Wiesenberg: MCU Dictionary of Poker | Letter S




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(n1. Spades (the suit), in written text. Ks, for example, is the king of spades (K♠). 2. Shorthand, particularly in e-mail and Internet postings, for suited. For example, specifying a hold’em hand as KQs means king-queen suited. Also a chat term.


(n) Seven card stud (high), when part of a designation like H.O.R.S.E. or H.O.S.E.


(expression“Sooted!” (Those are zeroes, not O’s.)


(v) Bend cards in such a way that the deck will be cut one card above one of these cards.


(n1. Two or more 4s. (That’s what they look like.) 2. In hold’em, 4-4 as starting cards.

sail for

(v phrase) Lose. “How much did he sail for?”


(n, imitative) 7 (the card, or the lowball hand).

salt away

(v phraseRathole chips during a playing session, perhaps for future use.


(n) Poor luck; the condition of being salty.


(adv) Having poor luck; on a losing streak. “How ya doin’?” “Been running salty lately; can’t seem to make a hand when it counts.”


(v) Use sandpaper on the sides of some cards so that their ranks can be determined by feel, or so that they can be easily located within a full deck; a method of shaving the cards. See shave and strippers.


(v) Pass a good holding (in stud or hold’em) or good hand (in draw) with the intention of raising if anyone bets. (While it’s possible to check-raise as a bluff, that is, with a poor hand, doing so is generally not termed a sandbag.) Also see check-raiseslow-play.


(n) One who sandbags (see sandbag), often a term of disapproval.

S & G

(n) Shorthand, particularly in e-mail and Internet postings, for sit-and-go tournament.

S & M

(n phrase) Referring to the writings of poker theoreticians David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth. In a seven-card stud context, often refers to Seven-Card Stud for Advanced Players, and in a hold’em context, to Texas Hold’em for Advanced Players. “Playing S & M” means playing according to the precepts of those books.


(n) Cards marked on their sides by sanding. See sand. Compare with scratch paper.





San Francisco

(n phrase) In hold’em, a 4 and a 9 as starting cards. From the San Francisco 49ers NFL team.

San Jose to Gilroy

(n phrase) Three 10s, so called because it used to be 30 miles from San Jose to Gilroy (no longer), and 30 miles is another term for three 10s. Sometimes shortened to just Gilroy. Also, from here to Gilroy.

Santa Barbara

(n phrase) In hold’em, A-K as starting cards. Derives from a destructive oil spill off the Santa Barbara coast in 1969, the name arising from the more well-known name for the hand, big slick.


(n) A BARGE-like convention, Southern Annual rec.gambling Excursion.


(n) Shorthand for satellite.


(n1. Satellite tournament. — (v2. Play in a satellite. An online cardroom might advertise “Satellite your way into our million-dollar tournament.”

satellite tournament

(n phrase) A special tournament whose prize is usually a buy-in to a larger tournament. One-table satellites (also called single-table satellites) usually have just one winner; sometimes second place is awarded a free entry to another tournament or cash. In larger satellite tournaments, the winner may get entry to the larger tournament, round-trip airfare plus accommodations (if the satellite takes place in a city other than that of the larger tournament), plus some percentage of the excess cash accumulated in buy-ins and rebuys. Second, third, and sometimes other places also can win a percentage of this cash or buy-ins to that or other tournaments. Often shortened simply to satellite or, particularly online, to sat. A satellite tournament with a large number of entrants, awarding, usually, multiple entries to a major tournament, is called a supersatellite.

sauter la coupe

(n phrase, from French: lit. hop the cut) A cheating maneuver in which the dealer palms a card and moves it to the bottom of the deck, there to be dealt at his discretion.


(n, imitative) 7 (the card, or the lowball hand).


(v1. In a tournament, make an agreement near the end to allocate some of the prize money for first place to lower places. For example, if first place is worth $2,000 and second $1,000, two players might agree to save $200 and play for the rest. This way, second place would be worth $1200 and first $1800. In another example, nine players might be at the final table in a $100-buy-in tournament that pays only the top six places. They might agree before starting final-table play to save $100 for places seven through nine, the amount to come out of first place or perhaps first and second. That way, everyone who made it to the final table would be guaranteed something. Compare with split (definition 5). 2. Make an agreement, between two or more players, to pay the others when one wins a pot. For example, if you and I are saving antes, each time you win a pot, you throw me an ante chip, and each time I win one, I throw you a chip. Also see backline(n3. The agreement described in definition 1. “I broke even on the tournament because the players agreed to a save at the final table.”

save bets

(v phrase) Make a similar agreement to that described under save (definition 2), except that players involved in such an agreement return all of what the others have invested in the pot. For example, if you and I are saving bets, and you win a pot in which we both play, you return to me everything I put in the pot, and vice versa. In such cases, you and I make money if we are both in a pot only if someone else is in. This procedure is not permitted in most cardrooms, because it looks like a form of collusion to the other players. (Sometimes such an arrangement is only for one chip per bet. That way, either player makes money even in a pot against the other.) Also push bets. Also see backline.


(n) $10 or a $10 bill.

sawdust joint

(n phrase1. A cardroom or casino that caters to a low-class crowd, sometimes implying a place whose denizens include thieves. Comes from a time when taverns had hardwood floors with sawdust sprinkled on them to absorb spilled drinks. 2. Any gambling house of less-than-opulent surroundings, as opposed to a carpet joint.


(n) In hold’em, K-9 as starting cards. Comes from a probably apocryphal story told by a southwestern player who went broke on the hand and, driving past a lumberyard, said something to the effect that he bet that the operator of the sawmill would never go broke with a K-9 (implying that an industrious working man would not wager his fortune on a card hand).




(n, imitative) 6 (the card, or the ace-to-five lowball hand).


(v1. Announce in turn whether one is betting or passing. (n2. Such an announcement. 3. A player’s turn to bet or pass. “Your say, John; whaddya do?”


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


(n) Shorthand, particularly in tournament write-ups, for the head up situation in which the small blind is on the button.


(n1. A cheating agreement between two or more players; collusion2. Less frequently, any marginally dishonest scheme. For example, buying cheap clothes from a factory that specializes in making knockoff copies of designer clothes and then selling them in a cardroom as first-class items that were supposedly part of a hijacked truck shipment, because people think they’re getting a great deal if they buy something for seemingly less than it’s worth because it’s apparently “hot,” is the “hot clothing scam.” (Usually accompanied by a coy announcement that the item “fell off the truck.”) (vi3. Use a scam. “They got barred from the club after the manager discovered they were scamming.” (vt4. Use a scam on someone or something. “They were scamming the game.”


(n) One who scams (see scam).

scare card

(n phrase1. In hold’em, the appearance of a board card that presents the possibility of a better hand. For example, if you have pocket queens and an ace or king appears, that is a scare card because it might make a bigger pair for an opponent. Similarly, if you hold two pair or three of a kind, the appearance of a third or fourth suited card or card in sequence is a scare card. 2. In stud, the appearance on a player’s board of a card that appears likely to have improved the player’s hand. For example, a player who received an ace, a 10, and a jack as his first three upcards, and then caught a king on sixth street, has definitely been dealt a scare card, because he can easily have or make a high straight. 3. In draw, a good card inadvertently turned up in a player’s hand, supposedly frightening opponents.

scared money

(n phrase) Money a player is afraid to lose (and thus probably will), perhaps because it is the last of his bankroll or the rent money. There’s a cardroom saying, “Scared money never wins.”

Scarne cut

(n phrase) A form of cut in which the cutter holds the cards in one hand, removes the bottom half with the other and places them atop the remaining half, pulls a packet from the center and places those cards on top of the remaining cards. This cut is named after John Scarne, who lectured and wrote about gambling thieves, and introduced this form of cut as a means of foiling cheaters who had stacked the deck. The Scarne cut is not permitted in most public cardrooms, where the deck must not be lifted from the table and must be cut with one hand. Sometimes called doghouse cutwhorehouse cut.

scary board

(n phrase) In a flop game, a board containing several scare cards (see scare card). On the flop, three cards of the same suit, three connecting cards, particularly if high cards, would constitute a scary board.


(n1. People assembled to play poker, or a group from whom players are drawn. This is mostly British usage. Also called poker school. — (v2. What fish do. See schooling.


(n) The situation in which multiple players make bad calls but the individual calls each become not so bad because of the presence of the other callers. Each call of the original bet brings others who see the pot getting larger and their chances improving, which in turn brings more. This effect explains why you sometimes see eight players in a capped hold’em pot, with several holding hands (like 7-5) they would not play for even a single bet if only one or two others were in the pot. This also explains why those who play good cards claim they can’t beat loose games; what gets them is the high variance intrinsic in such games. The term comes from what fish do.


(v1. Put a bad beat on someone. Some say this must be worse than a bad beat: a backdoor flush (in hold’em) doesn’t count; if you have pocket kings, the flop is K-7-3, and my 9-3 offsuit catches running threes to beat you, that does. — (n2. The act of performing the preceding. “Did you see that schmengie?”

School’s out.”

(expression) An exhortation by a knowledgeable player to another to quit trying to teach the fish to play properly. A more direct way of saying this is “Don’t smarten up the dummies.” See “Dummy up.”


(v1. Win all of the pot in a high-low poker game that does not have a declaration (definition 2) by having both the highest and the lowest hand. 2. Win all of the pot in a high-low poker game that does not have a declare by having the best hand for one way and no one has a qualifier for the other way. For example, in high-low seven-stud, 8-or-better, if your full house is the best high hand and no one has an 8-low or better, you scoop the pot. 3. Declare both ways in a high-low poker game that has a declaration. 4. Win both ways in a high-low poker game that has a declare. (Just because you declare both ways does not necessarily mean you’ll win both ways.) Also called shoot the moon (usually only in home games) for definitions 3 and 4, and sweep for 1. (n5. A game in which a player who wins two pots in a row (or wins one pot over a certain amount, usually in a high-low split game) must post a blind on the next hand such that the game is played temporarily at a higher limit. That limit is usually either twice the nominal size of the game, or 50 percent higher (half kill). Thus, Omaha scoop might be a $4-$8 game that becomes either $8-$16 or $6-$12 after someone wins two pots in a row (or wins a pot greater than, say, 10 bets strange in Omaha 8-or-better). When a board man announces the game, he might refer to it just as scoop, particularly if it’s the only scoop game in the house. “John, your scoop seat is open.” 6. In a no-limit game, a handful of chips. When a player bets, and the dealer does not know exactly how much the bet is, the dealer might say, “One scoop.” When a bet is raised by approximately the same amount, the dealer might say, “Two scoops.” 7. In a limit game, two bets, that is, a bet and a raise; often used as a plural. When a player raises, the dealer might say, “Two scoops.”


(n, acronymSpring Championship of Online Poker.


(n1. A hand that wins both ways in any high-low pot. 2. The player holding the hand that wins both ways in any high-low pot. 3. The player who declares both ways in a high-low poker game that has a declaration (definition 2). See scoop.

scooped pot

(n phrase) A pot won by a scooping hand.

scoop game

(n phrase) See scoop (definition 5).

scoop hand

(n phraseScooping hand.

scooping hand

(n phrase) A hand that wins both ways in any high-low pot, or the whole pot due to having the best hand for high when there is no low.

scoop pot

(n phrase1. A pot won by a scooping hand2. The next pot. “John can’t leave. He has to kill the pot. This is a scoop pot. He scooped the last one.”

scoop the kitty

(n phrase) Win all the money the players have put up during a poker session.

scoop the pool

(n phraseScoop the kitty.


(n) Pass chips between players, considered against the rules in some clubs. For example, John goes broke, and says to Sue, in the same game, “Could you lend me $20 to stay in the game?” Sue takes $20 off her stack, and passes them over to John. This is called scooting, and is considered illegal, even though it may not be specifically mentioned in the rules, because Sue has taken money off her own stack, which goes counter to the rules governing table stakes. The term came from scoot partner.


(n, pl1. Dollars. 2. Dollar chips. 3. Sometimes, any chips.

scoot partner

(n phrase) Someone with whom one player saves antes (or chips of the normal denomination for the game), as described under save (definition 2) and save bets.


(n1. Win. “He made a good score.” (v2. Win. “I scored last night.” 3. Win big. 4. Win by cheating.

score a big touch

(v phrase) Win big, usually dishonestly.

scored pair

(n phrase) Having a pair in the pocket in hold’em or seven-card stud, that is, a pair as one’s starting (first two) cards.

Scotch straight

(n phrase) In high draw poker, a special skip straight, a nonstandard hand sometimes given value in a private or home game, five even cards in a series separated each from the other by one rank, that is, 2-4-6-8-10. The same hand, but with no value, is called a rizlo.

Scourge of Scotland

(n phrase) The 9 of diamonds, so called because every ninth Scottish king was (supposedly) a tyrant, and diamonds were a symbol of Scotland. Also called Curse of Scotland. The trivia page on the International Playing Card Society website provides other speculations about the derivation of the term (in particular http://www.cs.man.ac.uk/~daf/i-p-c-s.org/faq/curse.php).


(n) Thoroughly mix the deck while it is face down on the table by spreading the cards over a large area, an action sometimes performed by a dealer prior to actually shuffling the cards in traditional fashion. Sometimes this extra time taken mixing the cards is done at the request of a player. Some say that the legendary Johnny Moss, three-time winner of the World Series of Poker, originated the term scramble. Also called wash.

scratch paper

(n phrase) Cards marked on their backs with sandpaper or a sharp instrument. Compare with sandpaper.

screen name

(n phrase) The name under which someone plays at an online cardroom. This is the name that appears at his seat position while he is playing and on lists while he is waiting for a seat. Most online players like to remain anonymous and adopt names other than their own. Screen names are often colorful and inventive, though sometimes close to or even the same as the players’ real names. In the wider Internet world, the term handle means about the same. Also, user name.

screen out

(v phrase) Make a diversion, to draw attention away from a thief who is in the process of performing a cheating maneuver. Also called shade.


(n) A diversion made (by another player) to draw attention away from a thief who is in the process of performing a cheating maneuver.

screwed down

(adv phrase) Playing very tight.

Screwy Louie

(n phraseAnaconda.

(n phrase) A form of five- or seven-card stud found only in home games in which at the end a twist is taken from an opponent’s hand rather than dealt from the deck. Also called twist your neighbor.


(n phrase) Shorthand, particularly in e-mail and Internet postings, for single-draw. Also a chat term.


(n1. A chair at a poker table, or, more particularly, the player in that chair, or the seating position of that player. A house dealer might say to an approaching cocktail waitress, “Seat 1 wants a drink.” 2. An opening in a poker game, particularly as it just becomes available for a new player. A dealer may announce to the floorman, “Seat open on 3.” Someone who has not yet sat down to play may ask the board man, “Do you have a seat in 10-20 hold’em?” 3. An entry place in a tournament. “Chloe was one of the top 10 places in a supersatellite and won a seat in the main event.”

seat charge

(n phraseTime (definition 1).


(adv1. Playing (in a game). (adj2. Pertaining to a player in a game (as opposed to someone who is either not yet playing, or who is away from the table). In describing the disposition of a jackpot, you may see the wording, “When a jackpot is won, 50 percent goes to the holder of the losing hand, 25 percent to the holder of the winning hand, and the remaining 25 percent to seated players.”

seating position

(n phrase) Where a player sits in relation to the others at the table, or, sometimes, to the house dealer. See discussion under position.


(n1. A professional dealer. 2. Shill.

Seat open.”

(expression) An announcement to the floor personnel by a dealer that a player has left the table in a cash game and a seat has become available; a similar announcement in a tournament that a player has busted out. An announcement similar to “Seat open on table three” is frequently heard in cardrooms. Also, open seat.

seat position

(n phrase1. Seating position2. Specifically, which seat number one occupies, starting with seat number 1 to the house dealer’s left and continuing clockwise around the table.

seat selection

(n phrase) Where a player chooses to sit at a table. Making the best seat selection, that is, choosing the best position, is an element of good strategy.

seat shot

(n phrasePosition play. “Five people limped preflop, so I came in light on the button. Everyone checked on the flop, which contained no scare cards. I had nothing, but no one seemed interested so I took a seat shot and won the small pot.”

Seattle special

(n) In hold’em, K-5 as starting cards. The name comes from Seattle, Washington channel 5, based in King county, and known as King TV, whose logo is a graphic rendering of K5.


(n) The second card from the top of the deck, when referring to being dealt by a cheating dealer; often plural. “He dealt himself a second.” “They barred him for dealing seconds.”

secondary cards

(n phrase) See primary cards.

secondary draw

(n phraseBackup.

second best

(n phrase1. Holding a hand that comes in second on the showdown (that is, loses). “Here I am, second best again.” 2. The cards that constitute the hand in this situation. “Three kings was second best.”

second button

(n phraseSecond pair.

second chance tournament

(n phrase) A tournament played after a main event in which those who have busted out have an opportunity, usually for a smaller buy-in, to compete for another prize.

second deal

(n phrase1. The dealing of one or more seconds(v phrase2. Deal seconds.

second dealer

(n phraseSeconds dealer.

second dealing

(n phrase) Dealing seconds.

second hand

(n phrase) The second player to act in any betting round.

second nuts

(n phrase) In hold’em, having the second-best possible hand for the situation, or, the actual second-best hand in such a situation. For example, if four spades (not including either the ace or king) and no pairs are on the board, the nuts would be an ace-high flush (that is, the ace of spades in the possession of any player), while the second nuts would be a king-high flush.

second pair

(n phrase) In hold’em, forming a pair that consists of one of your hole cards (see hole card) matching the second-highest card on the board. Sometimes called middle pair or second button. Compare with bottom pairtop pair.

second position

(n phrase1. The player two positions to the left of the dealer. 2. The seat position of that player.


