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What do these terms mean?

Advertising – to make an obvious gesture so as to try to influence other players about your style of play. This can also be as a poker strategy, used as a bluff to misguide other poker players.

Ante – a stake that all players on the table have to put in at the start of some versions of Texas Holdem in order to see your cards. It comes before the blinds.

All in – when a player puts all their chips into the pot to try to win a hand

Backdoor – When you get the cards you need to make a good hand on the turn and the river. For example, you have a 7 in your held cards, the flop gives you an 8 and a 9. The turn card then gives you a 10, and the river a Jack. This is a backdoor straight.

Back into – when you win a hand where you only had to stay in it by checking, and so not commit more chips. If you had been forced to bet at any stage you would have folded.

Bad beat – if in the early stages of a hand you have a very good statistical chance of winning because you have strong cards, but then you go on to lose the hand after the flop, turn or river.

Bank – the person responsible for keep an eye on the financial aspects of play – handing out chips at the start of the game, enforcing the buy-ins, and distributing prize money. Different to the dealer.

Bankroll – when you give someone else the funds to play in a poker game, rather than use that money yourself to play.

Bet – the handing over of a stake, or number of chips, during a poker hand. Can happen several times during a hand.

Big blind – the larger of two compulsory bets made at the start, or near the start of a game of Texas Holdem Poker. The Big Blind, which is also the name of the person making that bet, sits two to the left of the dealer’s position.

Blank – a card that seems to give you no way of getting a good poker hand, a seemingly useless card.

Blinds – the small and the big blind are two compulsory bets made at the start of, or near the start of (depending if there is an ante or not) a hand of Texas Holdem Poker

Blind steal – to bet aggressively at the start of a hand of poker, to try to win the ante and blinds money bet at the start of a hand. It often happens when other people have folded before you, you are in a late position around the table, and hope to force those after you to fold too because of your confident actions. You don’t win much money, but it’s an easy quick take.

Bottom pair – when the lowest value card on the table post-flop forms a pair with a card in your hand.

Box – the name of the tray that holds the chips in front of the dealer. It’s also the name of the position where the dealer sits, i.e. “Fred is in the box”

Bubble – in a poker tournament, this is the place you don’t want to be. It’s the highest position in the final tournament standings without a share of the prize money. So if the top 30 players get some cash, you are the bubble if you come in 31st.

Bully – if you have a lot of chips (a large stack) and you raise the stakes frequently in a poker game to try to force out more cautious players or those who have smaller stacks

Burn (burn card) – a card is often discarded (i.e. not dealt to players at the table) at the start of each hand. This is to prevent players recognising a card that has a distinguishing feature, like a mark or a score on the outside, and knowing that that card has gone to a particular other player.

Busted – to lose all your chips and be forced to leave a poker game

Button – a plastic chip that indicates the position of the dealer on the poker table. It moves one to the left each time. You are the dealer if you are “on the button”. It is considered a good place to be as you are the last to play each round, and can see other players’ bets before making your own.

Buy In – the amount of money, and therefore chips, needed to participate in a game of Texas Holdem Poker.

Call – If you have to bet say 10 chips to stay in the game, if you bet 10 chips and no more, you are calling – betting the minimum around to stay in the game. Bet 15, 20 or more you would be raising.

Calling station – a player who likes calling, and not raising. These are generally not aggressive players in a poker game.

Cap – when a limit is placed on the amount of times the stakes can be raised in a hand of poker

Cash game – where players are playing for actual monetary amounts, rather than just to win a poker tournament (where the prize money is then shared out among players via certain formulae)

Cashing out – when you take the chips you have won in a poker game and exchange them for real money (assuming you still have some chips left!)

Check – If no one has bet yet in a round of betting in Texas Holdem, you can check. This means you are passing on the option of making a bet, but aren’t forced out of the hand because no one has bet before you in the round either. For example, after the flop, the person to the left of the dealer isn’t confident in the value of their hand (or may have a good one and might like to underplay its value as a poker strategy). They might check, and put down no chips. If everyone on the table checks, then the turn card is dealt. However, if someone on the poker table then bets, every other person will have to call (match that amount) or raise if they want to stay in that hand.

Check-raise – when a person checks, but then raises, instead of just calling, when they are forced to bet when the play comes back to them later.

Chip – generally plastic, a small disc that represents a certain amount of money in a poker game. Chips of different colours can represent different amounts. Chip leader – the person with the most chips in financial value at a given point during a poker game.

