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Poker Terms

Action
(1) Opportunity to act. If a player appears not to realize it's his turn, the dealer will say "Your action, sir."

(2) Bets and raises. "If a third heart hits the board and there's a lot of action, you have to assume that somebody has made the flush."

Ante
A small portion of a bet contributed by each player to seed the pot at the beginning of a poker hand. Most hold'em games do not have an ante; they use "blinds" to get initial money into the pot.

Bot
Short for "robot". In a poker context, a program that plays poker online with no (or minimal) human intervention.

Bottom Pair
A pair with the lowest card on the flop. If you have As-6s, and the flop comes Kd-Th-6c, you have flopped bottom pair.

Brick & Mortar
A "real" casino or cardroom with a building, tables, dealers, etc.

Chop
An agreement between the two players with blinds to simply take their blinds back rather than playing out the hand if nobody calls or raises in front of them.

Counterfeit
To make your hand less valuable because of board cards that duplicate it. Example: you have 87 and the flop comes 9-T-J, so you have a straight. Now an 8 comes on the turn. This has counterfeited your hand and made it almost worthless.

Cripple
As in "to cripple the deck." Meaning that you have most or all of the cards that somebody would want to have with the current board. If you have pocket kings, and the other two kings flop, you have crippled the deck.

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.

Dog
Shortened form of "underdog."

Draw
To play a hand that is not yet good, but could become so if the right cards come. Example: "I'm not there yet -- I'm drawing." Also used as a noun. Example: "I have to call because I have a good draw."

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." Of course, this is a bad condition to be in.

Equity
Your "rightful" share of a pot. If the pot contains $80, and you have a 50% chance of winning it, you have $40 equity in the pot. This term is somewhat fanciful since you will either win $80 or $0, but it gives you an idea of how much you can "expect" to win.

Extra Blind
A blind put in by a player just entering the game, returning to the game, or otherwise changing his position at the table. See also "blind" and "post."

Family Pot
A pot in which all (or almost all) of the players call before the flop.

Fast Play
To play a hand aggressively, betting and raising as much as possible. Example: "When you flop a set but there's a flush draw possible, you have to play it fast."

Fish
A poor player -- one who gives his money away. It's a well-known (though not well-followed) rule among good players to not upset the bad players, because they'll stop having fun and perhaps

Gap Hand
A starting hand with cards more than one rank apart. For instance, T9 is a one-gap hand. 86 is a two-gap hand.

Gutshot Straight
A straight filled "inside." If you have 9s-8s, the flop comes 7c-5h-2d, and the turn is the 6c, you've made your gutshot straight.

Heads-Up
A pot that is being contested by only two players. Example: "It was heads-up by the turn."

House
The establishment running the game. Example: "The $2 you put on the button goes to the house."

Jackpot
A special bonus paid to the loser of a hand if he gets a very good hand beaten. In hold'em, the "loser" must typically get aces full or better beaten. In some of the large southern California card clubs, jackpots have gotten over $50,000. Of course, the jackpot is funded with money removed from the game as part of the rake.

Jam
To move all-in in a no-limit (or pot-limit) game.

Kicker
An unpaired card used to determine the better of two near-equivalent hands. For instance, suppose you have AK and your opponent has AQ. If the flop has an ace in it, you both have a pair of aces, but you have a king kicker. Kickers can be vitally important in hold'em.

Leak
A weakness in your game that causes you to win less money than you would otherwise. Example: "She takes her pocket pairs too far; it's a leak in her game."

Limp
To call. Generally the term refers to pre-flop action. For instance: "He limped in early position with 77."

Made Hand
A hand to which you're drawing, or one good enough that it doesn't need to improve.

Micro-Limit
Games so small that they couldn't be profitably dealt in a real cardroom. They exist only at online poker sites. You might arbitrarily call games $.25-.50 and smaller "micro-limit."

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."

Nuts
The best possible hand given the board. If the board is Ks-Jd-Ts-4s-2h, then As-Xs is the nuts. You will occasionally hear the term applied to the best possible hand of a certain category, even though it isn't the overall nuts. For the above example, somebody with Ah-Qc might say they had the "nut straight."

Outrun
To beat. Example: "Susie outran my set when her flush card hit on the river."

Overpair
A pocket pair higher than any card on the flop. If you have QQ and the flop comes J-8-3, you have an overpair.

Pat
A hand that you make on the flop. For instance, if you have two spades in your hand and the flop has three spades, then you've flopped a pat spade flush.

Pot-Committed
A state 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.

Rake
An amount of money taken out of every pot by the dealer. This is the cardroom's income.

River
The fifth and final community card, put out face up, by itself. Also known as " fifth street ." Metaphors involving the river are some of poker's most treasured cliches, e.g., "He drowned in the river."

Rock
A player who plays very tight, not very creatively. He raises only with the best hands. A real rock is fairly predictable: if he raises you on the river, you can throw away just about anything but the nuts.

Satellite
A tournament that does not award cash to its winners, but a seat (or seats) in a subsequent "target" tournament.

Set
Three of a kind when you have two of the rank in your hand, and there is one on the board.

Splash the Pot
To toss chips directly into the pot rather than put them in a stack in front of you. Don't do it.

Split Pot
A pot that is shared by two or more players because they have equivalent hands.

Thin
As in "drawing thin." To be drawing to a very few outs, perhaps only one or two.

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.

Under the Gun
The position of the player who acts first on a betting round. For instance, if you are one to the left of the big blind, you are under the gun before the flop.

Value
As in "bet for value." This means that you would actually like your opponents to call your bet (as opposed to a bluff). Generally it's because you have the best hand. However, it can also be a draw that, given enough callers, has a positive expectation.

Wheel
A straight from ace through five.

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