Texas holdem poker has a language all of its own, and these Texas holdem terms can be confusing. Indeed it can be daunting to turn up to play a game of poker and hear words like ‘the river’, or ‘a fish’, or that a card is a ‘brick’. Whether you want to learn basic Texas holdem poker strategy or more, knowing the Texas holdem terms will help you understand what is going on at the poker table. In this glossary of Texas holdem terms we list most of the specialist poker terms you are likely to hear, but by no means all. And of course there will be geographical variations on Texas holdem terms.
Texas Holdem Terms; A
Betting all of your chips on a single movement. If you have less chips than the other person, losing the hand means you’d be out of the game.
Chips that are compulsory for each and every player to put into the pot before the cards are dealt, often about 10% of the big blind. This makes every hand more expensive and more valuable to win.
Texas Holdem Terms; B
Backdoor flush / straight
A backdoor flush or straight occurs when you get a drawing hand from the turn and river cards.
A great hand beating or getting beaten by a weak hand.
Nickname for AK.
Players ahead of the button must place a forced initial bet called a “blind”. The small blind is to the left of the the dealer and the big blind to the left of the small blind. The big blind is generally double the small blind.
A bet made by a player with a weak hand trying to force other players to fold by representing a good hand.
The five common cards in a round of Hold’em. The flop (3 cards) the turn, and the river.
A card that doesn’t help your hand. For instance after the flop having a four card flush, then the turn and river are bricks, ie don’t make your flush.
Any two Aces are known as ‘bullets’. This is due to the single suit symbol in the center of each card side by side resembles bullet holes. …
To reduce chances of players glimpsing at the next card, the dealer will “burn” the top card from the deck by discarding it before the deal, turn, and flop, placing it face down on the table.
Any article, often a small black disk that helps to identify the dealer on a hand.
The cost of entering a tournament.
Texas Holdem Terms; C
To equal the big blind or a bet that has been made.
A protector is a chip or something of sentimental value that you place on the top of your cards to avoid them being accidentally fouled by a discarded hand from another player, or mucked by the dealer.
Saying check or tapping the table meaning to pass the turn without betting. Only possible if no one has placed a bet before you.
A type of hand formed by two consecutive cards, like 45 or JQ. If they’re from the same suit, like JdQd, they’re called Suited Connectors.
Having a card in our hand duplicated by a communal card on the board, weakening your hand. For instance if you have 4/4 and the board is Q5Q85, anybody with a card of a value above your pocket 4’s will beat you.
The player positioned located to the right of the dealer.
Texas Holdem Terms; D
Dead Mans Hand
A/8 is known as Dead Mans Hand because Wild Bill Hickock was holding it when he was shot in the back of the head in 1876.
Money in the pot from a player is no longer participating in the hand.
The cards 9/5 make up the Dolly Parton hand. This is down to her Movie 9 to 5 and the hit song she sang in it Workin’ 9 to 5, just to make a livin’.
Any time 10/2 turns up its known as the Doyle Brunson. This is because in both 1976 and 1977 he won the WSOP title with this hand, hitting a full house on the river both times, even after being behind on the flop.
Doyle Brunson 2
This is any A /Q offsuit. In his 1979 Poker Strategy Manual, he says, ‘Never play this hand.’
When after the flop or turn you have the possibility of a straight or a flush if the right card comes down on the turn or the river, then you have a drawing hand, ie you don’t have anything at the moment but you are drawing to a good hand. If you have 5/6 clubs and the flop is 3/ 4 diamonds, you need a two or a seven to make the straight, that is a drawing hand.
A draw to a hand which will lose even if you make it, as in you are drawing to a flush but your opponent already has a full house.
A dry board has a rainbow” flop ( three different suits) and doesnt make an obvious flush or straight draw. The cards seem to be disconnected in every way. For example a two clubs/ 7 diamonds / 10 spades on the flop.
Texas Holdem Terms; E
Bet placed by a player who has just entered the table, returning from a break, or changing their position on the table. Generally used in cash games and at casino games.
Texas Holdem Terms; F
When every player enters the pot (pays the blind or calls a raise) before the flop.
Playing a hand by placing bets and raising aggressively. It’s convenient when you have a good hand, but there’s a chance for someone to get a flush or a straight. For example, having a pair of J’s, but the flop is 678.
An inexperienced or bad player who often loses money but sometimes takes a big pot by not recognising the meaning of betting patterns by better players.
The first deal of community cards, three cards put out face up.
A flush is five cards of the same suit, of any value, but the for the best flush you need to have the ace in your hand. For more about flushes look here.
When you manage to get other players to fold, without getting to the showdown. It’s the main objective.