Connectors – two pocket cards, so dealt to you at the start of the hand, that are of consecutive numbers. So a 4 and a 5, or a 10 and a Jack. Suited connectors mean they are in the same suit, e.g. hearts.

Community cards – the opposite of Pocket, or Hole cards, these are the 5 cards that are dealt in the middle of the poker table that all players can use to make a hand. They are made up of the 3 Flop cards, the 4th Turn card, and the 5th River card.

Cut off – the position to the right of the dealer.

Dealer – the person who distributes the cards during a hand. In home games rather than casino games, where you don’t have a professional dealer to hand, players do it themselves, and the position moves one to the left after each hand, so that no player gets the advantage of being dealer for the whole time. Being dealer is considered an advantage as you play last at the table during the hand, so have more information than the other players.

Deuce – poker slang for two. Deuce of diamonds = two of diamonds. A pair of deuces = a pair of twos.

Donkey – a poker player who isn’t thought to be much good

Draw – you are drawing if you are staying in a hand in the hope of improving it. You might have three hearts on the flop (two in your hand, one on the table), and are hoping the turn and the river give you a flush.

Draw out – when your attempt to draw a hand (see above) is successful.

Drawing dead – when your attempt to wait for a card to improve your hand isn’t worth the while, because someone else at the table has a hand that will beat it no matter what cards you pull.

Flop – the first three community cards dealt on the table.

Flush – five cards in the same suit.

Fold – to throw your cards on the table and relinquish any interest in the hand. Any bets you have put in are lost.

Four of a Kind – when you have 4 cards of the same number in your hand. 4 aces can only be beaten by a Straight Flush in a game of Texas Holdem.

Full House – where you have a pair and three of a kind in your hand.

Gutshot – a straight which is completed by a card in the middle of a sequence of numbers. E.g. you are dealt a 7 and an 8 as your hole cards. You then flop a 10 and a Jack. On the river you get lucky and get a 9. That is a gutshot straight. The other kind is an open-ended straight (see below).

Hand – there are two meanings: 1. The best 5 card combination of the 2 cards you got dealt at the start and the 5 cards that are subsequently dealt on the table. 2. A round of poker game, that starts with two or more players, who bet, play and which then produces a winner. A number of hands of poker make up one game. The winner of the hand collects the pot.

Heads up – where you are playing just one other opponent, either for the whole game, or at the end of a hand where there is just you and one other remaining.

Hijack – the position two to the right of the dealer, and one to the right of the cutoff.

Hole cards – the two cards you are dealt as a player at the start of a hand.

Inside straight – same as gutshot straight (see above).

Kicker – if two players have the same hand at the show down of all the cards (i.e. at the end of the hand), then the highest next card (the kicker) wins the pot. An example. The give table cards at the end are 5-5-8-8-Jack. Both you and your opponent have an 8. But you also have a queen, whereas your opponent has a two. Your queen beats her two. Your kicker wins.

Limit – where betting is capped at a certain amount in a poker game. No-Limits poker has no such cap.

Lock up – if you need to leave the poker table in a casino for a few minutes but want to come back, you can put a chip in front of your seat on the table, to “lock up” your position, which means no one else can take it.

No Limit – see Limit above.

Nothing – if a player has nothing they don’t even have a pair. It is very unlikely you will win, especially at a game with several players, unless someone else is trying a big bluff!

Nut Hand (the nuts) – if you have the Nuts, it means you have the best possible hand at any given point in a poker game.

Off Suit – two more cards that aren’t of the same suit.

Open ended straight – a straight which can be completed by a card at either end of a sequence of numbers. E.g. you are dealt a 7 and an 8 as your hole cards. You then flop a 9 and a 10. On the turn or the river you can draw either a 6 or a Jack to complete your hand. That is an open-ended straight. The other kind is a gutshot straight (see below).

Orbit – when every person at the poker table has played the role of the dealer once. Each time you play the dealer the game has completed another orbit.

Over Bet – when the bet you make is larger than the size of the whole pot at that moment in the hand.

Pair – two cards of the same number e.g. two 5’s or two queens.

Pocket Cards – the cards dealt to you at the start of the hand, before the flop. Same as Hole cards.

Pocket Pair – when you are dealt a pair in the two cards you get at the start of the hand.

Poker Face – an expression on the face of a poker player that gives nothing away, or tells nothing to his or her opponent about their hand or what they are thinking.

Position – the place you occupy at the poker table.

