: A multi-table tournament that is free to enter but still has a real money prize pool.

Grinder: A player that consistently plays for hours on low limits with the intent of slowly and carefully building a larger bank roll.

Heads up: A game or situation where players face each other one-on-one.

Hi/lo: A game variation where half the pot goes to the player with the best hand and the other half goes to the player showing the worst hand.

Kicker: If a player makes a pair with one of his hole cards, the other is called the kicker. If another players holds the same pair, the highest kicker wins the pot.

Komodo Dragoned: Losing a pot because another player catches a straight or a flush on the river.

Nuts, the: The best possible hand a player can have at any given time.

Outs: The total number of possibilities a player has to win a pot based on the current situation. If he holds 99 and needs another 9 to win, then he would have a total of two outs.

On the Button: Being in the dealer's position and thus acting last.

Over cards: Pocket cards that have a value higher than the highest card currently on the board. An ace and a king are over cards to a 57J flop.

Over the top: Re-raising another player's raise with a substantial amount.

Pot odds: A strategic comparison between the amount of money needed to call a bet, the total amount in the pot and the chance of actually winning the hand.

Position: Where a player is seated in relation to the dealer, establishing that player's place in the betting order.

Rags: Low community cards that ought to have no effect on the outcome of a hand.

Railbird: An active spectator of an ongoing poker game waiting to get a seat or happy just to watch and comment the game. A lot.

Rat-holing: To leave a game and then return shortly thereafter with a lesser stack of chips than you left with. Considered highly unethical and is usually prohibited.

Read: The art of identifying another player's tells and analysing his play in order to determine his pocket cards.

Re-buy: A tournament feature that, for a limited time only, allows players who bust out of a tournament to buy their way back in again.

Runner-Runner: Improving your hand by hitting on both the turn card and the river card and thus winning the pot.

Sandbagging: Playing a very strong hand passively in the hope of inducing more action and provoke costly bluffs.

Satellite: A tournament where players can qualify for much bigger events.

Scoop: To win both the high and the low pot in a hi/lo game.

Shootout: A tournament format where players face each other in parallel ten-player tournaments and the winners of each then face off in another round of ten-player tournaments. Until only one winner remains.

Steam: To lose your temper and start playing badly.

Streak: To be "in the zone" and win with whatever cards you are dealt.

Suited: Starting hand in matching suit – hearts, clubs, spades or diamonds.

Tell: A clue, hint or mannerism that reveals the true strength of a player's hand. In live games often detected through body language. Online, clues are discovered by observing a player's betting patterns.

Tilt: Playing recklessly and badly due to frustration from having lost.

Trap: To play a very strong hand weakly in order to induce costly raises from other players.

Under the Gun: The position to the immediate left of the big blind.

Hand Nicknames

AA - Pocket Rockets, Bullets, American Airlines

KK - Cowboys, King Kong

QQ - Double date, Canadian Aces, Siegfried and Roy, Ladies

JJ - Fish hooks

99 - Wayne Gretzky

88 - Snowmen

77 - Sunset strip

66 - Route 66

55 - Speed limit

44 - Magnum, Sail boat

33 - Crabs

22 - Ducks

AK - Big slick

AQ - Big chick

AJ - Black Jack, Jack-ass, A-jax

KQ - Royalty, Marriage

KJ - Kojak

J5 - Jackson five

Q3 - Gay waiter

95 - Dolly Parton

A8 - Dead man’s hand (Wild Bill Hickok was shot in 1876 after winning with it!)

K9 - Canine

J4 - Flat tyre

93 - The Sik. (A legendary PokerRoom.com hand made famous by the members of the forum)

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