Essential Poker Slang


Posted: April 1, 2022

Updated: April 1, 2022

  • Poker has its own vocabulary with special phrases
  • American Airline, Dolly Parton, and Snowmen are the names of different hands
  • You can be a horse, a hero, or a donkey depending on your skills

Like most sports and gambling activities, poker also has its own phrases and definitions. You need to know most of them to be successful in the game. But if you want to be cool and sound like a pro, just learn some of the terms from the essential poker slang. Like the phrases, American Airlines, clicking buttons, or Dolly Parton,  where all of them have a new special meaning in poker. 

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We already mentioned the most common poker terms in our previous article from the names of different actions to the most common poker hands. The list of special poker phrases is almost endless though with some really funny ones. You don’t need to be an experienced player to know them and recognize their meanings in your next tournament. Or when you’re playing with your friends. As our collection provides you with some of the most common ones in order to widen your knowledge. 

Funny Card Names in Essential Poker Slang

You’re probably familiar with the most common poker hands like full house, royal flush, or trips. But there are other special phrases for different hands, sounding more like nicknames than actual terms. The following examples belong to the essential poker slang, so you can meet them in big tournaments. 

  • American Airline: name for pocket aces, when a player has two Aces as starting hand, also called as pocket rockets
  • Big Slick: the pair of an Ace and a King. This hand actually has several other names like Anna Kournikova, Korean Airlines, or AK-47
  • Brick: a card that has no relevance to a current hand
  • Computer hand: theoretically the worst profitable starting hand, a Q and a 7
  • Cowboys: pocket Kings
  • Crabs: pocket 3s, as number three resembles a sideways crab
  • Ducks: pocket 2s as number two look like a duck
  • Dolly Parton: if you know the famous song of the American country singer, you might have guessed its meaning. Yes, it refers to a starting hand including 9 and 5
  • Snowmen: pocket eights, also known as Octopussy, Infinities
  • Suicide King: it is used for King of Hearts where the king uses a sword to draw it through his head/heart
essential poker slang
Image source: Flickr

Players’ names 

In the general gambling dictionary, we already mentioned whales, sharks, and pigeons which refer to better and worse players. Poker players on different levels and with different hands can also have unusual names as you can see below:

  • Cardrack: it’s used for a player who has been dealt good hands for a whole tournament
  • Doomswitch: originally coming from online poker, the phrase, doomswitch is used for a player who is on a bad run. It comes from the myth that there is a switch on online sites that can be turned on when a player is too successful. 
  • GG: though originally it means a good game, GG can be used to make fun of weaker players
  • Hero: this term doesn’t reflect on a brave personality, in poker it describes a player whose hand is being reviewed
  • Horse: a player who is backed by someone to play in a certain tournament
  • Live One: or also known as donkey. It’s used for a not very good player who doesn’t mind losing though. You can always practice on some of the online poker sites in the UK to avoid being called these names. 

Other interesting phrases

You can also come across the next few expressions in a poker game during some poker action. 

  • Airball: it’s used when a player is bluffing, doesn’t have any actual hand
  • Bloodbath: a situation when two or more players have good hands and it’s likely that all chips will go into the middle, resulting in the elimination of several players
  • Being busted: losing all of your money or all your chips
  • Clicking buttons: also comes from online poker but can be used in live poker games as well when a player’s action doesn’t make any sense
  • Dirty stack: when a player keep chips in different denominations in pile, not allowing his rivals to guess how much he has
  • Going South: removing some of your chips from the table. This move is not legal, so don’t make it if you play live poker. 
  • Nosebleeds: ultra-high stake games, eg. cash games in Macau
  • Robusto: the opposite of busto, winning a tournament or playing a lot
  • Tanking: taking time before making any decision

essential poker slang

These are just a few examples of poker slang, but they might help you to understand the game better. Whenever you play it in a brick and mortar or online casino sites in the UK.

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