A-5 Triple Draw Poker

Last Updated on

As in Deuce to Seven Triple Draw, you are trying to make a low hand, but in Ace to Five straights and flushes do not count against you and Aces play for low. This means that the best possible hand you can have is A2345 with flushes being irrelevant to the rank of the hand. In Ace to Five, A2345 is called a wheel. A2346 is the next best hand and is called Number 2 or a 6-4. The next best hand is A2356 and so on. 23456 is the worst possible 6-low and the fact that it is a straight does not count against you.

Other than the hand rankings, the game play is identical to deuce to seven.

2-7 Triple Draw

Last Updated on

Deuce to Seven Triple Draw is a 5 card draw low game. Each player is dealt 5 cards and the goal is to make the lowest possible 5 card hand. There are three draws with a round of betting between each, for a total of four betting rounds. After each round of betting players choose cards to discard, anywhere from 0 to 5, and the dealer deals them replacement cards. After the third and final draw there is one last round of betting. A dealer button determines the order of betting and discarding.

In Deuce to Seven Triple Draw players try to make the lowest possible 5 card hand. Aces only play for high and deuces are low. Because you are trying to make the lowest possible hand, straights and flushes count against you. This means that 23456, for example, is a very bad hand. It is not considered a 6-low. It is a straight and is therefore worse than holding AKQJ9.

The best possible hand you can make is 23457 with no flush. This hand is called a wheel. The next best hand is 23467, again with no flush. This hand is often referred to as Number 2. Likewise, 23567 is referred to as Number 3 and so on.

Because Aces play for high 2345A is not a straight. It is the best possible Ace-low you can make-also called the Nut Ace. AKQJ9 is the worst possible unpaired hand you can make, since your goal is to make a low hand. 22345 would be the next best hand after that. The hand rankings are the inverse of the hand rankings in a regular high game.

Deuce to Seven Triple Draw is dealt with a maximum of 6 players. The game uses a dealer button just as in Texas Hold’em. The player directly to the left of the dealer button posts a live small blind and the player two to the left of the dealer button posts a live big blind. Each player is dealt 5 cards and there is a round of betting. The first betting round starts with the player to the left of the big blind, just as in Texas Hold’em. Each player in turn has the option to call, raise or fold.

After the first round of betting is complete, each player who has not folded has a chance to draw. Players are prompted in order to discard any cards they wish to replace in their hand. The first player to act is always the player closest to the left of the button. Players can discard from zero to 5 cards. If a player chooses to discard zero cards he is opting to stand pat. After a player acts on his hand and decides how many cards to discard the next player is prompted in turn to discard and so on until all remaining players in the pot have acted on the draw.

After each player has decided on their discards, the dealer begins replacing their cards in turn. For example, if the first player discards 3 cards, the second player discards 2 cards, and the third player discards 1 card the dealer would deal the first player 3 cards, then take that player’s discards into the muck. The dealer would then deal the next player 2 cards then take that player’s discards into the muck. The dealer would then deal the last player 1 card, then take that player’s discards into the muck.

After the draw is complete, there is another round of betting. The players then have an opportunity to draw again. After the second draw is complete, there is another round of betting. The players then have one more opportunity to discard. After this third and final draw, there is one more betting round.

Deuce to Seven uses the same betting structure as texas Hold’em. During the first two round of betting the limit is the small bet. So, if the game was a $10/$20 game during the first two round of betting a player could call or raise in $10 increments. The second two rounds of betting the limit is the big bet. In our example, a player can call or raise in $20 increments.

Crazy Pineapple

Last Updated on

Crazy Pineapple is played out much the same way as Texas Hold’em, with the distinction that each player initially dealt three cards. Betting goes as normal before the flop and on the flop. However, following the round of betting on the flop, each player discards one of their hole cards starting from the left of the dealer going clockwise. Each player is left with two cards, and the game continues as a Hold’em game would.

In the event of an untimely disconnect before the discard and you have an All-In remaining, the computer will automatically discard your worst card at the time of the flop (not taking into consideration possible drawing hands).

3 Card Poker

Last Updated on

Three card poker starts with the dealer and the player are each dealt three cards. The player is shooting for 2 bets: “Pair Plus”, which is the poker player betting that he/she will have a pair or better, and “Ante”, which is the player competing versus the dealer’s hand.

