Wiesenberg: MCU Dictionary of Poker | Letter H




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(nHearts (the suit), in written text. Jh, for example, is the jack of hearts (J♥).


(n) limit hold’em, when part of a designation like H.O.R.S.E. or H.O.S.E.

half a bet

(n phrase1. A bet equal to half the limit. Such a bet has significance only when a player has no more chips left than those with which to raise or call, in which case some establishments recognize it as a legitimate bet that can be reraised (on the side). For example, in some clubs, in, say, a $4-limit game, if I open the pot, and a few players call, and one player has $6 left, he can raise the pot. I can reraise, but to do so I need to put in two more full bets, that is, not a further $6, but a further $8. Some establishments do not even permit a player to call if he has less than a full bet. (He can play the hand through, but gets no action on his few remaining chips.) Also see full betlegal raise2. In a limit game, a bet half as large as the current limit. For example, in a $10-$20 game, in the $10 round or rounds, $10 is a full bet, and $5 is considered a half bet. Cardrooms have different interpretations as to whether anything less than a full bet can be raised or whether a player is even permitted to bet less, and if an all-in player bets less, whether succeeding players can call that amount or must themselves put in a full bet. Some cardrooms allow a half bet to be raised by a full bet. 3. In a no-limit, pot-limit, or spread-limit game, a bet half as large as the minimum for the table, with similar discussion as the preceding. 4. In a no-limit, pot-limit, or spread-limit game, a bet half as large as the preceding bet. For example, if Emilie bets $50 and John can call only $25 of that, he would be said to have called half a bet. In some cardrooms, a raise of half a bet is considered toreopen the betting; in others, only a full bet does so. The rule covering all of these situations is known as the half-bet rule. For definitions 1 through 3, also see complete the betfull betlegal raise.

half a dollar

(n1. $50. 2. A $50 bill.

half and half

(adv phrase) See cow. “Will you go half and half with me, so I can get into the $20 game?”

half-and-half game

(n phrase) A game in which two forms of poker are played, usually for half an hour each. For example, a half-stud, half-hold’em game would alternate half hours with seven-card stud and hold’em. Such a game is likely to be played at relatively high stakes. Also see
C.H.O.R.S.E.C.H.O.R.S.E.L.H.O.E., H.O.R.S.E.H.O.R.S.E.L.H.O.S.E.R.O.E.
This form of poker is also called a mixed game.

half-and-half poker

(n phraseHalf-and-half game.

half-and-half tournament

(n phrase) A tournament format in which two forms of poker are played, usually for half an hour each. For example, a half-stud, half-hold’em tournament would alternate half hours with seven-card stud and hold’em, generally with the limits increasing hourly or half-hourly.

half a yard

(n phrase1. $50. 2. A $50 bill.

half bet

(n phrase1. Half a bet2. What it costs the small blind (in a 1-2 structure) to call in an unraised pot. For example, in a $10-$20 game, $20 is consider to be one bet. Since the small blind already has $10 in the pot, it costs him a half-bet to enter an unraised pot.

half-bet rule

(n phrase) See half a bet.


(n1. $50. 2. A $50 bill.

half kill

(n phrase) A game in which the winner of two pots in a row (or the winner of the whole pot over a certain size in a high-low game) must kill (definition 1) the next pot at one-and-a-half times the nominal limit of the game. For example, in 6-12 Omaha 8-or-better with a half-kill, if a player scoops, the next hand is played at 9-18 limit; the winner puts a $9 blind in the next pot. See scoop (definition 5). When the kill pot is twice rather than one-and-a-half times, it is called full kill or a full-kill game.

half-kill game

(n phrase) A game that features a half kill.

half-pot limit

(n phrase) A form of poker (particularly common in England) in which the current betting maximum is equal to half the money in the pot at the moment the bet is made. When calculating a raise, it can include the amount required to call the previous bet. For example, the pot contains $100. You bet the maximum permitted, $50. If I call, the pot contains $200. I am now permitted to raise your bet by $100. If I do, your call brings the pot to $400, and you could raise my bet by $200, and so on.

half smart

(adv phrase) Partially aware of the workings of thievery, but not among the inner circle.

half the pot

(n phrase1. In a high-low split game, the portion of the pot that either the best high hand or the best low hand wins. 2. In any other game, what each of two players with equivalent hands gets; each portion of a split pot.


(n1. Last position to bet in a particular hand; sometimes the person to put the last bet in; usually preceded by the. “You got the hammer” probably means “I’ll check to you” (implying, “Since you made a large bet before the draw you will probably make one after so I will check and let you hang yourself”). — (v)2. Make a big raise or an all-in bet in a big bet game3. Use the leverage of a big stack or late position to bully opponents with aggressive play.

hammer [someone]

(v phrase) Beat another player unmercifully.


(n1. The cards in the possession of a player. In hold’em, a hand is the player’s two hole cards; in pineapple, three cards; in Omaha, four cards; in draw poker, five cards; in seven-card stud, as many cards as a particular player currently is in possession of, right up to seven at the end. 2. The cards in the possession of a player at the end of play of a hand. In hold’em, that hand is the player’s two cards plus whatever portion of the board constitutes his best five-card holding. For example, if a player holds K♥ 10♥ and the board is 9♠ 8♣ 7♥ 6♠ 3♥, his hand is a 10-high straight. Here, the 10♥ and the 3♥ are not considered part of his hand. In Omaha, the hand a player ends up is the best five-card combination that uses exactly two of his hole cards plus three of the board cards. Similarly in seven-card stud, the hand a player ends up with is the best five-card combination among the seven in his possession. For example, if a player has 9♥ 8♠ 7♥ in the hole and his board consists of 8♦ 7♠ 8♥ 6♥, his hand is the full house 8♠ 8♦ 8♥ 7♥ 7♠. 3. One deal. “Who won the last hand?” (Also see pot, definition 3.) 4. The play of one’s cards from the point of first receiving them until the showdown. This differs mainly in point of view from the preceding. “I was second-best the last five hands.” 5. The actual play of the cards at a table from the point of their first being dealt until the showdown. This also differs mainly in point of view from the preceding two definitions. “I didn’t have even as good as an ace the last 10 hands.” 6. A good hand. “I didn’t put him on a hand.” “With that kind of betting, you know you’re against a player who has a hand.” 7. The holder of a particular hand. “That hand never had to put in a raise because all of the other players kept raising for him.” 8. Poker hand9. When preceded by the, the right hand for the situation. “I had the hand to get all his chips. Unfortunately, he missed his draw.”

