Key Poker Terms: A Glossary

Key Poker Terms: A Glossary

Canada is Poker Country. This is the birthplace of superstars like Daniel Negreanu and Mike “Timex” McDonald. Chances are you’re from the Great White North as well, although Bodog Poker is also home to a strong cadre of players from across Latin America.


Wherever you hail from, Bodog is proud to be the home for online poker in Canada and beyond. We’re here to help grow the community by providing the best advice and information you’ll find at any poker site – including this handy glossary of 20 key poker terms every player should know before taking their seat at our virtual tables.

1. Action

Any bet a player makes, or that player’s willingness in general to bet out: Daniel gave a lot of action during today’s game. Also used to refer to a player’s turn: The action is on Daniel.

2. Ante

A forced bet that every player (or one designated player, usually the big blind) is required to make before the hand is dealt: Blinds are 20/40 with a big-blind ante of 40.

3. Backdoor

A draw that requires two (or more) cards to complete, like three cards to a Straight or Flush: Daniel had Top Pair and a backdoor Flush draw, so he raised the flop.

4. Blind

A forced bet that one or more players (usually two) make before the cards are dealt. The games at Bodog Poker use two blinds; the small blind is half the size of the big blind. Also used to refer to the position of the players making the forced bet: Mike was in the small blind, and Daniel was in the big.

5. Check-Raise

The act of checking, then raising after someone else bets during the same turn. Also known as “sandbagging” among old-school players. Some card rooms used to ban this move because it can make players very upset when it happens to them: Daniel check-raised me out of my boots, I’m so tilted right now.

6. Continuation Bet

The act of betting on the flop after initiating the action pre-flop. If the pre-flop bettor waits until the turn or river before betting, it’s a “delayed continuation bet.” Also known as “c-bet” for short: Daniel 3-bet pre and c-bet the flop.

7. Drawing Dead

A situation where a player on a draw will lose no matter whether they complete their hand or not: Daniel had a Flush draw, but he was drawing dead to Mike’s made nut Flush.

8. Eight or Better

A rule in lowball games where the cards must be Eight or lower in value in order to qualify. This rule is used for Omaha Hi/Lo games at Bodog Poker: Daniel loves playing Omaha Eight or Better, there’s always plenty of action.

9. Flop

The round of betting that comes after the pre-flop round, and one of the most important key poker terms to become familiar with. Also used to describe the three community cards that are dealt during this round, or to categorize games like Texas Hold’em and Omaha that use community cards: That Ten-Nine-Eight flop nailed Daniel’s opening range.

10. Freeroll

A tournament with no buy-in or entry fee to pay. A situation where a player can draw and win the hand, but cannot lose: We both had a pair of Aces, but Daniel was freerolling me with the nut Flush draw.

11. Gutshot

A Straight draw that includes four of the five required cards. Also known as an “inside straight draw” or a “belly-buster”: Daniel was behind, but he raised his gutshot draw and got Mike to fold.

12. Kicker

The non-matching card in a poker hand that’s used as a tie-breaker should two or more players have the same hand strength: Daniel and Mike both have Aces, but Daniel has the King kicker.

13. Live Hand

A hand that is still eligible to win the pot. If you muck your hand, or the dealer gives you too many cards, your hand is no longer live. Daniel made a slight forward motion like he was going to fold, but the tournament director ruled he still has a live hand.

14. Multi-Table Tournaments (MTTs)

Tournaments where more than one table is being used to seat the players. Most poker tournaments are MTTs, as opposed to single-table tournaments (STTs) or sit-and-goes (SNGs): Daniel Negreanu is the top MTT player in the world.

15. Nuts

The very best hand any player at the table could possibly have, given the cards that are visible. If you have the second-best possible hand, you have the “second nuts”: I thought I was good with my set, but Daniel had the nuts with his full house.

16. Offsuit

Cards that do not share the same suit: There are four possible combinations of Ace-King suited, and 12 combinations of Ace-King offsuit.

17. Position

The seat you occupy at the poker table. If you’re one of the first players to act pre-flop, you’re in early position; you can also be in middle position, late position, or in the blinds. Also refers to the order of play, with the player acting first being “out of position” and the player acting last “in position”: Daniel was really aggressive today, betting and raising out of position with napkins.

18. River

The fourth and final betting round in a flop game like Texas Hold’em; also refers to the community card dealt during this round: Daniel sucked out again with that Ace on the river.

19. Showdown

A stage in a poker hand where all the bets have been made, and the players still in the hand turn their cards face-up. Any remaining community cards will then be dealt, and the winner declared: Daniel and Mike both moved all-in pre with pocket Aces, but Daniel won at showdown when four Diamonds came out.

20. Turn

The third betting round in flop games; also the community card dealt during this round: Daniel has eight outs and about a 16% chance to complete his Straight draw on the turn.

With any luck, our top 20 key poker terms will now have you prepared for a go at Bodog Poker. See you over there? While we have you here, take a few minutes to read up on how to play poker with bitcoin – you’ll thank us.