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Final Answers
© 2000-2016   Gérard P. Michon, Ph.D.

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Poker 101

Trust everyone, but always cut the cards.
Benny Binion   (1904-1989) 
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Related articles on this site:

Related Links (Outside this Site)

Poker Computations  by  Brian Alspach
Texas Hold'em  by  Michael Schackleford
On the Importance of Mathematics in Poker   |   Chip Utility Paradox
Poker training (video review, Poker companies):
PXF   |   DeucesCracked   |   BlueFire   |   PokerVIP
Common rules and regulations for all poker games  (WSOP).
Gambling Laws in the US  by  Chuck Humphrey.
In the wake of Black Friday (2011-04-15) Cereus is gone and Full Tilt Poker was sold to PokerStars (2012-07-31)

Accessories:   Digital Tournament Dealer Button  [ review ]
Royal Eyewear Poker Sunglasses  ($30 off, promotional code FREE30)
Wikipedia :   Poker   |   Dealer's choice   |   Poker betting   |   Sklansky's principle   |   Morton's principle
Green eyeshade  (dealer's visor, poker visor)
Players :   Wild Bill Hickok (1837-1876)  |  Wyatt Earp (1848-1929)  |  Doc Holliday (1851-1887)
Bat Masterson (1853-1921)  |  Luke Short (1854-1893)  |  Nick the Greek (1883-1966)  |  Johnny Moss (1907-1995)
Amarillo Slim (1928-2012)  |  Doyle Brunson "Texas Dolly / Big papa" (1933-)  |  T.J. Cloutier (1939-)
David Sklansky (1947-)  |  Bobby Baldwin (1950-)  |  Chip Reese (1951-2007)  |  Stu Ungar (1953-1998)
Barry Greenstein (1954-)  |  Freddy Deeb (1955-)  |  Sammy Farha (1959-)  |  Chris Ferguson (1963-)
Howard Lederer (1963-)  |  Phil Hellmuth (1964-)  |  Jennifer Harman (1964-)  |  Mike Matusow (1968-)
Andy Bloch (1969-)  |  Tony G (1973-)  |  Gus Hansen (1974-)  |  Daniel Negreanu (1974-)
Chris Moneymaker (1975-)  |  Phil Ivey (1976-)  |  Patrik Antonius (1980-)  |  Ilari Sahamies "Ziigmund" (1983-)
Phil Galfond (1985-)  |  Tom Dwan "Durrrr" (1986-)  |  Annette Obrestad (1988-)  |  Viktor Blom "Isildur1" (1990-)

Poker Legends from the Old West

Video documentaries :   Phil Ivey   |   The Poker Underground
A professional poker player in Southern California:  Losing empathy.
All-in  (Poker Movie) :   Part 1   |   Part 2
Math Geeks & Card Sharks:  Rebecca Liggero interviews Esfandiari & Galfond.
Poker in Feature Films :   Trinity is  still  my name... (1971)
Rounders (1998)  Matt Damon  &  John Malkovich.
Final Hand in Casino Royale (James Bond, 2006).
Trailers:  All In  (2006).   |   Runner runner  (2013)


Mathematics of Poker   (Part 1)

Poker is a card game with many variants.  This page mentions several of them but it focuses mainly on the most popular one:  NLHE, or no-limit Texas hold 'em  (which is the only kind of poker on television, nowadays).  All versions of poker are played with a single 52-card deck, using the same basic ranking of 5-card  poker hands,  presented below.

Full-Sized BBO Poker Table.

A full-size poker table can accomodate up to  10  players and typically measures  94''  by  45''  (a piece of felt fabric measuring  108''  by  60''  is wrapped around and stappled underneath).  Traditionally, a raised padded armrest surrounds the outer rim.  Cup-holders can be carved into a  4'' or 5''  wooden racetrack or directly into the felt  (or the armrest).

 Five-Card Draw
(2013-11-17)   Five-card Draw Poker
This most elementary form of poker serves as the basis for  video poker.

After posting antes and/or blinds, every player receives 5 cards face-down and a live betting round  takes place  (where players may fold).  Then, every active player is allowed to discard some or all of his initial cards and receive replacements for them.  Once everybody has done this, a final betting round takes place.  If two or more active players remain, a showdown takes place between them and the  best hand  wins the whole pot.  If two or more hands have the same value  (the 4 suits are placed on the same footing in poker)  then the pot is split among the winners.

Video poker is essentially 5-card draw with antes only  (no live betting)  and some conventional payout schedule which depends on the quality of the hand obtained.  So transformed, poker becomes a single-player game  (gambler vs. machine)  which is now, by far, the most popular theme for  slot machines  in casinos.

Video Poker (Wizard of Odds)
Wikipedia :   Five-card draw   |   Video poker

(2002-07-17)   There are  2,598,960  possible 5-card  poker hands.
They're divided into 10 classes whose values vary inversely as their sizes.

No cheating;  a Smith & Wesson beats five aces.

In all variants of poker, only 5 cards are compared to determine the winner.  There are 10 types of such 5-card  poker hands.  Within each type, ties are broken by comparing lexicographically the ranks of the cards as they appear in the standard designation of the hand  (based on the elementary order of lone cards  AKQJT98765432).  As all four suits are placed on the same footing in poker, ties may subsist.

Actually, there are only 9 basic types, since the mythical  royal flush  is just the highest-ranking  straight flush  according to the above standard rules  (it's an ace-high straight flush).  Some authors adopt this convention which may be technically better.  So do we, at times.

The Poher Hands
Royal FlushAKQJT in the same suitRoyal flush in spades
Straight FlushSequence in one suitJack-high straight flush
4 of a KindFour like cardsFour deuces
Full HouseThree like cards and a pairJacks full of aces  (i.e., JJJAA)
FlushFive cards in the same suitQueen-high flush [kickers matter]
StraightFive cards in sequenceQueen-high straight
3 of a KindThree like cardsThree deuces
Two PairsTwo pairs of like cardsQueens and nines [with J kicker]
PairTwo like cardsPair of fours [with AJ3 kickers]
High CardNone of the aboveKing-high [with J942 kickers]

There are C(52,5) = 2598960 different poker hands  [count them]  and each of them is dealt with the same probability in the initial round of  draw poker 

The probability of a given type of hands is thus the number of such hands divided by 2598960.  When the probability of something is  x / (x + y),  its so-called  odds  are said to be either  x to y in favor  (a player is said to be an "x to y favorite")  or  y to x against  (a player is then called a "y to x underdog" or a "y to x dog").  The former type of odds is shown in the table below,  where the bold numbers  (10)  within formulas correspond to the number of straights under the standard  single-wheel  rules...

I'd prefer the  full-wheel rule  with  13  straights, if anybody actually played it...  I seem to recall that we used to play  5-card draw  under the no-wheel rule  (with  9  straights)  back in high-school.  That no-wheel rule is commonly used, among several other possibilities, in low poker  (lowball)  where the object of the game is to make the lowest-ranking hand.  That form of lowball is called deuce to seven  (which is the description of the most desirable hand).  No form of lowball is played which exactly reverses the desirability of the standard rankings corresponding to the following table  (single-wheel; 10 straights).

