Texas Hold ‘em Terms & Glossary


Texas Hold ‘em is one of the most popular forms of poker, and over the years it has developed a language all it’s own. While you’ll definitely want to be familiar with the most basic poker terms before trying out variations of the game, when you’re ready to tackle Texas Hold ‘em, consult this comprehensive glossary.

Poker Terms:

  • Anchor: The player seated in the last position before the dealer.
  • Ante: The minimum amount players must put in the pot before betting begins. This occurs prior to cards being dealt. Antes are separate from blinds. In Texas Hold ‘em tournaments, they typically appear in later stages of play.
  • Baby: A card with a low rank.
  • Blank: A community card that does not affect the players’ hands.
  • Bluff: Pretending that you have a better hand than you do.
  • Board: Card that are on the table and are thus “on the board.”
  • Burning a Card: Discarding the top card of the deck. This is done before the community cards are dealt at the beginning of each round of betting.
  • Buy-In: The minimum amount you must bring to the poker game. Also, the cost of participating in a poker tournament. In Fixed-Limit Texas Hold ‘em, it is the equivalent of 10 times the small blind.
  • Catch: When a player makes the hand for which they were drawing.
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Community cards are the cards that are dealt face-up and shared by all players.

  • Community Cards: The cards that are dealt face-up and shared by all players.
  • Dealer Button: The disc that identifies the dealer’s position on the table.
  • Drawing to a Hand: When a player remains in a round hoping to make his or her hand when more cards are dealt.
  • Flop: The first three community cards dealt face-up on the table.
  • Free Card: A community card on the turn or river in which there was no betting in the previous round (everyone checked).
  • Hand: A player’s best five cards, always including the two initial cards dealt to the individual.
  • Hole Cards: Also known as Pocket Cards, these are the two cards dealt face-down to each player at the beginning of every round.
  • House: The host of a game. Generally, a casino or poker website.
  • Kicker: The remaining undeclared card in a five-card poker hand (the top high card after matched hands).
  • Limit Game: A version of Texas Hold ‘em in which a player can only bet or raise the equivalent of the big blind.
  • Live Blind: When the player who posted the big blind still has the option of raising when it is his or her turn.
  • Muck: When a player discards his or her hand without showing it to the table.
  • No-Limit Game: A version of Texas Hold ‘em in which players may bet any amount of chips they choose.
  • Nuts: The best possible hand based on the cards that were dealt.
  • Outs: The cards that may allow a player to win the hand.
  • Off Suit: Two cards of different suits.
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The first two “down” cards dealt to a player are called Pocket cards or Hole cards.

  • Pocket Cards: The first two “down” cards dealt to a player, often called Hole Cards by stud players.
  • Post a Blind: When a player puts in money for a forced blind.
  • Pot: The amount of chips/money that accumulates as players place bets. In a game of Texas Hold ‘em, all winnings are paid from the pot.
  • Pot Limit: A version of Texas Hold ‘em in which players may only bet up to the amount of money in the pot.
  • Rags: Bad cards.
  • Rake: The percentage of the pot that is taken by the house.
  • River Card: The final community card that is dealt.
  • Semi-Bluff: Bluffing when a hand still has drawing potential.
  • Showdown: When remaining players reveal their hands to determine a winner after the last betting round.
  • Slow Playing: When a player does not play aggressively with a powerful hand. Also known as “Sandbagging.”

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  • Stack: A player’s chips.
  • Straddle: An optional third blind posted by the player three seats left of the dealer. It is equal to twice the amount of the big blind and announced before the cards are dealt.

Poker Hand Terms:

  • Ace-High: A hand composed of five cards that contains one ace but no hand combinations (e.g. a straight or a pair).
  • Bad Beat: When a player that has a strong hand is beaten by an even stronger hand.
  • Big Pair: A pair of cards with a value of 10 or more.
  • Big Slick: An ace and king. This is one of the best starting hands in Texas hold ‘em.
  • Big Chick: An ace and queen.
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Broadway is a straight composed of 10, J, Q, K, A.

