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General Poker Terms

A BC D EF G H IJ KL M NO P QR S TU VW X Y Z

A

Aces Up
Two pairs, one pair containing aces.

Action
The betting.

Add-On
The opportunity to buy additional chips in some tournaments.

All-In
A player is considered to be All-In when he/she bets all his/her remaining chips.

Ante
A bet required to begin a hand.

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B

Blind
A forced bet (or partial bet) put in by one or more players before any cards are dealt. Usually, blinds are put in by players immediately to the left of the disc, which marks where the dealing begins with each hand.

Board
All the community cards in a Texas Hold' Em game - the flop, turn, and river cards together. Example: "There wasn't a single heart on the board."

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C

Call
To call is to match the current bet. If there has been a bet of $10 and a raise of $10 then it costs $20 to call. Calling is the cheapest (and the most passive) way to remain in a hand.

Card Room
The rooms in which poker is played, or the organizations that runs those rooms. Most casinos that offer poker have a separate room, or at least a roped-off area, designated as the card room. In some places where poker is legal, you will also find separate card rooms (not part of a larger casino) dedicated mostly to poker.

Check
If there has been no betting before you in a betting round, you may check, which is like calling a bet of $0, or passing your turn.

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D

Down card
A card dealt to a player or the dealer face down.

Draw
To deal – or request to have dealt – a new card from the deck

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E

Exposed Card
A card that inadvertently turns face up when it isn't supposed to, such as during the deal in a draw game.

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F

Fifth Street
The fifth card dealt. Following this card is the third round of betting in seven-card stud and the fourth round of betting in Texas Hold 'Em. In Texas Hold 'Em, this is also called the river and is the last community card dealt.

Fixed Limit
Bets can only be made in specified increments.

Flop
A series of games with five community cards. These are called flop games. Hold 'Em and Omaha are two popular flop games. The flop is the first three community cards dealt.

Flush
When all five cards in your hand have a common suit, you have a flush. The flush with the highest card not in common is better, so AK873 of spades is a better flush than AK872 of diamonds. A flush ranks between a straight and a full house.

Fold
To muck your cards because someone else has made a larger bet than you are willing to call. You are unable to win the pot but at least you don't lose more money.

Forced Bet
A blind bet or a bring-in.

Full House
A strong hand that ranks between a flush and four of a kind, that consists of three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank. AAA77 is aces full of sevens, often abbreviated to "aces full".

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G

Green
$25 chips.

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H

Hand
Everything that occurs after the initial shuffling of the cards - cards are dealt, betting is done, a winner is declared and the pot is pushed. A hand also has several other meanings, such as the five cards that you chose to play in games with more than five cards.

Heads-up
Poker that is played by two players in a one-on-one poker format.

House
Everything that makes up the card room, such as dealers, management, etc. The house rakes money from the pot and develops and enforces house rules.

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I

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J

Jackpot
A large number of card rooms offer sizeable jackpots for certain things, such as the high hand of the hour. The rules vary from card room to card room.

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K

Kicker
The highest extra card in your hand that doesn't participate in a straight or flush. The card does not contribute to the strength of your hand except by itself. For example, if you hold QQ943, you have a pair of queens with a nine kicker. Five-card hands (straights, flushes, and full houses) don't have kickers. In games with community cards, kickers are especially important, because it's easy for two players to make similar hands. For example, if you hold A8 and someone else holds A7, and the flop is AK642, you have your opponent out-kicked. Your hand is AAK86 while theirs is AAK76.

Kill
A game in which a player may place an extra bet, causing the betting limits to go up for just that hand. The player posting the bet is the "killer," and the hand is considered a "kill pot." The player is said to have "killed the pot" for the amount of the kill. If one player wins two pots in a row in a kill Texas Hold' Em game, he is required to kill by posting a blind small bet on the next hand, with the limits doubled for that hand.

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L

Limit
poker A structured poker style that uses fixed limits on betting and raising per round. Limit poker games require specific bet amounts, as opposed to no-limit games in which you can bet the farm if so desired. A $5-$10 Texas Hold' Em game usually requires $5 bets and raises on the first two rounds (pre-flop and post flop) and $10 bets and raises on the last two (after the turn and river). In a $5-$10 game, the small blind is $2 and the big blind is $5.

Live Hand
A hand that has not been folded or mucked, or a hand with many outs remaining.

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M

Main Pot
The only pot an ‘All-In’ player is eligible to win. The main pot consists of the ‘All-In’ player's bet plus all other players that have called that bet. Additional bets, placed in a side pot, are contested among the remaining players.

