Poker Terms Glossary: Understanding the Lingo of the World’s Most Popular Card Game

Noah Adams - Content Editor at CasinoCrawlers
Written by Noah Adams
The most commonly used poker terms
Published: 17/06/2023
Reading time: 11 minutes

Along with all the skills, tricks, tips, and strategies to master the game of poker, you need to know the lingo. That's why we created a glossary of the most popular poker terms. By reading our guide, you go from a poker novice to a Las Vegas card shark in next to no time!

The Most Common Poker Terms Explained

Now that you understand the different poker games, you'll probably want to learn the most common poker terms.

Here are some common poker terms that will help your skills at the poker table:


Ace in the hole: 'Ace in the hole' refers to a player having an ace in the hand of cards they have been dealt. They have an Ace as one of their hole cards.

Action: Any betting or raising that takes place during a hand.

Action Card: Action cards in poker are community cards that influence gameplay and betting, typically appearing on the flop, turn, or the river, and prompting players to make strategic decisions based on the new information provided by these cards.

Active Players: Active players are players who are still playing with a chance of winning the pot. They have yet to fold.

All-in: A bet that commits all of a player's chips to the pot.

Ante: A small forced bet that all players must make before the flop is dealt.


Bank: In poker, the bank refers to the collective amount of money or chips that are available for betting during a game. It serves as the central pool from which players can win or lose chips and it is usually managed by a designated dealer, or in a tournament or professional setting, the casino itself.

Bankroll: A bankroll refers to the total amount of chips or money a player sets aside specifically for playing poker.

Bet: A bet is an action where a player puts money or chips into the pot during a betting round. The amount of the bet can vary based on the specific game and table limits.

Betting Structure: Betting Structure refers to a predetermined set of rules for betting limits in a particular game. Common betting structures include no-limit, pot-limit, and fixed-limit.

Big Blind: A forced bet that is made by the player sitting 2 positions clockwise left of the dealer during the preflop betting round. The big blind's bet must be double that of the small blind.

Blank: A blank refers to a card in a flop game of poker that has been dealt but does not affect the strength of a player's hand. For example, if a player was looking for a heart card to complete a flush but a 4 of spades was turned over, this card would have no effect on the player's hand.

Bluff: A bet or raise made with a weak hand in an attempt to make other players believe that you have a strong hand.

Board: The board is the name given to the community cards that are dealt face-up on the table and are shared by all the players.

Boat: This is another name given to a Full-house hand

Bottom dealing: This is trick or cheat dealing, where the card is dealt from the bottom of the deck rather than the top.

Brunson: A Brunson refers to a starting hand of a 10 and 2, specifically the 10 of spades and 2 of any suit. It is named after poker legend Doyle Brunson, who won the World Series of Poker twice in a row (76 & 77) with this particular hand. Despite the hand being given a name, it is considered a weak hand and not recommended for play in most situations.

Bug: A bug is another name given to a wild card. This card can be used as any card value to make a strong hand.

Burn Card: When a dealer is dealing the cards to the players, he/she must discard the first card of the deck. This prevents cheating or trick dealing.

Bum Deal: If the dealer misdeals the cards, the deal is called a bum deal and all the cards must be returned for the dealer to deal again.

Buy the Pot: If a player makes a large opening bet with the intention of forcing the other players to fold their hands, this player is said to have 'bought the pot'.


Call: To match the amount of the current bet.

Center Pot: The center pot is the name given to the main portion of the pot formed during a game. This includes bets and chips wagered by all active players up to a certain point in the game.

Chase: In poker, chase refers to a player's decision to continue betting or calling to pursue a hand that is currently not strong but has the potential to improve on future community cards.

Check: To pass on betting in a round without folding. Depending on the position at the table and betting round, if a player is undecided about whether to play, they can check to see if other players are playing before making the decision to fold or bet. They can do this by knocking or tapping the felt, or by simply saying check.

Chip: A round circular disk representing a certain amount of money a player has to bet.

Community card: A community card is a card placed by the dealer which all players at the table can play with to create strong ranking hands.


