Games In Las Vegas Casinos


Frequently Asked Questions about Poker

This is the Poker section of the rec.gambling Frequently Asked Questions
(FAQ) list.

Changes or additions to this section of the FAQ should be submitted to:

Page last modified: 05-07-95

Table of Contents

Sections that have been added or modified since the last release are marked
with the tag NEW.

P1 How is Texas Hold'em played?
P2 How is Omaha Hold'em played?
P3 What should I expect the first time I play poker in a casino or card
room? What etiquette should I follow?
P4 What are some good books about poker?
P5 What are some good magazines about poker?
P6 What computer poker programs are best for my PC or Mac?
P7 What is IRC poker and how can I play?
P8 What skills are important for Texas Hold'em?
P9 What is a good preflop strategy for Texas Hold'em?
P10 What is a good third street strategy for Seven Card Stud?
P11 Why are poker hands ranked the way they are?
P12 Why are ace-hi flushes ranked highest, when it's much harder to get a
seven-hi flush? And similarly for two pairs?
P13 What is the correct ranking for 3-card poker hands?
P14 What are my chances of sucking out on my opponent in Hold'em?
P15 What is a poker tournament? How does one work? What is a chip race? What
is a satellite?
P16 How does tournament strategy differ from that of regular games?
P17 What is the World Series of Poker? When is it?
P18 What the hell is Rumple Mintz?
P19 What is a burn card and why is it dealt?
P20 What happens if there aren't enough cards in the deck to deal the final
card in 7-card stud?
P21 What is the difference between a shill and a proposition player? What
skills are needed to be one?
P22 What are the Las Vegas poker room phone numbers?
P23 What do all these poker terms mean?


Q:P1 How is Texas Hold'em played?
A:P1 [Michael Maurer]

Texas Hold'em is a "community card" game, meaning that some cards are dealt
face-up in the middle of the table and shared by all the players. Each
player has two down cards that are theirs alone, and combines them with the
five community cards to make the best possible five-card hand.

Play begins by dealing two cards face down to each player; these are known
as "hole cards" or "pocket cards". This is followed by a round of betting.
Most hold'em games get the betting started with one or two "blind bets" to
the left of the dealer. These are forced bets which must be made before
seeing one's cards. Play proceeds clockwise from the blinds, with each
player free to fold, call the blind bet, or raise. Usually the blinds are
"live", meaning that they may raise themselves when the action gets back
around to them.

Now three cards are dealt face up in the middle of the table; this is called
the "flop". A round of betting ensues, with action starting on the first
blind, immediately to the dealers left. Another card is dealt face up (the
"turn"), followed by another round of betting, again beginning to the
dealer's left. Then the final card (the "river") is dealt followed by the
final round of betting. In a structured-limit game, the bets on the turn and
river are usually double the size of those before and on the flop.

The game is usually played for high only, and each player makes the best
five-card combination to compete for the pot. Players usually use both their
hole cards to make their best hand, but this is not required. A player may
even choose to "play the board" and use no hole cards at all. Identical
five-card hands split the pot; the sixth and seventh cards are not used to
break ties.

Q:P2 How is Omaha Hold'em played?
A:P2 [Michael Maurer]

The rules of Omaha are very similar to those of Texas Hold'em. There are
only two differences:

   * Each player receives four hole cards, instead of two.

   * One must use *exactly* three community cards and two hole cards to make
     one's hand.

The second difference is confusing for most beginners. These examples show
how it works.

    Board        Hole Cards     Best High Hand
    =====        ==========     ==============
As Kc Qc 8d 2d   Ac 2c Jd Th    Jd Th makes ace-hi straight.

As Kc Qc Jh Td   Ac 2c Jd 8h    Ac Jd makes ace-hi straight.

As Kc Qc Jh Td   3c 2c Jd 8h    Jd 8h makes pair of jacks.  No straight
                                is possible using two hole cards.

As Ks 8h 9d 2s   Qs 4h 4d 4s    Qs 4s makes AKQ42 "nut" flush.

As Ks 8s 9s 2s   Qs 4h 4d Qd    Qs Qd makes pair of queens.  No flush is
                                possible using two hole cards.

As Ts 8s 8h 4d   Td Tc Ad 9c    Td Tc makes TTT88 full house.

As Ts 8s 8h 4d   Td 8c Ad 9c    Ad 8c makes 888AA full house.

As Ac 8s 8h 4d   Ah 2h 3h 5h    Ah 5h makes trip aces AAA85.  No full
                                house is possible using two hole cards.

As Ac 8s 8h 4d   Ah 2h 3h 4h    Ah 4h makes full house AAA44.

Omaha is often played high/low, meaning that the highest and lowest hands
split the pot. The low hand usually must "qualify" by being at least an
8-low (the largest card must be 8 or lower). One can use a different two
cards to compete for the high and low portions of the pot, and the game is
played "cards speak" rather than "declare". Aces are either low or high, and
straights and flushes don't count for low. Since everybody must use two hole
cards to make a hand, the board must have three cards 8 or lower for a low
to even be possible. Players often tie for low, and the low half of the pot
is divided equally among them. Some more examples:

    Board        Hole Cards     Best Low Hand
    =====        ==========     =============
As Kc Qc 8d 2d   8c Jc Jd Th    Jd Th makes the low hand JT82A, which
                                does not qualify as 8-or-better.

3d 5h 8d Tc Ts   Ac 2c Jd Th    Ac 2c makes the "nut low" 8532A.

3d 5h 8d Tc Ts   Ac 3c 4d Th    Ac 4d makes 8543A.

3d 5h 8d Ad Ts   Ac 3c 5d 8h    Any two make T853A, not qualifying.

Ac 2c 3d 4h 5s   Ad 2d Th Td    Ad 2d makes "nut low" 5432A.

Ac 2c 3d 4h 5s   4d 5d Th Td    4d 5d makes "nut low" 5432A.

5h 7h 8d Ac 2c   Ad 2d Th Td    Ad 2d makes 8752A, but the nut low is
                                5432A with a 3 and 4.  On the flop we
                                had the best possible low, but the turn
                                and river "counterfeited" us.

As in all split-pot games, the real goal of playing any hand is to win both
halves of the pot, or "scoop". Thus, hands that have a chance to win both
ways are far superior to those that can only win one way.

Q:P3 What should I expect the first time I play poker in a casino or card
room? What etiquette should I follow?
A:P3 [Michael Maurer]

Many people are intimidated on their first visit to a public cardroom.
Knowing what to expect and some simple rules of etiquette will help the
first-time visitor relax and have a good time.

Any cardroom with more than a few tables will have a sign-up desk or board
for the various games being played. Usually someone will be standing here to
take your name if a seat is not immediately available. This person can
explain what games are offered, the betting limits, special house rules and
so on. This is the moment of your first decision: which game and for what

Choosing a game is fairly easy; you already know which game is most familiar
to you. You may be surprised to find that your favorite home games are not
spread in public cardrooms. Most will offer one or more of Texas Hold'em,
Seven-Card Stud, and Omaha Hold'em (usually hi/lo split, 8-or-better for
low). Sometimes you will find California Lowball (5-card draw for low),
Seven-Card Stud hi/lo, or Hold'em variations like Pineapple. You will rarely
find High Draw (5-card draw for hi), and will never find home game
pot-builders like Anaconda, Follow-the-Queen, 7-27 or Guts. Except for the
joker in draw poker, cardrooms never use wild cards.

If they don't have a game you want, don't play.

Choosing a betting limit is a bit harder. It is best to start playing at a
limit so small that the money is not important to you. After all, with all
the excitement of your first time playing poker there is no need to be
worried about losing the nest egg to a table full of sharks. Betting limits
are typically expressed as $1-$5 or $3-$6, and may be "spread-limit" or
"structured-limit". A spread-limit means one can bet or raise any amount
between the two numbers (although a raise must be at least as much as a
previous bet or raise). For example, in $1-$5 spread-limit, if one person
bets $2 the next person is free to call the $2 or raise $2, $3, $4, or $5,
but cannot raise just $1. On the next round, everything is reset and the
first bettor may bet anything from $1 to $5. In structured-limit like $3-$6
(usually recognizable by a factor of two between betting limits), all
betting and raising on early rounds is in units of $3, and on later rounds
is in units of $6. One only has a choice of *whether* to bet or raise; the
amount is fixed by the limit. One usually doesn't have a choice between
spread and structured betting at a given limit. Keep in mind that it is
quite easy to win or lose 20 "big bets" (the large number in the limit) in
an hour of play. Also, since your mind will be occupied with the mechanics
of the game while the regular players consider strategy, you are more likely
to lose than win. In other words: choose a low limit.

If the game you want is full, your name will go on a list and the person
running the list will call you when a seat opens up. Depending on the
cardroom, you may have trouble hearing your name called and they may be
quick to pass you over, so be alert. Once a seat is available, the list
person will vaguely direct you toward it, or toward a floorman who will show
you where to sit.

Now is the time for you to take out your money and for the other players to
look you over. A good choice for this "buy-in" is ten to twenty big bets,
but you must buy-in for at least the posted table minimum, usually about
five big bets. Most public poker games are played "table-stakes", which
means that you can't reach into your pocket for more money during the play
of a hand. It also means that you can't be forced out of a pot because of
insufficient funds. If you run out of money during a hand you are still in
the pot (the dealer will say you are "all-in"), but further betting is "on
the side" for an additional pot you cannot win. Between hands, you are free
to buy as many chips as you want, but are not allowed to take any chips off
the table unless you are leaving. This final rule gives opponents a chance
to win back what they have lost to you. If you are so unfortunate as to bust
out, you may buy back in for at least the table minimum or leave.

Once you have told the dealer how much money you are playing, the dealer may
sell you chips right away or call over a chip runner to do so. You may want
to tell the dealer that you are a first-time player. This is a signal to the
dealer to give a little explanation when it is your turn to act, and to the
other players to extend you a bit of courtesy when you slow down the game.
Everyone will figure it out in a few minutes anyway, so don't be bashful.
You may even ask to sit out a few hands just to see how it all works.

There are three ways that pots are seeded with money at the beginning of the
hand. The most familiar to the home player is the "ante", where each player
tosses a small amount into the pot for the right to be dealt a hand. The
second way, often used in conjunction with an ante, is the "forced
bring-in". For example, in seven-card stud, after everyone antes and is
dealt the first three cards, the player with the lowest upcard may be forced
to bet to get things started. The third way, often used in games without
upcards like Hold'em or Omaha, is a "forced blind bet". This is similar to
the bring-in, but is always made by the person immediately after the player
with the "button". The "button" is a plastic disk that moves around the
table and indicates which player is acting as dealer for the hand (of
course, the house dealer does the actual dealing of cards, but does not
play). A second or even third blind may follow the first, usually of
increasing size. Whichever seed method is used, note that this initial pot,
small as it is, is the only reason to play at all.

If the game has blinds, the dealer may now ask you if you want to "post".
This means, "do you want to pay extra to see a hand now, in bad position,
and then pay the blinds, or are you willing to sit and watch for a few
minutes?" Answer "no, I'll wait" and watch the game until the dealer tells
you it's time to begin, usually after the blinds pass you.

Finally, it is your turn to get cards and play. Your first impression will
probably be how fast the game seems to move. If you are playing stud,
several upcards may be "mucked" (folded into the discards) before you even
see them; if you are playing hold'em, it may be your turn to act before you
have looked at your cards. After a few hands you should settle into the
rhythm and be able to keep up. If you ever get confused, just ask the dealer
what is going on.

When playing, consider the following elements of poker etiquette:

Acting in Turn

Although you may see others fold or call out of turn, don't do it yourself.
It is considered rude because it gives an unfair advantage to the players
before you who have yet to act. This is especially important at the showdown
when only three players are left. If players after you are acting out of
turn while you decide what to do, say "Time!" to make it clear that you have
not yet acted.

Handling Cards

You may find it awkward at first to peek at your own cards without exposing
them to others. Note that the other players have no formal obligation to
alert you to your clumsiness, although some will. Watch how the other
players manage it and emulate them. Leave your cards in sight at all times;
holding them in your lap or passing them to your kibitzing friend is grounds
for killing your hand. Finally, if you intentionally show your cards to
another player during the hand, both your hands may be declared dead. Your
neighbor might want to see *you* declared dead :) if this happens!

Protecting Cards

In a game with "pocket cards" like Hold'em or Omaha, it is your
responsibility to "protect your own cards". This confusing phrase really
means "put a chip on your cards". If your cards are just sitting out in the
open, you are subject to two possible disasters. First, the dealer may scoop
them up in a blink because to leave one's cards unprotected is a signal that
you are folding. Second, another player's cards may happen to touch yours as
they fold, disqualifying your hand and your interest in the pot. Along the
same lines, when you turn your cards face up at the showdown, be careful not
to lose control of your cards. If one of them falls off the table or lands
face-down among the discards your hand will be dead, even if that card is
not used to make your hand.

