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Poker Dictionary of Terms Part III

To call is to match the current bet. If there has been a bet of $10 and a raise of $10 then it costs $20 to call. Calling is the cheapest (and the most passive) way to remain in a hand. See also cold call, flat call, and it.

Calling Station
A player who calls much too often is called a calling station. Such a player will pay you off when you make hands, and will often fail to press their advantage when they have relatively strong hands (see passive). On the other hand, calling stations will hit more backdoor and other unlikely draws than other players, making it occasionally frustrating to play against them, especially in large numbers.
Most of the players at the table were tough, but it was worth playing there because of the two calling stations.

In limit games, the cap is the limit on the number of raises in a round of betting. In many places it’s 3, for 4 bets total, but you can get into very irritating arguments about the maximum number of raises that’s appropriate. A cap on the betting makes it more difficult for players to collude. Some dealers have cutesy expressions they like to use when a pot is capped (e.g., “capuccino”). To make the final allowed raise is to cap the betting, or to “cap it.”
After I made the loose call in early position, much to my dismay the pot was raised, reraised, and capped.

Cardrooms are the rooms in which poker is played, or the organizations that run those rooms. Most casinos that offer poker have a separate room, or at least a roped-off area, designated as the cardroom. In some places where poker is legal, you will also find separate cardrooms (not part of a larger casino) dedicated mostly to poker. Key things to look for in a cardroom include tables, floorpeople, the brush, chips, etc.

Cards Speak
Cards speak is simply the rule that the value of your hand is determined solely by your cards. You don’t have to declare your hand properly in order to claim the part of the pot you deserve. The alternative to this is mainly declare games, usually played in home games for low stakes.

The fourth card of a particular rank.
I knew he was bluffing because I had folded the case 7.

When the cards are treating you well, you are said to be catching cards. The word often carries a mild connotation of improbable luck. Someone who says “nice catch” may mean anything from “okay, take the pot, you clueless moron,” to “guess you outdrew me, no problem.”

When you’re behind, you can either choose not to contend the pot (i.e., check and fold as appropriate), try to steal it, or stick around, hoping you’ll improve enough to win. To stay in a pot, with the sole hope of making a particular hand (e.g., chasing a flush). Usually chasing implies poor pot odds.

If there has been no betting before you in a betting round, you may check, which is like calling a bet of $0, or passing your turn. If all the players at a table check in turn in the same round, it is said to be checked around, resulting in a free card.
Poker chips are also sometimes called checks. This is mostly European (esp. British) usage.

I checked with the intention of folding on the turn and the river, but no one ever bet.

A check-raise is just what it sounds like — a raise after you have already checked within a betting round. Check-raises can be used to trap a player who (for example) would have folded to a single bet, but who will open if it is checked to them.
While check-raising is legal virtually everywhere serious poker is played, there are apparently a few public cardrooms which prohibit it at the lowest limits. Home poker games, which may be more or less serious, vary more widely.

I noticed he liked to position bet a lot, so whenever I had a good hand I check-raised him.

Poker chips are small round discs used instead of money at the poker table. The ones used at casinos are typically made of clay, while home poker games often substitute cheaper plastic chips. Using chips instead of cash has a number of advantages, mostly just that they’re easier to count and manipulate. Color designations for chips are arbitrary, but many casinos use white for $1 chips, red for $5 chips, green for $25 chips, and black for $100 chips. If someone asks for a rack of white, they’d like $100 in $1 chips.

Chip Race
In tournaments, as the limits go up, lower demonination chips are taken out of circulation (see color up). Often, odd chips, rather than simply being rounded up or down for each player, are randomly given to one player at each table. Typically, each player is dealt a card for each odd chip, and the player with the highest card dealt is given all the odd chips (which are then colored up).

To return the blinds to the players who posted them and move on to the next hand. This may happen in hold’em when nobody calls the blind. By agreeing to chop rather than play the hand, the two blinds sometimes avoid paying the rake, since many cardrooms only collect on those hands when there is a flop. At a table which ordinarily sees more action, players will often agree to chop so as to get on to a “real” hand more quickly.
Wanna chop?


To talk about a hand one is involved in, usually with the intent of misleading or manipulating other players, is coffeehousing. It’s usually considered just barely on one side of ethical, although which side depend who you ask. See also table talk.

Cold Call
Cold calling is calling more than one bet at once. If one player bets, another player raises, and a third player calls the two bets, this is a cold call. This is contrasted with the situation in which a player calls one bet before the raise, and then calls the raise.
I knew he had at least trips when he called two bets cold.

Color Up
To exchange one’s chips for ones of higher value, usually in order to reduce the number of chips one has on the table. In tournaments, players are forced to color up periodically as the tourney money becomes divided among fewer and fewer players and the sizes of the forced bets go up (it makes no sense to play with $25 chips when the blinds are $10000). See also chip race.

Come Hand
A hand which must improve in order to have a realistic shot is a come hand. See also draw and drawing hand.
Community (Cards)
Face-up cards that are shared by all the players in a hand. Flop games have five community cards.

Cards of consecutive ranks, especially pocket cards, are connectors. If they’re also of the same suit, they’re suited connectors.

