Wiesenberg: MCU Dictionary of Poker | Letter I




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“I can dodge bullets, baby.”

(expression) See dodge bullets.

“I can’t buy a hand.”

(expression) See can’t buy a hand.

“I can’t buy a pot.”

(expression) See can’t buy a pot.

I can’t stand a raise.”

(expression) Expression uttered by someone who has just bet a hand that isn’t strong enough to call additional bets and will (presumably) fold if an opponent raises. See stand (definition 2).


(n) A cold deck. So called because, after cards are dealt for a while, they warm a bit to the touch, while a cold deck actually feels cool, or, by extension, like ice.


(nIndependent chip model.

“I couldn’t get away from the hand.”

(expression) See can’t get away from a hand.

idiot end

(n phraseIgnorant end.

I’d swim the river to play this hand.”

(expression) Saying uttered by someone who is extremely eager to play a hand, perhaps because many people are already in the pot or because he is getting good odds.


(n) “I go home now,” in RGP speak. The expression is used in email, as a chat term, and is also heard at the table. The implication is that a good hand held by the speaker just got beat, probably by a longshot. Also see YGHN.

ignorant end

(n phrase) In hold’em, the low end of a straight, or a straight that can lose to a higher straight. This is a risky hand to hold or draw to, because someone can easily end up with a higher straight. If you have 5-6 in the hole, and the flop is 7-8-9, you have flopped the ignorant end of the straight, and will lose to anyone starting with 10-J or 6-10. Also called bottom enddumb endidiot end.

ignorant end of a straight

(n phraseIgnorant end.

illegal bet

(n phrase1. With respect to an initial bet in a limit game, an amount that does not constitute a full bet, having various interpretations, depending on the club. See discussion under legal raise2. A wager that is against the rules and thus invalid, as opposed to a legal bet (definition 2), which is acceptable and binding.

“I’ll behave.”

(expression) See behave.

“I’ll gamble.”

(expression) “I’ll take a chance,” a saying usually heard as a player elects to participate in a pot. Often someone who says this is not gambling (see gamble), but likely has good cards.


(n) How others view a particular player; the reputation or aura a player might have. A player might have a tight, intimidating, or loose image, among others. Also, table image, table presence.

“I’m all in.”

(expression) See “All in.”


(n) An unbeatable hand, based on circumstances. For example, in seven-card stud, on the river (the last card, dealt face down) you have four aces, and no one shows two cards to a straight flush, so no one can have you beat. You have an immortal. Also, any perfect hand, as a royal flush in high poker, or awheel in low poker. This term is frequently found in poker literature, particularly that of years gone by, but is not at all common in cardrooms. Also called immortal handimmortal nutsimmortalsmortal nuts. Also see locknuts.

immortal hand

(n phraseImmortal.

immortal nuts

(n phraseImmortal.



“I’m on top.”

(expression) See on top.

imperfect deck

(n phrase1. Honest reader2. A deck with too few, too many, or duplicated cards.

implicit collusion

(n phrase) A situation can arise in which the leader in a pot would prefer that one or more of his opponents fold because, while he has a positive expectation on his bet, he is not a favorite against the field. In implicit collusion, all opponents come to an independent agreement — that is, without consulting among each other — to all play in such a way as to minimize the chance of the player with the best hand winning the pot. For example, in a hold’em tournament, a small stack may go all in and get called by one or more players with larger stacks. Those players collectively have a better chance of beating the all-in player than any does individually, and they may check down the hand till the end, that is, with no one making a bet that might drive anyone else out. The all-in player may have the best hand and be the favorite against any one of the others, but collectively, the remaining players have a better chance against the all-in player, and if they all understand — even though nothing is ever said to that effect — that all will check the hand down, that is implicit collusion. In another example, a bluff may have a high chance of success against any one opponent, but against multiple opponents have no chance at all. In low-limit games, with their many players remaining at the end, a bluff against the field has almost no chance of succeeding. Again, this involves implicit collusion among the players. They may not be aware of the situation, but it does exist. Similar situations arise in other games.

implied odds

(n phrase) The ratio of what you should win (including money likely to be bet in subsequent rounds) on a particular hand to what the current bet costs. Sometimes called effective oddsimplied pot oddsrisk-reward ratio. Compare with pot odds. Also see expectation.

implied pot odds

(n phraseImplied odds.

implied tilt odds

(n phrase) A takeoff on implied pot odds, the situation in which a player makes a play that might have current negative expected value but puts an opponent on tilt, thus rendering that opponent liable for later exploitation.