Players can bet either pair plus or bet the ante, or both if he/she so chooses. After the player has made his wagers, the player and the dealer both take three cards. Let’s say the three card poker player bets on “pair plus”….he is rewarded if his hand contains a pair or better. If the three card poker player bets on the “ante”, he/she can fold if he/she thinks he can’t beat the dealer’s hand, or raise and challenge the poker dealer’s hand. If the three card poker player folds, he loses both the pair plus and the ante bet which ends the game.

Let’s say the three card poker player likes his hand and “raises”….he can now wager more cash equaling the ante bet. The three card poker dealer then flips over his cards to determine who gets the cash. To determine the game’s winner after the player has raised, the dealer’s hand must first “qualify”. In three card poker the dealer’s hand qualifies if the dealer has hi card queen or a pair or better. If for some reason the dealer doesn’t qualify, the player wins even money on his ante bet and ties on the raised bet. If the dealer and the player have the same ranking hand, the higher value wins. An example of this would be a pair of 7’s would beat a pair of 2’s. If the three card poker dealer’s hand is an exact tie of the player’s ante and raise, the bet is called a push and the three card poker player is refunded his loot.

If the three card poker player places an ante bet, raises the bet, and his hand shows as a straight, three of a kind, or straight flush, the player is awarded a bonus for a strong hand. The player can receive this bonus without the dealer having to qualify as well.

5 Card Draw Poker

Last Updated on

As with Hold’em and Omaha, 5 card draw uses what is called a dealer-button to indicate the theoretical dealer of each hand. After each hand is completed, as with standard poker rules, the button moves clockwise to the next active player. This player will be considered “the dealer” for that hand.

The player next to the button / dealer is required to place the small blind. The small blind is equal to half the lower stake. This is a guideline for determining the blinds and not a strict rule.

The player to the left of the small blind is required to post the big blind, equal to the lower stake limit. All the blinds are considered live bets and the players who posted them will have the option of checking, calling, raising or folding when the betting returns to their position.

Each player is initially dealt five cards, and there is a round of betting at the lower limit of the stakes structure. When the betting is complete, each player in turn may discard and draw 0-5 cards. There is then one round of betting at the higher limit, and the hands are shown down.


Last Updated on

Since 2006, when the World Series of Poker introduced it into their line-up of events, HORSE has gained popularity in the poker community. HORSE involves playing four variation games – Holdem, Omaha Hi/Lo (Eights or better), Razz, Seven Card Stud, and Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo (Eights or better). The eights or better refers to the low hand in that particular game must consist of an eight or lower to make a low hand.

For detailed instructions on how to play each game, visit the following pages:

Texas Holdem Poker – How to play
Omaha Hi/Lo Eights or Better – How to play
Razz Poker – How to play
Sever Card Stud – How to play
Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo Eights or Better – How to play

The game can be played at any limits (limit, pot-limit or no-limit), but the most popular and most found online is limit.

Limit simply means the game has a fixed limit to the amount players can bet, and a prescribed number of raises. When it is your turn, you may only bet or raise by an amount equal to the minimum for that round. The standard bet in the first two betting rounds of a limit poker game is equal to the game’s lowest limit. The standard bet in the final three rounds of a limit poker game is equal to the game’s highest limit. Usually, there can be no more than one bet and three raises per round of betting. Once the third raise has been reached, betting is said to be ‘capped’.

Normally in HORSE, the game type rotates when the blinds progress, unless stated otherwise. For example, if the blinds are every twenty minutes, the game type changes every twenty minutes.

The game begins with the dealer dealing one card face-up to determine where the dealer button will be. The first player to the left of the dealer button is the small blind and the second player to the left of the dealer button is the big blind. The players post their blinds and the dealer deals, beginning with the small blind.

There are no blinds while playing Razz and Seven Card Stud (both Hi and Hi/Lo). For Razz, all players post an ante (An ante is a forced bet in which all players put an equal amount of money or chips into the pot before the deal begins) and the player with the highest card brings in based on what the blinds are for that level. For Stud, all players post an ante and the player with the lowest card brings in. See links above on how to play each individual game.

