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Bullets and Cowboys - a Texas Hold 'Em Poker Slang Story

If you're not a "rounder" you might have spent time in the past at a Texas hold 'em poker table where it seemed like the rest of the table was speaking a different language. Consider this your crash course in understanding poker slang and lingo.

Curtiss Patrick

By: Curtiss Patrick
Feb. 6, 2020

Pair of kings

So I'm on the button slow-playing cowboys in a no-limit hold-em game at the Taj. Everyone's limping in when this rabbit in the big blind raises the family pot. I figure there's no way he's holding pocket rockets so I tank for a minute and then check raise his bet to see if he's trying to buy the pot. I can't just back in now. A few players fold fast and I figure he's gonna bump me up. No dice, flat calls me.

Flop comes rainbow, all under cards. Bugs Bunny checks and the action gets to me. I'm feeling pretty good about my King Kong so I put up some ramparts with a pot-size bet. I put him on a big slick, maybe ladies. He eyes me up and pushes his stack into the middle. "All in" he says. I can't believe my luck! He's been playing loose all game and now I finally have his chips in the guacamole. He's representing bullets but I definitely don't believe him. The other fish folds so now it's just me and the big heads up. I splash the pot with my call and we're ready for a showdown!

He flips fishhooks, both red. The flop was 5, 8, 9 so he's behind with only a jack or runner runner straight as outs. The turn comes 7 of spades. Ouch, that gives him the inside straight draw but I still have a monster. Dealer burns and the river is... 10 of clubs. I can't believe it. He rivered the straight and took it down. Of all the times for a bad beat this was the worst. So now I'm the short stack, on tilt, and tapping the glass the rest of the night. Needless to say, it didn't take long to go bust. Next week my avatar's playing.

Translation:

  • So I'm on the button slow-playing cowboys in a no-limit hold-em game at the Taj.
    I'm playing poker. This hand I'm in the dealer position so I bet last. I have 2 kings but I didn't raise the initial ante that everyone has to put in to stay in the hand to try to fool them into thinking I don't have good cards.. In this game you can raise the bet to any amount you want. 2 cards are dealt to each player face down followed by 5 community cards in the middle of the table that everyone shares. We are at the Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City (this would have been at least a few years ago since it is closed now).

  • Everyone's limping in when this rabbit in the big blind raises the family pot.
    Everyone is calling the ante and not raising the bet. A novice player who is the designated player to be forced to ante this hand bets some more money to make it more expensive to stay in the hand. At the time he did this everyone at the table had put in their ante to stay in the hand.

  • I figure there's no way he's holding pocket rockets so I tank for a minute and then check raise his bet to see if he's trying to buy the pot.
    I don't think he has a pair of aces (the only hand that stronger than my pair of kings) so I pretend to think about what I should do for a minute so he doesn't think I have as strong a hand as I really do. Then I match his bet and put in even more money even though I only checked, or called, the ante when it was first my turn. I'm raising here to see if he's betting a lot to try to get everyone else to fold so he can win the money in the pot.

  • I can't just back in now. A few players fold fast and I figure he's gonna bump me up. No dice, flat calls me.
    I can't just call his bet after checking the first time we went around. A few players decide not to match his bet and throw their cards into the middle, they are out of the hand now. I think he's going to see my bet and raise again. No such luck, he just matches what I bet.

  • Flop comes rainbow, all under cards.
    The dealer flips the first 3 community cards that we can all use as part of our hand. All 3 of the cards are different suits and they're all lower ranks than my kings.

  • Bugs Bunny checks and the action gets to me.
    The novice player taps the table to indicate that he isn't betting. The third player in the hand does the same so now it's my turn to check or bet.

  • I'm feeling pretty good about my King Kong so I put up some ramparts with a pot-size bet.
    I'm feeling pretty good about the fact that I have 2 kings. I decide to protect my hand by betting so that anyone without a good hand will hopefully fold. My bet is big - the total amount that's currently in the pot.

  • I put him on a big slick, maybe ladies.
    Based on the way he's betting, I think he has an ace and a king or maybe 2 queens.

  • He eyes me up and pushes his stack into the middle.
    He looks at me closely to see if he can get any information about what my hand is from my facial expression or body language. Then he puts all of his chips (money) into the middle.

  • "All in" he says.
    He says he's betting all of his remaining money.

  • I can't believe my luck! He's been playing loose all game and now I finally have his chips in the guacamole.
    I can't believe my luck. He's been betting even when he doesn't have great cards all game. Now I finally got him to put all of his money in when I'm in the hand with good cards.

  • He's representing bullets but I definitely don't believe him.
    He's betting as is if he has 2 aces but I definitely don't believe him.

  • The other fish folds so now it's just me and the big heads up.
    The other novice player who was still in the hand decides not to match the bet and throws his cards into the middle, giving up. Now it's just me and the player in the big blind position playing against each other with nobody else left betting in the hand.

  • I splash the pot with my call and we're ready for a showdown!
    I throw my chips into the middle and some of them hit the chips that had been bet earlier. I threw in the same amount of chips that he bet. Now we're ready to flip our cards over and see who has the best hand so far.

  • He flips fishhooks, both red.
    He turns over his cards and has 2 jacks, the jack of hearts and the jack of diamonds.

  • The flop was 5, 8, 9 so he's behind with only a jack or runner runner straight as outs.
    The 3 cards that the dealer flipped over that we can both use to make our hands were a 5, an 8, and a 9. This means his hand is not as good as mine and I'm winning so far. He'd have to have the last 2 community cards have another jack or a 7 AND a 10 to give him a straight.

  • The turn comes 7 of spades.
    The next card that the dealer flips after the flop is a 7 of spades.

  • Ouch, that gives him the inside straight draw but I still have a monster.
    Ouch, that means he has 4 of the 5 cards needed to make a straight and there's only one rank that could make it. But I still have a hand with very good odds of winning.

  • Dealer burns and the river is... 10 of clubs.
    The dealer puts one card face down to the side like he always does before he flips community cards in the middle. The 5th and final community card is... a 10 of clubs.

  • I can't believe it. He rivered the straight and took it down.
    I can't believe it. He got the card that he needed to make a straight and win on the last community card. He won all of the money in the pot.

  • Of all the times for a bad beat this was the worst.
    This was the worst time to lose a hand because another player got lucky with what was flipped in the last 2 community cards when I had a very high probability of winning.

  • So now I'm the short stack, on tilt, and tapping the glass the rest of the night.
    So now I have the least amount of money at the table, I'm visibly frustrated and angry, and I'm talking and complaining about what happened and giving too much information away on every hand the rest of the night.

  • Needless to say, it didn't take long to go bust. Next week my avatar's playing.
    Needless to say, it didn't take me long to lose all of my money. Next week I'm staying home and playing online poker.

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