up button arrow
https://michigan.stateplay.org is a privately-owned website that is not owned or operated by any government agency.

Poker Terminology


Ace — In most poker variations, the ace is both the top and lowest rated card.

Ace in the Hole — An ace that is dealt face-down to a player, keeping it hidden from other players..

Ace-to-five, ace-to-six — Techniques for assessing low hands.

Act — To initiate an action (check, bet, call, raise, or fold) at the appropriate time.

Acting Out of Turn — A poker player who either declares their moves or physically plays before their turn (checks, folds etc.).

Oftentimes, players will purposely act out of turn to gain a read on other players. When done on purpose, this is referred to as "Angle Shooting."

Action — A player's turn to act; a readiness to wager; or a bet, including any calls associated with that stake.

Action Button — An indicator resembling a kill button, on which a player deposits an additional forced bet. The action button is awarded to the winner of a scoop pot of a certain size in a seven-card stud high-low game, indicating that in the next pot, that player will need to post a sum depicting the completion of the bring-in to a full bet.

Action Card —A card that appears on the board in Texas hold'em and other community card poker games that causes considerable increase in wagering activity since it aids two or more players.

Action Only — In many cardrooms, just a full (or half) wager can be reraised on an all-in bet. Anything under a full (or half) wager is deemed action only, which implies that other participants can call but not increase the wager.

Active Players — Any remaining players still participating in the pot. In hand histories, the terms "heroes" and "villains" are frequently used. In side pots, an all-in participant may be involved in some pots but not in others.

Add-on — To buy more chips before busting out in a live game. A single rebuy in tournament play for which all players, regardless of stack size, are eligible. This is typically permitted only once, at the conclusion of the rebuy period. The add-on frequently provides more chips for each dollar invested than the buy-in and rebuys.

Advertising — To make an apparent move or reveal cards in such a way that other participants get a sense of the revealing player's way of playing.

Aggressive, Aggression — A player's propensity to open wagers or raise rather than call or check.

Aggression Factor (AF) — An estimate of a participant's aggression, either in a specific betting bout or generally.

Air — A hand with a rather poor value in relation to a rival's, such as "9 high." “Giving air” in lowball is when a player informs an opponent who may well fold that they plan to draw one or more cards in order to entice them to call. A lifeless hand.

All-in — When a player wagers their entire stack of gaming chips on the current hand.

Angle: An ethically dubious but permitted move.

Angle Shooting — Angle shooting is the deliberate use of an angle to take advantage of a rival, such as hiding the amount of chips they have in their hand or acting rudely.

Ante — In some variations of poker, all players are required to make an initial forced bet known as “Ante” before the hand even starts.

Ante Off - To make an absent player continue paying antes, blinds, bring-ins, and other forced bets during a tournament so that the other players are still treated fairly.

Any Two Cards — a phrase used in Texas hold 'em to imply that a player's hand is irrelevant when making a decision.

American Airlines – The slang term for two Aces.


Backdoor Flush – A flush that is made when there are only three possible flush combinations on the flop, necessitating the use of both the turn and river cards to finish the flush.

Backdoor Straight – A straight that is completed after only having three of a straight on the flop, necessitating the turn and river cards in order to do so.

Bad Beat – Losing a hand in which you seem to be a (large) favourite.

Blocker — Any card known as a "Blocker" lowers the possible number of hands that either you or your opponents can have or create that contain that card or rank.

Big Bet (BB) – The bigger of the two wager volumes is used in fixed-limit games. The Big Bet, for instance, would be $8 in a $4/$8 limit Hold'em game..

Big Blind (bb) – The bigger of the two forced wagers in a game of blinds. The Big Blind in a $1/$2 No Limit Hold'em game, for instance, is $2. A player's stack of chips may occasionally be expressed in terms of big blinds.

Big Slick – Ace-King is also referred to as Big Slick.

Bingo Poker – A game of poker in which winning any given hand requires only pure luck and requires no skill from the players.

Blank – A card that is useless to the player.

Blind – The sum of money placed into the pot prior to the dealing of cards. 2. Also includes the individual who was required to contribute the funds. 3. Also used to reference the relative position (which is nearly the immediate two after the dealer.)