One strategy for playing Horse is to take the utmost advantage you can gain from games you are good at, while avoiding taking crippling blows in games you are weaker in. Obviously, the absolute best strategy for HORSE is to be good at all the games. A good player becomes familiar with all games in HORSE. A player cannot master HORSE without knowing all the games involved. This requires a lot of practice and a good amount time, effort, and energy. To be successful at HORSE, players will have to play any and all of these games with a large degree of skill. Players who are weak in any of these games will fall by the side of the road and be quickly overshot by more skilled players.

When first learning HORSE, play low limits or play in a tournament with a small buy-in. Several online poker sites offer HORSE freerolls on a daily bases. If you are weak in any of the games, you can also focus some time learning that game by playing it, reading books, reading articles, or visiting poker forums such as the one here on Holdem Poker Chat for strategy threads.


Last Updated on

There are several types of poker games – even one for the worse hand! Yes, there is a game for the lowest hand in poker, and it is called Razz Poker.

Razz is a Seven Card Stud poker game where instead of the highest hand winning, the lowest hand wins the pot. The object of the game is to make the best lowest five-card hand out of the seven cards dealt to you. Unlike split-pot hi/lo games like Omaha and Stud, Razz doesn’t have an “eight or better” component to its play. In an hi/lo eight-or-better game, the winning low hand cannot have a card higher than 8 in it to count as a low hand, but since Razz is a game with only a low hand winning, any hand can win, including hands with low pairs or face cards, but highly unlikely.

There are no blinds while playing Razz. Instead, all players post an ante (an ante is a forced bet in which all players put an equal amount of money or chips into the pot before the deal begins) and the player with the highest card is forced to bring in.

Each player is deal three cards, two face-down and one face-up. The highest face-up card on third street has to make the forced bring in bet. This starts the action and the play continues clockwise. On all subsequent rounds, the lowest hand showing acts first. If there is a tie for low hand showing, the first active player clockwise from the dealer begins in the forced bet. Players acting after a bring-in have the right to call the bring-in as it is, even or they may raise the amount needed to bring the current bet up to the normal minimum, called completing the bet.

The lowest hand wins the pot at showdown. Aces count as low. All flushes and straights are ignored and do not apply to Razz. The best possible hand in Razz is A,2,3,4,5 (also known as a wheel). In order to figure out the best low hand is to start with the top card and work down (An eight low beats a nine low for example). If the top card is the same rank, then you move to the second card. An example would be 8,6,5,4,3 would beat 8,7,5,4,3 (the player with the 8,6 low would beat the 8,7 low) . One player has an eight-six low and the losing player has eight-seven.

Razz requires more skill than luck and takes a good amount of patience. Razz players not only have to understand the odds and probabilities of their own hands, but also have to pay more attention to their opponent’s hands and the cards on the board around the entire table. A player needs to pay attention to what cards have been folded as well as current cards on the table.

As far as starting hands in Razz, it will depend on your experience of the game. As a beginner, a player should not play a hand unless their first three cards are low cards with one being no higher than 8. If a player holds three cards that are three cards to a wheel then the player should raise or re-raise. Before you make a decision on your own starting hand, always look around the board and see what everyone else is showing. This is extremely important to be a successful Razz player.

Badugi – How to play Badugi

Last Updated on

Badugi is a game that has gained wide popularity especially on Merge sites like Lock Poker. They even have daily freerolls for it.

Badugi is not complicated to play, but it can be confusing to a new player just learning it. The rules are clear and easy to understand.

To begin with, Badugi is a 4-card, triple-draw lowball poker. Betting depends on the whether Badugi is played as a limit or pot limit. I am not sure if there is any no-limit Badugi games online. In a limit game, players can only raise the bet based on a specified or incremental unit per round. A pot limit game allows players to bet any amount from the minimum, equal to the big blind, to the maximum equal to the current pot value.

During the betting round, the players may choose to call the bet, check, raise or fold the card and leave. A player’s betting decision depends on the kind of card combination or hand.

Badugi players have three card drawing rounds. In each round, you may maintain the existing hand or replace from one to four cards. The aim of each player is to have the lowest badugi. A badugi is a 4-card hand where there are no cards with the same value or from the same suit. You want to get a hand with all low numbers (below 8 is preferable) and with no pairs and no two cards of the same suit.

