Your Complete A-Z Guide to Poker Slang | Poker Glossary

As with most popular pastimes, poker is a game full of slang terms. When you sit at a table for the first time, the chat might sound like a foreign language, as others use slang terms to describe pretty much every facet of the game. Don’t worry however, as you’ll soon boost your poker vocabulary and will easily be able to converse with poker players in their own lingo!

In this poker slang lingo glossary, we’re going to take you through many of the common phrases you’ll find being used at the poker table. Once you’ve finished reading, you’ll understand most poker terminology and will fit in perfectly at tables both in casinos and online at sites like PokerStars and Pala Poker . So, keep reading to find out more!

poker glossary

Poker Slang You Need to Know

Below we’ve listed a huge selection of different pieces of poker lingo, which are used commonly by players of this card game. Why not bookmark the page so you can refer back to it when you next hear an unfamiliar piece of poker lingo being used online?

Ace in the Hole

When one of your hole cards is an ace.

Aces Full

A term used to describe a full house with three aces and any other pair.


Advertizing is the word used to describe someone when they deliberately show a weak hand, in the hope that others will perceive them to be an overly weak or aggressive player. They can then capitalize on this reputation when they have a strong hand.

American Airlines

A term used for pocket aces, due to the initials of the company.


It’s possible to get a backdoor flush, straight or full house. They are referred to as “backdoor” when the hands are made thanks to the turn and river cards.

Bad Beat

When someone is beaten when they were the overwhelming favorite, usually for a significant sum of money. Some poker sites offer a Bad Beat Jackpot , usually paid out to those who lose despite having an exceptionally strong hand, typically four-of-a-kind or better.


Successive bets made by the same player in different betting rounds. For example, a player could barrel after the flop, turn and river, showing that they opened the betting all three times.

Big Slick

A name used for A-K.


When someone draws a blank, it means that they fail to hit the card(s) they’re hoping to hit on the flop, turn or river.


A card that partially or totally blocks someone else making a hand. For example, if you have 7-7 and the flop is 5-6-8, you are partially blocking another player from making a straight. Blockers are particularly important in Omaha and lowball games .

Bluff Catcher

A hand that is only good enough to win if it is used to call a player who is bluffing.


Another term for a full house, which is three cards of the same value, and another two cards of the same value.


A brick is a card that fails to improve a hand. For example, if you had 7-8 and the board was showing 9-10-K-A, and the river is a 3, it would be described as a brick.


A straight that runs from 10 to A. All cards do not need to be of the same suit.


The final position in a tournament that does not receive a prize. For example, if a tournament pays the top eight players, ninth position would be known as the bubble. It is often prudent to play slightly differently when the bubble is near.


A term used for a pair of aces.


A busted hand is one that has failed to hit its straight or flush draw, therefore making it almost worthless.

Calling Station

A derogatory term used to describe someone who continuously calls bets from other players, but who rarely raises.

Case Card

A case card is the final card in the deck of a particular rank.


Short for “continuation bet” which is usually the opening bet after the flop, made by the player who also opened the betting before the flop.

Check Raise

When a player checks, before then reraising after another player has made a bet.


A poor starting hand.

Cold Call

This is when a player calls after there has already been at least one raise in the betting round.

Come Over the Top

A player is said to have come over the top when they have reraised.

Community Cards

The community cards are the five cards dealt face up in the middle of the table that can be used by all players.


When a player with a strong hand is beaten by another player with an even stronger hand. For example, when one player goes all in with pocket kings, and is called and beaten by another player with pocket aces.


A counterfeit is a card on the board that should make a player’s hand stronger, but actually does the opposite. For example, if you have 8-8 and the board is showing 3-9-9-A, you have two pair. An ace is then dealt, meaning that you now have a stronger two pair, but the chances are that another player will now win, as they’d only need a card higher than an 8 to do so.


A term used to describe pocket kings.


If you crack another player’s hand, it means that you have beaten their hand, when initially your hand was much weaker. For example, you could crack a pair of aces with 7-8, if the board was 9-10-A-2-J.

Crap Shoot

A term used for a cash game or tournament that is seeing players rely more on luck than skill.