Block Bet — A Block Bet is a small wager that is used to prevent a competitor from making big wagers in position. Typically a harmonious blend of nutted hands and thin value.

Bluff – Raising or placing a wager in an effort to force your opponent(s) to fold.

Boat – A pair and three of a kind in the same hand.

Bot – Poker-playing computer program that requires little to no human intervention.

Bottom Pair – A pair that contains the flop's lowest card.

Bounty – A monetary award given for removing competitors from a tournament.

Bring – A forced wager in stud games.

Bubble – The final place in a tournament before payouts start, or the person who takes that place.

Bullets – This refers to Aces.

Burn – The top card that you discard from the deck to prevent other players from accidentally seeing the top card.

Button – A tiny marker indicating who is the dealer at the moment.

Buy In – 1. sum of money used to buy chips at a poker table. 2. The price or entrance fee for a competition.

Buying The Button – When your wager or raise causes all opponents in positions later than your own to fold, giving you last position (a major advantage),


Call – Matching the wager of another person.

Calling Station – A weak-passive player who makes a lot of calls but rarely raises or folds.

Cap – Add the final raise that is permitted during a wagering round.

Case – The final card in the deck of a particular rank.

Check Raise – the act of checking first and then increasing an opponent's wager.

Chop – A decision made by all participants in a tournament to divide the prize money according to their current chip stacks.

Cold Call – Requesting a raise when you did not make or call the prior wager. For example, if you did not make or call the initial 2-Bet, you could cold call a preflop 3-Bet.

Cold Raise – Raising when neither of the two prior bets was made or called. For instance, if you are up against a 3-Bet and have not raised or called the initial 2-Bet, you have the option to place a "cold 4-Bet."

Cold Streak – A streak of unfavourable cards.

Collusion – Cheating where two or more players are involved.

Continuation Bet – A wager made on the flop by the preflop raiser is known as a continuation bet (C-bet). Also applies to a preflop raiser's bet on The Turn and a preflop raiser's bet on the River, presuming the raiser bet both the Flop and the Turn.

Cooler – When two players with strong hands compete for a large pot.

Cowboys – An expression for two Kings.

Cutoff (CO) – The area immediately to the Button's right.


Dead Man’s Hand – 1. Aces and Eights (in black suits) are a two-pair hand. 2. The poker hand that Wild Bill Hickock, a legendary figure from the Wild West, was holding when he was killed at the table.

Dead Money – 1. A novice player with slim to no chances of success. 2. Money in the pot that was pooled by contestants no longer in the hand.

Delayed Continuation Bet – Also referred to as a "Delayed C-Bet." the preflop raiser's wager on the turn after the flop was checked through (no betting.) For instance, Player B from the big blind responds to Player A's preflop raise by calling. Both players check after the flop. Player B checks after the turn, and Player A places a wager. 'Delayed Continuation Bet' refers to Player A's wager.

Deuce – Slang for "a two" among poker players.

Dog – The player with the least likelihood of winning the hand.

Donk – 1. A poor player; this term is also frequently used to describe a good player who made a stupid decision out of the blue. 2. Making a rash wager.

Donk Bet – A bet placed inadvertently before the previous street's aggressor has had a chance to act on the flop, turn, or river.

A player raises before the flop, and a player in the big blind responds by calling. Player B is the first to act on the flop and places a bet. The wager by Player B is a "Donk Bet."

Donk Stack – Tournament stack won by chance and vulnerable to prey.

Double Gutshot – A pair of gutshot straight draws that are present in the same hand at the same time, giving it the same amount of outs (8) as an open-ended straight draw.

For instance, T9 on a board with 6-8-Q.

Double Up – A player wins the hand when they go all-in and a larger stack calls them.

Dry Pot – A side pot with zero funds is created when a player goes all in and is called by multiple opponents without being raised.


Effective Stack – The smallest of the active stacks still in the hand, at any given time during play, is the Effective Stack. Players A, B, and C, for instance, all see the flop. Each player is starting with $150, $250, and $100, respectively. On the flop, the Effective Stack is $100.

Early Position (EP) – Being one of the first players to act, like under the gun. Depending on the size of the table, a different number of positions will be considered "early position."