Accidentally Checking

In some fast-paced games, a moment of inaction when it is your turn to act
may be interpreted as a check. Usually, a verbal declaration or rapping
one's hand on the table is required, but many players are impatient and will
assume your pause is a check. If you need more than a second to decide what
to do, call "Time!" to stop the action. While you decide, don't tap your
fingers nervously; that is a clear check signal and will be considered

String Bets

A "string bet" is a bet that initially looks like a call, but then turns out
to be a raise. Once your hand has put some chips out, you may not go back to
your stack to get more chips and increase the size of your bet, unless you
verbally declared the size of your bet at the beginning. If you always
declare "call" or "raise" as you bet, you will be immune to this problem.
Note that a verbal declaration in turn is binding, so a verbal string bet is
possible and also prohibited. That means you cannot say "I call your $5, and
raise you another $5!" Once you have said you call, that's it. The rest of
the sentence is irrelevant. You can't raise.

Splashing the Pot

In some home games, it is customary to throw chips directly into the pot. In
a public cardroom, this is cause for dirty looks, a reprimand from the
dealer, and possibly stopping the game to count down the pot. When you bet,
place your chips directly in front of you. The dealer will make sure that
you have the right number and sweep them into the pot.

One Chip Rule

In some cardrooms, the chip denominations and game stakes are
incommensurate. For example, a $3-$6 game might use $1 and $5 chips, instead
of the more sensible $3 chip. The one-chip rule says that using a
large-denomination chip is just a call, even though the chip may be big
enough to cover a raise. If you don't have exact change, it is best to
verbally state your action when throwing that large chip into the pot. For
example, suppose you are playing in a $1-$5 spread-limit game, the bet is $2
to you, and you have only $5 chips. Silently tossing a $5 chip out means you
call the $2 bet. If you want to raise to $4 or $5, you must say so *before*
your chip hits the felt. Whatever your action, the dealer will make any
required change at the end of the betting round. Don't make change for
yourself out of the pot.

Raising Forever

In a game like Hold'em, it is possible to know that you hold "the nuts" and
cannot be beaten. If this happens when all the cards are out and you get in
a raising war with someone, don't stop! Raise until one of you runs out of
chips. If there is the possibility of a tie, the rest of the table may
clamor for you to call, since you "obviously" both have the same hand.
Ignore the rabble. You'll be surprised how many of your opponents turn out
to be bona fide idiots.

The Showdown

Hands end in one of three ways: one person bets and everyone else folds, one
person bets on the final round and at least one person calls, or everybody
checks on the final round. If everybody folds to a bet, the bettor need not
show the winning cards and will usually toss them to the dealer face down.
If somebody calls on the end, the person who bet or raised most recently is
*supposed* to immediately show, or "open", their cards. They may delay doing
so in a rude attempt to induce another player to show their hand in
impatience, and then muck their own hand if it is not a winner. Don't do
this yourself. Show your hand immediately if you get called. If you have
called a bet, wait for the bettor to show, then show your own hand if it's
better. If the final round is checked down, in most cardrooms everyone is
supposed to open their hands immediately. Sometimes everyone will wait for
someone else to show first, resulting in a time-wasting deadlock. Break the
chain and show your cards.

Most cardrooms give every player at the table the right to see all cards
that called to a showdown, even if they are mucked as losers. (This helps
prevent cheating by team-play.) If you are extremely curious about a certain
hand, ask the dealer to show it to you. It is considered impolite to
constantly ask to see losing cards. It is even more impolite if you hold the
winning cards, and in most cardrooms you will forfeit the pot if the
"losing" cards turn out to be better than yours.

As a beginner, you may want to show your hand all the time, since you may
have overlooked a winning hand. What you gain from one such pot will far
outweigh any loss due to revealing how you played a particular losing hand.
"Cards speak" at the showdown, meaning that you need not declare the value
of your hand. The dealer will look at your cards and decide if you have a

As a final word of caution, it is best to hold on to your winning cards
until the dealer pushes you the pot. If the dealer takes your cards and
incorrectly "mucks" them, many cardrooms rule that you have no further right
to the pot, even if everyone saw your winning cards. A dishonest player
might try to steal the pot from you with a despicable trick. When you bet
and all others fold, he may conceal his hand in the hope that you will toss
your cards into the muck, whereupon he will call and win the pot.

Raking in the Pot

As you win your first pot, the excitement within you will drive you beyond
the realm of rational behavior, and you will immediately lunge to scoop up
the precious chips with both arms. Despite the fact that no other player had
done this while you watched, despite the fact that you read here not to do
it, you WILL do it. Since every dealer has a witty admonition prepared for
this moment, maybe it's all for the best. But next time, let the dealer push
it to you, ok?

Touching Cards or Chips

Don't. Only touch your own cards and chips. Other players' chips and cards,
discards, board cards, the pot and everything else are off-limits. Only the
dealer touches the cards and pot.


Dealers make their living from tips. It is customary for the winner of each
pot to tip the dealer 50 cents to a dollar, depending on locale and the
stakes. Sometimes you will see players tip several dollars for a big pot or
an extremely unlikely suckout. Sometimes you will see players stiff the
dealer if the pot was tiny or split between two players. This is a personal
issue, but imitating the other players is a good start.

Correcting Mistakes

Occasionally the dealer or a player may make a mistake, such as miscalling
the winning hand at the showdown. If you are the victim of such a mistake,
call it out immediately and do not let the game proceed. If your opponent is
the victim, let your conscience be your guide; many see no ethical dilemma
in remaining silent. If you are not involved in the pot, you must judge the
texture of the game to determine whether to speak up. In general, the higher
the stakes, the more likely you should keep your mouth shut.

Taking a Break

You are free to get up to stretch your legs, visit the restroom and so on.
Ask the dealer how long you may be away from your seat; 20 or 30 minutes is
typical. It is customary to leave your chips sitting on the table; part of
the dealer's job is to keep them safe. If you miss your blind(s) while away,
you may have to make them up when you return, or you may be asked to sit out
a few more hands until they reach you again. If several players are gone
from a table, they may all be called back to keep the game going; those who
don't return in time forfeit their seats.

Color Change

If you are in the happy situation of having too many chips, you may request
a "color change" (except in Atlantic City). You can fill up a rack or two
with your excess chips and will receive a few large denomination chips in
return. These large chips are still in play, but at least you aren't
inconvenienced by a mountain of chips in front of you. Remember the one chip
rule when betting with them.


Leave whenever you feel like it. You never have an obligation to stay at the
table, even if you've won a fortune. You should definitely leave if you are
tired, losing more than you expect, or have other reasons to believe you are
not playing your best game. Depending on the cardroom, you can redeem your
chips for cash with a chip-runner or floorman or at the cashier's cage.

Last but not least is the matter of the house take. Somebody has to maintain
the tastefully opulent furnishings and pay the electric bill. The house will
choose one of three ways to charge you to play. A simple "time charge" is
common in higher limit games and at some small games: seats are rented by
the half hour, at rates ranging from $4 to $10 or so, depending on the
stakes. This method charges all players equally. Other cardrooms will "rake"
a percentage of the final pot, up to some maximum, before awarding it to the
winning player. The usual rake is either 5% or 10%, capped at $3 or $4. If
the pot is raked, the dealer will remove chips from the pot as it grows,
setting them aside until the hand is over and they are dropped into a slot
in the table. This method favors the tight player who enters few pots but
wins a large fraction of them. A simpler method is to "drop" a fixed amount
at the start of each hand; one player, usually the one with the button, pays
the entire amount of the drop. Depending on house rules, this "button
charge" of $2-$4 may or may not play as a bet. If the chips do play as a
bet, this method also favors the tighter players, but not nearly as much as
the rake does. Regardless of the mechanism, a cardroom will try to drop
about $80-$120 per hour at a $3-$6 table. The exact amount is most dependent
on the local cost of doing business: Nevada is low, California and Atlantic
City are high. Since there are 7-10 players at the table, expect to pay
somewhere from $7 to $14 per hour just to sit down. Add $2-$4 per hour for
dealer tips and you see why most low-limit players are long-run losers.

More information on cardroom play and etiquette can be found in George
Percy's "Seven-Card Stud: The Waiting Game" and Lee Jones' "Winning
Low-Limit Holdem". Beginning players may also want to watch for special
cardroom promotions to draw new players; many offer free lessons followed by
a very low-stakes game with other novices. Since everyone is a beginner,
much of the tension is relieved.

Q:P4 What are some good books about poker?
A:P4 [Michael Maurer, December 1994]

All poker players should have this book on their shelf:

     David Sklansky, "The Theory of Poker" (formerly titled "Winning
     Poker"), Two Plus Two Publishing, 1992, $29.95. ISBN 1-880685-00-0

Beginners will benefit from this pamphlet which concentrates on Texas
Hold'em and Seven Card Stud:

     Mason Malmuth and Lynne Loomis, "Fundamentals of Poker", Two Plus
     Two Publishing, 1992, $3.95. ISBN 1-880685-11-6.

This classic in the field is an advanced but slightly out-of-date work
covering a wide range of games, including an excellent section on no-limit

     Doyle Brunson et al., "Super/System: A Course in Poker Power", B &
     G Publishing, 1978/1989, $50. ISBN 0-931444-01-4.

The most recommended book for medium-limit Hold'em is

     David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth, "Hold'em Poker for Advanced
     Players", Two Plus Two Publishing, 1988/1993, $29.95. ISBN

This recent work by a fellow rec.gambler has received several favorable
reviews from low-limit Hold-em players:

     Lee Jones, "Winning Low-Limit Holdem", ConJelCo, 1994, $19.95.
     ISBN 1-886070-04-0.

The results of 900 million computer-simulated Hold'em hands are summarized
in this unique work. It is useful for evaluating starting hands in two
situations: when most players will play all the way to the river, or when
one or more players is all-in before the flop.

     Justin Case, "Percentage Hold'em: The Book of Numbers", Whitestone
     Books, 1993, $35.

Beginning Seven Card Stud players must read this small spiral-bound gem:

     George Percy, "7 Card Stud: The Waiting Game", GBC Press, 1979,
     $9. ISBN 0-89650-903-6.

More experienced stud players may benefit from

     David Sklansky, Mason Malmuth and Ray Zee, "Seven Card Stud for
     Advanced Players", Two Plus Two Publishing, 1992, $29.95. ISBN

Finally, in a different vein is the following book about reading your
opponents and preventing them from reading you:

     Mike Caro, "The Body Language of Poker" (formerly titled "Mike
     Caro's Book of Tells"), Carol Publishing Group, 1984/1994, $18.95.
     ISBN 0-89746-100-2.

Many of these books are available to rec.gamblers with an Internet discount
from ConJelCo.

Q:P5 What are some good magazines about poker?
A:P5 [Michael Maurer]

Card Player is the best periodical for poker players. Each issue has several
columns specifically about poker strategy, including regular features by
famous authors like Mike Caro, Mason Malmuth, and David Sklansky. It lists
schedules for small daily and weekly tournaments in the U.S. and Europe and
reports large tournament results. Other sections cover gambling and the law,
cardroom management, sports betting and general gambling news. Because it is
financed largely by casino industry advertisements, it does not print
unfavorable casino news and is not a good place to find a balanced review of
a cardroom. It is available free in most cardrooms and offers subscriptions
at first-class and bulk-mail rates.

        The Card Player
        3140 S. Polaris #8
        Las Vegas, NV  89102
        (702) 871-1720
        (702) 871-2674 FAX


Q:P6 What computer poker programs are best for my PC or Mac?
A:P6 [Darse Billings]

Under construction.......

If you want to write some of your own poker software, a fast poker hand
evaluator is available by FTP as poker.tar.gz from in
directory pub/rec.gambling/poker. It is in C but uses some Gnu C extensions.

Q:P7 What is IRC poker and how can I play?
A:P7 [Michael Maurer, June 1994]

IRC poker is a real-time network poker game that allows people from around
the world to play poker with each other via the Internet. The stakes are
"etherbucks", which is to say imaginary. Each player's imaginary bankroll is
recorded from session to session, and rankings of both bankroll and earning
rate inspire competitiveness. An automatic program serves as the dealer and
controls the action. World Wide Web users can find out more about the dealer
program by looking at

The game uses the Internet Relay Chat, or IRC, to arrange communications
amongst the players and with the dealer. IRC is normally a sort of global
cocktail party, with several thousand people from around the globe engaged
in small pockets of conversation on various "channels". Within each channel,
anything one person types appears on the screens of all the other people
tuned in to the channel (although one person can also "whisper" privately to
another). The poker channels are unusual in that an automaton is always
present to supervise a poker game. However, the chat aspect of the channel
is preserved, so that the poker games can become quite social.

