Poker Terminology

If you enjoy playing some poker (Texas Hold ‘Em) you’ll need to know some of the jargon and terminology of the game. Understand these well and you’ll fit straight into any poker-playing group.

(click here for the rules of poker and the ranks of poker hands)

Pocket Pair, Flop a Set
When you are dealt a pocket pair, it means your first two hole cards, or ‘pocket’ cards, are the same rank e.g two 6’s or two 8’s etc.
The best starting hand in a game of No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em is Pocket Aces (two Aces of any suit).

A “Set” is another term for “Trips” i.e. Three of a Kind. If you have a Pocket Pair, and a third card of the same rank comes on the Flop (the first 3 community cards), you have just hit your set on the flop, i.e. You’ve Flopped a Set.  The odds of flopping a Set are 11% (or 1 in 8).

In this example you are dealt a Jack of diamonds and a Jack of clubs.
The flop comes: 6 Hearts, King spades, Jack Hearts.
You Flopped a Set of Jacks.

The Kicker
In Poker, the kicker is a card that doesn’t really take part in determining the rank of the hand, but it can often be used to break ties between hands of the same rank.

For example in this following online hand, after the River my best hand was a pair of nines.

My opponent’s best hand also a pair of nines. So, a tie. But that’s where the ‘kicker’ comes in. my next highest card (my kicker) was an Ace, his kicker was a Queen, so I win the hand.

A Drawing Hand
A drawing hand is when you need certain, specific cards to make a good hand: for e.g if you have two clubs in your hand, and two clubs come on the flop, you would need one more club to make a Flush. So you have a Flush Draw.

It is the same if need one more card to make a straight. There is an up-and-down Straight Draw (also called an open-ended Straight Draw):

e.g. In this hand I held J – 10, and the flop came 8-9-3, so I could make a straight with either a 7 or a Q (i.e my Straight could go up or down)

A Gut-Shot Straight Draw is when there is one card missing from the middle of your straight: if you hold Ace-10, and the flop comes 6-Q-K, you will need to catch a Jack to make your straight.

Hitting Broadway
In Poker the term “Broadway” refers to the Ace-High Straight. i.e. An unsuited straight from 10 to Ace, which is the best possible straight.

In a recent Hand I held Pocket Kings, and the flop came 10-Q-A. When the Jack came on the turn I hit “Broadway”, or my Ace-high straight.


If the Straight was suited, it would then obviously be a Royal Flush.

The Nuts

In Poker the Best Hand is referred to as “The Nuts”. If you have the absolute best possible hand in round, you have “the nuts”.
Play them well!

Bad Beat

A Bad Beat is defined as a player having really good cards and then being extremely unlucky to lose the hand.

I hope this helps you learn the jargon and enjoy the game more! 

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