hand for hand

(adv phrase) The situation that arises near the end of a tournament in which, usually, two tables remain and a few players must bust out before the tables are combined for the final table, all of the players at which will finish in the money. Because some players might try to guarantee a place in the money by playing slowly, hoping to outlast someone else who might go broke, the tournament director sometimes stipulates that whichever table finishes a hand first must wait for the other table before starting the next deal, and the tables play hand for hand. Large tournaments sometimes play hand for hand — and involving multiple tables — when players approach being in the money.

hand history

(n phrase) In an online game, a virtual replay of one or more previously played hands. At some cardrooms, a hand history appears as a textual or graphical summary of the hand that can be viewed online while playing upon the conclusion of the hand; at others, it is sent to the requesting player as an email message. Many cardrooms offer both options.


(adj) Describing how many players a table holds or are in a game, as eight-handed, nine-handed, and so on. “All our hold’em games are 10-handed.”


(nScreen name.

hand like a foot

(n phrase) Part of the expression I’ve got a hand like a foot.

hand mucker

(n phrase) A thief who palms (see palm) cards, which he holds out (see hold out) for later introduction into the game. This usage comes from a panguingue dealer, who, in the course of dealing the game, constantly shuffles cards that have been played (taking these cards from the discard pile, or the muck) and reinserts cards of similar rank and suit into various separated places of the remainder of the deck.

hand of poker

(n phrase1. Hand (definition 3). 2. The playing of poker, usually a session (definition 1). “I’m going down to the club to play a hand of poker.”

hand of showdown

(n phrase) See showdown (definition 2).

hand range

(n phrase) What a specific player or type of player would play in a particular situation or position or both. See range.

hand reading

(n phrase) The ability to read other players’ holdings.

hand selection

(n phrase) In general, the starting cards a player chooses to play, or the range of hands the player plays in relation to his position. Sometimes implies making good choices; that is, the word good may be understood. “He knows hand selection” means his hand selection abilities are good.

hand value

(n phrase) The strength, absolute or relative, of a hand. See value (definition 2).


(n) The leaving of a card sticking out at the bottom or other portion of a deck when a mechanic sloppily deals a bottom, middle, or second. If you suspect a dealer of cheating, seeing a hanger might add evidence.


(n) Pertaining to chips in a change transaction. For example, when requesting change in currency (as opposed to chips), a request made by a dealer to a floorman for “$20 hard, $80 soft” indicates a player has a $100 bill and wants only $20 of it in chips. See soft (definition 4).


(v) Show no mercy in one’s play against another player, that is, do one’s best to beat the opponent; opposed to soft-play (definition 1).




(adj) A pair of somethings, usually used in lowball. A hard-way 8 is a pair of 4s. One player says, “I’ve got an eight,” and some other player might say, “I’ve got a hard-way eight” (that is, he paired 4s).

hard working man

(n phrase) In hold’em, a 9 and a 5 as starting cards. From the hours one works. Also, working man’s hand.

Hart, Schaffner, and Marx

(n phrase) Three jacks. The name is that of a clothing store chain, but why it should mean three jacks is obscure, since none of the founders was named Jack. Probably it’s just three male names that naturally go together.

hat trick

(n phrase) Successfully check-raising three times in the same hand. “Successfully” means that the bettor was called each time and won the pot. This rare event usually happens heads-up — perhaps on the flop, turn, and river in hold’em. The term comes from sports, where it means three consecutive scores by one player or three scores in one game (as in cricket or ice hockey). In sports, the term comes from the hat with which the feat was traditionally rewarded in cricket.

have a leg up

(v phrase) See leg up.

have a sign on one’s back

(v phrase) Be known to be a cheat. See signsign off.

have position on

(v phrase) See position (definition 5).

have the lead

(v phrase) See lead (definition 4).

have the best of it

(v phrase) See best of it.

have the worst of it

(v phrase) See worst of it.




(n) Shorthand, particularly in e-mail and Internet postings, for hold’em. Also HE. Also a chat term.

head for the rail

(adv phrase) Go busted. See rail.

heads up

(adv phrase1. Head-to-head. When a house dealer says “Heads up,” he means that there are exactly two players in the current pot. 2. Pertaining to two players playing a game by themselves. “They’re playing heads up for a big one.” (Two players are playing freeze-out for $1,000.) Also, two-handed, head-up, head-to-head, head up.


(adj) Pertaining to playing heads up. “It’s a heads-up pot.” “They’re in a heads-up game.”

heads up display

(n phrase) Overlay software that displays hand history statistics directly onto an online poker table. The statistics are usually obtained by a data-mining utility, and are sold by a company not associated with any poker site for use by (usually) heads-up online players to give them knowledge of their opponents’ historical tendencies. While some sites allow the use of heads up displays, many do not, and many poker authorities consider them unethical. Often rendered HUD.


(adv) Pertaining to (only) two players in a pot.

head up

(adv phrase1. Heads up2. Head-to-head.


(adjHeads-up. “It’s a head-up pot.” “They’re in a head-up game.”


(n1. Guts; courage; the ability to flow with the tides of fortune in a poker game. “He doesn’t play well, but he’s sure got a lot of heart.” 2. Any card in the hearts suit. “A heart came on the turn.”

heart flush

(n phrase) A flush in the hearts suit.

