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Texas Holdem: Poker Terms

By Greg Mallon

Not Your Average "Poker Terms" - I try to give examples where Appropriate

Active PlayerSomeone involved in many hands - many more than is considered wise. Good poker players typically play very few hands. Someone playing too many hands may be dangerous, but over time will lose money.
All-InTo go All In :-)... ok, to bet all the money you have at the table.
AnteA forced bet. Usually only in effect at later stages of tournament play. The ante is "in addition" to the "small blind" and "big blind" (also forced bets). When "in effect", all players at the table must pay the "ante".
Back DoorTo require perfect cards on 4th and 5th street to (turn and river) make your hand. For example, you have three hearts and you need hearts on 4th and 5th street to make your flush; or, you have 3 cards in a straight at the flop and you need two additional cards to fill your straight. Obviously, you can imagine a "back door" straight or flush is unlikely.
Bad BeatWhen you have made a correct decision to put your money in with the "best of it". You have the best hand, but then your opponent draws some great cards, against the odds, to beat your hand.
Bad GameA game you don't like - like say if you got shot during the game - that would be bad. :-)
BankrollAn amount of money you've set aside to play the particular limit or stakes that you like. The bankroll concept is overlooked by beginners since they just get some money and play, and usually lose. Then they get more. You should first of all try to educate yourself and, when you think you might be ready, determine a bankroll that is appropriate for the stakes you want to play. The bankroll is your cushion to the inevitable ups and downs while you play. Regardless of how good you may be, you will have bad runs and you would like to have enough money set aside so you do not go broke during those periods.
Belly BusterAfter the flop this is a straight draw that requires a single card to complete. Say you are trying for an ace high straight and are missing the Queen. You have the Ten, Jack, King and Ace but are missing the "belly" - in this case, the Queen. This is sometimes called a "Gut Shot" straight for the same reason. Note that with a belly buster/gut shot straight, you have only FOUR OUTS, meaning that only four cards (4 queens in our example) will help you. You may contrast this with an "open-ended" straight which may fill your straight from "either end" (see Open-Ended straight)
Best of ItA situation where you have the best hand at the moment - usually when you are betting.
BetTo wager some chips/money at some point in the game.
BettorThe guy that bets. ;-)
Bet for Value (Value Bet)xxxx
Bicycle ("Wheel")A straight from Ace to Five. A "low" straight.
BlankA card that appears to help no one.
BlindA forced bet (to the left of the Button)
BluffTo initiate a bet, or raise a bet when you feel you DO NOT have the best hand.
BoardThe so-called "community cards" comprised of the "Flop (3 cards)", the "Turn", and the "River". In Texas holdem, the board will have a maximum of 5 cards. Cards on the board are considered community cards since they may be "used by any player" to make the best possible hand.
Bring it In (Bring in)To open the betting - be the first to bet.
Busted HandYou were looking for a draw, and on 5th street, your straight or flush card does not come, giving you nothing.
ButtonThe last player to act (during betting rounds) after after the flop, turn and river. This is the most advantageous position to be in (since you have MORE INFORMATION by acting last).
Buy InWhat it costs to buy your chips and sit down at the table. Some games have minimum buy-ins, or maximum buy-ins. Online, the maximum buy-in for NL 25 at Party Poker is $25, meaning you can bring NO MORE than $25 to the table. If you make more, great, you may stay and play at that table with $75, but if you left and came back, the most you could bring in would be $25. Some games, especially online tournaments, may be $10+$1 or $20+$2, meaning (in the second example), that it is a $20 buy-in tournament, with $2 going to the house (like Party Poker)
CallHmmm... to "call" a bet. To put an amount equal to the last bet.
Call a Raise Cold ("Cold Call")To call a bet that has been already raised.
CallerThe guy that calls the bet.
ChaseTo continue in a pot against the odds (meaning for example you are calling a $100 bet when the pot is only $200. You are getting 2-to-1 pot odds, but the odds of hitting your flush or straight are in the neighborhood of 4-to-1. You are chasing. Losers chase.
CheckTo pass on betting. You are giving the next opponent to your left the opportunity to bet or check.
Check-RaiseYou check with the assumption that someone behind you (after you) will bet. You intend to raise after they bet to try and get more money in the pot - or win the pot. The check-raise is a sign of strength.
CircularSee "Loop"
Come Hand ("On the Come")A hand that need more cards to improve.
Dead HandSomething inappropriate happens during play. The players hand may be declared dead by the dealer (ie, he may not continue to play the hand)
Drawing DeadYou have a hand with no hope of improving to the best hand. Typically, as a player, you may suspect you are drawing dead, but you will not KNOW it. Your opponent, who may have the nuts, may know you are drawing dead.