Dead Hand: A 'dead hand' is a hand that is no longer in play due to a rule violation or disqualification. A dead hand may occur if a player exposes their cards prematurely, acts out of turn, touches another player's cards, or is found to have broken the rules.

Dead Man's Hand: Dead Man's Hand consists of two pair (a set of black aces, and a set of black 8s). It is known as Dead Man's Hand after a legendary wild west tale, where Wild Bill Hickok was shot and killed during a poker game in 1876. This was the hand he was holding when he was shot.

Deal: Deal, or dealing, refers to the action of distributing cards to players at the beginning of a hand or during certain stages of the game. The deal rotates around the table so each player has the chance to deal the cards unless there is an official card dealer present. This is usually the case in a casino setting or a tournament.

Dealer: The dealer is the person who deals the cards. If in a casino or tournament setting, the dealer is the name given to the position from which play begins.

Dealer's Choice: In house games of poker, dealer's choice refers to the dealer being allowed to choose which version of poker or rules the next hand is to be played. For example, once a hand ends and the dealer moves on to the next position, the new dealer may call 'five card draw' despite the last hand played under Texas Hold'em rules. Similarly, the dealer can simply say 'one-eyed jacks are wild', meaning the jack of spades and jack of hearts are played as wild cards.

Deuce: Deuce is commonly used to describe the 2 of any suit in a game of poker.

Discard: Discard refers to the act of getting rid of one or more cards from a player's hand. This only occurs in specific versions of poker such as draw poker, video poker, or certain forms of stud poker.

Donkey: Similar to fish, 'donkey' refers to a weak player.

Door Card: A 'door card' refers to the first face-up card that is dealt to each player in specific variants of Stud Poker. This card is dealt after all hole cards have been dealt.

Draw: A player can 'draw' new cards in some variants of poker, such as five-card draw and video poker. This action involves a player exchanging or replacing some of the cards in their hand with new cards from the deck.

Drop: Drop is another word for 'fold'. When a player decided to exclude oneself from a hand.


Family Pot: This refers to a situation where all or most of the players at the table decide, to enter the hand by calling the initial bet or raising.

Felt: The material covering a poker table. It usually comes in variations of green, blue or red.

Fold: To give up on a hand and forfeit any chips that have been bet.

Fold equity: The probability that an opponent will fold to a bet or raise.

Fish: Like 'donkey', a fish refers to a weak player.

Five of a Kind: In games where there are wild cards in play, a new hand can be created consisting of 4 of a kind and a wild card.

Flop Game: Flop games refer to games with community cards. These games deal cards on the table that can be used by any player to form his/her hand.

Flush: A flush poker hand is a hand comprising of cards all from the same suit.

Fold: When you 'fold' in poker, you exclude yourself from the current hand/round.

Fouled Hand: Like 'dead hand', this refers to a hand that is considered invalid or disqualified due to a rule violation or error made by the player.

Four of a Kind: A hand in poker consisting of 4 cards of the same value.

Fourth street: Fourth street refers to the fourth community card that is dealt face-up on the table in certain variants, such as seven-card stud and Texas Hold'Em.

Full House: A poker hand consisting of three of a kind and a pair.


Hand: The five cards that a player has in their hand, plus any community cards that have been dealt. It can also refer to a whole round of poker between the same set of players.

Heads-up: A poker game between two players.

Hole cards: The cards that are dealt to a player by the dealer in certain variants of poker. They are also known as pocket cards.

Hold 'em: A type of poker game in which each player is dealt between 2 and 4 private cards and then five community cards are dealt face up in the middle of the table. Variations include Texas Hold'Em and Omaha Hold'em.


Jackpot: In certain games, players can enter into a 'jackpot', which can be won under specific circumstances or conditions. Players place an extra wager to enter into the jackpot. Usually, in tournament or casino settings, if a player gets a royal flush they win the jackpot.

Joker: Joker is an extra card, found in a 56-card deck. In certain games, this card is playable as a wild card.


Kitty: Kitty is another name given to the pot.


Match the Pot: This describes a betting action where a player matches the total amount of chips or money that is already in the pot.

Muck: When a dealer 'burns' a card, this card gets placed face down in a spot away from the other cards, which is known as the 'muck'.


