How to play

Poker terminology: common poker terms & meanings

When you're playing poker, you may come across words that are unfamiliar. To help you learn the lingo of poker, we've developed a handy glossary of poker terms. To help you understand the relationships between these terms, we've built links between many of them. Simply press your browser's 'back' button to return to your previous position in the glossary.



A five-card hand containing an ace, but no straight, flush or pair.

Aces full

A full house with three aces (and any pair).

Aces up

When your hand contains two pairs, one of which is a pair of aces.


The betting aspect of the game, including checking and raising.

Active player

Any player who hasn’t folded.


A chance to buy more chips. Comes at the end of the re-buy period during a multi-table tournament (MTT), normally after 60 minutes.


Betting your entire chip stack, either as a tactic, or to call (match) another player’s bet.


A fee you pay before you see your hand, on top of the blinds – usually applies in later rounds of tournaments. The bigger the blind, the bigger the ante.



When you need the last two cards (the turn and the river) to make your hand. For instance, say you have J and Q of clubs with a flop of A of clubs, 5 of hearts and 6 of spades. If the turn and river are K and 3 of clubs, you’re looking at a backdoor flush.

Bad beat

When a strong hand – one that statistically ought to win – does not. Trust us, this does happen.


The money you have to bet, either in your partypoker account or set aside to add later.

Bankroll management (BRM)

Choosing the right game for your bankroll size, and knowing when to switch up to bigger games, and back down again.

Big blind

A big blind is twice the small blind (blinds being the two fixed bets that start a hand going).


A card that doesn’t go with anything else in your hand.


When you haven’t got a great hand, but bet or raise as if you do.


In multi-table tournaments (MTTs), we put a bounty on certain players, which means a reward for whoever knocks them out of the game.


Multi-table tournaments (MTTs) can get quite long, so they often have built-in breaks, normally 5 minutes at 55 minutes past the hour.


The last player out before the prize money starts. For example, if you have 200 entrants in a tournament and the prizes start at position 15, to finish 16th is the bubble (sorry, bubble).


A pair of aces.


A small disk marking the dealer position (moves one place clockwise at each hand).


The money you start with in a cash game, or the entry fee in a tournament.



Where you match the bet someone else just made.

Cash game

In tournaments, chips have a point value. In cash games they have a cash value.


It’s your turn, there’s no action in front of you and you choose not to bet.


A classic move. You check, hoping to draw others in to bet. When they do, you raise.

Community cards

The five cards in the centre of the table – the flop, turn and river (also known as ‘the board’).

Continuation betting

A type of bluff. Before the flop, your hand looked like the nuts – after, not so much. Your opponent doesn’t know that, so you bet again anyway. Cunning.


Dealer's position

AKA ‘on the button’. The last to act in a betting round and the strongest position at the table.


Early position

First in the betting order, usually two positions to the left of the blinds.

Entry fee

The house’s portion of the tournament entry stake, usually 10%.

Entry stake

Unlike the buy-in (purely the cost of entering a tournament), entry stakes are the amounts players bring that make up the total prize pool.


Fifth street

Also known as the 'river'. The fifth community card on the table and the final round of betting.


A new player, easy pickings for the more experienced ‘sharks’ at the table.

Flat call

Calling a bet without raising.


After the first round of betting, three cards are dealt face-up on the table. This is the ‘flop’, which starts the second round of betting.


Any five cards of the same suit.

Flush draw

When you have four cards in the same suit, hoping you’ll get a fifth to make a flush.


When you pull out of a hand by passing or ‘folding’ your cards.

Four of a kind

Four cards of the same number or face value, also known as ‘quads’.

Fourth street

The fourth community card dealt (also known as the 'turn'). Starts the third round of betting.


A tournament that’s free to enter.

Full house

A hand of three same-value cards, plus a pair. For example three aces and two queens.



When there are only two players in a hand. Also known as ‘1 on 1’ at partypoker.

Hole cards

The two cards every player gets before betting starts.


In the money

In the final part of a tournament when everyone left will win a prize, we say the players are ‘in the money’.


Late position

Usually two places left of the button – the last players to bet, except the dealer. A strong position on the table.


