Poker Glossary

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New poker players can face a steep learning curve when trying to master the game. There are plenty of rules to learn and strategies to study when you are preparing to use an online casino.

As you learn about all the nuances poker has to offer, make sure you take some time to memorize the key poker terms and abbreviations. You'll be sure to impress your more experienced poker buddies the next time you play once you start rattling off some of these terms our team at Action Network has compiled.

A Glossary of the Most Important Poker Terms You Need to Know

We realize there are many more terms, phrases, and abbreviations in poker you'll need to be aware of, but for this glossary, we've highlighted the most important ones. We cover all of the basics with some advanced terms to help you understand the vocabulary associated with the game.




the decision that a player reaches, can be either a fold, call, raise, or raise all-in


the mandatory bet players are required to put in the pot before cards are dealt


occurs when a player commits all of their chips to a pot during a single hand


this refers to a hand needing two cards on the turn and river to make a flush or straight, also referred to as "runner runner"

Bad Beat

a situation where a player loses a hand that they were initially a massive favorite to win in terms of raw equity


a forced bet players have to make before they participate in the hand, similar to an ante, typically observed as a Small Blind and Big Blind, sometimes as a Straddle


the cards that the dealer discards after dealing the flop, turn, and river individually


an action where a player matches the initial bet an opponent makes to stay in the hand


an action that takes place when a player does not place a bet or fold

Community Cards

also called the "board," these are the cards in the middle of the table which are shared by all players.


a type of hand that is not a 'made hand', but can improve on later streets to a flush or straight given the run out


the initial trio of community cards that are dealt


an action where a player concedes making further bets and gives up their cards during a hand

Gut-shot Straight Draw

also known as an "inside straight draw," this refers to a a player need one distinct card to complete their straight, i.e. a player with 10-9 has a gut-shot to an 8 if the flop comes 7-6-5

Heads Up

a hand that only has two players involved

Hole Cards

the cards that make up each player's two-card hand


the card that is used as a tiebreaker between hands that are basically the same, i.e. if players both have a pair of aces at showdown, but one player has A-K and another has A-J, A-K wins


the discarded pile of folded and burned cards during a hand


the absolute best possible hand one can have based on the board texture


a card that is higher than the highest-value card on the board


a four-of-a-kind


a poor starting hand that in most cases, should not be played


a board that has cards of entirely different suit, ensuring the absence of a possible flush draw


a mental handicap that inhibits players' ability to critically think and make proper decisions


occurs when a player has one card in their hand that matches two on the board (Note: This is different than having a 'set' as this occurs when a pocket pair hits a three of a kind)

Online Poker Resources

Confidence is key to be a successful poker player. Take advantage of the following poker guide to help boost your play:

Online poker is currently legal in MichiganNew JerseyPennsylvania, West Virginia, and Delaware. For more legal information regarding your state, take a look at our online casino legalization tracker.