In order to play IRC poker, you must have an IRC client and access to the
Internet. The client is a program running on your local machine that
connects you to the IRC network. If you are on a Unix machine, try typing
'irc' to see if a client is already installed. If not, or if you are on a
Macintosh, PC or VMS system, you will have to obtain a client by FTP. One
archive site for IRC clients is ( in the
directory pub/irc/clients. The Unix client is named ircII. This archive also
contains a primer on using IRC. The official IRC FAQ is available via
anonymous ftp from in /irc/docs, or from in

Once you have a client up and running, you need to connect to the special,
isolated IRC poker server. In order to speed up the games, the poker server
is not a part of the standard IRC network. The different clients have
various ways to specify the IRC server you want to use; on Unix you can say

        irc nickname
or      irc nickname

where 'nickname' is the name by which you will be known to other IRC users.
After a moment, this command should connect you to the IRC poker server and
print a welcome message. (From this point on the instructions are
Unix-specific, but many of the commands will work on the other clients as

At this point you can find out what channels are open by typing


which prints the topic of each channel, or you can see a more detailed view


which lists all of the people on each channel. As of May 1994, typical
channels included #holdem, #omaha, and #nolimit. To join a particular
channel (for instance, #holdem), type

/join #holdem

The action of the poker game and the ongoing conversations should now appear
on your screen. The play of the game is governed by sending special messages
to the dealer automaton; for example, the message

p fold

indicates that you wish to fold. All poker commands are prefixed with the
letter 'p'. The command

p commands

gives a list of all possible commands. The most important are

p join password         % join the game (pick any password)
                        % this starts your bankroll at $1000
p quit                  % quit the game
p fold                  % fold when the action gets to you
p check                 % check (do not bet or fold)
p call                  % call a bet
p raise                 % raise the bet

On the non-structured channels like #nolimit, some of these commands may
take an argument, such as

p raise 50

When you join the channel you will notice the conspicuous absence of these
'p' commands despite the ongoing play. This is because most players send
their messages privately to the dealer only, using a command like

/msg hbot p raise

where 'hbot' is the nickname of the dealer. (This is especially useful to
hide your password when you join.) Because poker players are inherently
lazy, most use a special set of IRC macros that saves them the effort of
typing all those characters each time they have to act. These poker macros
are available from in the file
/pub/rec.gambling/poker/ The file contains instructions for
using it on a Unix machine.

In addition, curses and X-windows based front ends have been written for the
poker games. The curses version uses simple terminal graphics to draw
pictures of your cards and those of the other players, helping you to
visualize the action. When other players fold their cards are mucked, and
the board and pot are shown in the middle. This front end can be used in
conjunction with the IRC macros mentioned above. The program is available on
the web in source code form for Unix machines at The X windows version is at

Finally, some IRC poker statistics are available by looking at the URL

Q:P8 What skills are important for Texas Hold'em?
A:P8 [Michael Hall]

(Hold 'em) Poker Skills in Order of Importance

Disclaimer: I'm a poker novice, not an expert.

0. Table selection
1. Hand selection
2. Reading opponents' hands
3. Opponent assessment
4. Heads up play, bluffing, and semi-bluffing
5. Seat selection
6. Check-raising
7. Getting tells
8. Pot odds calculations

The exact order of importance of skills varies by game type. For example,
you cannot read your opponent when your opponent does not know what he has.
The list above is geared towards mid-level games where some sanity prevails
but the game is not at an expert level either.

0. Table Selection.

By far the most important skill is table selection, so it ranks better than
#1, it's #0. It doesn't matter how well you play if you are always picking
the games with no fish where even an expert can't beat the rake. Most of
your income will come from a few very bad players. If you play fairly well,
you won't lose much to the better players, nor win much from the slightly
inferior players; it's the fish that count.

1. Hand selection

Now that you've found your table with a live one or two, be patient. More
than just having the discipline to play good hands and the stomach for
surviving the variance, you should realize that most of our income in Hold
'em comes from AA and KK, with notable mention to the other pocket pairs and
AK. Your object is to not lose too much while waiting for these premium
hands, and particularly not to lose too much to these hands when other
players get them. At $10-$20 and below, go ahead and make it 3 bets if you
can before the flop with your AA or KK; you'll be surprised at how little
respect you get with people calling you all the way to the river even though
your betting is screaming "I HAVE POCKET ACES!!!" And respect preflop raises
done by other players, dumping a lot of hands you would normally play such
as AT and KJ or even AJ and KQ, as you don't want to make top pair versus an
overpair. On the flop, don't bet into someone who has made it three bets
unless you can beat the shit out of AA and KK and *want* to be raised back
and then just call and go for a check-raise on the turn.

2. Reading opponents' hands

Now, think about the range of hands and their probabilities that your
opponents could have. Initially, when the players receive their first two
cards, every possible two card hand is equally probable (unless you start
grouping them like 87 offsuit, pocket aces, etc., but you get the idea.)
Every action a player takes gives you information that you can use to adjust
these probabilities. It's a Bayesian inference problem. Unfortunately,
actually applying Bayes' rule exactly is beyond any puny human brain's
capability. So, you make a major approximation and essentially just keep
around a set of possible hands, which you then prune down as action take

Suppose a player just calls preflop in early position and the flop comes Q 7
2 offsuit and he suddenly goes berserk by reraising, you have to think about
what hands are likely. The hands that make sense to reraise like that are
AQ, KQ, Q7, 72, Q2, 77, and 22. QQ would probably be slow-played here
instead. Now join that set with the possible hands before the flop. We can
just look at these hands and see which are reasonable to just call preflop
in early position. AQ and KQ are often raised in early position, but at
least sometimes they just call, so they are still consistent. Q7, 72, and Q2
are not reasonable calls from early position. 77 and 22 are reasonable
calls, though tight players would probably dump the 22. So that leaves AQ,
KQ, 77, and 22 as his possible hands, which has narrowed down the field
quite a bit. Be aware also of how other players may interpret your betting.

3. Opponent assessment

As play goes along, give yourself a running commentary of the events, "she
open-raises, he folds, he cold-calls...". You must make a lot of mental
notes based on this, and you must do this even when you're not in a hand,
because in addition to being useful during a hand, it's useful for later
hands. You want to see the frequency with which a player sees the flop, the
frequency with which a player defends his blinds from raises, and the hands
a player open-raises with, raises with, reraises with, cold-calls with, and
just calls with. This in conjunction with narrowing down the hands above
will often give you a good idea of what's going on even when there is no
showdown. Your goal is to stereotype each player, as well as to note
particular idiosyncrasies of the individuals for use not only now but in
future sessions.

4. Heads up play, semi-bluffing, and bluffing

Especially when heads-up, you should be constantly applying pressure to the
other player to make him fold. You may reraise when you think you're either
beaten badly or your opponent is bluffing. It's a bit like chess or
wargames, with attacks, feints, counterattacks, and graceful retreats. This
is part of the "feel" of poker that's hard to put into words, but hopefully
you get the idea. Bluffing and semi-bluffing is important to keep yourself
unpredictable, and with since you're keeping track of the ranges of
plausible hands, it's quite likely you'll often know where your opponent
stands. Cold bluffing is usually restricted to the river, where you might
bet into one or two opponents (who might fold) if you have no chance of
winning the pot if there is a showdown. Semi-bluffing is betting with a hand
that is not likely best but has some big outs. Your opponent may fold
immediately, and if not, you may hit your out and your opponent may
seriously misread you. There is an important balance here; you must have
sufficiently tight hand selection criteria such that when you do bet your
opponent is positively terrified that you may have a big hand like an
overpair. Semi-bluffing is very powerful, because you've been so careful in
choosing your starting hands that even if you aren't there yet you are
likely to get there.

5. Seat selection

Generally, you want the loose aggressive players to your right and the tight
passive players to your left. This is so that you can see a raise coming
before calling the first bet. However, if the game is tight enough that it
is being folded around to the blinds often, then you want some very tight
passive players in the two seats to your right, so that your blinds will not
be stolen. This is a very important skill, and just because you've found a
good table, doesn't mean that every seat at that table would be a winning
seat on average for you.

6. Check-raising

Because the nature of fixed limit Hold 'em makes calling one bet often
correct for very weak hands, it's difficult to protect your hand. A major
weapon you have to protect your hand is check-raising. However, you must be
conscious of where you think the bettor will be. Typically, if you had a
made but vulnerable hand you would check in early position if you thought
there would be a bet in late position; you then raise and the players in
between face two bets plus a risk of a reraise by the late position player,
making it difficult for them to call. If you have an invulnerable hand that
you want to make everyone pay you through the nose for, then you would check
in early position if you thought there would be an early position bet, and
then you would raise after everyone trailed in calling behind. The down side
of check-raising is that you risk giving a free card if no one bets.

7. Getting tells

Be aware of tells. If a player has his hands on his chips and is leaning
forward, all ready to raise if you bet, usually this is an act intended to
get you to just check, as the player in fact does not what to raise you or
maybe even call a bet. Two other incredibly valuable tells are the "what the
heck, I raise" tell (get *out*, he has a monster!) and the "let me check to
see if I have one of that suit with three on the board" tell (so you know he
doesn't have a flush already.) Remember that if they think they're being
watched, players typically act the opposite of what they have.

8. Pot odds calculations

Be aware of pot odds. You can count the number of "outs" you have to
estimate if calling is a positive expected value play. You may be surprised
that I rank this so low. Although it is a subjective opinion, particularly
when heads up it's much more important outplay your opponent rather than
outdraw him. In loose games, outdrawing becomes much more important, but
then the pots are so big that you usually have odds for any half way
reasonable draw anyway.

Q:P9 What is a good preflop strategy for Texas Hold'em?
A:P9 [Michael Hall]


       Q-3413457      s
       J-45513468     u
       T-66652457     i
       9-888773458    t
       8-   8874568   e
       7-      85578  d
       6-       8657
       5-        8668
       4-         8778
       3-           78
       2-            7

e.g., KQ suited is group 2,
      KQ unsuited is group 4


The advice presented here for starting hands is a summary of part of
Sklanksy and Malmuth's book "Hold 'em for Advanced Players". I strongly
advise you to buy the book, as these notes are no substitute, and it is an
excellent book.


 Numbers refer to the groups above.
 1..8 means groups 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8, and similarly for other ranges.
 + and - mean add or subtract that group for the listed circumstance.
 tight means the circumstance is it's a tight game.
 loose means the circumstance is it's a loose game.
 OPEN-RAISE means raise if no one else has yet called/raised the big blind.
 RAISE means raise a call or big blind.
 RERAISE means raise a raise.
 OPEN-CALL means be the first call after the big blind (one bet)
 CALL means call big blind (one bet.)
 CALL2 means call one raise (two bets.)
 CALL3 means call reraise cold (three bets.)
 2/3 and other fractions mean do the play that fraction of the time.
 AKs and other hands followed by "s" are suited.
 Ax and other hands followed by "x" means kicker "x" is small

EARLY POSITION (1st, 2nd, 3rd to left of big blind)

OPEN-RAISE AA,KK,QQ,AQ, 2/3 (1/1 vs weak) AKs,AQs,AJs,KQs
           1/3 hands like T9s,
           JJ in tight but call JJ in typical or loose
RAISE      AA,KK,QQ,AQ, 2/3 (1/1 vs weak) AKs,AQs,AJs,KQs
RERAISE    AKs and maybe AQs (if you called initially)
           and if a lot of players in then hands like JTs
OPEN-CALL  1..4 (loose +5, tight -4)
           beware hands like 87s,77 playable only vs
           loose & passive (many callers not much raising)
CALL       same as OPEN-CALL
CALL2      1..2 (loose +3 beware AQ, tight -2's AJs KQs)
CALL3      1? (loose +2?)
           not JJ (but CALL2 JJ if 2 raises after your
           call, be prepared to fold if fail to flop set)

MIDDLE POSITION (4th, 5th, and 6th to left of big blind)

OPEN-RAISE 1..3, 1..6 if >=25% chance of stealing blinds
RAISE      1..3 usually, but 3 depends # callers wanted
           and strength of opponents (raise if weaker)
RERAISE    AA,KK,QQ,AKs,AK, occasionally T9s,88,etc
OPEN-CALL  1..5 (+6 loose)
           don't just open-call with hands like AKs
CALL       1..5 (+6 loose), consider how weak callers are
CALL2      still need very good hand 1..2, maybe some 3's
CALL3      not JJ (but CALL2 JJ if 2 raises after your
           call, be prepared to fold if fail to flop set)

LATE POSITION (button, 1st sometimes 2nd right of button)