(n1. The dealing of one or more cards from the next-to-the-top position of the deck. 2. Cards so dealt. See second.

seconds dealer

(n phrase) A mechanic (card manipulator) whose specialty is dealing the second card from the top. The reason for such a move is to hold back the top card, which he knows because he has peeked (see peek) it, until he can deal it to himself, to a confederate, or to someone he is trying to cheat. Sometimes second dealer. Also called deuce dealernumber two man.

second story

(n phrase) In a big bet game, a raise, usually while holding a good hand; so called because, if it is called, and the player wins, it doubles the size of his stack.

second-story man

(n phraseSeconds dealer.

security card

(n phraseCut card.


(vt1. Call. “I’ll see you.” “I’ll see that bet.” The term is used more often in private and home games than in cardrooms and casinos, and seems very popular in Hollywood’s portrayals of poker. (Since the word means call, an expression frequently heard in movies, such as, “I’ll see your thousand and raise a thousand,” is a contradiction in terms — you can’t both call and raise — and brings snickers to poker players.) Often part of the phrase see [a] bet2. In proposition betting, recognize and announce that a winning combination has occurred, thereby making it a valid and winning wager, as opposed to sleep a prop, that is, not notice the winning combination, and thus forfeit the payoff.

see [a] bet

(v phrase) See seeseñor.

see a card

(v phraseSee another card.

see another card

(v phrase) In a flop game, call a bet on the flop or turn, or in seven-card stud on any round, so that one more card can be dealt, presumably because the player making the call has a drawing hand that he hopes to hit. Also, peel one off, see a card.


(n1. An ace. Also called bullet (and several other names). 2. A $1 chip. Also called bone.

see the flop

(v phrase) In a flop game, call a preflop bet or raise to continue to be active for the flop.

see where a player is at

(v phrase) Make a probing bet (see feeler) to ascertain how an opponent responds (folds, calls, or raises), to receive valuable information about his hand strength.


(n) Usually part of the phrase hand selection.


(vDeal yourself.

self-dealt game

(n phraseDeal-yourself game.


(v) Make a bet on the best hand that convinces one or more opponents to call or raise. In a pot-limit or no-limit game, to elicit a call, the bet must not be too large for the situation, lest all opponents fold, nor too small, because then it does not extract the most chips from the opponents; for a raise, it must appear small for the situation, as if to protect a marginal hand, but not so small as to be suspicious. Sometimes part of the phrase sell a hand.

sell a hand

(v phrase) See sell.

sell the nuts

(v phraseSell an unbeatable hand. Also, peddle the nuts.


(n1. A bet made on a hand that is probably not the best at the time of the bet, but that has a possibility of improving to the best (has one or more outs). If the bet gets everyone else to fold, it succeeds as a bluff; if it does not, the hand might still improve (in stud and hold’em) on succeeding cards or (in draw) on the draw. This term was first popularized in the writings of noted poker author and theorist David Sklansky. For example, in hold’em, if a player has 5♠ 6♠ and the board is K♠ Q♠ 4♥ and bets out, if no one has anything, the bettor might win the pot right there. If anyone calls, though, which a player with a king or queen in the hole undoubtedly would do, the bettor is behind, but could still win if another spade appears on the turn or river. Compare with complete bluff. Also see fold equity. — (v2. Make such a bet. For both definitions, also semi-bluff.


(n, vSemibluff.

senate dealer

(n phrase) A professional dealer, in particular, one who does not participate in the game. This is an old term, rarely used today.


(v) Signal someone’s hand, usually by one thief to his confederate; usually followed by the hand. “Henry sent John the hand” means that Henry gave his partner, John, a signal that gave away the hand (probably of a player next to him) that Henry had managed to get a look at. See sign off.

send around

(v phraseSandbag.

send in

(v phrase) In a no-limit game, bet large, particularly when that involves all of one’s chips.

“Send it!”

(expression) “Push the pot, losers.” Said by an ungracious winner after showing down the best hand, usually in a big pot.

send it around

(v phraseSandbag.

send it in

(v phrase) See send in.

send [someone] to the rail

(v phrase) Bust a player, that is, force the player to be on the rail.

“Send the cheese!”

(v phrase) “Push the pot this way.” That is, the speaker just won, sometimes implying a pot he didn’t expect to get.


(nStraight (definition 1).

sequence flush

(n phrase) An obsolete term for straight flush.

sequential declaration

(n phraseConsecutive declaration.

sergeant from K company

(n phrase) A king (the card).

sergeants from K company

(n phrase) Two or more kings.


(v) A tournament with multiple events.


(nSession (definition 1).


(n1. With respect to a given player, a period of playing cards, from the point at which the player first sits down at the table until he cashes out (or leaves the table broke). Sometimes slangily rendered sesh2. With respect to a group, the period of time for which the game lasts, from the deal of the first hand until it breaks up for lack of players, or due to a prearranged ending time. For both meanings, sometimes called poker session.

session bankroll

(n phrase) That portion of a player’s bankroll she has allocated to a specific session.


(n1. In hold’em and stud, three of a kind. To flop a set in hold’em means that (most often) one started with a pair and one of those cards was among the flop (the first three community cards). Less often it means a pair was among the flop and the player had another card of that rank in the hole. The term set is generally not used in draw, where it is instead called trips2. Four of a kind, particularly as part of the phrase set of fours. — (v3. Arrange the two hands that are made out of the seven cards dealt each player in pai gow poker.

set all in

(v phraseSet [someone] in.

set of …

(n phraseThree of a kind, always followed by a rank designation. For example, a set of deuces is three 2s.

set of fours

(n phraseFour of a kind.

set over set

(n phrase1. In hold’em, one player’s set (definition 1) against another’s. If you start with a pair of 9s and I have a pair of 7s, and the board comes 9-7-2-3-8, that is a situation of set over set2. In hold’em, one player’s pocket pair (pair in the hole) against another’s, in the situation in which the board cards help neither player. If you start with a pair of 9s and I have a pair of 7s, and the board comes 10-J-2-3-8, that is a situation of set over set. (In this case, set does not refer to three of a kind. This usage is not common.)

set over set over set

(n phrase) In hold’em, three players each having a set (definition 1). If you start with a pair of 9s, I have a pair of 7s, John has a pair of 2s, and the board comes 9-7-2-3-8, that is a situation of set over set over set.

set [someone] all in

(v phraseSet [someone] in.

set [someone] in

(v phrase) In a no-limit game, bet all of someone’s chips. You can set another player in, or set yourself in. Both uses often include all in. “When he checked, I set him in, and when he called, I got even.” “He set me all in.”

set [someone] up

(v phrase) See set up (definition 1).


(n1. The period of time at the end of a poker game (usually private) at which losers pay their losses and winners collect their winnings; cashing in of chips; the act of so doing. 2. The actual money involved in so doing.

settle up

(v phrase) At the end of a poker session, pay one’s losses. Also see settlement.


(n1. A box containing two decks of plastic cards. You sometimes hear players ask for “a new setup.” This means they want not just a new deck, but two fresh decks, because in a game that uses plastic cards, often the decks are rotated and not replaced until a specific period of time ends, or until requested (or when the cards become damaged). 2. The act of setting up. The following might be heard in a draw poker game: “He fell for the setup, and so the next time I drew two cards, he called all his chips with two little pair. Of course, that’s when I showed him three aces.” See set up (definition 1). 3. Preparation of a victim for being cheated.

set up

(v phrase1. Make a bet or action that causes another player to think you always act that way, so that you can take advantage of the misconception later; set a trap for someone. In flop games (see flop game), setting up is accomplished only by giving off misleading tells and by betting patterns. In draw poker, setting up can be done by how you draw. For example, if you raise and draw one card to three of a kind several times, you may be trying to set someone up to think that every time you raise and draw one you have trips (particularly if you rarely raise on two pair). If later you raise and draw two when you reallyhave three of a kind (if things work out the way you want, preferably aces), the player you have been setting up may think you can’t possibly have trips, and will call a large bet after the draw with two pair or possibly even one high pair. (Of course, if things don’t work out the way they’re supposed to, he’ll make a hand that beats your three aces. That’s a chance a good player just has to take.) 2. Prepare a victim for being cheated. 3. Prepare a game or table for play, by, for example, providing cards and chips, cleaning off the table, and so on. “We’ll start a new 20-40 as soon as we can set up a table.” 4. Arrange, as a specific game or contest. “I’m trying to set up a $1,000 freeze-out with Quick.” (adj phrase5. Having check cashing privileges (or sometimes just credit) in a particular establishment. “Are you set up in the cage?”


(n1. The card whose rank is 7, of which a standard deck contains four, one each in the spades (♠), hearts (♥), diamonds (♦), and clubs (♣) suit. 2. A low hand topped by a 7, that is, whose high card among five unpaired cards is a 7. “I’ve got a 7 for low” might be heard in any high-low split game. In an ace-to-five lowball game, you might hear the following exchange: “I’ve got a 7.” “No good; I’ve got a 6.”

seven-card flip

(n phrase) A form of seven-card stud, found exclusively in home games, in which each player receives four cards face down, turns any two up, and then the betting commences. Also called you roll two.

seven-card high-low

(n phraseSeven-card stud played high-low split.

seven-card split

(n phraseSeven-card stud played high-low split.

seven-card stud

(n phrase1. A poker game, stud poker with two cards dealt face down, four cards dealt face up, and one final card dealt face down, with betting commencing on the third card and continuing with each round of cards (making five rounds of betting). Each round is called a street; the first with a name being third steet, followed by fourth streetfifth streetsixth street, and seventh street (more commonly known as the river card, or simply the river). At the showdown, a player uses the best five of the seven cards. Often shortened to seven-stud. Sometimes the game or its last card is called down the river2. The high-low split version of this game, usually with an 8 qualifier for low.

seven-card stud 8

(n phraseSeven-card stud 8-or-better.

seven-card stud 8-or-better

(n phrase) A poker game, seven-card stud played high-low split with an 8 qualifier for low. Sometimes called Tahoe or Tahoe split.

seven-card stud high

(n phraseSeven-card stud.

seven-card stud high-low

(n phraseSeven-card stud played high-low split.


(n phrase) Shorthand, particularly in e-mail and Internet postings, for seven-card stud. Also a chat term.


(nSeven-card stud 8-or-better.


(nSeven-card stud 8-or-better. Also, 7/8.

seven high-low

(n phraseSeven-card stud played high-low split.

seven rule

(n phraseSevens rule.

7s full

(n phrase) A full house consisting of three 7s and a pair.

7s over

(n phrase1. 7s up2. 7s full.

sevens rule

(n phrase) In ace-to-five lowball, the rule that states that you must bet a 7 or better (that is, a no-pair hand topped by a 7, 6, or 5) after the draw. Many years ago, in a very few clubs, failing to bet a 7 could cost you the entire pot; more commonly, it would usually cost you only the action (betting) after the draw. In such a case, if a player passes a 7, and then calls with it, if the player who bet has worse than the passed hand, the bettor gets his money back, and the player who passed the 7 wins what was in the pot before the draw; if the player who bet has better than the passed hand, the bettor of course wins the whole pot, that is, the bet after the draw along with the remainder of the pot. The purpose of the rule is to speed up the game (by preventing players from passing good hands, and then waiting for the action to get back to them so they can raise).


(n phraseSeven-card stud.


(nSeven-card stud 8-or-better.

seven stud high

(n phraseSeven-card stud.

seven stud high-low

(n phraseSeven-card stud played high-low split.

seven stud high-low split

(n phraseSeven-card stud played high-low split.

7s up

(n phraseTwo pair, the higher of which are 7s.

seventh street

(n phrase) In seven-card stud, the seventh card dealt to each player, or the round in which this card is dealt. Following the dealing of this card is the fifth (last) round of betting. Also called river or river card.

seven-toed Pete

(n phrase) A name for seven-card stud, heard only in home games.


(n phrase) A stud game (sort of), played only in home games, in which each player is dealt a downcard, followed by a round of betting, and then one or more cards face up. Aces have a value of 1 or 11, face cards a value of ½, and all other cards have face value. This is a split-pot game, with the object being to end up with a total closest to 7 or 27. On each round, players can either receive a further upcard, or refuse further cards. After any round in which no player takes a card, the players declare which “way” they are going (7 or 27, sometimes called high or low), and there is a showdown. (Sometimes there is one more round of betting before the showdown.) In some versions, once a player refuses upcards a certain number of times (say, three), that player can no longer request further cards. The purpose of this rule is that when a player is in a “lock” (cannot lose) situation, that is, when he is the only one going low, and there are more than one player going high, and who have quit asking for upcards, the player with the lock can prolong the betting by drawing cards to a point at which he cannot hit without destroying his lock. In some games, being on one side or the other of 7 or 27 (when no one has exactly that total) wins over the other side. For example, in some games, 6½ loses to 7½, while in others, the reverse is true. The best hand is some combination that adds up to 7, and includes two aces, so that the hand also adds up to 27. This is a potential scooping hand, but a hand with which a player must be careful at declare time in a game in which the rules dictate that a player who declares for both ways must clearly win both ways (that is, cannot tie for either). While this is not really a poker game, it is very popular in some home games (because it has many of the elements of poker, including bluffing). The main drawback to the game is that each hand usually takes a very long time. Two-twenty-twothree-thirty-three, and four-forty-four are similar games), though less common than seven-twenty-seven.

seven-up poker

(n phrase) See Manila.

sewed up

(adv phraseLocked up (definition 2).


(n, imitative) 6 (the card, or the ace-to-five lowball hand). Heard in a cardroom: He: “Do you like sex?” She: “Sure, sex-four, sex-five …”

sex poker

(n phrase) A form of poker in which payoffs are made in sex acts. Compare with strip poker.


(vScreen out.


(n) A cheater who uses shade work.

shade work

(n phrase) Markings placed on the backs of cards, additions made to the natural design (as additional circles on a clock face or spokes on a bicycle wheel), for the use of cheating players or dealers. Compare with border workedge work, and daub.

shade worker

(n phrase) A cheater who uses shade work.


(n) Markings (or cosmetics) put on the backs of cards with paint, ink, or some other fluid, so that a thief can read the ranks (and sometimes suits) of the cards from the back; alterations made to the natural design on the backs of the cards. See shade work. Compare with border workedge work, and daub.

shading boxes

(n phrase) See smudgy mover.


(n) Another name for pai gow poker.


(n1. Expert player. 2. Thief. 3. Loan shark.


(n1. Expert player. 2. Thief.


(n1. Expert player. 2. Thief. Often, cardsharp. — (vi3. Cheat at cards.


(nPoker sharp.

sharp top

(n phrase) A four or an ace. Some lexicographers use the term only for an ace.


(v) Trim the sides of cards, to make them thinner so as to be easily detected by a thief. Also called trim. Also see strippers.


(adv1. Pertaining to the situation in which a hand is beaten by one only slightly better. Also called edgededged out, or topped out. — (adj2. Pertaining to cards whose sides have been shaved (see shave), as a shaved deck.

shaved deck

(n phrase) See shaved.


(n1. Cards whose shape or size has been altered by a thief so they can be located by feel during manipulation of the deck. Also see concave cardconvex cardend strippersglazed cardhumpsshaveside strippersstrippers2. A tool for making such cards.


(v) In draw poker, discard (definition 1).


(n) The cashier’s or floorman’s record of stakes and cows, and sometimes transactions against players’ banks and tab cards (see player’s banktab card), which, at the end of the shift, is figured in with the determination of the net gain (or loss) for the shift; the balance sheet for the shift. From this comes the expression on the sheet, which means playing stake or cow.

sheet player

(n phrase) One who plays for the house, that is, on the sheet.


(n) Where a stake player‘s chips are kept when he is between playing sessions, usually a space under the control of the cashier, often just to one side of the window (to the cage). From this comes the expression on the shelf.


(v) A player who calls on the end with a marginal hand because he thinks an opponent may be bluffing with a weaker hand. Comes from keep [someone] honest. The term is sometimes used for a calling station.


(n1. One of the three traditional working periods in a cardroom or casino: dayswing, and graveyard2. The personnel of a particular shift. “What time does swing shift come on?” 3. The act of performing a hop of the cut. (v4. Hop the cut.

shift cards

(n phrase) While dealing, reverse the order of two cards as they are dealt. Compare with second dealing.

shift gears

(n phraseChange gears.

Shifting Sands

(n phrase) A variant of Mexican stud in which the rank of each player’s hole card is wild for that player. The game probably gets its name because a player’s wild card can change each round, along with the composition of the hand. The game is also called Rickey de Laet.

shift manager

(n phrase) The manager (definition 2) of a particular shift.

shift the cut

(n phraseHop the cut.