ClassNumber of HandsProbabilityOdds in Favor
Royal FlushC(4,1) C(1,1) 1 / 6497401 to 649739
Straight FlushC(4,1) C(10-1,1) 36 3 / 2165803 to 216577
4 of a KindC(13,1) C(48,1) 624 1 / 41651 to 4164
Full House13 C(4,3) 12 C(4,2) 3744 6 / 41656 to 4159
FlushC(4,1) [C(13,5) - 10] 5108 1277/6497401277 to 648463
StraightC(10,1) (45-4) 10200 5 / 12745 to 1269
3 of a Kind13 C(4,3) C(12,2) 42 54912 88 / 416588 to 4077
Two PairsC(13,2) C(4,2)2 44 123552 198 / 4165198 to 3967
Pair13 C(4,2) C(12,3) 43 1098240 352 / 833352 to 481
High Card(C(13,5)-10) (45-4) 1302540 1277 / 25481277 to 1271
TOTAL C(52,5)2598960 11 to 0

"High Card"  means five singletons not in sequence and not in the same suit.

Let's call  p  the  pip count  of the highest card in such a hand, extended in the usual way to  court cards  (p is 11,12,13,14 for J,Q,K,A respectively).  A  p-high  hand is obtained by selecting 4 different ranks between 2 and p-1 so that straights are avoided and then making any selection of five suits besides the four that are all alike.  This yields the following number of  p-high hands when p is between 5 and 13 included  (in the case of ace-high hands, the bold  1  should be replaced by  2  because there are two disallowed collections of 4 kicker ranks, namely KQJT and 5432).

[ C(p-2,4) - 1 ]  ( 45 - 4 )     except for p=14 (ace-high).

Let's just factor out the second factor   45 - 4  =  1020   to list only small numbers to which the probabilities of the  8  possible named high-card hands are proportional.  (These add up to  C(13,5)-10  =  1277.)

A-highK-highQ-highJ-high 10-high9-high8-high7-high

In Texas hold 'em, the ultimate showdown between three players would be when the winner has a royal flush, the runner-up four aces and the third four kings  (everybody else would have aces and kings).  The probability of this is only  1 in 10,464,946,021,530.  Of course, it's never been reported!

Incredibly though, the two-player equivalent  (royal flush vs. four aces)  was filmed in 2008 during the WSOP main event  (see first link below).  The commentator didn't give the correct probability  (1 in 790 million).

2 in 1,580,330,115 coincidence:  Justin Philips  vs.  Motoyuki Mabushi  (WSOP 2008).
Second greatest suck-out ever filmed:  Jennifer Harman  vs.  Corey Zeidman  (WSOP 2005).
Wikipedia :   List of poker hands   |   Non-standard poker hands

(2013-12-01)   What's the  kicker  in a poker hand?
Straights and fulls don't have a  kicker.  Flushes do.

Within a poker hand  (or, possibly, an  incomplete  poker hand)  the  kicker  is the highest card, if any, which could break a tie between hands of the same name.  If two like hands have the same kicker, lower cards  (lesser kickers)  may be used to break the tie  (second kicker, third kicker and fourth kicker).

Straight flushes, full houses and straights don't have a kicker at all.  Among those hands, there is a tie between all hands that bear the same name.  (E.g., "Jacks full of aces").

In draw poker or stud poker, the hands that are compared always consist of separate collections of cards.  In those games, kickers are never needed for quads or trips.  In games with community cards however, including Texas Hold 'em, the hands of two different players can share cards  (in fact, they always do)  and kickers often play a rôle for those types of hands as well.  For example, if quads are on the board in Texas hold 'em and the fitfth community card is weak, then the kicker will most probably come from the hole cards; whoever has the highest will win...  (In Omaha hold 'em, kickers are never needed for quads but they may play a rôle with trips.)

The kicker of a two-pair hand makes its description complete  (e.g., "Queens and Jacks with an Ace kicker").

For a high-card hand,  the kicker is the second-highest card  (e.g., "Queen-high with a Jack kicker").  Some or all of the remaining three cards could be relevant in a showdown  (second, third and fourth kickers).

Likewise, the kicker in a flush is the second-highest card and the three lesser kickers may help break a tie, if need be.

King-high flush with a Jack kicker :
King-high flush with a Jack kicker, in diamonds

(2013-10-14)   Perfect Poker  =  Mathematician's Poker
A symmetry that would give "deuces or better" one to one odds  exactly.

The above table is for standard rules which allow  10  possible "heights" for a  straight;  The ace belongs to both the highest and lowest straights;  respectively  AKQJT  (broadway)  and  5432A  (wheelbicycle  or  bike).

Two lesser-known nonstandard rules exist:  Under the no-wheel rule,  5432A  isn't a straight at all and the above four bold occurences of  10  should be replaced by  9.  Conversely, under the  full-wheel rule,  3 lower straights are added  (432AK, 32AKQ and 2AKQJ in that order)  and the bold numbers  10  should be replaced by  13.  This changes the respective counts for (non-royal) straight flushes, flushes, staights and "high cards" as follows:

  • 32, 5112,   9180 and 1303540   (no-wheel; 9 different straights).
  • 36, 5108, 10200 and 1302540   (standard; 10 different straights).
  • 48, 5096, 13260 and 1299480   (full-wheel; 13 different straights).
Number of straight flushes which a given card belongs to
Rule for Straights AKQJT 987 65432
No wheel  (9 straights) 1234 55555 4321
Single wheel  (10 straights) 2234 55555 5432
Full wheel  (13 straights) 55555 555 55555

Any mathematician will find the full-wheel rule far more appealing, as it respects a perfect symmetry between the 13 heights within any of the 9 basic poker categories  (lumping royal flushes and straight flushes into the same category).  Heights are merely used as tiebreakers within each category.  Indeed, all probabilities become simpler fractions because of the regularity of this nice symmetrical convention.  The ultimate reduction pertains to the probability of getting at least a pair, which becomes  exactly  1 to 1...

Perfect Poker = Mathematician's Poker   (adopting the full-wheel convention)
ClassNumber of HandsProbabilityOdds in Favor
Royal FlushC(4,1) C(1,1) 1 / 6497401 to 649739
Straight FlushC(4,1) C(13-1,1) 48 1 / 541451 to 54144
4 of a KindC(13,1) C(48,1) 624 1 / 41651 to 4164
Full House13 C(4,3) 12 C(4,2) 3744 6 / 41656 to 4159
FlushC(4,1) [C(13,5) - 13] 5096 1 / 5101 to 509
StraightC(13,1) (45-4) 13260 1 / 1961 to 195
3 of a Kind13 C(4,3) C(12,2) 42 54912 88 / 416588 to 4077
Two PairsC(13,2) C(4,2)2 44 123552 198 / 4165198 to 3967
Pair13 C(4,2) C(12,3) 43 1098240 352 / 833352 to 481
High Card(C(13,5)-13) (45-4) 1299480 1 / 21 to 1
TOTAL C(52,5)2598960 11 to 0

The three "new" type of straights are just  ace-high  in standard poker.  Thus, the probabilities of the 8 possible high-card hands in perfect-poker are proportional to the following numbers  (adding up to  C(13,5)-13  =  1274).