  • Broadway: A straight composed of 10, J, Q, K, A.
  • Boat: Same as a “Full House”.
  • Bottom Pair: A pair of cards that includes the smallest ranked card in the flop, the turn or the river.
  • Bullets: A pair of Aces.  Also known as  “Pocket Rockets”.
  • Dead Man’s Hand: A two-pair hand of aces and 8’s. Legend has it that Wild Bill Hickock was shot and killed while holding this hand.
  • Deuces: A pair of 2’s.
  • Doyle Brunson: A 10-two hand of any suit. Named for the player who won the World Series of Poker with this hand two years in a row.
  • Flush: A hand in which all five cards have the same suit.
  • Flush Draw: A hand where four cards are the same suit, and only one more card is needed to form a flush.
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A 4 of a kind has four different cards of the same rank or value.

  • Four of a Kind: Four cards of the same ranking.
  • Full House: A hand made of a pair and three-of-a-kind (also known as a boat).
  • Gutshot: When the two cards in a player’s hand and two community cards form the high and low ends of a straight, leaving him or her one card from making the hand. Also known as an inside straight draw.
  • Hooks: When hole cards (a.k.a. pocket cards) are a pair of jacks.
  • Made Hand: When a player makes a pair or better.
  • Monster: An extremely strong hand.
  • Nut Flush: The highest-ranking flush being played during a round.
  • Over Pair: A pair that is higher than the rank of any of the community cards.
  • Pair: Two cards of the same rank and different suits.
  • Pocket Rockets: When a player’s receives a pair of aces as hole cards.
  • Quads: Four of a kind.
  • Rags: Cards that are useless and do not improve a player’s hand.
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A top pair is created with the highest card on the board.

  • Rockets: See entry for “bullets.”
  • Royal Flush: A flush consisting of 10 J Q K A of any one suit.
  • Runner-Runner: A hand created by catching the needed cards on the turn and the river.
  • Seven Deuce: The weakest starting hand.
  • Straight: Five cards of any suit that are in sequential order.
  • Straight Flush: Five cards of the same suit that are in sequential order.
  • Suited Cards: Cards that are the same suit.
  • Top Pair: A pair that is made with the highest card on the board.
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A 3 of a kind is 3 cards of the same rank but different suits.

  • Three of a Kind: Three cards of the same rank but different suits. Also known as a set.
  • Two Pair: A hand that has two pairs.

Poker Betting Terms:

  • All-In: When a player bets all of his or her chips on a hand.
  • Bet the Pot: Making a bet that is equal to the size of the pot.
  • Big Blind A forced bet posted by the player two seats to the left of the dealer. This is the equivalent of the minimum bet in the game.
  • Call: When a player places a bet equal to the bet of the previous player.
  • Cap: In a Fixed-Limit Texas Hold ‘em game, a cap is the last raise in a round made before the predetermined maximum number of raises is reached. For the rest of the round, players can only call or fold.
  • Check When a player wants to stay in the game but not place a bet. This is only allowed if no other bets have been placed in that round.
  • Check Raise: The act of checking, then raising if the betting gets back to you. This can only be done post-flop.
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The fifth and final card dealt in a round is known as the River.

  • Fifth Street: The third round of betting, so called because all remaining players have five cards. Also the fifth community card that is dealt. May be known as the “River”.
  • Fold When a player discards his or her cards and gives up a chance at the pot.
  • Fourth Street: The second betting round, so called because all remaining players have four cards. Also the fourth community card that is dealt. May be known as the “Turn”.
  • Limping In: When a player calls the big blind instead of raising.
  • Live Blinds: Blind bets that are currently in play.
  • Over the Top: To bet after a previous raise or raises. Also known as a “Re-Raise”.
  • Raise: When a player increases the bet made by the previous player. This action increases the stakes for the remaining players.
  • Re-Raise: An increase after previous raises.  Also see “Over the Top.”
  • River The fifth and final card dealt in a round. Also known as  “Fifth Street.”
  • Small Blind: A forced bet posted by the player to the direct left of the dealer. It is equal to half the amount of the big blind.
  • Turn Dealt card that signals the second round of betting. Also known as “Fourth Street.”

Poker Player Terms:

  • Dog: The player who is the underdog in the hand.
  • Go on Tilt: When a player plays irrationally or recklessly.
  • Heads Up: When there are only two players left in the game.
  • Maniac: A loose and aggressive player.
  • Rock: A player who will only play the best hands.
  • Rounder: A skilled player.
  • Under the Gun: The player that must act first during a betting round.