A Short Dictionary of Texas Hold ‘em Poker

Watching poker on TV or the internet, and even among relatively new players in real life games, one may get the impression that they have wandered across a border into a country where a foreign language is spoken. Even during free poker games online it’s essential to know the jargon, without which you will by lost. So here’s a short glossary of some of the most common poker terms:



Betting everything you have on the outcome of a single hand. In free poker games for fun there’s no risk of losing real money – but if you’re playing for cold, hard cash, stop and think; what if your opponent’s all-in is a bluff…


Not found in every game, but a common feature of tournaments and quick games, the ante is the name for the cash or chips that all players must place in the pot before the first deal.


When you put money in the pot during a game, you are gambling on your likelihood of winning – making a bet.


In each round, the two players to the left of the dealer must pay into the pot before they see the cards they are dealt. These payments are called the blinds, and are required even in poker games for fun.

Big Blind

The stake, double the level of the small blind, that the player to the left of the small blind must make before the deal.


During the course of a round of Texas Hold ‘em poker, five community cards are dealt onto the table, face-up, and may be used by any player. These cards comprise the board.


The marker that indicates the dealer during each round, and the name for the final and best table position in Texas Hold ‘em poker.


If you want to check the bet placed before yours or match the blinds, you will call – by placing the same number of chips on the table.


One of the bluffer’s tricks, the check is a method of moving the game on to the next player without making a bet. It can be used to great effect if you hold a good hand but don’t want others to know… yet.


What looks like a check may be only part of a player’s strategy – for, having once checked, they may then raise in the betting round after another player does so.


The player who distributes cards in a round of poker, shares the pot, and keeps on eye on the game.


Fifty-two cards of four sets of 13 suits.


A hand in which one key card is missing, which may yet turn good – depending on the cards that fall on the board.


The first three community cards, dealt in a single round. The flop marks the second betting round.


Bear in mind that it’s important to know when to bet – but equally, when not to bet. A good player will fold – withdraw from the game – if necessary.


One on one – or poker with only two players. Don’t forget that, the fewer the players, the greater the chance that each may build a high value hand.


When players hold equal value hands – for example, two kings made from the cards in their hand in combination with those on the table – the highest other card in their hand determines the winner. This is also known as the Side-Card.


A common move by the player after the one who pays in the big blind, this involves staking the minimum possible without raising.


The best hand possible in a round. It’s always a pair of aces before the flop.


The cards in the deck that could be used to strengthen your hand.


Sometimes limited to fixed amount. A player raises when they bet more than their previous opponent.


The player directly to the left of the dealer must pay in the small blind before play commences.


The chips remaining in your possession at any point in the game.


This is a very tough position to play, as every other player at the table will be watching closely. It describes the player to the left of the big blind, who should rely on a strong hand or a good bluff.