Poker Terms – A Basic Poker Glossary

Posted September 2, 2009 by Andrew in Articles

Poker GlossaryI was looking through the posts the other day and I realized, albeit belatedly, that I should have started out with a list of poker terms. I have been harping on how players new to poker should know about the lingo used in poker before jumping into the fray yet I never really focused on poker terms. My bad. So here is the first installment of the most common poker terms. Some of them are specific to online poker (OP) while others apply to poker in general.

Advance Action (OP)
This option is available in many online poker rooms. When you know what your next move is going to be and it is not your turn yet, you can already indicate what you are going to do with this option.

All In
This simply means you are betting all the chips you have. Players usually go all in when they are running out of chips yet they do not want to fold. As a result, a player who goes all in has the chance to win all the bets up to the last amount he put in.

Ante
This is the small amount of chips that each player at the table has to put in before he can participate in the game. In some games, instead of an ante, a blind is used.

Avatar (OP)
This is your online representation of yourself. Most online poker rooms have a variety of characters which you can choose from to represent yourself.

Bad Beat
You are a bad beat when you seem to have everything going for you at the table and then suddenly the statistical underdog comes up and beats you.

Bet The Pot
When you play pot limit games, you can bet an amount equal to the pot. Say, if the pot is at $100, then you bet $100 as well.

Blind
This is a mandatory bet used in place of the ante. In a game, there is a big blind and a small blind. The blinds are part of the player’s bet and rotates around the table.

Big Blind
Generally, the big blind is the same amount as the lower stake in a poker game. The big blind is to the left of the small blind who is to the left of the dealer.

Board
For Texas Hold ‘em Poker, the cards on the table – the community cards – are also known as the board.

Burn
Normally used for off line poker games, the top card in the deck is discarded – or burned – before the next card is shown face up. This minimizes the chances of cheating. In online poker, this is not done.

Button
In a real life poker game, this is a marker – usually round – that is used to indicate who the dealer is. It is also called the dealer button but is normally shortened to just “button.” In an online game, the button serves the same purpose but is of course, a virtual marker. The button is only used in poker games wherein the position relative to the dealer is of any importance.

Buy In
A buy in is basically how much a person has to pay in order to play poker at a table. Most any poker game – even home games – has a minimum buy in. In most cases, the buy in for a poker game would be about 10 times as much as the big blind or the higher stake. However, there are always exceptions.

Call
This is a term used during betting. For example, if the last person bets $50, the next person up for betting will CALL if he matches the $50 bet.

Check
Another term used during betting, checking is allowed when there are no pending bets on the table. A person may check if he does not want to put in any money.

Collusion
This is a form of cheating which can be used for both online and offline games. What happens is that two or more players at the table exchange vital information in order to gain an advantage over the other players. Of course, this is more easily done online than offline.

Community Cards
Different poker games have community cards laid out on the table. These cards are shown face up and are shared by all the players at the table. They can be used in combination with the hand held by each player. The most popular community card poker games are Texas Hold ‘Em and Omaha Poker.

Dead Hand
Quite obviously, a dead hand is one which is not included in the game anymore.

Flop
Used specifically for Texas Hold ‘Em Poker, the flop is composed of the first three cards that are dealt face up (and thus become the community cards).

Flush
Five suited cards in one hand.

Fold
A player folds and withdraws himself from the game when he deems his cards unplayable. Folding is a necessary part of poker even if beginners find it difficult to do so at certain times.

Raise
Another term used during rounds of betting. More than just calling the bet of the person before him, a poker player can actually increase the amount by raising the bet. If he does so, the other player will be forced to match the raise or fold instead.

These are only some of the terms that you would most likely encounter when playing poker. Reading and memorizing them would do a certain amount of good but there is nothing like practicing and actually using these terms for you to be able to remember them all.

Update: I’ve now put a complete poker glossary on the website. Enjoy!


About the Author

Andrew

Andrew Keyes is a poker enthusiast, a writer, researcher, speaker, and consultant. You can visit to get poker articles along with winning poker tips, tested poker strategies, the latest poker news, free poker tools, cool poker resources, and more! Visit today and you can download some of the best poker bots for automating your poker play!