I've been playing for years at small cash games and in casinos, but not online. Yet I'm seeing a fair amount of terminology and abbreviations I haven't seen before. While "Hero" and "Villain" are fairly obvious in meaning, they're not terms I associate with poker terminology.

There are other terms I've seen used here that might be familiar to some poker players, but not others.

Is there a comprehensive source for commonly used poker terms and abbreviations (and not just the multitude of fun hand names, like "American airlines", "little slick", etc.)?

If there isn't a good comprehensive source, I'm open to converting this to Community Wiki and compiling our own source.

  • 3
    Given the variety of great answers, I believe we should keep an eye on this and convert to Community Wiki at some point, after consolidating the information from the various answers into a single (relatively) comprehensive glossary.
    – Beofett
    Commented Jan 11, 2012 at 19:13
  • I've made my answer community wiki Commented Jan 26, 2012 at 2:03
  • pokerterms.com is user contributed and includes a lot of informal terms, so it should be pretty comprehensive.
    – Loc Nguyen
    Commented Jul 14, 2012 at 19:34

8 Answers 8


One good place to start is the tags page on this site. Any tag used on a post will show up there, and they should all have definitions. If you see one that isn't defined, please add a definition to it.

Some terms that may not show up as tags:


  • SB — The player in the small blind position.
  • BB — The player in the big blind position.
  • UTG — The player under the gun; first to act preflop, to the left of the big blind.
  • EP — A player in early position.
  • MP — A player in middle position.
  • LP — A player in late position.
  • HJ — The player in the hijack position, 2 to the right of the button.
  • CO — The player in the cutoff position, to the right of the button.
  • BTN, OTB — The player on the button, last to act post-flop. This position is also the dealer in most self-dealt games.
  • OOP — Out of position; this is when you are acting before another player.
  • IP — In position; this is when you get to act after another player.
  • PFR — Pre-flop raiser. Also used for pre-flop raise %.

Betting actions

  • PSB — A pot-sized bet.
  • C/R — A check/raise.
  • Limp — Calling the big blind preflop.
  • Limp/RR — Limping, and then re-raising when someone raises.
  • Complete — The act of limping from the small blind.
  • Straddle — Placing a blind raise preflop, taking last-to-act privileges from the big blind. Traditional the straddle is made by the UTG player, although variations exist, and they are not always allowed.
  • 3-bet — A re-raise. Any subsequent raises are 4-bet, 5-bet, and so-on.
  • C-bet (Continuation Bet) — A continuation bet is a bet made on the flop by the pre-flop raiser. The player is "continuing" his aggression. If the pre-flop raiser waits until the turn to bet, it is called a delayed continuation bet.
  • Leading — To make the first bet on a betting round.
  • Float — Calling a bet on one street with the intention of winning the hand on a future street without going to showdown.
  • Donk Bet — Being out of position and leading into the pre-flop raiser on the flop.
  • Stop and Go — Calling a bet out of position, then leading on the next betting round.

Player Terms

  • Tight - A player who plays fewer hands. They will have a stronger pre-flop range. Generally the cutoff is less than 20-22% of hands, total.
  • Loose - A player who plays many hands. They will have a weaker pre-flop range.
  • Aggressive - A player who will play a hand aggressively when they play hand. This player will prefer to bet or raise rather than to check or call.
  • Passive - A player who will play a hand passively when they play hand. This player will prefer to check or call rather than to bet or raise.
  • Nit - A player who plays very few hands from any position. Bluffing is not in their range. They will generally only play pocket pairs, AK, and maybe AQ sometimes. They won't play low pocket pairs from early position, and they won't put a lot of money into the pot without a big hand.
  • TAG - A tight, aggressive player.
  • LAG - A loose, aggressive player.
  • Maniac - Generally, a loose aggressive player taken to the extreme - playing most hands in a very aggressive manner.
  • Donk, Donkey, Fish - A weak player.
  • Shark - A skilled player.
  • Reg - A regular - an online term for a non-fish who likely has solid fundamentals.

Other terms and abbreviations.

