Learn Common Slang Used In Poker

Poker is a highly popular casino game that attracts millions world-wide. For those who are new to the poker scene, you may notice certain words and phrases pop up frequently, especially amongst the pros and tournament commentators.

ABC poker

“ABC poker” refers to the basics of poker. Though a necessity for beginner players, it is often used as a negative term when mentioned during big tournaments and competitions, meaning “too simple”.

Bad Beat

A well-known gambling slang term, this essentially means “bad luck”. In poker it often refers to the event of losing despite having an excellent hand.

Cold Call

This is when someone calls before the flop without raising anything, usually when there has already been a bet and raise.

Cooler Hand

This is a term for a poker stand-off where the final hands match in strength, and so must be determined by card values. The “cooler hand” generally refers to the hand that loses in this scenario.

Donk Bet

This is an aggressive bet that is made on the flop by an out-of-position player. It is usually heavily frowned upon, though can potentially be worthwhile when played strategically.


A “down-swing” refers to a noticeable losing trend over a period of time.

Pot Equity

This essentially refers to the share of the pot based on the preflop and the players odds of winning. Though it can also have deeper meaning in terms of the more complicated aspects of the game.


Common slang for a tournament that costs nothing to enter.


A.k.a. an “inside straight, a “gutshot” is when an unlikely straight that needs just one card to complete, is successful and beats another strong hand.

Heads Up

This refers to one-on-one poker, and in tournaments, is how each game generally finishes. Some games though, may be offered as “heads up”.

Hero Call

This is when a player makes a brave call in the knowledge that they have a weaker hand.

In The Money

“In the money” (ITM) refers to when a player is in a tournament long enough to be within the money-earning bracket.


To “jam” in poker is another way of saying, “to go all-in”.

The Kicker

The “kicker” is the second card in a hand used to determine the winner when two hand hands are of similar strength.

Lag Style

“Lag” is a shortening of the term “loose aggressive”, which refers to a passive-aggressive style of play.

Limp Call

Considered a rookie move, this is when players simply call to complete the blind, indicating a probable weak hand.


“Pocket” simply refers to any cards within a player’s initial hand.Eg. A “pocket pair”.

Slow Roll

Considered annoying and unethical in poker, this is when a player reveals their hand with unnecessary slowness.


When poker player loses their cool and becomes flustered or angry, they become “tilted”.

Much To Learn There are many other various slang terms used in poker that you can learn for face-to-face games or those played in a live casino online. Many, such as those listed here, can be of great use, for both understanding the game, and for being on the ball and knowing exactly what’s going on.

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