Call - To match a previous bet by putting an equal amount of chips into the pot and no more (in other words not to raise). A third alternative would be to fold, or pass. An alternative phrase to 'call' is See, although not many people use it. You must call a bet in front of you to either see the next card or (if in the final betting round) showdown your hand.
Caller - A player who calls your bet (see above) is a caller. Funny that. Often used in a collective sense, as in "The Turn brings the third spade but pairs the board, and the short stack in the two seat goes all - he gets three callers!"
Call down - Calling another player's bets, often on each street, to guard against a bluff or weak hand. Generally done when a person feels his hand is too weak to raise with, but too strong to fold in the light of what they may see as fishy bets.
Calling Station - Typified by a passive player who plays more hands and calls down more than they should. This type of player likes to 'keep you honest' and brings money into the game. Also known as a Policeman, a Cashpoint or an ATM. Characterised by a player's tendency not to fully consider what cards other people may have in their hands, and almost never raise. This is the weakest style of play as it not only leaks money on bad holdings, it also fails to capitalize on stronger hands. Rarely bluffing and almost never folding, this type of player is always curious to see what other players are holding and find out if their hand is the winner come the showdown, which it rarely is. You know what they say about curiosity. Naming no names. You know who you are…
Camel Ball Licker - A Hold' Em starting hand comprising a Jack and a Three, suited or otherwise. An exceptionally powerful starting hand in Hold 'Em, although for some inexplicable reason it isn’t even listed by Sklansky. Play it, play it aggressively, and the rewards will come, as sure as eggs are eggs. (this website accepts no responsibility or liability for any financial loss or personal injury sustained as a result of following any recommendations, implied or expressly stated within the body of this poker glossary). Usually abbreviated to CBL.
Canine – A man’s best friend? Only when the flop comes Q-J-T. A Hold' Em starting hand comprising a King and a Nine, suited or otherwise. Canine. K-9? Geddit? No? Suit yourselves then…
Cap – Nope, not the thing on your head, or the bullet. Typically the third or fourth raise at a Limit table, to 'cap' the betting is to put in the last of the maximum number of raises permitted on any given round of betting. "I had rolled up aces over queens, and the maniac in the four seat was capping it on every street"
Cappuccino – An expression most commonly heard in US card rooms during limit play, uttered by players who are capping the betting, or making the maximum number of raises permitted during a betting round.
Card Cut - also called a cut card or a postillion (if you’re posh), this is a plastic card either placed in a pack of cards to separate one half of the deck from the other when performing a cut, or is cut onto when performing a standard cut, when it becomes the bottom of the deck (to prevent the bottom card from being exposed during dealing). Most often used in casinos, but also common in home games as a precaution against bottom-dealing. I sell these for the bargain price of 50 pee in a range of attractive colours and sizes.
Card rankings - All 13 cards in the 4 suits of a standard 52-card deck have hierarchical values. When speaking of card values the lowest ranked card is the lowly deuce, and the highest ranked is the mighty Ace. When making up a poker hand, however, the Ace can be treated as high or low so a Broadway straight would be headed by an Ace, (A, K, Q, J, T) but is a better hand than a Wheel, which would also be headed by an Ace (A, 2, 3, 4, 5).
Card rush - When you hit a winning streak (generally perceived to be from luckily receiving good hands rather than by successfully bluffing at pots), you are said to be on a rush, or enjoying a card rush. Most players take full advantage of this good fortune while it lasts and start open-raising from EP with 10-2off and suchlike. This can often herald the beginning of a reversal in their fortunes…
Cards break even - One of those old poker truths that basically means that over the long term everyone will receive the same cards. If you keep getting your money in the middle with the best cards and some complete tit with J-4off keeps outdrawing you and taking every pot, eventually the cards will even out and the scales will tip back in your favour. Every time your Aces get cracked just sit back, take a deep breath and repeat it to yourself like a mantra. Are you reading this Dave? :o)
Cards speak - this is a ruling used in poker (most typically in Omaha, where in my experience players haven't got the slightest clue who the winner is at the showdown) whereby the winning hand is determined by all active players turning their cards face-up and the dealer awarding the pot to the best hand, assuming of course he can work it out. If a player 'declares' his hand his comment has absolutely no relevance - the cards themselves 'speak', and this means that a miscall is irrelevant - a verbal declaration does not take precedence over the cards themselves. Used more commonly in high-low split games where it may have been decided that players are not declaring for the high hand or the low (or indeed both) at the showdown, but also common in standard Hold ‘Em. Put simply, it is your actual cards, not what a player says he has, that determines who wins the hand.
