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Poker Terms Glossary

Aces Full - A full house with three aces, and any other pair. This is the highest ranking full house.

All-in – When a play puts all of his remaining bankroll into a pot. In World Poker Tour style no limit Texas Hold’em tournaments, a player that goes all risks being eliminated if he/she loses.

Bad Beat – When one of the premier hands gets beat (i.e. a four of a kind gets beat by a straight flush). Sometimes players also use the term “Bad beat” when they get beat by a lucky draw.

Bankroll – The amount of chips that you have. This is a relative term, and can represent your bankroll for a particular game, for the day, or for any defined time period.

Big Blind - In Texas Hold em tournaments (like the World Series of Poker or the World Poker Tour), the Big Blind is the larger of two forced bets that kick off the first round of betting in each hand. The Large Blind is required from the player sitting two spots to the left of the dealer, or dealer button. The blinds are set and usually increase over time during a tournament. The Large Blind is typically twice the size of the Small Blind.

Big Slick - In Texas Hold em, having an ace and a king as your hole cards is called Big Slick. It's a very strong starting hand.

Bottom Pair – In Texas Hold’em, a pair that uses the lowest card on the flop. This is obviously not as good as a pair with the other two flop cards.

Bullets - Pair of aces as your hole cards in Texas Hold em. This is a very strong hand to start from.

Button – The position on the table that represents the dealer. In casinos, as there is a house dealer, the button is indicated by a white disk that rotates one to the left after each hand. In Texas Hold’em, the player on the button is the last to bet in all betting rounds except the first (due to the small and big blinds betting first to the left of the button).

Buy-in – The amount of money you must cash into chips to join a game.

Check-raise – To check the first time the bet comes to you, and then raise the next time it comes to you, all within a single betting round. This tactic is often used to lure other players into committing more funds to a pot.

Connectors – Any two cards in succession (i.e. a ten and a jack). A related term called “Suited connectors” refers to any two cards in succession that are also the same suit.

Cowboys - Pair of kings as your hole cards in Texas Hold em. A very strong hand.

Dominated Hand – In Texas Hold’em, this is a hand that looks good on the face to an uneducated player, but is known to typically lose to another hand that has a high likelihood of being played (i.e. a King and a 4 will often lose to another King with a higher kicker, or a stronger hand altogether).

Double Up - Going all in on a hand during a no-limit game and winning, which essentially doubles your bankroll. Even with a short stack, a player who doubles up 2 or 3 times in a row can get right back into contention in most poker tournaments.

Drawing Dead – A player that is in a pot hoping to make their hand with a draw, but doesn’t realize that he/she can’t win even with the draw.

Early Position – Relative to the button, an early position on the table is the first few places immediately to the left. Players in an “Early position” are at a disadvantage because they have to bet before the rest of the table on each betting round.

Flop – In Texas Hold’em, the flop is the first three community cards flopped over, which all come as the same time between the first and second betting round.

Free Roll - A Free Roll poker tournament is one where entry is free, or comp’d by the house.

High Roller - A gambler who plays for large stakes. Being a High Roller is often times relative. Extreme High Rollers are also referred to as "Whales".

Hit – Drawing a card or cards that help your hand. In Texas Hold’em, you are looking to get “Hit” by the flop so your hand improves. If you don’t get hit, it may be time to get out.

Hole Card(s) – In Texas Hold’em, the two cards that each player gets dealt are called the “Hole cards”. In Blackjack, the hole card is the face down card of the dealer.

Late Position – Relative to the button, a late position on the table is the first few places immediately to the right. Players in a “Late position” are at an advantage because they get to bet after seeing how the rest of the table bets on each betting round.

Limp In – To call a bet before the flop with the intent of either seeing the flop cheaply, or hoping to check-raise a player that bets farther around the table.

No Limit – A poker game where a player may bet all of the chips he/she has on the table on any given turn. The Texas Hold’em version of this is the game seen on the World Poker Tour and at the World Series of Poker.

Kicker - The highest card in a poker (Texas Hold'em or any poker game) hand that isn't being used to create create a pair, three, or four of a kind. Often times, the kicker serves as a tie-breaker with equally ranked poker hands. For example, a pair of jacks with an ace kicker beats a pair of jacks with a king kicker.

Monster - Not the for sure winner, which is called "The Nuts", but a huge hand that has a really good chance of winning.

Muck - The Muck is the discard pile. Additionally, you Muck your cards when you throw them in, or fold.

Nuts - In Texas Hold em, you've got The Nuts if you've got a hand that can't be beat no matter what community cards come up next. The nuts is also often used to refer to the best possible straight and/or flush hand (i.e. the “Nuts Flush” is the best possible flush, but may be beaten by a full-house)

Outs –All the cards that can come on the draw to make a player’s existing hand a winning hand (i.e if 5 cards can make your hand, then you have 5 “Outs”).

Over the top – When you re-raise another player’s raise, you are said to be “Going over the top of him”. In no limit games, if you throw all of your bankroll in after another player raises, you are going “All-in over the top”.

Pot Odds – The amount of money in the pot compared to what you must put in to continue playing. If there’s $100 already in a pot, and you have to call a $5 bet to stay in the pot, then you’re getting 20:1 pot odds.

Quads - Four of a kind. The 3rd strongest hand in poker. It can only be beaten by a straight flush and a royal flush.

River - In Texas Hold em, the fifth and final community card flipped over in the center of the table is called The River. As many "gamblers", often times foolish players, love the thrill of drawing into a hand on the last card, the popular wisdom is, "Live by the River, die by the River." Also referred to as “Fifth Street”.

Short Stack - The player with the fewest chips at the table is considered to be sitting on the short stack. In no-limit Texas Hold em games like the World Series of Poker, the short stack player is at a considerable disadvantage as he/she often has to go all in with every good hand to avoid getting his/her bankroll slowly eaten by the blinds.

Small Blind - In Texas Hold em tournaments (like the World Series of Poker or the World Poker Tour), the Small Blind is the smaller of two forced bets that kick off the first round of betting in each hand. The Small Blind is required from the player sitting immediately to the left of the dealer, or dealer button. The blinds are set and usually increase over time during a tournament.

Structured Betting – A poker game where there are fixed amounts for bets and raises. In Texas Hold’em, it’s common to hear games referred to by the structured betting amounts of the first two and last two betting rounds (i.e. a 2-4 game, or a 4-8 game). The vast majority of casino poker games have structure betting.

Table Stakes – A popular rule that states you can’t add money to the bankroll you have on the table during a hand. As a corollary, you can’t be forced to fold by someone with a larger bankroll than you, and instead a side pot is created for bets exceeding your contribution. This is a universal rule in casino poker.

Top Pair - In Texas Hold’em, a pair that uses the highest card on the flop.

Turn – In Texas Hold’em, the fourth community card flipped over. Also referred to as “Fourth Street”.


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