Know Your Role – The Ultimate Poker Glossary

Besides knowing the hands and being able to make educated and calculated predictions, poker is a game of deception and communication. It is important that when you sit down at the table you understand what everyone is saying, so we have put together a glossary of poker terms that will keep you informed as you rake in the winnings.


For those who are new to the game of poker, this is the ultimate A to Z glossary of poker terms – everything you need to get yourself ready to hit the tables. If you are not new to the game and just want to brush up a bit, then you might know a few of these terms, but there might be some that you don’t.

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ACE IN THE HOLE – An ace that appears as one of the hole cards.

ACTION – The player’s turn during a round of play.

ALL-IN – A bet made by placing all of a player’s chips into the pot.

ANGLE – A borderline unethical play that is permitted at a table.

ANTE – A small bet that is made by players before the hand is dealt.


BACKDOOR – An unintentional hand made by a player.

BAD BEAT – To lose a hand where the winning hand was weaker to begin with.

BANKROLL – The total amount of money that a player can use for betting.

BIG BLIND – The larger of the forced bets in certain types of poker games.

BLEED – A constant losing streak brought on by poor decision-making or bad play.

BLUFF – A bet made on a mathematically weak hand to disguise play patterns.

BUTTON – A marker that indicates the position of the dealer at the table.


CALL – Matching a bet or a raise.

CASHING – Winning a share of the prize money in a tournament.

CHASE – Calling a bet to see the next card when the pot odds do not merit it.

CHECK – Betting nothing but remaining in play.

COFFEE HOUSING – Attempting to mislead other players about the strength of a hand.


DARK – Taking action without receiving the required information.

DEAL – The distribution of cards in accordance with the rules of the game.

DEUCE – A two-spot card, also called a DUCK, QUACK or SWAN

DONKEY – A player seen to be weak at the table.

A donkey looking down into the camera zoomed in to its face
DOWNBET – When a smaller amount is bet than in the previous round of betting.

DRAWING THIN – Chasing a bet by drawing in the face of poor odds.


EARLY POSITION – A player who acts first in a round of play.

EIGHT OR BETTER – Only hands where the eight is the highest card can win the pot.

EQUITY – The expected value from the current deal.

EXPOSED CARD – A card that has been accidentally revealed to players.


FAST – Aggressive or speedy play.

FLOAT – Betting with the intention of bluffing in a later round of betting.

FLOP – The first three face-up cards dealt on the table.

FOLD – Forfeiting a round of play by discarding your hand.


GET AWAY – Folding a strong hand in the face of a potentially superior hand.

GOING NORTH – Sneaking additional chips onto the table during the game.

GOING SOUTH – To sneak a portion of chips off the table during the game.

GRINDER – One who makes profits over a long period of consistent, conservative play.


HANGER – The name given to the bottom card of the deck if it sticks out from the others.

HEATER – A player who has won consecutive big pots.

HIGH CARD – A hand with no pair that is ranked by the value of a single card.

HORSE – A player that is bankrolled by someone other than themselves.


IMPROVE – To strengthen a hand by adding or exchanging cards in certain types of poker.

IN POSITION – A player that is the last to act on the flop.

IN THE MONEY – Finishing a tournament in a high enough position to earn prize money.

Man jumping holding money in both hands with orange background
INSURANCE – A deal made between players to split or reduce a pot.


JOKER – The 53rd card in a deck only used in certain types of poker.

JUICE – The money collected by the house.

JUNK – A hand that has little expected value in the current round.


KICKER – A side card that does not take part in determining the rank of the hand.

KITTY – The pool of money accumulated by collecting small amounts from certain pots.


LAG – A style of play that is loose and aggressive.

LAYDOWN – Choosing to fold a strong hand in anticipation of a superior hand.

LEVEL – Reference to the size of the blinds in tournament play that increase periodically.

LIGHT – A hand that is perceived to be weak.

LOCK UP – Placing a chip or another type of personal effect in front of a seat to reserve it.

LOOSE – Playing more hands than the average for the player or the game.


MANIAC – A loose or aggressive player who bets and raises frequently.

MARK – The player at a table that is the focus of attention.

MISDEAL – A deal that was irregular or that needs to be dealt again.

MUCK – Another term for folding a hand without revealing the cards.

MULTI-WAY POT – A pot that has multiple players competing for it.


NIT – A player that is cautious of taking risks and plays only strong hands.

NO LIMIT – A ruleset indicating that players are allowed to bet any or all of their chips.

NOSEBLEED – The highest stakes offered in a cash game of poker.

NOTHING – A hand that only has the possibility of ranking on a high card.

THE NUTS – The best possible hand in a given situation.

Hands holding 2 aces and poker chips on a red surface

OFFSUIT – A group of cards that do not share the same suit.

OPEN – To bet first in a round of play.

OPEN LIMP – The first person in the pot before the flop without raising.

ORBIT – The full rotation of the blinds at a table.

OVERBET – A bet made in a no-limit game that is larger than the pot.

OVERPAIR – A pocket pair with a higher rank than the highest card on the table.


PAINT – A royal card, also known as a face card.

PAT – A hand that has been completed before the end of a round of play.

PENNY ANTE – Low stakes in a ‘for fun only’ game.

POCKET PAIR – When the cards dealt to a player contain a matching pair.

POLARIZED – When a player’s range is split into either strong hands or bluffs.

POST – Making the required bet for the small or big blinds used in certain types of poker.


QUADS – A hand that contains four of the same kind of card.

QUARTERED – Winning a quarter of a pot usually by tying in a high-low split game of poker.


RACCOON – Calls made in the hopes of hitting inside or backdoor draws.

RAG – A card that has a perceived low value.

RAINBOW – Three or four cards of different suits, or betting with one chip of each color.

RIVER – The last of the community cards dealt face-up in a round of play.

RUSH – A prolonged winning streak.


SANDBAG – A deceptive style of play where the player bets weakly with a strong hand.

SET – Three cards of the same kind where two of them are concealed in the player’s hand.

SHARK – A professional card player.

Cartoon shark in a suit holding playing cards and poker chips
STACK – The total amount of money that a player has in play.


TAG – A style of play that involves betting on a small number of strong starting hands.

TANK – Spending a lot of time on a decision.

TILT – The behavior of a player during emotional or mental confusion resulting in poor play.


UNDERDOG – A player at the table with the hand that has the least chance to win.

UPCARD – A term for a card that is played face up.

UP THE ANTE – An action taken to increase the stakes of the game.


VALUE BET – A bet made by a player in the hopes that it is called by the rest of the table.

VARIANCE – The statistical measure of how much results differ from expectations.

VIGORISH – Also called VIG, is the percentage of commission taken by the casino.


WAKE UP – The discovery of a strong starting hand after there has already been action.

WASH – A method of shuffling the deck by spreading them on the table.

WILD CARD – A card in certain types of poker that can represent the value of another card.


Now that you can more effectively communicate with the sharks and whales at the tables, why not take your new vocabulary for a spin? Sign up with us at Borgata Online Casino for some of the best online poker games available today.

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