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Top Ten: Overused Poker Terms and Expressions

What You Least Like Hearing at the Poker Table

by Card Player News Team |  Published: Feb 22, 2012


This week for our new series The Ten we look at the most overused poker terms and expressions, as suggested by an overwhelming response from our Facebook fans. It seems like most players have a pet peeve from the unofficial poker dictionary.

Here are some of the most (un)popular:

1. Ship It: This expression usually comes from the mouth of a person who just won a large pot. The common reason for its unpleasantness is that the player who lost the hand usually interprets it as rude. One of our Facebook users described it as the most tilting thing one can hear at a poker table.

2. One Time: The issue with this cliche is that sometimes players ask for their “one time” multiple times. Likely they’ve already used their “one time,” but some poker memories fade pretty fast. For example in the World Series of Poker clip below, Daniel Negreanu complained about main event champion Joe Hachem’s continued use of it even after his 2005 win.

3. Sick: The word has so much versatility at the poker table that it comes as no surprise that it irks a large percentage of players. “Sick call,” “You are sick,” “Sick game,” are just some of the ways this term is used. One of our Facebook users said its overuse makes it now devoid of all meaning.

4. They Were Suited: This expression has developed such a stigma that anyone who uses it to justify a call is likely to be punished with laughter. The problem arises because some people over estimate the potential of using suited hole cards to make a flush. For example the odds against flopping a flush are 118 to 1. The 9Heart Suit 2Heart Suit is not that much better than 9Club Suit 2Spade Suit.

5. Good Luck Everyone: While this expression has some merits because of politeness, rarely do players truly mean it. One of our Facebook fans put it best: “What’s with everyone sitting down at the start of a tournament or final table and saying ‘Good luck everyone?’ I am not a mean person, but I don’t wish good luck on anybody sitting across the table from me. It’s poker. I hope you have the worst cards ever.”

6. Donk/Fish: Used in certain situations, these essentially synonymous terms have become the most common way of insulting someone (or perhaps yourself) at the poker table. It is exceedingly rare to be correct in calling someone one of these words, but yet they can be heard with some regularity. You can ruin the game for everyone by criticizing an opponent.

7. I Hate Pocket Aces/My Aces Never Win: There isn’t much to explain about why despising the best possible starting hand in the game is irrational. Sometimes they don’t win or wouldn’t have (like in the clip below), but those who actually feel pessimistic when getting them can make other players at the table just shake their heads in bemusement.

8. Nice Hand: Like wishing someone good luck, this expression is rarely genuine, sometimes even sarcastic. However, there are times when it is used appropriately — just not when you’ve coolered your opponent.

9. If I fold, Will You Show?: This question is usually posed to get information, and thus could be a good weapon in your arsenal of tricks at the poker table. However, this line of inquiry usually slows the game down, rarely influences any decisions for most players, and can be rude if asked repeatedly.

10. ‎I Was Priced In/I Had Pot Odds: Whenever a person makes a certain play, whether fundamentally sound or incorrect, there is rarely a reason, other than guilt, to verbally justify it to the rest of the table. Some poker players may like doing math, but probably not yours.