Poker Glossary

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There are currently 168 names in this directory
3-BET

The first reraise preflop. The term originated with limit hold'em. The first raise preflop is often announced as "two bets" and the next raise is thus "three bets". This got adopted in no-limit as a "3-bet".

4-BET

A raise of a 3-bet. We'll stop now.

6-MAX

A 6-seated game of poker, common for online cash games.

A GAME

When you're playing poker and making the best decisions your knowledge allows, you are said to be playing your A game.

ABC

A straightforward, basic TAG strategy involving playing only premium starting hands, playing them aggressively, and typically folding to aggression postflop without a strong made hand.

ABSOLUTE HAND VALUE

The value of a hand in a vacuum, the overvaluing of which can often get inexperienced players in trouble. For example, 43s on a 33KQ9 board is a hand with a high absolute value (trips), but facing heavy action is likely to be beat by better trips (e.g. A3s), a straight, or a full house.

ACE-X

Often abbreviated AX, indicates hold'em hole cards featuring an ace with a random side card. When the side card is small, the hand is frequently referred to generically as "A-rag".

AIR

A hand with so little value it is highly unlikely to win at showdown. Such hands are sometimes bluffing candidates, hence the expression "I went all in with air" indicates committing all one's chips on a pure bluff.

ALL IN

Committing all of your chips in a single bet or raise.

ANACONDA

Poker variant in which each player is dealt seven cards, then passes a total of three to one or more neighbors. Some variants, such as "Pass The Trash", involve discarding two cards to leave a five-card hand.

ANGLE SHOOT

Typically an ambiguous or disruptive action taken by a player in order to elicit additional information or provoke an action that is to their advantage. For example, a player may check out of turn intentionally when holding a monster, hoping to induce an opponent to bet. Such shenanigans cover a spectrum from poor etiquette to rule violations. Punishment, if any, depends on severity of the infraction, house rules, and competence of the floor.

ATB

Abbreviation. "Any Two Broadway" cards.

BABY PAIR

Low pocket pairs. 22-55 are definitely babies. 66 probably is. 77 is approaching adolescence.

BACK-RAISE

A raise from a player who has previously called a bet in the same betting round.

BACKDOOR DRAW

A draw on the flop that requires both turn and river cards to complete. As5s on a 6sTdJc is a backdoor flush draw and will make a flush if both the turn and river come spades. Also used as a verb as in "she backdoored the straight".

BAD BEAT

A low-probability, yet long-term statistically inevitable event that is never discussed at Red Chip Poker.

BANKROLL

The money which you set aside to play poker.

BARRELING

Betting with the intention of betting future streets under certain conditions. Thus a three-barrel bluff is a planned line in which, having completely missed the flop, you bet all three postflop streets with air.

BB

Abbreviation. The big blind, used to indicate that position at the table. Conventionally 'BB' refers to the position, whereas 'bb' is used to denote quantities such as stack depth and bet size as a multiple of the big blind. The notation bb/100 is often used to denote the number of bbs won or lost per 100 hands played.

BIG O

A variant of PLO8 in which each player is dealt five hole cards.

BIG SLICK

Archaic term for the hold'em hole cards AK, now rarely heard outside of Canada.

BLOCKER

A card in your hand that makes it impossible or less likely for your opponent to hold a specific hand or hand type. For example, if there are three hearts on board and you hold the Ah, you "block" your opponent from holding the nut flush, and reduce the likelihood that they hold any flush.

BLUFF

Bet with a hand that you figure to be beat, invariably with the hope of folding out better hands.

BOARD TEXTURE

The overall composition of community cards, including their ranks, suitedness and connectedness. See also, FLOP (wet, dry, static, dynamic).

BOBTAIL STRAIGHT

An open-ended straight draw (see OESD).

BREAD AND BUTTER SPOT

A situation in which we put in the last preflop raise and are in position postflop against one or two players. The term was coined in this poker sense by Tommy Angelo and is one of the most profitable situations in poker.

BREAKEVEN PERCENTAGE

Risk divided by risk plus reward, or in other words, the mathematical way of saying "if X play works this often, I will break even, if it works less often or more often, the decision is -EV and +EV respectively".

