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Poker is without a doubt one of the most popular and widely played card games ever. It has many variations and is played in casinos, poker clubs, private poker games, or among friends. Part of poker’s character and its allure is its terms and slang. You might want to get familiar with these before you get to the table again.
Ante – A bet placed by every player after being dealt their hands. Also known as blinds in some forms of poker.
All-in – A player bets all their chips at once.
Bet – The amount that a player bets.
Betting Round – The period in which players can make bets before play.
Blind – A forced bet by all players to ensure that there are chips in front of all players.
Big Blind – A forced bet placed by the person to the left of the dealer to start the pot. Usually, double the value of a small blind.
Bluff – Assuming you have a poorer hand, but still calling or raising to make your opponent fold.
Call – To imitate the most recent bet or raise by the minimum amount, without raising it further.
Check – If a round still has no bet, you can elect to check, which is betting an amount of zero. You may call or raise should another player place a bet.
Community Cards – Cards placed face-up on the table for everyone to see.
Dealer – The one in charge of dealing the cards. In the case where a player acts as the dealer, the dealer role moves one player to the left after each round.
Flop – The first 3 community cards. These are placed for all to see during the 1st round.
Fold – A player surrenders their hand and takes no further part in that round.
Heads up – Only two players are left competing, head to head, for the purse.
Kicker – The highest unpaired card in your hand. In the event of two similar hands, the higher valued kicker wins.
Laydown - To fold.
Limit – The largest amount that can be bet or raised in one round.
Made hand – A hand good enough not to require drawing another.
Muck – Throwing a hand.
No-Limit – A game or round in which a player can bet as high as they want.
Pocket – Two cards that you were dealt, and still have in your hand.
Raise – Increasing a bet after you’ve called.
Rake – An amount taken as a commission by the game facilitator. This could be a set fee or a percentage.
Small Blind – A forced bet to start the pot. Usually half the value of a big blind.
Showdown – Showing of cards to determine who has the better round after all bets are placed.
Side Pot – A separate pot created should a player have insufficient chips to make a full bet. Should that player win, they would draw from the side pot, as they didn’t contribute fully to the main pot.
Split Pot – In the event of two or more identical hands, the pot is divided equally between the relevant players.
Tell – An involuntary gesture or action which may show that a player is bluffing.
Tilt – Making emotional decisions during a game, instead of using odds and reason.
Turn – The fourth community card on the table, placed face-up after the second round.
Two pair - A hand containing two pairs.
Backdoor – When a bad is played, but the player obtains good enough cards to create a winning round on the turn.
Bad Beat – A player wins with a weak hand that would not normally be played.
Blank – A community card that has no effect on any of the hands in the round.
Boat – A full house.
Board – All of the community cards.
Bullets – Pair of aces.
Burn – The dealer discards the first card from the deck to negate the advantage of anyone who’s seen what card it is.
Button – A white chip placed in front of the current dealer.
Calling Station – A player who calls and folds repetitively without raising. Usually thought of as a weak player.
Chip Leader – The player with the most chips at any given point.
Crack – A player is dealt a superior hand, but is still beaten.
Dog – Underdog.
Draw – A potentially good hand that needs the right community cards.
Fish – An inexperienced player. Prone to losing.
Juice – The same as the rake. The fee that is taken by the game facilitator.
Junk – A poor hand.
Maniac – An aggressive player. Raising and betting at every opportunity.
Monster – Same as made hand; high probability of winning. Doesn’t need any more cards drawn.
Nuts – The best possible hand at any point in the round.
Offsuit – Cards not of the same suit.
Pocket – The two cards you are holding in your hand that you were originally dealt.
Quads – Four of a kind.
Railbird – A non-participating spectator
Rainbow – A flush isn’t possible due to there being no more than two remaining cards of the same suit.
Rock – A player that only bets when they have a good hand. Generally not the most popular player in the game.
Set – 3 of a kind, comprising two cards from your hand, and one from the board.
Slow Play – A player has a potentially winning hand, but bets conservatively so as not to force other players into folding.
Stack – The pile of chips owned by a player at any given stage.
Suited – Cards of the same suit.
Trips – Three of a kind.
Under the Gun – A player forced to take the first action in a round.
These terms and slang words or phrases are just some of the most widely used. Each variant will likely have its terminology.
Now that you know the basics, it’s time to hit the poker table. Good luck!