Poker is a card game where players bet against each other over who holds the best hand, according to the game's rules. Players try to make the best five-card poker hand possible.

Still, your ability to win is not necessarily determined by your hand strength, as you can bluff your opponent and make them give up their hand. Unpredictability is what makes poker such a fun and complex game.

Online casinos, such as Platincasino, offer many different poker variations, including Texas Hold'em, Casino Hold'em, and Pot Limit Omaha.

Poker is also played as Casino table games, for example you will often find Ultimate Texas Poker and Stud Poker close to the Roulette tables.

If you're new to poker, you'll notice that it has its own vocabulary to describe the game and its actions, so if you want to keep abreast of what's going on, it's essential to understand it.

Basic Terms

We’ll start by looking at the basic terms you’ll see when playing poker. These words help in understanding how the game works, so it’s important that you know them and what they mean.

  • Action - used to describe both whose turn it is in the game, as well as the decision they eventually make. For example, “the action is on the player in seat 2.” “The action the player made was to raise.”
  • Ante - describes a small bet everyone at the table makes before the hand starts. It's commonly used in tournaments to speed up the action. For example, "everyone must put in their ante before the hand can begin."
  • All-in - describes when a player makes a bet for all their chips. A player can say "all-in" to make their bet, which saves the trouble of moving all their chips over the betting line. For example, "the player in seat 3 went all-in after the last player's raise."
  • Buy-in - describes the amount of money a poker player pays to enter a game. This occurs at a tournament buy-in, where the players are then given tournament chips, or a cash game buy-in, where players are given chips with a cash value. For example, "the tournament buy-in is £100."
  • Check - one of the poker actions a player can make at the table. When a player checks, they decline the option to make a bet, and the action moves to the player to their left. However, this is only possible if no one has made a bet on that street. For example, “the player in seat 5 decided to check.”
  • Raise - another poker action a player can make. For a player to be able to raise, another player needs to have made a bet on that street. You must put at least 2x the size of the original bet or raise if you want to raise. For example, “the player in seat 4 decided to raise to £200.”
  • Fold – one more player action at the table. Players can surrender their cards when facing a bet and end their involvement in the hand. By folding, they can no longer win the hand. For example, "the player in seat 3 decided to fold when facing a bet."

Advanced Terms

Now that we’ve covered the basics let’s look at the more advanced terms you’ll hear at the table. While the basic terms describe the flow of the game, players often use these terms to describe the hands, the board, and even each other!

  • Backdoor - describes a draw made by two successive cards on the turn and the river. An example of a backdoor draw would be if a player has three to a spade flush on the flop. Then a spade comes on both the turn and the river to make the flush. This is similar to a "front door" flush, where players only need one card to make their draw.
  • Bad beat - describes a poker hand where a player got particularly unlucky, often when their very strong hand gets beaten by a weaker hand. For example, Player A goes all in with KK against their opponent's 93; if their opponent makes two pairs and wins the hand, Player A has suffered a bad beat.
  • Calling station - describes a player at the table who, despite their hand's strength, always calls when facing a bet. These players will call bets whenever they have a piece of the flop, and it's advised not to bluff these players. For example, "the player in seat 4 called my bets with just a bottom pair; he's such a calling station!"
  • Hole cards - used to describe the cards that a player is dealt that only they can see. In games like Texas Hold’em and PLO, players are dealt their cards face down to ensure they are the only ones to see them, and then five community cards are dealt face up that everyone can use. Players use a combination of their hole cards and the community cards to make the best five-card hand.
  • Kicker - describes an accompanying card that doesn’t impact the hand value but is used to determine the winner in the event of a tie. If two players have a pair of aces, the player with the higher secondary card (kicker) will win. For example, if Player A has a pair of aces with a queen kicker, that will beat Player B, who has a pair of aces with a jack kicker.
  • Rainbow - describes a flop with three different suits. A rainbow board means no flush draw is available, as all three cards are different suits. For example, "I thought I might flop a flush draw, but the board was rainbow.”
  • Sit and Go - miniature version of a tournament with a limited number of players. The tournament begins when the maximum number of players have registered for the Sit and Go. For example, “we better register for this Sit and Go before it’s full.”


While the terms we've covered have mainly applied to poker games like Pot Limit Omaha and Texas Hold'em, many games come under the poker umbrella. Some are more geared toward gambling, such as Casino Hold'em, Video Poker, and Caribbean Stud.

Still, many classic poker variants exist, such as Stud, 2-7 Triple Draw, and 5-Card Draw. It's important to know these terms while you're playing; otherwise, you may struggle to keep up with what's happening at the table!