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Essential Poker Terms That Players Should Know

poker legend Doyle Brunson

Poker terms change depending on whether you’re playing with your friends all the way up to the World Series of Poker.

We will hope that you will be feeling like an insider after reading a full rundown of these terms and understanding what they mean.

You will feel so confident that you will head straight to to test your newfound logic on their poker selection.

Not all the terms are freely used, and some are considered slang terms, but either way, they are useful to know just in case the game that you are playing in sees these words come up.


The most commonly used word that everybody around the world knows is this one. And, it is pretty self-explanatory; it is a term used for players that show that they are putting all their chips, or money, into the pot. From here other players can put funds into a side pot for other bets, while the main pot is only the potential winnings for the player that said ‘all-in’.


Another common term that is known by players across the world is ‘bluff’. The best players in the world have a great ability to bluff since this is where players can win rounds without having a single pair. The main aim of the bluff is to get other players to fold so that the pot can be won. This could backfire spectacularly should the opposing players call your bluff.

Drawing Dead

This would be one of the most helpless circumstances for a player. For example, you can hold four spades with a King, while your opponent will hold a pair of Aces along with four spades. Since you’re waiting for spades; regardless of the result, you would be losing since your opponent has a couple of Aces. This is an excellent example of drawing dead.


Nobody at the table wants to be defined by this word. The donkey is considered a player that is throwing away their money and making bad bets. You could also be called a pigeon or a sucker. Either way, you don’t want to be wasting your money by being a donkey; instead, you should be prepared to read up on all the rules and study the game before jumping in at the deep end.


This is a method of playing that all the best players take advantage of from time-to-time. To isolate means to purely price out any potential opponent to mean that you can go head-to-head with one person. It is a very smart move to use in poker should it be used effectively and at the right time of the game.


Another smart tactic that is used is called the Sandbag. This is when a player will hide the strength of their cards by betting slowly to start with before upping the stake to increase the amount of money that is in the pot. Should this tactic be deployed well then, it could be an incredibly lucrative option.



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