Equity – The portion of the pot that you anticipate winning over an infinite number of samples is your equity. It is, in other words, your probability of winning the pot as a percentage. In terms of money, your equity is determined by multiplying your chance of winning the hand by the total pot.

Expected Value (EV) – The average win or loss amount for a particular wager, hand, circumstance, etc., taking into account all potential outcomes and their probabilities.

Exploitative – A tactic that aims to play the option with the highest value against an opponent's strategy in the hopes that they won't counter that tactic. Exploitative strategies, which typically lose in equilibrium, are offensive strategies rather than defensive ones, so they do not require mixing because they do not seek to go unexploited. Every strategic tactic in an exploitative strategy can be 100%.


Fake Think – When a player appears to be deliberating over a decision for a specific hand when they already know their next move.

Fifth Street – This is the last upcard dealt in Hold ’em or Omaha, and the third upcard dealt in a 7-card stud.

Fish – A sarcastic word used to describe a player who is having a bad game.

Flat Call – Calling a bet rather than raising.

Flop – The three community cards dealt face up at the same time in Hold'em and Omaha (followed by the turn and the river).

Fold – To surrender cards.

Fold Equity – Additional value you get from making an opposing player fold.

Fourth Street – In stud poker, this is the fourth card dealt.

Free Card – A card dealt without any bets after all the players have checked.

Freezout – A competition without re-buys or add-ons.

Full House – A hand made up of three of one kind and a pair of another kind.


Game Theory Optimal (GTO) – Also known as GTO, this is a technique that involves mathematical methods. It is focused on devising unbeatable tactics.

Get away — To fold a good hand in the face of a potentially greater hand.

Going north — To smuggle extra chips onto the table in order to effectively cheat and buy above the table’s limit.

Going south — To steal chips from the table while the game is ongoing. This is typically not permitted in public poker games.

Grinder – A player who prioritizes a longterm winning strategy over fast cash grabs.

Guarantee – Prize money for a tournament, of which the House will contribute a specified sum.

Gutshot – This is a hand containing four out of five cards required for a straight, but one in the middle is missing. For instance, 9-x-7-6-5.


Hand History (HH) – A text version (file) created by a poker website for each hand played at a specific table or by a specific player. Every hand's complete information, such as the stack sizes, positions, bets, and board cards, is included.

Heads Up – When there are just two players present.

High Card Hand – Straight or flush hand lacking a pair.

Hijack (HJ) – The position that is directly to the right of the Cutoff; two seats to the right of The Button.

Hole Cards – Cards dealt face-down to you in hold’em and stud by the dealer.

Hollywood – The act of delaying a decision and acting as though you are unsure of your hand or what you are doing; typically used to trap an opponent.

Hooks – Slang for Two Jacks.

Hot Streak – Getting lucky with the cards and winning large pots due to statistical variation.

House – The organization that serves as the game's host; this is typically a casino or poker room.

House Player — Alternative term for shill. A person who is paid to play and is bankrolled by the house.


Improve — To achieve a better hand than one currently holds by adding or exchanging cards as provided in the rules of the game being played.

in position — A player is said to be in position, if the player is last to act on the flop, turn and river betting rounds. Compare with out of position

in the middle — In a game with multiple blinds, an incoming player may sometimes be allowed to post the blinds in the middle (that is, out of their normal order) rather than having to wait for them to pass.

in the money — To finish high enough in a poker tournament to win prize money

in turn — A player is said to be in turn if that player is expected to act next under the rules.

inside straight — See inside straight draw. Also "belly buster", "gutshot". Compare to outside straight draw

Insurance — A deal in which players agree to split or reduce a pot (roughly in proportion to the chances of each of them winning) with more cards to come rather than playing out the hand, or a deal where one player makes a side bet against themself with a third party to hedge against a large loss.

irregular declaration — An action taken by a player in turn that is not a straightforward declaration of intent, but that is reasonably interpreted as an action by other players, such as pointing a thumb up to signify a raise. House rules or dealer discretion may determine when such actions are meaningful and binding.