A-highK-highQ-highJ-high 10-high9-high8-high7-high

(2013-09-20)   Poker Chips:  User's Guide  & Buyer's Guide
This is a topic related to, but distinct from,  casino gaming chips.

Gambling with actual coins is possible but presents difficulties.  Pieces of ivory begat the chip.  Printed checks begat the plate.

... / ...

When only three or four chip denominations are used, their values are often in a geometric progression of ratio  4  or 5  (e.g.,  1-5-25 or 1-5-25-100).

The fourth denomination is sometimes used as a  "unit of account", much larger than the other three, for high-limit games.  One example might be  1, 5, 25, 250.  In the televised  Million-Dollar Cash Game  they use  1,5,10,250  (actual denominations are  100, 500, 1000 and 25000).

 Paulson 500000 WSOP poker chip

Large tournaments start with low denominations in the early elimination stages and work up their way to huge denominations in the final table(s).  For visual effects in successive video, they use different denominations which translate in a rainbow of colors from start to finish but, usually, only 3 or 4 of those are used simultaneusly on each table.

The colors are consistent within a tournament, a casino or a set of casinos at a given time but there's little or no overall coordination as the following table will serve to demonstrate.

Some Color-Codes for Poker Chips  (starting with home-use tradition)
denomination Home Million WPT PCA WSOP
1White White White
2  Yellow  
5Red Red Red
10Blue Blue  
20  Grey  
25Green Green Light Green
50Cyan Orange  
100Black PurpleBlack Black
250  Pink  
500PurpleBluePurple Blue
2000  Light Blue  
5000Melon BrownBlueOrange
10 000Pumpkin    
25 000(Mint)Black GreenDark Green
100 000(Lavender)    Lavender
250 000(Beige)    Beige
500 000     Burgundy

Ace Casino $25000 poker chip Pastel high denominations are rare.  A true mint-colored  25000  chip appears in Sun-Fly's Valentino ceramic collection.  Unfortunately, their Lucky Dragon 25000 chip is beige...  At right, is the most affordable  ($0.10)  39 mm chip of that denomination; the brown-rimmed  Ace Casino  chip with laser-graphic.  For home use, denominations beyond 25000 are nowhere to be found.

Commercial poker chips are produced in the following grades:

  • Plastic (ABS):  Cheap undersized lightweight chips  (typ. 1.6 grams).
  • Composite:  Mixture of clay and resin  (d = 1.85).  Typically 8 g.
  • Full Clay:  Compressed clay with a binding agent.  About 9 grams.
  • Ceramic:  Synthetic ceramics, with direct imprint.  About 10 grams.
  • Slugged: Composite clay with a metal insert  (between 11 g and 14 g).

Lightweight plastic chips are only recommended for travelling.  Most experts favor the traditional 9-gram clay chips  ("full clay").  However, the newer composites  (with or without metal inserts)  are cheaper and can withstand more abuse while retaining "nearly" the same feel and sound.  Finally, ceramics are the most durable kind  (the graphics are imprinted on the chip itself, not on a sticker)  at a cost midway between top-notch clay chips and ordinary composites.

In the following table, the "colors" column tells how many of the 12 basic denominations  (0.25,0.5,1,5,10,25,50,100,500,1000,5000,10000)  are available in the colors listed above.  The "+" sign indicates that other colors are offered in addition to those  (or instead of them).  Prices are listed for a single chip to allow comparisons, although you may have to buy a whole pack  (usually, 25 chips)  to get that price.

Gaming chips  (including, at least,  $1, $5, $25 and $100)
BrandLineColors MassPriceNotes
BicycleRed, White & Blue
other colored radials
10  2.0 g $0.06
BicycleTournament4  7.8 g $0.15 Bicycle logo
BryBelly2-stripe Twist10  7.8 g $0.08 no words
Da VinciStraight Flush
11.7 g $0.08 denominated
BryBbellyYin Yang1013.2 g $0.09 no words
Ace Casino10+113.2 g $0.09 $1 to $25000
Black Diamond10+113.2 g $0.09 25¢ to $5000
Desert Heat
Bluff Canyon
Gold Rush
1213.5 g $0.16 Same mold, colors
and stripes.
Different stickers
Claysmith Rock and Roll
Mint triangle & Stick
1213.5 g $0.16 Same mold, colors
and stripes.
Different stickers
 King's Casino1213.6 g $0.12 40.1 mm diameter
 Crown9(13½) $0.14  
 Monaco10+213.5 g $0.14 10-50 color swap
 Monte Carlo1014.0 g $0.18 glitter ring
ClaysmithMilano12  9.5 g $0.31 small print spell out
 Scroll Ceramic8  9.6 g $0.38 English spell-out
ChipCoRounders Casino7+(10 g) $0.95 Ceramics

The lightweight interlocking  radial  poker chips were once virtually the only ones available for home use.  They came in only three colors, without denominations,  universally interpreted as white for 1, red for 5 and blue for 10  (mirroring the lowest denominations in US coins; pennies, nickels and dimes).  Due to the interlocking features, a stack of N of these has a height of about  (1.9 N + 0.2) milimeters  (for the Bicycle brand)  they weigh only  1.6 g  each for a diameter of  38.1 mm  (compared to a nominal diameter of  39.4 mm  for standard casino chips).  The effective volume  (2.1 cc)  is about half the volume  (4.2 cc)  of typical casino chips.  Having a density of  0.76,  ABS chips float in water.

Chips of that type are now available in the full "standard" spectrum made popular by other types of poker chips:  brown (0.25), dark grey (0.5), white (1), red (5), blue(10), green (25), black (100), purple (500), yellow (1000), orange (10000) and pink (either 2.50 or 5000).  At this writing, this leaves out only the need for a darker shade of pink for an unambiguous 5000, and light-blue (or cyan) for 50.

Beyond that are the various grades of full-sized poker chips, inspired by standard  39 mm casino chips (the nominal diameter is sometimes quoted as 39.4 mm, the thickness is 3.4 mm, the volume is 4.1 cc or 4.2 cc).

The first mass-produced full-sized poker chips for home-use were the premium bicycle chips  (7.8 g)  the suited  design marketed by Wal-Mart and the  Da Vinci striped dice  chips.  The latter feature the 6 possible dice pips close to the rim between squarish white stripes  (blue stripes for the white chip)  which wrap around to the other side  (it was the first time a chip intended for home use had any kind of edge stripe mimicking those found on casino chips).  None of the above have imprinted denominations.

In the Fall of 2003, an amateur  (Chris Moneymaker)  grabbed the most prestigious title in the world of poker  (the WSOP "main event" in Texas hold 'hem).  This grabbed the imagination of the public who suddenly became interested in home poker tournaments and  serious  poker chips, ressembling casino chips, to make them more glamorous.  Traditional makers of casino chips could only fill the upper-end of that new market with overpriced pieces.