Heartland Poker Tour

(n phrase) A series of poker tournaments in (comparatively) small casinos in the US, with buy-ins in the hundreds of dollars, not thousands as events in larger and more well known series such as the World Poker Tour. Sometimes rendered HPT.


(n1. One of the four suits in a deck of cards, whose symbol is shaped like a valentine (♥). Originally, hearts may have represented the upper class, love supposedly being an abstract concept appreciated only by the rich and educated. In both the traditional and four-color deck, hearts are red. 2. A heart flush, that is, five cards of the same suit, all hearts. The following exchange likely comes from a draw game. “I’ve got a straight; whadda you got?” “Hearts.”


(n1. Attention being drawn to thievery or thieves by (usually) the management or (sometimes) other players; often preceded by draw. “I’ve been drawing too much heat at the Pasatiempo lately; I better stay away.” 2. Extreme pressure put on another player through heavy betting. “I hate to sit in front of Chris. He keeps putting heat on me.”


(nRushwinning streak. “Joey was on a real heater; every hand he played turned into the nuts.”


(adv) In lowball, pertaining to a bad card. “I caught heavy” means I missed my hand by a mile.


(n) The jack of diamonds. Probably a classical reference perhaps to the hero of the Iliad, although some card historians say it might represent a brother of Lancelot.

heef a dooler

(n phrase; imitative) 50 cents. This imitates half a dollar.

heel peek

(n phraseBack peek.


(n1.wild card game, seven-card stud (usually) with 5s and 7s wild; so-called because of the Heinz slogan, “57 varieties.” 2. In hold’em, 5-7 as starting cards. Also, pickle man.


(n1. A card or cards that improve a hand. Often part of the phrase get help2. Improvement of a hand with a fortuitous draw. “He was looking for help on the turn.” — (v3. Improve.


(n) Bleed (definition 2). “He came to the final table with more chips than the rest combined, but with all those questionable calls, he’s been hemorrhaging chips for the last hour.” Hemorrhage often implies losing more chips and more quickly than bleed.


(n) Queen (the card). Old, rare usage.

“He owns me.”

(n) See own [someone].

here to there

(n phrase) See from here to there.

hero call

(n phrase1. Calling an all-in bet with a relatively light holding, possibly because the player realizes he may need to win only 1 in 3 times (if the bet to call is close to the size of the pot) to show a profit. This is not quite the same as calling a bluff (see call a bluff), because in the latter case, the calling hand can beatonly a bluff. 2. Making a similar call of any bet (if less than an all-in bet) with a marginal holding.

“He’s got a lot of his children out there.”

(expression) See a lot of his children out there.

“He’s holding a lot of hands.”

(expression) See lot of hands.


(n) James Butler (“Wild Bill”) Hickok, a noted gunfighter, scout, and gambler of the American Old West, after whom the dead man’s hand was named.

hidden cards

(n phrase) Face-down cards in a stud game, that is, those that can be seen by only the holder of a hand, as opposed to visible cards. Also called concealed cards.

hidden hand

(n phraseConcealed hand.

hidden pair

(n phraseConcealed pair.

hidden trips

(n phrase) In seven-card stud, downcards containing three of a kind, or, less commonly, a concealed pair matching one of the upcards.


(n1. Any form of poker in which the highest (as opposed to lowest) hand wins. “A royal flush is the best hand in most forms of high.” 2. High draw poker. “Got a seat in the high?” 3. The high hand, either in terms of the winner of the high half of a split pot or the highest board (definition 2). “Who’s got the high?” might be heard in either situation. — (adv4. In a high-low split game, pertaining to the hand that wins the high half, or is in contention for it. “I’m going high.” — (adj5. Describing any game in which the highest hand wins the pot, that is, in a game without wild cards (see wild card), in which the best hand is a royal flush, and the worst is no pair, and in a game with wild cards, in which the best hand is five of a kind. “This is high draw.” 6. In a stud game, describing the player whose board currently has the highest card combination, or the hand itself. “Matt is high.” “Pair of aces is high.”


(adv, adj, n1. In high poker, pertaining to the high card in a no-pair hand. For example, A-J-9-8-5 is ace-high, an ace-high hand, or an ace-high2. Less commonly, in lowball, pertaining to the top card in a no-pair hand. In ace-to-five lowball, 8-7-5-2-A is an 8-high. (This would more commonly be called an 8-low.)


(nHigh draw poker. This term is rarely used.

high belly strippers

(n phrase) A deck marked by shaving the long edges of some cards (making the ends narrower than the middles) so that a thief can tell by feel the values of certain cards, usually specific high or low cards, such as the aces. Also see low belly strippersend strippersglazed cardhumpsside strippersstrippers.

high board

(n phrase) The hand that is high on the board.

high breeze hummer

(n phrase) A tight player, from the expression, “so tight he hums in a high breeze.”

high card

(n phrase1. In a stud game, the exposed card with the highest rank, the holder of which in a home game in which the high hand wins is usually the one who must initiate the first round of betting and the holder of which in razz in a cardroom must initiate the first round of betting. 2. At the showdown, a hand that wins when two no-pair hands or two flushes are in contention by virtue of containing a card of higher rank than any in the other hand. For example, between K♠ 5♥ 4♦ 3♣ 2♥ and Q♦ J♦ 10♦ 9♦ 7♥, the first hand wins because it has the high card (K♠). Between two flushes, A♥ 7♥ 5♥ 3♥ 2♥ and K♦ Q♦ J♦ 10♦ 8♦, again the first hand wins because it has the high card (A♥). 3. The card itself. “You don’t have a pair either? What’s your high card?” 4. In the rank of hands, the hand that ranks below one pair and is otherwise known as no pair.


(v1. To win a pot by virtue of holding the high card. For example, if your opponent holds K♠ 5♥ 4♦ 3♣ 2♥ and you hold Q♦ J♦ 10♦ 9♦ 7♥, he has high-carded you. 2. Cut cards, with the high card winning.


