Download the App Image

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

A Glossary of the Most Important Poker Terms You Need to Know article feature image
Credit:

Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

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.

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.

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.

Term

Definition

Action

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

Ante

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

All-In

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

Backdoor

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

Blind

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

Burn

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

Call

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

Check

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.

Draw

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

Flop

the initial trio of community cards that are dealt

Fold

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

Kicker

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

Muck

the discarded pile of folded and burned cards during a hand

Nuts

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

Overcard

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

Quads

a four-of-a-kind

Ragged/Rags

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

Rainbow

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

Tilt

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

Trips

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)

How would you rate this article?