Pair: A hand consisting of 2 cards of the same card value.

Play the Board: In a flop game, specifically Texas Hold'Em, a player can play a hand which consists of only community cards. This is called 'playing the board'.

Pocket Aces: If you are dealt a pair of aces from the dealer, these are known as pocket aces.

Poker Face: The act of portraying a motionless expression while playing poker, so another player cannot read your face to tell if you are bluffing or not.

Pot: The total amount of money that has been bet in a hand.

Pre-Flop: The Pre-flop is the opening betting round in a Hold'Em game of poker. The Pre-flop comes before the first three community cards are dealt face-up on the table.


Quads: Quads is another name for Four of a Kind.


Raise: To increase the amount of the current bet.

Rake: The rake is the percentage from the pot that a casino or tournament host takes as a commission for running the game.

Redeal: This refers to the action of invalidating the current hand and starting a new hand from the beginning. This may occur for a number of reasons, including a bum deal, a rule violation, or a significant error that interferes with the integrity of the hand.

River: The fifth and final community card that is dealt in a flop poker game.

Rounder: This term, made famous by the movie starring Matt Damon, refers to a person who travels to different locations to play poker tournaments.

Royal Flush: The strongest hand in poker. A royal flush consists of an Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and 10 all of the same suit.

Royal Cards: King, Queen and Jacks of any suit are referred to as royal cards.


Set: A set refers to a three-of-a-kind hand, where a player has a pocket pair and makes a matching third card on the board. A set is a powerful hand as it can be well disguised from other players who don't know you are chasing a three-of-a-kind.

Shark: An experienced poker player.

Shove: A shove refers to an aggressive move in poker. This could involve going 'all in', or trying to 'buy the pot'.

Showdown: The final stage of a hand in which all players reveal their hands. The player with the best hand wins the pot.

Side Pot: A side pot is a separate pot that is created when one or more players are 'all-in' and have contributed different amounts of chips to the main pot. The side pot is formed to accommodate the additional bets or raises made by players who still have chips remaining. At the end of the round, the side pot is awarded to the player with the best hand among those who contributed to that specific side pot.

Small blind: The small blind is the person position left of the dealer who opens the betting.

Split Pair: A split pair is a poker hand consisting of one card from a player's hole cards combined with a community card with the same card value.

Stakes: The wager, or bet, of a poker game.

Straight: A poker hand consisting of a sequence of card values in order, regardless of suit.

Straight Flush: The second strongest poker hand. A straight flush is comprised of a sequence of numbers in order all in the same suit.

Street: A round of betting in poker. There are four streets in a typical poker hand: the pre-flop, the flop, the turn, and the river.

Stud: A variant of poker

Table: The physical or virtual space where a poker game is played.

Three of a Kind: A poker hand consisting of 3 of the same card value.

Trips: Trips is another name for Three of a Kind.

Turn: The fourth community card that is dealt in a poker hand.


Under the Gun: This refers to a player who is forced to bet or fold while knowing as little as possible about the betting potential of the round. This is usually reserved for the person sitting directly left of the big blind in the pre-flop. They must play or fold without knowing how others are going to play.

Up the Ante: A term referring to a significant increase to the pot or the stakes.


Value bet: A bet made with a strong hand in an attempt to win as much money as possible.


Wheel: A name for a straight poker hand running from Ace to 5, with Ace playing low.

Wild Card: A Wild Card is a predetermined card that can be used as any card value. Popular in Deuces Wild and Joker Poker, where 2s and jokers are used as wild cards in the respective games.

Poker Terms – Summary

These are just a few of the most common poker terms. There are many more, but this should give you a good start. As you learn more about the game, you will come to understand more about the meaning of these terms, along with many others.

So, what are you waiting for? Try out your new vocabulary on the best poker sites in NZ.

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Noah Adams

Noah Adams

Senior Content Editor

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Noah is the senior content editor at CasinoCrawlers and a writer with many iGaming articles under his portfolio. Therefore, he is skilled at writing bonus guidelines, gambling strategies, and casino reviews. During his spare time, he enjoys playing Call of Duty and is a huge rugby fan.

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Last updated: September 19, 2023