Case - the last of a group of 4 card required to make quads. For example you are holding QQ and the flop comes A-A-Q. You have flopped a boat, Queens Full of Aces. Your opponent has K-K and the turn comes a K, giving your opponent a boat, Kings Full of Aces. You would need the fourth (or case) Queen on the river to win the hand with Quad Queens. For those who are interested the origin of the phrase comes from Faro where an employee of the house (called the 'case keeper') would keep track of the number of each rank of cards still left in the deck. Betcha didn't know that, huh?
Case money - Emergency money kept to one side in the event you go bust. If you have lost all your chips and go to your hip to re-buy, you are using your case money. I keep mine under the floorboards in the kitchen like that bloke from ‘Training Day’ who looks a bit like David Carradine.
Cash Game - A game played either with hard currency on the table or poker chips that have an agreed cash value. You can enter and leave a cash game at any time with whatever you have (quite often this can be nothing!) and your chips exchanged for their face value. Also known as a ring game. Cash games normally allow for unlimited re-buys.
Cash out - To convert your chips into cash when leaving a cash game. It is an unwritten law of the Universe that no matter how meticulously or methodically he does it, whoever cashes people out of the cash game will inevitably find that he is £10 short, and he has always left himself until last.
Cash Point - see Calling Station, ATM or Policeman.
Catch - When the cards are treating you well and you are being lucky, you are said to be 'catching cards'. For example "The flop paired his Ace, but I caught one of the remaining two Queens on the Turn to bust him"
CBL – Abbreviation for Camel Ball Licker. The powerhouse that is Jack-Three..
Chameleon - someone who varies their style of play during a game to throw their opponents off, i.e. going from loose passive to tight aggressive.
Chase - To pursue a hand, often when you have poor odds, hoping you will catch a card to give you a superior hand than your opponent. Used most commonly to describe when you are drawing to a flush or a straight and are up against winning pairs, or trips. For example "He made a loose call, chasing a gutshot, and hit it on the very next card"
Check - If there is no bet in front of them, this is when a player opts not to bet when it his turn to act in order to see what an opponent does. Often employed by those with a poor hand as a means of seeing the next card 'for free' in the hope that any players after them do not raise. Frequently players with only a fair hand will do this to see if they improve, but players 'setting a trap' with a lock also employ this tactic with the intention of making other players feel that they may have the advantage. If there is a bet in front of you, you are not able to check, but must call, raise or fold. In the US players often also refer to poker chips as 'checks', just to confuse everybody. Bloody Septics. They think Irony is when something looks a bit like an iron, too.
Check-Raise - When a player with a superior hand initially checks in order to lure other players behind him into making a bet and then raises in the same round of betting. Some games do not permit check-raising, considering it to be unethical, but it is an important, some say essential tactic in poker, and most consider the game to be richer for it. Frequently a sign of a strong hand, but it is a technique that can also be employed as a bluff to good effect in No Limit. In Limit, it is especially useful in order to get more of your opponent's money into the pot on any individual betting round, most typically in betting rounds 3 and 4 when you are one of the first to act.
Chip: Poker chips are small round discs used for convenience at the poker table instead of money. The standard form of currency used in most casinos and in tournament play, chips come in a wide variety of designs and weights embracing cheap plastic, clay composite, right through to genuine clay. I tend to favour the chips used by Nevada Jacks (8g clay chips similar to those used at B&M tables the World over) and have a set of 2,000 of their original ASM-mold clays, sadly no longer in production. Apparently I have more money than sense.
Chip Race – Nothing to do with who has the fastest chips. A chip race normally takes place at specific intervals during tournament play and is the act of removing the lower value chips from play and replacing them with chips of a larger denomination. This keeps chip counts to a reasonable level (reducing the amount of space taken up by players with mountains of chips) and allows the remaining players to quickly gauge how much money their opponents still have in front of them. Typically the chip race takes place at clearly defined points in the tournament. Example - there are four players left and we are having a chip race for $25 chips. Player 1 has 5 x $25 chips, Player 2 has 12 x $25 chips, Player 3 has 23 x $25 chips and Player 4 just 2 x $25 chips . Each player receives 1 x $100 dollar chip for every 4 $25s he holds, leaving Player 1 with 1 odd chip, Player 2 with 2 odd chips and so on. With me so far? Each player then receives ONE random card for EVERY odd chip he holds, so Player 1 gets just one card and so on. The highest card wins ALL of the remaining odd chips and these are exchanged for black chips. If there is still an odd chip left over this is normally rounded up to the next highest denomination chip. Ties (e.g. where two players might both have an Ace) are broken by suits - from best to worst - spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs. Also called a Colour up or Race off.
Chop - Usually refers to an agreement between the remaining active players in a hand (usually in a high-low game) to agree to split the pot without the need for a showdown, usually only happening if the pot is very large and the players contesting it feel that their hands are likely to be of roughly equivalent value.
