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Poker News | PokerWorks Op-Ed

Poker Plus – Defining Poker

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While playing poker, have you ever sat in a game and heard (or read) players' comments – and you had no idea what they were saying?

Have you ever Bubbled-out because you played like Broomcorn’s Uncle? Were you playing you’re A game when you Went Over the Top with American Airlines trying to make a Belly Buster?

While most seasoned players are very familiar with poker terminology, many beginners are in the dark.  Even though I am far from a beginner, I do find myself, on occasion, having to look up some poker term I haven’t heard before.  The poker world is no different from the “real” world, new catch phrases and words are popping up all the time and it is hard to keep up with them all.

Poker has a language all its own, making beginners feel perplexed and leaving some old timers scratching their heads. So here is a list of some common words, sayings and definitions. You may just see a few you have never heard, no matter how seasoned you are!

•    Action - The amount of betting in a game.  If someone is an “action player” it means he/she is calling/betting and raising a lot, putting action in the game.

•    A-Game – Playing your best or playing in the highest stakes game available.

•    American Airlines – Pocket Aces.

•    Ammo - Your chip stack, ammunition is your poker weapon.

•    Ante - Minimum bet that is required to be dealt a hand. Flop games use a blind structure instead of antes, except in tournaments which use both.

•    Apple – The BIG game. The highest stakes game available to play in.

•    Auto Ante - An option button while playing. Is used to post your ante automatically.

•    ATM – A loose player who keeps buying chips and losing.

•    Bad Beat – When a very good hand is beaten by a worse starting hand that caught a very lucky card (or cards) to win.

•    Banging Away - Aggressively betting and/or raising to build the pot or make opponents fold.

•    Bankroll – The money you have to play poker with. Online this is the money in your player account.

•    Behind a Log – Sitting behind a log of chips. A player who is well ahead of the game (winning) and sitting patiently only playing premium hands.

•    Belly Buster – An inside straight draw or “gut-shot”.

•    Big Bobtail - An open-ended 4-card straight flush.

•    Big Slick – When your pocket cards are an Ace and a King.

•    Blind Bet or Blinds - Usually a small blind and a big blind in flop games.  These are bets that are put out by one or two players before the cards are dealt. Generally used in place of antes.

•    B&M – Brick and mortar, used to describe a land based poker room.

•    Board – In flop games, the cards that are face up on the table are the board or community cards. In stud games, the board is the face up cards of all players.

•    Boat - A full house.

•    Brick – A card that does not fit your hand. In Stud H/L when drawing to an A-2-3-4, a 9 or above would be a Brick.

•    Broadway – An Ace high straight or combination of the high cards that make up the hand.

•    Broomcorn's Uncle - A player who antes until he is broke.

•    Bubbled -To bust out of a tournament just before making the money.  Example: A tournament pays 10 places and you were eliminated or “bubbled” in 11th place.

•    Busted Draw - A drawing hand that you miss. Like having four spades and failing to catch a fifth spade to make a flush.

•    Calling Station – A player who calls almost every hand and seldom folds or raises.

•    Cap or Cap it - Raising the bet to the maximum allowed for that round.

•    Cold Call - Calling a raise when you have no chips in the pot.

•    Counterfeit – When board cards duplicate your hole cards making your hand weaker. Commonly used in Omaha.

•    Court Card - A king, queen or jack. Also called Paints, pictures or royals.

•    Checks – Chips. Markers made of clay or plastic which are used instead of real money at the poker table.  

•    Coffeehousing – When players chat about the hand they are in with the intention of misleading the other players.

•    Cracked - Getting a hand “cracked” is when a superior hand is drawn out on and beaten.

•    Crying Call - Calling a bet or raise with a weak hand that you think probably won’t win.

•    Cut Off or Cut Off Seat - The position just before the button in flop games.

•    Dead Money - An inexperienced player thought to have little or no chance of winning.

