Newcomers to Texas holdem often get confused by some of the
colorful slang and jargon used at the tables. We've put together
this lengthy and (hopefully) comprehensive Texas holdem terms
page to provide definitions for some of the words and phrases
you might not be familiar with. When doing the research for this
page, we noticed that even old-timers like us can sometimes be
surprised by a new phrase here or there.
This glossary of Texas holdem terms is probably
not comprehensive, but we tried. We think it's better and more
thorough than most of the other glossaries we've seen online.
If you come across a Texas holdem poker expression you need defined
and/or explained, and we failed to include it here, please
us and let us know. We'll update this page accordingly.
Ace in the Hole:
An ace in the hole is when a player has an ace as one of
their two hole cards.
In some tournaments players can choose to add on, generally
during and at the end of the rebuy period. This means paying an
extra sum of money to get more chips.
The amount of money in a hand, or on the table, is known as
action. On top of this in poker when it's a particular player's
turn, the action is on them.
To have a hand with basically no value.
"I was bluffing on the flop with nothing but air."
A forced bet which must be made by all players at the table
prior to cards being dealt. This bet is made in addition to the blinds.
In no limit games all in refers to betting all of your
remaining chips. This can be a verbal bet or by pushing all of
your chips into the middle of the table.
Making an illegal play to get extra information and / or to cheat.
Using the turn and river cards in succession to make a strong hand.
When a weak hand ends up beating a strong hand it's known as
a bad beat.
In banking games like blackjack, the player who acts as the bank. In casinos, this is the dealer, but in home games, the
banker role usually rotates from player to player.
The first chips that are wagered in a poker game after a new
card or cards are dealt are known as a bet. Before the flop, the
blinds are the first bets. A bet can refer to any wager in a
poker game, but it also can mean just a normal wager to open the
betting instead of a raise or call.
Betting On the Come:
Making a bet when you are drawing to a hand and don't
actually have it yet.
The larger of the two forced blind bets. This is the first
full bet in a hand of Texas holdem.
A community card that is dealt face up and doesn't provide
any player with help given the state of the hand.
Forced bets that two players make before the cards are dealt
in a new hand. These ensure there's money in the pot and helps
Betting and calling opponents when you know you have a weaker
hand than them, with the intention of getting them to fold, at
that time or later with a bet or raise.
All of the face up cards in the center of the table is known
as the board. This consists of the flop, turn, and river.
Poker slang for a full house.
A straight from ten to ace.
A pair of aces.
Before the flop, turn, and river are dealt the dealer will
burn one card by moving it into the muck.
When a player loses all their chips they bust out of the
tournament, or need to rebuy cash chips if they're in a cash
game and wish to continue playing.
Button or Dealer Button:
A small white disc that is placed in front of the player who
is the designated dealer for that hand. The dealer is the best
position at the poker table as they're last to act on each
The cash a player must pay to enter a tournament or sit down
and play in a cash game.
Matching another player's bet in order to continue the hand and see the next card or showdown to see who wins the pot.
A player that simply calls bets over and over and rarely
folds or raises.
The last card in the deck of a certain rank. If you have
three of a kind you’re hoping to get the fourth card, or case
Choosing not to bet and to pass the action to the next player
in the hand is known as a check. Players can indicate a check
verbally or by patting the table with their hand.
Checking first and then raising a player who bets behind is
known as a check-raise. Usually this is done to represent a very
Small clay or plastic discs that are used in poker to
represent cash, or fake cash value in a tournament.
When player's showdown in a pot and have the same value hand
they chop the pot and receive equal parts of it. Also, in a ring
game when the action is folded to the blinds pre-flop they may
chop the hand, taking their bets back and not play the hand out
as they normally would. In a tournament when play gets down to
the final table or just a few players the remaining players may
make an agreement to split up the remaining prize money.
When two players are all in and both have comparatively even
chances of winning. This is also known as a race. It usually
occurs in Texas holdem when one player holds high suited
connectors, such as ace king, and another has a pocket pair,
such as pocket 10's.
These are the cards dealt face up on the table which can be
used by all players to make a hand with their two hole cards.
Two cards, usually a player's hole cards, which are in
When a player bets pre-flop, they almost always bet on the
flop, which is known as a continuation bet.
A hand in poker where multiple players make strong hands
resulting in a big pot and unavoidable action. These hands
usually result in all in bets and calls.
A pair of kings.
The position in poker to the right of the dealer button.
Dead Man's Hand:
Aces and eights, which is the hand Wild Bill supposedly held
as he was shot.
This can be two things in poker. In a home game this is the
person who deals the cards and plays in the game. The dealer is
indicated by having the dealer button in front of them at the
table, which rotates around clockwise. In a casino game it just
indicates the person who acts last in the game. However, there
will also be a dealer who is a casino employee and not in the
Draw or Drawing:
If you need one or two more cards to make a strong hand, then
you're drawing with the hope you'll hit it and be paid off.