New companies jumped in and began to provide quality chips at a more reasonnable price level  (see article by Jeffrey Smith, who helped create Claysmith in 2003 and Brybelly in 2004).

Here are reviews of some lines of poker chips currently available for home use, as tabulated above:

The  2-Stripe Twist  line is one of the best deals around at $0.08 per chip.  Those chips have exactly the same weight as the original premium ("tournament") Bicycle chips  (7.8 g, which is about 20% less than casino clay chips).  You get a small stack of these for what you'd pay for a single Paulson clay chip.  The graphic design has no wording besides the denomination in large black numbers  (without  a dollar symbol, which is an annoying habit in most other denominated chip lines).  The color scheme is nice, except for the 10 and 50 denominations which come in the same shade of blue with the same yellow stripes, which makes is risky to use both denominations on the table  (which is of little concern to me, as don't care for  either  of those marginal denominations, anyway).

The loaded  (13.2 g)  Yin Yang  line is also an excellent deal.  I am partial to the nifty design which includes no wording and no currency symbol.  This is the type I have selected for my own use.  The only thing I don't like about those chips is the lack of contrast between the 100 and 500 denominations  (the former is black, the latter is a very dark shade of purple).  I have chosen to discard the 10 and 50 denominations and to supplement my basic set with a dozen of the  above  25000  Ace Casino  chips which are made by the same manufacturer  (with identical rims).

The  Scroll Ceramic  line is missing  only 4  non-essential denominations  ($0.25, $10, $50 and $10000).  The color coding of the rest is flawless.  This makes it a perfect candidate to be supplemented by just two off-brand plaques:  $25,000  (mint)  &100,000  (lavender).  Those could be issued for re-buys by obtaining a color-cange from the chip leaders...

History of Poker Chips   (pokerlistings.com)   |   Standard Poker Chip Denominations  by  Erik Arneson.
Poker Chips Guide   at  Poker777
Poker Chip Sizes   39 mm vs. 40 mm   (buypokerchips.com)
Clay vs. Composite   (pokernstuff.com)
Best Poker Chips   by  Marc Gottlieb
Wikipedia :   Casino Token
Poker Chip Reviews :   Home Poker Tourney
Damage Tests :   Crown Wheatear  |  Dice  |  Gold Rush  |  Milano  | 
Manufacturers :   Sun-Fly, China (Apollon Chips):  Ravenor (classic & tournament)  etc.
Multi-Brand Chips Retailers :   Poker Gaming Products   |   Spinettis   |   Kardwell   |   Discount Casino Gear   |   PokerChips.com   |   Poker Direct   |   Pokchips (UK, France)   |   Straight Poker Supplies (Tonronto, ON)   |   Outplay Poker   |   Anerican Gaming Supply   |   OpenTip.com   |   Vegas Supplies and Gifts   |   Poker Chips Wholesale   |   Casino Supply
Custom Poker Chips :   Sidepot   |  

(2013-10-21)   Breakout of a set of poker chips
What's the best composition of a set of chips with several denominations?

A typical set of 1000 chips for home tournaments might include:  300 white chips (1),  200 reds (5),  200 greens (25),  200 blacks (100),  50 purples (500),  and 50 yellows (1000).  What's the pattern here?  What would be the most satisfying breakout?

I own a set of 324 poker chips with 9 different denominations, from 1 to 25000.  The number of chips of every denomination is a whole number of dozens.  Thus, the chips can be distributed evenly among 1,2,3,4,6 or 12 players.  For other numbers of players, the simplest number to distribute the chips at the beginning of the game is to leave a few of them in the bank so that the rest is evenly divisible by the number of players.  The following table shows how many chips of each denomination this method assigns to every player, as a function of the total number of players:

White1 9648322419161312109
Red5 48241612986654
Green25 48241612986654
Black100 48241612986654
Purple500 241286443322
Yellow1000 241286443322
Melon5000 12643221111
Pumpkin10000 12643221111
Brown25000 12643221111

The total face values of the chips is  522336.  In the case of 5 players, the naive scheme illustrated by the above table will assign 60 chips to every player for a total value of:

19 + 9 (5+25+100) + 4 (500+1000) + 2 (5000+10000+25000)   =   87189

The value of the  300  chips in play is five times that  (435945).  The 24 leftover chips have a value of 86381.  Can we waste less than that and distribute the leftover among the players?

Yes, we can.  We must leave  $1  in the bank  (since 522336 isn't divisible by 5)  but we can distribute the rest evenly among the 5 players in several ways.  None of them is trivial.  The following table illustrates one of them:

Splitting the above set of chips (minus $1) evenly among 5 players : A,B,C,D,E
White1 9617171722221
Red5 48101010990
Green25 4812128880
Black100 48111112770
Purple500 24662550
Yellow1000 24552660
Melon5000 12332220
Pumpkin10000 12334110
Brown25000 12222330
Every player gets 104467  OK  OK  OK  

(2015-05-15)   2013  NBC National Heads Up Poker Championship
Accelerated structure sheet of  NBC Heads Up  at Caesar's Palace.

This invitational tournament had a  $25000  buy-in.  Each player started round one with  25000,  in chips of  3  denominations  (25, 100, 500).

The field of 64 is divided into 4 brackets  (Spades, Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds)  of 16 players, with 8 matches taking place at once.  Only the winner of a match advances to the next round.  The winner is decided among the last two players in "best of three" matches  (the starting stack being reset to 800k at the beginning of each of those matches).

Only three or four different chip denominations are in play at a time, according to the following detailed  structure sheet :

Round of ... 643216842
Blinds 150
Starting Stack 25k50k100k200k400k800k
Green & Red25   
Grey & Pink100   50  
White & Purple500   30   
Yellow & Green1 k    20   
Orange & Purple5 k   12   
Yellow & Black25 k     
Money  (750k to the winner) 25k50k 100k300k

The total prize money of 1650k exceeds by 50k the buy-in fees collected from the 64 participants (25k each).  NBC paid for that difference.

1:Spades  |  2:Hearts  |  3:Clubs  |  4:Diamonds  |  5:Blacks  |  6:Reds  |  7/ 8: Round of 16  |  12:Final

(2013-12-30)   Handling Poker Chips
Counting chips.  Betting with chips.

Chips are counted by heaps of five.  Four such heaps form a proper stack  (20 chips of the same denomination).  Avoid  dirty stacks  (including at least one chip of another denomination)  or  barber poles  (several stacks of different denominations intentionally put on top of each other).  Both of these can be illegal in some clubs.

It's acceptable to put incomplete stacks on top of two stacks of equal height  (preferably of 20 or 40 chips of the same denomination).

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How to count poker chips   |   How to stack poker chips   |   Poker etiquette   |   Betting with chips

(2013-09-28)   Poker Chip Tricks
Fidgeting like a pro is part of the intimidation...

In almost any video of high-stakes poker, there are silent moments where you hear only one noise, produced continuously by several players around the table:  The characteristic clicking produced by chip shuffling  (also called riffling).  It's almost as if you can't enter a poker tournament unless your fingers are trained to do this move, which is the most popular and possibly the easiest of all  chip tricks.