The first section describes what should be selected as starting hands in different situations. So, if you have a made Badugi hand, all cards should be seven or lower for a full table or eight and lower for a shorthanded table. If on the other hand you have a one-card draw to a Badugi, all qualifying cards should be six or less for a full table and seven or less for a shorthanded table, and so on. Obviously, with the exception of special circumstances (such as the blinds) you should not be playing three or four card draws.

The rest of the data takes you through each round, comparing what you are drawing to, with what your opponents are doing. For example, it is generally a mistake to draw if an opponent has not (unless you are sure they are bluffing). Conversely, if your opponent draws more cards than you then you should perhaps bet, to drive them out of the pot and for value when you do make your hand on a later draw.

As a final note, because you will be drawing to a 7-low most of the time by following these guidelines, when you do make a hand you will generally be playing the best hand on the table. There are also times when you make a higher Badugi Poker hand (such as a 9-low) which can still win you the hand providing your opponents are still drawing (not so strong if another player is already standing pat).

Poker Definitions – Complete glossary of Poker Terms

Last Updated on

Poker Terms

A term for betting & raising

A small portion of a bet contributed by each player to seed the pot at the beginning of a poker hand.

If a player runs out of chips while betting or calling, he is considered to be all-in. In table stakes games, a player may not go into his pocket for more money during a hand. If he runs out, a side pot is created in which he has no interest. However, he can still win the pot for which he had the chips.

Catching both the turn and river card to make a drawing hand. For instance, suppose you have As-5s. The flop comes Ad-2c-8s. You bet and are called. The turn is the Ts, and then the river is the Js. You’ve made a “backdoor” nut flush. See also “runner.”

Bad Beat
To have a hand that is a large underdog beat a heavily favored hand. It is generally used to imply that the winner of the pot had no business being in the pot at all, and it was the wildest of luck that he managed to win the pot.

Big Blind
The larger of the two blinds typically used in a Hold’em game. The big blind is a full first round bet. See also “blind” and “small blind.”

A board card that doesn’t seem to affect the standings in the hand. If the flop is As-Jd-Ts, then a turn card of 2h would be considered a blank. On the other hand, the 2s would not be.

A forced bet (or partial bet) put in by one or more players before any cards are dealt. Typically, blinds are put in by players immediately to the left of the button.

The community cards in a Hold’em game — the flop, turn, and river cards together. Example: “There wasn’t a single heart on the board.”

Short for “robot”. In a poker context, a program that plays poker online with no (or minimal) human intervention.

Bottom Pair
A pair with the lowest card on the flop. If you have As-3s, and the flop comes Kd-Jh-3c, you have flopped bottom pair.

Brick & Mortar
A “real” casino or cardroom with a building, tables, dealers, etc., as opposed to an online poker site.

(1) The point at which only one player must bust out before all others win some money in a tournament.
(2) The person who was unfortunate enough to finish in that position.

To discard the top card from the deck, face down. This is done between each betting round before putting out the next community card(s). It is security against any player recognizing or glimpsing the next card to be used on the board.

A white disk that indicates the dealer. Also used to refer to the player on the button.

(1) As in “buy the pot.” To bluff, hoping to “buy” the pot without being called.
(2) As in “buy the button.” To bet or raise, hoping to make players between you and the button fold, thus allowing you to act last on subsequent betting rounds.

An amount of money you pay to enter a tournament. Often expressed as two numbers, such as $100+9, meaning that it costs $109 to enter the tournament; $100 goes into the prize fund and $9 goes to the house.

To put into the pot an amount of money equal to the most recent bet or raise. The term “see” (as in “I’ll see that bet”) is considered colloquial.

Calling Station
A weak-passive player who calls a lot, but doesn’t raise or fold much. This is the kind of player you like to have in your game.

To put in the last raise permitted on a betting round. This is typically the third or fourth raise.

The last card of a certain rank in the deck. Example: “The flop came J-8-3; I’ve got pocket jacks, he’s got pocket 8’s, and then the case eight falls on the river, and he beats my full house.”

Center Pot
The first pot created during a poker hand, as opposed to one or more “side” pots created if one or more players goes all-in. Also “main pot.”

Typed conversation that you can have with other players at an online poker site.

(1) To not bet, with the option to call or raise later in the betting round.
(2) Another word for chip, as in poker chip.