OPEN-RAISE any playable hand
           if on button 1..8 and also Ax & Kx vs very
           tight or weak opponents
           Ax & Kx if on button vs very tight or weak
RAISE      1..3, sometimes 4, if many callers don't raise
           with high unsuited but can with 1..5 suited
           connectors, can with any playable hand that
           wants few opponents with 1-2 nonearly callers
           e.g., A7s, KJ, QJ, and even as weak as QT,
           if on button sometimes can with small pair
           or small suited connectors
RERAISE    1, if raiser opened late position as weak as 4
           but limit to 1..3 unless AJ KQ or weak player
OPEN-CALL  usually open-raise or fold instead
CALL       1..6 usually, +7 if on button & some callers,
           +8 and e.g. Q5s if on button & many callers
CALL2      still need very good hand, maybe 1..3,
           but if many callers then T9s,88,...
CALL3      1? but not JJ (but CALL2 JJ if 2 raises after
           your call, be prepared to fold if fail to
           flop set)


OPEN-RAISE because big blind has position, usually don't
           raise with most hands e.g. A6, unless big
           blind would fold >= 30% of the time
RAISE      same as big blind RAISE, but even tighter
RERAISE    AA, KK, not automatically AK or QQ,
           1..6 if played should reraise vs stealer but
           only when heads up
CALL(1/2)  still be fairly selective but somewhat loose,
           e.g., 85, any two suited, but not e.g. J2.
           if only 1/3 bet to call, play every hand,
           unless big blind player is frequent raiser.
CALL2(3/2) same as early or middle CALL2, unless heads up
           against stealer in which case see RERAISE,
           or many callers in which case you can perhaps
           play hands like 33 or 86s.
CALL3(5/2) 1? but not JJ


RAISE      only extremely good hands
           AK with 1-2 late callers
           hands like JTs, T9s, 55 if many callers
RERAISE    AA, KK, not automatically AK or QQ,
           1..6 if played should reraise vs stealer
CALL(0)    check usually
CALL2(1)   essentially same as LATE CALL2 unless up
           against stealer, in which case 1..8 if weak
           but 1..6 if strong or caller in between.
           tighten if caller on left & raiser on right
           but can do flush & straight draws like A6s 87,
           loosen if raiser on left, can maybe play
           hands like 33 or 86s if many callers,
           beware KJ.
CALL3(2)   1? but not JJ

LATE POSITION BLIND (posted one to right of dealer)

OPEN-RAISE usually *any* hand, but not if opponents will
           almost always defend blinds with any hand
RAISE      if already many callers, rarely raise with
           a hand that you would not raise with if you
           did not post
CALL(0)    may wish to check even good hand as deception
CALL2(1)   can call with slightly worse than in big
           blind, against stealer heads up ok to call
           with any ace and most kings
CALL3(2)   like normal late position CALL2 or CALL3?


Q:P10What is a good third street strategy for Seven Card Stud?
A:P10 [JP Massar]

The following is a tight strategy that will serve you well in lower-limit
(15-30 and below) structured (as opposed to spread-limit) seven card stud

Following this strategy in spread-limit games is also OK, but it is too
conservative if the game is passive (such as many of the 1-5 games at
Foxwoods). Also, you will go out of your mind with boredom in such loose,
passive games, because each hands takes forever (because so many people are
in, and they are generally slower than average players) and you will be
playing only a small percentage of the hands you are dealt.

If you have regular opponents who also play a decent game, then against them
you will have to start varying this strategy once they figure out that you
are also a good player.

These guidelines are derived from 'Seven Card Stud for Advanced Players', by
Sklanksy, Malmuth and Zee, and are a simplification of the ideas found

The only hands you should play if it is a raise and a reraise to you are:

   *  Rolled-up trips.
   *  A 3-straight-flush (e.g., 4 5 6 of clubs) with at most one gap (e.g.,
     4 5 7 of clubs, but not 4 6 8 or 4 5 8 of clubs)
   *  A pair higher than the upcards of both the raiser and reraiser, or a
     pair of Aces.
   *  A 3-flush if no more than 1 of your suit is showing elsewhere AND you
     have at least one card higher than the upcards of both the raiser and

The hands you should play if it is a raise to you, or you limped in and
there was a subsequent raise:

   *  Rolled up trips.
   *  Any 3-straight-flush, 0 1 or 2 gaps.
   *  Any big pair (tens or higher), UNLESS
        o  (A) the raiser has a higher upcard and (B) there is caller, also
          with a higher upcard, OR
        o  the raiser has a higher upcard and you are quite confident (from
          a signficant amount of previous observation) that the raiser would
          not raise without at least a pair as big as his upcard, OR
        o  your big pair is smaller than the raiser's upcard AND one or more
          of your pair is showing elsewhere.
     If your big pair is higher than the raiser's upcard, then you should
     always reraise if one of your pair is your upcard, and often reraise
     even if both are hidden.
   *  A small pair (9's or lower), AND, as your 3rd card, an Ace or a King,
     AND, there are no other upcards as high as your Ace or King showing on
     the board, AND no other card matching your pair is showing.
   *  Any live 3-flush (no more than 1 of your suit elsewhere), unless you
     are almost certain to be heads up with the raiser AND you have no live
     card which is higher than the raiser's upcard.
   *  A 3-flush in which two of your suit are elsewhere, AND you are almost
     certainly not heads-up with the raiser, AND you have a live card higher
     than the raiser's upcard.
   *  A 3-flush in which three of your suit are elsewhere, AND you have two
     live cards higher than the raiser's upcards.
   *  A 3-straight (2 3 4 and A 2 3 are NOT 3-straights), in which all of
     your straight cards are live.
   *  A 3-straight, in which all but one of your straight cards are live,
     AND you have a live card higher than the raiser's upcard.
   *  A 3-straight, in which all but two of your straight cards are live,
     AND you have two live cards higher than the raiser's upcard.
   *  AKQ or KQJ, if the raiser has an upcard smaller than your smallest
     card, and your cards are completely live.

The additional hands you can limp-in with, not covered in the immediate
above section.

   *  Any 3 big cards (ten or higher), as long as they are all completely
     live. If there is a subsequent raise, you should immediately fold.
   *  A medium or small pair without an Ace or King kicker, as long as your
     3 cards are completely live AND there are no more than 2 higher upcards
     to your pair still to act. If there is a subsequent raise, you should
     immediately fold, unless your 3rd card makes a 2-straight-flush (e.g.,
     8c, 8d, 7c).
   *  Any 3-flush with no more than 2 other of your suit showing. If you
     find yourself subsequently head up against a raiser, fold unless you
     can satisfy the criteria in the section immediately above.
   *  Any 3-straight with no more than one of your straight cards showing.
   *  Any 3-straight, whose highest card is T or higher, with no more than 2
     of your straight cards showing.
   *  Any 3-straight, with no more than two of your straight cards showing,
     AND which has two cards of the same suit, AND no more than 1 of that
     suit is showing elsewhere.

Hands which you should raise with, if no one has raised yet:

   *  Any big pair (tens or higher), as long as no more than 1 unduplicated
     higher upcard is active in the game, or is yet to act.
   *  Any pair, if no one has yet entered the pot, and your pair is higher
     than any other upcard yet to act.
   *  A live 3 flush (1 or fewer of your suit showing) with an A, K or Q as
     one of the cards, if at least 3 other players have voluntarily limped
   *  A live 3 flush with an A, K, or Q showing, if no one has yet entered
     the pot.
   *  A live 3-straight, if your highest card is higher than any up card
     active or yet to act, AND no one folded a card of the same rank as your
     highest card.
   *  Any 3 big cards (ten or higher) if all 3 cards are higher than any
     upcard active or yet to act, AND they are all completely live.
   *  Any 3 cards except total, absolute trash, if you are the last player
     and every other player has folded to you.

     "If there is one guideline that needs to be remembered when
     looking at your first three cards, it is this: PLAY ONLY HANDS
     THAT ARE LIVE. When in doubt, throw your hand away. Remember that
     the most important decision you will make in seven-card stud is
     whether to play your hand..."

--- SM&Z, p. 48

Q:P11 Why are poker hands ranked the way they are?
A:P11 [Michael Maurer, Darse Billings, Roy Hashimoto]

The standard poker hands are ranked based on the probability of their being
dealt pat in 5 cards from a full 52-card deck. The following table lists the
hands in order of increasing frequency, and shows how many ways each hand
can be dealt in 3, 5, and 7 cards.

Hand                  3 cards           5 cards           7 cards
====                  =======           =======           =======
Straight Flush             48                40            41,584
Four of a Kind              0               624           224,848
Full House                  0             3,744         3,473,184
Flush                   1,096             5,108         4,047,644
Straight                  720            10,200         6,180,020
Three of a Kind            52            54,912         6,461,620
Two Pair                    0           123,552        31,433,400
One Pair                3,744         1,098,240        58,627,800
High Card              16,440         1,302,540        23,294,460
TOTALS                 22,100         2,598,960       133,784,560


1. The standard rankings are incorrect for 3-card hands, since it is easier
to get a flush than a straight, and easier to get a straight than three of a
kind. See question P13.

2. For 7-card hands, the numbers reflect the best possible 5-card hand out
of the 7 cards. For instance, a hand that contains both a straight and three
of a kind is counted as a straight.

3. For 7-card hands, only five cards need be in sequence to make a straight,
or of the same suit to make a flush. In a 3-card hand a sequence of three is
considered a straight, and three of the same suit a flush. These rules
reflect standard poker practice.

4. In a 7-card hand, it is easier for one's *best* 5 cards to have one or
two pair than no pair. (Good bar bet opportunity!) However, if we changed
the ranking to value no pairs above two pairs, all of the one pair hands and
most of the two pair hands would be able to qualify for "no pair" by
choosing a different set of five cards.

5. Within each type of hand (e.g., among all flushes) the hands are ranked
according to an arbitrary scheme, unrelated to probability. See question

Q:P12 Why are ace-hi flushes ranked highest, when it's much harder to get a
seven-hi flush? And similarly for two pairs?
A:P12 [Michael Maurer]

Only the classes themselves (flush, straight, etc) are ranked by the
probability of getting them in five cards. Within each class we use an
arbitrary system to rank hands of the same type. For example, our arbitrary
system ranks four aces higher than four deuces, even though the hands occur
with the same frequency. Similarly, flushes are ranked by the highest card,
with the next highest card breaking ties, and so on down to the fifth card.
This has the curious effect of creating many more ace-hi flushes than any
other kind, because any flush that contains an ace is "ace-hi", regardless
of the other cards. Thus, although 490 of the 1277 flushes in each suit
contain a seven, only four of them are seven-hi flushes: 76542, 76532,
76432, and 75432. The median flush turns out to be KJT42.

A similar situation occurs for two pair hands. There are twelve times as
many ways to make two pair with aces being the high pair ("aces up") as
there are to do it with threes as the high pair ("threes up"). While the
aces can go with another other rank of pair, the threes must go with twos,
or we would reverse the order and call them, for instance, "eights up". Note
that it is fruitless to alter the relative rankings to try to account for
this imbalance, since as soon as we do the cards will be reinterpreted to
make the best hand under the new system. For example, if we decide to make
"threes up" the best possible two pair hand, now all the hands like "eights
and threes" will be interpreted as "threes and eights", and the population
of "threes up" hands will soar twelve-fold. The median two pair hand turns
out to be a tie between JJ552 and JJ44A.

Q:P13 What is the correct ranking for 3-card poker hands?
A:P13 [Darse Billings]

The standard ranking of poker hands is based on their frequency of
occurrence in a five card hand. In three card hands the relative frequency
of hands is different, so different in fact that three of a kind beats a
straight, and a straight beats a flush.

The following is a break down of all three card poker hands. They can be
used for certain three card games, such as Guts or 3-card-6. They can also
be used to analyze starting hands for games like 7-Card Stud.