Calling a hand foul means it can’t be played. This can be due to many reasons, most commonly being mistakes when dealing the cards, or a card accidentally showing up while dealing.
A game that’s free to play, ie no buy in fee.
Texas Holdem Terms; G
A hand consisting of cards that are more than one number apart. TQ is a two-gap hand.
Having a one-gap hand, such as 89, with a flop of JQK. The only chance to get a straight would be getting a 10. If you did, you’d have made a gutshot straight.
Texas Holdem Terms; H
When two players play for the entire pot in any given hand. Or when all other players have been eliminated, and the table is left with only two players.
When a player claims that the flop has “hit” them, it means it contains cards that are good for them.
The casino or person who organizes and holds responsibility for the game.
Texas Holdem Terms; J
Some organizations collect money from their poker tables to put a jackpot together and give it to someone who loses a hand having great cards. Typically, these great cards are a full house of aces or better.
To go all-in in a game of no-limit.
Texas Holdem Terms; K
A card that has no pair, but works for deciding which one of two equivalent hands is better. If you have an A8, and there is a pair of K’s in the community cards, you and every opponent will have that pair, but you’ll have an Ace as your kicker. Always consider your kicker when assessing the value of your hand.
Texas Holdem Terms; L
Something in your game that affects your odds negatively, like making a mistake too often, being too forward, showing a pattern, etc.
To call. Often used at pre-flop instances. “She took a high risk by limping with 2/6.”
A term used as a reference to the card that distinguishes your hand from a similar other. If you had A9, and your opponent had AK, getting an Ace on the community cards won’t do you any good. But your card could be “live” if another nine showed up.
Texas Holdem Terms; M
A player who continually bets strong, aggressively, and bluffs. They love doing a lot of gambling and seeing as much action as they can, regardless of the cards they have.
Having a pair in your hand so that you don’t need any other cards to come down to have a hand. Often refers to high pairs but can be any.
The pile of burned cards and cards from players that folded. It’s also used for when you lose and choose not to show your cards at the end (depending on the house rules).
Texas Holdem Terms; N
A version of the game in which you’re allowed to bet any amount of chips up to the maximum, any time it’s your turn to bet.
Best possible combination of cards once the community cards are dealt. If the board is As-3d-4h-Td-3s, the best cards anyone could have are 3h3c. A 2x5x would also make for a “Nut Straight.”
The best possible flush at any point in the hand. Usually involving the ace of the flush suit.
Texas Holdem Terms; O
Whenever a starting hand is composed of cards of different suits (ie Ace clubs / 10 diamonds)
Out or Outs
When you have a drawing hand and need one or more cards to make a straight, a flush, a full house, a straight flush or a Royal flush, or even a card to make a winning pair, the number of cards that can do that for you is your ‘outs’. For instance if you have 9/10 hearts and the flop is the 8/Jack hearts / and the 2 diamonds, you have a lot of outs, any heart (of which there are nine more) will make a flush, any seven or queen (eight in total) will make a straight, giving you a total of 17 outs. As a rough percentage you usually double this and add two, so that you get 36% chance of making a great hand, which is pretty high in poker. If one of the seven or queens is a heart you will make a straight flush too. In the case of a gutshot straight, if you have 9/10 hearts and the flop is Queen / King hearts / Ace of spades and someone else has already made a straight with a J/10 off suit, you need the Jack of hearts and only the jack of hearts to win the hand. This is a one outer, which is just under 2% so not likely- but you never know!!
To beat other players hand. “I outran your two pairs with my flush.”
Raising a bet after someone else had made a bet and players have called.
The card or cards with the highest value including the ones on the board. If you’re holding AJ, and the turn is 9-6-3, you may have nothing, but you’re still holding two overcards.
Having a higher pairing in your hand than any of the cards on the board. When a pair is higher than the ones that could be made by combining the cards on the board, it’s called Overpair. If you have JJ, and the board shows T-T-6-7-2, you’d be in possession of the Overpair.
Texas Holdem Terms; P
A great hand in which you’re all set by the time the flop is dealt, like when you have Kc and 4c, and the flop is AcTc3. That’s a pat club flush (or nut flush, as in ‘he has the nuts’)
When you have the best hand and you know you are going to win, then you put a big bet in and someone thinks they can beat you so they call your bet, this is the pay off.
Play the Board
When the cards displayed on the board are all better than yours, you’re playing the board. At showdown, the best you can do is split the pot.
The cards you are dealt are called the pocket cards. Also, is a reference to having something good dealt, like “pocket nines.”
Putting a blind bet when you first sit down at a table, and also required if you change seats in a fashion that moves your blind turn away.
Chips that have been bet on a hand and are in the middle of the table. The total chips to be handed over at the end of the hand.