(v) See high-card (definition 2).

high club

(n, v phrase) Same as high spade, substituting club.

high diamond

(n, v phrase) Same as high spade, substituting diamond.

high draw

(n phrase1. High draw poker2. In a high-low split game, a draw for the high half of the pot, such as four cards to a straight or flush.

high draw poker

(n phrase1. Any form of draw poker played for high. 2. California draw.

high end

(n phraseHigh half.

higher limit

(n phrase) One of the later rounds of betting in structured limit.


(adj) Pertaining to a game played at higher stakes (than the one under discussion). “This low limit is boring. Let’s all move to a higher-limit table.”

high half

(n phrase) In high-low split, the part of the pot that goes to the best high hand. “I took the high half with just a pair of deuces.” Also, high end.

high hand

(n phrase1. In high-low split, a hand that wins the high half, or is in contention for it. “My two pair was the high hand.” 2. More generally, in high poker, the winner of a pot, that is, the best hand. “There were six players at the showdown, and, amazingly, my pair of deuces was the high hand.”

high heart

(n, v phrase) Same as high spade, substituting heart.

high limit

(n phraseBig limit.




(n1. High-low split2. A low straight, so called because it would be eligible to win both ways in a high-low game. In ace-to-five lowball, someone who wins with 7-6-5-4-3 might say “high-low” as he shows his cards.

high-low poker

(nHigh-low split.

high-low pot

(n) A pot or hand played in a high-low split game.

high-low split

(n phrase) A form of poker in which the pot is split between the highest and lowest active qualifying hands (if there are qualifiers, that is certain minimum holdings for high and for low) or between the highest and lowest hands (if there are no qualifiers). If there are qualifiers, sometimes only the highest or lowest hand wins the whole pot. Sometimes both the highest and lowest hand are held by the same player, in which case that player wins the whole pot. (See scoop, definition 4.) This is further complicated in games in which there is a declaration, that is, the use of chips or voice to indicate whether players are going for high, low, or both. Declaration is not common in public cardrooms, where high-low split games are usually played with what is called cards speak. In games with a declaration, the pot is split between the holder of the highest hand who declares high and the holder of the lowest hand who declares low. (This makes it theoretically possible for the highest hand to win low and the lowest hand to win high. More common is a hand that would normally be in contention for only one direction (that is, high or low) to declare and win the other direction.) High-low split is often called simply high-low.

high-low split game

(n phrase) A game in which high-low split is played.

high-low split poker

(nHigh-low split.

High Mambo

(n phrase) See Mambo stud.

high man

(n phrase1. In a stud game, the player whose board (definition 2) currently has the highest card combination. See high (definition 6). 2. In high-low split, the holder of the hand that wins high.

high on board

(adv phraseHigh on the board.

high-only game

(adv phrase) A game played for high (and specifically neither for low, definition 2, nor high-low split).

high on the board

(adv phrase) In a stud game, describing a board that currently has the highest card combination. See high (definition 6).

high poker

(n phraseHigh draw poker.


(v) Try to increase the stakes in a game, or try to run over the game by constantly betting more than the other players feel comfortable with. “We were happy playing $2-to-go until you came along jacking up every pot; quit trying to high-roll the game.”

high roller

(n phrase) Someone who likes to play for large stakes, or in the biggest games.

high society

(n phraseHigh society chips. “Gimme a stack of high society.”

high society chips

(n phrase) Chips of the largest denomination in a particular establishment. In a small game, in which dollar chips are used for most bets, and $5 chips are termed society chips, $20 or $100 chips would be considered high society chips; in a $20 game, with most bets made with $5 chips, high society chips would probably be $1,000 chips.

high spade

(n phrase1.side bet in which two or more players (usually in a draw or lowball game) agree that whoever has the highest card in the spade suit on the next hand (or, if no one has a spade that hand, on the subsequent hand or hands) wins something, usually a prearranged bet, or a free drink bought by the loser or losers. — (v phrase2. To play for the high spade. “I’ll high spade you for the drinks” means that if, for example, I get the 7♠ on the next hand and you get no spades or a spade lower than the 7, you’re supposed to buy me a drink, if you agree to the proposition. Sometimes called just spade. For both meanings, compare with low spadeHigh hearthigh diamond, and high club also exist.

high spade in the hole

(n phrase) A poker game played only in private or home games, a form of seven-card stud in which the pot is split between the holder of the highest hand and the holder of the highest spade in the hole. Also known as Black MariaChicago.

high stakes

(n phrase1. High-stakes game2. The play in such a game or for such stakes.


(adj) Pertaining to a game played for larger amounts than the other games in a particular establishment, or one in which big bets are permitted and common. Also, to a private game played for relatively large amounts.

high-stakes game

(n phrase) Any game played for larger amounts than the other games in a particular establishment, or one in which big bets are permitted and common. Sometimes called big bet game, although that term is more commonly applied to a pot-limit or no-limit game. Also, a private game played for relatively large amounts.

high-stakes section

(n phrase) The part of a cardroom in which games are played for much higher stakes that the rest of the cardroom. The high-stakes section in a brick and mortar cardroom is often roped off from the rest of the cardroom or in a separate room. Sometimes called nosebleed section.

high variance

(n phrase) See discussion at variance.

high-variance game

(n phrase) A game featuring, naturally enough, high variance.

high-variance play

(n phrase) See discussion at variance.


(nHijack position. “I raised from the hijack.”

hijack position

(n phrase) The position to the right of the cutoff. Sometimes shortened to hijack.

hill to climb

(adv) Obstacle to overcome. “You’re stuck $100? That’s no hill to climb for a stepper.”


(n) Nonstandard spelling of high-low.


(n) Nonstandard spelling of high-low.