Chop the money - This refers to an arrangement, most typically between the last 2 or 3 players who are in the money at a final table to split their winnings rather than contest it by playing (usually when the blinds are so high that the element of chance has a major bearing on the outcome). Example: you are down to the final two. Out of the £10000 total prize pool 1st spot pays 45% and 2nd only 25% (being £4500 and £2500 respectively). You are second in chips with T54,000 and the Tournament leader has T66,000 of the T120,000 in play, and clearly either of you could go on to win. A fair chop would be for you to receive 45% (£3150) of the remaining portion of the prize pool and your opponent 55% (£3850), in other words a reward proportional to your chip holding at the time of the chop. Another common solution might be to for you to chop the bulk of the money and play for a nominal percentage (say 5%), which in the above example would result in splits of £2975.00 and £3675.00 with £350 still to play for. Sounds complicated, I know, but that’s why Casio invented scientific calculators. Never be too proud to haggle - there’s a little bit of market-trader in all of us…
Chop the blinds - If play folds round to the blinds (i.e. there are no callers), the players who posted the blinds may elect to have the blind money returned to them rather than playing out the hand. This is more prevalent in B&M games in order to avoid the house rake on any pot which might otherwise have developed, and is therefore quite understandably frowned upon by casinos.
Coffee-housing - The habit of some players to indulge in distratcing 'small-talk' during a hand in progress or to make deceptive comments about their own play in order to mislead their opponents. For example "I know he’s got a heart, Vince, but so have I. Just not a very big one" Some players find coffee-housing annoying, whilst others find it a useful tell. Some casinos do not allow coffee-housing for the same reason that some home games frown on check-raising.
Coin-flip - A term oft-utilised by commentators to describe the chances of one player's hand beating another's based on the odds of their drawing a card to improve their hand, most typically when a wired pair is facing two overcards pre-flop. It is, by definition, a misnomer, as a true 'coin flip' is of course a 50/50 chance, whereas two overcards are nearly always a slight dog to any wired pair (an exception might be if the overcards happen to be suited. The only true coin-flip in poker would be where both players had a pocket pair of matching value, and would represent their chances of making a flush from 4 of the board cards.
Cold Call - This is to call a bet AND one or more raises in a single action, into a pot to which you have not yet contributed in that round of betting, usually the sign of a strong hand or an excellent draw. Example - you have called a min-raise on the Button with Js-Ts to see a flop of Qs, 9s, Ac and UTG (pre-flop raiser) leads out with what could be a continuation bet. A LAG player in MP re-raises. With your OESD and 4-flush you could comfortably cold call both the UTG raise and the MP re-raise here, as the expectation for your draws is positive.
Cold Cards - When you are getting a run of cold cards it usually means you are having a period of bad luck due to a long-running string of bad cards. Most often used in reference to semi-pro players (see Grinder / Rounder) who make a living out of playing.
Cold Deck - A deck of cards, pre-arranged by a cheat to produce a specific outcome, usually switched surreptitiously for the regular deck during play. Its name derives from the fact that whilst the regular deck will have been warmed by the dealer's hands a little after extended use, the cold deck will be somewhat cooler to the touch.
Collusion - Collusion is illegal - a form of cheating where a team or teams of players work together in order to gain an unfair advantage over the other players at the table. Usually involving using some form of covert signalling to their confederates, this can be as simple as indicating whether to raise or fold, or as sophisticated as indicating what specific hole cards players are holding. In live play it is extremely difficult to identify and almost impossible to prove collusion, and if you suspect it in a table you are seated at it is usually far simpler to get up and walk away. Online poker rooms are especially susceptible to collusion but many claim to have methods of identifying colluders and most are apt to take immediate action to remove the cheats and compensate players who they feel have been the victims of collusion, particularly in tournament play. ‘Pokerstars’ are especially good at policing this sort of thing, which is why you’ll generally find me splashing about on there, along with all my partners on MSN.
Colour Up - See Chip Race / Race off.
Come betting - to bet a not yet made hand with the intention of winning the pot right there, but with outs to a positive-expectation draw such as a flush or a straight (or both). Sometimes serves to disguise your hand as your opponent will often think you are protecting an already-made hand against what appears to be a possible draw on the board, giving you the opportunity to perform a check-raise if you do indeed make your hand by the Turn or River.
Come Hand - A hand that is not yet made. Probably coming from Craps, a come hand is a drawing hand, or a hand that needs additional help from the board to improve, such as four to a flush, an open-ended straight, et cetera. See On the Come.
Come in - to make a raise, usually as the first person to enter the pot. For example "There were two limpers, then the 6 seat came in for 400".
Come Over The Top - To re-raise a raiser. Example - You bet out $200 UTG, Player 2 raises it to $400 and Player 3 comes over the top of him for another $2,000. When this happens the appropriate response is “Eep”.
