Poker Terminology Players

Key Poker Terminology Players of All Levels Need To Master

Poker is growing globally, attracting many new players. However, its terminology can be confusing to beginners. 

This glossary defines over 50 key poker games terms in simple terms to help players of all experience levels understand the game. 

From betting and hand rankings to pot odds and position – learn poker’s language and level up your game. 

Poker Terminology Players

Whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned pro, feel confident at the table with this A-Z guidebook.

Essential A-Z Poker Terms

Ace high – A hand with no pair where the highest card is an ace.

Action – A player’s participation by betting, raising, calling or folding

A-game – When your mind is feeling sharp and you’re playing your best.

Aggression factor – Compares how often you bet vs call.

Alias – Your online username.

All-in – Betting all of one’s chips at once

Ante – Forced bet placed before cards are dealt

Backdoor – Drawing to a hand on later streets

Bad beat – Losing a strong hand to an unlikely winner

Bankroll – Amount of money available for betting

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Barrel – Making consecutive bets on multiple streets

Big blind – Forced bet placed before flop by player to left of button

Bluff – Betting without a strong hand hoping others fold

Board – Community cards on table available to all players

Bubble – The position just before the payout in a tournament

Burn – Discard top card of deck before dealing flop

Button – Marker indicating dealer position

C-bet – Continuation bet made by the pre-flop raiser

Call – Match current bet or raise

Check – Do not bet and see next card

Check-raise – Checking initially and then raising after an opponent bets.

Chip stack – Number and value of chips a player holds

Community cards – Cards shared by all players to make a 5-card hand

Dealer – Player who distributes cards

Dominated hand – A hand that is likely to be beaten by another hand with a similar makeup.

Double up – Winning a pot that doubles your chip stack.

Drawing dead – Cannot make the best hand no matter the board

Equity – The share of the pot a player expects to win based on their hand

Fold – Discard hand and forfeit ante and blinds

Fold equity – The likelihood of opponents folding to a bet or raise

Flop – First 3 community cards dealt face-up after betting round

Freeroll – A tournament with no entry fee but still offers real money or prizes.

Grinder – A player who consistently makes small profits over time

Gutshot – Draw to a straight needing one specific card

Hand – Best 5-card poker hand a player can make

Heads-up – Only two players remaining

Hole cards – Cards dealt face-down to each player

ICM (Independent Chip Model) – A mathematical model used in tournament play to calculate the value of chips

Implied odds – Potential to win a large pot justifies a speculative bet

Limp – Call the big blind instead of raising

Main pot – Original pot that was not subject to side pots

MTT (Multi-Table Tournament) – A tournament played across multiple tables

Muck – Discard cards without showing them

Nit – A tight and conservative player who avoids risks

No-limit – A betting structure where players can bet any amount of chips at any time.

Nuts – Best possible hand given the board

Offsuit – Two or more cards of different suits.

Out – Cards needed to complete a draw

Overlay – A situation where the guaranteed prize pool exceeds the total buy-ins

Overpair – Pocket pair higher than any board pair

Pot – Total amount of bets and antes in the center

Pot-limit – A betting structure where the maximum bet or raise is the current size of the pot.

Pot Odds – The ratio of what you have to call compared to how much is already in the pot, which should influence your calling decisions.

Position – Where you’re seated relative to the dealer button, which impacts when you act on each betting round. Early position is tougher.

Preflop – Action before the flop

Quads – Four of a kind

Raise – Bet a higher amount than previous bet

Rake – The small percentage the casino takes off each pot as their fee for hosting the game. Keeps things running.

Range – The set of hands a player could have based on their actions

Re-raise – Making a raise after a previous raise has been made

Rebuy – Purchase more chips during a tournament

River – Fifth and final community card

Royal flush – A-K-Q-J-10 of the same suit

Satellite – A tournament where the prize is an entry into a larger tournament.

Satellite – Tournament where prize is entry to a bigger tournament

Semi-bluff – Betting or raising with a drawing hand that has potential to improve

Set – Pocket pair with a third card on the board

Shark – A highly skilled and experienced poker player

Short stack – Having a small number of chips compared to the other players

Showdown – When remaining players reveal hands

Side pot – A separate pot created when a player goes all-in and other players continue betting.

Small blind – Forced bet placed before flop by player to left of big blind

Slow play – Playing a strong hand passively to induce opponents to bet more.

Split pot – When remaining players split

Stack – Your current chip total at the table. 

Suited – Two or more cards of the same suit.

Tell – A habit or tic that reveals information about your cards to other players. Try to avoid developing these.

Tilt – When a player becomes emotionally frustrated and starts making irrational decisions.

Time bank – A limited amount of extra time a player can use to make a decision.

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Under the gun – The player who acts first in a betting round, sitting to the left of the big blind.

Value bet – A bet made with a strong hand to extract maximum value from opponents.

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