•    Dog - A hand considered the underdog.

•    Door Card – The first face up card in a stud game.

•    Drawing Dead - Drawing to a hand that you cannot win with even if you make it.

•    Fill up – When three of a kind or two pair make a full house.

•    Fish - A weak and/or losing player.

•    Flop - The first three community cards dealt face up on the board in flop games like Hold’em.  

•    Free Card or Freebie – When no one bets and you get the next card for free.

•    Grinder – A player who plays with minimum risk and has small wins. Usually plays over a long period of time.

•    Heater, Rush or Roll – A winning streak.

•    Hole Cards or Pocket Cards - Cards that dealt face down to each player and hidden.

•    Kibitzer or Railbird – Someone who is watching the game and commenting on it.

•    Lay Down - When a player folds or “lays down” a good hand because they think it is beat. Often heard is “good lay down” meaning it was a wise fold by the player who had second best and folded.

•    Limp in or Gypsy In – Calling and hoping to play the hand as cheaply as possible instead of raising or calling a raise.

•    Made Hand - A hand that does not need to improve to have a good chance of winning.

•    Muck or Pitch – To fold your hand. In live games the discard pile is also called the muck.

•    One-Gap - A Hold'em starting hand where the two cards are two apart in rank, like an 8-6 of clubs.

•    Open Ender or Open ended Straight - A straight draw that can be completed by hitting the right card on either end.  If you have 2-3-4-5, you need an Ace or a 6 to complete the straight.

•    Outs – How many cards you could catch to make your hand. For example if you have four hearts, you have 9 “outs” or hearts that you could catch to make your flush.

•    Over the Top - When you re-raise another player’s raise, you’re “Going over the top of him/her”.

•    Pocket Rockets - Pocket aces.

•    Porch - In a stud game, a players face up cards are called their porch.

•    Quorum -The minimum number of players needed to start a poker game.

•    Rags or Cheese – Bad or worthless cards with little chance of winning, like a 7-2 off-suit are rags in Hold’em.

•    Ribbon Clerk - A small time gambler who plays for low stakes.

•    Rolled or Rolled-up - Getting three of a kind in the first three cards in Stud games.

•    Runner-Runner - Catching back to back cards that make your hand.  For instance, holding three spades and catching two spades on the turn and river to make your flush.

•    Sandbagging – Slow playing your hand by just checking or just calling when you have a great hand. Used to disguise how strong your hand is hoping to entice bluffs so you can check-raise.

•    Scare Card - A high ranking card that is respected, like an Ace up in a Stud game.

•    Set - Three of a kind, as in “I flopped a set of Kings.”

•    Short Stack - A player with very few chips. Usually the player with the least amount of ships at the table.

•    Slow Playing - Checking or flat calling with an excellent hand, hoping other players stay in and pay you off.

•    Steamrolling - Re-raising so players have to call two bets instead of one.

•    Street- In Stud games each card dealt is referred to as a street, like 5th street for the 5th card and so on.

•    Stuck – being behind or losing in a game, as in, “I’m stuck $100 in this game!”

•    Tell - An action by a player that gives away information.

•    Trips - Three of a kind.

•    Turn (The Turn) - In flop games like Texas Hold 'em, the turn card is the 4th face up community card on the board.

•    Under the Gun (UTG) - The player whose turn it is to act first.

•    Variance – The way to measure the up and down swings your bankroll goes through.

•    Weary Willie – A player who has busted out, been eliminated or gone broke.

•    Wired or Wired Pair - A pair that is hidden or in the hole.

•    Yeast – A raise.

•    Z Game- The opposite of an A Game.

•    Zombie – A player who is expressionless and shows no tells.

Of course this is only a sampling of poker terms you may hear or read. There are thousands of them out there with new ones catching hold every day. But now if someone accuses you of being a Zombie sitting Behind a Log when you had a Broadway….at least you will know what they are saying!

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