BRICK

A card that does not change the board texture.

BROADWAY

An AKQJT straight, also known as a "treetop".

BROADWAY CARD

Any card needed to make Broadway.

BROADWAY HAND

Any hand that includes two broadway cards that are not paired.

BTN

Abbreviation. "Button" as used for the position at the table that acts last on each postflop street. The notional position of the dealer.

BUBBLE

In poker tournaments, the finishing position immediately before prizes are awarded. The player busting out in this position is said to have "bubbled," at which point the "bubble bursts" and ill-mannered players clap.

BUY-IN

In tournament poker, the total entry cost of the tournament. Also used in cash games to indicate the amount of chips with which you initially sit. Many cash games require your initial buy in to be above a minimum amount, but no more than a "cap". Many Las Vegas $1/$2 games, for example, limit buy-ins from $100 to $300.

C-BET

Short for continuation bet, a postflop bet made by the player who had the lead on the previous street. Commonly this describes a flop bet made by the preflop aggressor.

CALL THE CLOCK

A mechanism by which any player may request a player taking forever to act be given a limited amount of time to reach a decision. If a floorperson determines the request is reasonable, they will give the acting player a 60 second countdown after which the player's hand is declared dead.

CAPPED RANGE

A range that is lacking in the most premium or strongest holdings.

CARD REMOVAL

Holding a certain card, and thus knowing that your opponent cannot have that exact card, is less likely to have a card of the same rank and/or suit, and knowing that card will not be dealt on the board. See also "blocker".

CHECK

Choosing not to bet when given the option.

CHECK BEHIND

When the in-position player is checked to on any postflop street and they check, they are said to have "checked behind" or "checked back".

CHECK-RAISE

Declining your option to bet, then raising when the option is avaiable because of action after your check.

CHICAGO

Seven card stud variant in which the high hand splits the pot with the high spade in the hole. Can also be played lowball such that the low hand splits with the low spade in the hole. High-low variants are possible but silly.

CO

Abbreviation. Cutoff. The position to the immediate right of the button.

COMBOS

The number of possible hands within a range. Informal abbreviation for "combinations". For example, the hand AA has six possible combos.

COMPLETING

When the player in the small blind limps to match the big blind, as opposed to raising or folding.

COURCHEVEL

An exquisite variant of Omaha in which players are dealt five cards each, immediately followed by the first community card. After a betting round, two additional community cards are dealt completing the traditional flop. Sometimes confused with Conchevelle: a shellfish soup popular in the late 19th century.

CRAI

Abbreviation. Check-raise all in. (Sometimes XRAI.)

DEAD HAND

1. A hand that is ineligible to win the pot because it has been fouled, mucked, or ruled ineligible by floor because of some other infraction.
2. Condition produced by frantically trying to attract the attention of the lone cocktail server in a 36-table poker room.

DONK BET

To bet into the aggressor of the previous street when they have position on you.

DOUBLE BARREL

When a player bets two consecutive streets postflop. Most commonly this is when a player continuation bets the flop and then bets ("barrels") the turn.

DOWN-BET

A bet smaller than the one made on the previous street. Sometimes used colloquially to mean a bet smaller than typical in a given situation.

DOWNSWING

An extended period during which a player's winnings are below their personal average. Opposite of upswing. Poker players are far more likely to discuss their downswings than their upswings, supporting the view that most are masochists.

EFFECTIVE STACK

The effective stack, or effective stack size, is the smallest of the stacks involved in a pot. For example, if the turn is heads up and Greg has $75 while Julie has $920, the effective stack is $75.

EIGHT OR BETTER

Standard qualifying hand for the low pot in split-pot games. To qualify for the low pot a 5-card hand must consist of unpaired cards all of rank 8 or lower.

EP

Early position, the first positions to act. In a full-ring game, EP refers to the first three positions. Thus EP1 is UTG, EP2 is UTG+1 and EP3 is UTG+2. (See also UTG.)

EQUITY

The expected chance a hand will win the pot at showdown.

EQUITY, HOT/COLD

The hand-versus-hand equity preflop averaged over all possible board run-outs. This is the number you see by the hole cards in televised poker. Example AhKh vs 6d6c has 48% hot/cold equity.