(v1. Make a hand, usually implying having caught a needed card. In ace-to-five lowball you might hear, “I have a pat eight. Did you make yours?” “Yeah, I hit.” 2. Arrive. “The ace of hearts hit on the river.” — (n3. The needed card that makes a particular hand.

hit and run

(v phrase) Sit down briefly, win a few hands, and jump up. One who plays this way is called a hit-and-run artist.

hit-and-run artist

(n phrase) One who plays briefly in each of several games, usually with the intention of having a short winning session in each. This kind of a player is usually disliked, because he takes money out of the game, leaving the remaining players trying to win from a reduced pool of chips, or giving them no chance to win back their losses from this player. Also, chopper.

hit a piece of the flop

(n phrase) See catch a piece of the flop.

hit a/the hand

(v phrase) Make the specific hand one is drawing to.


(n1. An unexpected participant in your pot; usually preceded by pick up a. “I was trying to win all Matt’s chips, but I picked up a hitchhiker, and she drew out on both of us.” 2. An expected participant, generally someone you’re trying to trap. “Looks like I got a hitchhiker” could be heard from someone who raised a large amount in a big bet game and probably will win the pot, including many chips from the fool (that is, the hitchhiker) who elected to trail along. 3. Someone who comes in cold to a pot, that is, someone who has not yet had the opportunity to call any bets and, when a pot has already been raised, calls the initial bet plus the raise. For example, you open the pot in a limit game. I make it two bets, that is, I raise. Now the action comes around to the player to the right of the dealer, who calls the two bets. (See come in cold.) That player is called a hitchhiker. Also called fence hopper.

hit hard by the flop

(v phrase) In a flop game, having a hand greatly improved by the flop, as, for example, by making top set or a straight or flush.

“Hit it!”

(expression1. “Let’s go.” That might be, depending on the situation, “I’ll call your large bet,” “I’ll draw cards,” “I’ll play in this pot.” 2. “I raise.”

hit the board

(v phraseHit (definition 2).

hit the brief

(v phrase) Perform a cheating maneuver in which the deck is cut at a prearranged spot, often managed by shuffling in a brief. Also, force the cut.

hit the cage

(v phrase). Cash out. See cage.

hit the deck

(v phrase1. Draw one or more cards. “When he stood pat, I knew I had to hit the deck.” In lowball, usually implies a one-card draw. 2. Make a hand. “Things have been running so bad for me the only time I can hit the deck is when I’m drawing dead.”

hit the draw

(v phrase) Make the specific hand one is drawing to.

hit the flop

(v phrase) In a flop game, have a hand be improved by the flop.

hit the flop hard

(v phrase) In a flop game, have a hand be greatly improved by the flop, as, for example, make top set or a straight or flush. Also, (be) hit hard by the flop.

hit the kicker

(v phrase1. In draw poker, draw two to a pair, or one to three of a kind, with a kicker, instead of drawing three to the pair alone or two to the trips, and catch another card of the same rank as the kicker. If you draw to a pair of kings with an ace and make two pair, aces and kings, you hit the kicker2. In hold’em, catch a card of the same rank as your unpaired card. For example, you start with K♠ J♠. The flop is K♥ 7♣ 2♠. The turn is J♥. You just hit the kicker. 3. In seven-card stud, catch a card of the same rank as one of your side cards, when you already have a pair.

hit the rail

(v phrase) Have to leave a game because one busts out of a tournament or regular game. “I put all my chips in on pocket aces. Emilie made an inside straight and I hit the rail.” Also see on the rail.

hit the table

(v phraseStand pat. So called because a player often hits the table with his hand when it is his turn to announce his draw if he has a pat hand. Also, knucklerap.

hit with the deck

(v phrase) See get hit by the deck.


(nChat term for “high-limit.”


(nChat term for “high-low.”

hockey sticks

(n phrase) In hold’em, two 7s as starting cards. (That’s what they look like. Sort of.)


(n) A game or tournament format in which three forms of poker are played in rotation, usually either half an hour of each or one round of each. The games are limit hold’emOmaha/8, and seven-card stud high-low (the e standing for 8-or-better). Also see half-and-half gameH.O.R.S.E.H.O.R.S.E.L.H.O.S.E.,R.O.E.


(vGo hog. Also, hog it.




(n) The jack of spades. May have been a cousin of Charlemagne (see Charles), or perhaps Ogier the Dane from the Song of Roland, the oldest surviving major work of French literature, usually dated to the middle of the 12th century.

hog it

(v phraseGo hog.


(vStand up. “I was lucky that the hand held when my opponent had nearly half the deck going for him.”

hold a lot of hands

(n phrase) Be dealt many winning hands, particularly with few losing hands in between.

hold a lot of tickets

(v phraseHold a lot of hands.

hold dead

(v phrase1. In lowball, cause another player to stand pat on a hand that is a loser, and not draw a card to a hand that might otherwise win. “John acted like he was going to draw two cards, and that held Henry dead on his 9-5, but in actuality John had an 8-7.” Also, hold [someone] dead2. In lowball, decline to draw cards based on another player’s actions on his hand. “Sarah drew two cards, which held me dead on my 10-nothing.”


(n phrase) A form of poker that originated in the Southwest, moved to Nevada casinos, and then expanded almost universally until it is now the most popular form of poker, with two cards dealt face down to each player, and five community cards dealt face up in the center of the table. The game has four betting rounds, one after the first two downcards, one after the first three of the community cards (called the flop) are simultaneously dealt, one after the next upcard (called the turn or fourth street), and one after the fifth (called the river or fifth street). The “official” name of the game is Texas hold’em, but just hold’em is the more common name.

hold ’em

(n) Alternative spelling of hold’em.

hold’em 8

(nHigh-low split hold’em, with an 8-or-better qualifier for low.

Hold’em Fold’em Poker

(n phraseWild Hold’em Fold’em.

hold’em hand names

(n phrase) This table shows some of the many colorful nicknames that exist for hold’em hands (the two cards in the possession of a player).