(n1. Someone who plays for the house, to help start games or keep short or shaky games going, to keep the live players (that is, those who are not shills) from leaving. A shill is different from a stake, because a shill keeps no part of the winnings, and is usually in the employ of the house or casino. Shills often have to play according to shill rules. Shills are not common in cardrooms in some areas (California, for example), where the function is more likely to be filled by propostion players (see proposition player). Also, game starterhouse playerpercentage player. An old term for shill is seat-man. Also see proposition player2. Someone who plays like a shill, that is, a no-action player. This is a derisive term used by other players to describe a tight or otherwise conservative player. (vi3. Act in the role of a shill. “I usually deal for 40 minutes, and then shill till my next down.” (vt4. Act in the role of a shill; usually followed by a or the game. “We usually have dealers shill the games while they’re waiting to go on duty.”

shill rules

(n phrase) How a cardroom wants its shills to play. For example, in a seven-card stud game, a shill might not be permitted to play worse than a pair of kings, call a raise with less than three of a kind, call on the end with worse than a straight, and be required to fold (no matter what she has) if another shill bets. Such rules are not meant to be a winning strategy. The purpose of a shill is only to fill a seat until a live player shows up.


(n) A cheating device, a mirror or other shiny object, such as a highly-polished cigaret lighter, placed apparently innocently on the table, used to read the reflected faces of the cards while they are being dealt. Also, gaperglimmerreflector.


(n1. Concede chips to another player, as the result of losing a pot. “He had to ship his stack to John.” “Ship those chips over here.” 2. Win, when part of the expression ship a pot.

ship a pot

(expression) Win a pot.

ship it

(expression) Bet all one’s chips; go all in.

“Ship it.”

(expression) “I win.” That is, “Push me those chips.”


(n) A timid player; always preceded by play like. If someone says to you, “You play like Shirley,” he is accusing you of having no gamble.


(n1. In a casino, a dealing box that holds one or more decks of playing cards such that they can be slid out face down one at a time by a dealer without their front sides being visible. A shoe makes it easy to deal games like blackjack and baccarat from multiple decks of cards. 2. In a cardroom, a similar box that holds just one deck, and is used the same way. Shoes are often found in Australian and European poker rooms. Also known as dealing shoe.


(n) Another name for H.O.S.E. This form of poker is often called a mixed game.

shoe clerk

(n phrase1. A player who does not stay for a raise (with the implication that he is dropping out of fear) or, particularly in a no-limit game, for any large bet. 2. Someone who is not serious about playing a particular pot, and thus will not call a raise. For example, for definitions 1 and 2, you might hear an aggressive player say, “Let’s raise and get the shoe clerks out.” Also known as ribbon clerk3. A weak player.

shoot an angle

(n phrase) Use an angle.

shoot at

(v phrase) Aggressively bet at and raise a particular player; followed by the designation of the player. “He’s been shooting at me all night.”

shoot it up

(v phraseRaise.

shoot one’s way out

(v phrase) Continue betting in a situation, usually a bluff, in which the only way to win the pot is getting an opponent to fold what is likely the best hand.


(nShootout tournament.

Shootout Bonus

(n phrase) See Texas Shootout.

shootout tournament

(n phrase1. A special tournament in which a number of tables each play down to one winner, and then the winners of each table compete in the playoff. Often all players who make it to the final table receive a prize, usually ranging from an amount equal to the buy-in for the first busted out to the main prize, which often is 40 to 50 percent of the total prize pool. Often shortened to simply shootout. This two-tier format is sometimes called a double shootout or double shootout tournament. A three-tier shootout is called a triple shootout or triple shootout tournament. (A quadruple shootout also exists online.) Also seefreeze-out tournamentno-rebuy tournament, and rebuy tournament2. A tournament in which one player ends up with all the money, one that is played till only one player remains.

shoot the moon

(v phraseScoop (definitions 1 and 2). In both cases, this phrase is usually heard in home games, and not public cardrooms. The term is sometimes shortened to simply moon.

shoot the pot

(v phraseRaise.

shoot the pot up

(v phraseRaise.


(n1. A cardroom. Also called joint or store(v2. Stop in at a cardroom just to check out the action.


(adv1. Low on funds. 2. Shy of a complete bet. “Who’s short in the pot?” implies that someone has not put in a full bet (or has not anted). “He’s short $10” means that he was not able to call the full bet, and implies that a side pot will be generated. 3. Be unable to pay time due to having insufficient chips (in respect to a certain cutoff point established by the house, usually equal to only a few chips, as for example less than $4 in a game with a $20 buy-in). At the point that such a player does increase his stack, the house usually extracts time. 4. Not having a full complement of players, in expressions like short game,short-handed(vt5. Not put the full amount of the bet in the pot (or not ante). “Who shorted the pot?”

short bet

(n phrase) Less than a full bet. Various cardrooms have different interpretations on when and where short bets and raises are permitted, whether they can be initiated or only called with, and, whether they can be raised or only completed (see complete the bet).

short buy

(n phrase) A buy-in of less than the minimum required for the game. A short buy usually comes after a player goes broke in a game, but it can also come when a player has not run out of chips and wants to buy more, but either does not buy enough more chips to bring his stack up to a full buy or the new buy-in is still not as much as a full buy. Some cardrooms rule that a short buy must be followed by a full buy. Some rule that only one short buy may be made in a playing session.

short call

(n phrase) While going all in, calling less than the full bet (and thus generating a side pot).



short cards

(n phrase) Any card game other than poker (such as gin or klabberjass), usually used to describe a game played by two (sometimes more) players while awaiting a seat in a poker game. Short cards are generally not permitted in public cardrooms. Sometimes, short game.


(n) An obsolete name for poker. Also, short-card.



short chips

(n phrase) Being short-stacked. “Hellmuth has short chips and needs to make a move soon.”

short flush

(n phraseFour-card flush, so termed mainly in European countries.

short game

(n phrase1. Less than a full table. “I don’t like to play in a short game.” Compare with ring game (definition 1). Also, short table2. Two-handed game. Many cardrooms have among their rules one that reads, “No short games.” They do not want players to play heads up (definition 2). 3. Short cards.

short handed

(adv phrase) Pertaining to a short game (definition 1). “Send us a live one; the game’s short handed.”


(adj) Pertaining to a short game (definition 1). “I was in a short-handed game all night.”

short-handed game

(n phraseShort game (definition 1).

short money

(n phrase1. Less than a player would normally buy in to a particular game with. 2. Having not enough money to survive the ordinary fluctuations of a particular game. “The game’s terrific, but Paul’s not going to last unless he gets real lucky; he’s playing on short money.”

short odds

(n phrase) Good odds; describing a situation likely to occur (such as having a lot of outs). The opposite is long odds.

short pair

(n phrase) In high draw poker, a small pair; often any pair less than jacks; any pair smaller than the opening requirements for the game. Also called shorts, pair of shorts.

short raise

(n phrase) A raise of less than the previous bet or raise. See short bet.

short run

(n phrase) Time period during which the luck factor has great effect. Usually part of the phrase in the short run. Opposite of long run.


(nShort pair. Sometimes a pair of shorts.

short stack

(n phrase1. The player at a table or in a tournament having the fewest chips. “Paul is the short stack. He’ll have to make his move soon.” “I doubled up the short stack.” 2. The actual chips involved. To say “The short stack is $750” refers both to the player possessing those chips and to the chips themselves. 3.Half a stack (definition 3), or 10 chips. This usually refers to a short buy. “Gimme a short stack.” 4. Less often, anything under a full stack.


(v) Buy in to a big-bet cash game for the minimum, which is usually 20 times the big blind, in the hopes of stacking off (going all in) preflop with a better hand than an opponent or use the advantage of having a small stack (the holder of which generally can’t be run off a hand), employing pot odds situations similar to tournament play.


(adj) Being low on chips.

short straight

(n phraseFour-card straight, so termed mainly in European countries.

short stud

(n phrase) The British name for five-card stud and its variants. Also, short studs.

short studs

(n phraseShort stud.

short table

(n phraseShort game (definition 1).

short the pot

(v phrase) See short (definition 4).


(n1. An angle shot. “You’re going to get barred for too many shots.” 2. A chance to play. “I’d sure like a shot in that game.” 3. A chance to win (a pot). “I’ve got a shot at this pot.” 4.stake. If a player (usually one without money) asks a floorperson to “Give me a shot,” he is asking if the floorperson would put him in the game, that is, stake (definition 6) him. 5. Any cheating move. “He has to get a little booze in him before he takes a shot.” 6. Part of the phrase take a shot.


(n) A form of draw poker, found exclusively in home games, in which each player receives three cards face down, followed by a round of betting, a fourth card, again followed by a round of betting, a fifth card, a further round of betting, and a draw, followed (naturally) by another round of betting. A particularly insidious variant, called double-barreled shotgun, is a cross between draw and stud, and has eight (or nine) rounds of betting.

shot taker

(n phrase1. Angle shooter2. One who takes a shot in a game at higher stakes (see take a shot, definition 5).


(v) Go all in, often as the opener.

shove ’em

(n phraseKeep it or shove it.

shove ’em along

(n phraseKeep it or shove it.


(v1. Show down. (n) 2. showdown.

show a hand down

(v phrase) Participate in a showdown (definition 1).

show a little speed

(v phraseGamble it up. See speed.

“Show a little speed.”

(expression) “Come on, quit playing so tight!” See speed.

show cards

(n phrase1. Those cards dealt face up in stud games; the cards on one’s boardupcards (see upcard). (v phrase2. Expose one’s hole cards (in a stud or hold’em game) or all or part of one’s hand (in a draw game) to one or more other players. If Paul shows his hand to his neighbor, someone might say, “Hey, Paul. Don’t show cards.” Also see show one, show all3. Show down. “It’s time to show cards.” This is not always strictly the same as showing down because it can happen before the last card is dealt, as, for example, usually in a tournament, when one player is all in with more cards to come.


(n1. The point in a hand, after all the betting is over, at which the players turn their cards face up for comparison with all active hands, to determine which hand (or hands in a split-pot game) wins the pot (and, if there are one or more side pots, which hand or hands win which side pots). Sometimes calledlaydown2. A hand of poker played with no draw, and no bet beyond that made before the deal of the cards. Sometimes this is played by two or more players for the odd chips they have, or for an amount that will get one of them even and the others even more stuck. Often called a hand of showdown. “Okay, fellas, the three of us are all down about $20. Let’s play a hand of showdown for $10, and then one of us will be even and the other two will be stuck $30 each.”

show down

(v phrase) Participate in a showdown (definition 1).

show down a hand

(v phrase1. Participate in a showdown (definition 1). 2. Show down specifically a good hand (definition 6). “When she bet that much, I knew she was going to show down a hand.”

showdown poker

(n phrase) Playing in such a way that the best hand always wins, that is, every hand goes to a showdown. This usually occurs in a game played either for no stakes or for such small stakes that bluffing has no value because someone always calls. Also sometimes called card-holding contest.

showdown value

(n phrase) What a hand has in a situation in which it might win without improvement. For example, in hold’em, a hand with high cards might win by virtue of the high card or cards being best at the showdown. Small suited connectors have no showdown value (and thus are not worth a call in most all-in situations).

show five cards

(n phrase) A variant of seven-card stud, found only in home games, in which each player receives seven cards and then, on a signal from the dealer, exposes one card at a time, each followed by a round of betting, until five are exposed; the game is often played high-low.


(adv) Pertaining to one’s face-up cards in stud games, that is, the cards on one’s board. “What’s he got showing?” means what does he have on the board?

show one, show all

(v phrase) The unwritten rule in most cardrooms that if you show your cards (when you have bet and not been called) privately to one player, any other player can request to see the hand, even if those cards would not otherwise constitute a called hand. When the situation arises, generally someone who did not see the hand chants, “Show one, show all,” makes a fuss, and either the dealer turns over the hand in question (sometimes first killing the hand; see kill, definition 2), or calls a floorman to make a decision. Showing your cards to one player and not the others, or to half the table and not the rest, is considered bad form even if not against the rules.

show openers

(v phrase) In a game with minimum opening requirements, such as jacks or better, prove that you had openers when you opened a pot. If you opened the pot and then bet after the draw and are not called, or if you fold, you must show openers. You do so by showing only as much of the hand as it takes. That is, if you opened with three jacks, you need show only two of them, but if you opened with a pat straight, you must show the entire hand. If you opened with a full house, 10s full of 3s, you need show only the three 10s (or four cards that constitute two pair); with 7s full of jacks, you need show only the two jacks.

show tickets

(n phrase1. The third-best hand in a showdown. Comes from the horse racing term show, plus tickets. Compare with place tickets2. A form of draw poker, found only in home games, in which the third-best hand wins.


(v1. Discard (definition 1). 2. Substitute.


(v1. Mix the cards prior to dealing. 2. In draw poker, mix through one’s five cards repeatedly by holding them face down and sliding one card at a time from top to bottom. Also called fuzzmilk(n3. The act of shuffling. Also riffle for definitions 1 and 2.

shuffle chips

(v phrase) Intermix two side-by-side stacks of chips with one hand, a variety of chip trick.

shuffle in

(v phrase) Add one or more cards to the deck while shuffling.

shuffle in a brief

(v phrase) Shuffle in such a way as to produce a brief in the deck.

shuffle machine

(v phrase) Automatic card-shuffling machine.

Shuffle Master

(n phrase) A company that makes automatic card-shuffling machines for casinos and cardrooms and devises new casino games, such as Let It Ride Bonus.


(n1. The person who shuffles the cards just prior to dealing. The term usually refers to someone other than the dealer, when the dealer does not perform the shuffling. Sometimes in home games, the player to the right of the dealer (the person who actually distributes the cards) shuffles the cards, offers them to the person on his right for a cut, and then hands the deck over to the person on his left for dealing. See still pack2. Shuffling machine.

shuffle the spots off

(v phrase) Shuffle excessively. When Slow Sam gives the deck 15 painfully laconic shuffles, one of the losers is sure to say, “Don’t shuffle the spots off of ’em.” Also, rub the spots off.

“Shuffle up and deal.”

(n phrase) How a tournament director or celebrity announcer announces the official start of a tournament.

shuffling chips

(n phrase) The trick described under shuffle chips.

shuffling machine

(v phrase) Automatic card-shuffling machine.

shut down

(v phrase) Discontinue aggressive betting and check and call or sometimes fold when an opponent plays back or a scare card appears. Also see slow down.

shut out

(v phrase) In a no-limit game, bet so much that another player cannot or will not call.

shut [someone] down

(v phrase) Force an opponent to quit aggressively betting or even fold. See shut out.

“Shut up and deal!”

(expression) “Quit talking so much and distribute those cards!” The expression is usually heard only in home games, and it is generally said by someone who is losing to the current dealer, who likely is winning and is in no hurry to get the cards out.


(adv1. Short of the complete bet. “He’s shy by $20.” 2. Not having anted. “Who’s shy?” means “Who forgot to ante?” Also called lightshort.


(n1. Loan shark. Sometimes capitalized. (v2. Lend money at usurious rates.


(adj) Unbelievable, uncalled for, against normal odds, bassed on intuition, etc. Has more specific usage in the world of poker than in the wider world. “He just made a sick call with only a 10 high, but it was good enough.”


(expression, imitative) 6 (the card, or the ace-to-five lowball hand).


(adj) In ace-to-five lowball, having the four lowest cards to a wheel; preceded by the rank of the top card. (The term is usually reserved for 10s and worse.) For example, a jack-sickle is J-4-3-2-A.


(n1. Side pot. Often part of the term on the side(adj2. Referring to money that goes into or belongs in the side pot. “Paul’s out of chips, so Logan’s last bet is side money.”

side action

(n phrase) The action in and the playing of side games; nontournament play. See side game.

side arms

(n phrase) In a two pair hand, the lower pair.

side bet

(n phrase1. A bet made privately among two or more players on the outcome of the next hand, usually made by players not involved in the pot; the side bet is not part of the pot. Most clubs do not permit side bets. 2. An agreement among two or more players to pay off privately based on their original holdings. Examples are pointscolorslow spade, and a backline agreement. These sorts of bet arrangements are particularly frowned on by the house, because they involve exposing too many cards, and also slow the game down while comparisons and verifications are made. 3. Rarely, a bet in a side pot.


(n) Alternative (and incorrect) spelling of side card.

side card

(n phrase1. The fifth card in a hand consisting of two pairs. 2. The card that decides the winner between two otherwise tied two-pair hands (sometimes the one or more cards — in which case the term is pluralized — needed to resolve a tie between two one-pair hands). For example, in the two hands A♠ A♥ K♦ K♣ Q♦ and A♦ A♣ K♠ K♥ J♠, the first wins because its side card, Q♦, is higher than the side card, J♠, of the second. Sometimes called kicker in this sense. 3. A card that has no worth to a hand. 4. Kicker (definition 1 or 2).

side cards

(n phrase) Cards other than those that determine the value or rank of the hand. For example, in a one-pair hand, the remaining three cards are the side cards.

side game

(n phrase) At a poker tournament, a game other than the tournament game, usually consisting of players who have busted out of the tournament and players who come to tournaments expressly to get into side games because the action is often better than that of the tournament. Also, ring game.

side money

(n phrase1. Side pot2. The money or chips in a side pot. 3. Lights.

side partner

(n phrase) A thief’s confederate.

side pot

(n phrase) An auxiliary pot generated when one or more players run out of chips, and which those who ran out cannot win. When a player runs out of chips (because of being all in), players who still have chips continue betting on the side). This can lead to a situation in which the holder of the second-best (or worse) hand can win more money in a pot than the holder of the best hand.

side strippers

(n phrase) Cards whose sides (long edges) have been shaved or trimmed by a thief so they can be located by feel during manipulation of the deck. These cards are somewhat thinner than ordinary cards, allowing the thief to find them easily. Also called belly strippers. Compare with end strippers. Also seestrippers.