The name given to the seat immediately to the right of the button.

Dark Bet

A player makes a dark bet when they announce that they’re going to bet before they’ve seen the cards due to be dealt.

Dead Man’s Hand

Two pair aces and eights is referred to as the Dead Man’s Hand, as it was reputedly held by Wild Bill Hickok when he was shot while dead playing poker.

Dead Money

Any money in a pot that has been contributed by those who are no longer in the pot.


A slang name for a two.


Short for “underdog” - someone who is not fancied to win a hand.

Dolly Parton

A term for the hand 5-9, in reference to the movie she starred in called “9 to 5.”

Donk Bet

A bet made out of position after the flop. The bet is often a large one. Usually seen as a sign of weak play, however donk bets are sometimes useful.


poker donkey

A derogatory name used to refer to a poor player.

Double Up

When a player goes all in and wins against one other player, therefore doubling their stack.

Down Card

Any hole card, as they are dealt face down.

Drawing Dead

A player is drawing dead if there is no way for them to win a hand. For example, one player might be trying to hit a straight, however another player already has a full house, meaning that even if the first player hits the card they need, they’d still lose.

Dry Board

A board that does not have many opportunities for players to make drawing hands. For example, a board of 2-9-A, all of different suits, would be a dry board, because there’s no way for players to have either a flush or straight draw.


Nickname for a pair of twos, simply because they look like a pair of ducks.

Early Position

A position in poker in which the player must act before most other players sat at the table.

Family Pot

When all the players at a table see the flop.

Fifth Street

A term used to describe the river, which is the final card dealt of the five community cards.


A derogatory term used for a weak player.


If you float, it means that you call another player’s raise when you know you have a weak hand, but have the intention to bluff later on.

Free Card

If there is no betting in a betting round, the following card is known as a free card, as nobody had to pay anything to see it. Used particularly when someone is trying to fill a straight or a flush and they’re not made to pay to see the next card.


A player is said to be grinding when they play conservatively over a long period of time, trying to grind out some money, as opposed to make money quickly.


A gutshot is another word for an inside straight draw, which is when a player needs a card from the middle of a straight in order to complete the hand, such as needing a 5 when they already have 3-4-6-7.

Heads Up

When just two players are playing against each other. The situation at the end of all tournaments, regardless of their size. Playing heads up is a skill every serious player should master.

Hero Call

A hero call is when a player calls a raise after the river with a weak hand, suspecting that the opponent is bluffing. It can also be used when someone makes a call of this type only to find that the opponent really does have a strong hand.

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High Roller

A high roller is a player who plays for the highest stakes, such as those who play in the Big Game at the Bellagio .


The seat two places to the right of the button. The term comes from the fact that a player in this position can hijack the cutoff and button, taking away their advantage.


If you manage to hit a card, it means that the card you wanted has been dealt onto the table.

Hockey Sticks

A term used to describe a pair of sevens, as the number on the card resembles a hockey stick.


This is a word used to describe a pot that has seen a number of different players making raises.


Hole cards of K-J. Named after the famous television show.


A term used to describe a pair of queens.


When a player folds, usually in a situation where they have a big hand, but fold in the belief that their opponent has an even bigger hand.


Limping in is a term used to describe someone who only calls the big blind, as opposed to raising. It is generally seen as weak play, showing others that a hand isn’t good enough to raise with.


In online poker, when a player accidentally performs an action, when wanting to do something different. For example, calling a bet when they actually meant to fold.


If a hand is described as a monster, it means that it’s an extremely strong hand. For example, if you have A-A and the flop comes 10-A-A, you would be said to have a monster hand.


When you muck your hand, it means that you fold.


A nit is a very tight player, who only usually gets involved in pots when they have a strong hand. It can be used in a derogatory way.


Nosebleed stakes are exceptionally high stakes, only reserved for high rollers.


If a player is said to have the nuts, it means that they have the strongest possible hand. For example, if the board was 2-5-7-J-K with no flush possible, and a player had K-K, they would have the nuts, as they couldn’t be beaten.


When your hole cards are of two different suits, they are said to be offsuit.

One Gapper

This is when your hole cards have a gap of one card between them, such as 5-7 or 10-Q.