Meet
Same as call.

Middle Pair
If you pair one of your pocket cards to the second highest card on the flop, you have middle pair.

Muck
The act of throwing your cards away because you cannot or did not win the pot. They are ineligible to win the pot if they are mucked.

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N

No-Limit
A version of poker in which a player may bet any amount of chips (up to the number in front of him) whenever it is his turn to act. It is a very different game than limit poker.

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O

Open
To make the first bet in a round.

Open-Ended Straight
A straight draw with four consecutive cards that can be completed on either end. An example is 6/7/8/9, since a five or a 10 will make a straight.

Option
If no one raises the big blind, then the player in that position has the option to raise when their turn comes around. The dealer will typically say something like "your option," to remind them.

Over Button
A type of button that indicates you are willing to play at higher limits. Any time everyone left in the hand has an over button, the limits go up.

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P

Pair
Two cards of the same value such as an Ace/Ace.

Pocket
Your first two down cards. Hold 'Em players tend to call them pocket cards; stud players tend to call them hole cards.

Position
Your place at the table, relative to the order of betting within a betting round. The first few players to act are in early position, the next few in middle position, and the last few in late position. There is an advantage to being in late position, seeing as how you know exactly what your opponents have done. In some games, the dealer, or the player on the dealer button, is always in last position. If you have position on someone, then they are on your right and you will always act after them.

Position Bet
A bet made relying on the strength of one's position rather than on the strength of one's hand. If no one opens, a player on the button in Texas Hold' Em is in good position to steal the pot, due to his position.

Post
To post is to put in the required amount in the pot before the hand starts, such as an ante or blind.

Pot
The money gathered in the middle of the table from blinds, bets, and raises. This money goes to the winner, or winners as the case may be. If you have not yet folded, you are "in the pot."

Pot Limit
A poker structure in which the maximum bet or raise is the size of the pot. For raises, the size of the pot includes the call, so if the pot is $100 and player A bets $100, player B can throw $400 out for a maximum raise (calling the $100 and then raising the size of the $300 pot).

Pot Odds
A mathematical solution to whether or not a particular situation is worth a call. The ratio of the amount of money in the pot to the amount of money it will cost you to call a bet. The greater the pot odds, the more likely you should be to call.

Pre-Flop
Before the flop, such as raising pre-flop.

Protect
To induce folding in order to prevent another player from outdrawing you is protecting your hand. This is done by betting and raising so that someone on a draw will fold rather than call to see if their cards come off. A protectable hand is one that is almost always the best, but is vulnerable to being outdrawn. It's easiest to protect a hand in no-limit play, where you can potentially make it as expensive as you like for someone to draw. To protect your cards is to put a chip or some other artifact on them so the dealer does not muck them.

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R

Raise
To increase the amount of the bet after the betting has already been opened in a round. For example, if the betting limit is $10 and player A bets $10, player B can fold, call the $10, or raise it to $20. Often, an inexperienced player will say "bet" when he means raise or "raise" when he means bet.

Rake
The house cut of each pot. The rake amount and protocol changes from card room to card room. Some rake the big blind and put the small blind in a jackpot, while others use a time charge, and others yet do a percentage of the pot as the rake.

Rank
The numerical value of a card. Each card has a suit and a rank. The three of spades and the three of hearts have the same rank. A pair is two cards of the same rank.

Re-buy
If you run out of chips in a tournament, and you wish to continue playing, you then re-buy, meaning, you buy more chips. This is only legal in re-buy tournaments. You can only re-buy up until a certain point. See also: ADD-ON.

Redraw
After you get your initial draw, picking up another draw. For example, if you hold 8h3h and the flop comes Th9h2s, you have a flush draw. If the turn is the 7h, you have made your flush and picked up a straight flush redraw.

Re-raise
A second raise after the initial raise in a round. This occurs when a player raises after a raise by another player.

River
The fifth and final community card dealt in flop games, or the last card dealt in non-flop games. Also called Fifth Street in Texas Hold' Em.

Round
A betting round begins after a card or several cards are dealt. Each player is given a chance to act, and the round ends when everyone has either folded to or called the last bet or raise. Each round of betting is followed either by further dealing or by a showdown. In Texas Hold' Em, there are four betting rounds (pre-flop, post flop, after the turn, and after the river). A round of hands is one full rotation around the table, so, each player would hold the dealer button once, or be the dealer if no pitcher were present.

Royal Flush
This is the highest possible ranked hand. To achieve this hand you need an Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and 10 of the same suit.