To check and then raise when a player behind you bets. Occasionally you will hear people say this is not fair or ethical poker. Almost all casinos permit check-raising, and it is an important poker tactic. It is particularly useful in low-limit Hold’em where you need extra strength to narrow the field if you have the best hand.

An agreement between the two players with blinds to simply take their blinds back rather than playing out the hand if nobody enters the pot in front of them.

Clean Out
A card that would almost certainly make your hand best. If you are drawing at a straight, but there is a flush draw possible, then the cards that make your straight but also the flush are not clean outs.

Cold Call
To call more than one bet in a single action. For instance, suppose the first player to act after the big blind raises. Now any player acting after that must call two bets “cold.” This is different from calling a single bet and then calling a subsequent raise.

Come Hand
A drawing hand (from the craps term).

Complete Hand
A hand that is defined by all five cards — a straight, flush, full house, four of a kind, or straight flush.

A Hold’em starting hand in which the two cards are one apart in rank. Examples: KQs, 76.

To make your hand less valuable because of board cards that duplicate it. Example: you have 87 and the flop comes 9-T-J, so you have a straight. Now an 8 comes on the turn. This has counterfeited your hand and made it almost worthless.

To beat a hand — typically a big hand. You hear this most often applied to pocket aces: “Third time tonight I’ve had pocket aces cracked.”

As in “to cripple the deck.” Meaning that you have most or all of the cards that somebody would want to have with the current board. If you have pocket kings, and the other two kings flop, you have crippled the deck.

Crying Call
A call that you make expecting to lose, but feel that you must make anyway because of the pot odds.

The position (or player) who acts one before the button.
Dead Money
(1) Money contributed to a pot by a player no longer in the pot.
(2) A player in a tournament who has no realistic chance of winning.

Shortened form of “underdog.”

Dominated Hand
A hand that shares one card with another hand, but with a smaller second card. For instance, K3 is “dominated” by KQ.

To play a hand that is not yet good, but could become so if the right cards come, such as a straight of flush draw.

Draw Dead
Trying to make a hand that, even if made, will not win the pot. If you’re drawing to make a flush, and your opponent already has a full house, you are “drawing dead.” Of course, this is a bad condition to be in.

Your “rightful” share of a pot. If the pot contains $80, and you have a 50% chance of winning it, you have $40 equity in the pot. This term is somewhat fanciful since you will either win $80 or $0, but it gives you an idea of how much you can “expect” to win.

The average profit (or loss) you expect to make in the long term.

Extra Blind
A blind put in by a player just entering the game, returning to the game, or otherwise changing his position at the table. See also “blind” and “post.”

Family Pot
A pot in which all of the players call before the flop.

Fast Play
To play a hand aggressively, betting and raising as much as possible. Example: “When you flop a set but there’s a flush draw possible, you have to play it fast.”

A poor player — one who gives his money away.

The first three community cards, put out face up, all together.

Fold Equity
The extra value you get from a hand when you force an opponent to fold. That is, if you don’t have to see a showdown, your hand has more value than if you do.

A hand that may not be played for one reason or another. A player with a foul hand may not make any claim on any portion of the pot. Example: “He ended up with three cards after the flop, so the dealer declared his hand foul.”

Free Card
A turn or river card on which you don’t have to call a bet because of play earlier in the. For instance, if you are on the button and raise when you flop a flush draw, your opponents may check to you on the turn. If you make your flush on the turn, you can bet. If you don’t get it on the turn, you can check as well, seeing the river card for “free.”

Free Roll
One player has a shot at winning an entire pot when he is currently tied with another player. For instance, suppose you have Ac-Qc and your opponent has Ad-Qh. The flop is Qs-5c-Tc. You are tied with your opponent right now, but are free rolling, because you can win the whole pot and your opponent can’t. If no club comes, you split the pot with him; if it does come, you win the whole thing.

Gap Hand
A starting hand with cards more than one rank apart. For instance, T9 is a one-gap hand. 86 is a two-gap hand.

Gutshot Straight
A one-card straight. If you have 9s-8s, the flop comes 7c-5h-2d, and the turn is the 6c, you’ve made your gutshot straight.

A pot with only two players involved.