The butterfly  is called the "coin star" in magic circles  (tutorial by Rich Ferguson).

The muscle pass of John Cornelius.  It's hard and it hurts.

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Pocker Chip Tricksfinger flip, thumb flip, jumping bean, knuckle roll, shuffle (riffle), twirl.

Chip Trick Secrets (video)  by  "The Magician" Antonio Esfandiari (born "Amir" in Iran, 1978) [ bio 1 | bio 2 ]
Riffling videos :   Rich Ferguson   |   ePokerVideo   |   Break   |   IFP   |   24 chips

 Seven-Card Stud
(2013-11-17)   Seven-card Stud
"Down the River"  was the most popular form of poker before the rise of NLHE and PLO.

In seven-card stud poker, there are neither blind bets nor community cards.  The cards dealt to each player are for his own use only.  However, all but two of those  (the  hole cards)  are dealt face-up for everyone to see.

Initially. everyone posts an ante bet and every player is dealt two hole cards and one face-up card.  The player with the lowest face-up card is required to start a standard round of betting by wagering at least the minimum agreed upon ahead of time.  This forced wager is called a  bring-in  bet.

Players who fold put all their cards into the muck.  It up to the remaining player to remember what up-cards were thus taken out of play.  As the rest of the game unfolds, that information can be critical.

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How to Play 7-Card Stud Poker
Down the River   |   Eight-card Stud   |   Nine-card Stud   |   Ten-card Stud
7-stud videos at the 2004 WSOP :   1   |   2   |   3   |   4   |   5

(2013-09-22)   Seven-Card Combos
A combo has the same value as the best 5-card poker hand it contains.

In several variants of poker, including  7-card stud  and  Texas hold 'em,  your final hand is the best 5-card poker hand that can be extracted from 7 randomly-dealt cards.  In that case, the probability of finally obtaining each type of poker hand is given by the following table:

Best (5-card) poker hands extracted from 7 random cards
Royal Flush 4324  1 in 309401 to 30939
Straight Flush 37260  81 / 29083681 to 290755
4 of a Kind 224848  1 / 5951 to 594
Full House 3473184  726 / 27965726 to 27239
Flush 4047644  1011911 / 334461401011911 to 32434229
Straight 6180020  44143 / 95560444143 to 911461
3 of a Kind 6461620  14047 / 29083614047 to 276789
Two Pairs 31433400  785835 / 3344614785835 to 2558779
Pair 58627800  4455 / 101664455 to 5711
High Card 23294460  166389 / 955604166389 to 789215
Total:  C(52,7) 133784560  11 to 0

A royal flush is thus 21 times more frequent if you have 7 cards to choose from, instead of just 5.  You get less than a pair with probability  17.41%.

Enumerating Flushes :

The enumeration of the various kinds of flushes demonstrates the delicate computations involved in building the above table, using choice numbers:

We first remark that there are four times as many flushes as there are  spade  flushes  (that wouldn't be true if we had at least 10 cards to choose from, as we could have then have several flushes in different suits and would need to use inclusion-exclusion enumeration.)  So, let's just count the spade flushes...

The number of ways to have at least 5 spades among 7 cards is:

C(13,5) C(52-13,2)  +  C(13,6) C(52-13,1)  +  C(13,7)   =   1022307

Among those, the number of straight flushes  (including royal flushes)  is:

10 C(52-13,2)  +  71 C(52-13,1)  +  217   =   10396

Among those straight flushes, the number of  (spade)  royal flushes is:

C(52-13,2)  +  C(13-5,1) C(52-13,1)  +  C(13-5,2)   =   1081

The last two results, multiplied by 4, give us directly the tabulated numbers of royal flushes and other straight flushes, respectively:

4 (1081)   =   4324   OK       and       4 (10396 - 1081)   =   37260   OK

Now, there are no fulls or quads among the 1022307 combos of 7 cards which include at least 5 spades.  Therefore, they are all tallied as spade flushes unless they contain a straight flush and the total number of 7-card combos that make a flush is, as tabulated:

4 (1022307 - 10396)   =   4047644   OK

Enumerating Straights :

A 7-card combo is tallied as a straight when it contains a sequence of at least five consecutive ranks, provided the most common suit occurs less than five times.  This can be achieved in the four distinct ways listed below.  Each of those leads to a different way to count the allowed repartitions of suits:

  • 3372180 combos of 7 singletons containing a straight but no flush:
    217 [ 47 - 4 C(7,5) 32 - 4 C(7,6) 3 - 4 C(7,7) ]   =   3372180
  • 2530440 combos of a pair and 5 singletons, likewise restricted:
    71  C(6,1)  C(4,2)  [ 45 - C(2,1) {C(5,4)3 + C(5,5)} - C(4-2,1) ]
  • Two pairs and 3 singletons, containing a straight but no flush:
    10 C(5,2)  [ C(4,2)2 43 - 4 3]   =   226800
  • Three-of-a-kind and 4 singletons, containing a straight but no flush:
    10 C(5,1) C(4,3)  [ 44 - C(3,1) ]   =   50600

This adds up to  3372180 + 2530440 + 226800 + 50600  =  6180020   OK

The Remaining Enumerations :

The number of 7-cards combos with  quads  in them is obtained by multiplying the 13 ways of picking four like cards into the number of ways to pick three other cards from the rest of the deck:

C(13,1) C(52-4,7-4)  =  224848   OK

full house  is obtained in one of three ways:

  • A set, a pair, two singletons:
    C(13,1) C(4,3) C(13-1,1) C(4,2) C(13-2,1) C(4,1)2  =  3294720
  • A set, two pairs:  C(13,1) C(4,3) C(13-1,2) C(4,2) C(4,1)2  =  123552
  • Two sets, a singleton:  C(13,2) C(4,3)2 C(52-8,7-6)  =  54912

This adds up to  3294720 + 123552 + 54912  =  3473184   OK

Three of a kind  can only be extracted from a combo consisting of a set and four singletons forming neither a straight nor a flush.  A proper choice of the suits is obtained by first picking 3 suits for the set and, then, any suits for the singletons  except  a single suit present in the set.  The tally is thus:

(C(13,5)-10)  C(5,1)  C(4,3)  [ 44 - C(3,1) ]   =   6461620   OK

Two-pair  hands come from only two types of 7-card combos, namely:

  • Three pairs and a singleton:
    C(13,3) C(4,2)3 C(52-12,7-6)  =  2471040
  • Two pairs and three singletons forming neither a straight nor a flush: (C(13,5)-10) C(5,2)  [ C(4,2)2 43 - 4 C(4-1,2)]   =   28962360

This adds up to  2471040 + 28962360  =  31433400   OK

To form a 7-card hand which amounts to a  pair, you first choose a collection of 6 ranks besides the 71 in which there's a straight.  Then, you choose one of those six as the rank of the pair and pick 2 suits for the pair.  Last, you choose 5 suits for the singletons by avoiding having either at least 4 singleton matching a suit from the pair or 5 singletons of the same suit not represented in the pair:

(C(13,6)-71)  C(6,1)  C(4,2)  [ 45 - C(2,1) {C(5,4)3 + C(5,5)} - C(4-2,1) ]

As advertised in the above table, this boils down to  58627800   OK

Finally, the  other  7-card combos  (which contain neither several cards of the same rank nor straights nor flushes)  are obtained by selecting 7 distinct ranks besides the 217 which form a straight and then assigning suits to those in such a way that five cards never belong to the same suit,  The choices of the latter kind correspond to the square bracket below  (where the three negative terms tally combos with 5, 6 or 7 cards of the dominant suit):

(C(13,7)-217)  [ 47 - 4 C(7,5) 32 - 4 C(7,6) 3 - 4 C(7,7) ]   =   23294460   OK

That's the difference between C(52,7) and the sum of all previous tallies.  QED

Why do good poker variants involve 7 cards ?