An out is a card that can help a player make their hand and beat another player. For example, if you have 10-J and the board is showing 2-5-8-9, your outs would be 7 and Q.


If a player makes an overbet, it means that they’ve made a bet larger than necessary. It’s usually a term used if a player with a strong hand bets too much, scaring away any opponents, however it can also be used as a legitimate strategy .


An overcard is either a community card that ranks higher than either of a player’s hole cards, or a hole card that ranks higher than any of the community cards.


When a player has a pocket pair that is higher than any of the cards on the board. For example, if the board is 3-5-9-10-Q and the player has K-K, they have an overpair.

Pocket Rockets

Another name for pocket aces, referring to the fact that the A on a card looks similar to a rocket.

Pocket Pair

Any two cards of the same value held as hole cards by a player.

Pot Committed

When a player has already put so much money into a pot that they have to call a raise, even if they are not confident that their hand is a winning one.


All money that has been bet is collectively known as the pot.


poker tilt

Another name for four-of-a-kind. Often followed by the value of the cards, for example, “quad fives.”

Rabbit Hunt

A rabbit hunt is when the hand ends, but the players agree that they want to see which cards would have been dealt had the hand continued.


A rainbow is a term used to describe a flop featuring three cards all of different suits


A player is said to be ratholing when they take money off the table during a cash game. This is, at best, bad etiquette and, at worst, against the rules of a casino.

River Rat

A derogatory term for a player who often gets lucky on the river and hits the card they need in order to win the hand.


The name for a really passive and tight player, who only enters into a pot when they have a particularly strong hand.

Runner Runner

A hand completed using both the turn and river cards. For example, if you have 6-8 and the flop is 2-9-A, you will hit a runner runner straight if the final two cards are 7-10.

Scare Card

A community card that could be used to complete a particular draw, therefore causing other players to be scared someone has just made a strong hand. For example, if there are two clubs on the board and another club is dealt, it could be described as a scare card, as someone could complete a flush.


A shark is an extremely good poker player.


Another name for three-of-a-kind.


When you go all-in, shoving all your chips into the middle of the table.


If you slowplay a hand, it means that you’ve played like a hand is weaker, in the hope of getting someone to make a raise or alternatively call a raise you eventually make.


To slowroll someone is to deliberately take a long time to call a bet after the river when you know that your hand is the winner. For example, you would slowroll someone if you had A-A and took ages when the board was 4-6-7-A-A. Of course, it’s not slowrolling if there are other players left to act.


A straddle is a bet made before the cards are dealt by the player after the big blind. It is generally a bet worth twice the value of the big blind. If there have been no raises when the betting gets back round to the player on the straddle, they have the opportunity to raise again.


A tell is an action from a player that gives a hint as to the strength of their hand. For example, a player might unwittingly talk more when bluffing.


poker tilt

When a player loses a big pot, they can go on tilt . This is when they start playing hyper aggressive poker, without thinking rationally about their actions. Inducing tilt is a tactic used by some players.


A trap occurs when a player with a strong hand deliberately lulls an opponent into betting into them, only to then confidently call or raise and win the pot. This can often be done by checking to display weakness, causing the other player to bet.


Another word used for a three.


Another term used for three-of-a-kind.


An underdog is a player expected to lose. For example, a player with 10-10 would be an underdog when taking on a player with A-A.


When a player has a pocket pair that is lower in value than any other card on the board. For example, if you have 5-5 and the board is 7-8-J-K-A.


A player can be said to be having an upswing if they are winning more than they usually would be.

Wet Board

A board giving players plenty of chances to make drawing hands. For example, a flop of 5-J-Q, featuring two spades, would be described as a wet board, as players could conceivably only need one more card to complete a flush or a straight.


A wealthy player without much skill in poker can be referred to as a whale. It is a derogatory term.


Wheel is the nickname given to a straight that runs from A to 5. This is a particularly strong hand when playing one of the variations of lowball poker.

So, there you have it: a complete poker glossary, to ensure you’re always able to understand what’s being said at a table. Now you should know exactly what everyone is talking about when you next sit down at a poker table!

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