Community Cards - see Board / Board Cards
Complete - normally relates to the betting in Limit poker. When an all-in player opens with a bet that is less than the limit at that time, the next player to act is said to complete the bet by bringing it up to the limit. For example, it's $20-$40 Limit HE, and we're on the last (fourth) round of betting. UTG player has only $30 remaining, which he bets. If the next player to act wishes to continue he MUST bet the limit for that round ($40) to complete the bet. Clubs and casinos can have widely differing rulings on whether a player with less than a full bet may even initiate the betting (or call, for that matter) and also on whether succeeding players in the hand may just call that amount, must complete, or are permitted to raise it. If in doubt, I'd check with the house. Also used in reference to the act of the SB when limping in to an unraised pot by putting in enough chips to make up (or complete) the BB.
Complete Hand - A made hand. A poker hand to which one does not need additional help from the board in order to improve. This would mean a straight, a flush, a straight flush, a full house or four of a kind. The polar opposite of a drawing hand / come hand.
Computer Hand: A Hold' Em starting hand comprising a Queen and a Seven, unsuited or otherwise. So called because computer calculations tell us that Q7 is the median (or average) of all starting hands. It can also be taken to refer to any hand that computer analysis or simulation determines has a positive expectation but in practice is very difficult to play.
Connectors: A Hold' Em starting hand comprising two unsuited or offsuit cards which are consecutively numbered (i.e. one apart in rank). Example - KsQc, Jd10h, and 10c9d. When the cards are suited they are called suited connectors. It is often worth limping in with connectors or suited connectors if you are in Late Position in an unraised pot.
Counterfeit – Most often used in games like Razz or Omaha8, this is when the Gods conspire to throw an ugly curve ball at you just when you thought things were looking rosy. Erm. To be a tad more specific this is when a board card duplicates one in your hand, thereby damaging your winning potential by making previously valuable cards in your hand communal property. Confused? Example – in Holdem you have 9,10 and the flop comes J-Q-K. Yay - you flopped the straight! Turn comes a 10. Oops. Now anyone else with a 9 just made their straight too! To make matters worse, anyone with an Ace has you dead in the water. In Omaha8 you might be looking rosy with A, 2, K, K in hand on a board of 4-5-K, but when the Turn comes a 2, your 2 is counterfeited and now anyone holding A, 3 has you dead in the water for the nut low and is ahead of your trip Kings for high, and so on. Now you’re getting the idea.
Court Card - A jack, queen or a king. See Picture card / Face card / Paint
Covered - If a player has a sufficient number of chips to call a player who is all-in and would still be in the game even if he were to lose the showdown he is said to have the all-in player 'covered'.
Cowboys - A Hold' Em starting hand comprising two Kings. Here’s an interesting statistic for you to argue about – at a full table you will run into American Airlines approximately 10% of the time you find yourself with pocket Kings. Sound unlikely? Google’s a wonderful thing.
Crabs - A Hold' Em starting hand comprising two Threes, an exceptionally powerful hand against Siegfried and Roy. Just ask James Harvey.
Crack - To beat a hand - usually a big hand - with inferior cards. Most often you hear this applied to pocket rockets. "I can't believe he cracked my Aces with the Beer Hand"
Crazy Pineapple – see Pineapple
Crippled stack - This expression is normally related to some form of bad beat or another, in which a player has lost the bulk of his chips. When a player talks of being crippled in a poker game he is normally referring to his stack of chips (unless he's playing in East London o' course, where it has an entirely more sinister connotation).
Cripple the Deck - This is when your hole cards in relation to the board are such that you are not likely to get much action. Example - you have been dealt pocket Aces, and the flop comes A-A-7. Every player will be worried about someone else having an ace, so it will be very hard work getting any value out of this hand.
Crying Call - A reluctant call made when the caller has a marginal hand which he doubts is the winner, but which he cannot fully bring himself to fold. Often this will be accompanied by comments like "If this was for serious money I’d fold it every time..." or "I’m either going to look like a genius or an idiot here…" or my personal favourite "I know you have me beat, but I just want to see what cards you have..."
Cut - To remove a number of cards from the bottom of the deck and place them on the top of the deck. If using a cut card or postillion you would normally place the top half of the cut deck onto the cut card to hide the bottom card from view. The cut is usually performed by the player to the right of the dealer.
Cut card - also called a card cut, or postillion, this is a plastic card either placed in a pack of cards to seperate one half of the deck from the other when performing a cut, or cut onto when performing a standard cut, when it becomes the bottom of the deck to prevent the bottom card from being exposed during dealing. Most often used in casinos, but also common in home games as a precaution against bottom-dealing.
Cut-Off, The - This is the table position (or seat) to the immediate right of the button. I have absolutely no bloody clue as to the origin of this. Answers on a postcard please…
- "Behold the power of the Beer Hand!" -