(v1. Better a hand, particularly catch one needed card. For example, in draw poker, you call an all-in raise from another player to draw one card to two pair. The other player shows down a small straight. You show that you made a full house, with the comment, “I improved.” Also, help2. Have a specific hand made in a stud or hold’em-type game, and then, upon the appearance of another card, make a better hand. For example, your first five cards in seven-stud are 10♠ 9♠ 3♠ J♠ 5♠, giving you a jack-high flush. Your next card is A♠, causing you to improve (to an ace-high flush).


(n) Betterment of a hand.


(adv1. How many chips a player has bought altogether. “How much you in?” might be an attempt by another player to find out whether that large stack of chips you have is winnings or all your own money. Also, in for2. Participating in a pot. “You in?” means “Are you partaking in this sporting venture?” 3.Having anted. In this context, “You in?” means “Did you ante?” (and implies that you didn’t).

in action

(adv phrase1. Describing a pot in contention. 2. Describing an active hand3. Having money, said of a player who has sufficient wherewithal to play the games of his choice. To say that John is in action means that he is not broke and implies that being broke is not unusual for John. 4. Playing or able to play. “He’s in action” means “He’s in a game.” “He’s not in action” means “He’s not in a game,” and is usually extended to mean that he is not currently playing poker because he has insufficient capital.

in a row

(n or adv phrase) Descriptive of or a name for a straight.

in a tree

(adv phrase) See live in a tree.

independent chip model

(n phrase) A mathematical method of calculating tournament chip equity, that is, a method of estimating each player’s winning chances based on the percentage that each holds of the overall number of chips; usually preceded by the. The independent chip model can be used to determine equitable final table deals. Sometimes shortened to ICM.


(n; plindexesindices1. A number or letter (2 through 10 or J, Q, K, A) in the upper left-hand and lower right-hand corner of a card denoting the card’s rank. (Some say that the suit indication — the single spade, heart, club, or diamond — beneath the number or letter is part of the index.) Compare with pip,suit mark2. A mark placed on the back of a card by a cheat to indicate the value of the card. Also see cosmeticsdaub.

Indian poker

(n phrase) A variant of poker, usually played only in home games, in which players can see all hands except their own, and bet based on other players’ reactions to their and other hands. In all cases, each player holds one or more cards to his forehead, facing outward, with the tacit understanding that no player has “peeked” at his own card or cards. In the simplest form, one card is used and high card wins at whatever point the betting is equalized. Anywhere from two to five cards can also be used, with appropriate hand rankings. In one version, which has become an unofficial event at the World Series of Poker, players start with two cards on their foreheads and then play hold’em, with a flop, turn, and river dealt to the table just as in the usual form of the game. The name comes from the positioning of feathers in a headdress. Sometimes called blind man’s bluff.

inflection point

(n phrase) The point in a tournament at which hand evaluation changes and strategy differs as a player’s stack size shrinks in relation to the blinds and antes. For example, hands that may have been thrown away when the player had a large stack in relation to the blinds and antes may now become all-in hands.

in for

(adv phrase1. The total action (definition 3) to which one player is entitled, usually when side pots are involved. “How much is he in for?” implies that one who is all in is entitled to only a certain portion of the pot. 2. All in, and thus entitled to only part of the pot. “I’m in for the antes” means I can win only the antes if I win; “I’m in for one bet” means I get an amount equal to one bet from each player if I win. 3. How much a player is in (definition 1). “How much you in for?”

in front

(adv phrase) Winning; sometimes followed by an amount. “You stuck?” “Nah, I’m in front.” Or: “I’m in front a dime.”

in front of

(adv phrase1. Acting (see act) before (with respect to position, definition 3) a particular player; always followed by the designation of a player. “I was in front of Chloe the whole tournament.” 2. Ahead (definition 1) of (that is, winning); always followed by the game. “I was in front of the game right from the first hand.”