EV

Short for expected value, this is the monetary value a hand or range has when factoring in how often it wins/loses and the magnitude of those wins/loses. You will often see +EV or -EV, an abbreviation of 'postive expected value' and 'negative expected value' respectively.

EXPLOITATIVE POKER

Take actions that win against the strategic errors opponents are making. Often used in contrast to Game Theory Optimal (GTO) Poker

FISH

A term for a bad poker player that should rarely be used, particularly in the presence of bad poker players.

FLOAT BET

A bet made after the player with the betting lead declines to c-bet. For example, a player in EP opens preflop and the button calls. If EP checks the flop and BTN bets, this is a float bet.

FLOATING

Calling on one street with the intention to bet on a later street. Often implies a weak made hand or draw that expects to profit through a combination of bluffing and improving hand equity.

FLOP, DRY

A flop on which it is difficult to make a big hand, such as 6h6d3c or Kh7c2s.

FLOP, DYNAMIC

A flop on which the winning hand is not likely already made. Many overcards and draws possible, so that the nuts usually changes on turn and river cards.

FLOP, STATIC

A flop on which the winning hand is likely already made. Few draws, so that the nuts often remain the same on turn and river cards.

FLOP, WET

A flop which is highly coordinated allowing for many big hands and draws. Examples: QsTd9d and KcQcTh.

FLOPZILLA

A premium piece of software that allows you to do tremendous range exploration.

FOLD EQUITY

A loosely-defined term that entered the poker lexicon from short-stacked tournament play. In that context "having fold equity" means having enough chips to compel an opponent (typically the big blind) to fold if you shove. Also used informally to describe the added EV we gain by taking an aggressive action, thereby causing our opponent to fold.

FREQUENCIES

How often something happens relative to the number of opportunities. A player who 3-bets 1% of the time 3-bets at a very low frequency and a player who CBs 100% of the time CBs at a high frequency.

FULL RING

A 9- or 10-seated game of poker, typical for live poker rooms.

GAME SELECTION

Assessing all the games that are available to play and choosing the one which is likely to be most profitable.

GRINDER

Typically a low-limit player who "grinds out" small profits by conservative play. A harmless drudge.

GTO

Abbreviation for Game Theory Optimal, an approach to poker that leverages game theory to analyze spots and deduce the most +EV lines.

GUTSHOT

An inside straight draw. Only a single card rank can complete your straight.

H.O.R.S.E.

A five-legged mixed game usually played with a limit betting structure in which the variant switches each orbit or tournament level between Hold'em, Omaha High-Low, Razz, Seven Card Stud and Seven Card Stud Eight-Or-Better. Removing Razz on the grounds it can lead to madness results in H.O.S.E. or S.H.O.E.

HAND READING

The process of assigning a range of hands as actions and streets progress.

HEADS UP

When there are only two players in a given betting round. Alternatively, can refer to a game of poker involving only two players.

HERO

Slang for 'player making the decisions' in any hand history.

HIGH STAKES

Generally refers to live and online games with minimum buyins of $5,000 or more.

HJ

The hijack is the player to the right of the cutoff (and thus they are two to the right of the button).

HOLDEQ

A Flopzilla add-on that allows you to sync multiple Flopzilla instances to do complete range vs range analysis.

ICM

Independent chip model. Used to determine the real dollar value of tournament chips, based on the relation of stack sizes and the remaining prize structure.

IMPLIED ODDS

The chance your opponent will make a mistake or take an action in the future that adds to your equity.

ISOLATION RAISE

A raise over one or more limpers.

JAM

Shoving all-in.

LAG

A loose-aggressive player, one who generally raises with a wide range of hands.

LEADING

To bet into the aggressor of the previous street from out of position. Also known as donk betting.

LEVEL

To out-think your opponent and lead them to believe something false. Comes from the concept that there are established levels of thought in poker and that you want to be one ahead of your opponent. Also can refer to each phase of a tournament, as blinds increase with each level.

LIMP

When a player calls the big blind preflop as opposed to raising or folding. Once the pot has been opened (implying a a raise), limping is no longer possible.