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S

Scare Card
A high card that, when it appears, brings forth a possibility for a better hand. In Texas Hold' Em, a third suited card on the river is a scare card, because it makes a flush possible. If you're pretty sure your opponent paired a king on the flop, an ace on the turn is a scare card, because that lends the idea of a pair of aces beating that pair of kings. Scare cards will often make it difficult for the best hand to bet, and offer an opportunity for bluffing.

7-Card Stud
A popular game commonly played in public card rooms. In seven-card stud, each player is dealt seven cards of their own: two down, then four up, and a final card down. There is a round of betting after the first up card and after each subsequent card dealt. 7-Card Stud is usually played with a small ante and a forced bring-in on Third Street. In limit games, the bet size typically increases on Fifth Street.

Showdown
The showdown occurs at the end of a hand, to determine the winner, if there is more than one player left. You can either show your cards, or, if you aren't a winner, you can muck them in most situations.

Shuffle
The mixing and rearranging of the cards before each hand so that the cards occur randomly. This is done by the dealer.

Sit In
To join in a game that has already started.

Split Pot
In a game that isn't high-low split, a tie between at least two players. This happens when both players show the same hand. This is common in Texas Hold' Em for straights especially when both players are playing the board. In a high-low split game, of course, almost every hand results in a split pot.

Spread Limit
A structure in which betting limits have a fixed minimum and maximum bet for each betting round. Any amount in between these limits may be bet.

Starting Hand
The two pocket cards in Texas Hold' Em or the first three cards in 7-Card stud.

Straddle
Raising before looking at your pocket cards when you are under the gun. There is no sound reason for doing this, other than trying to liven up a tight table, or for advertising value.

Straight

A straight is five cards of any suit in ascending order. The ace can be either high or low and the high straight wins the tie.

Straight Flush
A hand consisting of five cards of consecutive ranks of the same suit, aces being high or low.

Structure
The rules of a particular game regarding betting, including antes, blinds, and the amount that may be bet on any round. In card rooms, games are typically posted along with shorthand for the limits. For example, Texas Hold' Em is usually a fixed limit game, played with $5 bets and raises pre-flop and on the flop, and $10 bets and raises on the turn and the river. Games with more complicated structures sometimes spell it out like this: 5-10-10-15. In connection with tournaments, structure can also mean anything having to do with the amount of money in tournament chips players can get, the re-buy and add-on rules, and the way in which the blinds increase.

Stud
Refers to stud games in general, however, usually short for seven-card stud. Stud games are contrasted with flop games and draw games.

Stud Poker
A form of poker with cards dealt to each person, some being face down and some being face up.

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T

Table Stakes
Table stakes is a rule saying that a player may only wager money they have on the table at the beginning of a hand, in other words, they can't put their car keys down as a bet. It also implies that money may not be removed from the table at any time, although money may be added to one's stacks between hands.

Tell
A gesture or signal unintentionally done by a player that gives other players information about the player's hand. For example, a player who twitches when they are bluffing.

Texas Hold 'Em
Often shortened to just Hold 'Em, is widely considered the grandfather of poker. A flop game, in Texas Hold 'Em each player gets two pocket cards, while five community cards are dealt face-up on the table. The strength of a player's hand is the best five-card hand that can be made with these seven cards. There are four rounds of betting: after the pocket cards are dealt, after the first three community cards (the flop), after the fourth, or turn card, and after the final, or river card.

Three of a Kind

Having three cards of the same value.

Top Pair
If you have a pair with one of your pocket cards and the highest card on the board, you have top pair.

Tournament
In a poker tournament, each player sits down with the same number of chips, and eventually only one player has any chips left. That is the basic idea behind a tournament. Each card room runs tournaments differently. Tournaments are usually played with chips that have no value outside of the tournament. So a buy-in of $30 might get you $500 in tournament chips to play with, but you can't cash them out in the middle. The winner of a tournament (the last player to bust out) as well as several of the other top finishers are typically awarded prize money according to some predetermined schedule.

Two Pair
A hand consisting of two pairs of cards with the same value.

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U

Up Card
A card dealt to a player or the dealer face up.

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W

Wager
A bet.

Wait for the Blind
Instead of coming in the middle of a rotation, some clubs do not let a new player be dealt in until it is his turn to put in the blind. This prevents his getting "free" hands. Some clubs allow the player to join the hand if he immediately puts up the blind.

White
White is the color for $1 chips in most casinos.

Wild Card
Games that use a wild card are called wild card games. A wild card is a card that can serve as any other card in making your hand.

Winning hand
The hand that takes all the chips in the pot because it was the best hand in a showdown.

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