Poker: A glossary

Photo By Tom Angel

Blind One of two forced bets required of the two players sitting to the left of the button before any cards are dealt. Typically, blinds are put in by players immediately to the left of the button. In a $2-$4 game, for example, the small blind is half the ante ($1) and the big blind is the full ante ($2).

Board The five community cards in a hold ’em game — the flop, turn and river cards together. Example: “There wasn’t a single heart on the board.”

Brick and mortar A “real” casino or card room with a building, tables, dealers, etc. This is in contrast to an online poker site.

Button A white acrylic disk that indicates the (nominal) dealer. Also used to refer to the player on the button. Example: “Oh, the button raised.”

Buy-in The minimum amount of money to enter a tournament or to sit down at a cash game.

Call A bet equal to the most recent bet or raise.

Dead Money (1) Money contributed to a pot by a player no longer in the pot. (2) A player in a tournament who has no realistic chance of winning.

Draw Dead Trying to make a hand that, even if made, will not win the pot. If you’re drawing to make a flush, and your opponent already has a full house, you are “drawing dead.”

Flop The first three community cards, dealt face up, all together.

Lo-Ball A poker game in which the objective is to get the lowest possible hand. In lo-ball, that hand is a wheel, a straight from ace to 5. Flushes and straights don’t count, and a pair is a bad hand.

Muck The pile of folded and burned cards in front of the dealer. Example: “His hand hit the muck so the dealer ruled it folded even though the guy wanted to get his cards back.” Also used as a verb. Example: “He didn’t have any outs so he mucked his hand.”

No-Limit A higher-risk game where the player can bet any amount he has in front of him, up to and including going “all-in,” a bet where all remaining chips are wagered in a single bet.

Nuts The best possible hand.

Off suit Two cards of different suits.

Omaha Another poker variation where players share the cards on the board, but unlike Hold’em, each player is dealt four hole or down cards, and must use exactly two cards from his/her hole cards and three from the board to make a five-card poker hand.

Outs Cards that can “make” a player’s, filling out a straight or a flush.

Over card A card higher than any card on the board. For instance, if you have AQ and the flop comes J-7-3, you don’t have a pair, but you have two over cards.

Pocket The first two cards, dealt to each player. For instance, “He had pocket sixes” (a pair of sixes), or “I had ace-king in the pocket.”

Pocket Pair A hold ’em starting hand with two cards of the same rank.

Pocket Rockets A pair of aces in the pocket.

Pot-committed A situation where you are essentially forced to call the rest of your stack because of the size of the pot and your remaining chips.

Quads Four of a kind.

Rack A plastic chip holder containing 100 chips in any denomination, but most commonly $100.

Rake An amount of money taken out of every pot by the dealer to cover the card room’s overhead and profit.

River The fifth and final community card, also known as “5th Street.” Metaphors involving the river are some of poker’s most treasured clichés, e.g., “River Rat,” for someone who regularly stays in until the last card is dealt.

Set Three of a kind.

Slow play To play a strong hand weakly so other players won’t fold.

Small blind The smaller of two blind bets (placed before any cards are dealt) typically used in a hold ’em game. See also “blind.”

Suited A hold ’em starting hand in which the two cards are the same suit.

Tell A mannerism or a nervous gesture a player engages in that gives information to other players about the strength or weakness of his hand.

Tilt To play wildly or recklessly. A player is said to be “on tilt” if he is not playing his best, playing too many hands, trying wild bluffs, raising with bad hands, etc.

Toke A tip paid to the dealer by the winner of a pot.

Trips Three of a kind.

Turn The fourth community card, also known as “4th Street.”

Wheel A straight from ace through five.