Draw Out ("suck out")To draw an unlikely (or miracle card) on the turn and/or river to win a hand. Losers draw out, or suck out, on good players. Good poker players usually have the "best of it" when the money goes in the pot. This is why good poker players suffer more "bad beats" than bad players. Weird, but true.
Double Belly Buster (Double Gut Shot)A draw that requires two "inside cards" to make a straight. For example, you have 5,7,8,9,J. A six will give you a straight 5 to 9, while a Ten will give you a straight 7 to Jack.
Early Positionxxxx
Effective Oddsxxxx
Even Moneyxxxx
Expected Value ("EV")xxxx
Fifth Street ("The River")xxxx
FillTo get the card that completes the hand you were looking for. For example to get the card that completes your straight or your flush.
Fill Upxxxx
Flat Callxxxx
FlopThe first community cards that are placed on the board during texas holdem. Three cards are placed in the middle of the table, side-by-side. Each players considers how these cards may affect his or her hand. A "second" round of betting occurs after the flop. This is a critical point in texas holdem. You will most likely make decisions about the strength of your hand relative to your opponents and your odds of improving.
FlushA hand where you have five cards of the same suit.
Forced BetAn amount of money a player MUST put in the middle regardless of the cards he may be dealt. It is in essence the costs of sitting at the table to play. It encourages action on each hand that is dealt so there will always be some money in the pot. If there were no "forced bets", all players might fold and there might potentially be no money in the pot. The small blind, big blind and the ante are examples of forced bets.
Four FlushHaving four heart, spades, diamonds or clubs. This is often called a "flush draw" since you are looking to complete a flush with one card.
Four of a KindHaving for cards of the same "rank", like say four Kings.
Free CardWhile not really "free", this is a term typically used when a player who has a later position raises after the flop. Other players may call that raise, but when the turn card comes, these players may "check to the raiser" since they fear he might have something very strong. Since they have checked to the raiser, the raiser may himself check (not bet any money) and thereby see the river card "for free". This may be a good play when you have a flush draw. You might raise a bit on the flop, your opponents may simply call and then check to you on the turn. Since they check to you on the turn, if you have completed your flush, great. If you have not, you have the opportunity to "take a free card" to see if you can make your flush on the river. Note that the minimum bet on the turn is greater than the minimum bet on the flop, which is why making this bet/raise on the flop is cheaper and may produce the so-called free card.
Full HouseHaving a hand with three of one rank and two of another. If you have three aces and two fours, we would typically say you had "Aces Full".
Good GameUsually a game with alot of loose action, players that play too many hands.
Gut ShotSame as a belly buster straight, a "gut shot" straight is a straight that requires a card in the middle to complete. For example, you have 5,6,8,9 and require a 7 to complete you straight. This is a "gut shot straight draw".
Heads UpTo play one player against another. There are games where you may simply play texas holdem heads up against another player, one-on-one. In this case, every hand is "heads up". In a full ring game or tournament, you might raise in order to get yourself one-on-one, or "heads up" against a single player. This is a smart move when you have a high pair. It is to your advantage to reduce the number of opponents to one to improve your chances of winning.
HoldemA poker game where each player is dealt two "hole cards", and there are five community cards placed "on the board", from which each player makes the best hand he can. There is a round of betting after the hole cards are dealt, after the flop, after the turn card, and finally after the river card. This website is gearerd mainly toward No Limit Texas Holdem.
Hole (Hole Card(s))The two cards each player is dealt prior to the first round of betting in texas holdem.
Hourly RateHow much you can make per hour playing poker.
Implied OddsCalculating the odds by taking into consideration, future rounds of betting. By taking into consideration future rounds of betting, the amount of money in the pot will change, as will the amount you have to bet. This may affect your decision to continue with a hand even though the expressed (or current) odds are somewhat unfavorable. A classic example might be a wired small pair (your hole cards might, for example, be a pair of fours). While the current, expressed odds may not warrant a call, knowing that you may hit a "set" (three fours), and might potentially win a boatload of money, make the implied odds very good. We recommend calling small raises with small pairs, especially in "no limit" holdem because of the potential to win a large pot if you hit your set.