Like No-Limit, it is a version of poker that allows the player to bet up to the actual amount of money in the pot by their turn.
Related to the statistical and strategic approach to the game. If the pot reaches $40, and you have to bet $4 to continue playing, you must consider the pot odds, which in this case are 10/1, which make it a very good call to make. If your pot odds, or chances of winning the hand, are better than the money you’re risking, go ahead.
Assigning in your head a hand to someone, then playing your hand accordingly through the flop, turn, and river.
Texas Holdem Terms; Q
The next highest ranking hand after a Straight Flush, A Four-of-a-kind. For example, AsAhAcAd. For more information about winning hands look here.
Texas Holdem Terms; R
Ragged (or dry flop)
A board -or flop- that doesn’t help anybody. An example of a flop that might have come down as ragged would be Jd-6h-2c
According to the house rules, a player may or may not buy more chips after losing them all. Tournaments often offer one or two rebuys.
To stage having a particular hand. If you raised preflop, and raise on a flop containing an Ace, you’ll be representing having an ace, even if you have nothing.
In a total of 5 community cards, the river is the last one to be dealt. It also goes by the name of “5th street.”
A type of player that is known to bet traditionally and only when they have exceptionally great hands. They’re very predictable, but sometimes their style leads them to victory when people around them are not patient enough.
Texas Holdem Terms; S
Tournaments that work as funnels for other tournaments, their prizes are “seats” at bigger tournaments coming up.
The art of having a good hand, but betting less than the maximum to engage other players into coming and playing.
Having three of a kind by holding pocket pairs and one of the same cards comes down on the board. For instance having pocket 5’s and a 5 comes down on the turn.
Having fewer chips than most of the other players.
Moment of the game in which all the players still in the hand show what they’ve got. This is in order to to see who has the better hand. If no one calls a player’s bet on the final round, there’s no need to show the cards.
When a player has put all of their chips already on the table, but two or more players are still betting, a side pot is created. No other bets will be collected by the player that has no more chips to back up the new.
Playing a great hand with shyness or simulating weakness so others won’t feel attacked or vulnerable and stay in the pot.
Having the winning hand but taking a long time to reveal the cards, making the other person think they have won the hand. This is bad etiquette.
The player sitting to the left of the button has to place a small bet, which is half the value of the big blind. See also “Big blind.”
Slow-playing a hand to keep people in the pot. Calling after thinking about it for a while, even when your hand’s probably much better.
Going easy on some other player for unrelated to the game reasons. It is prohibited in tournaments and can lead to disqualification or penalization.
When players reach showdown, only to find their hands are equal in value. The pot is split according to the number of players left in equal amounts.
When the player to the left of the big blind (under the gun) puts a raise out (often large) before the cards are dealt, in the hope that everyone will fold and they take down the pot, or get very lucky with the cards. Under the gun is the only position that can do this.
String raise / String Bet
A bet which in which a player puts a chip or chips in the pot and then puts more in after, or even has several chips in his hand and drops a couple and then a few more. This is a string bet and they must take back any chips over the value of a previous bet, or if no one has bet, his bet will then only equal the value of the big blind. It is a similar case if a player puts a single chip in the pot of greater value than a previous bet without announcing a raise. He is then forced to make his bet a call instead of the raise.
Having two cards of the same suit. “I had to go along; my hand was J9 suited.”
Texas Holdem Terms; T
A general rule in poker that prohibits any player from betting with money or chips that is not in front of them.
Inadvertently giving other players a hint of what you have; Ie looking away when you have a big hand or raising the tone of your voice every time you have a weak hand. For information on lots of different types of tells, click here.
Short for “triplets,” three of a kind. When you have one card value in your hand and two on the board, ie you have a 7 and the flop is 277.
The action of dealing the fourth community card. Also referred to as “4th street.”
Texas Holdem Terms; U
The player that has the least chances to win, according to the specific hand in play.
Texas Holdem Terms; V
Value betting is the attempt to get the most chips you can out of another player when you put your opponent on a hand and you know yours is better. The value bet is just the right amount to incite your opponent to make the call. If you bet too much they will fold, or to little and you don’t maximise the opportunity. So you need to have a good ‘read’ of their hand and bet accordingly.
Texas Holdem Terms; W
A wet board is when the flop and then the turn and the river are suited and or connected in ways which give a lot of potential for straights flushes, sets etc. For instance if the flop came Ace clubs/King clubs/ King diamonds.
A hand showing a straight from A through 5. If its spades, it’s the Steel Wheel.
Next time you sit down to the poker table hopefully you will understand better the Texas holdem terms that are being used and you can start using poker language too. ‘Man that card is a brick,’ or as most players say most of the time, ‘I was done by the River!’. Anyway good luck and have a great game tonight.