As in “the flop hit me,” meaning the flop contains cards that help your hand. If you have AK, and the flop comes K-7-2, it hit you.

The establishment running the game.

Implied Odds
The amount of money you can expect to win if you make your hand compared to the amount it currently costs to call a bet.

A special bonus paid to the loser of a hand if he gets a very good hand beaten. The jackpot is funded with money removed from the game as part of or in addition to the rake.

To move all-in in a no-limit (or pot-limit) game.

An unpaired side card used to determine the better of two near-equivalent hands. For instance, suppose you have AK and your opponent has AQ. If the flop has an ace in it, you both have a pair of aces, but you have a king kicker.

A weakness in your game that causes you to win less money than you would otherwise.

To call a bet rather than raise, usually referring to pre-flop action.

Live Blind
A forced bet put in by one or more players before any cards are dealt. The “live” means those players still have the option of raising when the action gets back around to them.

Cards that are not duplicated in an opponent’s stronger hand. For example, if you have A9 and your opponent has AJ, then your ace is not “live” because making a pair of aces won’t do you any good. The nine, however, is live; making a pair of nines gives you the better hand.

A player who does a lot of hyper-aggressive raising, betting, and bluffing. A true maniac is not a good player, but is simply doing a lot of gambling. However, a player who occasionally acts like a maniac and confuses his opponents is quite dangerous.

Made Hand
A hand to which you’re drawing, or one good enough that it doesn’t need to improve.

Games so small that they couldn’t be profitably dealt in a real cardroom. They exist only at online poker sites. You might arbitrarily call games $.25-.50 and smaller “micro-limit.”

The pile of folded and burned cards in front of the dealer. Example: “His hand hit the muck so the dealer ruled it folded even though the guy wanted to get his cards back.” Also used as a verb. Example: “He didn’t have any outs so he mucked his hand.”

A version of poker in which a player may bet any amount of chips (up to the number in front of him) whenever it is his turn to act. It is a very different game from limit poker.

The best possible hand given the board. If the board is Ks-Jd-Ts-4s-2h, then As-Xs is the nuts. You will occasionally hear the term applied to the best possible hand of a certain category, even though it isn’t the overall nuts. For the above example, somebody with Ah-Qc might say they had the “nut straight.”

A Hold’em starting hand with two cards of different suits.

A Hold’em starting hand with two cards two apart in rank. Examples: J9s, 64.

A card that improve your hand.

To beat an opponent by drawing to a better hand.

To call a bet after one or more others players have already called.

A card higher than any card on the board. For instance, if you have AQ and the flop comes J-7-3, you don’t have a pair, but you have two overcards.

A pocket pair higher than any card on the flop. If you have QQ and the flop comes J-8-3, you have an overpair.

A hand that you make on the flop. For instance, if you have two spades in your hand and the flop has three spades, then you’ve flopped a pat spade flush.

Pay Off
To call a bet when the bettor is representing a hand that you can’t beat, but the pot is sufficiently large to justify a call anyway. Example: “He played it exactly like he made the flush, but I had top set so I paid him off.”

Play the Board
To show down a hand in Hold’em when your cards don’t make a hand any better than is shown on the board. For instance, if you have 22, and the board is 4-4-9-9-A (no flush possible), then you must “play the board”: the best possible hand you can make doesn’t use any of your cards. Note that if you play the board, the best you can do is split the pot with all remaining players.

Your unique cards that only you can see. For instance, “He had pocket sixes” (a pair of sixes), or “I had ace-king in the pocket.”

Pocket Pair
A Hold’em starting hand with two cards of the same rank, making a pair. Example: “I had big pocket pairs seven times in the first hour. What else can you ask for?”

To put in a blind bet, generally required when you first sit down at a table and are not in the big blind. You may also be required to post a blind if you change seats at the table in a way that moves you away from the blinds.

A state where you are essentially forced to call the rest of your stack because of the size of the pot and your remaining chips.

A version of poker in which a player may bet up to the amount of money in the pot whenever it is his turn to act.

Pot Odds
The amount of money in the pot compared to the amount you must put in the pot to continue playing.

The pot odds you are getting for a draw or call.
(1) To keep your hand or a chip on your cards. This prevents them from being fouled by a discarded hand, or accidentally mucked by the dealer.
(2) To invest more money in a pot so blind money that you’ve already put in isn’t “wasted.