A-AAmerican Airlines, eyes, Eyes of Texas, pocket rockets, rockets
A-KSanta Barbara, walking back to Houston
A-Qbig chick, little slick, Mrs. Slick
A-JAjax, blackjack, foamy cleanser
A-TJohnny Moss
A-8dead man’s hand
A-2acey-deucey, hunting season, little slick
K-Kace magnets, cowboys, gorillas, King Kong
K-Q suiteddivorce, marriage, royal marriage
K♥ Q♥Valentine’s day
K-Qunsuited: mixed marriage; suited or unsuited: newlyweds
K-TKatie, Katy
K-9canine, hunting season, mongrel, pedigree
K-5Seattle special
K-3Alaska hand, King Crab
Q-Qbitches, Calamity Jane, cowgirls, Siegfried and Roy
Q-Tcutie, Goolsby, Quentin Tarantino, Q-Tip, quint, Robert Varkonyi
Q-7computer hand
Q-3gay waiter
J-Jbrothers, John Juanda, Kid Dyne-o-mite Kid Dyno-mite
J♦ Q♠pinochle
J-TCloutier, T.J. Cloutier
J♣ 9♣T.J. Cloutier
J-7Jack Daniel’s
J-6railroad, railroad hand
J-4Austin Squatty, flat tire
T-TAudi, Bo Derek, dimes, TNT
T-4Broderick Crawford, CB hand, convoy, good buddy, over and out, over and out good buddy, Roger that, trucker, trucker’s hand
T-5dimestore, dimestores, Woolworth, Barbara Hutton
T-2Doyle Brunson
9-9pothooks, Phil Hellmuth, Wayne Gretzky
9-6big lick, Joe Bernstein
9-5Anna Kournikova, Dolly Parton, hard working man, office hours, working man’s hand
9-4San Francisco
9-3Jack Benny
9-2Montana banana, Twiggy
8-8little Oldsmobile, Mighty Wurlitzer, piano keys, snowmen
8-6Eubie, Maxwell Smart
8-5finky dink, gumbo
8-3Raquel Welch
7-7hockey sticks, candy canes, Sunset Strip, walking sticks
7-6trombones, Union Oil
7-5Heinz, pickle man, Vietnamese slick
7-4Cambodia slick, double down
7-3Hachem, Joe Hachem
7-2beer hand
5-5nickels, presto, speed limit
5-4Colt 45, Jesse James
5-2bomber, quarter, two bits
4-4dark force, Darth Vader, midlife crisis, sailboats
4-2lumberman’s hand, the answer
3-3crabs, trees
3-2little Pete
2-2Desmond, ducks

hold’em paradise

(n phrase) Southern California for a while after the introduction of hold’em. See no fold’em hold’em.

hold’em player

(n phrase) Someone who plays hold’em (usually exclusively, or in preference to other forms of poker).

hold’em-style game

(n phrase) Any of the variants of hold’em, such as Omaha or pineapple.


(v, n) Your cards. “What are you holding?” or “What is your holding?” means “What is your hand?”

holding a lot of hands

(n phrase) See lot of hands.


(nHolding. “Many winning players have an uncanny ability to read another player’s holdings.”

hold me darling

(n phrase) An obsolete name for hold’em.


(n1. A card or cards being held out. See hold out2. Holdout machine.

hold out

(v phrase) Perform a cheating maneuver in which a player removes one or more cards from play for later introduction. A held-out card can be concealed in a sleeve, in a vest, in a shoe, under the table, etc.

holdout artist

(n phrase) A thief who holds out. See hold out.

holdout device

(n phraseHoldout machine.

holdout machine

(n phrase) A mechanical device enabling thieves to surreptitiously hold out. Holdout machines used to be more popular many years ago, but are not often seen now, probably because thieves are becoming more sophisticated, and also because being caught with one is dangerous. Also called a string.

holdout man

(n phrase) A thief who holds out. See hold out.

hold over

(v phrase) Consistently have better cards (than another player). “I can’t beat him; he always holds over me.”

hold [someone] dead

(v phrase) Play a lowball hand in such a way as to keep another player pat on a worse hand, with the effect of keeping the player from drawing to a better hand, thus preventing the other player from winning the pot. For example, in a no-limit ace-to-five game, you open for the minimum, $4, with 8♠ 7♥ 3♣ 2♦ A♦. No one plays except the big blind, who raises $12. Both you and he have another $50 left. A lot of players would now go all in. If the other player has a pat 9, he now very likely will break (definition 3) the hand and draw one card. In most instances, if he makes what he’s drawing to, you lose. The reason to reraise is to make more money if you win and to not have to worry about any bluffing after the draw — if you’re both all in before the draw, he can’t bet after. The reason not to reraise is to have the player stay pat with a worse hand than yours, that is, to hold him dead. If you don’t reraise, and he has a hand like 9♣ 8♥ 3♦ 2♠ joker, he’ll stand pat. When you then stand pat behind him, in most instances he will check after the draw, and you can’t possibly lose. Of course, if he had you beat all along, you can reason that it would have made no difference if you had put all the chips in the pot before the draw anyway. And if he bets all his chips after the draw even when you stand pat behind him, you still have a chance to fold.

hold up

(v phraseStand up. “I was lucky to have the hand hold up against four others.”


(n1. In stud and hold’em-type games, the position for the card or cards dealt face down. From this comes the term in the hole2. Hole card3. Losing; usually preceded by in the. “I’m in the hole 10 dimes.” 4. Leak (definition 1). “There’s a hole in your play.” 5. Gap (definition 1 or 2).

hole cam

(n phraseHole card camera.