Irregularity — Any of a number of abnormal conditions in play, such as unexpectedly exposed cards, that may call for corrective action. See public cardroom rules

Inside Wrap Straight Draw – With eight or nine outs in Omaha, a straight draw results. It happens when you have three ranks in your hand that are all outs for a straight (the eight outs scenario happens when one of these three cards in your hand is paired).

In The Money (ITM) – To perform well enough to receive a cash prize in a poker tournament.


Jam – The act of going all-in during a no-limit (or pot-limit) game.

Jackpot — A round of jackpot poker, also known as jackpots, is a five-card draw variation in which each player contributes an ante; there are no blinds; and an opening hand of a pair of jacks or better is necessary.

a sizable sum of money amassed by the house and awarded for some exceptional circumstance, usually a poor beat.

Joker — A 53rd card that is primarily used in draw games. In high games, the joker can typically be used as an ace or a card to finish a straight or flush, and in low games, it can be used as the lowest card that isn't already in a hand.

Juice — The money that the house has gathered or pooled.

Junk — A hand that is unlikely to be valuable.


Kicker – A card that is played in situations where multiple players have the same hand rank to break "ties."

An example is A-9-9-5-4 on the board. Player A holds on to AJ. A8 is in the hands of player B. Two pair, aces, and nines are the same hand rank for both players, but Player A has a stronger hand than Player B because his Jack kicker is higher than Player B's 8 kicker.

Kill Button — A button that indicates which player is carrying the kill action in a kill game.

Kill Hand — A kill game hand that has different betting guidelines.

Kitty — A collection of funds created by taking small sums from various pots and frequently used to buy cards, refreshments, and other items. A rake's equivalent in home games.


Last Aggressor – The player who most recently bet or raised at any point during a hand.

Late Position (LP) – Being one of the last contestants to act, for example: the Cutoff and Button positions. Depending on the size of the table, a different number of positions will be considered "late positions."

Laydown – It is the tough decision to fold a good hand if you think your opponent has you figured.

Leak – In poker, a leak is a strategic error that a player makes. This is due to the fact that the error will ultimately cost him money (leak).

Limp – Calling the amount of the big blind rather than raising to enter the pot preflop (when there hasn't been a raise.)

Lock – A hand that is so powerful that losing is either impossible or extremely unlikely.

Lojack (LJ) – The position directly to the right of the Hijack; three seats to the right of The Button.

Loose – A player who consistently calls bets despite having poor hands or when the odds do not support it.

Luckbox – A player who frequently strikes it lucky.


Made Hand – A made hand is one that does not need a draw. Usually, it refers to a pocket pair and indicates that the player is statistically superior in a hand.

Maximally Exploitative Strategy (MES) – The most profitable exploitative strategy.

Micro-Limit – Typically, $.25-.50 and lower are regarded as “micro-limit” in online poker.

Minimally Exploitative Strategy – This targets one or more nodes but does not intend to attack the entire game tree. Players generally employ minimally exploitative methods after the opponent has made a mistake, making it more difficult for the opponent to counteract the tactic.

Mixed Strategy – Refers to a scenario where a player combines two or more possible choices after determining that their assessed values are equal.

Move In – Refers to when a player fully commits with their bets.

Muck – Alternative word for 'fold.'


Nash Equilibrium – An situation where players are playing optimal strategies against one another, leaving them with no motivation to stray from it.

Nit – A conservative, risk-averse player who is typically simple to predict.

Node – A decision point on a game tree. Nodes are composed of every action a player may take at that precise moment.

No Limit – A player ia allowed to bet anunlimited number of chips when it’s their turn.

Nut Flush Blocker – The highest rank of a suit that is not on the board while there are two or more of that suit present.

Nuts – A person with the best hand imaginable.

Nut Straight — The highest conceivable straight. The phrase is only used in community card games.

Nut Straight Blocker – A card that blocks the nut straight.


O8 – Omaha 8-or-better (Hi/Lo split)

Offsuit – Where cards are of different suits.

Omaha – a variation of Texas hold'em in which each player is dealt four hole cards and must create a hand using exactly two of them along with three of the five board cards.

On The Come – To place a wager or call with a draw.

On The Button – Having the role of dealer. It is the most beneficial and rewarding position in poker because it is the last player to bet.