Put On
To mentally assign a hand to a player for the purposes of playing out your hand. Example: “He raised on the flop, but I put him on a draw, so I re-raised and then bet the turn.”

Four of a kind.

A flop (or board) that doesn’t appear to help anybody very much. A flop that came down Jd-6h-2c would look ragged.

A flop that contains three different suits, thus no flush can be made on the turn. Can also mean a complete five card board that has no more than two of any suit, thus no flush is possible.

An amount of money taken out of every pot by the dealer. This is the cardroom’s income.

The numerical value of a card (as opposed to its suit). Example: “jack,” “seven.”

An option to buy back into a tournament after you’ve lost all your chips. Tournaments may offer one or more rebuys or (often) none at all.

To play as if you hold a certain hand. For instance, if you raised before the flop, and then raised again when the flop came ace high, you would be representing at least an ace with a good kicker.

Ring Game
A regular poker game as opposed to a tournament. Also referred to as a “live” game since actual money is in play instead of tournament chips.

The final community card.

A player who plays very tight, not very creatively. He raises only with the best hands. A real rock is fairly predictable: if he raises you on the river, you can throw away just about anything but the nuts.

Typically said “runner-runner” to describe a hand that was made only by catching the correct cards on both the turn and the river. Example: “He made a runner-runner flush to beat my trips.” See also “backdoor.”

A tournament that does not award cash to its winners, but a seat (or seats) in a subsequent “target” tournament.

Scare Card
A card that may well turn the best hand into trash. If you have Tc-8c and the flop comes Qd-Jd-9s, you almost assuredly have the best hand. However, a turn card of Td would be very scary because it would almost guarantee that you are now beaten.

Second Pair
A pair with the second highest card on the flop. If you have As-Ts, and the flop comes Kd-Th-6c, you have flopped second pair. See “top pair.”

As in “sell a hand.” In a spread-limit game, this means betting less than the maximum when you have a very strong hand, hoping players will call whereas they would not have called a maximum bet.

A powerful concept first discussed by David Sklansky. It is a bet or raise that you hope will not be called, but you have some outs if it is. A semi-bluff may be correct when betting for value is not correct, a pure bluff is not correct, but the combination of the two may be a positive expectation play. Example: you have Ks-Qs, and the flop is Th-5s-Jc. If you bet now, it’s a semi-bluff. You probably don’t have the best hand, and you’d like to see your opponents fold immediately. Nevertheless, if you do get callers, you could still improve to the best hand.

Three of a kind when you have two of the rank in your hand, and there is one on the board.

Short Stack
A number of chips that is not very many compared to the other players at the table. If you have $10 in front of you, and everybody else at the table has over $100, you are playing on a short stack.

The point at which all players remaining in the hand turn their cards over and determine who has the best hand — i.e., after the fourth round of betting is completed. Of course, if a final bet or raise is not called, there is no showdown.

Side Pot
A pot created in which a player has no interest because he has run out of chips. Example: Al bets $6, Beth calls the $6, and Carl calls, but he has only $2 left. An $8 side pot is created that either Al or Beth can win, but not Carl. Carl, however, can still win all the money in the original or “center” pot.

Slow Play
To play a strong hand weakly so more players will stay in the pot.

Small Blind
The smaller of two blind bets typically used in a Hold’em game. Normally, the small blind is one-third to two-thirds of a first round bet. See also “big blind” and “blind.”

Smooth Call
To call. Smooth call often implies slow playing a strong hand.

To go easy on another player at the table (e.g., not betting or raising against him).

Splash the Pot
To toss chips directly into the pot rather than put them in a stack in front of you. Don’t do it.

Split Pot
A pot that is shared by two or more players because they have equivalent hands.

Split Two Pair
A two pair hand in which one of each of your cards’ ranks appears on the board as well.

A betting structure in which a player may bet any amount in a range on every betting round. A typical spread-limit structure is $2-$6, where a player may bet as little as $2 or as much as $6 on every betting round.

A play where you call (rather than re-raising) a raise, but then come out betting on the next card.

An optional extra blind bet, typically made by the player one to the left of the big blind, equal to twice the big blind. This is effectively a raise, and forces any player who wants to play to pay two bets. Furthermore, the straddler acts last before the flop, and may “re-raise.”

