Poker Slang And Terminology Explained

One of the biggest areas of concern to a newbie poker player is understanding the lingo. If you have to stop and ask what something means, you could very well end up giving up the game on a decent hand or letting someone call your bluff with confidence. Knowing the terminology can be as important to your game as knowing the rules and learning to read other players.

Let’s take a look at some slang terms that are regularly used, but you might not learn while getting up to speed on the rules:


This is not great if it happens to you. It’s when a pair shows up on the board that devalues your hand. For example, you may be happily sitting with two pair, the one in your hand and the other on the board. Then, a card is drawn that creates another pair on the board and both of those pairs are higher than the one in your hand. Now, any player with a higher card in their hand can beat you.

Playing The Rush

When you’re on a good streak of being dealt great cards and winning the pots, you can be referred to as playing the rush. Depending on how cynical the other players are, they could be saying that is a derogatory way or as a warning that your luck might be about to run out.

Drawing Dead

There are times when you know that no matter what card you draw next, you cannot win. This is called drawing dead because you are simply dead in the water with your hand. Sometimes, you just know that even if you were to get a full house on the river, you can’t beat what’s in the hands of one of your opponents.


This is when you are gunning for a straight but you need the middle card to be drawn. You could have a three and four, and the flop is showing six and seven. This means that you need a five to hit the table next. Your odds are much better on an open-ended straight than they are on a gutshot, because at least getting one of two possible cards will help you on an open-ended straight. This is when you need one of the outside cards to get turned over, not the one middle card you are missing.


Quite simply, this is the best possible hand in the game at a particular moment. One player could have the nuts after the initial draw, but that could switch to another player as more cards are revealed on the flop. It is, of course, best to never let on that you think you have the nuts or that you think you may have lost them once the river is complete. That is, unless you like to play mind games with your opponents and want to try and get them second guessing as to how good your hand really is.