A game where betting is capped at 4 raises per round, with no bet bigger than the big blind.


When you enter the pot by calling rather than making a raise. Most often seen when the first person to act only calls the big blind.


Micro cash game

Where you only need a small amount of cash to join the table, and the blinds are very small – perfect for the new player.

Middle position

Somewhere between the early and late positions on a round of betting (the fifth, sixth and seventh seats to the left of the button on 10 seater tables).

Minimum sit down

The minimum amount of cash chips you are allowed to join a cash game with. This is normally a multiplier of the big blind (e.g. $1 / $2 blinds with a multiplier of X 35 will require $70 to join the table.


Multi Table Tournament, a tournament with many entrants, the bigger the number the bigger the prize money!.


No limit

A game with no limit to the amount you can bet. No Limit Hold’em is the world’s most popular poker game.


The best possible hand at any point of the game. If you have the nuts after the river card you cannot be beaten.



The statistical likelihood of whether you’ll make a hand (or not).


Two hole cards of a different suit.

On the button

Dealer's position. The last player to act in a round.

On their backs

When two or more players are all-in and no-one else has bet. Players turn their cards over and the remainder of the board is dealt.

On tilt

When you’ve had a few bad beats and emotions take over, you risk making things worse by chasing your losses rather than moving on.

Open-ended straight

Four consecutive cards where one more at either end will make a straight.


The number of cards left in the deck that will improve your hand. So, if after the turn you have 4-5-6-7, you need either an 8 or a 3 for a straight, there are 4 of each left, you have 8 outs.



To fold your cards.

Playing the board

In Hold’em, this is when your best 5-card hand uses the 5 community cards, not your hole cards.

Pocket pair

When you have a pair as your hole cards.

Pocket rockets

A pair of aces as your hole cards. The odds for getting this hand are 220-1.


Where you sit in relation to the dealer, which gives you your place in the betting order.


The amount of money or chips on the table, and available for players to win.

Pot odds

The probability of winning the hand versus the size of the pot and the size of the bet. Helps you work out whether to call or fold.


Bets made and called (action) before the flop is dealt.

Prize fund or prize money

A calculation of total tournament entrants multiplied by the entry stake gives the total amount in the prize fund.



Four of a kind.



Where the flop comes down all different suits, so the odds of hitting a flush are much lower.


To increase the previous bet.


The small charge made by the house in cash games, normally 5% of the pot, up to a maximum of a few dollars.


The value of each card and hand.


Enables a player to buy back into a tournament (normally the first hour) if they were to lose all their chips. This is only applicable to tournaments explicitly stated as a re-buy tournament.


When someone has already raised the bet, and you raise it further.


The last community card, also known as ‘5th street’.

Royal flush

An ace high straight (A-K-Q-J-10) of the same suit. The best possible hand in poker.


The amount of players taking part in a tournament.



A mini-tournament you play to qualify for a larger tournament.


A player deemed to be a winner who grows his bankroll by feeding from “Fish”.

Short stacked

In tournaments, when your chip stack is quite small compared to other remaining players.


When all active players turn their cards face-up after the final betting round to see who’s won the pot.

Side pot

A separate pot that comes into play when one or more players are all-in.

Small blind

The amount put in the pot by the person immediately to the left of the dealer (button), before the cards are dealt.

Sit & Go

A single-table tournament, normally with 10 players.

Starting cards

The two cards dealt to each player before betting starts.

Starting hand value

All starting hands have a value, based on how likely they are to win the pot. The best would be a pair of aces is the best, followed by K-K, Q-Q, A-K and so on.

Starting stack

The amount of chips each player begins with, in a tournament.


Five consecutive cards of any suit.

Straight flush

Five consecutive cards of the same suit.

Suited connectors

Two consecutive cards of the same suit, for example 9 and 10 of hearts.


The action

The action is on you means it is your turn to call, pass, raise or fold.

The board

When the flop, turn and river cards are all on display, this is known as the board.


The fourth community card that starts the third round of betting.


Under the gun

The first person to act in a betting round. Or, to put it another way, the first player left of the button still holding cards.



The range of results you can expect over a given time period.


A straight including the cards ace to five.