Complete online poker glossary from A to Z. The current page (A-E) describing poker terms like Ante, Bad Beat, Check, Equity.
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POKER GLOSSARY A-E
- 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.
- All-In: To run out of chips while betting or calling. In table stakes games, a player may not go into his pocket for more money during a hand. If he runs out, a side pot is created in which he has no interest. However, he can still win the pot for which he had the chips. Example: "Poor Bob - he made quads against the big full house, but he was all-in on the second bet."
- Backdoor: Catching both the turn and river card to make a drawing hand. For instance, suppose you have As- 7s. The flop comes Ad-6c-4s. You bet and are called. The turn is the Ts, which everybody checks, and then the river is the Js. You've made a "backdoor" nut flush. See also "runner."
- Bad Beat: To have a hand that is a large underdog beat a heavily favored hand. It is generally used to imply that the winner of the pot had no business being in the pot at all, and it was the wildest of luck that he managed to catch the one card in the deck that would win the pot. We won't give any examples, you will hear plenty of them during your poker career.
- Blank: A board card that doesn't seem to affect the standings in the hand. If the flop is As-Jd-Ts, then a turn card of 2h would be considered a blank. On the other hand, the 2s would not be.
- Blind: A forced bet (or partial bet) put in by one or more players before any cards are dealt. Typically, blinds are put in by players immediately to the left of the button. See also "Live blind."
- Board: All the community cards in a Hold'em game - the flop, turn, and river cards together. Example: "There wasn't a single heart on the board."
- 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.
- Burn: To discard the top card from the deck, face down. This is done between each betting round before putting out the next community card(s). It is security against any player recognizing or glimpsing the next card to be used on the board.
- Button: A white acrylic disk to indicate who is the (nominal) dealer. Also used to refer to the player on the button. Example: "Oh, the button raised."
- Buy: (1) As in "buy the pot." To bluff, hoping to "buy" the pot without being called.
(2) As in "buy the button." To bet or raise, hoping to make players between you and the button fold, thus allowing you to act last on subsequent betting rounds.
- Calling Station: A weak-passive player who calls a lot, but doesn't raise or fold much. This is the kind of player you like to have in your game.
- Cap: To put in the last raise permitted on a betting round. This is typically the third or fourth raise. Dealers in California are fond of saying "Capitola" or "Cappuccino".
- Case: The last card of a certain rank in the deck. Example: "The flop came J-8-3; I've got pocket jacks, he's got pocket 8's, and then the case eight falls on the river and he beats my full house."
- Center Pot: The first pot created during a poker hand. This is as opposed to one or more "side" pots that are created if one or more players goes all-in. Also "main pot."
- Check: (1) To not bet, with the option to call or raise later in the betting round. Equivalent to betting zero dollars.
(2) Another word for "chip", as in poker chip.
- Check Raise: To check and then raise when a player behind you bets. Occasionally you will hear people say this is not fair or ethical poker. Piffle. Almost all casinos permit check-raising, and it is an important poker tactic. It is particularly useful in low-limit Hold'em where you need extra strength to narrow the field when you have the best hand.
- Cold Call: To call more than one bet in a single action. For instance, suppose the first player to act after the big blind raises. Now any player acting after him must call two bets "cold." This is different from calling a single bet and then calling a subsequent raise.
- Come Hand: A drawing hand (probably from the craps term).
- Complete Hand: A hand that is defined by all five cards - a straight, flush, full house, four of a kind, or straight flush.
- Connector: A Hold'em starting hand in which the two cards are one apart in rank. Examples: KQs, 76.
- 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.
- Crack: To beat a hand - typically a big hand. You hear this most often used to apply to pocket aces: "Third time tonight I've had pocket aces cracked."
- 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.
- Dog: Shortened form of "Underdog".
- Dominated Hand: A hand that will almost always lose to a better hand that people usually play. For instance, K3 is "dominated" by KQ. With the exception of strange flops (e.g. 3-3-x, K-3-x), it will always lose to KQ.
- Draw Dead: Try 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.
- Expectation: (1) A term referring to the amount of you expect to gain on average if you make a certain play. For instance, suppose you put $10 into a $50 pot to draw at a hand that you will make 25% of the time, and it will win every time you make it. Three out of four times, you do not make your draw, and lose $10 each time for a total of $30. The fourth time, you will make your draw, winning $50. Your total gain over those four average hands is $50-$30 = $20, an average of $5 per hand. Thus calling the $10 has a positive expectation of $5.
(2) The amount you expect to make at the poker table in a specific time period. Perhaps in 100 hours play, you have won $527. Then your expectation is $5.27/hr. Of course, you won't make that exact amount each hour (and some hours you will lose), but it's one measure of your anticipated earnings.