Siegfried and Roy

(n phrase) In hold’em, two queens as starting cards.


(n) A situation in which one player runs out of chips (that is, goes all in), and claims sight, that is, the right to a showdown for the amount of chips he has put in the pot thus far. This is an old term rarely used nowadays. See also side pot.


(n1. A signal given by a cheater to a confederate, usually of someone else’s holdings. Also sometimes called office— 2. (v) Give such a signal. See sign off.


(n1. Private communication between thieves; often plural. A hand spread face-down on the table, meaning “go” or “it’s safe,” and a fist on the table, meaning “don’t go” or “it’s not safe,” are “standard” signals. Also see international signals(v2. Use a signal.


(n phrase) See signal.

sign off

(v phrase) Give someone a signal, usually of someone else’s holdings; used by cheaters. “He signed him off” means that he gave his partner a signal that gave away the hand of another player that the signaler had managed to get a look at. Sometimes part of the phrase sign off a hand. Signing off is sometimes called piping. Also see send.

sign off a hand

(v phrase) See sign off.

sign [someone] off

(v phrase) See sign off.

sign up

(v phrase1. Put one’s name on the board (definition 4). 2. Register for a tournament.

signup board

(n phraseBoard (definition 4).

signup bonus

(n phrase) A payment made by an online cardroom when a player deposits cash for the first time on the site as an incentive to play there. A bonus needs to be earned back at so much action being required to be given or so many hands (in poker) played or so much rake collected. Sometimes called first-deposit bonus or simply bonus. Compare with reload bonus. Also see bonus whoring.

sign up for

(v phrase1. Put one’s name on the board (definition 4) for a specific game. “Sign me up for the 20-40.” 2. Register for a tournament. “Did you sign up for the main event?”

signup list

(n phrase1. Board (definition 4). 2. A list maintained of those who have agreed to play in a particular tournament (and usually paid the entrance fees for it).

silent partner

(n phrase) A noncheating, innocent player to whom a thief gives several winning hands, usually in small pots, to divert attention from himself. This is a specialized usage of the more general term for a business partner who takes no active part in the business, and, in many cases, is unknown to the public.

silent prop

(n phrase) A proposition player who does not openly acknowledge his role by the wearing of a badge. In many cardrooms, a proposition player must conspicuously display a badge indicating that she works for the cardroom.

Silverado Stud

(n phrase) A house-banked game, played in South Dakota, dealt from one deck, in which players do not compete against the dealer. The game is related to hold’em in the way hands are formed, but is not really a poker game. Each player makes two equal bets, one on the 3-card hand he will end up with and one on his eventual 5-card hand. Each player then receives 4 cards and two cards are dealt face down as community cards. Each player discards one of his starting cards. Exception: If the player starts with four of a kind, he immediately informs the dealer and receives a payment of 50:1 and ends the hand. The dealer then turns over one community card and each player can make a third bet, equal to the first, which will play with the five-card hand. The dealer then turns over the second community card and settles each hand, paying the three-card hands according to one pay table and the five-card hands according to another. The three-card hand starts paying with any pair, at 1:1, while the five-card hand pays, at 1:1, on two jacks or better. Both pay correspondingly more for better hands.


(n) $1 or a $1 chip.

simultaneous declaration

(n phrase) The usual form of declaration in a high-low split game, usually with chips and everyone opening a hand at once to indicate whether contesting low, high, or both ways. Compare with consecutive declaration.

single-blind game

(n phrase) A traveling blind game with one blind; under-the-gun blind game.

single-bet level

(n phrase) In double-limit games, the first and lower level of betting that occurs in the early rounds, as opposed to the double-bet level. For example, in a $10-$20 game, the $10 level of betting.

single-chip rule

(n phrase) The rule, enforced in many cardrooms, that, when responding to action, a player puts into the pot a single chip or bill with a denomination larger than the bet indicated at that juncture, but does not announce a raise, that player’s action is ruled to have been only a call. The single-chip or bill rule also applies when more than one chip is necessary to call a bet, but the last chip might be construed as a raise. The preceding applies to all rounds in limit games. In no-limit games, on the first round, the opening bet made with an over-sized chip or bill on the first round is considered a call of the bring-in amount; on any succeeding round, the first bet is equal to the size of the over-sized chip or bill, unless an announcement to the contrary is made. In stud games a single oversized chip or bill does not automatically complete a forced bring-in bet unless it is verbally declared to do so. Two examples clarify this rule. (1) The main chips in a $20-limit hold’em game are $5 chips. Andy has just exchanged a rack of $5 chips for five $100 chips, and has only four $5 chips left. He loses these on the next hand, leaving him only those $100 chips. On the next hand, Brianne limps for $20. Andy throws in one of his $100 chips. Unless Andy says “I raise,” or words to that effect, by the single-chip rule he has only called, and the house dealer would give Andy $80 change. There might be some raising. Say the betting is capped, perhaps at five bets. On the flop, Brianne bets $20. Andy throws in another of his $100 bets. This is also understood to be only a call. (2) In a no-limit game, the same happens. On the first round of betting of the hand in question, again Brianne limps for $20. Andy throws in one of his $100 chips. Again, by the single-chip rule he has only called. Now, Brandon announces a raise of $80. Brianne folds and Andy calls the raise with the $80 in change the house dealer initially gave him for the $100 chip. On the flop, Andy is first to bet. He tosses in a $100 chip. This being a no-limit game, his bet is understood to be $100. Also known as one-chip rule, oversized-chip rule.


(n1. Any form of draw poker with only one draw, as opposed to, for example, triple-draw2. Specifically single-draw lowball.

single-draw lowball

(n phrase) The usual form of ace-to-five or deuce-to-seven. Often shortened to simply single-draw.

single-handed poker

(n phraseStraight poker (definition 1).

single limit

(n phrase) A form of limit poker (generally referring to draw poker, in particular limit draw or ace-to-five lowball as formerly played in Northern California), in which all bets, before and after the draw, are in multiples of the same increment, as opposed to double limit, in which the limit doubles after the draw. For example, in a $20-limit game, all bets before and after the draw are $20, and multiples of $20 when players raise. Also called straight limit. Also see no limit and spread limit.


(adj phrase) Pertaining to single limit, in a phrase such as single-limit lowball.


(n) A thief or cheater who works alone.


(adj phrase) Pertaining to a hand that has possibilities of making a flush in only one suit, as opposed to double-suited. Usually refers to a starting Omaha hand having two cards of one suit and two other cards of different suits (or three or all four cards of the same suit, which amounts to the same thing).


(adj) Of a game, usually a tournament, involving only one table of participants. Could also refer to a small cardroom with just one table.

single-table cardroom

(n phrase) A small cardroom with just one table. Might be a bar with just one table “in the back.”

single-table satellite

(n phrase) A satellite tournament with just one table.

single-table tournament

(n phrase) A tournament involving only one table, such as a sit-and-go tournament.


(v) Join a game.


(nSit-and-go tournament.

sit-and-go tournament

(n phrase) A special (usually) one-table tournament that starts as soon as a full table of players are seated. So called because you sit down at an empty seat in such a tournament and wait for the table to fill. Sit-and-go tournaments are particularly popular in online cardrooms (see online cardroom), which also offer multiple-table versions that start when as many tables as are designated fill. Sometimes shortened to sit-and-go. Also sit-n-go tournament or simply sit-n-go. Sometimes rendered SNG.

sit down

(v phrase1. Join an ongoing poker game. 2. Analogously, enter a table at an online cardroom. “I sat down in a short-handed $100-$200 last night.”


(nOnline cardroom.

sit in

(v phrase1. Join a game. “May I sit in?” is a request from an onlooker to get into a game. 2. Play poker.

sit ’n’ go

(nSit-and-go tournament.


(nSit-and-go tournament.

sit-n-go tournament

(n phraseSit-and-go tournament.

sit out

(v phrase1. Not play one or more hands. “You want a hand?” “I’m going to sit out.” “He sat out one round.” 2. In an online cardroom, click a button that causes you not to be dealt in.

sit out at next blind

(n phraseSit out next blind.

sit out next blind

(n phrase) In an online cardroom, an indication by means of an advance action button that a player wants to be dealt hands until the blind comes to him, but when it is his turn to put in the big blind, he wants to be dealt out. Also, sit out at next blind.

sit out next hand

(n phrase) In an online cardroom, an indication by means of an advance action button that a player wants to be dealt out the next hand (and succeeding hands until he otherwise indicates).

sit-out sign

(n phrase) In an online cardroom, an indication, often in the form of the words “sitting out” at your seat, that you are sitting out (see sit out). “As soon as the live one left, they all put up the sit-out sign.”


(n) A conservative player, one who gives little action, that is, one who sits and waits for only the good hands.


(n1. The card whose rank is 6, of which a standard deck contains four, one each in the spades (♠), hearts (♥), diamonds (♦), and clubs (♣) suit. 2. A low hand topped by a 6, that is, whose high card among five unpaired cards is a 6. “I’ve got a 6 for low” might be heard in any high-low split game. In an ace-to-five lowball game, you might hear the following exchange: “I’ve got a 6.” “No good; I’ve got a wheel.”

six-card Oasis Poker

(n phrase) A variant of Golden Oasis Poker in which a player can buy an extra sixth card at the end (for an extra ante bet), and then play the best five of the six. The dealer requires at least a pair of 2s to qualify, but otherwise the game, including the option to “buy” a card for the dealer if the dealer doesn’t qualify, and the payouts are the same as Golden Oasis Poker. A variant of the game allows the player to exchange one of the six cards at the end (for still an extra ante bet); a player may not be in possession of more than six cards.

six-card Omaha

(n phrase) See Omaha.

six-card option

(n phrase) A form of six-card stud, found exclusively in home games, in which each player receives one card face down and one face up, followed by a round of betting, with a round of betting after each successive upcard, till the fifth card, then a downcard, and then a twist, with a further round of betting; the game is played high-low. At the showdown, a player uses the best five of the six cards; (usually) one set of five cards can be used for high and another for low.

six-card poker

(n phraseSix-card Oasis Poker.

six-card stud

(n phrase) A form of stud poker, in which each player receives two cards face down and one face up, followed by a round of betting, with a round of betting after each successive upcard, until six cards have been dealt. Sometimes the game is played with each player receiving one card face down and one face up, followed by a round of betting, with a round of betting after each successive upcard, till the fifth card, then a sixth card dealt face down, with a further round of betting. At the showdown, a player uses the best five of the six cards. A form of razz (lowball stud) used to be played with six cards, but seven is now more common.

6s full

(n phrase) A full house consisting of three 6s and a pair.

6s over

(n phrase1. 6s up2. 6s full.

6s up

(n phraseTwo pair, the higher of which are 6s.


(n phrase) In ace-to-five lowball, the second-best possible hand, 6-4-3-2-A (next to a bicycle or wheel, A-2-3-4-5). Also known as number two. Sometimes (rarely) called a royal six.

six-max game

(n phrase) A poker game for no more than six players, popular in many online cardrooms (see online cardroom) and some tournaments (which took their cue from the popularity of the game online).

16-way hand

(n phrase16-way straight.

16-way straight

(n phrase1. In draw poker played with the 53-card deck, the four-card combination consisting of the joker plus three to a straight with no “holes” (see hole) so that any of 16 cards makes it a straight. For example, 3-4-5-joker of mixed suits can be made into a straight by drawing any ace, 2, 6, or 7, or which 16 remain in the rest of the deck. 2. In the 53-card deck, the four-card combination consisting of the joker plus three to a straight flush with two “holes,” so that any of 16 cards makes it a straight or better. For example, 3-4-7 of spades plus the joker can be made into a straight by drawing any 5 or 6, a flush by drawing any spade, or a straight flush by the 5 or 6 of spades, of which there are 16 altogether.


(v) In a split-pot game, split either the low or the high half of the pot with two other players; usually part of the phrase get sixthed. This happens occasionally in Omaha 8-or-better. “My ace-deuce got sixthed.” See quarter (definition 4).


(adj) Winning one-sixth of a pot, usually due to splitting the low half of the pot with two other players in a high-low split game. This is a rare circumstance that happens mainly in Omaha 8-or-better games.

sixth street

(n phrase) In seven-card stud, the sixth card dealt to each player. Following this card is the fourth round of betting.

six tits

(n phrase) Three queens. This usage is considered vulgar.


(v) In a big bet game, perform a dealer’s method of equalizing two wagers. When one player puts out a large stack of chips, and another player calls by placing in the pot more chips than are required for the call (and either does not say the magic word “Raise” or obviously does not have enough chips to constitute a raise), the dealer may not count the first player’s chips, but merely places the second stack of chips next to the first, and removes enough chips from the second stack until the two stacks are equal in height. This method originated with dealers in casino percentage games (such as 21 or craps), who paid off winning bets this way, so that watchers (security personnel, perhaps occupying the “eye in the sky”) could clearly see that the payoff was correct.

size bets

(v phrase) Use bet sizing.

size of the bet

(n phraseBet size (definition 2).

size of the pot

(n phrase) A wager equivalent to the current size of the pot. Often part of the phrase bet the size of the pot or raise the size of the pot.


(v) Part of the phrase bet sizing or raise sizing.


(n) A rush; usually part of the phrase putting on a sizz.


(v) Bluffing. “I think you’re skating, but I’m gonna let you slide.”


(n) In draw poker, a nonstandard hand sometimes given value in a private or home game, any hand containing a 9, 5, and a 2, with one card between the 9 and the 5 and another between the 5 and the 2. This hand is also called a pelter or sometimes a kilter (both of which have wider meanings). The hand generally ranks between three of a kind and a straight.

skeet flush

(n) In draw poker, a nonstandard hand sometimes given value in a private or home game, a skeet in one suit. The hand generally ranks somewhere above a straight, sometimes better than four of a kind.


(n1. $1 or a $1 bill. 2. One member of an online casino group, each member of which is closely aligned with the others, all using the same software and, in the case of online poker rooms, having member players from different skins competing on the same virtual tables with each other. Skins are basically different views into the main casino. — (v) 3. Deal cards by sliding them off the deck as it lies on the table, and across the table to the recipients, instead of holding the deck in the air and lifting each card while it is dealt. This method is often used just for the draw in a draw game. It is used for distribution of all cards in all games in many European cardrooms. 4. Cheat someone. 5. Look at your cards by spreading them slightly. Compare with squeeze.

skin game

(n phrase) A game containing two or more thieves, or cheats playing partners.


(n) One who cheats by removing cards from the deck. Also known as holdout artist.


(n) Removing cards from a new deck, altering some or all of the cards (by marking), returning the cards to the deck, and resealing the deck.

skin out

(v phraseShow down a hand by spreading it on the table.

skin the deck

(v phrase) Palm one or more cards, for later introduction into the game. See hold out.

skin the hand

(v phraseClean up.


(nSkip straight.

skip straight

(n phrase) In draw poker, a nonstandard hand sometimes given value in a private or home game, cards in a series separated each from the other by one rank, as 2-4-6-8-10, or 5-7-9-J-K. Some play that an ace ranks only high in a skip straight, that is, that A-3-5-7-9 is not considered a skip straight. A skip straight is also called an alternate straightDutch straight, or sometimes a kilter. The hand generally ranks between three of a kind and an “ordinary” straight.

Sklansky bucks

(n phrase) Theoretical money (equity) won or lost on a given hand based on the fundamental theorem of poker. If you lose a hand but your opponent made mistakes, such as drawing to a flush without proper pot odds, you may lose money but you have earned Sklansky bucks by causing your opponent to make a mistake. Concrete examples can be found online. G bucks builds on this concept by applying it to ranges of hands.

sky’s the limit

(n phrase) A term, generally used only in home games, for a no-limit game.


(vSleep a straddle.

sleep a bet

(v phrase1. Miss an opportunity to bet due to inattention. 2. Sleep a prop.

sleep a prop

(v phrase) Fail to recognize that a proposition bet (see proposition bet) has been fulfilled and thus lose out on the winnings.

sleep a straddle

(v phrase) Post a sleeper straddle. Sometimes shortened to sleep it or simply sleep.

sleeper straddle

(n phrase) A straddle (definition 4) more than one position to the left of the big blind that stands if no one opens between, but does not play if the pot is opened.

sleep it

(v phraseSleep a straddle.


(n1. See on the cuff2. Sleeve holdout.

sleeve holdout

(n phrase) A kind of holdout machine. A sleeve holdout straps to the thief’s arm and the cards are held up the thief’s sleeve.

sleeve machine

(n phraseSleeve holdout.


