Poker Dictionary

The focus of this page is pretty basic. It’s about terms used in poker. Many of these terms are from “Winning Low Limit Hold’em” by Lee Jones. The terms are in alphabetical order from a to z.

 

Action

(1) Opportunity to act. If a player appears not to realize it’s his turn, the dealer will say “Your action, sir.” (2) Bets and raises. “If a third heart hits the board and there’s a lot of action, you have to assume that somebody has made the flush.”

Ante

A small portion of a bet contributed by each player to seed the pot at the beginning of a poker hand. Most hold’em games do not have an ante; they use “blinds” to get initial money into the pot.

All-In

To run out of chips while betting or calling. In table stakes games, a player -may not go into his pocket for more money during a hand. If he runs out, a side pot is created in which he has no interest. However, he can still win the pot for which he had the chips. Example: “Poor Bob. He made quads against the big full house, but he was all-in on the second bet.”

Poker Terms Starting with the Letter B

Backdoor

Catching both the turn and river card to make a drawing hand. For instance, suppose you have A-7 The flop comes A-6 -4. You bet and are called. The turn is the T, which everybody checks, and then the river is the J . You’ve made a “backdoor” nut flush. See also “runner.”

Bad Beat

To have a hand that is a large underdog beat a heavily favored hand. It is generally used to imply that the winner of the pot had no business being in the pot at all, and it was the wildest of luck that he managed to catch the one card in the deck that would win the pot. We won’t give any examples; you will hear plenty of them during your poker career.

Bet

The first chips placed in the pot on any street. Pre-flop, the small blind would be classified as the first bet.

Big Blind

The larger of the two blinds typically used in a hold’em game. The big blind is normally a full first round bet. See also “blind” and “small blind.”

Blank

A board card that doesn’t seem to affect the standings in the hand. If the flop is A-J-T , then a turn card of 2 would be considered a blank. On the other hand, the 2 would not be.

Blind

A forced bet (or partial bet) put in by one or more players before any cards are dealt. Typically, blinds are put in by players immediately to the left of the button. See also “live blind.”

Bluff

To bet or raise holding a hand you believe to be weaker than that of your opponent, with the intention of getting them to fold their stronger hand.

Board

All the community cards in a hold’em game – the flop, turn, and river cards together. Example: “There wasn’t a single heart on the board.”

Bottom Pair

A pair with the lowest card on the flop. If you have A -6, and the flop comes K-T-6 , you have flopped bottom pair.

Burn

To discard the top card from the deck, face down. This is done between each betting round before putting out the next community card(s). It is security against any player recognizing or glimpsing the next card to be used on the board.

Button

A white acrylic disk that indicates the (nominal) dealer. Also used to refer to the player on the button. Example: “Oh, the button raised.”

Buy

(1) As in “buy the pot.” To bluff, hoping to “buy” the pot without being called. (2) As in “buy the button.” To bet or raise, hoping to make players between you and the button fold, thus allowing you to act last on subsequent betting rounds.

Poker Terms starting with the letter C

Call

To put into the pot an amount of money equal to the most recent bet or raise. The term “see” (as in “I’ll see that bet”) is considered colloquial.

Calling Station

A weak-passive player who calls a lot, but doesn’t raise or fold much. This is the kind of player you like to have in your game.

Cap

To put in the last raise permitted on a betting round. This is typically the third or fourth raise. Dealers in California are fond of saying “Capitola” or “Cappuccino.”

Case

The last card of a certain rank in the deck. Example: “The flop came J-8-3; I’ve got pocket jacks, he’s got pocket 8’s, and then the case eight falls on the river, and he beats my full house.”

Center Pot

The first pot created during a poker hand, as opposed to one or more “side” pots created if one or more players goes all-in. Also “main pot.”

Check

1) To not bet, with the option to call or raise later in the betting round. Equivalent to betting zero dollars. (2) Another word for chip, as in poker chip.

Check Raise

To check and then raise when a player behind you bets. Occasionally you will hear people say this is not fair or ethical poker. Piffle. Almost all casinos permit check-raising, and it is an important poker tactic. It is particularly useful in low-limit hold’em where you need extra strength to narrow the field if you have the best hand.

Cold Call

To call more than one bet in a single action. For instance, suppose the first player to act after the big blind raises. Now any player acting after that must call two bets “cold.” This is different from calling a single bet and then calling a subsequent raise.

Come Hand

A drawing hand (probably from the craps term).

Community Cards

Cards that are presented face-up in the middle of the poker table and shared among players in games like Hold’em and Omaha. These are also referred to as board cards or “the board”.

Complete Hand

A hand that is defined by all five cards – a straight, flush, full house or straight flush.

Connector

A hold’em starting hand in which the two cards are one apart in rank. Examples: KQs, 76.

Counterfeit

To make your hand less valuable because of board cards that duplicate it. Example: you have 87 and the flop comes 9-T-J, so you have a straight. Now an 8 comes on the turn. This has counterfeited your hand and made it almost worthless.

Crack

To beat a hand – typically a big hand. You hear this most often applied to pocket aces: “Third time tonight I’ve had pocket aces cracked.”

Cripple

As in “to cripple the deck.” Meaning that you have most or all of the cards that somebody would want to have with the current board. If you have pocket kings, and the other two kings flop, you have crippled the deck.