Important terminology when playing online poker

The classic game of poker is one of the most popular casino games in the world. Thanks to the rise of the smart phone and internet, poker has grown to become a cultural and social phenomenon.

A simple game to learn, poker is popular thanks to its combination of skill, competitiveness and the chance to win some money. It’s also a lot of fun to play.

With players now able to access games online, anytime and anywhere they choose, poker is being discovered by ever more players. However, while it is a simple game to learn and play, some people may be put off by the terminology associated with the game.

Knowing important poker phrases and terms will not only enhance people’s enjoyment, but also improve their chances of winning when playing poker online. Check out our guide below to some of the most common poker phrases around.

Common Poker Terminology


When you risk losing all of your chips on one hand. 


Established at the beginning of the table, the ‘ante’ is a mandatory payment, or minimum amount, that is paid by all players before any cards are dealt. 


A draw that needs to catch two consecutive cards in order to complete


The total amount of funds a player has at their disposal for the purpose of playing poker. It’s important to set a bankroll that you can afford to lose and to stick to it.


Blinds are basically forced bets made by players to the left of the dealer before they have seen their cards. Blinds occur because Omaha and Texas hold ’em are often played without antes, which allows a player to fold his hand without placing a bet. 

Big Blind:

The position at the table to the direct left of the small blind. This position pays the mandatory big blind payment preflop.


A bet made with the intention of making other players believe you have a better hand than you really do. Risky but done properly can be effective. It also disrupts patterns of play and makes the ‘bluffer’ harder to read.


When a player discards the top card from the deck face down.


The amount required up front to join a game of poker. In tournaments the buy-in amount is always fixed but varies in cash games. It is a way of removing time wasters and proves players are serious.

Bad Beat:

A term for bad luck when losing a hand of poker. Everyone suffers from it from time to time!   


To ‘Call’ is to match the existing wager on the betting round. A player who frequently calls without raising or folding is known as a “calling station”.


To make no bet without folding. Only possible if no wager has been made on the current betting round.

Community Cards:

The cards in the centre of the table which all players can use them to make up their 5-card hand. Omaha and Hold’em are the most common poker variants that use community cards. 


Playing a hand that is not yet very good, but may improve given the board. If a player “draws dead” they did not hit the hand they were hoping for.


To forfeit any bets already made and give up your cards.

Heads Up:

A poker hand where only two players are involved. 

Hole Cards:

Cards that are dealt face down to the player and kept secret. In Hold’em, players are dealt two hole cards while in Omaha players receive four.


If two players have the same hand, kicker cards come into play. They are the cards not used within the hand that help decide who has a better hand. The player with the higher kicker card will win.


Refers to the best possible given hand on the board. This can change throughout the course of the game.


Where players are allowed to bet or raise any amount at any given time. Usually associated with high roller games.

Royal Flush:

Refers to the best possible hand in poker: Ten, Jack, Queen, King and Ace, all of the same suit. You can find a guide to all the poker hand rankings here.


The final betting round in the Hold’em, Omaha and Stud poker variants.


To play a good hand deceptively by checking and calling, in an attempt to fool opponents into thinking you have nothing.


A ‘Tell’ or ‘Read’ is an unconscious indication from another player that they have a good or bad hand. Experienced players will be able to read opponents body language while minimising their own ‘tells’. A great reason for playing poker online, is that it will hide players ‘tell’.


Refers to playing recklessly or without thought. Calm heads win the day when it comes to poker.

Online Poker

Whether you know all the poker terminology or not, thanks to online casinos, players are guaranteed to find a poker table that will match their budget and playing experience. So what are you waiting for?

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