Position Bet – a bet a player makes motivated mostly by the position they occupy at the table, rather than the intrinsic value of their cards. Position can be useful in determining your poker strategy. For example, if you are one of the last to play in a round, and the players before you have all folded or just called the blinds, you might think they don’t have good hands. So you might then make a big bet to scare off everyone else and force them to fold.

Post-flop – any play that comes after the 3 flop cards have been dealt on the table by the dealer.

Pot – the accumulation of chips or money that players wager during a hand. The winner generally takes the pot, though occasionally it can be split if two players have an identical hand at the end.

Pre-flop – any play that comes before the 3 flop cards have been dealt on the table by the dealer.

Quads – poker slang for 4 of a kind.

Rabbit hunt – when a hand is completed without all the last card or cards being dealt, and the cards that would have been dealt had the hand continued are shown from the dealer’s deck.

Rake – the fraction of the pot that the casino, or the house, takes.

Rail – In a casino, this is the side of the poker table where the spectators can watch from.

Rainbow – where all three cards in the flop are of different suits.

Raise – when you put more money down than you have to if you want to stay in the hand of a poker game, forcing other players to increase their stakes too, if they want to stay.

Reraise – when a player raises themselves, after another player raised the stakes before them.

River – the last of the 5 communal table to be dealt by the dealer.

Rock – a player who tends not to bluff too much, sits out a lot of hands, and plays the ones they have strong cards in. They tend not to be aggressive in poker games.

Royal Flush – the best hand in Texas Holdem Poker. Ace King Queen Jack Ten of the same suit.

Sandbagging – when a poker player plays slowly and indecisively to give the impression they have a poor hand they aren’t comfortable with. This can be a poker strategy as a form of bluff, and the player might in fact have a great hand. The aim is to keep other players in the game.

Set – three of a kind, when two are in the player’s hand to start with.

Short Stack – when a player has fewer chips than anyone else at the table.

Showdown – at the end of a hand, when all the players still left in the game turn their cards over. This only happens if one player calls another’s hand, or if a player is all in in a previous betting round.

Side Pot – when one player goes all in into the main pot, but other players then carry on betting into a supplementary pot called the side pot.

Slow Play – see sandbagging above.

Small Blind – the smaller of two compulsory bets made at the start, or near the start of a game of Texas Holdem Poker. The Small Blind, which is also the name of the person making that bet, sits one to the left of the dealer and to the right of the Big Blind.

Splash the pot – in a casino, you splash the pot if you throw your chips into the pot when you make your bet, rather than placing them carefully all at the same time on the poker table. Makes it hard for the dealer to count what you have bet, so this is not a popular move!

Split pot – a split pot happens when two or more players tie a hand, i.e. neither wins it outright. This means that the money is shared equally between them. The tie happens when all the players have the same best 5 cards (out of the 7 cards total – 2 in their hand, 5 on the table).

The most common example is when the best 5 cards are on the table and therefore for everyone to share. Say the community cards on the table are 2, 5, 7, 9 and 10 – all spades. Player A has a pair of 2’s in their hand (diamonds and hearts), Player B has two Aces (clubs and hearts). Even though Player B has Aces, they do not have a better hand than Player A. Because a hand in Texas Holdem is always measured by your best 5 cards. Which in both players’ cases is the Flush on the table. Hence the tie, and the split pot.

Stack – the total number of chips a player has in front of them during a game of Texas Holdem .

Stake – the accumulated bets you have made in a hand. If you bet 5 chips in the opening round, then 10 in the next, your stake up to now is 15 chips.

Straight – when your best hand has five cards in sequence, but not in the same suit. E.g. 5 Diamonds, 6 Clubs, 7 Hearts, 8 Clubs, 9 Spades.

Straight Flush – when your best hand has five cards in sequence, and also in the same suit. It is unbeatable if it is 10, Jack, Queen, King, Ace (see Royal Flush).

Tell – when player A does something different in their behaviour than they normally do, which leads player B to interpret something about Player A’s hand. For example, player A places their chips in the pot more quickly than usual, leading player B to believe that player A has a very good pocket hand like a pair of aces. A player can also false a tell as part of their poker strategy to try to mislead the other players.

Top kicker – the best possible kicker (see above) card, usually an Ace.

Top pair – when you have a pair compromised of a card in your hand and the highest ranked card on the table.

Trips – poker slang for three of a kind.

Turn – the 4th community, or table card. Dealt after the 3 flop cards, and before the 5th and final River card.

Under the gun – the position to the left of the Big Blind (see above).

Up the ante – to increase your stake, your bet.

Wheel – a five card straight A 2 3 4 5. It’s the lowest value straight.


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