With 5, 6 or 7 cards to choose from, the same basic hierarchy is respected.

Not so with 8 cards or more, where 3-of-a-kind becomes rarer than a full-house.  With 9 cards or more to select from, one pair is rarer than two pairs.

Among 11 cards, it's almost impossible to have less than a pair  (the actual probability is  0.00003824...) with 12 cards it's actually  impossible.

7-card poker hands  by  Brian Alspach  (2000)   |   A002879   |   Wikipedia :   Seven-card stud.

(2013-10-12)   Betting Rules
Folding, checking, calling and raising.  Limit, pot-limit and no-limit.

There are two type of forced bets:

  • The  ante  (from the Latin word for "before")  is a wager that all players are required to make, before any cards are dealt, for the priviledge to play a hand.  The amount of the ante is set by the organizer of the game  (the host, the house, the casino)  and it can be zero  (in poker, it often is).
  • The  blinds  which must be posted by the player to the left of the dealer button  (big blind)  and the next one  (small blind)  "blindly", regardless of their cards  (hence the name).  The small blind is usually at most half of the big blind (BB) but it's up to the organizer to determine the values of the blinds ahead of time...  For example, in a low-stake game played with whole denominations chips, the big blind could be $5 and the small blind could be $2.  On the first round of betting, the minimum bet for the player in the small blind position is the difference between the big blind and the small blind.

Thereafter, the basic choice is always to fold or to bet.  To fold is to give up entirely without putting any more money at risk but without the possibility of winning anything.  In certain circumstances, the minimum bet is zero and taking that opportunity of a zero bet is called  checking.  You stay in the game for free, so to speak.  It usually males no sense to fold if you can check, unless you absolutely want to avoid revealing the hand you were dealt  (presumably a weak one which almost certainly can't win).  If you fold  (or if you win because everybody else has folded)  you don't have to reveal you hand.  Showing your hand is a valuable piece of information for skilled opponents and it can be a good idea not to do that in certain cases, even if it means "foolishly" giving up a tiny chance at winning the pot.

A betting round always proceeds clockwise around the table, giving every player an opportuniy to call, raise or fold until everybody who didn't fold has bet the same amount.

The first betting starts in different ways depending on the poker variant.  In seven-card studs, it starts with whoever has the lowest up-card.  In hold'em poker  (Texas or Omaha variants)  every round starts with the player to the left of the dealer button  (which indicates the nominal dealer, who doesn't do any actual dealing if a professional dealer is on duty).  However, in the first round only, that player is  required  to post one "big blind" before receiving any cards and the next player must likewise post one "small blind"  (usually equal to half of the big blind).  After everyone has spoken, those two players get a chance to call or raise the previous player by deducted from the amount the owe the amount that they've already payed "blindly".

In subsequent rounds, "checking" is allowed  (which is effectively betting or calling a zero amount)  until somebody actually bets something.

In a betting round, wagers can only increase.  After the first nonzero bet  (see  checking, as discussed above)  betting is called either  calling  (when waging an amount equal to the previous bet)  or  raising  (when the wager is greater than the previous bet).  The usual rules impose that a raise must be at least twice the amount of the previous bet.

When a betting round ends with a call, the game proceeds with the next stage  (either more cards are dealt or the final showdown occurs where actual hands are compared).  Otherwise, another round of betting occurs, starting with a minimum bet of zero  (which is to say that players are allowed to "check" until one of them "bets").

Examples of Uniform Starting Stack Sizes and Final Tables
AnteSmall BlindBig BlindBuy-inStack / BB
Free Online "Cash" Game 012500250
WSOP (Las Vegas) Initial 0255010000200
WSOP (Asia-Pacific) Final 50002500050000  

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Betting in Poker  (Wikipedia)   |   Betting Rules  (pokerlisting.com)

Continued on  Part 2


Poker Jargon
Poker terms, classified by topic.

The poker subculture has its own vocabulary.  Some of it is technical jargon for key aspects of the game.  The rest is simply colorful lingo used for its entertainment value.  Below is most of the former and some of the latter.  This is still a work in progress...

 Come back later, we're
 still working on this one...

Naming Single Cards :

  • Bullet :  Ace (A).
  • Cowboy :  King (K).
  • Lady :  Queen (Q).
  • Fishhook :  Jack  (J).  Because of the J-shape and its appeal to fish.
  • Paint :  King, Queen or Jack.
  • Dime :  10, ten  (T).
  • Niner, neener :  9.
  • Snowman :  8.
  • Cane, walking stick :  7.
  • Sax :  6.
  • Nickel :  5.
  • Sailboat :  4.
  • Trey, crab :  3.
  • Deuce, duck :  2.
  • Rag :  An unspecified card lower than 9  (as in "Ace-rag pocket").

Start hands in Texas Hold 'em  (2 hole cards):

  • Pocket :  The two face-down cards dealt to a player  (Texas hold 'em).
  • Pocket Pair :  Two matching hole cards.
  • Suited : Said of two cards belonging to the same suit.
  • Off-suit, unsuited :  Qualifier for two cards in different suits.
  • Premium hands :  AA, KK, QQ, JJ and AK-suited.
  • Suited connectors :  Two consecutive cards in the same suit.
  • Gappers :  Two non-consecutive cards belonging to the same straight.
  • Big slick:  Ace-King.
  • Big ace :  A-K or A-Q.
  • Ace-rag, ace-little, weak ace :  An ace and a lower card  (below 9).
  • Computer hand :   Q-7 off-suit  wins 49.9% of heads-up showdowns.
  • 9-5 :  Dolly Parton  ("Nine to Five"  movie/song).
  • 10-4 :   Highway-patrol  (overused substitute for OK in radio talk).
  • Hard Eight :  4-4  (this dice throw in craps is called "8, the hard way").
  • Lucky hand, Fate hand, Favorite hand :  A modest 2-card starting hand that a player feels a superstitious attraction to  (e.g., Ace-4 of diamonds).

Start hands in Omaha Hold 'em  (4 hole cards):

  • Pocket :  The four face-down cards dealt to a player  (Omaha hold 'em).
  • All-suited, full-suited, fully suited, quad-suited : 4 cards in one suit.
  • Triple-suited, tri-suited : 3 cards in one suit, the last in another.
  • Double-suited : Two cards in one suit and two cards in another.
  • Single-suited : Two cards in one suit and two cards in two other suits.
  • Unsuited, rainbow : All four cards in different suits.