(n) Shorthand, particularly in tournament listings for spread-limit hold’em.


(adj1. Smooth. In ace-to-five lowball, 8-4-3-2-A and 8-5-3-2-A are slick 8s, while any 8-7 is rough(v2. Perform a cheating preparation, make the backs of some cards more slippery so that they slide more easily or are more readily cut to. (n3. The act of slicking cards; usually preceded by the.

slick-ace deck

(v phrase) A deck whose aces have had their backs slicked (see slick, definition 2) to make them slide out more easily when the deck is in the control of a thief.


(adj) Describing cards that have had their backs slicked (see slick, definition 2), as slicked aces.


(v) Escape. “I’m gonna let you slide,” that is, not call your obvious bluff. Also see skating.


(v) In a big bet game in an online cardroom, a control that lets players adjust the sizes of their bets. You click and drag to operate the control, usually moving it to the right to increase the bet or raise. In a pot-limit game, the slider range is from the minimum bet to the size of the pot, while in a no-limit game, the only constraint to the upper range is the size of your stack.


(v1. Pass, with the implication of sandbagging (see sandbag); often followed by it. If a player says, “I’ll slip it,” he’s trying to give the impression that he passed a good hand, probably because in reality he passed a medium hand with which he doesn’t want to have to call a bet. 2. Palm a card, for later introduction into the game. See hold out.

slip a hand

(v phraseSandbag. “You slipped a hand didn’t you?, but I’m not going to fall into your trap.”

slip it

(v phrase) See slip (definition 1).

slippery Ann

(n phraseSlippery Anne.

slippery Anne

(n phrase) The queen of spades. Probably comes from the game of hearts, in which that card had great importance and thus was given a nickname. May also have come from the Mr Fortune stories of Henry Christopher Bailey (1878-1961), an English author of detective fiction, one of whose works was Slippery Ann (or The Queen of Spades) (1944). Also spelled slippery Ann.

slippery sandbag

(v phrase) Checking with a very strong hand and then, if bet into, just calling (rather than raising), setting the trap for future rounds of betting. See sandbag.

slip [someone] a hand

(v phrase) See slip a hand. “You slipped me a hand didn’t you?, but I’m not going to fall into your trap.”

slip the cards

(v phrase) Set a stacked packet (see stack, definition 4) on top of the deck after the deck has been cut.

slip the cut

(v phraseSlip the cards.

slip the deck

(v phraseSlip the cards.


(n) The opening through which the house dealer drops the chips collected from each pot for the rake, or each designated time period as the time collection, into the drop box. From this comes the term down the slot to describe where said chips go (that is, to the house).


(adj) Unlively. “This is a slow game.” Opposite of fast.

slow action

(n phrase) The state of a slow game. Also see pace.


(n, imitative) Humorous name for a slow lowball game.

slow down

(n phrase) Quit being so aggressive in a particular hand or game. In a situation in which he might be expected to raise but he has taken several hits due to his aggressive play, a player might just call, while saying, “OK; I’ll slow down.” Also see shut down.

slow-down bet

(n phrase) In a no-limit game, a bet smaller than one ordinarily might make or than the situation calls for, in the hopes of keeping from having to call a larger bet if one passed instead of betting. Also see underbetprotection bet.

slow game

(n phrase) A game with little action (definition 1), that is, not much betting and raising, or, in a no-limit game, with few large bets. Also see pace.

slow pace

(n phrase) See pace.

slow play

(n phrase) The act of slow-playing (see slow-play). “That slow play won’t work on me; I check.” Also see check-raisesandbag.


(v) Not raise with a powerful hand in a normal raising situation, or otherwise bet the hand weakly (by checking, calling, or conservative betting), so as to keep opponents in the pot or trap other players. If, in hold’em, you are third to come into a pot and you have pocket aces and don’t raise, you are slow-playingthe hand, probably because you hope someone else will raise so that you can reraise (or continue to slow-play until later rounds). Sometimes called soft-play, a term that usually has a different meaning.

slow roll

(n phrase1. The practice by some players, at the showdown, when they have the best hand, of waiting till the last possible moment before showing that hand. This is usually done for one of three reasons: to see everyone else’s cards first, to needle one or more of the active players, or just out of pure orneriness. 2.Closely related, the practice by some players, at the showdown, when calling a bet with the best hand, of waiting a long time before revealing the hand for the purpose of annoying the bettor or just out of pure orneriness. Sometimes this happens quite innocently because the caller is not sure what the bettor actually has when the hand is revealed and has to study the hand briefly before showing his own. When this happens, the irascible or impatient player who bet might comment, “Nice slow roll.”


(v) Knowingly have the best hand at the showdown but expose it only after the losers’ hands are shown, leading another player to think he has the winning hand; often followed by the designation of a player. “He slow-rolled me again.” See slow roll.

slow-roll [someone]

(v phrase) See slow-roll.


(n) A clump of cards, usually implying that they have been deliberately arranged and shuffled into position by a cheat.

slug the deck

(v phrase) Place a slug into a deck and shuffle it into a prearranged position.

small ball poker

(n phrase) In a big bet game, betting in such a way as to keep the pot small. This usually involves underbetting (see underbet), checking when one might usually bet, and just calling when one has what is likely a raising hand.

small bet

(n phrase) In a double-limit game, a bet at the smaller bet size. For example, in 10-20small bets are $10 and big bets are $20. Also, lower limit.

small blind

(n1. In an under-the-gun blind game with two blinds, the blind to the left of the dealer. 2. In a three-blind traveling blind game, the blind put up by the dealer. Also see middle blinddealer blindbig blind3. The player occupying this position. Also, little blind.

small blind special

(n phrase) A situation, usually in hold’em, in which the player in the small blind is dealt weak starting cards, but ends up making the best hand because he was able to see the flop cheaply, often by making two pair or a set from a starting hand like 9-3 or 10-2. Compare to big blind special.

small card

(n phraseLittle card.

small field

(n phrase) A starting field that is comparatively small.

small full

(n phrase) In a flop game, the lowest possible full house given the cards on the board. For example, with a board of Q-Q-J-6-5, a player having a pair of 5s in the hole has a small full of 5s over queens. Compare with big full.

small game

(n phrase1. A poker table (in a cardroom) with small stakes2. A private or home poker game played for small stakes; friendly game.

small limit

(n phraseLow limit.



small nickel

(n phrase1. A $50 bill. 2. $50 in cash. 3. $50 in chips.

small one

(n phrase1. A $100 bill. 2. $100 in cash. 3. $100 in chips. For all meanings, sometimes called big oneSmall one is often used when big one is used for $1,000.

small play

(n phrase) Playing for small stakes.

small stakes

(n phrase1. A small poker game, often a home game, in which the stakes are low, as a penny-ante game or quarter game2. The stakes in such a game. Also, low stakes.

small-stakes game

(n phrase) Any game played for small stakes.

small table

(n phrase) A poker table (in a cardroom) with relatively small stakes, such as $1-$2 or $2-$4 limit.


(n) Substance for marking the backs of cards. Also see cosmeticsdaubrouge.

smarten up the dummies.

(expression) See “Don’t smarten up the dummies.”

“Smoke on the water.”

(expression) A phrase used to describe a raise. If you hear this phrase, it usually comes after another player has raised. May derive from steam, a former synonym for raise.

smoke [someone]

(v phrase) Catch someone bluffing.


(adj) In lowball, pertaining to a hand whose second highest card is (if possible) several notches below its top card, as opposed to rough. For example, in ace-to-five lowball, 8-4-3-2-A and 8-5-3-2-A are smooth 8s, while any 8-7 is rough. There is some question about which category 8-6s fit into. Also calledslick.

smooth call

(v phrase1. Only or just call a prior bet, that is, without raising. “He smooth called” means that all he did was call (and implies that he might or even should have raised). 2. Call with the intention of reraising if anyone else raises; that is, slow-play by calling. Compare with check-raise (n phrase3. Doing as described in definition 1. “That game was so tight, that when I raised preflop I just got a smooth call from a guy with pocket kings.” More commonly called flat call.

smudgy mover

(n phrase) A cheater who hid home-made dyes made from olive oil, stearine camphor, and aniline in small “shading boxes” sewn into his clothes. This is an old term, found in literature from the 1800s and early 1900s about riverboat gamblers.


(v) Bend one or more cards, for later identification by a thief.


(adv) Having bad luck. “How ya doin’?” “Terrible. I’ve been snakebit for a week. Can’t make a hand when it counts.”


(prefix) When combined with another verb, immediately, as snap-callsnap-raise. Similar to insta.


(v) Call immediately, without hesitation. “When Phil bet, Mike snap-called.” Similar to instacall.


(v) Raise immediately, without hesitation. Similar to instaraise.

snap off

(v phrase1. Catch someone bluffing. 2. Catch a card on the end (as the river card — or seventh card — in seven-card stud, the last community card in hold’em, or on the draw in draw games) to beat a hand that was leading up to that point. 3. Beat a big starting hand, such as aces or kings in hold’em. “Three times in the tournament he snapped off aces.”

snapped off

(adv phrase) Caught bluffing. “I better quit trying to bluff. Three times I got snapped off.”

snap [someone] off

(v phrase) See snap off. “I better quit trying to bluff Michael. Three times he snapped me off.”


(vRake (definition 1).

snatch game

(n phrase) A less-common name for rake game. Sometimes snatch game implies a game in which the dealer takes more than he is supposed to, or takes all that he can get away with, whereas rake game is just the generic term for that method of making its money by the house.


(n) The removal of a card by a player who is holding out (see hold out) or using a holdout machine, or the reintroduction of a card into play.


(n) Shorthand, particularly in e-mail and Internet postings, for sit-and-go tournament. Sometimes sng. Also a chat term.


(nBug (definition 1).


(n, vBluff.


(n1. A worthless hand. 2. A bluff.

snow hand

(n phrase) In draw poker, a hand with which you snow (see bluff), sometimes by making, in high, a pat hand bluff, or in lowball, by standing pat on any five garbage cards.

snow job

(n phrase1. A hand with which you snow (see bluff). 2. A bluff.


(n1. Two or more 8s. (That’s what they look like.) 2. In hold’em, 8-8 as one’s starting cards.

snow the cards

(n phrase) Shuffle a deck or the cards in a hand overhand by pulling a few cards at a time from the top to the bottom. Compare with milkstripping.

social game

(n phraseFriendly game.


(n phraseSociety chips. “Gimme a stack of society.”

society chips

(n phrase) Chips of relatively large denomination. In a small game, in which dollar chips are used for most bets, $5 chips would be considered society chips; in a $20 game, with most bets made with $5 chips, society chips would probably be $20 or $100 chips. Chips of the highest denomination for the game are sometimes called high society chips.

Sock it up

(v phrase) Raise.


(adj1. Easy to beat. “Get in; it’s a soft game.” 2. Smooth, as a soft 83. In lowball, pertaining to a limit game played at slighter higher than its normal stakes. For example, a soft 8 starts out as a $6-limit game, and then the players agree to slightly increase the size of the game by adding $1 to the big blind. Instead of three blinds at $1-$2-$3, it becomes $1-$2-$4 and $8-limit. This is not the same as a straight 8, whose blinds are $2-$2-$4. Similarly, a nominal $8-limit game might become a soft 10, with blinds of $2-$2-$5, instead of the usual $2-$3-$5. The point of all this is to play at the next higher level without having to pay the time for that size game. 4. Pertaining to currency. For example, when requesting change in currency (as opposed to chips), a request made by a dealer to a floorman for “$20 chips, $80 soft” indicates a player has a $100 bill and wants only $20 of it in chips. See hard (adv5. Without putting pressure on. “He always plays her soft” means that when he gets in a pot with this particular young lady, he does not bluff her, nor does he try to push her around with aggressive betting. See soft-play.

soft break

(n phrase) The changing of currency, usually for part cash and part chips. See the example under soft (definition 4). Also see hard.

soft play

(n) Playing in the way described under soft-play (definition 2). “They were accused of soft play.”


(v1. Put no pressure on, as described under soft (definition 5). 2. Use a form of collusion in which players have an agreement not to bet or raise each other with anything less than big hands (for the situation); that is, they specifically do not bet weak hands or bluffs when they are in a pot with each other. This is done to prevent participants from jointly losing chips to other players. For example, in hold’em, if one player bets middle set and his “friend” raises, the friend is guaranteed to have top set or better. Thus the first can safely fold if he doesn’t have money odds to continue. If a player not in on the agreement happens to make a better hand, he wins money only from the better of the two (putative) colluders. 3. Rarely, slow-play.

soft-play a hand

(v phrase) See slow-play.


(v) See soft-play.

soft-play [someone]

(v phrase) Put no pressure on a person, as described under soft (definition 5); soft-play (definition 2).


(n) Beyond the common and accepted meanings, software refers to what runs the functionality of an online cardroom (see online cardroom). Specifically, the software manages player accounts, seats players, distributes cards, moves money during play from players to pots, awards pots, and handles various housekeeping tasks. Also known as application or appclient software or client.


(n) A variant of five-card stud, played mainly in Scandinavian countries, in which a four-straight ranks higher than one pair, and a four-flush ranks higher than a four-straight and just under two pair. The game is usually played pot limit.


(adj) Conservative, not likely to get out of line; said of someone’s play or a player.

solid player

(n phrase) One whose play is solid, often said as a compliment.


(n1. In a no-limit game, a (usually) substantial bet. “You passed? I’m going to bet something.” 2. Potentially playable or, often, good cards. “I’m not going to fold when I’ve got something.” “I hope you make something.” Opposite of nothing.


(expression) A winning hand, particularly as a response to the announcement of a bluff. A player shows his cards while announcing, “Nothing.” The opponent then says, “Something,” and shows his winning cards.


(expressionSuited, what hold’em players often say when calling their hand on the showdown, often justifying why they played such otherwise substandard starting cards. In online chat and email, sometimes rendered S00ted.

sore spot

(n phrase, imitative) 4 (the card); imitates four spot.


(n) A deck made up by taking portions from several decks, usually for the purpose of cheating. This is done to, for example, take advantage of slight differences in patterns in different runs of cards. The diamonds on one deck may meet at the edges slightly differently from one deck to another, but, to the untrained eye, the patterns would look the same on the backs of all the cards.


(n) A chat term for sit-out sign.


(v) See lay down (definition 1).

soup a hand

(v phraseLay down (definition 1).


(adv) See go south.

Southern California-style

(n phrase) Like draw poker and ace-to-five lowball as formerly played in Southern California, with respect to the betting structure. The game is played double limit. Compare with Northern California-style.

Southern Cross

(n phrase) A form of Cincinnati, in which each player is dealt five cards face down, and nine cards are dealt face down in the center (widow), in the form of a cross, forming five vertical and five horizontal cards, with each player allowed to combine any or all of either the vertical or horizontal cards together with his original cards in forming a five-card hand. The widow cards are turned up one at a time, usually clockwise or counterclockwise from the outside, working inward, with the center card turned up last, each followed by a betting round. Some play that the center card and others of the same rank are wild. In a variation, called X marks the spot, the widow consists of five cards, forming two rows of three (three vertical and three horizontal cards).

Southwest Circuit

(n phrase) Texas, Oklahoma, and nearby states where players like Doyle Brunson, Sailor Roberts, and Amarillo Slim got their start before hold’em moved to Vegas.


(n) A gap or “hole” between cards in a straight draw, such as 4-5-7-8, the space being between the 5 and 7. See inside straight.


(n) Describing cards that don’t connect well for straight possibilities, that is, that have gaps between them, such as a flop of 3-8-Q.


(n1. Any card in the spades suit. “A spade came on the turn.”  (v2. Low spade or high spade. “You wanna spade for a drink?”

spade flush

(n phrase) A flush in the spades suit.


(n1. One of the four suits in a deck of cards, whose symbol is shaped like an inverted valentine with a stem (♠). Originally, spades may have represented the peasant class, the spade being an instrument used by farmers. In both the traditional and four-color deck, spades are black. 2. A spade flush, that is, five cards of the same suit, all spades. The following exchange likely comes from a draw game. “I’ve got a straight; whadda you got?” “Spades.” 3. Part of a boast of strength “I’ve got you in spades.” See in spades.




(v) Bet. “Your turn to speak.” This is an obsolete term.

special hand

(n phrase1. Nonstandard hand2. Premium hand.


(v1. Play recklessly (by betting and raising frequently and aggressively); so called because one speeds by playing fast2. Act out of turn. “It isn’t your turn to bet, Mike. You’re speeding. Ingrid hasn’t acted yet.”  (n3. Excessive gamble; often used in admiration. “She’s got a lotta speed!” 4. The pace of one’s playing.


(n) One who speeds (see speed, definition 1).

speed hold’em

(n phrase) A casino variant of hold’em in which each player gets four cards, discards two, and five cards are flopped right away.


(v) Playing recklessly, making large (in a no-limit game) or frequent bets and bluffing a lot, that is, playing with considerable speed. “Don’t get caught speeding.”

speed limit

(n phrase) In hold’em, starting cards of 5-5. Comes from a time during the oil crisis of the 1970s when the highway speed limit in most of the United States was 55 miles per hour.

speed table

(n phrase1. A poker table specially constructed with a position for a house dealer. 2.rake game; so called because the faster the dealer puts out the hands, the more money the house makes.


