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Poker Confidential – poker terms, part 3

📁 articles, Slider 🕔26.March 2018
Poker Confidential – poker terms, part 3

Welcome back to our third and final Poker Confidential article about poker terms you may not be familiar with! Poker Confidential itself is going to stick around, don’t worry – we’ll just be moving on to different topics now that we’ve covered poker terminology to our satisfaction. Without further ado, let’s get to it!

Ace in the hole

Let’s start with an expression that you might have heard even in non-poker circumstances – an ace in the hole refers to a situation where one of your hole cards is an ace. This expression has crossed over into popular usage, where it refers to having an advantage that others might not be aware of; that is, something ‘up your sleeve’.

Middle pair

Once the flop is out, if you’ve got a pair with the middle card of the flop – that is, the card that is neither the highest or lowest card in the flop – that is said to be a middle pair. A middle pair is often an awkward hand to have, as you’re usually unsure whether to play it or not.


The term ‘backdoor’ can have two meanings in poker. The first meaning is used to describe a drawing hand that requires two rounds to fill. The second, and more common, usage is that which is said when a player makes a hand that is different than the one they initially intended to make.

For example, a player is holding 2♠ and 3♠, and the flop consists of 4♥, 9♠ and 5♦. They might be intending to make a straight, but if the turn and the river produce Q♠ and 7♠ respectively, they can be said to have backdoored into a flush.

Any two cards

‘Any two cards’ is an expression used to describe a situation in which a player’s hole cards do not matter. That is, the optimal course of action for a player in that situation has nothing to do with the cards he or she holds, and everything to do with their reading of the board, play state and their opponent(s).

Hero call

When a poker player chooses to call despite having a weak, or relatively weak, hand because they suspect that their opponent might be bluffing, that is known as a ‘hero call’.

Play the board

Once the flop, turn and river have been dealt, if a player goes to the showdown with a best hand that entirely consists of community cards, they are said to be playing the board.

Back into

A player backs into a pot when they have won it with a hand that would have folded to any bet if any bet had been made.

One-eyed royals

And finally, ‘one-eyed royals’ is the nickname given to three cards – the Jack of Spades, the Jack of Hearts and the King of Diamonds – J♠, J♥ and K♦. These are so called because the artwork on these three cards is drawn in profile – that is, with only one eye visible – whereas all other face cards are shown with both eyes visible.

Join us next week for more Poker Confidential! In the meantime, there’s money to be made!

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