Hand Type      Kinds   Each   Total     Cuml   Rating
---------      -----   ----   -----     ----   ------
straight flush   12      4       48       48   0.9978
trips            13      4       52      100   0.9955
straight         12     60      720      820   0.9629
flush  **       274      4     1096     1916   0.9133
pair  ***       156     24     3744     5660   0.7439
Ace high         64     60     3840     9500   0.5701
King high        54     60     3240    12740   0.4235
Queen high       44     60     2640    15380   0.3041
Jack high        35     60     2100    17480   0.2090
Ten high         27     60     1620    19100   0.1357
Nine high        20     60     1200    20300   0.0814
Eight high       14     60      840    21140   0.0434
Seven high        9     60      540    21680   0.0190
Six high          5     60      300    21980   0.0054
Five high         2     60      120    22100   0.0000

** More on Flushes

High Card       Kinds Percent  Total    Cuml   Rating
---------       ----- -------  -----    ----   ------
Ace high         64    23.4     256     1076   0.9513
King high        54    19.7     216     1292   0.9415
Queen high       44    16.1     176     1468   0.9336
Jack high        35    12.8     140     1608   0.9272
Ten high         27     9.9     108     1716   0.9224
Nine high        20     7.3      80     1796   0.9187
Eight high       14     5.1      56     1852   0.9162
Seven high        9     3.3      36     1888   0.9146
Six high          5     1.8      20     1908   0.9137
Five high         2     0.7       8     1916   0.9133

*** More on Pairs

Hand Type      Kinds   Each    Total    Cuml   Rating
---------      -----   ----    -----    ----   ------
   AAx           12     24      288     2204   0.9003
   KKx           12     24      288     2492   0.8872
   QQx           12     24      288     2780   0.8742
   JJx           12     24      288     3068   0.8612
   TTx           12     24      288     3356   0.8481
   99x           12     24      288     3644   0.8351
   88x           12     24      288     3932   0.8221
   77x           12     24      288     4220   0.8090
   66x           12     24      288     4508   0.7960
   55x           12     24      288     4796   0.7830
   44x           12     24      288     5084   0.7700
   33x           12     24      288     5372   0.7569
   22x           12     24      288     5660   0.7439

In the preceding tables, "Kinds" refers to the number of card combinations
in each class, while "Each" is the number of non-distinct hands of each
Kind. The product of these two numbers gives the total number of hands in
that class. "Cuml" is the cumulative total of all hands, and "Rating" is a
percentile ranking of the lowest hand in the class.

Note that "Rating" is only an estimate of the probability of beating a
random hand. To compute the exact probability, a given hand must be compared
to the (49 choose 3) combinations of the remaining cards in the deck.


Q:P14What are my chances of sucking out on my opponent in Hold'em?
A:P14 [Jason Steinhorn]

The following is an extension of the probability table offered by Sklansky
and Malmuth in their Hold'em For Advanced Players. It lists the probability
(%) and odds (X:1) of making any given hand on the turn, the river, or
combined turn and river, given the number of outs for the hand.

Below that is a chart listing the number of outs given a particular drawing
hand, and what hands those outs will give if made.

   Chances of making a hand on the turn/river/both

        turn    turn    river   river   t/r     t/r
 Outs   (%)     (X:1)    (%)    (X:1)   (%)    (X:1)
  20    42.6    1.35    43.5    1.30    67.5    0.48
  19    40.4    1.47    41.3    1.42    65.0    0.54
  18    38.3    1.61    39.1    1.56    62.4    0.60
  17    36.2    1.77    37.0    1.71    59.8    0.67
  16    34.0    1.94    34.8    1.88    57.0    0.76
  15    31.9    2.13    32.6    2.07    54.1    0.85
  14    29.8    2.36    30.4    2.28    51.2    0.96
  13    27.7    2.62    28.3    2.54    48.1    1.08
  12    25.5    2.92    26.1    2.83    45.0    1.22
  11    23.4    3.27    23.9    3.18    41.7    1.40
  10    21.3    3.70    21.7    3.60    38.4    1.61
   9    19.1    4.22    19.6    4.11    35.0    1.86
   8    17.0    4.88    17.4    4.75    31.5    2.18
   7    14.9    5.71    15.2    5.57    27.8    2.59
   6    12.8    6.83    13.0    6.67    24.1    3.14
   5    10.6    8.40    10.9    8.20    20.4    3.91
   4     8.5    10.75    8.7    10.50   16.5    5.07
   3     6.4    14.67    6.5    14.33   12.5    7.01
   2     4.3    22.50    4.3    22.00   08.4    10.88
   1     2.1    46.00    2.2    45.00   04.3    22.50

   Number of Outs Given a Particular Hand to Improve

 Outs   Given                           In attempt to make
  15    Open Straight Flush Draw        Straight, Flush, Straight Flush
  12    Inside Straight Flush Draw      Straight, Flush, Straight Flush
   9    Flush Draw                      Flush
   8    Open Straight Draw              Straight
   4    Gut Shot Straight               Straight
   4    2 Pair                          Full House
   2    1 Pair                          Three of a kind
   1    Three of a Kind                 Four of a kind


Q:P15 What is a poker tournament? How does one work? What is a chip race?
What is a satellite?
A:P15 [Michael Maurer]

A poker tournament is an event in which poker players compete for all or
part of a prize pool. Each player pays an entry fee and initial buy-in for a
set number of tournament chips. The chips are non-negotiable, having no cash
value except at the end of the tournament. The contestants play until all
but one or a few are busted; the top finishers divide up the prize pool
according to the tournament rules. The game's stakes increase with time to
hasten the tournament's end.

Within this framework is considerable room for variation. Many tournaments
permit "rebuys", which allow a busted player to reenter the tournament by
posting additional money to the prize pool. The number of rebuys may be
unlimited, limited to one or a few, or limited to an initial period of the
tournament. Some tournaments allow an "add-on", which is a final rebuy at
the end of the rebuy period. A tournament with no rebuys is called a
"freezeout". The betting structure may be limit only, pot-limit, no-limit,
or a mixture, usually limit in the early rounds and no-limit later. Whatever
the betting structure, the blinds or betting limits increase regularly,
perhaps doubling every twenty minutes in a small tournament, or more slowly
in a large one.

A confusing aspect of the increasing stakes is the way in which some
tournaments get rid of the small denomination chips. At some point in the
tournament, the dealer may "race off" all the red $5 chips. Each player puts
all their red chips in front of them, and the dealer converts them to as
many green $25 chips as possible. Whatever red chips remain are raced off:
each player receives one card for each chip, and the player receiving the
highest card (ace, king, etc) wins everybody's reds and converts them to
greens. Bridge suits break ties for the high card (spades, hearts, diamonds,
clubs). In other tournaments, the red chips may simply be rounded to green
chips. Although rounding can change the total amount of money in play, it is
better at preserving the players' relative chip positions.

The tournament usually continues until only one player remains. The winner
may take all the money, or the top finishers may divide it up according to a
set schedule. In most tournaments, tables are consolidated and seats redrawn
when a certain number of players are eliminated, eventually resulting in a
"final table" of contestants. Sometimes, each table plays until only one
player remains, and then the survivors meet at a final table; this is called
a "shootout". Since the betting stakes are large at the final table and
payout schedules often favor first place, luck plays a major role and many
players prefer cutting a deal to playing the tournament to its conclusion.

A "satellite" is a tournament in which the prize is an entry to another
tournament. Large tournaments like the $10,000 No-limit Hold'em event in the
World Series of Poker generate a lot of satellites. Typically, the satellite
buy-in is around 1/10 the tournament buy-in, so the top 10% of satellite
finishers win a tournament buy-in. Sometimes a satellite will even have
mini-satellites, in which the prize is an entry to the main satellite. A
mini-satellite for the $10,000 event might have a $100 buy-in and award a
$1,000 buyin to a satellite that is awarding a $10,000 buy-in to the main

Many small (under $100 buy-in) daily or weekly tournaments are listed in the
back pages of Card Player magazine. Be sure to call the casino to see if
they are having the tournament that day, since the magazine is sometimes out
of date.

Q:P16 How does tournament strategy differ from that of regular games?

Several books have been written on this subject, but none has received wide
praise from rec.gamblers. Any tourney pros want to give away their secrets
and write a FAQ entry?

Update: Tom McEvoy published a new book called "Tournament Poker" in March
1995. I recommend it. Anyone care to give it an official review?

Q:P17 What is the World Series of Poker? When is it?
A:P17 [Jim Albrecht]

The World Series of Poker is a yearly series of poker tournaments hosted by
Binion's Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas. The official WSoP home page is at [The following material was gathered from
posts by Jim Albrecht, WSoP Director. --ed.]

Q: What is the 1995 WSoP schedule?


DATE       TOURNAMENT                            BUY-IN

April 21   Satellites Begin                        $165 and up
April 25   Texas Hold'em (limit)                 $1,560
April 26   Seven Card Stud (limit)               $1,560
April 27   Omaha (limit)                         $1,560
April 27   (5pm) Chinese Poker                   $1,560
April 28   Seven Card Hi-Lo Split (limit)        $1,560
April 29   Seven Card Razz (limit)               $1,560
April 30   Omaha Hi-Lo Split (limit)             $1,560
May 1      Texas Hold'em (no limit)              $1,560
May 2      Omaha (pot limit)                     $1,560
   Rebuys first three hours

May 3      Texas Hold'em (pot limit)             $1,560
May 4      Seven Card Hi-Lo Split (limit)        $2,560
May 4      (5pm) Deuce to Seven Draw (no limit)  $5,080
   Rebuys first three hours

May 5      Omaha Hi-Lo Split (limit)             $2,560
May 6      Ace to Five Draw (limit)              $1,560
May 6      (5pm) Chinese Poker                   $5,080
   Rebuys first three hours

May 7      Texas Hold'em (limit)                 $2,560
May 8      Seven Card Stud (limit)               $2,560
May 9      Omaha (pot limit)                     $2,560
   Rebuys first three hours

May 10     Texas Hold'em (pot limit)             $2,560
May 11     Seven Card Stud (limit)               $5,080
May 12     Texas Hold'em (no limit)              $2,560
May 13     Texas Hold'em (limit)                 $5,080
May 14     Women's Stud (limit)                  $1,050

May 15  Texas Hold'em (no limit)                $10,000

All tournament start a noon unless otherwise noted. All tournaments are
freezeout style unless rebuys are noted. Single table satellites are held
from 8am to 2am daily. Super satellites for the main event are held nightly
at 7:40. The Horseshoe has secured rooms at several downtown hotels. Last
year we used over 1,200 rooms, with late callers staying on the Strip and
Boulder Hwy. If you need more info you can call 800-93POKER and ask for Jim

Q: How do the satellites work?

Those satellites are for all events. Actually, they are to win "tournament
buy-in chips" worth $500 towards a buy-in to any event. You could for
example, win a hold'em satellite and receive 3 chip and $60 in cash. This
has a value of $1,560 and may be used as a buy-in for any $1,560 event. The
chips can be added up to play in a larger event, or can be sold to you
friends at discount. They are usually obtainable for $480. In the "old
days", or PC (pre-chip) days, you received a receipt and HAD to play in the
specific tournament that matched the satellite you won. Now you have all
kinds of options. Just think of them as tournament stock certificates. These
chips are without question the best invention of the 90's for tournament
poker (I would say this even if it wasn't my idea)...... :)

Q: What about the satellites for the $10,000 event?

Supers start on Monday night (4-24-95) and run nightly throughout the
tournament dates. You win a piece of paper with your name on it (WOW!) This
piece of paper (a receipt) allows you to play in the $10,000 event and win
up to $1,000,000. Discaimer: Winning is not guaranteed. This part is up to

The first Super you win is non-transferable, non-negotiable, and must be
played by YOU. This will be clearly stamped on your receipt. If you win a
second Super you will be paid in Buy-in chips (twenty $500 chips). You may
do as you please with these. Stake a friend, play in several events yourself
or sell to the highest bidder. Best place for a sale: The line for sign-up
on the day of the event. Early sales (first week of the tournament) can
fetch as low as $9,500. The day of the event you should be able to get

Q:P18 What the hell is Rumple Mintz?
A:P18 [Michael Maurer]

Rumple Mintz is the official rec.gambling spelling of a brand of 100 proof
peppermint schnapps called Rumple Minze, imported from the Scharlachberg
Distillery in Germany. Best served shaken over ice for five seconds, then
strained into a short glass. It is the official drink of rec.gambler poker
players everywhere, and is known to increase poker skill dramatically.
Legend has it that one rec.gambler won $4000 in a 50-100 Hold'em game while
under its spell, lived to tell the tale in a trip report, and assured its
eternal fame.

Q:P19 What is a burn card and why is it dealt?
A:P19 [Michael Maurer]

A burn card is a card dealt face down at the beginning of a round, before
any other cards are dealt. This card is not used in the play of the hand.
The main reason for this custom is to guard against marked cards. If the
cards are marked, a player who can read the backs will know what the top
card on the deck is. In a flop-game like Hold'em or Omaha, knowledge of the
next board card is extremely profitable. Knowledge of which card it will
*not* be is slightly useful, but much less so.

Q:P20 What happens if there aren't enough cards in the deck to deal the
final card in 7-card stud?
A:P20 [Michael Maurer]

The burn cards will be shuffled into the remaining deck. If there are still
not enough cards, a single community card will be dealt face-up and used by
all the players.