(adj) Describing one who plays with a lot of speed.


(vBleedthrow off; usually followed by chips. “You’ll want to jump into that game. Chris is spewing chips.”


(v) Tending to spew chips. “I made a lot of spewy moves.”


(n phrase) A kind of holdout machine, a holdout device with a simple spring-loaded clasp that attaches to a vest or jacket.


(v1. In (usually) hold’em, catch on the board precisely the card needed to match your hand, usually the third to your pair, sometimes another of the same rank; always followed by the card in question. “I was betting my two pair all the way, but he spiked a third deuce on the river.” 2. Nail (definition 1).  (n3.An ace. 4. An imaginary object conservative players supposedly use to keep their chips out of action. “Yeah, he’s got $1,000 in front of him, but he’s got a spike through $900 of it.”


(n) A chip-sized token used as a card protector. So called because many are designed such that they can be easily spun and have a pattern that forms an interesting design when spun.


(n1. Spit in the ocean2. Spit card.

spit card

(n phrase) The card turned up in spit in the ocean.

spite call

(n phrase) A call, often a long call, usually made on the river or last card, not for any logical reason but just because the caller doesn’t like or otherwise is annoyed at the bettor. This is not the same as a hero call or a call made by a calling station, although the result is often the same.

spit in the ocean

(n phrase) A form of widow poker, played only in home games, in which each player is dealt four cards face down, and one card is dealt face-up in the center, which rank is then wild in and part of anyone’s hand. Usually the card is turned up at the point at which some player other than the dealer calls out, “Spit!” After a round of betting, each player can draw to his four-card hand. Also see wild widow.


(n) See splash the pot.

splash around

(v phrase) Play recklessly; play more hands than one ought, particularly in the early rounds of betting; bet wildly and aggressively, often on losing hands. Also, plunge around, speed.

splash chips around

(v phraseSplash around, particularly with the result of distributing chips to other players. “She was splashing chips around all night.”

splash the pot

(v phrase) Throw chips messily into the pot, possibly mixing them with chips already there, as opposed to stacking them neatly at the perimeter of the pot. Splashing the pot is frowned on in most cardrooms (and considered poor poker etiquette), because it is hard for the house dealer — and other players — to determine exactly how much the player has bet.


(n1. In a tournament, an agreement made near the end not to play to the end, with the money being divided in some percentage arrangement according to the number of chips remaining to each participant in the agreement. Also called deal2.stake or cow‘s share of a split-out3. Split-pot game. “We’re playing split.” — (v) 4. Agree to divide a pot, without having a showdown. Some cardrooms do not permit this, insisting that all hands played to the end must have a showdown. 5. Make an agreement to participate in a split, as described under definition 1.

split game

(n phraseSplit-pot game.

split openers

(v phrase) Throw one card of a pair away, in a draw poker (high) game with minimum opening requirements, when the pair were the openers, for the purpose of drawing to a straight or flush. For example, a player who opened the pot, holding K♠ K♥ A♥ T♥ 9♥, might announce, “Splitting openers,” and discard the K♠ (to draw one to the ace-high heart flush). He would immediately show both kings to prove that he has openers.

split out

(v phrase) When a player quits who went cow (that is, with whom the house or another player went half and half on the buy-in) or who was staked, if he won, he splits out (splits those winnings with the house or the person who was his partner). Also cut out. See split [someone] out.


(n1. Splitting out (see split out) a stake, that is, giving him half his profits. 2. The chips that represent the half of the profits that the stake gets to keep.

split pair

(n phrase) The situation in a stud game in which a player has a pair with one card face up and the other in the hole.

split poker

(n phraseSplit-pot game.

split pot

(n phrase1. A tie, that is, the situation in which two (or more) players have identical hands, with the pot divided between them. 2. A pot that is divided between the holder of the high and the low hand in a high-low split game, or some other form of split-pot game.

split-pot game

(n phrase1. High-low split game2. Some other game in which the pot is split between the holders of two hands, as determined by other criteria, such as Black Maria or seven-twenty-seven. For both definitions, also split poker.

split [someone] out

(v phrase) After the house has gone cow with someone (that is, with whom the house or another player went half and half on the buy-in), when the player gets far enough ahead of the game, the house may split him out, that is, remove half of his chips and put him on his own (see put [someone] on his own). In some games, the players object to chips leaving the table (in fact, there is often a house rule against that), so the player has to cash out to split out.

split the blinds

(n phraseChop the blinds.

split two pair

(n phrase) In stud or hold’em, a two pair hand in which each of your two unpaired downcards is matched on the board. For example, in seven-card stud, if your downcards are 9-7, and your first two upcards are 9-7, you have a split two pair. Compare with concealed pair.

split week

(n phraseInside straight.


(nWheel card.


(n1. Someone who puts up (bankrolls; see bankroll) a player’s buy-in, usually to a tournament, in exchange for a portion of the profits, if any. 2. Someone who pays all of a (usually) professional player’s entry fees for all tournaments the player enters, in exchange for a portion (usually half) of the profits. 3.Similarly, an online cardroom that pays all of a (usually) professional player’s entry fees for all tournaments the player, usually a member of its team (see Team [x]) enters, in exchange for the player promoting the site and wearing the online cardroom’s logo clothing whenever playing in a tournament or when appearing in the public eye (as on televised charity events or in magazine interviews accompanied by photographs). In this kind of sponsorship, the player usually gets to keep all his winnings. 4. Someone buying you a drink or meal. If someone offers you a drink at the table, when you call the cocktail waitress, you can say, “Bring me a drink; I’ve got a sponsor.”  (v5. Pay someone’s buy-in to a game or entry to a tournament, or multiple tournaments, in exchange for a portion of the profits, if any. Often called stake.


(adj, adv) Receiving payment of one’s buy-in to a particular game or a series of games or tournaments. Many prominent tournament winners get sponsored by online casinos (and get to keep all their winnings and of course absorb none of the losses). Also see Team [x].


(n) One of the arrangements described under sponsor and sponsorship.


(n1. Pip2. The game in which one is playing, often as part of the phrase good spot or better spot. “How’d you do after being so stuck earlier?” “Got even. Actually found a spot in a smaller game.” 3. An inducement a hustler might give a weak player to convince the latter to play under unfavorable circumstances. (Those circumstances might just be playing against the hustler.) For example, in a heads-up game, a hustler might offer his mark (definition 3) a spot of having the button more than half the hands, five hole cards to his four in Omaha-type games, or even as overt as paying the opponent’s time to get him to keep playing. Such an inducement could happen also in a full game, when one or more sharks might try to keep the live one seated after he has made a good score and threatens to cash out.


(n) A card 2 through 10; always preceded by its rank. For example, a 4-spot is a 4.

spot card

(n phrase) Any card 2 through 10.

spotlight table

(n phraseFeatured table.


(nPips. See pip.

spotted papers

(nMarked cards. Sometimes shortened to papers.


(n) A card 4 through 10. When one of these cards is lying face down, and you lift the lower right corner, you can see spots in the corner (as opposed to a no-spotter, which has no spots in the corner, or a liner, which is a face card). Some lowball players couple the knowledge that a card could be one of these (that is, any card 4 through 10, but that they don’t know which one) with game theory to decide on whether or not to bet. (Impartial observers might say they’re just playing games with themselves, but we don’t make judgments; we just define terms.)


(nStack-to-pot ratio.


(v1. Start a game. A floorman might say to a player heading for the door, “Don’t leave; we’re about to spread a 20-40.” 2. Show down; usually followed by a or the hand. “When I showed my pat 6-4, he spread a bicycle.” 3. Offer a particular game in a cardroom. “California cardrooms first began spreading hold’em in 1987.” 4. Fan one’s cards so that one can see them.  (n5. A game. If you phone your local card emporium, and ask the floorman how many games are going, he might say, “I have five spreads.” 6. The act of exposing one’s cards at the showdown. Also called roll7. The difference between the minimum and maximum bet allowed in a spread-limit game. In a $10-to-$200 game, the spread is $10 to $200.

spread a hand

(v phrase) See spread (definition 2 or 4).

spread limit

(n phrase) Poker in which the betting limits lie somewhere between single limit and no limit. Bets have a range, from a minimum to a maximum. For example, in $2-$5 seven-card stud, a player can bet at any time either $2, $3, $4, or $5. If 50-cent chips or coins are used, a player can sometimes also bet $2.50, $3.50, and so on. As in no-limit games, a raise must always at least equal the previous bet or raise (unless the player making the raise is going all in, in which case the interpretation varies from club to club). That is, if one player bets $2 and the next player raises $3, any other player to come into the pot who wishes to raise must raise at least $3; a $2 raise is not permitted at this point. Similarly, in a $10-to-$200 hold’em game, on any round players can bet anywhere from $10 to $200, though by convention usually only in $5 increments. Also called modified limit.


(adj) Describing a game played for spread limit, in such phrases as spread-limit gamespread-limit pokerspread-limit hold’em, and so on.

spread-limit game

(n phrase) A game played for spread limit.

spread the hand

(v phrase) Respond to a request (generally in a draw game) to see the entire hand. If someone cannot see the winning hand, she might say to the dealer, “Spread the hand.”


(v) Suddenly make a large bet.

Spring Championship of Online Poker

(n phrase) An online tournament series, consisting of many events, staged in spring by the online cardroom PokerStars.com. Sometimes rendered as the acronym SCOOP.

spring table

(n phrase) A card table made for cheating, with cracks that look like honest defects through which cards can be retrieved when acted upon by a spring attached to the underside of the table.


(v) Mark cards with one’s fingernails, particularly sharp thumbnails, or some other sharp instrument. Also see nail-pricking.




(adj) Nothing, with respect to one’s holding. The term seems popular with television announcers at tournaments. “Mike just raised a million dollars and he’s holding squadoosh!”


(adj1. Honest, as a square deck or deal. Also see on the square. — (vt2. Arrange the deck in a neat pile of cards, with no edges protruding, prior to cutting or dealing; usually followed by the cards or the deck.

squared deck

(n phrase) A deck arranged in a neat pile, with no edges protruding, usually prior to cutting or dealing.

square deal

(n phrase) An honest deal, as indicated by a deck containing no trimmed or shaved cards. The expression has moved from the world of poker to general usage in the English language to mean a fair and honest arrangement or agreement among individuals or parties.

square deck

(n phrase) An honest deck, that is, one containing no trimmed or shaved cards, as observable when it is arranged into a squared deck.

square game

(n phrase) An honest game, as indicated by its being played with a deck containing no trimmed or shaved or otherwise marked cards.

“Square the table.”

(v phrase) A request to the dealer to square up the table (likely made by the player being crowded).

square up the table

(v phrase) Ensure that all the players sit in their proper positions, that is, with all centered and equally spaced, no one crowding someone else.


(v1. In a draw game, look at one’s cards slowly; so called because players start with their cards tightly squared together, such that they can see only the first card, and then slowly squeeze them apart, that is, separate them, causing each card to reveal itself, slowly, one at a time, as if the viewer wishes to surprise himself with the cards; this is often done agonizingly slowly, frequently when it is the squeezer’s turn to act, as if the player deliberately wants to annoy the others, while he pretends to be innocent of any knowledge of what effect his slowness is having. “Hey, don’t squeeze the spots off of ’em; we’re paying time here.” Sometimes squeze in or squeeze out. Sometimes called sweat2. By extension, do the same in any game. Players squeeze their cards even in hold’em, mainly for dramatic effect. 3. Whipsaw (definition 1). 4. Make a bet from an early position that forces one or more intervening players out because of the likelihood of the last player, who has earlier shown strength, raising.  (n5. Looking at one’s cards in the manner described under 1. “Whenever the action is on Stuart, he gives it the slow squeeze.” 6. See little squeeze7. Whipsaw (definition 2).

squeeze bet

(n phrase1. Squeeze play2. A bet to extract additional chips from a player not likely to win a pot, or, in high-low split, not likely to share in a split.


(n phraseWhipsawed.

squeeze in

(v phraseSqueeze (definition 1). “He thinks he won’t win unless he squeezes in the hand.”

squeeze out

(v phrase1. Squeeze (definition 1). “He thinks he won’t win unless he squeezes out the hand.” 2. Force a player out of a pot by the size or intensity of betting or raising. 3. Force one or more players out of a pot by betting in the manner described under squeeze (definition 4).

squeeze play

(n phrase1. The situation in which a player is whipsawed. See whipsaw2. The play described under squeeze (definition 4).


(n) One in the act of squeezing or who habitually squeezes (see squeeze, definition 1 or 2) the cards.


(n) Special cards with suit and rank printed at the corners, so these can be seen by just barely squeezing back the corners. (This is the ordinary card format now, but many years ago, cards had no markings in their corners.)


(n) An attempt to win a pot, often as part of the phrase take a stab at the pot.


(n1. All of your chips, with reference to a bet in a big bet game. “I’ll bet my stack.” 2. The totality of one’s chips, particularly in a tournament. “I had the short stack at the table.” Also, stack size3. One pile of chips, usually 20 high. “Houseman, bring me another stack,” means that the speaker wants another 20 chips. It’s 20 because that’s how many chips fit into one slot in a chip rack (v4. Arrange the deck, that is, perform the cheating maneuver of prearranging the cards, usually by false shuffling (see false shuffle) or some other form of sleight-of-hand, into a specific order such that specific hands go to predetermined players, usually a good hand to the sucker and a better hand to the deck stacker (thief) or his confederate; usually followed by the deck5. Arrange chips in neat piles. “After I won that big pot, it took two more hands to stack all my chips.” 6. Gather up chips after winning the pot. “Lemme cut the cards. Curly’s too busy stacking that last pot.”

stacked cards

(n phraseStacked deck. Also, cards stacked, in an expression like the cards were stacked against him.

stacked deal

(n phrase) A deal made with a stacked deck.

stacked deck

(n phrase) A deck whose cards are prearranged (sometimes brought in as a cold deck; sometimes arranged by a sleight-of-hand maneuver such as a false shuffle) such that specific hands go to predetermined players, usually a good hand to the sucker and a better hand to the thief or his confederate. The expression has moved from the world of poker to general usage in the English language to mean a situation that has been set up to fail.

stack off

(v phrase) In no limit, bet all your chips; move all in.


(n1. All of your chips. “Did he bet?” “Yep, that was a stack-off.” (adj2. Pertaining to such a bet; usually followed by bet. “Did he bet?” “Yep, that was a stack-off bet.”

stack poker

(n phrase) In no limit, play in such a way that you get all your chips into the pot nearly every hand, that is go all in (stack off) whenever possible. Compare with big stack poker, which is not the same thing.

stack size

(n phrase) How many chips a player has altogether, particularly in a tournament. Also see average stack size

stack someone

(n phraseStack someone off.

stack someone off

(n phrase) Bet all of an opponent’s chips. Sometimes shortened to stack someone.

stack the deck

(v phrase) Arrange the deck by some sleight-of-hand maneuver, as done by a cheat, and described under stack (definition 4).

stack-to-pot ratio

(v phrase) The ratio of the size of a given player’s stack to the pot. Sometimes rendered as the initialism SPR.


(n1. Stake player2. A player’s bankroll; the money a player needs to get into a game. 3. The act of staking a player. A broker (someone with no money) might say to the floorman, “How about a stake in this game?” 4. Someone playing on another person’s money. Also called stake horse. See sponsor(definitions 1-3). — (v5. Give someone chips to play on, that is, back that player. Compare with sponsor (definition 5). 6. Put someone into a game with house chips.

stake horse

(n phraseStake (definition 4).

stake player

(n phrase) A player given house chips to play for the purpose of starting a game that would otherwise be short (definition 4), or to keep a game that is becoming short from breaking up. A stake player keeps half his profits (after returning to the house the amount given him when he was first put in), usually at the end of a shift, but absorbs none of the losses. When he receives his share of the profits, this is the split-out. Sometimes shortened to just stake. Compare with shill.


(n) The size of a game, with respect to its betting increments or limits (or lack thereof). In a $2-$4 limit game, for example, the stakes are just that, $2 on the first round or rounds, $4 thereafter. (In most hold’em games, that would be $2 on the first two rounds and $4 on the last two rounds.) In a no-limit game, the stakes are unlimited. (This is not strictly true in a table stakes game. The stakes are limited to the most anyone has on the table, or, even more strictly, the largest bet that can be made is an amount equal to the stack of the player who has the second-largest stack.) In anything in between, the stakes are usually described by the minimum and maximum bets, sometimes by the amount required for a buy-in. The stakes for pot limit games are determined both by the buy-in and by the sizes of the blinds. Often part of the terms high stakeshigh-stakes gamelow stakes, or low-stakes game.

stakes play

(n phraseTable stakes.

stakes player

(n phrase) A player in a table stakes game.

stamped cards

(n phrase) Cards marked on their backs during printing and sold to thieves for cheating purposes. Also see svengali deck.


