Poker Patter: A Glossary of Poker Terms

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Man's hands hold playing cards with aces, poker chips, and a drink in a glass during a poker game. Smiling friends in the background. Close-up with selective focus.
BetMGM Dec 04, 2023, 6:57 AM

From gambling to business, every industry and sub-sector seems to have its unique slang, differentiating members from outsiders. It binds communities and creates camaraderie in an “if you know, you know” manner. Whether bad or good, a bond is formed when two individuals speak the same lingo, especially regarding exclusive terminology. 

While playing poker tournaments, you’ve probably noticed a variety of acronyms like “AK” or terms like “big blind” and “bluff” dominating your chat box. If you’ve struggled to decipher their definitions, you’ve come to the right place; this article explores the extensive world of poker patter, providing a glossary of poker terms in the process. 

Poker Terminology

Outside of online poker are a variety of online forums, including Reddit and Discord, which many believe have catapulted the world of slang. Why? Because playing online poker tournaments or other casino games involving multiple players, like blackjack and roulette, entail a fast-paced environment where instinctual decision-making is vital — sometimes you only have seconds to make high-stakes bets — meaning gamblers attempt to minimize time spent on external matters like writing in the chat box by utilizing terms and phrases like “hole cards” and “limp-in.”

We’ve seen a similar trajectory in the Crypto space, a community notorious for online chatter, referring to markets as bears or bulls or describing an increase in value as “mooning.”

Of course, slang was widely used before online casino games; the main point of difference has been the use of acronyms due to the online sphere. For centuries, unique terminology has been associated with casino table games, including “hit” in blackjack, “drop” in roulette, and “pocket pairs” in poker. Below are various popular and rare phrases used within poker.

  • Bad beat: This refers to when someone loses a lot of chips. 
  • Big blind: Players seated to the left of the small blind, meaning they’re the second to bet. A big blind has to stake the full buy-in amount, regardless of their bankroll or strength of cards.
  • Burn: Once each betting round is complete, the dealer will discard the top card before exposing another. The act of excluding the initial card is called a burn.
  • Check: A simple but common phrase, a check occurs when the small blind decides to neither bet nor fold. After this, the next player can check, bet, or fold; if they choose the former, the next player can do the same. This can continue until someone places chips during the round. 
  • Connectors: An excellent sign for landing high-ranking hands like straights, flushes, and full houses, connectors are when the value of a player’s cards is consecutive, like jack-queen or 5-6. 
  • Continuation bet: A popular strategy also known as a c-bet, a continuation bet is the act of a player making a bet after the flop, having already bet before the flop.
  • Hole cards: These are the cards the dealer gives you. For instance, players receive two-hole cards in Texas Hold’em, while Omaha has four cards dealt.
  • Raise: This refers to increasing the current bet’s value. For instance, if player A bets $20, then player B raises the pot to $30.
  • Royal cards: Easy to spot by value, royal cards are the five strongest within each suit and include an ace, king, queen, jack, and 10.
  • Satellite: An uncommon term, this refers to when the prize of a tournament is an entrance into another. 
  • Small blind: Players positioned left of the dealer who are the first to bet, which entails placing half the required amount in each betting round. In a clockwise manner, the small blind changes after each complete round.
  • Snake eyes: Regarded by many as the best-dealt hand in poker, snake eyes are when your hole cards are two aces. This only appears in Texas hold ’em poker.
  • Stack: This is a way to describe the amount of chips you or an opponent has. For instance, a large stack is when a player has won a lucrative pot.
  • Tilting: Something no player wants to experience. Tilting is when a player’s decision-making has become affected by negative emotions like a bad beat, often leading to out-of-character or irrational bets.
  • Walk: This explains the moment where all players fold after the big blind. 

Poker Tips

As mentioned, tilting describes a player whose decision-making has become negatively affected by a bad loss or series of mistakes. For instance, staking high while holding a weak hand in an instant attempt to compensate for losses. However, it’s not just novices who are prone to tilting; professionals do it, too.

To avoid additional financial loss, it’s essential to stop dwelling on your poker mistakes and remember that considerable losses happen to everyone — it’s unrealistic to think otherwise. So, next time you find yourself tilting, get some fresh air and settle yourself before returning to the table. Doing so often results in a reset mind. 

Another crucial tip includes bankroll management. This can be done by setting limits on how much you stake and how long you can play for, ensuring you don’t become tired, as that’s when poor decision-making becomes prevalent, like jeopardizing your bankroll by staking high. 

Play Poker at BetMGM

Wondering how to play poker online? Well done, you’ve come to the right place. Regarded as one of the best platforms to play at a casino online, BetMGM offers an extensive range of poker variations, from Texas Hold’em and 7-card stud to Omaha. Register today and test your skills. 

And if you’re seeking similar games to poker, there’s a range of casino games like pai gow, baccarat, and blackjack to enjoy.

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.