Being in a hand or an all in showdown and not being able to
win, no matter what remaining cards hit the board.
A pair of twos.
Expected Value or EV:
Often represented as positive or negative, +EV or -EV, this
is a rating on a certain play in poker as to whether it will
result in positive or negative returns in the long run.
When all or most players call pre-flop.
A weak and inexperienced poker player.
Calling a bet with the plan of trying to bluff to take down
the pot on a later street.
The first three community cards that are dealt on the table.
A five card hand of all the same suit.
Throwing away a hand and ending your participation in it and
surrendering your ability to win the pot.
The implied equity that a player can get by making a bet with
the aim of getting an opponent to fold. If a player has a small
stack and you raise enough to cover her she is force to fold
unless she's willing to play for her entire stack.
Four of a Kind:
Four of the same ranked cards.
Another name for the turn or fourth community card.
A five card hand consisting of a three of a kind and a pair.
If everyone checks all players get to see a free card.
This can mean two things. First, it's a tournament where no
buy in is required so it is free to enter. Secondly, if you're
in a hand and you can only win or chop, then you are
free-rolling for the win.
Players can't rebuy in a freeze-out tournament.
A player that plays long poker sessions to make small profits
in a solid manner with minimal gambling and risk taking.
If you hold 4 cards to a straight and the final one you need
is in the middle of the others rank, then this is known as a gut
shot straight draw. This is also known as an inside straight
The two hole cards a player has, the five cards they use at
the end, and the complete action from the first card that is
dealt to the showdown.
Online poker sites allow players to keep a history of every
single hand they've played. This can be useful in analyzing play
and determining improvements in one's game.
When only two players remain in a pot it's known as heads up
play. In tournament play it also means when the final two
players remain to battle it out to determine a winner.
On a hot run with cards and hitting a lot of strong hands.
Position to the right of the cut off and two spots to the
right of the dealer.
These are the two cards each player holds face down.
A pair of jacks.
These odds don't exist in the current state of a hand;
however players can factor them in if they hit the right card
and make a hand. The implied odds consider the money that you
would win should you make your hand.
Acting after another player or players in a hand is known as
being in position. This carries an advantage as you get to see
everyone else act first.
When a player makes a hand that ties with another player’s
hand and each player has a two, three, or four car hand. The
next highest card is used to break the tie and this card is
called the kicker. Two kickers can be used if players hold a
three card hand such as a three of a kind.
When you’re the dealer or the last to act in a pot, then
you're in late position.
Another term for fold.
If a player calls the big blind pre-flop they limp into the
pot. Calling the minimum bet before the flop when there hasn't
been a raise.
A player that is entering many hands and has a wide range of
A completed hand that's generally quite strong.
In between early and late positions.
Muck can refer to folding a hand or the muck is the pile of
cards that have been discarded by the players and dealer. It can
also mean in a showdown the caller will muck, or throw away,
their hand if the first player has shown a better hand.
The most popular form of Texas holdem where there's no limit
to bets a player can make at any point in the hand.
This is the best possible hand that a player could have at a
particular time in the hand.
Holding two hole cards that are different suits.
The chance of a particular outcome, represented by a ratio in
Open Ended Straight Draw:
When a player holds four cards in sequential order and
requires one more on either end to make a straight.
When there are no raisers pre-flop the option is given to the
big blind to check and see the flop, or bet.
One complete rotation of the dealer button at a poker table.
The number of cards left in the deck for a player to make a
Out of Position:
Being first to act before your opponent.
A single bet which is more than the current size of the pot.
Two cards of the same rank.
Play the Board:
If a player's hole cards are worse than the hand that all the
cards on the board make, then the player will be using the five
community cards as their hand.
A pair that a player holds as their two hole cards.
This refers to the two face down cards that the player has.
Where the player is in relation to the dealer button. A
player can be in early, middle, or late position. You'll find
that there are individual names for particular positions
including small blind, big blind, under the gun, hijack, cutoff,
The money in the middle of that table that is made up of bets
and calls, which players are competing for.
The amount of money currently in the pot compared to how much
you need to call to remain in the hand is known as the pot odds.
Pot odds can be used to make decisions in the game. If there's
$100 in the pot and the bet you have to call is $10, then the
pot odds are 10:1. If your hand should win one in ten times or
more then you should make the call.
If the pot in the middle is huge compared to your remaining
stack, then you’re generally pot committed to the hand and can't
Prior to the first three community cards being dealt and
during the first round of betting.
Making a bet to get other players to fold so that your hand
has greater odds of winning against fewer opponents.
Cards that don't have any value and a low chance of winning a
Community cards of all different suits. This can occur on the
flop and the turn.
Making a raise is betting more in addition to another
In cash games the casino or online operator will take a cut
out of every hand to make money. The rake can vary depending on
the location and usually has a cap so as not to take too much
money out of large pots.