  • PP - Pocket pair.
  • SC - Suited connector.
  • TPTK - Top pair, top kicker.
  • TPGK - Top pair, good kicker.
  • TPNK - Top pair, no kicker.
  • ATC, A2C - Any two cards.
  • EV (Expected Value) - The expected value of a certain decision in the long run. For instance, when you go all in for $100 with AA against a random hand, and no blinds, the EV of that play is +70 - you will stand to win your opponent's $100 85 percent of the time, and you will stand to lose your $100 15% of the time. 100*.85 + -100*.15 = +70. So while the outcome of any given occurrence of that situation will either be +100 or -100, if you were to run that situation n times, the outcome would approach 70*n.
  • Equity - Related to EV, equity is the percentage of the pot that you can lay a claim to, based on the chance that you will win the hand. If you have a 30% chance to win the hand, your equity is 30% of the pot. If you are at showdown and have won, your equity is 100% of the pot.
  • VPIP (VP$IP) - Voluntarily put money in pot. This is the percent of hands that a player voluntarily calls or raises with pre-flop. Checking the big blind does not count towards this, although calling/raising and then folding to a re-raise does. This figure can be a good indicator of a player's looseness/tightness.
  • Range - The set of hands that a player could possess at any given time during a hand. This set will tend to get smaller as the hand goes on.
  • Polarization - Polarization is the act of creating a range with hands on the polar ends of the good hand/bad hand spectrum. For instance, the most polarized range would consist of 2 hands, {AA, 23o} - one strong hand and one weak hand.
  • Merging - Merging is the act of creating a range with hands that run the gamut of the good hand/bad hand spectrum. An instance of a merged range would be the 3 hands {AA, QTo, 23o} - there is a strong hand, a medium hand, and a weak hand.
  • IO (Implied Odds) - Implied odds denote additional money that can be won on future streets if a player's hand improves.
  • RIO (Reverse Implied Odds) - Reverse implied odds denoted additional money that can be lost on future streets if a player's hand improves. For instance, player A has a flush draw with 54, but player B will only put more money into the pot when the flush hits if he has the nut flush, player A has reverse implied odds.
  • FPS - Fancy play syndrome.
  • AF (Aggression Factor) - the ratio of aggressive actions (betting, raising) to passive actions (calling).

Robert's Rules of Poker also contains lots of common definitions, and is available as a web page, downloadable web page, or Word document.

  • int (VPIP/PFR/AF) - what is the AF
    – Chad
    Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 21:55
  • It stands for Aggression Factor. It is the ratio of aggressive actions compared to calls.
    – CheckRaise
    Commented Feb 3, 2012 at 16:46
  • Should trips and set be described here?
    – jacknad
    Commented Aug 24, 2012 at 21:15
  • +1 for very cool answer. Commented Dec 18, 2012 at 23:00
  • Great answer, but some of these would need additional explanation for a newbie like myself. For example, is "suited connector" getting a card which connects two parts of a straight flush?
    – l0b0
    Commented Mar 8, 2021 at 1:05

There are different terminologies, depending if you play online or not. And there's not one "official" terminology.

For example it's not uncommon to read on poker forums "Villain has a PF3B of 9% in late positions" while you're less likely to hear this at a live table.

A lot of the current "online" terminology comes from the "trackers" that online players use to help their game. Most of the terms comes from "stats" that the tracker can display (including in their HUDs).

To re-use another term that Chris mentioned in another answer: "C/R" is not something you'll hear in live games. People will say "I check/raise", not "I C/R".

Some of these terms did make it to live games, some did not.

For example the "3-bet", which is a re-raise, wasn't called a 3-bet previously. When people started to use the term you could hear live players, including in some poker TV shows, asking "What's a 3-bet?" when some online player would refer to a re-raise as a 3-bet.

And even now some names/stats are confusing: for example the "3-bet" is a re-raise, no matter the street. Yet some people consider that a 3-bet is always a preflop 3-bet. Which is why some people use "PF3B".

So if you consider things like VPIP/PFR/PF3B/AF/etc. part of the terminology, good resources to consult are the statistical references guides provided by various trackers.

Keep however in mind that there's no definitive authority on this and that some stats may have the same name/abbreviation in various trackers yet be computed differently. The famous "aggression frequency" comes to mind. The two biggest trackers are using two different formulas...

Regarding all the stats name, here a some links...