Open – To bet first.

Open-Ended Straight Draw (OESD) – A straight draw in which the straight can be completed by two ranks of cards, such that one card on either “end” of the draw will complete the straight.

Examples: JT on 9-8-x, 75 on 8-6-x, 98 on T-7-x.

Overbet – To place a bet in a no limit game that exceeds the pot amount..

Overcall – To call a bet after it has been called by a player or players..

Overcard – 1. A hole card that ranks higher than any of the community cards. 2. A community card that ranks higher than both of a player's hole cards.

Over Pair – A pocket pair ranking higher than any other card on the flop.


Paint — A royal card.

Pair — Two identical cards.

Passive — When a player has a penchant to check or call more frequently than to bet or raise.

Pat — Alternative term for made hand.

Pay off —To place a call during the last round of betting, whether or not you believe you hold the best hand.

Penny ante — A game where no big risks are expected to be at stake; one that is lighthearted, low stakes, or played primarily for fun.

Perfect — The best cards available in a lowball hand, apart from the named cards.

Pick-up — When a player purchases chips and the house “picks up” cash from the dealer.

Pocket aces — An opening hand with two aces. Alternative terms include American Airlines, bullets, and rockets.

Pocket pair — When a player’s private cards contain a pair.

Poker face — An expressionless face that gives no clue about the cards being held.

Poker table — To make it easier to pick up chips and cards, a tabletop with padding is ideal.

Position — A player's position in the betting order is determined by where they are seated in reference to the dealer.

Position bet — A bet that is placed primarily on the strength of the player's position rather than their hand of cards.

Post — To place the necessary small or big blind wager in Texas Hold'em or comparable games that use blinds instead of antes.

Pre-flop — A scenario where players already hold their pocket cards when no flop is dealt.

Prop — A participant who is paid on an hourly basis to initiate or maintain poker games. Unlike shills, prop players use their own funds.

Protected pot — A pot where there are too many players involved and it appears hard to win by bluff because it increases the likelihood that another player would either call all the way through or raise excessively.

Protection — Maintaining a hand or a chip over your cards. This protects them from being accidentally mucked by the dealer or soiled by a dropped hand. It also refers to when a player adds extra funds to a pot so that any blind money they have previously contributed isn't lost.

Purse —The sum total of a poker tournament's prize money.

Push —To go all in. Also used when, at the conclusion of a hand, the dealer pushes the chips to the successful player.

Putting on the Heat— To exert pressure on the other players by placing large bets.


Quads — A hand consisting of four cards of one rank and one card of a different rank.

Qualifier, qualifying low — This refers to a qualifying low hand. In high-low split games, awarding the low half of the pot frequently necessitates a minimum hand value, such as eight-high. There are also qualifications for high hands in some home games.

Quartered — This refers to tying the low or high hand in a high-low split game in order to win a quarter of the pot. This is typically a bad result as it means the player is betting a third of the pot in the hopes of recovering a quarter of it.


Rag – An unimportant card.

Rail – The section of a game room reserved for spectators.

Rainbow – When there are no cards with identical suits on the board.

Raise – To make a higher bet than the last player.

Raise First In (RFI) – A raise made before the flop when nobody else has joined the pot.

Rake – The amount that a poker room (or online poker site) charges per pot. Typically a small percentage of the pot.

Range – All potential hands that a player holds in a specific circumstance.

Read – When a player notices an opponent’s tell.

River – The last card upcard. In Hold ’em and Omaha, it is the fifth street, and in stud poker, it is the seventh.

Rock – A player who is exceedingly disciplined or cautious and never crosses the line.

Root Node – The game tree's initial node.

Royal Flush – A flush comprising the 10, J, Q, K A of the same suit.

Running Bad – When random statistical events result in a player getting bad hands and losing money. An alternative term is a “Cold Streak”.


Sandbag – A deceptive move in poker where a player with a strong hand plays quietly or poorly in order to disguise their strength. Also known as slow play.

Sandwich – A move to to wedge another player between two raisers.

Scoop – To win the pot in a split game.

Set – In Texas Hold’Em or Omaha, a set occurs when a player gets a pair of pocket cards that match a card on the board.