Inside Straightsee "Gutshot Straight", or "Gut Shot"
Late Positionxxxx
Limit Pokerxxxx
LoopSee "Circular"
Loose Playerxxxx
Loose Gamexxxx
Mathematical ExpectationExpected Value
Middle Positionxxxx
Move All In ("All In")xxxx
Multiway Potxxxx
Negative Expectationxxxx
No Limitxxxx
Off Suit ("Off")xxxx
Open Ended Straightxxxx
Out ("Outs")xxxx
Pay Off ("Pay him off")xxxx
Positive Expectationxxxx
Pot Oddsxxxx
Pug PokerTo play in a Texas Holdem game with a bunch of Pugs. Pugs are lovable dogs that don't really care much about winning. All they want is for you to pet them and give them treats. Hence, you can easily win all their money. I once took a PUG for a thousand dollars. A valuable hint courtesy of PokerDecision.com
Pure NutsTo have an unbeatable hand, not just the best hand at the moment.
Put someone on a handTo use information based on your observations about an opponents style and betting patterns to make an educated guess as to what that opponent might have as his hole cards. For instance, if you make a small raise and are called, you may "put your opponent on a small to medium pair". You may believe, for instance that if he had a high pair, or Ace-King he would have reraised you. You may believe that he certainly would not have stayed with a low suited connector.
Reverse Implied Oddsxxxx
Rolled Upxxxx
Royal Flushxxxx
Sandbag (slow-play)xxxx
Shana Hiatt Shana Hiatt - World Poker Tour Poker Girl<-- Webster's Definition
Short Stackedxxxx
Side Potxxxx
Straight Flushxxxx
SuckerHopefully not you
Three of a Kindxxxx
Tight Aggressivexxxx
TiltTo behave irrationally as a result of one or more "bad beats". I actually had thought "tilt" was a kind of stupid concept and a term for players who could not control their emotions. I was too smart and too collected for that to happen to me. Then I was playing No Limit 25 on Party Poker and lost $40 in about 10 minutes from a couple of all-in bad beats where my opponent caught miracle cards on the river. I was so ticked, my attitude was like "screw it" and I started becoming very aggressive and began to tell myself I might as well loosen up, don't worry about the money and just try to "learn something" (I WAS MAKING EXCUSES) - so I played very aggressively trying to win back the money. The odd thing was that my aggression actually paid off. The opponents were apparently tighter than I was and everytime I aggressively attacked a pot, they backed off and just "gave it to me". Looking back though, I think I could have lost another $25 or $50 in 5 minutes if I hadn't stopped. I was clearly on tilt, playing outside my well thought out game, making some irrational raises with nothing. I learned something not only about "tilt" but also about the benefits of aggression and how opponents respond to it.
TripsThree of a kind, BUT players typically separate the term "trips" from the term "set" (which is also 3-of-a-kind). Typically, we say "trips" is three of a kind when the board is paired and you have the third card to make trips in your hand. This is not hidden like a "set" (where you have a pair in your have and you hit your set by getting the third card on the board). Clearly then, "trips" is not as likely to make money since all players would be wary that someone may have "trips".
TurnThe fourth card of the community cards. It comes after the flop and before the river. A round of betting occurs when the turn card is revealed.
Two FlushHaving only two of the cards to make a flush (that requires five).
Under the Gun ("UTG")The first guy to act after the small blind and the big blind... He is the player to the immediate LEFT of tbe Big Blind. He is the first person to have the option to either call the big blind, fold, or raise. Hence, he is "under the gun".
Value BetWhen you have what you think might be the winning hand and you make a bet for the purpose of extracting maximum cash/chips from your opponents.
Wheel (see "Bicycle")See Bicycle
Wired ("Wired Pair")Having a pair as your hole cards. In holdem, if your are dealt Kings as your hole cards, your have a wired pair of Kings (as opposed to "flopping a pair" of Kings on the board).
World Series of Poker (WSOP)The World Series of Poker is actually a series of events that take place each year in Las Vegas, Nevada (in the past at Binions Horseshoe). It includes events in a number of "flavors" of poker, including "Texas Holdem (limit and no limit)", Omaha, a ladies-only event, and most importantly, the World Championship which is decided with a No Limit Texas Holdem tournament. Anyone can play as long as they can post the $10,000 buy-in required. To see the events which occured at the 2005 WSOP, click on the following link: 2005 WSOP Schedule
Worst of ItBecoming involved in a pot/hand when you are convinced you DO NOT have the best hand. You may be semi-bluffing, hoping to improve. You may bet strong with "the worst of it" knowing you either must make your opponent fold or improve your own hand to win. In Super System II, Doyle Brunson says he frequently will aggressively go after pots with the worst of it knowing he must improve. His aggressive style keeps opponents "off balance", but since he always "leaves himself OUTS", he still might win even if the opponent is bold enough to call.
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