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How to Talk Poker


Have you ever sat down at the poker table and felt like the people around you were speaking a foreign language? As with many other hobbies and activities, poker players have their own lingo that we use to talk about the game we love. This week, we’re going to help clue you in on how to talk poker.

Rockets: Pocket aces

Big Slick: Pocket AK

Ducks: Pocket deuces

Cracked Aces: When someone loses a hand with pocket aces, we say that their aces were cracked.

Set, Trips: Three of a kind

Quads: Four of a kind

Bust, Bust out: When someone loses all their chips, they are said to have ‘busted’ or ‘busted out.’ Similarly, taking all of someone’s chips is ‘busting’ them.

Go Busto: The extreme version of busting: going busto is when you lose your entire poker bankroll.

Bankroll: Speaking of bankroll, this is all the funds that you’ve dedicated solely to poker

Felt: Similar to bust, getting felted is to lose all your chips, and if you take all of someone’s chips, then you felted them.

Fish: A bad poker player

Whale: A fish with a lot of chips

GTO: An acronym for ‘game theory optimal.’ This describes an advanced method of play that is supposedly leak-proof and, well, optimal.

Walker: Someone who walks around looking for an easy table.

Maniac: A loose-aggressive player.

Rock, Nit: A tight-passive player

Under the Gun: The player to the left of the Big Blind in NLHE—the first person to act.

Bad Beat: This is when an unlucky player loses a hand that they were most likely to win, usually to a lesser player.

Gutshot, Gutterball: This type of straight draw means that you need one specific card to connect into a straight. For instance, 78TJ is a gutshot that’s looking for a 9.

Open Ender: This type of straight draw can be completed by two different cards on either side. For instance, 789T needs either a J or a 6.

Limp: To call pre-flop in an unraised pot

Muck: The discarded cards that nobody sees. If you fold, you ‘muck’ your hand or put them ‘into the muck.’

Nuts, Nutted: The nuts, or a nutted hand, is the best possible hand given the cards that are available.

Rainbow: A board that has all different suits is said to be rainbow.

Kicker: A card, usually a high one, that goes with your hand. If you have AK and there’s an A on board, then you have a pair of aces with a king kicker.

Drawing Dead: If a player has no outs left on the flop or turn, they are drawing dead.

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