Naming  (5-card)  Poker Hands:

  • Royal Flush :  The highest hand  (ace-high straight flush).
  • Quads :  Four of a kind  (e.g., 4 aces = quad' aces = AAAAx).
  • Boat :  Full house  (e.g., "jacks full of sixes" JJJ66).
  • Big Full :  Full house where the set is higher than the pair  (JJJ66).
  • Underfull :  Full house where the set is lower than the pair  (666JJ).
  • Broadway :  The highest-ranking straight, namely  AKQJT.
  • Wheel, Bicycle, Bike :  The lowest-ranking straight, namely  5432A.
  • Set, trips :  3 of a kind  (3 queens = trip' queens = set of queens).
  • Blaze :  Two-pair hand with only face cards  (KKQQJ, KKJJQ, QQJJK).
  • Kicker :  Highest tie-breaking card  (between like-named hands).

General Organization & House Rules :

  • On the felt :  Live game, as opposed to "online".
  • Player :  Someone who has been dealt cards in a hand.
  • Calling the clock :  Upon request of any player, the organizers must force a player to make a decision within one minute  (sometimes, 30 s or 90 s).  This is usually automatic  (without the need for a player request)  in online games.
  • Railbird :  A spectator  (not a player)  behind an actual rail or not.
  • Heads-up :  A game of poker played between only two players.
  • n-handed game :  A game between  n  players.
  • Ring game, full-ring game :  A 10-handed game.
  • Full table :  A 9-handed game.
  • Short table :  5 players or less.
  • SNG :  "Sit-and-go" single-table tournament.
  • Satellite :  Low-fee competition for free admission into another tournament.
  • Buy-in :  The initial purchase of chips to participate in a tournament.
  • Re-buy :  Purchase of chips to re-enter a multiple-table tournament after elimination at an early stage  (or to replenish one's stack in a cash game).  Compulsory re-buys take the form of lammers.
  • Bubble :  The set of finalists who are  not  awarded any prize money.
  • In the money (ITM) :  Tournament winners sharing the prize money.
  • Big Blind :  The amount that the person left of the dealer must wager before cards are dealt.  Often used as a unit  (BB)  to measure stacks.
  • Splashing the Pot :  The impolite practice of throwing chips instead of pushing them neatly in stacks.
  • Small Blind :  The amount that the second person to the dealer's left must wager  "blindly",  before cards are dealt.  It's normally about  half  of the  big blind  (the organizer of the game must specify that).
  • Ante :  The wager which everybody must put into the pot before cards are dealt.  The organizer may set the ante to zero  (and often does).
  • Rake :  The house's take, off every pot  (e.g.,  10% up to $4).
  • Pot bonus :  Reverse rake, put by the house into the pot to encourage play.
  • Dead chips :  Statutory contributions to the pot  (bonus, blinds, ante).
  • Straddle :  By posting twice the big blind before cards are dealt, the player under the gun gets last preflop action  (Nevada, Atlantic City).
  • No-wheel :  Nonstandard house-rule disallowing  5432A  as a straight.
  • Full-wheel :  Rule whereby  432AK,  32AKQ  &  2AKQJ  are straights.
  • Seven-deuce rule :  Every player gives a bonus to a winner with  7-2.
  • One-orbit penalty :  Sitting out until the button returns to the same place.
  • One-chip rule :  A single-chip bet isn't a raise  unless  otherwise stated.
  • Color up :  Exchange chips for higher denominations  (e.g., for the next stage of a tournament).

Positions (clockwise) around the table :

  • Button :  The marker put in front of the player reputed to deal the cards.
  • Position :  A player's location, with respect to the dealer button.
  • On the Button :  The position of the dealer  (the strongest spot).
  • Dead Button :  The button marks the spot of someone who's just left.
  • Under the Gun :  The third spot left of the dealer  (after both blinds).
  • Under the Gun Plus One :  The fourth spot  (UTG+1).
  • Cutoff:  The position to the  right  of the dealer.
  • Hijack position :  The position to the  right  of the cutoff.
  • In position : 
  • Out of position : 

Psychology & Superstition :

  • Card-dead :  Qualifies a player who believe he can't get good cards.
  • Cold deck, cooler : 
  • Tells :  Involuntary reactions to the cards a player is dealt.
  • Reads :  Interpretations of the tells to put a player on a hand.
  • Level :  (Noun)  A ruse.  (Verb)  To outsmart.
  • Leveling War :  "He knows that I know that he knows, etc."
  • White Magic :  The black art of reading opponents.   [Phil Hellmuth]
  • Tilt (emotional state) :  Reckless play by someone who is upset.
  • Hollywooding :  Adopting a fake composure to mislead opponents.
  • Slowroll :  Delayed disclosure of the winning hand  (rude & useless).
  • Showboating :  Revealing hole cards after a successfull bluff.
  • Putting a player on a hand :  Guessing the hand of a player.
  • One-Time :  The overused joke of asking the gods of poker to grant you luck just for once  ("let me use my one-time now").
  • Fubar, foobar :  F...ed up beyond all recognition.
  • Fugazi :  F...ed up, got ambushed, zipped in [a body bag].

Money Management & Betting Strategy :

  • Stack :  The value of all the chips in front of a player,  who can wager nothing beyond that on the next hand  (in a "cash game" he may be allowed to "buy in" more chips from the organizer before the start of the next play).  Chips can't be taken out of play from the stack unless the player leaves the table early  (as is only allowed in cash games).
  • Chip leader :  Player with the most chips  (in tournament or table).
  • Short stack :  The player with the fewest chips.
  • Lammer :  A special token indicating a specific player priviledge.  In some tournaments, one or two lammers are given along the starting stack.  They can be used to reload  (for a predetermined equivalent in regular tournament chips)  at any time between hands, during the initial stages.  A lammer cannot be wagered directly and is not at risk during a hand.  Two lammers would thus enable a player to all-in twice and still be alive  (all lammers must be redeemed before the later stages of the tournament).  The prizes for a satellite may be awarded in the form of  lammers  redeemable for the buy-in of the main tournament.