Q:P21 What is the difference between a shill and a proposition player? What
skills are needed to be one?
A:P21 [John Murphy]

A shill is paid by the house at an hourly rate, and plays with house money.
A prop is paid by the house and plays with his own money. Many states
require cardrooms to identify house players if asked, but may not require
them to do so otherwise. Shills and props are directed to games by the
house. This means that they may be constantly shifted to tougher games, as
non-house players boot them out of seats in juicy games. The most important
skill for a prop is to be able to excel in all games, since they may be
called to play any game that the house offers, against players who
specialize in that game. Also, be they must be prepared to sit and wait if
all games are full.

Q:P22 What are the Las Vegas poker room phone numbers?
A:P22 [Dave Marshall, June 1994]

Here's a list of all the poker rooms in Las Vegas (Santa Fe, Boomtown, and
Henderson poker rooms not included) with addresses and the *direct* phone
number of the poker room. In one or two cases, the poker room doesn't have a
direct line, so the main casino line is used instead. See bottom for the two
800 numbers I know of.

Aladdin Hotel & Casino                      3667 S Las Vegas Blvd    736-0329
Binion's Horseshoe Hotel & Casino           128 Fremont Street       366-7397
Circus Circus Hotel-Casino                  2880 S Las Vegas Blvd    734-0410
Continental Hotel & Casino                  4100 Paradise Road       737-5555
El Cortez Hotel                             600 Fremont Street       385-5200
Excalibur Hotel-Casino                      3850 S Las Vegas Blvd    597-7625
Flamingo Hilton                             3555 S Las Vegas Blvd    733-3485
Fremont Hotel                               200 Fremont Street       385-3232
Gold Coast Hotel & Casino                   4000 W Flamingo Road     367-7111
Hacienda Hotel & Casino                     3950 S Las Vegas Blvd    739-8911
Harrah's Las Vegas                          3475 S Las Vegas Blvd    369-5234
Imperial Palace Hotel & Casino              3535 S Las Vegas Blvd    731-3311
Jackie Gaughan's Plaza Hotel & Casino       1 S Main Street          386-2249
Las Vegas Hilton                            3000 Paradise Road       732-5995
Luxor Hotel And Casino                      3900 S Las Vegas Blvd    262-4210
MGM Grand Hotel                             3799 S Las Vegas Blvd    891-7434
The Mirage Hotel And Casino                 3400 S Las Vegas Blvd    791-7290
Palace Station Hotel & Casino               2411 W Sahara Avenue     367-2453
Rio Suite Hotel & Casino                    3700 W Flamingo Road     252-7777
Riviera Hotel & Casino                      2901 S Las Vegas Blvd    794-9255
Sahara Hotel                                2535 S Las Vegas Blvd    737-2317
Sam's Town Hotel & Gambling Hall            5111 Boulder Highway     454-8092
Sands Hotel & Casino                        3355 S Las Vegas Blvd    733-5000
Hotel San Remo                              115 East Tropicana       739-9000
Sheraton Desert Inn                         3145 S Las Vegas Blvd    733-4343
Showboat Hotel & Casino                     2800 Fremont Street      385-9151
Silver City Casino                          3001 S Las Vegas Blvd    732-4152
Stardust Hotel & Casino                     3000 S Las Vegas Blvd    732-6513
Treasure Island at The Mirage               3300 S Las Vegas Blvd    894-7291
Tropicana Resort And Casino                 3801 S Las Vegas Blvd    739-2312

800 Poker Room Numbers:
Binion's : 1-800-93-POKER
MGM Grand: 1-800-94-POKER


Q:P23 What do all these poker terms mean?
A:P23 [John Hallyburton et al.]

In addition to the following list of poker terms, Lee Jones' glossary from
"Winning Low-Limit Holdem" is online at, and Dan Kimberg's glossary is
online at

rec.gambling Glossary of Poker terms v2.0 31-Mar-1995 Copyright (C) 1993,
1995, John C. Hallyburton, Jr. Copying for noncommercial use is permitted
provided all copies carry this copyright.

This glossary is supposed to be readable and sensible. If it is not or
(worse yet) contains an error, please send additions and corrections to John
Hallyburton,, for future updating.

1-4-8, 2-4, 3-6, 6-12, 10-20, etc. adj. The betting structure for a game.

ACCORDING TO HOYLE adv. By the rules of the game. See also: HOYLE.

ACTION n. Money that is being bet. "No action" means a hand or game has few
bettors and fewer raisers. "Gimme some action" is ostensibly a plea for
calls and raises.

ACTIVE PLAYER n. A player who is still in the pot.

ALL {BLUE,GREEN,PURPLE,etc.} n. Colorful terms to describe a flush.

ALL-IN adj. To have all of one's chips in the pot. A player who is all-in
cannot be forced out of the pot by more betting, but is only eligible to win
that portion of the pot he has contributed to. Generally, a SIDE POT is
created each time a player is all-in.

AMERICAN AIRLINES n. In Hold'em, a pair of Aces in the hole. Better known
(at least in rec.gambling) as POCKET ROCKETS.

ANTE n. A small bet all players are required to make before a hand is dealt.
Not all games have an ante. Related terms: BLIND, FORCED BET.

ASSAULT RIFLE n. In Omaha, hole cards that are A-K-4-7 of any suit(s).

BACK DOOR adj. Applies to a hand that was made in the last card or two,
specifically not a hand the player was originally planning on having. Most
often applied to straights and flushes.

BAD BEAT n. [1] A very good hand, often a full house or higher, that is beat
by an even better hand.

BAD BEAT n. [2] A good hand beaten by another hand, which, when evaluated in
terms of how likely the winning hand was to win and how much the winning
hand could expect to win, had no mathematical justification for staying in
the pot. A hand which, even though it won, had a (generally huge) negative
expectation (see EXPECTATION).

BAD-BEAT JACKPOT n. In some cardrooms, a prize that is shared by the players
in a game, when a very good hand (usually Aces full, or better) is beaten by
a higher hand. Jackpots are usually financed by taking a drop ($1 is a
common amount) from every pot. A typical division of the jackpot will give
the losing hand 50 %, the winning hand 25 %, and the other players at the
table share the remaining 25 % of the Jackpot.

BAD GAME n. Any game in which you figure to be the loser, because the other
players are better than you.

BANKROLL n. Current total gambling funds available. To be distinguished from
the current money you happen to have on the table. See also: STACK, STAKE.

BARN n. A FULL HOUSE, three of a kind and a pair.

BEE No. 92 (TM) n. Trade name for the "diamond back" cards frequently used
in casino games. Compare: RIDER BACK.

BELLY BUSTER n. An inside straight draw. Same as GUTSHOT.

BET v.t. To put money into the pot, pursuant to the rules of the game, thus
maintaining a chance of winning the pot.

BET FOR VALUE v.t. Betting a hand that, in the long run, is expected to win
more than it loses. Antonym: BLUFF.

BICYCLE n. The best possible low hand: A-2-3-4-5. More common term: WHEEL.

BIG BLIND n. A blind bet, usually a raise of an earlier blind which would be
called the SMALL BLIND. In limit poker, the BIG BLIND is usually the size of
the minimum bet on the first round of betting.

BIG BOBTAIL n. An open-ended 4-card straight flush.

BIG SLICK. n. In Texas Hold'em, hole cards of A-K, suited or not.

BLACK n. When referring to chips, black usually stands for $100 casino
chips. "This guy sits down with a stack of blacks and raises the first bet."
Not ALL casinos use black for $100 but that is the common usage.

BLANK n. Used in describing stud and Hold'em games. Refers to a dealt card
that does not offer any value; stating the actual rank and suit would
detract from a description of the hand. "The last card was a blank."

BLIND n. A mandatory bet made by certain player(s) usually sitting left of
the BUTTON before each new hand is dealt. Used in place of antes or in
conjunction with antes. See also: ANTE, BIG BLIND, FORCED BET, LATE BLIND,

BLUFF n. To make a bet or raise with a poor hand, in hope that the remaining
active player(s) will fold.

BOARD n. The exposed cards in Hold'em and stud. Also BOARD CARDS.

BOAT n. A FULL HOUSE, three of a kind and a pair.


BRODERICK CRAWFORD n. In Hold'em, hole cards of 10-4. From the 1950s TV
series "Highway Patrol", starring Broderick Crawford.

BUCK n. See BUTTON. (Unrelated to one Michael Buck, this is said to be the
origin of the term "buck" to represent one dollar).

BUG n. A limited wild card, represented by the Joker. May be used as an Ace,
or as any card to complete a straight or flush (or straight flush). See
also: WILD CARD. Only used at certain tables in certain card rooms, most
frequently in draw lowball.

BULLET[S] n. Ace[s].

BUMP v.t. Slang for RAISE.

BUNNY n. An eight. So named because one can easily draw "rabbit ears" above
the numeral 8, "paws" in the middle and "feet" at the bottom. (Do this only
at home, and not on cards that will be used for play.)

BURN v.t. To discard the top card of the deck prior to dealing, usually done
for every dealing round except the first. The theory being that if somehow
the cards are marked (illegally) no one will know what card will next be
dealt, only what card will be burned. This makes marked cards less of an
advantage, hence tends to reduce cheating.

BUTTON n. A distinctive token held by the player sitting in the theoretical
dealer's position, when a house dealer is used. The button rotates around
the table so that every player has an opportunity to be the last to act.
Also, "THE BUTTON" can refer to the player who currently has the button. ("I
was the button and called the blind".) Synonyms: BUCK, PUCK.

BUTTON CHARGE n. A periodic fee paid by whoever is the button, perhaps every
20 minutes or 30 minutes. Constitutes part or all of the HOUSE CUT.

BUY-IN n. The minimum amount of money necessary to join a game. Also, the
amount of money one actually used to join the game. See also: REBUY.

BUY IN v.i. To purchase chips at the start of a game. Thus in a game with a
$100 buy-in one might buy in for $147.

CALL v.t. To put in to the pot the minimum amount of money necessary to
continue playing. See also: SEE. (CALL is used mostly in the present tense
with the bet as the object, SEE with future tense and the original bettor as
the object).


CALLER n. One who calls. Sometimes used collectively, as in "3 callers".

CAP v.t. To cap the betting is to make the last permitted raise in a round.

CARDS SPEAK n. winner(s) of the hand are determined by turning their cards
face up, the best hand(s) wins (no declaration).

CASE adj. The fourth card of a particular rank, as in "he folded the case 9"
when describing where all the 9s were in a hand. Comes from the game of Faro
where an employee of the house, called the "case keeper". kept track of the
number of each rank of card remaining.

CHASE v.t. To continue in a hand, often at poor odds, in the hopes of
catching a much better hand. "He called, chasing the flush."

CHECK n. A chip. Dealers and other casino employees often use the term
"check" where most nonprofessional gamers would say "chip". See CHIP.

CHECK v.i. To bet zero, when it is legal to do so. Frequently a sign of only
a fair hand, but may be a bluff.

CHECK RAISE v. To check initially, then raise a bet made later on in the
same betting round. Frequently a sign of strength, but may be a bluff.

CHIP n. A round gaming token used in place of cash for convenience in
handling and counting. The standard form of currency in most casinos. See
also: CHECK n.

COME adj. A hand that is not yet made ("come hand") such as four cards to a
flush. See also ON THE COME.

COMMUNITY CARDS n. Cards that are available for every player to use in
making a hand. Usually dealt face up somewhere in the middle of the table.

COMPUTER HAND n. Texas Hold'em hole cards of Q-7 offsuit. More generically,
any hand that computer analysis/simulation determines is positive but turns
out to be difficult to play in practice.

COLD CALL n. Calling both a bet and raise at the same time, as opposed to
calling a bet then later calling a raise made after the call.

COURT CARD n. A jack, queen or king.

COWBOY n. A king.

CUT v. To break the deck into 2 stacks of at least 5 cards each. Usually
performed by the player to the dealer's right to insure that the the deck is
not stacked.

CRYING CALL n. A call made with little chance of ultimately winning, but
marginally better than an immediate fold.


DEAD MAN'S HAND n. Generically: two pair, aces and eights. Specifically: the
black aces, black eights and nine of diamonds. The hand Wild Bill Hickok was
holding when he was shot to death.

DEAD MONEY n. Money contributed to the pot by players who have folded.

DEALER'S CHOICE n. In home games, a rule that permits the dealer to name
which poker game to be played that hand. Often limited to selecting from a
list provided.

DECLARE v.t. In high/low games, declaring one's hand as high or low or both
ways (usually done with chips in hand). Usually played in home games;
casinos tend to play CARDS SPEAK.

DEUCE n. A two.

DOOR [CARD] n. A player's first upcard in stud games.

DOUBLE BELLY BUSTER n. A two-way inside straight. E.g., 3-5-6-7-9.


DOYLE BRUNSON n. In Hold'em, 10-2 in the hole. So named because Doyle
Brunson won two straight WSOPs (q.v.) in 1975 and 1976 with 10-2 on the last
hand. (Suited (spades) in 1975, unsuited in 1976).