SF – Straight Flush.

Shill — A person who is paid a set rate to play and is backed by the house. Also known as a house player because no of their own money is at stake.

Shootout – A poker tournament form in which the last surviving player from one table plays the remaining players from other tables until a final table is formed.

Showdown – The moment when the winning hand is decided and the pot is split.

Slow Play – To use a powerful hand poorly in order to keep more players in the pot.

Split Pot – A pot shared by two or more players who have equivalent hands.

Squeeze – Typically a bluff, it occurs when a player reraises after a raise and one or more callers before the flop.

Stab – Common term for a gamble that is unlikely to be followed up with future bets. It is a postflop bet made when no one appears to be interested in the pot.

Stakes – A player's Buy-In. The total sum of money they are prepared to wager during a particular session.

Steal – A bluff that wins the pot. A steal involves betting that every other player will fold; if they do, the player wins the pot.

Steal Position — The next-to-last or last place.

Straight – Five cards of any suit in a row. Almost invariably, a straight wins during jackpot poker.

Straight Blocker – A card that blocks a straight.

Straight Flush – Generally considered the most powerful poker hand, it is a straight with five cards of the same suit.

Strategic Option – Any move a palyer can make at a node..

Stuck – A player who loses money..

Suck Out – A player who wins the hand while being behind when the chips were first placed.

Suited – When all of the cards are of the same suit.


TAG – Tight Aggressive player.

Tank – To spend an unusually long time in silence and thought before deciding.

Tell – A discernible shift in a player's manner or behavior that provides information about that player's judgment of their hand. Most times, it is an unconscious action, and a player receives an edge if they detect another player's tell, especially if it occurs frequently, and is trustworthy.

Texas hold 'em — One of the most well-known variations of poker. Each player receives two cards, called as "hole cards," face down, after which three rounds of five community cards are dealt face up.

Third Street – This is the first upcard in stud poker.

Tight – A person who only plays when they have a strong hand.

Tilt – This refers to the frustration and emotional distress a player feels when they make a series of bad decisions.

Toke — A toke is a tip that the pot winner gives to the croupier at a physical casino.

Top Up – Buying chips to increase one’s chip stack up to the maximum limit.

Trap – A deceptive move aimed at making another player to make a big bet. It is also known as slow play.


Under the Gun (UTG) – Player directly on the left of the Big Blind. The UTG player is first to act preflop.

Underdog — An underdog or dog is a player with a smaller chance to win than another specified player. Frequently used when the exact odds are expressed.

Underfull — A full house made where the three of a kind has lower-ranking cards than the pair. Compare with big full

Up — When used with a card rank to describe a poker hand, refers to two pair with the named card being the higher pair.

Upcard — A card that is played face up.

Upswing — A period during which a player wins more (or loses less) than expected. See also: downswing.

Up the ante — Increase the stakes


Value Bet – A wager placed by a player who wishes to have it called.

Variance – A measurement of the several fluctuations a player’s bankroll goes through.

Voluntarily Put Money In Pot (VPIP) – VPIP includes any time a player joins the pot, with the exception of when they check their option from the big blind in an un-raised pot.


Wake up — This refers to a scenario in which a player discovers they have a solid opening hand after the action has already begun in front of them.

Walk — A scenario in which everyone must fold to the big blind.

Wash — When the cards are spread out face down on the table and shuffled to rearrange the deck.

Weak ace — Any ace that has a low kicker.

Weak player — A player who is often intimidated out of a hand after the flop by any kind of move or bet.

Webcam poker — A style of online poker where webcams are used to let players view each other while they play.

Wet board — A situation in which the cards on the table allow for players to hit good hands.

Whale — A relatively poor player with a sizeable bankroll who other players can target easily.

Wheel — In deuce-to-seven lowball, a wheel is the nut low hand (2-3-4-5-7). When the ace is playing low, it is a five-high straight (A-2-3-4-5).

Window card — In Texas and Omaha hold'em, the window card is the first to be displayed when the croupier deals the three cards for the flop. In stud poker, the window card is an upcard.

Wrap — A wrap in Omaha hold'em is a straight draw with at least 9 outs that consists of two board cards and three or four cards from the player's hand.