Poker terminology you must know


Like any sport, hobby or profession has its own jargon, so does a game of poker. Thanks to its growing popularity it has a terminology of its own and if you frequent the poker felts often, you ought to know what they mean. Why is it crucial that you keep up with these terms? You’ll often hear players at the table use it, they are sure to be a part of your poker study material and off course you’ll find them in strategy, live commentaries and news articles. Understanding these terms certainly helps you keep up with the conversation and make reading articles much easier and honestly you don’t want to be left behind over a few terms!

String bet

A string bet is a situation in poker where a player doesn’t properly put out their bet. It occurs only in a game of live poker. The common actions you will encounter are sliding several stacks of chips one after another to try and raise and throwing chips into the pot one at a time without a prior verbal announcement. String betting is frowned upon in any professional poker room and is usually considered a void bet. So you will be forced to call instead of raising.

Angle Shooting

Angle shooting in poker has a broader connotation that encompasses all actions performed by a player in an attempt to gain an unfair advantage over their opponent. What distinguishes it from cheating is that it technically is legal and doesn’t break the rules, however in the spirit of the game it will be frowned upon.

An example would be vocally misrepresenting your hand just before you turn the cards face up as your opponent might believe you and muck their cards.


To limp is to bet the least/minimum required to stay in a hand. Limping is often used when the small blind simply calls the big blind instead of raising. It’s also known as a flat call or calling the blind.

Limping is considered to be weak and passive play and is seen more among the amateur poker players. The experienced players rather raise if they have a hand they wish to play.

Slow rolling

The post frowned upon action in a game of poker, the slow roll! A slow roll is a situation where a player intentionally takes a long time to make the final decision in the hand or turn over their cards when they know they’re winning. No matter the situation, the hand or what’s at stake, slow rolling is NOT cool.

Bad beat

If you’ve been playing poker for a while now, we are pretty sure you accidently stumbled upon the meaning of this word while experiencing it! A bad beat is used to describe a situation when one is ahead of their opponent either pre-flop or on the flop, but the opponent ends up catching a miracle card that saves them. The most common would be where you get it in on the turn with a set against a flush draw and the opponent hits their flush card on the river.


The term cooler in poker is used to describe a situation where both players can’t avoid putting all of their chips in the middle, although one of them has a much better hand. Preflop, the best-known cooler is Aces vs. Kings. On the flop, you could flop a middle set and get it in against a top set.

Drawing dead

In a game of poker, you’ll usually have some outs to improve and win the pot in an all-in situation. However, you’ll also find yourself in a situation where no card in the deck can further help your hand. This situation is known as drawing dead when there is no way for you to win the hand even if the dealer dealt out the entire deck.


The bubble is probably the most dreaded and painful word for a poker player to utter. The bubble is a term used to describe the last player to bust out of a tournament without making the money. Everyone else remaining in the game has a sure shot of a guaranteed paycheck.

If an event is paying 50 players and you bust 51st, you are the official bubble. It is often also referred to as the situation in a tournament, where there is just one player left to bust until everyone gets paid.


The dreaded word in the poker dictionary! Tilt is a term used to describe any situation where a player loses control over their decision-making ability due to emotions. The most common situation of a tilt occurs when a player gets mad after a bad beat and starts playing recklessly to try and make up for lost chips. If you can identify that you are in such a mind-frame it is advisable to take a break and resume play when you are in a better frame of mind.


In a game of poker, one knows the best possible combination someone can have at any given point in time. If the board runs 5 7 K J 9 with no flush possibilities, the best possible hand is Q 10, giving you the straight to the King. This is known as the nuts, as having this hand means there is no way you can ever lose the pot.

Make a note of these terms as you hustle your way up stakes in the poker world!



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