DRAW n. [1] A class of poker games characterized by players being dealt 5
cards face-down and later having the opportunity to replace some of the
original 5. "Draw poker" and "Five-card draw" are examples of usage.

DRAW n. [2] In stud and Hold'em games, the set of cards that will be dealt
later can be collectively called "the draw".

DRAW v.t. To discard some number of cards and have dealt an equal number of

DRAWING DEAD v.i. A draw in which it is impossible to obtain a winning hand
for any of a variety of reasons: an opponent's hand is better than whatever
you are drawing to, the card(s) that make your hand are out of play, or (in
Hold'em) give an opponent a stronger hand even if it makes yours. Frequently
used in the past tense, since one rarely knows it at the time.

DRAW OUT v.i. To catch a card that improves your situation from a losing
hand to a winning hand, especially when you beat someone holding a hand that
usually figures to win.

EARLY POSITION n. Being one of the first players to act in a betting round.

EDGE n. An advantage over an opponent, either specific or subjective.

EVEN-MONEY adj. A bet that pays off exactly the amount wagered. E.g.,
"Double or nothing" is an even-money bet.

EXPECTATION n. The long-run [dis-]advantage of a given situation,
specifically without reference to any particular outcome. I.e., what you
figure to win [lose] on average after a large number of repetitions of the
same situation.

FACE CARD n. A jack, queen or king (a card with a face on it, not joker).

FAMILY POT n. A pot where all of the players at the table are participating,
even after each has had an opportunity to act.

FAVORITE n. Before all the cards are dealt, a hand that figures to be the
winner. Ant: UNDERDOG.

FIFTH STREET n. In stud poker, the fifth card to be dealt to each player.
Sometimes used to refer to the last card dealt in Hold'em, although the more
common term for this is RIVER (q.v.).

FILL v.t. To draw a card that makes a five-card hand (straight, flush, full
house, straight flush).

FILL UP v.t. To fill a full house.

FIRE v.i. To make the first bet in a betting round. Used to emphasize that
the player bet when a check was possible, showing strength.

FISH n. A player who loses money. An old saying is "If you can't spot the
fish at the table, *you* are the fish."

FIXED LIMIT adj. A betting structure where the amount of each bet is a
specific fixed quantity. Usually specified as A-B, where A is the amount to
bet in the first few betting rounds and B (larger than A) is the amount bet
in the later rounds. Related terms: FLAT LIMIT, NO LIMIT, POT LIMIT, SPREAD

FLAT CALL v.t. To call a bet. Emphasizes that the caller did not raise.

FLAT LIMIT adj. A variant of fixed limit where all bets are the same amount.

FLOORMAN n. The casino representative in charge of the card room or a
section of a card room. Arbitrates disputes when unusual events happen.

FLOP n. In Hold'em, the first three community cards, dealt simultaneously.

FLOP v.t. To deal a flop, or to make a hand on a flop. "I flopped trips".

FLOP GAME n. Any of a number of poker games where a flop is dealt.

FLUSH n. A poker hand consisting of five cards all one suit.

FOLD v.t. To decline to call a bet, thus dropping out of a hand.

FORCED BET n. In some stud games a player may be required to make a bet to
start the action on the first card. This is similar conceptually to blinds
and antes, but in this case is dependent on the cards shown rather than
player position. Usually the weakest hand is forced to bet.

FOSSIL n. (derogatory) An elderly poker player.

FOUR FLUSH n. Four cards to a flush.

FOUR OF A KIND n. A hand containing all four cards of the same rank.

FOURTH STREET n. In stud poker, the fourth card dealt to each player.
Sometimes used to refer to the fourth community card dealt in Hold'em,
although the more common term for this is TURN (q.v.).

FREE CARD n. A card dealt after all players checked in a betting round.

FREEROLL n. A poker tournament that does not charge a buy-in fee; players
must earn buy-in credits through previous play at the same establishment.

FREEROLL v.t. Having a lock on part of a pot (sure to win a greater fraction
of the pot than one is betting) and playing to win more or all of it.

FREEZE-OUT n. A table-stakes game that continues until a small number of
players (possibly only one) has all the money. The major event in The World
Series of Poker is a freeze-out game.


FULL HOUSE n. A hand consisting of 3-of-a-kind and a (different) pair.

FULL OF n. Describes a full house. "Fives full of queens" is 5-5-5-Q-Q.

GIVING AWAY v.t. Revealing one's hand by obvious play. See also TELL, READ.

GOOD GAME n. A game with players worse than you so that you can expect to
win a lot of money.

GUT SHOT n. A draw to an inside straight, as in 2-3-4-6.

HEAD UP adj. Playing a single opponent.

HEADS UP adj. Playing a single opponent.

HELP v. To improve one's hand.

HIGH-LOW SPLIT adj. Forms of poker in which the pot is split between the
best hand and best lowball hand.

HIT n. To make a hand or catch a card or cards that improves one's hand. "I
hit a gut-shot draw on the river."

HOLD'EM n. [1] Generic name for a class of poker games where the players
receive a certain number (2 to 4) of hole cards and 5 community cards.
Usually there are betting rounds after dealing the hole cards, then after
dealing 3 upcards (FLOP), after dealing a 4th upcard (TURN) and finally
after dealing a 5th upcard (RIVER).

HOLD'EM n. [2] When used in the specific sense (e.g., "We're playing
Hold'em") the term usually refers to the game of Texas Hold'em (q.v.). See
also OMAHA.


HOLE CARDS n. In stud and Hold'em, the face-down cards dealt to each player.

HOOK n. A Jack. So named because the "J" resembles a hook.

HOT BABE (TM) n. An attractive, well-dressed female in or near a casino. The
term is a trademark of rec.gambling. An example of proper usage is: "I had
just raked in the pot when this Hot Babe (TM) comes up to the table and asks
`Are you Frank Irwin?'".

HOUSE CUT n. Generic term for how the house profits from hosting the game.

HOUSE RULE n. Rules and interpretations (e.g., use of wild cards, or rules
on having to show beaten hands) that are specific to an establishment or
even tables within the establishment.

HOYLE n. Edmund Hoyle (1769-?) was the authoritative source for rules of
card games. Hoyle is to card rules as Webster is to word definitions.

IMPLIED ODDS n. A refinement to POT ODDS which includes money not yet in the
pot. Considers the potential extra bets and winnings made when a player
forms a very good hand.

IN adj. Still eligible to win the pot. "I'm in" is often spoken as one adds
chips to the pot, calling.

INSIDE STRAIGHT n. Four cards to a straight, where only one rank will
complete the hand. E.g., 4-5-6-8 is an inside straight since only a 7 will
fill (i.e., complete) the hand. Often called a GUT-SHOT. Compare: BOBTAIL


JACKS OR BETTER n. Draw poker in which a pair of jacks is the minimum hand
permitted to start the action. See OPENERS.

JOKER n. A 53rd card in the deck, distinct from the others, used as a wild
card or as a BUG.

KICKER n. In hands containing pairs and trips, the highest card not matched.
In draw games, sometimes a card kept for deception purposes.

KICKER TROUBLE n. Not having as high a kicker as an opponent.

KU KLUX KLAN n. 3 Kings.

LADY n. A Queen.

LATE BLIND n. In addition to "regular" blinds, some games allow a player
(particularly a new one) to post a blind bet in return for the right to
enter the game immediately and act last on the first betting round. The
amount of the blind is determined by house rules, usually somewhere between
the last blind and double the last blind. It is frequently a LIVE BLIND.

LATE POSITION n. For a particular betting round, a player who does not have
to act until most of the other players have acted.

LAY ODDS v.t. To give favorable odds to an opponent.

LEAD v. To bet first, even when one had the option to check. See also FIRE.

LEAK v. To show one's hole cards (often unknowingly).

LID n. The top card of the deck.

LIMIT POKER n. A poker game wherein the amount to be bet is fixed, or at
most variable within a prescribed minimum and maximum. Ant.: NO-LIMIT POKER.

LINER n. A face card. (Because you can see a line when the card is face down
and the lower right corner is lifted).

LITTLE SLICK n. In Hold'em, hole cards of A-2, suited or not.

LIVE [CARD] n. In stud, a card probably not held by other players.

LIVE BLIND n. The last and largest blind bet may or may not be LIVE. If
LIVE, the blind bettor has the option of "raising" his own blind in the
event the bet is called around to him. This is normal, and is sometimes
referred to as "blinds are live".

LIVE ONE n. The best kind of opponent, a poor player with a lot of money to
lose and in a hurry to lose it.

LOCK n. A hand that cannot be beat under any circumstances. Also: NUTS.

LOOSE n. Playing more hands than the norm. Antonym: TIGHT.

LOWBALL n. Generic term for poker where the lowest hand wins.

MAIN POT n. The main pot, as related to one or more side pots, when there
are one or more all-in player(s). The main pot is the one in which all
active players participate.

MANIAC n. A player who bets, raises and reraises without regard to the
quality of his hand. Most often found in flop games.

MARKED CARDS n. Cards that have been (illegally) altered so that their value
can be read from the back.

MIDDLE POSITION n. Betting positions approximately halfway around the table
from the first player to act.

MILES OF BAD ROAD n. Three of a kind. Prefixed with a number, 3*, to
indicate 3 s. Thus "24 miles of bad road" is 3 eights, etc. (This
obviously doesn't work for face cards.)

MISDEAL n. A hand dealt incorrectly that must be re-dealt.

MITES AND LICE n. A hand consisting of two pair, threes over twos.

MUCK n. A collection of face-down cards near the dealer composed of
discards, i.e., folded hands, burns and discards for drawing purposes.

MUCK v.t. To throw one's cards into the muck, thus folding.

NICKEL n. Five dollars, usually represented by a red casino check.

NO-LIMIT POKER n. A game where there is no maximum bet; a player can wager
any amount (perhaps above some minimum) up to whatever money is on the table
in front of him.

NO-PEEK[EE] n. A class of poker games where players do not get to see their
cards before betting. Rarely played in public games.

NUT adj. The best possible hand of a given class. The "nut flush" is the
highest possible flush, but might still lose to, e.g., a full house. Usually
used in Hold'em games.

NUTS n. The best possible hand at the time. Not a LOCK unless all cards have
been dealt. Usually used in Hold'em games.

OFFSUIT adj. Not of the same suit. "I held A-Q offsuit" or "The flop was
10-6-2 offsuit". When speaking of 5 or more cards, not \all/ of the same
suit, i.e., no flush, as in "button had A-K-10-8-7 offsuit."

OMAHA n. A variant of Hold'em where each player receives 4 hole cards and
must use exactly two of them (together with 3 of 5 board cards) to make a
hand. Often played high-low split with an 8 qualifier for low.

ONE-EYED adj. The jack of hearts, jack of spades or king of diamonds. So
named because the characters are drawn in profile, thus showing only one

ON THE COME adj. A situation where the player does not have a complete hand
but hopes to make one if the right cards come up.

ON TILT adj. Playing worse (usually, more aggressively) than usual because a
player has become emotionally upset.

OPEN v.t. Make the first bet in a hand, especially in draw poker.

OPEN-ENDED STRAIGHT n. Four cards to a straight which can be completed by
drawing a card at either end. E.g., 6-7-8-9 is an open-ended straight. Also:

OPENER n. The player who opens the betting, especially in draw poker. A hand
may have no openers, in which case it is PASSED OUT, i.e., new hands are

OPENERS n. Cards in a hand that qualify a player to open the betting.

OPEN-HANDED n. A category of games characterized by a part of each player's
hand being exposed.

OPEN PAIR n. An exposed pair.

OUT n. A card that will improve your hand, often substantially. A hand with
many OUTS is preferable to a hand with only 1 or 2.

OUT adj. Folded, ineligible to bet or win this hand. "I'm out" is often a
synonym for "I fold".

OVER conj. A term used in describing two pair or a full house. "Kings over
tens" means two pair, kings and tens. "Jacks over", also "Jacks up"
describes a hand that is two pair: Jacks with an unspecified lower pair.
Also used to describe a full house, distinguishing the three of a kind from
the pair. The hand J-J-J-A-A could be described as "Full house, Jacks over

OVERCALL v.t. To call a bet after one or more players already called.

OVERPAIR n. In Hold'em, a pair in the hole that is larger than any community
card on the board.

PAIR n. Two cards of the same rank.

PASS v.i. Opposite of bet. To check, if checked to. To fold, if bet to.

PASSED OUT. adj. A hand in which nobody opens. What happens next is a
function of the game being played.

PAT adj. Holding or being dealt a pat hand. "I'm pat" would mean "I don't
want to draw any cards.

PAT HAND n. In draw poker, a hand that does not need any more cards.
Specifically, a straight, flush, full house or straight flush. One might
bluff and represent a pat hand but actually hold something else.