Stages of the Game  &  Outcomes:

  • Muck :  The pile of discarded cards  (to muck = to fold).
  • Preflop :  The betting round before any community cards are dealt.
  • Board :  The community cards dealt so far  (flop, turn and river in Hold'em).
  • Flop :  The first three cards of the community hand  (Hold'em).
  • To flop :  To obtain after the first three community cards are revealed.
  • Turn :  The fourth community card.  Fourth street.  (Hold'em)
  • River ("torrent") :  The last community card.  Fifth street.  (Hold'em)
  • Rainbow Flop :  Flop consisting of three cards from different suits.
  • Flush draw :  Four cards of the same suit, before the river is drawn.
  • Straight draw :  Incomplete straight  (either gut shot or open-ender).
  • Up-and-down straight draw :  Four consecutive cards, without an ace.
  • Gut shot :  Inside straight draw  (also used for AKQJ or 432A).
  • Broadway draw :  An ace and three of the four cards K, Q, J, T.
  • Wheel draw :  An ace and three of the four cards 5, 4, 3, 2.
  • Double belly buster :  Double-gap straight draw  (e.g., KJT97, AKJT87).
  • Board pairing :  Two matching cards among the community cards.
  • Paired board :  Community cards with a pair among them.
  • Overpair :  A pocket pair higher than any card on the board.
  • Underpair :  A pocket pair lower than any card on the board.
  • Overcard :  A hole card higher than the highest card on the board.
  • Top Pair :  A hole card matching the highest card on the board.
  • Bottom Pair :  A hole card matching the lowest card on the board.
  • Middle Pair :  A hole card matching a board card neither lowest nor highest.
  • Top Set :  A pocket pair matching the highest card on the board.
  • Bottom Set :  A pocket pair matching the lowest card on the board.
  • Middle Set :  A pocket pair matching a board card neither low nor high.
  • Rolled-up :  Involving the three down cards  (in 7-card stud).
  • Outs :  Undealt cards which would improve the status of a hand.
  • Scare cards : 
  • Textured Board : 
  • Dry Board : 
  • Wet Board : 
  • Wrap :  (Omaha hold 'em).
  • Air :  Community or hole cards which have no tangible value.
  • Brick, blank :  A community card which doesn't help any player or a hole card which doesn't help its owner.
  • To brick, to brick out :  To miss, to fail for lack of hits.
  • Gin Card :  A community card which completes the winning hand.
  • Runner-runner, backdoor :  Hand made with  both  turn and river.
  • Running spades, running sevens, etc. :  Turn and river completing a hand.
  • Suck-Out :  A lucky draw which turns a weak hand into a winner.
  • Bad Beat :  A loss occuring despite sound play  (cf. suck-out).
  • Showdown :  Final comparison of hands which haven't been folded.
  • Flop the big hand :  Show the winning hand at showdown time.
  • Side Pot :  Settles a showdown when some players are all-in.
  • Odd chip :  In a split pot, a chip is awarded if it can't be divided.
  • Running it Twice (or more) :  A gentleman's agreement whereby the remaining community cards are dealt twice or more, after all betting has ceased.  The winners of every deal get equal portions of the pot.

Betting :

  • Chip :  Gaming token, often standing for a definite amount of money.
  • Action :  Either the act of betting or the amount so wagered.
  • Pot :  The aggregate of all chips put in play at some point in time.
  • Squeeze Play :
  • Covering :  Betting at least as much as a previous bettor in the round.
  • Refund :  The uncovered part of a bet is refunded.
  • To fold, to pass, to lay down :  To give up the hand entirely.
  • Check :  Bet no additional amount on one's turn  (without folding).
  • Check-raise :  Raise after having checked in the same betting round.
  • Check-fold :  In online play, a preset decision to fold if anybody bets.
  • Value bet :
  • Thin value bet :
  • Bluffing :  Pretending to have a stronger hand to make opponents fold.
  • Representing a hand:  Bluffing with that  (strong)  hand in mind.
  • Float :  A bluffing bet meant to steal the pot on a later round.
  • Semi-Bluff :  Bluffing with a hand having an outside chance to win.
  • To Call :  To wager the same as the previous player in the round.
  • Flat call :  An emphatic way to describe a call, as opposed to a raise.
  • Instacall :  Call immediately  (with little or no time delay).
  • Raise :  To "raise it", one must post at least twice the last bet wagered.
  • Instaraise :  Raise immediately  (with little or no time delay).
  • Reraising, going over the top [of someone] :  Raising after someone's raise.
  • Three-betting :  Raising after someone else's reraise.
  • Four-betting :  Raising after someone else's three-bet.
  • Overbet :
  • 5p Gunning (UK) :  Overbetting to secure a very meager pot.
  • To push all in, to be all-in :  To wager one's entire stack, either agressively or to stay "in the pot" till showdown  [standing up].
  • To shove :  To push all in.
  • Slow play, sandbag :  Downplay a strong hand to induce betting.
  • Three-betting :  Putting in the second raise in a round  (three-bet).
  • Polarized range :  Betting heavily on either very weak or very strong hands.
  • C-bet, continuation bet :  A preflop raiser bets the flop instead of checking.
  • Donk bet :  Turn bet into the preflop raiser out of position.
  • Loose and tight play : Measured by one's VPIP  and  PFR ratios.
  • Playing solid :
  • PFR :  Pre-Flop Raise.  Percentage of hands one raises pre-flop.
  • VPIP :  Voluntarily put in pot.  Percentage of calls or raises pre-flop.
  • Small-ball:  Stack increase with low-risk post-flop play.
  • Position awareness :
  • Chase :  A player with fewer chips chases whoever has more chips.
  • Limping :  Calling with a strong hand, instead of raising  (cf. slow play).
  • Grinding : 
  • Bluffing into a dry side-pot :  Don't do that!
  • The nuts (the "Brazils") :  Unbeatable hole cards for a given board
  • Second-nuts :  Two hole-cards that can only lose against the  nut hand.
  • Nut :  Adjective  (nut hand = the nuts).  E.g., nut flush draw, nut straight...
  • Monster :  A very strong hand.
  • Free pass :
  • Checking-behind :  Checking after all other players have checked as well.
  • Free card :  Risk-free access to the next card(s) on the board.
  • Connect :  The flop and the hole-cards make a decent hand  (or draw).
  • Playing the board :  Hole cards don't improve upon the 5 community cards  (it's a tie, at best).
  • Perfect range play :
  • Hero play :
  • To  felt  a player is to take all his chips  (leaving bare felt).
  • Pot odds & Implied Odds:
  • To Fish:  To chase draws with a weak hand, even when facing aggressive players.
  • Donk, Donkey, Fish :  A weak player.
  • A-Fish, agrafish, agressive fish :
  • P-Fish, pacifish, passifish, passive fish :
  • Coin station :
  • Rounder :  An expert who makes the round of high-stakes games.
  • Maniac :  Agressive player who plays most hands and raises a lot.
  • Pot-committed : 
  • Stealing blinds :  Making everyone fold when only blinds are at stake.
  • Isolate the Limper:  Break someone's slow play with a hefty wager.
  • Showdown value :
  • Equity :
  • Fold equity :
  • Setting a fair line :

Chat Abbreviations in Online Poker :

  • hi :  Greetings.
  • nh :  Nice hand  (a graceful way to condede).
  • vnh, gh, n1, g1 :  Very nice hand, great hand, nice one, great one.
  • ty, thx, tx :  Thank you, thanks.
  • yw, yvw :  You're welcome, you're very welcome.
  • tc :  Take Care  (saying goodbye to someone who's leaving).
  • str8 :  Straight.

  • bm :  Belle main.

Bill Haywood's Dictionary   |   Poker Terms   |   PokerZone Dictionary   |   Glossary  by  PokerTips.org   |   Acronyms
Card Names in Bridge   |     Wikipedia :  Poker Jargon   |   List of playing cards nicknames

visits since September 20, 2013
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