Some online casinos will return a certain amount of rake
taken from players as part of promotions or player’s club
In some tournaments players can re-enter after they've busted
out with a re-buy. In cash games a player can re-buy more chips
if they have below a certain amount.
Another name for a cash game where real money is wagered each
hand. Players can come and go as they like in ring games and can
re-buy if they run out of money.
Also known as fifth street, this is the fifth and final
community card that is dealt face up on the board.
The best possible hand in poker which is a straight from ten
to ace of all the same suit.
Generally, this is referring to the turn and river and
someone catching cards on both of these to beat another hand. A
player can make a runner runner flush by getting hearts on the
turn and river.
A community card that hits the board and has the potential to
ruin a made hand that a player might already have, by giving
another player a stronger hand.
When a player has a strong drawing hand and makes a bet prior
to completing their hand.
Three of a kind with two of the cards being hole cards.
A strong and experienced poker player.
A player that doesn't have many chips left is on the short stack.
A table that has only a few players left. This can occur in a
cash game before others buy in and in tournaments when there are
only a few players left. It can drastically alter players'
starting hand ranges.
After the five community cards have been dealt and all
betting rounds are over if there's still more than one player
left with cards, then they will turn over their cards to find
out who has the best hand and wins the pot.
In Texas holdem when a pot has three or more players
remaining and one of them is all in, a side pot will be created
so that the players remaining with chips can continue betting
until the showdown. The person who is all in can only win the
initial pot and not the side pot.
Sit and Go:
A style of tournament poker where the game will commence once
a certain number of players have entered. Most sit and go
tournaments are single table tournaments with nine or 10
Intentionally playing an extremely strong hand slowly to trap
other players into thinking their weaker hand is best.
Intentionally taking longer than is necessary to reveal a
winning hand in a showdown, or calling another large bet when
holding an extremely strong hand, is known as a slow roll and is
frowned upon by poker players.
The smaller of the two forced bets pre-flop. The small blind
position is directly to the left of the dealer.
A split pot occurs when two or more players have the same
hand and split the pot at the showdown.
An aggressive move in poker where a player raises after an
initial bet has been made and others have already called this
The chips a player has at the table.
A bet made by the player to the left of the big blind, which
is usually double the amount, is known as a straddle. It acts as
a third blind and the player that straddles can then check or
re-raise when the action comes back to them.
Five cards in sequential order. In poker ace can act as a
high or low card.
A straight that also is all in the same suit.
The turn is known as fourth street and the river as fifth
street. Collectively they are known as streets.
When a bad beat occurs the player with the initially inferior
hand sucks out on the player with the stronger hand.
Two cards held by a player which are the same suit.
Two cards of the same suit that are also in sequential order.
A ten and a jack both of spades are suited connectors.
When a player is making a major decision at a critical point
in a poker hand and is taking their time in doing so, they are
in the tank.
An action, either verbal or non-verbal, that a player makes
which gives away information about their hand. Online tells can
include bet sizes and timing.
Three of a Kind:
Three cards of the same rank.
A tight player is someone who plays very few hands and waits
for premium hands to enter pots and play. A common strategy
amongst poker players is known as tight aggressive or TAG. This
is where a player enters very few hands and when they finally do
they make large and consistent bets and raises.
Quite often when a player experiences a bad beat they start
playing badly and lose a lot of hands afterwards as they can’t
control their temper and get their focus back. This is known in
poker as going on tilt.
This can refer to two things in poker. First, it refers to a
player asking for more time to think over a decision. This can
occur in live poker and also online. Secondly, it refers to a
time fee that some operators will charge on top of or in place
of the rake.
The best two possible pairs based on the community cards and
what a player holds.
A version of play where players buy in for a set cash value
and receive tournament chips. They then play down to the last
person who has all the chips and is the winner of the
tournament. Usually the top 10% of players are paid winnings in
A slang term for three of a kind.
Having two pairs in your five card hand. These can be made by
using one hole card and a pair on the board, or by using both
hole cards with two cards on the board. Or even two pairs on the
A tournament variation where there's less time than normal to
make decisions and the blinds go up quicker than normal.
Also known as fourth street, this is the fourth community
card that is dealt face up on the board.
Under the Gun:
This player is the first to act in a betting round. Pre-flop
this is the player to the left of the big blinds, and after the
flop it is the first active player to the left of the dealer.
A player is the underdog when they’re statistically not
favored to win a pot with what they have compared to their opponent.
A bet placed by a player when they are quite certain they
have the best hand and want to be paid off by their opponent.
Often the value bet will be smaller than a normal bet to
persuade an opponent to call.
A nickname for opponents in a poker game often used in poker
books and online guides.
Voluntary put money in pot is a measure of how often a player
enters a pot, not including when they're in the big or small
blind. This measurement indicates the range of starting hands
that a particular player is using.
When everyone folds to the big blind, or the straddle player
if this is in play, and they win the pot.
The lowest possible straight a player can get. A wheel
consists of an ace, two, three, four, and five.
Another term used to describe a high roller.