(n) Variant spelling of hole card.

hole card

(n phrase1. Any one of the downcards (see downcard) in a stud or hold’em-type game. 2. In a draw game, a draw card. “I need a hole card” means “I need to draw a card.” 3. The nuts, when part of the expression he’ll show you his hole card4. Playing aggressively, when part of the expression he’ll make you look at his hole card.

hole card cam

(n phraseHole card camera.

hole card camera

(n phrase) An under-the-table (usually) camera that records players’ hole cards for later showing when a tournament or other televised game is broadcast. The signal from a hole card camera is usually sent to a secured video recorder, so that no participant could inadvertently learn an opponent’s cards nor any observer deliberately signal the holdings. A tiny version of the hole card camera is known as a lipstick camera. Also, hole card cam.

hole card cam

(n phraseHole card camera.

hole cards

(n phrase) See hole card. Usually refers specifically to a player’s starting cards in games like hold’em or the first two cards in seven-card stud.

hole card stud

(n phrase) A form of five-card stud with an extra betting round, immediately after the first card, the hole card, is dealt. Usually played only in home games. Also called pistol stud or pistol Pete.


(n1. Acting. “Quit the Hollywood; we know you’ve got the nuts.” — (adj2. In a showoff manner. When a player has only a few chips left, and someone bets him $1,000, knowing that he can’t call even 1 percent of that bet, that’s a Hollywood move. — (v3. Act; ham it up. “Don’t Hollywood me. If you’re gonna bet, do it; otherwise just show down your hand.”

Holy City

(n) The nuts; usually preceded by the. “Get in a pot with him and he’ll show you the Holy City.” Also, Jerusalem.


(n) The deal, or where the deal is. A round from home means one round in which each dealer overblinds.

home Chowaha

(n phraseSee Chowaha

home game

(n phrase1.private game played at someone’s home, often one regularly scheduled, perhaps weekly. Players might refer to such a game as “the Friday-night game.” 2. Any nonstandard poker variation, such as Anaconda or spit-in-the-ocean, found only in home games. “They play crazy pineapple at the Pasatiempo Club? I thought that was a home game.” 3. The playing of poker in a private game (with its games — not necessarily entirely or even partially those described in definition 2 — rules, and customs).

home poker

(n phrase1. Home game (definition 1). “I play home poker on Thursday nights.” 2. Home game (definition 3) or the playing of nonstandard poker variations. “I’m used to home poker. I’ve never played in a cardroom.”


(adj1. Not bluffing, with respect to calling a bet, and usually part of the phrase keep someone honest. “Well, I know you’re not bluffing, but I’ve got a set, so I’ll keep you honest.” 2. Describing a poker game dealt and played fairly, as opposed to one in which cheats operate. 3. Describing one who plays a fair game and abides by the rules.

honest game

(n phrase) See honest (definition 2).

honest player

(n phrase) See honest (definition 3).

honest reader

(n phrase) A deck that has not been shaved (see shave), or otherwise deliberately marked, but that, nonetheless, contains irregularities or factory defects (see factory defect), which permit observant players to identify some (or, rarely, all) of the cards from the back. Also called honest readersimperfect deck.

honest readers

(n phraseHonest reader.

honor card

(n phrase) Any card 10 or higher. This usage comes from the game of bridge.


(nFishhookThree hooks usually means three jacks.


(n) Queen (the card).


(n1. A worthless ring. This has cardroom relevance, because you will often encounter a broker trying to sell you a hoop or a block2. Someplace to do something unspeakable to yourself, as an insult, and part of the expression, “Ah, stick it in yer hoop.”


(n1. In draw poker and lowball, a remarkable draw; usually part of the phrase, two-card hop or three-card hop. “I thought I had a lock on the pot with a pat 7, but he made a three-card hop on me” heard in an ace-to-five lowball game means another pat hand just got beat by a three-card draw. Also calledcathop. Also see freak drawGardena miracle. — (v2. Part of the phrase hop the cut.

hop the cut

(v phrase) Replace the cards in the same order as they were prior to the cut. This is a sleight-of-hand maneuver by a card mechanic to negate the effect of the cut. Also called elevator the cutjump the cutmake a passshift the cut.

hop the fence

(v phraseCome in cold; often followed by for. “He hopped the fence for three bets, drew two cards, and beat my pat 7,” is often heard in an ace-to-five lowball game. Also jump the fence.


(n) A drink. “How about a horn?” is a suggestion to join someone in a libation.


(n) Someone playing for you, with your money, or with money owed you. “I’m losing, but I’ve got a horse in the 20 who’s way ahead” means that I have a part (or all) of someone’s action (definition 4) in the 20-limit game.


(n) A game or tournament format in which five forms of poker are played in rotation, usually either half an hour of each or one round of each. The games are limit hold’emOmaha/8, razz, seven-card stud (high), and seven-card stud high-low (the e standing for 8-or-better). Also see half-and-half gameH.O.E.,H.O.R.S.E.L.H.O.S.E.R.O.E. This form of poker is often called a mixed game.


(n) A game or tournament format in which six forms of poker are played in rotation, usually either half an hour of each or one round of each. The games are limit hold’emOmaha/8, razz, seven-card stud (high), seven-card stud high-low (the e standing for 8-or-better), and ace-to-five lowball. Also see half-and-half gameH.O.E.H.O.R.S.E.H.O.S.E.R.O.E. This form of poker is often called a mixed game.

horse race

(v phrase) The situation at a tournament final table in which the remaining players all have stacks very close to each other in size.

“Horseshoe fell out of his ass.”

(expression) See “The horseshoe fell out of his ass.”


(n) A game or tournament format in which four forms of poker are played in rotation, usually either half an hour of each or one round of each. The games are limit hold’emOmaha/8seven-card stud (high), and seven-card stud high-low (the e standing for 8-or-better). Sometimes rendered S.H.O.E. Also see half-and-half gameH.O.E.H.O.R.S.E.H.O.R.S.E.L.R.O.E. This form of poker is often called a mixed game.