Poker Tracker's "Statistical Reference Guide":


Hold'Em Manager's stats definitions:


Poker Lens (*)'s stats explanation (way shorter, but a good start for people that aren't familiar with the terminology relative to online poker):


  • (*) disclaimer: I'm the main developer of the Poker Lens (a tracker & HUD). Commented Jan 11, 2012 at 18:41
  • 3-Bet - A raise of a raise (aka. re-raise). The betting order is Bet, Raise, 3-bet.
  • 4-Bet - Any raise above a 3-bet. This includes all 4th, 5th, 6th, etc. bets.
  • BB

    • When talking about bet sizes or win rates, BB refers to Big Bets. A Big Bet is twice the size of the big blind.
    • When talking about position, BB refers to the Big Blind position.
  • Check Raise - Checking initially but then raising after an opponent bets behind you.

  • Cold Call - A cold call is calling a preflop raise when you don't already have any money or chips invested in the pot, including blinds. You can never cold call from the blinds since you already have money or chips in the pot.
  • Continuation Bet - Aka. CBet. A continuation bet is opening the betting on a street when you made the last bet or raise on the previous street. Normally this means being the preflop raiser and opening the betting on the flop, but is extended to the turn and river while you retain the initiative. You can only make a continuation bet on the turn if you made one on the flop; and on the river if you made one on the turn
  • Donk Bet - A donk bet is betting out before the aggressor on the previous street has chance to bet. E.g. you check/call the flop, and then bet out on the turn.
  • Float Bet - A float bet is calling behind on one street and then betting if checked to on the next. E.g. you call behind on the turn, and then your opponent checks the river and you bet.
  • SB - When talking about position, SB refers to the Small Blind position.
  • Steal Defense - You are in a steal defense situation if you are in the small or big blind and facing a steal raise when no-one else has called or raised. For instance, if the button open raises the small blind is facing a steal, but if they call then the big blind is not facing a steal.
  • Steal Raise - A steal raise is an open raise by the cutoff, button, or small blind. i.e. there has been no action and the cutoff, button or small blind opens the pot with a raise.

More documentation about statistical terminology you can find at http://www.pokertracker.com/guides/PT3/general/statistical-reference-guide


Here are a few more that other's haven't mentioned yet.

  • Equity: A quantification of the value of a hand in the context of the long-term. For example, if you have a 20% chance to win a $100 pot, your Equity in that pot is $20. You may win or lose more on this specific hand, but if you were to take 20% equity on a $100 pot a million times, your win would approach an average of $20 per hand.

  • Expectation, Expected Value, EV: All different names for Equity

  • Fold Equity: A quantification of how much it would be worth to bluff your opponent out of the pot.

  • Sklansky Bucks: (After David Skalnsky, who claims the is first person to publish this idea): Equity in the pot assuming a specific holding for your opponent.

  • G Bucks: (After Phil Galfond, in this article) Your Equity in the pot versus your opponent's entire Range

  • Range: The total collection of the hands your opponent could have, along with a probability associated with each hand.

  • "Merge Your Range": To play in such a way that given a specific scenario, you could have many different hands.

  • Polarized Range: To play in such a way that given a specific scenario, you could only have two possible hands. (Typically either the nuts or a bluff)

  • The Nuts: The best possible hand.

  • Cheese, Air: A bad hand.

  • Shove, Push, Jam, Pew Pew: To go all-in.

  • Stop & Go: A betting strategy in which a player on an early street bets and calls when raised, and then either comes out betting or check-raises on a subsequent street.

  • to Rat Hole: To take money off of the table, thereby taking out of play. Considered by many to be unethical.


As alluded to above poker terminology can differ greatly depending on whether you are playing online or live. Regardless, some of the terms and abbreviations can be confusing if you have never heard of them before. For this reason I wanted to create a new website which was both a modern and comprehensive poker dictionary and glossary, as well as provide a more general poker resource. The site is http://www.pokerdictionary.net and new poker terms are added all the time.

  • +1. Very nice site. You should totally add "Equity" there, this is a big one and it's missing. Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 14:44
  • OMG you're a mindreader sir! That was honestly the next term which was going to be added. Have you been crushing souls at the poker table? :)
    – user769
    Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 15:27
  • I'm afraid not. Don't really have the time for it right now :) . Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 15:59
  • But when you are not playing you're thinking about the game. You've gotta love poker :)
    – user769
    Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 16:03

Another comprehensive glossary with more than 100 entries: http://www.pokerstrategy.com/glossary/


Some books have extensive glossaries. I recommend "Ken Warren Teaches Texas Hold 'Em.


It's quite a good book apart from its glossary.


Another useful site to use is http://www.flopturnriver.com/poker-dictionary/

It has around 1220 dictionary entries at the time of writing this.

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