in good position

(adv phrase) Having good position, usually with respect to where one acts, that is, on or close to the button.

initiate the betting

(v phraseOpen.

in line

(adv phraseUp for. “Are you in line for the 20-40?”

in play

(adv phrase1. Being played, often with respect to chips. If one player asks another, “Are those chips in play?,” it may be because he wants to know if some portion of the player’s stack (perhaps comprised of chips that he may have just bought) is available to bet or call with. 2. Being played, with respect to a hand or pot. “Don’t say anything about the hand; the pot is still in play.”

in position

(adv phrase) In good position, generally used to describe a situation. For example, someone might be in position to win a tournament, make a particular bet, steal the blind, etc.


(adv1. Pertaining to an inside straight. To catch inside means to make an inside straight. 2. Being an employee of a casino or cardroom, when part of phrases such as she works inside and he works on the inside3. Being part of a team or group with particular knowledge or access, often applied to cheating, when part of a phrase like he’s on the inside. — (n4. An inside straight, usually with reference to the catching of a card that makes an inside straight. “He called all in and hit the inside.”

inside straight

(n phrase1. Four cards to a straight with one “hole,” as 4-5-7-8 of mixed suits, which becomes a straight by the addition of any 6, or A-2-3-4, which becomes a straight by the addition of any 5, or J-Q-K-A, which becomes a straight by the addition of any 10. (The last two are sometimes called by the special name one-ended straight.) Also, gut straightone-way straightsplit week2. The catching of a card that makes an inside straight or the hand so made. “He called all in and hit the inside straight.”

inside straight card

(n phrase) The card that makes an inside straight. An inside straight card is often called a gut shot and sometimes called a belly card.

inside straight draw

(n phrase) A hand that has a draw to an inside straight.

inside wrap

(n phrase) In Omaha, a situation in which your four downcards consist of three cards each separated by one rank, which combine with two cards of the flop to form five consecutive cards, so that many cards on the turn or river give you a straight. For example, your downcards are 8-6-4-A, and the flop is 5-7-K. You can make a straight with any of 17 cards, any 8, 6, or 4, three each of which remain, or any 9 or 3, of which four of each remain. Compare with full wrap and wraparound.

in spades

(adv) In the extreme, without restraints, particularly when part of the boast of strength “I’ve got you in spades.” May come from the game of bridge in which spades are the highest suit. The expression has moved from the world of cards to general usage in the English language, with approximately the same meaning.


(prefix) When combined with a verb, immediately, as instacallinstaraise. Similar to snap-.


(v1. Call immediately, without hesitation. “I knew he was bluffing and I instacalled.” Similar to snap-call. — (n2. An immediate call, one that requires no thinking.


(v1. Raise immediately, without hesitation. Similar to snap-raise. — (n2. An immediate raise, one that requires no thinking. “I bet and he instaraised.”


(n) A side bet between two players, or between one player and an outsider (often known as an insurance man) who makes a business of this sort of thing, against a particular hand losing, usually made at a point before the fall of the final card or cards. For example, in a no-limit hold’em game, one player is all in on fourth street for his entire bankroll. If he loses, he has to leave this wonderful game, and probably go back to playing small limit. He has pocket aces, with another ace on the board. There are also two spades on the board, and his opponent has turned up his two spades in the hole. Our hero can lose only if a spade comes on the end that does not pair one of the other cards on the board. The odds against this can be worked out. The holder of the pair of aces can contract for insurance. If he loses the pot, the person with whom he arranged the insurance pays him some amount, usually equal to the value of the pot; if he wins, he pays that person some amount that, based on the odds against his losing, allows that person to make a profit (that is, have a positive expectation over the long run). The more desperate the person who makes the insurance bet, the worse the terms exacted by the seller of the insurance.

insurance bet

(n phrase) See insurance.

insurance fee

(n phrase) An option allowing players an extra card at the end in Bonus Six.

insurance man

(n phrase) A player or spectator who sells or books insurance.