String Bet
A bet (more typically a raise) in which a player doesn’t get all the chips required for the raise into the pot in one motion. Unless he verbally declared the raise, he can be forced to withdraw it and just call. This prevents the unethical play of putting out enough chips to call, seeing what effect that had, and then possibly raising.

Used to apply to a certain betting structure in poker games. The typical definition of a structured Hold’em game is a fixed amount for bets and raises before the flop and on the flop, and then twice that amount on the turn and river. Example: a $2-$4 structured Hold’em game: bets and raises of $2 before the flop and on the flop; $4 bets and raises on the turn and river.

A Hold’em starting hand in which the two cards are the same suit.

Table Stakes
A rule in a poker game meaning that a player may not go into his pocket for money during a hand. He may only invest the amount of money in front of him into the current pot. If he runs out of chips during the hand, a side pot is created in which he has no interest. All casino poker is played table stakes. The definition sometimes also includes the rule that a player may not remove chips from the table during a game. While this rule might not be referred to as “table stakes,” it is enforced almost universally in public poker games.

A clue or hint that a player unknowingly gives about the strength of his hand, his next action, etc. May originally be from “telegraph” or the obvious use that he “tells” you what he’s going to do before he does it.

As in “drawing thin.” To be drawing to a very few outs, perhaps only one or two.

To play wildly or recklessly. A player is said to be “on tilt” if he is not playing his best, playing too many hands, trying wild bluffs, raising with bad hands, etc.

(1) A request by a player to suspend play while he decides what he’s going to do. Simply, “Time, please!” If a player doesn’t request time and there is a substantial amount of action behind him, the dealer may rule that the player has folded.
(2) An amount of money collected either on the button or every half hour by the cardroom.

To Go
The amount a player must call if he wishes to continue playing.

A small amount of money (typically $.50 or $1.00) given to the dealer by the winner of a pot. Quite often, tokes represent the great majority of a dealer’s income.

Top Pair
A pair with the highest card on the flop.

Top Set
The highest possible trips. Example: you have Tc-Ts, and the flop comes Td-8c-9h. You have flopped top set.

Top Two
Two pair, with your two hole cards pairing the two highest cards on the board.

Top and Bottom
Two pair, with your two hole cards pairing the highest and lowest cards on the board.

Three of a kind.

The fourth community card. Put out face up, by itself. Also known as “fourth street.”

Under the Gun
The position of the player who acts first on a betting round. For instance, if you are one to the left of the big blind, you are under the gun before the flop.

A person or hand not mathematically favored to win a pot. For instance, if you flop four cards to your flush, you are not quite a 2:1 underdog to make your flush by the river (that is, you will make your flush about one in three times). See also “dog.”

As in “bet for value.” This means that you would actually like your opponents to call your bet (as opposed to a bluff). Generally it’s because you have the best hand. However, it can also be a draw that, given enough callers, has a positive expectation.

A measure of the up and down swings your bankroll goes through. Variance is not necessarily a measure of how well you play. However, the higher your variance, the wider swings you’ll see in your bankroll.

A straight from ace through five.

Poker Hand Rankings

Last Updated on

Royal Flush:

Ten, Jack, Queen, King, Ace of the same suit. Straight Flush:

Straight with all five cards in the same suit.

Four of a Kind:

Four cards of the same number or face value (“quads”). Full House:

Three cards of one number or face value and two cards of another number or face value. If more than one player has a full house, the full house with the highest ranking three of a kind (“trips”) wins. Flush:

Five cards of the same suit. If there is more than one flush, the hand with the highest card(s) wins.


Five cards in sequence. Cards can be in any suit. An Ace can be used in the highest straight (10, J, Q, K, A) and the lowest straight (A, 2, 3, 4, 5). Three of a Kind:

Three cards of the same number or face value (“trips”). Two Pair:

If two players have two pair, the hand with the highest pair wins. If they have the same high pair, whoever has the second highest pair wins. If they have the same two pair, whoever has the highest fifth card (“kicker”) wins.

One Pair:

Two cards of the same number or face value. If two players have the same pair, the highest outside card(s) wins. High Card:

The hand with the highest card(s) wins.