(adv, adj1. Doing well; catching good cards. “Don’t get in his way; he’s hot tonight” means “Stay out of his pots; you can’t beat him because he’s making every hand he draws to.” 2. Angry. “I’m hot enough to eat fried ice cream.” Sometimes part of the phrase hot and stuck3. With reference to a deck, one that has recently produced a series of good hands.

hot and stuck

(adj phrase) An expression to describe someone who is on tilt due to a losing streak.

hot deck

(n phrase) A deck that has recently produced a series of good hands.

hot enough to eat fried ice cream

(n phrase) Angry, particularly after having suffered a number of bad beats.

hot one

(n phraseBurn (definition 2). When the person dealing the cards (usually in a player-dealt game) takes the burn card off the deck prior to dealing the draw cards, he might say, “There’s the hot one.”

hot seat

(n phrase) A seat or position at the table that has recently had a run of good hands.

hot streak

(n phraseWinning streak.

hourly rate

(n phrase1. Time collection2. A player’s winning rate per hour.


(n1. A cardroom or casino. Also called store or joint2. The management of a cardroom or casino; often preceded by the3.full house. “I can beat your flush; I’ve got a house.”


(adj) Pertaining to a game run and financed by a casino, as opposed to a player-banked game like poker and some variants of pai gow poker and baccarat. House-banked games include Caribbean Stud Poker and the like.

house chips

(n phrase1. Chips being played for the establishment, that, is those belonging to a dealer while he is working, to a shill, or stake, as opposed to live chips. Also, house money2. Chips custom designed for a specific casino.

house cut

(n phrase) A portion of each pot taken by the house (definition 2), for the purpose of paying expenses and making a profit. Also, rake.

house deal

(adj phrase) Pertaining to a game dealt by a house dealer.

house dealer

(n phrase) A house employee who deals the cards, sells chips, settles arguments, makes minor rulings in case of irregularities, and generally runs the game. Sometimes called center dealer. Compare with deal-yourself game.

house-dealt game

(n phrase) A game dealt by a house dealer. Compare with deal-yourself game.

house drop

(n phrase) Drop.

house edge

(n phrase1. House cut2. Edge (definition 3).


(n1. A cardroom employee, often working on the floorfloorman2. House dealer. Players often address the dealer as houseman. “What’s it cost me, houseman?”

house money

(n phrase1. Money supplied by an establishment for a sponsored player (as, for example, a Team [x] member) to play on. 2. House chips (definition 1).

house percentage

(n phraseHouse cut.

house player

(n phrase) A stake player or a shill; sometimes a proposition player.

house rule

(n phrase) A rule specific to a particular gaming establishment.

house rules

(n phrase) Generally, the rules by which a house runs all its games, not necessarily just poker. With respect to poker, usually including establishing of betting limits, number of raises, what causes a hand to become dead, how to handle violations of playing conventions, and so on. The house rules consist of the regulations of a particular cardroom on the conduct of a poker game, often codified in that cardroom’s rule book, sometimes, particularly in a small establishment, posted on the wall. Poker rules are not standard, although most rule books contain many similar rules. Some rules (frequently termed the rules of poker), such as what hand beats what, are fairly standard, particularly in public cardrooms, while others, such as what constitutes a legitimate bet or raise and the manner in which betting must be made, vary widely. The smart player familiarizes herself with the poker rules of a particular establishment before first sitting down to play. Also called rules of poker or simply rules.

house take

(n phrase1. House cut2. Edge (definition 3).

house way

(n phrase) The prescribed fashion in which a pai gow poker hand is set if a player declines to set the hand himself.

“How deep are you?”

(expression) A request by one player to another about how many chips he has. The question is usually asked only in a big bet game. See deep.

How I Made Over $1 Million Playing Poker

(n phrase) The original title of Super/System.


Edmond Hoyle (1672-1769): English barrister and codifier of rules of games, author, in 1742, of A Short Treatise on the Game of Whist, which set down the rules of the game. Subsequent editions of the book contained treatments of quadrille, piquet, and backgammon. Hoyle wrote other books about games, and earned a reputation as an expert on rules. Over the years, the phrase “according to Hoyle” came to be synonymous with “by the highest authority.” Although Hoyle never wrote a word about poker — in fact, the game was probably not played in his time — his name has nonetheless come to be associated with the rules of poker. Since Hoyle’s death, several rules books on card games in general have had his name in their titles; many of those books have dealt with poker.


(n phraseHeartland Poker Tour.


(nChat term for heads up (definition 2) (or head up). You might see one player type in the chatbox, “HU lulu123?” This is a challenge for the two of them (the challenger and lulu123) to start a two-handed game at another table. Also, h/u.




(nHeads up display.

Huey, Dewey, and Louie

(n phrase) Three deuces (2s). See Dewey Duck.

human card rack

(n phraseCard rack.


(n) A deck marked by shaving the long edges of some cards such that they are wider towards their middles, so that a thief can tell by feel the values of certain cards, usually certain high or low cards, such as the aces. Also see strippers.


(n) 100, usually with respect to $100. “He just plays long enough to make his daily hundo.”


(adv) Awaiting someone’s action. “Where’s it hung?” is asked when it seems the player whose action is next is either dreaming and unaware it’s her turn or the player is taking to much time making a decision.


(nRabbit hunt. “We don’t let the players hunt in our home game.”

hunting season

(n) In hold’em, A-2 as starting cards, so named because an ace is a bullet, and a two is a duck; put them together and you’ve got hunting season.


(nTwo-card poker.


(v) What a hustler does.


(n1. Someone who makes his living playing cards. Also see gambler2. A player who takes unfair advantage of others, particularly of newcomers. 3. Thief; this usage is rare.


(n) What a hustler does.


(n) The tendency of players, particularly young ones and those who play a lot on the Internet, to bet, raise, reraise, and rereraise with lighter holdings than the “old guard” might consider reasonable.

hyper-turbo tournament

(n phrase) A turbo tournament whose levels go up very quickly, perhaps every three minutes, and whose prize is usually entry into a bigger tournament.




Entire dictionary copyright (©) 2010, Michael Wiesenberg. Online publication rights owned by Mike Caro / MCU. No part of this dictionary may be republished without written permission.


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