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A poker glossary


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(CNN) -- Poker has its own language -- so much so that author James McManus includes a glossary with "Positively Fifth Street," as did Andy Bellin with "Poker Nation." Here are some of those terms:

Words and phrases:

Aces up: Two pair, aces being one of them.

Bad beat: When a huge hand is beaten by an underdog with an improbable draw, usually on the last card. To take one is to be "sucked out on," to have lost to a lucky maniac.

Broadway: An ace-high straight.

Checks: Chips.

Coffeehousing (or Hollywood): Poker play augmented by lots of table talk, designed to distract opponents.

Dead Man's Hand: Two pair, aces and eights. Named for the hand Wild Bill Hickok was holding August 2, 1876, when he was shot to death by Jack McCall in Deadwood, Dakota Territory (now South Dakota).

Doyle Brunson: A 10-2 as hole (down) cards, named for the poker legend who won two world championships with those cards.

Drawing dead: When a player has no chance to win, even though he (or she) is still drawing cards.

Flop: The first three community cards in Texas Hold'em or Omaha.

Muck: The pile of discards.

The nuts: The highest possible hand on the table. Also a "lock" or a "cinch."

Rag: A small card not helpful to your hand.

River: The last card dealt in a game. Also "fifth street."

Tilt: As in pinball, when a player loses his equilibrium and starts to play badly.

Turn: The fourth up card in Texas Hold'em or Omaha.

Wheel: A five-high straight. If all five cards are the same suit, it's a "steel wheel."

Some Texas Hold'em starting hand nicknames:

A-A: American Airlines, Pocket Rockets or Sticks.

A-K: Big Slick.

A-J: Ajax.

A-3: Baskin-Robbins.

K-Q: The Marriage (or the Divorce, if it doesn't hold up).

K-9: The Dog.

Q-J: Oedipus Rex or Maverick.

Q-3: A San Francisco Busboy.

J-5: Motown.

9-8: Oldsmobile.

8-8: Little Oldsmobile.

5-7: Heinz.

3-9: Jack Benny.

3-3: Crabs.

Sources: "Positively Fifth Street" by James McManus (FSG, 2003); "Poker Nation" by Andy Bellin (HarperCollins, 2002)


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