interest list

(n phrase) A list a cardroom maintains of people who want (or might want) to play a specific game. If enough people sign up (or ask to have their names put on the list), the cardroom will spread the game. An interest list might be for a game not currently being played in the cardroom, such as Omaha 8-or-better, or a game at some limit different from any currently being played. Compare with board (definition 4).

international signals

(n phrase) A set of signals supposedly universally recognized by all thieves, allowing thieves who don’t even know each other to communicate their desire to fleece the suckers, indicate their need for particular cards, and so on. These signals are of no use in games with sophisticated players, who are clever enough to catch on to what is going on, and are unnecessary with “dummies,” because they can be beat by good playing. Some thieves still are not clever enough to understand these concepts, however, and you may see the signals (see signal) in some games, particularly those in which the management does not give its players much protection.

Internet game

(n phraseOnline game.

Internet player

(n phrase) Someone who plays in an online cardroom. The term is sometimes used derogatorily by brick and mortar cardroom players and tournament competitors for players who have learned their poker skills on the Internet and are viewed as poor players. Also, online player.

Internet poker

(n phraseOnline poker.

Internet poker site

(n phraseOnline cardroom.

in the air

(adv phrase) With respect to cards, being dealt. Usually refers to the starting time of a tournament. “The cards will be in the air at 7” means the tournament will start at 7 sharp.

in the blind

(adv phrase1. Bet or check blind (definition 5). 2. Being in one of the blind (definition 1) positions.

in the back

(adv phrase) Where a single-table cardroom might have its game, possibly in a separate room. Also, back room.

in the box

(adv phrase) Acting as house dealer. See box (definition 4).

in the bushes

(adv phrase) In the weeds.

in the business

(adv phrase) Being a thief or cheat. “They stayed out of each other’s way when they realized they were both in the business.” That means that two players recognized that each was a thief and did not attempt to cheat each other. See stay out of each other’s way (definition 2).

in the chips

(adv phrase1. Winning. 2. The state of having lots of money. Also termed in action. The expression has moved from the world of poker to general usage in the English language meaning having lots of money.

in the dark

(adv phrase) See dark (definition1).

in the door

(adv phrase) In the door position. “He’s got a five in the door.”

in the gut

(adv phraseInside.

in the hole

(adv phrase1. Pertaining to a player’s hole card or cards. In five-card stud: “He had an ace in the hole.” In seven-card stud: “He ended up with three high spades in the hole.” 2. Stuck, that is, losing. “How much are you in the hole?”

in the lead

(adv phraseLeading.

in the middle

(adv phrase1. Pertaining to a situation in which one player finds himself between two others who are raising frequently, or, in a no-limit game, heavily. He is not necessarily physically between these two; he is logically, however, as far as the betting goes. Also called whipsawed (see whipsaw). 2. In middle position3. In the pot, so described because of where the chips that constitute the pot are located. “He had all his chips in the middle.” 4. In a three-blind traveling blind game, pertaining to a situation in which a player can receive his first hand, if he is too late to get the big blind, in the middle position. To do so is to take it in the middletake the middle blind, or come in in the middle. (Some clubs do not let a new player, that is, new to the particular game, be dealt in until it is his turn to put in the blind, supposedly to prevent his getting any “free” hands.) Also, if a seated player has missed the blind in a particular round, he can receive his next hand only in the blind position. In such a case, a player must come in on the blindcome in in the middle, or, if not in the big blind position, overblind or post to receive a hand.

in the money

(adv phrase) Having lasted long enough in a tournament to guarantee finishing as one of the winners. Depending on the size of the tournament, this might be one of the top three, having made it to the final table, one of the final 16, perhaps even one of the final 40 or 50 (or more, in some very large or special tournaments). Contrast with out of the money. Sometimes shortened to ITM.

in the hunt

(adv phrase) Still alive.

in the pocket

(adv phrase) Pertaining to the hole card or cards. See pocket.

in the race

(adv phrase) Still alive.

in the tank

(adv phraseInto the tank.

in the weeds

(adv phrase) See weeds.

in the woods

(adv phrase) In the weeds.

in the zone

(adv phrase) Playing perfectly by reading everyone just right and making all the right moves at the right times. This term comes to poker from sports.