LINE

A plan of action for a hand or the set of actions taken in a hand..

LJ

The lo-jack is the player to the right of the HJ.

LOW STAKES

Generally refers to live cash games starting at $1/$2 and going up to $2/$5. Online this refers to 25NL and 50NL.

MANIAC

A player who plays a ridiculously high percentage of hands, and frequently plays them aggressively.

MERGED RANGE

A range where the strength is along a single continum. In opposition to a polarized range that is either strong or weak but not in the middle.

MICROSTAKES

Generally referrs to online poker at stakes of $0.50/$1.00 or less. Can also refer to live games of similar stakes.

MID-STAKES

Generally refers to live cash games at the $5/$10 level. Online this refers to 100NL-400NL.

MONSTER

A super strong hand.

MP

Middle position.

MULTIWAY

When there are multiple players to a street. Typically this describes postflop pots where there are three or more players still involved.

MW

Abbreviation: Multiway.

NIT

A super tight player, one who generally is only aggressive with the best possible hands.

NON-NUT

Describes something which is not the best. For instance, if you have QsQh and the flop is Kh 9h 7h, you have a non-nut flush draw since it is not the best possible flush draw.

NOSEBLEEDS

Generally referrs to live and online games with minimum buyins exceeding $50,000.

NUT

Describes something which is the best possible.

NUT LOW

The lowest possible poker hand. Also used frequently by poker players to describe the comped food in certain casinos.

NUTTISH

Describes a hand/range that is either the exact nut or close to it.

OESD

Open-ended straight draw such as 87 on a A56 flop.

OPEN-LIMP

When the first person to enter the pot preflop does so by just calling the big blind, rather than raising.

OPEN-RAISE

When the first person to put money in the pot preflop does so by raising. Also known as an open.

OPTION

When action folds or limps to the small blind, and the small blind calls, the big blind has the 'option' of checking or raising.

ORBIT

The number of hands it takes for each person to be the button once. In a 9-handed game an orbit is 9 hands.

OUT OF LINE

Raising or betting too frequently.

OUTS

How many remaining cards in the deck that can be used to improve a player's hand.

OVERBET

A bet sized larger than the pot.

OVERPAIR

A pocket pair that is higher than the highest board card. KK would be an overpair on T746.

PAY JUMP

In a tournament, the pay jump is the difference in prize money between one finishing place and the next.

PERCENTAGE FORM

The percentage of hand combinations in a range compared to all possible combinations.

PFR

Preflop raise. How often a player raises preflop given the opportunity. This ranges from 0-100, where higher numbers mean a player is raising more pots preflop.

PLAYER PROFILING

Analyzing a player's physical appearance and mannerisms as well as their play to determine what kind of a player they are, what frequencies can be exploited, and so on.

PLO

Abbreviation: Pot Limit Omaha. A 4-card version of hold'em for thinking players.

PLO8

Abbreviation: Pot Limit Omaha High-Low Eight-Or-Better. The split-pot version of PLO in which in order to qualify the low hand must contain five unpaired cards of rank 8 or lower. The ace is used low.

POCKET PAIR

When both of your hole cards are the same.

POLARIZED RANGE

A range that is heavily weighted on one side by strong value hands and on another by weak bluffing hands.

POSITION

The position of your seat at the table relative to the dealer, and your position in the order of action.

POT CONTROL

Choosing actions and bet sizes to keep the pot sized relative to the strength of your hand.

POT ODDS

A mathematical expression of risk/reward.

PROBE BET

A bet that follows a missed c-bet, made out of position. Since it is OOP, it can only occur the street after the missed c-bet. As an example, the button open-raises and you defend from the big blind. The flop goes check-check, so that the preflop raiser skips their c-bet. If you now bet the turn, that is a turn probe bet.

QUADS

Four of a kind.

RANGE

All of the possible hands a player could hold.

RANGE ADVANTAGE

The combos in your range are, on average, stronger than those of your opponent.

RANGE CONSTRUCTION

Determining which parts of a range an opponent is likely to be holding, or deciding which parts of a range you are going to take any given action with.

RANGE DISADVANTAGE

The combos in your range are, on average, weaker than those of your opponent.

