Another term for “betting,” that is, to start the action is to start the betting.
A small sum of money, placed in the pot by each player. Antes are used in stud and draw, but not in Hold ’em or Omaha.
A bet that must be posted by the player two seats to the left of the button. It is equal to the amount of the smaller betting limit in a game, for example, in a 10-20 game, the big blind would be $10.
Forced bets placed in the pot by the first two players in front of the dealer button, in Hold ’em and Omaha. See “small blind” and “big blind.”
To bet when you hold a weak hand, hoping that the intimidation factor of your bet can win the hand.
Usually used to refer to the visible cards on the table, e.g., “looking around the board,” means looking at the visible cards. In Hold ’em and Omaha, everyone shares the same board. In Stud games, each player has his own board.
In stud, a bet that must be made on the very first betting round. Usually the player showing the lowest card is forced to make a bet; in some games, the player showing the highest card is forced. The bring-in applies only on the very first betting round, though. On all further rounds, the player showing the highest hand on board has the OPTION to bet first, but need not.
A plastic disc used to represent the dealer position, in games where a professional dealer is used, and position remains constant throughout the hand (Hold ’em and Omaha).
To match a bet that has been made.
To possess the option to bet, but decline. A player cannot check once someone else has bet; at that point, the player must call, raise, or fold. But if no one has yet bet, a player can check, allowing the betting option to pass to the next player.
To check, indicating weakness, with the intention of raising after someone else bets. Check-raises are allowed in all casino poker games; in some home games, they are frowned upon.
Cards that are turned face up in the middle of the table, and which belong to all players still in the hand. Community cards are used in Hold ’em and Omaha.
A hand that has the potential to become a strong hand but which without improvement is relatively worthless. The most common types of drawing hands are four card straights and four card flushes.
The fifth community card in Hold ’em or Omaha (in these games, 5th street is more often called “the river.”). Also sometimes used to refer to the fifth card received in 7 card stud.
In Hold ’em or Omaha, the first three community cards, turned up all at once.
5 cards all of the same suit, for example, 3-4-8-10-K of hearts.
To hold four cards of the same suit, for example, 3-4-8-10 of hearts, and thus to be hoping to catch a fifth suited card (in this case another heart) that would give you a flush.
To drop out of a hand.
The fourth community card in Hold ’em or Omaha (in these games, 4th street is more often called “the turn.”). Also sometimes used to refer to the fourth card received in 7 card stud.
Three of one card and two of another, e.g., 7-7-7-5-5.
A player’s best five cards.
When a hand has been reduced to only two players.
Any poker game where the highest and lowest hands split the pot. It is possible to have a hand that wins both, for example, A-2-3-4-5 is a straight but is also (in most forms of high-low poker) also considered the lowest possible hand. In some forms of high-low, the lowest possible hand is A-2-3-4-6, and in others (although usually this is true only in low-only games), the lowest possible hand is 2-3-4-5-7 (because this hand does not contain an Ace). Make sure you know what the best low hand is before jumping in!
Cards that are face down and cannot be seen by the other players.
Inside Straight draw:
Four cards that can make a straight by hitting one specific card, somewhere in the middle, such as 4-6-7-8 (where only a Five could give the player a straight). Compare this to an Open-ended straight draw, where cards on either end could complete the hand.
Two meanings. 1) A single card kept along with a pair, in draw, in an attempt to make two pair. For example, someone might keep 3-3-K, drawing two cards, in the hope that he might get either a Three (for trips) or a King (making two pair, Kings-up). 2) The highest single card held by two players in Hold ’em who each hold the same pair. For example, if the board in Hold ’em is A-10-8-5-2, and Player One holds A-J as his hand, and Player Two holds A-Q, each player has a pair of Aces, but Player Two has a better kicker and would win the hand.
The most common variety of poker, where the size of the bets are pre-determined. For example, in a “10-20” game, the bets and raises can be only $10 in the early rounds and $20 in the late rounds. Compare to No-limit poker.
To hold a drawing hand but not receive the card you needed to improve. For example, someone holding four hearts and whose final card is a spade has “missed his draw.”
Narrowing the Field:
To bet or raise in the hopes that you will drive out some players whose hands are currently worse than yours, but who might improve if allowed to stay in.
Considered the most skillful and most dangerous form of poker, where any player can bet all of his chips at any time.