intimidation factor

(n phrase) An element of your image such that players are afraid to bet into or raise you because of your aggressive tendency to raise or reraise.

into the tank

(adv phrase) Being in the situation of needing to ponder one’s next move, usually said of someone who is confronted by a large bet. “It’s nearly $1 million to Erik and he goes into the tank.” Also, in the tankinto the think tank.

into the think tank

(adv phraseInto the tank.

in turn

(adv phrase) Playing when one is required (and allowed to), according to the rules of the game. That usually means waiting to act until the player before one has completed her action. Often part of the term bet in turn or act in turn. Also see out of turn.


(n) Put money into a pot or a game. “A hundred to me? I’ll invest.” “I had $100 invested in that pot, but that was enough.” “I’ve invested $1,000 in this game and that’s as far as I care to go.”


(n1. How much of a particular pot you put in. Everything beyond that is your profit (if you win the pot). 2. At any point, how much it has cost you up to that point to remain in the pot. 3. How much one is in (definition 1) in a particular game.

investment odds

(n phrasePot odds.


(adv) Being in contention for, or having called or made bets to stay active in, a pot.

IRC poker

(n phrase) A form of online poker that preceded the establishment of Internet poker rooms. It was the means to play poker, mainly in tournament form, coordinated by a central computer that generated hands and sent those hands in the form of text messages to participants. Some of the older online and live tournament poker champs, notably Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, got their start in IRC poker. IRC is short for Internet Relay Chat, an Internet protocol for conferencing or multi-person chatting.

ironclad hand

(n phrase) The nuts, that is, a hand that has a very good chance of winning a particular pot. Also called iron duke.

iron duke

(n phrase) The nuts, that is, a hand that has a very good chance of winning a particular pot. Also called ironclad hand.

irregular hand

(n phraseDead handfoul hand.


(n). 1. Any breach of the house rules, deliberate or not, such as betting or discarding out of turn, announcing one’s intentions (to bet, raise, or fold) out of turn, misdealing, and so on. 2. Any unexpected action or condition during play, such as an exposed card. 3. Something that might cause an imperfect deck, such as flawed cards that might make the deck unintentionally marked.


(n) If someone asks “Presto?” at a gambling table, “Irwin?” is what one replies to determine if the person really is a BARGEr (see BARGEr). The correct BARGE response to the second question is, “Actually, no.” (If you really want to know where this and other BARGE terms came from you’ll have to do Web research on BARGE history, because such explanations are beyond the scope of this dictionary.)


(v) Bet in such a way as to end up heads up against a particular player; usually followed by the name or description of the player. “Every time the live one opened, John raised to isolate him.”


(n) Making an isolation play.

isolation play

(n phrase) An attempt to eliminate other players, usually by a raise, so as to end up heads up against a particular player.


(n) Shorthand, particularly in e-mail and Internet postings, for in the blind. Also, a chat term.

It depends.”

(n phrase) The usual response to any strategy question by most poker experts, particularly those who have magazine columns. “How should I play pocket aces against a raise-opener when the stacks are deep.” “It depends” begins the pundit, and then goes on to enumerate several conditions and situations. Also, “That depends.”


(n) Someone who helps a cardsharp by sending him signals, supplying him with a stacked deck, or otherwise helping him cheat.


(n) Using an itemer.


(n) Shorthand, particularly in e-mail and Internet postings, for in the hole. Also, a chat term.


(n) Shorthand, particularly in e-mail and Internet postings, for in the money. Also, a chat term.


(nImplied tilt odds.

“It’s good.”

(expression) A verbal acknowledgment by a player on the showdown that another player has the best hand; that is, “You win; take the pot.” Also, “That’s good.”

it wouldn’t be good poker

(n phrase) The perceived proper play, in an expression such as “It wouldn’t be good poker to fold here.”

I’ve got a hand like a foot.”

(expression) Colorful description of an unplayable hand, often uttered when a player discards such a hand.

“I’ve got you covered.”

(expression) See covered.

“I’ve got you in spades.”

(expression) A boast of strength. See in spades.

“I wait.”

(v phrase) “I check.”




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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