REG

Short for 'regular', a player that commonly plays a specific game. A reg, while maybe not the absolute best player at the table, is commonly not a fish and has some strategy.

RESTEAL

A 3-bet made specifically against a steal.

REVERSE IMPLIED ODDS

The chance that your opponent will deny you equity when certain future conditions are met.

ROI

Abbreviation. Return On Investment. Usually stated in percentage form, this is the preferred metric used by tournament players rather than the hourly rate typically favored by cash game players.

RUNOUT

The texture of the flop, turn and/or river.

SB

Abbreviation for the small blind, second-to-last to act preflop and first to act postflop.

SEMI-BLUFF

Bet with the intention of folding out better hands, with a hand that is not best now but can easily improve at showdown.

SHORTHANDED

When roughly half or fewer of the seats at the table have active players, the game becomes shorthanded.

SMALL BALL

Using pot control to play smaller pots when equity is uncertain.

SNOW

Another term for bluff, mostly used in variants of draw poker.

SPECULATIVE HAND

A hand that has lots of drawing potential postflop, such as 76s, 97s, and A4s.

SPEWY

Describes a player who is making many -EV plays.

SPR

Short for Stack-to-Pot-Ratio, SPR is used to assess how automatically committed (or not) that we are to a pot with certain hand strengths. The smaller the SPR, the more you automatically commit with strong draws, single pairs, etc.
The formula is SPR = Effective Stack Size / Pot Size

SQUEEZE

A specific kind of 3-bet made after a preflop raise gets one or more callers.

STEAL

A preflop open-raise made specifically from the CO, button, or SB.

STRADDLE

A blind preflop bet, typically a 2BB forced bet by UTG+1, however there are many forms of straddles including button straddles, MIssissippi stradles, and more.

STUD POKER

Any variant of poker in which a player's hand is dealt as some combination of face down and face up. Common forms include 5-card stud, 7-card stud, 7-card stud hi/lo, Canadian stud and Mexican stud.

SUITED CONNECTOR

Two suited hole cards that are also in sequence, both of lesser rank than broadway cards.

SUITED GAPPER

A suited hand with one gap between the cards. Typically this refers to hands like 86s and J9s.

TAG

A tight/aggressive player, one who plays mostly strong hands, and plays them aggressively.

TARGET

The weakest player at the table that everyone is actively aware of and trying to stack them as soon as possible.

TELL

A physical or verbal mannerism that reliably gives you information about your opponent's holding.

THIN VALUE

A bet for value when you are often behind but more often ahead.

TPTK

Abbreviation. Top-pair, top-kicker. Example AT on a T82 flop.

TRAPPING

Refers to slow-playing a hand in order to induce action.

TRIPLE BARREL

When a player bets three consectutive streets postflop.

UNDERBET

A bet sized smaller than half the pot.

UTG

Abbreviation. Under The Gun. The person to the left of the BB who acts first preflop.

VALUE BET

Bet with the intention of extracting value from a player holding a worse hand.

VALUE-OWNED

When you bet for thin value and get called by a better hand. The use of this term implies betting with the hand was correct, but unfortunately ran into a better hand.

VPIP

Voluntarily Put $ In Pot. How often a player voluntarily puts money into the pot given the opportunity. This ranges from 0-100, where higher numbers mean a player is involved more pots.

WHALE

A player with lots of money (relative to the game size) that is willing to lose a lot of money into a game. Co-opted term from casino industry. Usually implies a player of low skill but enthusiasm for the game.

WHEEL

The hand A2345. In many forms of lowball and split-pot poker, the lowest possible or "nut low" hand.

Xs AND Os

The fundamental nuts and bolts of poker plays, by analogy with NFL coach-speak and tic-tac-toe/naughts-and-crosses.

YOUNG GUN

A player who has only been eligible by age to play casino poker for a couple of years or less. As of 2018 young guns tend to wear the "hoodie-backpack-headphones" uniform.

ZEEBO'S THEOREM

A theorem of varying formulations that can be stated: "No player is capable of folding a full house on any betting round, regardless of the size of the bet." Despite there being more counter-examples to this "theorem" than cabs in Vegas, some well-respected poker authorities claim it is useful.