PAY OFF v.t. Calling a bet with little expectation of winning, unless the
opponent is bluffing.

PAY STATION n. A player who rarely folds, thus who frequently calls better
hands and loses. Almost as much fun as a LIVE ONE (q.v.).

POCKET [CARDS] n. Hole cards in stud and Hold'em.

POCKET ROCKETS n. In Hold'em, a pair of aces for hole cards.

POCKET PAIR n. Generic Hold'em term for 2 hole cards of the same rank.

POSITION n. One's location in the betting sequence, relative to the players
still in the hand. First position is first to act.

POSSIBLE [STRAIGHT/FLUSH] adj. up cards that quite possibly could lead to a
straight and/or a flush.

POT n. The total amount of money bet so far in a hand.

POT LIMIT n. A game where the maximum bet is determined by the size of the
pot at the time. Note that a player wanting to raise first calls the bet,
then totals the pot to determine the maximum amount he can raise.

POT ODDS n. The amount of money in the pot divided by the amount of money
you must bet in order to call. Often used to determine if a pot offers
enough reward to play on the come.

PRESTO! e. In Hold'em, what one says when revealing pocket 5's. This term,
specific to rec.gambling, is still evolving and subject to redefinition. The
term comes from a more well-established background in Blackjack where one
says "Presto!" when turning over a blackjack. When a player says "PRESTO!"
at an appropriate time, the correct countersign is to say "IRWIN". This is a
method of identification, not a compulsory ritual.

PROP n. Also PROPOSITION PLAYER. An employee of the gaming establishment
whose primary purpose is to keep enough players at a table to prevent
breaking up the game for lack of players. Unlike SHILLs (q.v.) "props" make
a small hourly wage but play with their own money, winning or losing based
on their skill.

PUCK n. A token denoting the dealer position. See BUTTON.

QUADS n. Four of a kind.

QUALIFIER n. A minimum standard that a hand must meet in order to win.
Usually applied to the lowball side of a high-low split pot.

QUARTER n. Twenty-five dollars, often symbolized by a green casino chip.

QUARTER v. To divide half a pot between two tying hands. In split pot games,
a player who "ties" another player for their half of the pot is said to be
"quartered". One might say "I didn't bet my A-2 because I figured I'd get

RACE v.t. In tournaments it is sometimes convenient to remove all lower-
denomination chips from play, as the remaining players' stacks tend to grow.
Small chips are converted to larger chips and any odd chips are "raced off"
in the following way: each player with odd chips places them in front of his
stack and is dealt one card for each chip. Highest card (rank and suit)
takes all the small chips and converts them to higher-denomination chips.

RAGS n. Board cards that are small, not suited and not in sequence, e.g.,
9-5-2. When "rags flop", it is unlikely that anyone has a good hand, except
possibly the big blind in an unraised pot.

RAIL n. A barrier dividing the card playing area from a public area.

RAILBIRD n. A spectator behind the rail.

RAINBOW adj. In flop games, a flop in which no two cards are of the same
suit. "The flop was A 9 7 rainbow."

RAISE v.t. To wager more than the minimum required to call, forcing other
players to put in more money as well.

RAISER n. One who raises.

RAKE n. Money taken from each pot and given to the house in return for
hosting the game. Usually a percentage of the pot (5%-10%) up to some
maximum amount.

READ v.t. To determine whether an opponent has a good, medium or bad hand by
observing his personal behavior. An inexact science.

REBUY v.i. To purchase additional chips after an initial buy-in, usually
after losing most or all of the previous buy-in. This term is most often
used in certain tournaments where if one loses all one's chips, or falls
below a certain minimum chip level, for an additional sum of money one can
purchase a fixed amount of additional tournament chips. Usually there is a
time limit (The "REBUY PERIOD") as to how long rebuys are allowed.

REBUY n. The additional chips "rebought" in tournament play.

REPRESENT v.t. Implying, by one's betting style, that one has a particular

RERAISE v.t. To raise after an opponent has raised.

RIDER BACK (TM) n. A brand of playing cards that feature a bicycle rider on
the back of the cards. Often used in home games. Compare: BEE No. 92.

RING GAME n. A standard game where players can come and go as they choose.
The opposite of TOURNAMENT.

RIVER n. The last card dealt in a hand of stud or Hold'em.

ROLLED UP adj. In seven-card stud, being dealt three of a kind in the first
three cards.

ROYAL FLUSH n. An ace-high straight flush, the best possible hand in regular

RUNNER-RUNNER adj. A hand made using both of the last two cards dealt.

RUSH n. A winning streak. Also "ON A RUSH".

S&M n. Sklansky & Malmuth. Generally refers to the ideas and algorithms
published by these two authors. When used in a 7-card stud context, often
refers to '7 Card Stud For Advanced Players', and when used in a Hold'em
context, often refers to 'Texas Hold 'em For Advanced Players'.

SANDBAG v.i. Playing a strong hand as if it were only a fair one. See also

SCOOP v.t. To take all of a pot that is normally split, either by winning
both halves outright or winning one half when no players qualify for the
other half.

SEAT CHARGE n. A periodic fee for playing poker, paid by all players at a
table. Most often seen at all tables in California card rooms and at higher
limit tables everywhere. Also TABLE CHARGE.

SEAT POSITION n. The actual seat a player has, normally numbered
sequentially starting with 1 as the first seat to dealer's left. Not to be
confused with POSITION in a particular pot. Typically unrelated to play of a
hand but often important in peripheral aspects, e.g.: "Seats 1 and 10 are
nonsmoking here", "Seat 5 has a good view of the table", "Seat 3 is in a
high-traffic area".

SEE v.t. To call, as in: "I'll see you" or "I'll see that bet".

SEMI-BLUFF n. To bluff with a come hand that figures to win if it hits.

SET n. In Hold'em, three of a kind where two of the cards are hole cards.

SEVENTH STREET n. The seventh card dealt in 7-card stud.

SHARK n. A good/crafty player often posing as a fish early in the game.

SHILL n. A card room employee who plays with House money, and does not share
in any of his (her) winnings or losses. Shills are used to facilitate
starting games, and keeping them going. Compare: PROP.

SHORT-STACKED adv. Playing with a only a small amount of money, thus
limiting one's risk and reward.

SHOWDOWN n. The point at the end of the hand where all active players reveal
their cards and the pot is awarded to the winner(s).

SIDE POT n. When an active player runs out of money during the course of a
hand, the remaining players participate in a second or SIDE POT for the rest
of the hand. Additional side pots are possible if several players run out of
money at different points in a hand.

SIXTH STREET n. The sixth card dealt in 7-card stud.

SLOWPLAY v.t. To play a strong hand weakly, by checking instead of betting
or by calling instead of raising. Usually done to win extra bets by keeping
more players around for future rounds of betting. See also SANDBAG.

SMALL BLIND n. In games with two blinds the first blind is the SMALL BLIND
because it is usually one-half (or less) the second or large blind.

SPLIT [OPENERS] v.t. In draw poker, to discard one or more openers, usually
to draw to a straight or flush. Normally requires the opener to declare the
act and retain the discards so that the act of opening can later be

SPLIT [POT] n. A pot that is split between two or more hands.

SPLIT [THE POT] v. To split the pot between two or more players. Related
term: QUARTER.

SPREAD v.t. To offer a particular game, as in "Shorty's casino spreads razz
on weekends and holidays".

SPREAD LIMIT n. A variation on fixed limit wherein the minimum and maximum
bets are different. A 1-4-8 game allows bets from 1 to 4 in the early rounds
and 1-8 in the last round. A 1-4-8-16 game allows bets from 1 to 4 in the
early rounds, 1 to 8 in the next-to-last round, and 1 to 16 in the last

STACK n. The amount of money (the stack of chips) a player has on the table.
See also: STAKE.

STACKED [DECK] n. A deck that has been arranged to give one player a huge
advantage. Also: RIGGED.

STAKE n. The amount of a player's BUY-IN, or the amount of money they are
willing to play with in a given session. Compare: BANKROLL.

STAND OFF v.i. To call a raise. "Opener raises, I stand off".

STEAL v.t. To win the pot by bluffing.

STEAM v.i. Playing wildly, calling and raising a lot, because one is upset.
Compare: ON TILT.

STRADDLE n. In some games with blinds the player left of the last blind may
make a "straddle" wager, essentially a raise of the blind, before any cards
are dealt. The player making the straddle then has the privilege of acting
last on the first betting round. Straddles, like blinds, are real bets that
the rest of the table will have to call or raise. See also: BLIND.

STRAIGHT n. A hand consisting of 5 cards in sequence but not in suit.

STRAIGHT FLUSH n. A hand consisting of 5 cards in sequence and the same

STRING BET n. An unethical and often illegal means of raising whereby a
player puts a call-size stack of chips into the pot and, after observing the
reactions of the players, then goes back to his stack and puts out more,
thus raising.

STUCK adj. Down a nontrivial amount of money, as in "he's stuck $800".

STUD n. Any of several poker games in which some of each players' cards are

SUICIDE KING n. King of Hearts. So named because in the drawing the king
appears to be stabbing himself in the head.

SUITED n. Two or more cards all the same suit. Ant: OFF-SUIT.

TABLE CHARGE n. A fee paid for playing. See SEAT CHARGE.

TABLE STAKES n. A standard rule whereby during a hand players can only bet
the money they have on the table. If the bet to a player is more than the
player's stack, that player may call with all his chips and be eligible to
win only that portion of the pot he contributed to equally. A side pot is
created, for which only the remaining players may compete.

TAP v.i. In no-limit games, to wager all of one's money in one bet.

TAPPED [OUT] adj. Out of money. Can refer to a player running out of money
in the course of a hand, thus still active for the main pot; or can refer to
a player who has lost his bankroll and can no longer play.

TELL n. Any personal mannerisms that reveal the quality of one's hand. E.g.,
constantly looking at one's hole cards is often a tell of a poor hand. (Some
players, knowing this, will at times check their hole cards when they have a
great hand and don't need to look.)

TEXAS HOLD'EM n. A Hold'em game where players receive two hole cards and may
use zero or more of them, together with 5 board cards, to make their hands.

THREE OF A KIND. n. Three cards all the same rank.

THIRD STREET n. In stud, the third card dealt to each player.

THREE FLUSH n. Three cards of the same suit.

TIGHT adv. A style of play that entails playing fewer hands than average.
Antonym: LOOSE.


TO GO v.i. The current betting level, as in "$20 to go" meaning every player
must contribute $20 (total) or drop. A $10 raise would then make the pot
"$30 to go".

TOKE v.t. Gambling term for "tip", as in "Toke the cocktail waitress". Comes
from the term "Token of appreciation".

TOP PAIR n. In flop games, having a hole card that matches the highest card
on the board.

TOP TWO PAIR n. In flop games, having hole cards that make the highest
possible two pair hand.

TOURNAMENT n. A highly structured game involving potentially dozens of
tables where all participants pay an entry fee and obtain a fixed number of
chips. Once a tournament has started, additional players may not enter. As
the game progresses players bust out and are eliminated until only one
winner remains.

TREY n. A three.

TRIP adj. Three of a specific kind, as in "Trip sixes".

TRIPS n. Three of a kind. In Hold'em the term SET is used when two of the
three cards are hole cards.

TURN n. The fourth community card in Hold'em.

TWO FLUSH n. Two suited cards.

UNDERDOG n. Before all the cards are dealt, a hand that does not figure to
be the winner. Ant: FAVORITE.

UNDER THE GUN n. The position that has to act first in a round of betting.

UP adj. Designates the higher card of a hand consisting of two pair. Thus,
"Queens up" refers to two pair, of which the higher pair is queens and the
lower pair is unspecified. See also OVER.

WALK n. A pot won by the last blind when no one opens.

WHEEL n. A-2-3-4-5. Usually discussed in the context of lowball where it is
the best possible hand. Can also refer to a 5-high straight in high games.

WHITE BLACKBIRD n. A hand so astonishingly rare as to be unworthy of the
opponents' consideration, e.g., being dealt a pat royal flush in 5-card

WILD CARD n. A joker or standard card that, by player agreement and/or
dealer's choice, can be used to represent any card desired. See also BUG.

WIRED [PAIR] n. A pair in the hole. In 5-card stud, a door card that pairs
the hole card.

WORLD SERIES OF POKER n. A series of several different poker games with
relatively large buy-ins, culminating in a $10,000 buy-in no-limit Hold'em
tournament, the winner of which is crowned the World Poker Champion.
Sponsored by Binion's Horseshoe Club in Las Vegas.


     Darse Billings
     John Hallyburton
     Steve Jacobs
     Ken Kubey
     Andy Latto
     JP Massar
     Tom Sims