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Basic Poker Terms

Basic Poker Terms

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In poker, there is practically a library of poker terms that are commonly used. If you’re new to the world of poker and have only sat at a table a few times, chances are you’ve struggled to understand the conversation of the players. That’s because the language of poker can be as foreign as Chinese, to those who aren’t natives.

Poker players are unique individuals in many aspects; the terminology is just one. To get you started, here’s a short guide to the basic lingo.

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Basic Terms

Hole Cards – The first two cards dealt face down to each player

  • The Flop – The next Three cards placed face up on the table
  • The Turn – The Forth card placed face up on the table
  • The River – The Fifth card placed face up on the table
  • Pot – The total money the player with the best hand will win
  • Bet – Put money in the pot
  • Check – Choose not to bet when nobody has bet before you
  • Call – Put money equal to another player’s bet in the pot to stay in the hand
  • Raise – Increase the amount of money other players have to pay to stay in hand
  • Pot Odds – Mathematically figure out if it is profitable for you to call a bet
  • Rags – A bad hand without much chance of winning
  • Bluffing – Betting/Raising to make other players fold when you have Rags
  • Bad Beat – Losing a pot to a great hand when you have a really good hand


Hold Cards and Hands


  • Pocket Pair – Two Hole Cards of the same value (Ex: 8 Hearts & 8 Clubs)
  • Bullets / Pocket Rockets – Two Aces as the Hole Cards (the best starting hand)
  • Big Slick – Ace and King as the Hole Cards
  • Suited – Two Hole Cards of the Same Suit (3 Hearts & 10 Hearts)
  • Connectors – Two Hole Cards in sequence (8 and 9, Jack and Queen)
  • Boat – Full House (see Hand Rankings – 7, 7, 7, 10, 10)
  • Trips – Three of a Kind (8, 8, 8)
  • Flopped a Hand – When you have a good hand with only the Flop, such as trips
  • On A Draw – Need helpful card on the Turn or River to make a good hand
  • Limit Hold’em – Bets and raises are fixed – can only bet the determined Limit
  • Pot Limit Hold’em – Bets cannot exceed the amount of money in the pot
  • No Limit Hold’em – Any player can bet any amount at any point in the hand

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Slang for Poker Hands

A-A – American Airlines, bullets, pocket rockets
A-K – Big Slick, “Walking back to Houston”, Anna Kournikova
A-J — Ajax
K-K – Cowboys
K-Q – Marriage
K-J – Kojak
K-9 — Canine
Q-Q – Dames, divas, ladies, the Hilton sisters, Siegfried & Roy
Q-J – Maverick, Oedipus Rex
Q-7 – Computer Hand
Q-3 – A San Francisco Busboy (a queen with a trey – har har)
J-J – Jokers, hooks
J-9 – T.J. Cloutier.
J-5 – Jackson Five, Motown
10-5 – Five and dime
10-2 – Doyle Brunson. (He won two World Series of Poker titles with this hand.)
9-9 – Meat hooks
8-8 – Snowmen, Octopuses
7-7 – Hockey Sticks, walking Sticks
7-2 – The Hammer
5-5 – Nickels, presto, speed limit
5-4 – Jesse James, for his Colt .45
4-4 — Sailboats
2-2 — Ducks


Poker Abbreviations 

Poker Abbreviations for Poker Games:

HE — Hold’em
LHE — Limit Hold’em
NLHE — No Limit Hold’em
O8 — Omaha Hi/Lo 8-or-better
PLO — Pot Limit Omaha High
PLO8 — Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo 8-or-better

Poker Abbreviations for Betting and Position:

BB — Big blind or big bet.
OTB — On the button
PL — Pot Limit
NL — No Limit
SB — Small blind
UTG — Under the gun

Poker Abbreviations for Poker Tournaments

AO — Add On
MTT — Multi-table tournament
RB — Rebuy
SNG — Sit and Go

Other Common Poker Abbreviations:

B&M — Brick and Mortar
EV — Expected value

These terms are basic terms that are standard for online and live casino plays. There are other terms, more advanced phrases, and some words that are specific to certain rooms. In general, the terminology is consistent.



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Categories: Casino