The best possible hand. This phrase is almost always used in the context of a particular hand (otherwise “the nuts” would just be a term for a royal flush). For example, in Hold ’em, a player holding 8-9 would hold “the nuts” if the flop came 6-7-10. At that moment, the 6-7-8-9-10 straight is the best possible hand. However, if the Turn card were a Jack, and the River a Queen, a player holding A-K would then have the nuts-a 10-J-Q-K-A straight.
Community card poker game with significant similarities to, and equally important differences from, Texas Hold ’em. In Omaha, all players received four cards of their own (rather than two in Hold ’em), but unlike Hold ’em where the players may choose to play zero, one, or two of the cards in their hand, in Omaha a player must use two and exactly two of his cards. Thus in Hold ’em, if the community board showed 7-7-8-8-J, and a player held A-8 as his hand, that player would have a full house (using the Eight from his hand and the two pair on the board). In Omaha, with the same board, a player holding A-8-4-3 would have only 3 Eights, because he would have to use two cards from his own hand. Omaha is frequently played in a high-low version.
Open-ended straight draw:
Four consecutive cards, such as 5-6-7-8, which allows the player to complete his straight with a card on either end (in this case, a 4 or a 9 would complete the straight). Compare this with an Inside Overcards: Cards that are higher than shown on the board. For example, in Hold ’em, if the flop came 4-6-9, and your hand was K-Q, you would be said to hold two overcards; there is a good chance that someone currently holds a Four, Six, or Nine, giving them a pair, but if the Turn or River brings a King or a Queen, your paired overcard might win the hand for you.
Two cards of the same rank, e.g., two Sevens or two Kings.
A hand that is complete and would not be broken up to try to improve. Straights, flushes, full houses, four of a kind, and straight flushes are all pat hands.
Extremely important, often underrated poker concept. In most forms of poker, there is a big advantage to going last. In hold ’em, the player holding the button goes last on all rounds. By being the last to act, you have much more information available to you at the time you must decide whether to check, bet, raise, or fold.
The money in the center of the table, being contested by the players still remaining in the hand.
Compare to Limit poker and no-limit poker. In pot-limit, a player may bet an amount up to but not greater than the size of the pot at that particular moment.
Often it is important to evaluate the size of the pot in deciding whether or not to call a bet. If there is a great deal of money in the pot, sometimes even a mediocre hand is worth calling if it has a small chance to improve to the best hand. On the contrary, if the pot is very small, even a fairly good hand may not be worth a call, because the amount one is risk, relative to the amount one stands to gain, is not enough.
To increase the size of a bet that has been made.
The amount of money the casino takes from the pot to make money from the poker game. In low limit games, the casino usually rakes some percentage of the pot, usually a maximum of 10% of the pot. In higher limit games, the casino makes money either by charging players an hourly fee to play, or by collecting a fee each time a player holds the button.
In Hold ’em or Omaha, the fifth and final community card. Also sometimes called fifth street.
A player known to be very conservative, who usually bets or raises only when he has a very powerful hand.
To act weak when you hold an extremely powerful hand, in the hopes of luring in other players. For example, if in Hold ’em your hand was the 5-6 of clubs, and the flop came 2-3-4 of clubs, you would have an unbeatable hand. But if you bet and raised aggressively right away, everyone else might fold and you would win only a small pot. By merely checking or calling, you might lure other players into thinking their hands had a better chance, and win more money from them.
A bet that must be posted by the player one seat to the left of the button. It is usually equal to one half of the smaller betting limit in a game, for example, in a 10-20 game, the small blind would be $5. Occasionally, the small blind is some other fraction of the big blind. I have seen 15-30 games where the big blind is $15 and the small blind $10, and also 15-30 where the small blind is $5.
Straight: 5 consecutive cards, for example, 9-10-J-Q-K.
Five consecutive cards that are also of the same suit, for example, 8-9-10-J-Q of clubs.
Spades, Hearts, Diamonds and Clubs. In most forms of poker, suits are unimportant, except for decided who must begin the betting. At the end of a hand, if players hold identical cards, except that the suits are different, they are considered to hold identical hands and split the pot.
Three of a kind.
In Hold ’em or Omaha, the fourth community card. Also sometimes called fourth street.
Four of a kind.