(v1. In a draw game, at the time for the draw (card replacement), draw no cards. “How many do you want?” “I’ll stand.” It’s short for stand pat2. Be willing or able to, as part of the phrase stand a betstand a call, or stand a raise.

stand a bet

(n phrase) Be able to call a bet, rather than fold. In a no-limit game, a player might ask an opponent, “Can you stand a bet?”

stand a call

(n phrase) Part of an invitation for an opponent to call. After betting, a player might say, “I can stand a call.”

stand a raise

(n phrase) Be able to call a raise, rather than fold. In a no-limit game, a player might ask an opponent, “Can you stand a raise?”

standard deck

(n phrase) The 52-card deck, consisting of four suits (spades ♠, hearts ♥, diamonds ♦, clubs ♣) of 13 cards each (A, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K).

standard deviation

(n phrase) A concept of statistics. Technically, it’s the square root of the variance, which is a measure of the spread of a statistical distribution about its mean or center. Less technically, it’s a measure of how far off your hourly expectation is likely to be. We don’t need to go into a detailed mathematical explanation, though. In general, the higher your variance, and thus the greater the standard deviation, the larger the bankroll you need.

standard raise

(n phrase) In a no-limit game, coming in for (usually) 2.5 to three or four times the size of the big blind.

standard signals

(n phrase) See signal.

stand good

(n phrase) Agree to pay the full amount of a bet, even if one runs out of chips, in a game not played for table stakes. See make goodmatch lights.


(n) A tie.



stand pat

(v phrase) Draw no cards in a draw game. Also, hit the tableknockknuckleraprap pat. This expression has moved from the world of poker to general usage in the English language with the wider meaning of refuse to change one’s beliefs or opinions. See standpattism. Sometimes shortened to stand (in expressions like “I’ll stand”).


(n) An expression that has moved from the world of poker to general usage in the English language, the practice of refusing to consider change in one’s beliefs and opinions, especially in politics. Comes from stand pat.

stands to lose

(v phrase) A phrase that describes the amount a player can lose, usually in a particular situation or game. “She stands to lose 10 dimes in that game.”

stands to win

(v phrase) A phrase that describes the amount a player can win, usually in a particular situation or game. “He stands to win a million from that group if he gets lucky.”

stand to lose

(v phrase) Afford to lose. “You shouldn’t play if you can’t stand to lose.”

stand to win

(v phrase) Be willing to win. “He’s up nearly 20 big ones in the game, but don’t worry, he’ll give it all back. He can’t stand to win.”

stand up

(v phrase) Have a hand win, when one or more other hands are trying to, in stud or hold’em, catch winning cards against it, or, in draw, draw out on it. “How do you like my chances? I had ace-queen against four other players with straight and flush draws, didn’t improve, and the hand stood up.” Also, hold up.


(n) The joker. Also, man with the star.

stare [someone] down

(v phrase) Use a penetrating or intimidating stare to bully an opponent or to try to elicit a tell in a crucial situation, as, for example, when an opponent has made an all-in bet; usually including the name or designation of both participants in the action as part of the phrase. “He tried to stare me down for what seemed like five minutes but I just kept my cool by thinking about a TV show I’d recently seen.” Also see study.


(nGame starter.

starting cards

(v phraseStarting hand.

starting field

(v phrase) The number of players with which a tournament begins. Also see field.

starting hand

(v phrase) A player’s first two cards in hold’em, first three cards in seven-card stud or pineapple, first four cards in Omaha, or first five cards in draw games (sometimes other numbers of cards in poker variants). Also, starting cards.

starting hand selection

(v phraseStarting requirement.

starting requirement

(n phrase) The minimum holding a particular player feels he needs to get involved in a hand; hand selection. For a good player, the starting requirement takes position into account. Also, starting hand selectionstarting requirements.

starting requirements

(n phraseStarting requirement.

start the action

(v phrase) Open the betting; make the first bet in a particular hand.


(n1. A bankroll (often hidden away, though generally readily accessible) for emergency situations. 2. Any bankroll. (v3. Hide money; secrete one’s bankroll.


(v) Call a bet, sometimes with the connotation of doing so as an underdog. “A hundred to me? I’ll stay.”


(n1. Active player. In a draw game, “Cards to the stayers?” is a request from the dealer for those remaining in the pot to tell him how many cards they want. 2. A hand worth calling with, but not raising or initiating any betting.

stay in

(v phraseStay.

staying out of the way of

(n phrase) See stay out of the way of. Also called avoidance.

stay out of each other’s way

(v phrase1. The situation in which two players seem to avoid any, or at least large, confrontations. This differs from definition 2 in that it happens innocently enough. It may occur because of respect or because of having large stacks that neither wishes to risk (or purely coincidentally), but it is not for reasons of taking unfair advantage of the other players. 2. An arrangement among thieves never to play in each other’s pots. This differs from definition 1 by being a deliberate agreement, whether prearranged or mutually agreed upon when the cheats realize that each is “in the business” (of thievery). Also see best-hand.

stay out of the way of

(v phrase1. Avoid confrontations with another player, often one of equal or better perceived abilities. 2. Stay out of each other’s way.

stay out of trouble

(v phrase) Avoid, by the way one plays a hand, getting trapped (see trap, definition 5) or otherwise losing much or even anything on the hand. Often implies not losing much on a big hand. See escape.

stay pat

(v phraseStand pat.


(v1. Win (a pot) by bluffing. 2. More specifically, win the antes or blinds by, usually, raising and not getting called. See steal the antessteal the blinds. — (n3. Bluff. “I know that’s a steal, but I don’t have the cards to call a bet.”

steal a hand

(n phraseSteal a pot.

steal a pot

(n phrase) Win (a pot) by bluffing.

steal position

(n phrase) In a game with blinds, a late position, often the button or one of the two positions to his right (or the middle blind if there are three blinds); so used because it is most likely from this position that a player attempts to steal the blinds.

steal the antes

(v phrase) In a game with only antes (but probably not in a stud game with a forced bring-in), win just the antes by bluffing; get everyone to fold, usually by opening in late position when no one else appears to be interested in the pot, before there is any real action, and thus win the antes.

steal the blinds

(v phrase) Win just the blinds by bluffing; get the blinds to fold, usually by opening or raising in late position, and thus win the blinds. The hand one holds when making such a move is not necessarily worse than that held by the blinds, but it is worse than the hand that would on average be the best for the position. For example, if, in hold’em, one comes into the pot for a raise when holding 9-7 unsuited, that hand may be better than what either of the blinds holds (but often isn’t), such a play is still considered to be stealing the blinds. See blind robber.


(v1. Be on tilt2. Raise; now rarely used. “He steamed it.”  (n3. Raise; now rarely used. “He put some steam on the pot.”

steam bet

(adv) A bet made by someone playing on tilt, that is, a bet the player would not ordinarily make.


(n) One who is on tilt.


(adj) Being on tilt. “Big John’s going to lose his whole bankroll tonight. He’s stuck and steaming.”

steam kill

(adv) An overblind put in by someone playing on tilt.

steam raise

(adv) A raise made by someone playing on tilt, that is, a raise the player would not ordinarily make.

steel wheel

(n phrase) A five-high straight flush (that is, a wheel, the cards of which are all the same suit); usually used in high-low split games, but sometimes extended to high-only games.

steep payout structure

(n phrase) A payout schedule that makes large jumps among the places paid. Prizes for first, second, third, and fourth of $10,000, $5,000, $2,500, and $1,250 would be a steep payout structure. Compare with flat payout structure.


(v) Hustle someone into another game, often private and often crooked.


(n) One who steers (see steer) players.

steer game

(n phrase) An after-hours game, to which players are steered (see steer) from a cardroom. Someone, usually an accomplice of one of the thieves who runs the game, directs departing players to the private game. A steer game isn’t always crooked, but there is a good chance it is. Caveat emptor.

steer joint

(n phrase) A crooked cardroom.

steer man

(n phraseSteerer.

steer money

(n phrase) Commission paid by the operators of a steer game to a steerer.


(n) Queen (the card).


(n1. Brief2. Any of the levels of a step tournament.

step bet

(n phrase) Stakes of more than one limit, with one betting limit on early rounds and a higher limit on succeeding rounds. This is the common cardroom practice. For example, a $2-$4 hold’em game involves a step bet: $2 may be bet or raised on the first two rounds of betting, and $4 on the last two. See double limitstructured limit.

step out

(v phrase) Bet; often implying (in a no-limit game) bet large.

step out of line

(v phrase) Make a bluff, particularly a large one.

step out there

(v phraseGamble (definition 2). “You can’t just sit and wait for the nuts. Sometime you have to step out there.”


(n) Someone able to overcome an obstacle, such as being stuck, when part of the expression “That’s no hill to climb for a stepper.”

steppin’ out

(v phrase) Betting.

step the deck

(n phrase1. Cut a stacked deck such that it ends up with a step (brief) at the stacked portion. 2. Cut a stacked deck to the step.

step tournament

(v phrase) A series of, generally, single-table tournaments, often sit-and-go, usually online, with multiple levels, each of which leads participants to the next higher level, each succeeding level of which can also be the starting point, at a higher buy-in than the level below, generally culminating in a prize of a buy-in to a major tournament. For example, players might buy in at the lowest level for $7.50 or a moderate number of frequent player points. First and second places would pay an entry into the next level, which could also be bought in to for $27 cash or more frequent player points than required for the first step; third and fourth places might offer buy-ins to the lowest level. Each succeeding step would offer similar choices, with either advancement, buy-ins to the same level, or, perhaps for fourth and fifth places, buy-ins to a lower level. The progression might continue $82, $700, and $2100. First place at the highest level might win a package consisting of a buy-in to a major $10,000 tournament, transportation, spending money, and hotel accommodations, a package that might be worth $15,000. At the final step, paying places after first usually receive cash rather than step buy-ins. Prizes in the form of buy-ins to step levels are calledtournament tickets. Also called steps tournament.

steps tournament

(v phraseStep tournament.


(v) “Two cards, please.” (Heard in a draw game at the time of the draw.) Also, “Stu.”


(n) A chat term meaning “Shut the fuck up!” Typed in response to a player who keeps typing either nonsense or abuse into the chat box.


(v1. Stand or stand pat. “How many cards do you want?” “I’ll stick.” This term is more common in home games; in cardrooms, it is usually said only by inexperienced players. (n2. Game starter.


(vt1. After winning a pot, give no tip (toke) to the dealer.  (n2. A player who makes a practice of not tipping the dealers. 3. A lowball hand to which one cannot (or probably should not) draw. In ace-to-five, that might be a hand like 10-9-8-6-5. You could conceivably throw the 10 to draw one card, but you might be drawing dead anyway, so you might just stand on the stiff and hope for the best, which would probably be that the other player draws.

still alive

(adv phrase) See alive. “Did you bust out yet?” “Nah, I’m still alive.”

still pack

(n) The alternate deck, that is, the one not currently being dealt, in home games in which two decks are used. One deck is dealt while the other is being shuffled (by the shuffler) for the next deal.


(n1. Stub(vt2. Stack (definition 4) a deck, that is, prearrange the cards for cheating purposes.


(adj) Complete. “A stone beauty” means a good hand.

stone-cold bluff

(n phrase) A bluff, often involving a large bet, made on a hand that cannot possibly win if called.

stone-cold nuts

(n phrase) The nuts; usually preceded by the.


(nStonewall Jackson.

Stonewall Jackson

(n phrase1. A tight player. 2. Stiff (definition 2).


(n) Nickname for a tight player.

stop and go

(v phraseStop-and-go play.

stop-and-go play

(v phrase) A play in which a player bets into an opponent who has previously raised or otherwise shown aggression. For example, in a hold’em game, on the flop, Emilie bets into Michael, Michael raises, and Emilie just calls. On the turn, Emilie bets into Michael again. Emilie has just executed a stop-and-go play. Sometimes rendered simply stop-and-go.

stop loss

(adv phrase) An amount a player sets before the start of a session more than which he will not lose. If the player reaches that amount, he immediately quits. For example, a player sets a stop loss of $1,000. He buys into a no-limit game for $500 and loses that. He buys in again for $500. If he again goes broke, he leaves.

stop the action

(v phrase) End the current round of betting by either being the last to call the initial bet or the last to call a raise, as opposed to opting to reopen the betting. Also, close the action.

stop the betting

(v phrase) End the current round of betting by either being the last to call the initial bet or the last to call a raise, as opposed to opting to reopen the betting. Also, close the action.



stormy weather

(n phrase) A form of widow poker, played only in home games, in which each player is dealt four cards face down, and three cards are dealt face down in the center. After a round of betting, each player can draw to his four-card hand. The dealer then turns up each of the widow cards one at a time, each followed by a round of betting. Each player may use (only) one of the cards as part of his hand. The game is sometimes played high-low split.


(v1. Overblind (definition 1). 2. Put a straddle into a pot, (using any of the following definitions).  (n3. Overblind (definition 2). Someone might say, “John acts last; he has the straddle.” When such an overblind can be raised in turn by the player who puts it in, even if the betting has not yet been raised, it is called a live straddle4. In particular, an overblind put in by the player to the left of the big blind and twice its size, thus temporarily doubling the stakes. Such a straddle is always a live straddle5. The second of two forced blinds, usually put in by the player two positions to the left of the dealer position. In former years, these two bets were called blind and straddle. Some say that definition 3 is the only proper use of the word straddle.

straddle game

(n phrase1.traveling blind game, usually with three blinds in a row, starting to the left of the dealer. 2.blind and straddle game.


(n) A player who is able to come in light, that is, for a small call, perhaps from a late position in an ordinary blind game, or, in a pass-and-back-in game, when the pot has been opened in late position and not raised, so a player who passed earlier can now limp in (definition 2). A player coming in in either situation is called a straggler.


(n) A chat term for straight.


(n1. The poker hand consisting of five cards in a row, of mixed suits, as A♠ 2♥ 3♠ 4♥ 5♦ or 8♦ 9♣ 10♣ J♦ Q♠. Sometimes called run or sequence. In high poker, this hand ranks above three of a kind and below a flush (adj2. In lowball, pertaining to a hand whose cards form a straight, or whose top four do. That is, in ace-to-five, 8-7-6-5-4 is a straight 8 (but the term sometimes applies also to a hand like 8-7-6-5-2). 3. In draw poker or lowball, pertaining to a limit game without blind opens and that is not winner blind, as straight 8 is the usual 8-limit game. (A straight 8 would have three blinds, 2-2-4, while asoft 8 (see soft, definition 3) would be 1-2-4.) 4. With reference to a bet or raise, the total amount of the bet. “Michael bet $25 and Kate made it 100 straight.”

straight card

(n phrase) A (probably drawn or hit) card that makes a straight.

straight draw

(n phrase1. “Normal” five-card-draw high poker, bet-or-fold before the draw, open on anything, that is, no opening requirements, as opposed to, for example, jacks or better. Also called guts-to-openpass-out. Compare with California drawpass-and-back-in2. A hand that contains four cards to a straight.


(n) In high draw, drawing to a straight.

str8 flush

(n phrase) A chat term for straight flush.

straight flush

(n phrase) The poker hand consisting of five cards in a row all in the same suit, as A♠ 2♠ 3♠ 4♠ 5♠ or 8♥ 9♥ 10♥ J♥ Q♥. An ace-high straight flush, as 10♦ J♦ Q♦ K♦ A♦, is given the special name royal flush. In high poker, a straight flush ranks above four of a kind. Sometimes (rarely) called quint or routine.

straight flush draw

(n phrase) A hand that contains four cards to a straight flush.


(n) In high draw, drawing to a straight.

straight limit

(n phraseSingle limit.

straight poker

(n phrase1. An early form of poker, in which players received five cards, and bet on their original cards, much the same as draw poker, but there was no draw. Sometimes called single-handed poker2. Five card draw poker, high, with no wild cards.

straight up

(adv phrase) Pertaining to honest play; on the square (definition 2). A former thief may tell a friend, “I don’t need any edge [dishonest advantage]; I can beat this game straight up.” The manager of a cardroom may say to a player whom the former knows to be capable (that is, has the ability to cheat), “You can play in here only if you play straight up.”


(adj) Honest (as opposed to being a thief). “He’s a straight-up player.”


(adj) Money other than one player’s bet. That is, if a player puts $6 into a pot and the pot has $20 altogether, the pot holds $14 strange or $14 strange money.

strange money

(n phrase) See strange.


(n1. In draw poker, a card one hasn’t seen in one’s hand after the draw, while shuffling through the entire hand. When a player is squeezing (see squeeze, definition 1) his hand, and finds one of the cards he drew, he may say, “There’s a stranger.” This quotation sometimes implies a card that improves the hand. Also see free look2. A player unknown to the regulars in a game.

strategic bluff

(n phrase) A planned bluff, as opposed to one made on the spur of the moment.

strategy card

(n phrase) A small card, often wallet-sized, containing, in summary form, a poker or other casino game strategy. For example, a strategy card might contain a list of recommended hold’em starting hands, ranked by position.


(n) A rush, or run of luck; usually part of the phrase on a streak. Generally implies a winning streak, but, as most poker players will attest, there are also losing streaks.


(n) In stud (and sometimes hold’em), the dealing of a round of cards, usually preceded by its number, as third streetfifth street, and so on.

street n

(n) In stud (and sometimes hold’em), one of the numbered streets (see street), as street 4street 5, and so on.


