RIUpedia, Day 8: New Slang

Like any other sub-culture, the poker world has many bits of unique slang. Many of those terms have been around for ages, like "all-in," "Big Slick," and "check back," but there are more and more new memes and slang terms entering the lexicon every day. To end our RIUpedia series (at least for this installment of the event), here are some of the newer poker colloquialisms and phrases you might overhear at the tables.


"I floated the flop"

The term "float" comes from the idea that when your opponent puts out his bet, you call instead of raising, waiting for the opportunity to strike at a later point in the hand. When you float, you are hovering or "floating" over your opponent, getting ready to pounce on the opportunity to take the pot.

"Check in the dark"

To check in the dark is to check before seeing what the next card is dealt on the board. While it's not a brand new term, it's seen a resergence in popularity in recent years. Checking "in the dark" is particularly popular in low limit cash games, when the small blind completes the call, and there are many people in the pot.

"Let's play Lodden Thinks"

"What Lodden Thinks" is a prop-betting game that revolves around guessing what some other person will think about a subject, rather than what the answer to the question actually turns out to be. Typically, the question is open ended where the answer is unknown but certainly very large. It was invented at a recent EPT by noted poker luminaries Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Laak while at a table with their friend, fellow poker pro Johnny Lodden.

"Defend the big blind"

"Defending" your blinds refers to calling a preflop raise from either the small or big blind. Because you’re forced to put money into the pot when you’re in the small and big blind it’s important to play optimally and recoup your share. "Defense" is particularly common in the big blind, since calling from the big means there will be no further action or risk of a reraise behind.

"I have a blocker"

Used primarily in Hold'em and Omaha but having applications in Stud games as well, having a "blocker" means having one of your opponent's outs. For example, if you hold [AhKx] on [5h7hjx] and your opponent has the flush draw, your Ace of Hearts is considered a "blocker" for their flush draw.

"Results Oriented Thinking"

Results oriented thinking is a faulty way of examining the merits of a certain play in poker, often times as a justification of a poor play. "Yeah, well, who's got the chips?" or "I always lose with [axkx], so I'm just calling with it," are both examples of results oriented thinking.

"Don't tap the tank"

"Tapping the tank" or "tapping the glass" refers to the counter-intuitive way that frustrated players vent, educating weaker players in the process. Since weak players are often referred to as "fish," the tank/glass refers to a fish tank. Experienced players are supposed to have the discipline and self-control to not belittle or coach at the table, but it can be difficult to control your emotions when you lose in frustrating spots. Remember though: "tapping the tank" is not only unpleasant for your table mates, but also counter-intuitive and generally "negative EV."

Hopefully this article has helped explain some of the new-school of poker slang for some of you. Let us know what you think of this series and all of our blog reporting on Run it Up Reno by tweeting us your feedback and suggestions for future RIUpedias and articles! Until next time: don't tap the tank, don't fall victim to results oriented thinking, and float on!