A Handy Guide to Important Poker Language Terms & Communication

Last updated on : 28 Jan, 2021

The popularity of the game of poker is immense right across the world. It has generated interest from a wide variety of people – while some are here for fun, few others are here to make some money, and there are those who intend to play it at the professional level. As beginners or less experienced poker players, you would do well to note that while the basics of this wonderful card game can be learnt in quick time, mastering them can take a lifetime. It is vital for you to start this journey of getting great at this game by mastering the poker language terms.

Communication is the key if you wish to succeed in life, and the same goes for poker. There are two areas where the understanding of poker language becomes critical. One of those areas involves the key terms related to everything about poker – right from poker hand rankings, to actions on the poker table, to the various betting types, and so on. The second area of poker language involves communicating with the players without using any terms. Let us have a look at the critical components of both these types of poker communication.


These are the terms that you will read quite a lot about as you continue your journey to learn something new about poker while trying out its different variants. And the move to online poker tournaments as well as cash games has brought up many more terms.

Some of the relatively new terms as part of the language in poker play are detailed below:

  • All-in

When you claim to go all-in into a pot, it means you will no longer be able to put chips for that game but will continue to remain with a chance to win one part of the pot where you had contributed till that point in the game. A second pot will be created after you choose to go all-in, in which all the other active players will continue to put their chips thereafter. You cannot win the second pot.

  • Bankroll

It refers to the specific amount of money that you have with you for placing the various bets during a game of poker.

  • Bad Beat

It is a very average hand that suddenly manages to beat a much stronger hand after the addition of a few ‘lucky’ cards.

  • Board

It refers to all the community cards in a Texas Hold’em game – the cards at the flop, turn, and river.

  • Freeroll

It can refer to a poker tournament with no entry fees.


It can refer to a poker player who has the chance to win the pot after he is tied with another player.

  • Rake

It is that portion of the pot of every poker game that is taken out by the dealer and provided to the online casino or poker room/site.

  • Ring Game

It does refer to a regular game that is not a tournament, a game where cash (instead of chips) is used.

  • Spread Limit

It indicates a range in which a poker player can decide to bet an amount that is within a specific ‘spread’ whenever the player turn arrives.

  • Toke

It is a tip (a small sum of money) given to the dealer in a live casino by the winner of the pot.

  • Risk of Ruin

It indicates the risk that you will lose all your bankroll and go broke.

Communicating with Playing

This is the form of poker communication where you indicate the message to the other players on the poker table without actually saying anything and by just playing. Some examples of this type of communication are as described below:

  • If you opt to check, it means that you are not very happy with the hand and would prefer to check out the next card before taking any decision.
  • If you opt to call, it means that you are limping to quickly see the immediate card with the aspiration of improving upon your existing hand.
  • If you are playing a tight game considering the real strength of your hand, you are considered ‘honest’ and can be read quite easily by your opponents during online poker tournaments. If you are playing an aggressive game by trying out lot of hands and raising quite a lot to bring people out of pots. You are considered ‘dishonest’. A good poker winning strategy will be to keep your opponents guessing and not allowing them to determine if you are a tight player or an aggressive player. Maintain the right mix!

With this type of poker communication, you can manipulate the message you intend to send out to the other players competing against you. Depending on your message, different players on the table may take different actions.

The Verdict

You need to spend a good amount of time to learn the terms as well as master the art of communication without any terms. You need to master both these forms of communication in offline and online poker. The game of poker is evolving each day, and new forms of communication are getting added. Be on your toes to keep upgrading yourself and making the right play to communicate the right way! Download poker apps such as Spartan Poker now and start learning the new terms and the new plays that communicate!

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