(nHoldout machine.

string bet

(n phrase) An illegal bet, because it was not made all in one motion. The concept of string bets is complicated (and not just because it is interpreted differently from club to club). If you want to raise a bet, you are supposed to have as many chips in your hand as you need to cover the bet you are raising plus sufficient chips to include your raise when you put your hand in the pot, and then release all of them before withdrawing your hand. Similarly, if you wish to bet more than the minimum in a no-limit game, you are supposed to have as many chips as you wish to bet in your hand. Most clubs permit you to say the magic words, “I raise” (or something that means the same, even something as nebulous as “Going up!”) or, in the case of a bet, “I bet” (or something interpretable as synonymous), and then make one or more trips back to your stack for more chips. In the absence of the preceding conditions, you are likely to be guilty of making a string bet, the penalty for which is being permitted only to call the preceding bet, or put in the pot only as many chips as you currently have in your hand (or, in the case of a bet in a no-limit game, bet only the minimum for the game). Watch out! The string bet situation trips up more players than almost any other rule. The rationale behind prohibiting string bets is that, in former times, a player might put in part of his bet, hesitate long enough to see the reactions of other players, and then, based on those reactions, perhaps increase the bet.


(v) Make a string bet.

string raise

(n) A raise that constitutes a string bet.


(v) Make a raise that constitutes a string bet.


(v) Trim the sides or edges of cards, to make them identifiable by feel to a thief. This produces strippers. Compare with shave.

stripped deck

(n phrase) A deck with certain cards removed for special games, such as for Asian stud, a form of five-card stud played with a 32-card stripped deck, from which all cards 2 through 6 have been removed. In some European countries, and Australia, poker is sometimes played with a stripped deck from which the 2s and 3s have been removed. In games played with a stripped deck, straights often jump the missing cards. For example, in the 32-card deck, A-7-8-9-10 might constitute a straight. Manila and Mexican stud also use stripped decks.

stripped pack

(n phraseStripped deck.

stripper deck

(n phraseStrippers.


(n, always used in the plural) A deck marked by shaving the edges of some cards such that a thief can tell by feel the values of certain cards. Examples are belly strippersend strippershigh belly strippershumpslow belly strippersside strippers. Also see concave cardconvex cardglazed cardsandshave.


(n) Shuffling by rapidly pulling small packets from the top to the bottom of the deck. Compare with snow the cards.

strip poker

(n phrase) A form of poker, generally played in mixed company, in which players use articles of clothing to purchase chips (or articles of clothing as the actual wagering units). As players need more chips, they must remove clothing; sometimes (rarely) the winners put those articles on. In some versions of the game, in each hand, all but the winner of the pot must remove one article of clothing; the drawback to this is the lack of an ante, unless players ante with clothing, in which case a disproportionate value is placed on any one article of clothing. This form of poker is not really related to the true nature of poker, whose goal is, for each player, to win money; the underlying nature of strip poker is to get almost everyone naked. A related game is sex poker.


(adv1. Quite dishonest. “I just looked in at the lowball game. Paul’s going really strong.” This means that Paul is using some very dishonest or blatant cheating methods. 2. Heavily, when pertaining to the rate at which chips are raked from a game. “What? You take $2 out of every pot, even if no one plays? That’s pretty strong.”

stronger than nuts

(n phraseStronger than the nuts.

stronger than the nuts

(n phrase) Describing a game so crooked that the live ones would find it harder to beat than the shell game. The nuts here refer to those used in the shell game (which, like the three-card monte found on the street, is known as the game the suckers never win at), not the unbeatable poker hand.

strong hand

(n phrase) A hand that has a great likelihood of winning a pot; the nuts.

strong work

(n phrase) Marked cards whose markings are obvious and easily seen even by the untrained eye.


(n1. The makeup of a game, with respect to the size of antes, the betting limits, opening requirements, blinds, forced bets, and so on. 2. More specifically, just the betting limits. See limit (definition 1). 3. With respect to a tournament, the amount of money in tournament chips players start with, the rules for rebuys and add-ons (see add-onrebuyrebuy tournament), and the manner in which the blinds increase.


(adj) Pertaining to structured limit.

structured limit

(n phrase) Describing the betting structure of a limit game (as opposed to no limit), as, for example, a structured limit hold’em game, in which bets are at one level before and on the flop, and twice that level on the turn and river, such as $15-$30 hold’em. Structured limit usually refers to double limit, but it also includes single limit, as well as formats that include escalating limits at each limit, as, for example, hold’em with two rounds at the low limit, one at twice that limit, and one more, the final, at four times the first limit. Such a game might be named, for example, $3-$3-$6-$12. Formerly, the term structured limit was usually used for hold’em-type and stud games, while double limit was used for draw games.

structured-limit game

(n phrase) A game played with a structured limit.


(vStand pat. In a draw game, “I’ll struggle,” said at the time for the draw, means “I’ll take no cards.”


(n) In lowball, a straight 9 (see straight, definition 2).


(n) Shorthand, particularly in e-mail and Internet postings, for single-table tournament. Sometimes stt.


(v) Two cards, please. (Heard in a draw game at the time of the draw.) Also, “Stew.”


(n) The undealt portion of the cards, sometimes also called the deckstock, or talon.


(adv) Losing. “How much you stuck?”

stuck and steaming

(adv phrase) Losing heavily and reacting emotionally (see steam, definition 1), thus probably playing poorly.


(nStud poker.

stud-horse poker

(n phrase) Supposedly an early form of stud poker, but, in fact, a game that no one really knows how to play. A portion of the California Constitution (Section 330) legislates against certain games of chance by name, including roulette, blackjack, something called lansquenet, and, notably, stud-horse poker. Even though attorneys-general of the state had no idea what the game was, they used that apparent ban for a long time to prevent the playing of any form of poker that was not draw. Some historians think stud-horse poker was a variant of three-card monte, that is, a sucker game in which the sucker had no chance. Eventually (in the 1980s) the government quit prosecuting clubs in which hold’em was played, because judges ruled it was not stud. Once the “door was opened,” other games were permitted, including stud itself, and even games like super pan 9, California aces, and 21st Century Blackjack that clearly bear little resemblance to poker. And nobody knows yet what stud-horse poker is.

stud player

(n phrase1. Someone who plays stud poker (usually exclusively, or in preference to other forms of poker). 2. In lowball, someone who regularly turns part of his hand face up (generally to coax another player into or out of a pot).

stud poker

(n phrase) A form of poker in which one or more cards are dealt to each player face down, followed by one upcard, with a betting round, more upcards, with a betting round after each, and then, in seven-card stud, a final downcard, and a final betting round. The forms are five-card stud and seven-card stud, and sometimes six-card stud. In home games, you can find other variants. Also called open poker.


(v1. Regard your cards intently while trying to make up your mind what to do next. 2. Regard an opponent intently in an attempt to divine what cards the opponent has. (This is not a mystical process. It is an attempt to elicit a tell.) Compare with read. Also see stare [someone] down.


(v) Replace a card in stud, that is, receive a twist.



substitution poker

(n phrase) Stud poker played with a twist.

subway dealer

(n phraseBottom dealer.


(v1. Draw cards. “How many cards do you want?” “I’ll suck two.” (n2. The act of drawing cards. “He caught a good one on the suck.”


(n1. Live one; a rich loser; any loser or poor player. 2. A mark for thieves.

suck out

(v phraseDraw out. “I had him on the turn [or on the draw], but he sucked out on me.”


(nDraw-out. Someone always bemoaning his bad luck might say, “Now comes the suck-out.”

suck-out artist

(n phrase) One who appears to specialize in sucking out (see draw out). That is, one who seems to take the worst of it regularly and somehow always manages to catch the needed cards in defiance of the odds.


(nSuction bet.

suction bet

(n phrase) In a big bet game, a small bet on a good hand to entice players to make an easy call, or better, to raise (so the suction bettor can reraise).

suction bettor

(n phrase) One who makes a suction bet (or habitually makes them).

sudden death

(n phrase) Five-card stud played for low. So called because catching a pair (or face card) usually kills a player’s hand.

suicide king

(n phraseKing of hearts. (He’s sticking a sword into his head.)


(n) One of the four groups of 13 cards into which a deck is divided: spades (♠), hearts (♥), diamonds (♦), clubs (♣).


(adv) Pertaining to two or more cards in the same suit. In hold’em or seven-card stud, descriptive of the first two cards being of the same suit, as opposed to offsuit. Sometimes the term applies to more than two cards, as, for example, you can start with three suited cards in seven-card stud, or four suited cards can appear among the community cards in hold’em.


(expressionSuited, what hold’em players often say when calling their hand on the showdown, often justifying why they played such otherwise substandard starting cards. Also, “Sooted!”

suited connectors

(n phrase) In hold’em, two cards in sequence and in the same suit, usually with reference to hole cards, as, for example, 8♠ 9♠.

suited gappers

(n phrase) In hold’em, two cards in the same suit separated by a gap, usually with reference to hole cards, as, for example, 7♠ 9♠.

suited up

(adv phrase) Having two or more cards in the same suit.

suit mark

(n phrase) The single spade, heart, club, or diamond beneath the index. (Some say that the suit mark is part of the index.)

suit system

(n phrase) A method of marking the backs of cards by indicating their suits. Also see cosmeticsdaubrougesmear.

summertime hand

(n phrase) A better-than-average hand, one likely to win the pot, but one that is not quite a strong hand.

sunning a deck

(n phrase) A form of cheating, a method of marking certain cards by leaving them in the sun for a period of time, which causes their backs either to lighten or darken.

Sunset Strip

(n phrase) In hold’em, 7-7 as starting cards. Comes from the television series 77 Sunset Strip, which ran on ABC from 1958-1964.


(adj) Exhibiting exceedingly aggressive play.


(n) A successful bluff against the holder of a strong hand. For example, I have a pat 7-4 in no-limit ace-to-five lowball. You and I both have a lot of chips. Someone opens for $4, I raise $40, and you come in cold behind me. The first player does not call. We both stand pat. After the draw, I bet $80. With only a momentary hesitation, you raise $200. I think you must have been slow-playing (see slow-play) a monster, and fold for the raise. You chuckle, and show a flash of paint in your hand as you muck it. You have just run a super-bluff.

super bonus

(n phrase) A wager available in some house-banked casino games in which players get paid for ending up with various holdings, according to payoff tables. Games like crazy four poker offer super bonuses.


(nFour of a kind. This is an old, obsolete term.


(adj) A nit who is supertight.


(n) See satellite tournament.

super slick

(n phrase) In hold’em, A-K suited as starting cards. Any A-K (suited or not) is big slick.

super stud poker

(n phraseCasino stud poker with progressive jackpots that can get very large by reason of being linked to other games in other casinos.


(n) A pioneering poker strategy book by Doyle Brunson, what many call “The Bible of Poker.” Originally titled How I Made Over $1 Million Playing Poker.


(adj) Referring to a player who is extremely tight.


(adj) An online player who is able to see the hidden cards of other players. This is cheating, and for a long time was thought impossible, but some of the largest sites revealed that former insiders actually had exploited development holes in the code to do just that. In major scandals in 2007 and 2008, these sites paid back millions to players and supposedly reengineered their code so that this could no longer happen. Whether superusers currently exist on these and other sites is unlikely, and the well-known sites are taking measures to ensure it doesn’t happen. Many poker authorities believe that the top sites have too much at stake to allow this or any other form of cheating to go on. The term comes from wider usage in the computer world of the system operator (sysop) that has special privileges that allow him to make changes to the system and to accounts that “ordinary” users cannot; in that context, the term originated in Unix.


(vFold. “Did you bet? I surrender.” Also, surrender the pot.

surrender the pot

(n phrase) See surrender.

survival mode

(n phrase1. In a tournament, just trying to hang on till the limits go up, or avoid being busted before someone else, for the sake of making it to the final table or be among those who receive a payout. This is a nonaggressive strategy some use to try to be among the winners of a tournament. Some consider this less than optimal play, because it rarely affords the player an opportunity to be among the top finishers, which is where the bulk of the payoff money is found. Also, survival tactics2. In a tournament, the situation of having so few chips, perhaps under 10 big blinds, that one will be forced to make a stand soon.

survival tactics

(n phraseSurvival mode.

svengali deck

(n phrase) A machine-made deck that contains marked cards, shaved cards, cards made up of pieces of other cards for certain effects, etc. Such decks are sold at magic supply outlets, supposedly for entertainment, and are indeed used by magicians to perform tricks, but they are also used by thieves to introduce into card games. Svengali, a character in George Du Maurier’s 1894 novel Trilby, was an evil hypnotist who enslaved the title character, a young woman.


(v) Replace cards in draw poker, that is, draw (definition 7). Also swap cards.

swap cards

(v phraseDraw (definition 7).


(vt1. Take a long time to look at your cards, often by squeezing; often followed by a or the hand or cards. See squeeze (definition 1). “Will you hurry up? We’re paying time!” “Hold on, this is an important pot; I gotta sweat these cards.” 2. Kibitz. “Aren’t ya ready to leave yet?” “Hold on, I wanna sweat this game a few more minutes.” Also see sweat [someone] (vi3. Win by careful play, avoiding taking risks. Compare with grind out.


(nKibitzer; sometimes in particular someone who, in a tournament, stands on the rail and closely follows the play of one particular player, perhaps because of having a financial interest in, or being married to, the significant other of, or a friend of, that player.

sweat out

(v phraseSweat (definition 1). “Will you hurry up? We’re paying time!” “Hold on, this is an important pot; I gotta sweat out this hand.”

sweat [someone]

(v phrase) Watch someone play, often in a tournament, sometimes involving standing behind or near the player and cheering the player on.


(vScoop (usually only definition 4).


(n1. A hand that wins both ways in any high-low pot. 2. The player holding the hand that wins both ways in any high-low pot. 3. The player who declares both ways in a high-low poker game that has a declare. See scoopswing. Also called scooper.

sweeping hand

(n phrase) A hand that wins both ways in any high-low pot. See scoopswing.


(v) Add money (sometimes just in the form of antes) to a pot. See sweeten the pot (definition 2).

sweeten the pot

(v phrase1. Raise. “Let’s sweeten the pot a little” means “I’m going to raise,” and, in a no-limit game, generally portends a large raise. 2. Ante again after an unopened deal in any game with opening requirements, as jacks or better. This phrase is more commonly heard in home games than in cardrooms.

“swim the river.”

(expression) See “I’d swim the river to play this hand.


(v1. Declare both ways in a high-low poker game that has a declare2. Win both ways in a high-low poker game that has a declare. (Just because you declare both ways does not necessarily mean you’ll win both ways.) 3. Win all of the pot in a high-low poker game that does not have a declare, by having the best hand for one way and no one has qualifiers for the other way. For example, in seven-card stud 8-or-better, if you have a full house, and no one has an 8 low or better, you swung the pot. This usage is not common. For meanings 1, 2, and 3, more commonly called scoop4. Steal, or go south. “He was swinging with house chips, so they quit staking him.” 5. Cheat. (n6. A short-term win or loss. “I’ve had a lot of swings lately. Up $1,000 yesterday, down $2,000 the day before…” 7. Swing shift. “When do you work?” “I’m on swing.”


(n1. A hand that wins both ways in any high-low pot. 2. The player holding the hand that wins both ways in any high-low pot. 3. The player who declares both ways in a high-low poker game that has a declare. See scoopswing.

swing hand

(n) A hand that wins both ways in any high-low pot. See scoopswing.

swing shift

(n phrase) One of the three shifts (see shift) in a 24-hour cardroom or casino, the shift between day and graveyard. Swing shift usually starts anywhere between 6 p.m and 8 p.m. and ends eight hours later.


(v1. Substitute dishonest cards for honest ones, as, for example, bring in a marked or stacked deck. Also, bring in a deck. — (n2. The act of so doing.

switch gears

(n phraseChange gears.

switch man

(n phrase) A person who introduces a dishonest deck into a game, surreptitiously replacing an honest deck. See cold deck (definition 1).




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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  1. I check the MCU Dictionary of Poker for the definition
    of “STRADDLE”. I was told a good while ago, but I was
    reading & playing & reading more that I did not keep
    the definition on paper or in my mind.
    Would you please give/send me what is Straddle?
    Thank you,
    Barbara Harmon

    1. Hi, Barbara —

      Michael Wiesenberg has greatly enhanced and updated the MCU Official Dictionary of Poker.

      We now have the new files in our possession, and the dictionary will be live at Poker1 within a week. Target date is Monday, June 14, 2010.

      Here’s the definition of “straddle”…

      straddle (v) 1. Overblind (definition 1). 2. Put a straddle into a pot, (using any of the following definitions). — (n) 3. Overblind (definition 2). Someone might say, “John acts last; he has the straddle.” When such an overblind can be raised in turn by the player who puts it in, even if the betting has not yet been raised, it is called a live straddle. 4. In particular, an overblind put in by the player to the left of the big blind and twice its size, thus temporarily doubling the stakes. Such a straddle is always a live straddle. 5. The second of two forced blinds, usually put in by the player two positions to the left of the dealer position. In former years, these two bets were called blind and straddle. Some say that definition 3 is the only proper use of the word straddle.

      Straight Flushes,
      Mike Caro

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