In flop games, when your great hand is subsequently made less powerful because of cards that hit the table (especially cards that duplicate the strength of your hand), your hand is said to be counterfeited. For example, if you hold J9 and the flop is T87, you hold the nuts. If the turn is a 9, suddenly anyone with a J has a straight, and QJ has a better straight. If the river is a J, you’re counterfeited even further – you’re playing the board and anyone with a Q beats you. Counterfeiting is especially common in high-low split omaha. If you hold A2JQ and the flop is 678, you have the nut low. However, if the turn card is an A or a 2, your nut low has been counterfeited. It’s no longer the nut low, and is probably not even a winner.

A nickname for Kings, more often heard in the plural.
I had cowboys six times last night and didn’t win a pot with them.

When a powerful hand (especially powerful pocket cards) is beat, it’s said to be cracked.
I’ve had rockets cracked twelve consecutive times.

Crying Call
A call by someone who is virtually certain they will not win the pot.

After the cards are shuffled but before they are dealt, usually the deck is split in the middle and the halves reversed. This is known as cutting the cards. In cardroom games with house dealers, this is done by the dealer. In home games, it’s usually done by the player next to the dealer.

A dead card is a card that is no longer available to help you. In seven card stud, for example, a pair of kings in the hole is less strong if the two remaining kings are two other players’ door cards, and therefore dead.
A dead hand is a hand that is no longer eligible to win the pot (i.e., one that has been mucked or otherwise invalidated).

Dead money is money that was put in a pot by a player who has since folded.

To deal is to give out the cards during a hand. The person who does this is called the dealer. At most public cardrooms, a dealer is hired for this purpose (and for generally running the game). At most private games, players take turns dealing.
To be dealt in is to be given cards during a hand. To be dealt out or dealt around is not to be given cards.

Dealer Button
See button.

Dealer’s Choice
A format in which the dealer is allowed to select the particular poker game that will be dealt. Sometimes this means before each hand, although a more sensible system (since in many games the dealer has a positional advantage) is one in which players take turns choosing the game for an entire round.

Declare games are games in which you must declare the value of your hand in order to claim the pot. A typical example is a high-low split game in which you must declare before showdown whether you are claiming the high, low, or both pots (typically if you declare both you must win both in order to claim either). Declare games are played almost exclusively in home games. In most if not all cardrooms, cards speak.

Twos are sometimes called deuces. So 22277 can be called deuces full of sevens.

Deuce to Seven
In a game played for low, deuce to seven usually means that the best low hand is simply the worst poker hand. If you haven’t figured it out already, that hand is 75432, with no flush. Deuce to seven lowball is also called Kansas City, or Kansas City lowball. See also ace to five.

See underdog.

A starting hand that will almost always beat another starting hand is said to dominate that hand. For example, in hold’em, AK dominates K2. Most of the time K2 makes a playable hand, AK will make a better hand. However, a 2 might still spoil the party.

Door Card
The first card dealt face up to each player in seven card stud is the door card.

Double Belly Buster
A double belly buster is a hand with two inside straight draws. For example, 79TJK can become a straight with an 8 or a Q. It’s roughly equivalent to an open-ended straight draw, except that the double belly-buster is more deceptive, and people often fail to notice that they have one (especially in cases such as when the 7 in the above example shows up on a later street, and the player is focused on the gutshot they already had).

The word draw has slightly different meanings in different contexts, although generally it has something to do with receiving more cards, with the hope of improving your hand.
Draw games are games where at some point during the hand you are allowed to discard some or all of your cards, to be replaced from the deck. Drawing two is thus exchanging two of your cards. “The draw” is the point during the game at which players may do this. By default, when someone asks you if you want to play some draw, they usually mean five card draw.

In other poker games, drawing simply means staying in the game with the hope of improving your hand when more cards come (as opposed to with the intention of seeing if your hand is best). A draw means a way to improve. For example, if you have four suited cards, you have a flush draw. When you stay in a hand with the hope of improving, you are said to be “on a draw.” You are also said to be “drawing to” the hand you hope to make. For example, in lowball, if you hold K7642 and draw one, you are drawing to a (ragged) 7 (i.e., a 7 low).

See also open-ended straight draw, inside straight draw, draw out, draw dead, and drawing hand.

I had to stay in the hand, I had a great draw.

I was sure he was on a draw, so when the river was a blank I felt comfortable betting with bottom pair.

Draw Dead
To draw when it turns out you would lose even if you hit your draw. Most trivially on the turn in hold’em, if you have a fourflush with KQs but someone else holds A5s and has already made a pair of aces, you’re drawing dead. Whenever you make your flush, they make a better flush.

Draw Out (on)
To draw out on someone is to outdraw them.
When I called his all-in bet, I didn’t realize he had made trips, but I was lucky enough to draw out on him with my backdoor flush.

Drawing Hand
A hand with which you expect to be on a draw is a drawing hand. Suited connectors in hold’em (e.g., QhJh) are drawing hands, since while they make strong hands (straights and flushes) relatively often, they will rarely make them on the flop.

To fold is to drop. To drop is to fold.
To lose a particular amount of money. At poker, that is, you don’t have to literally drop it on the carpet.

The drop is also what the house takes from a hand (see also rake).

I bet again on the turn and three more players dropped.

I dropped $600 in ten minutes. Guess omaha isn’t my game.
I never play there, they drop 15% of every pot.

Find more poker terminology in the next post: /poker-dictionary-of-terms-part-iv/