Poker has undergone such an evolution that it’s difficult to put into words just how much it has changed in the last 25 years.

Let’s go back to the beginning when poker didn’t quite have the prestige that we now associate with the game.

For most of us, poker was often portrayed as a game played by cowboys in saloons, gangsters in smoke-filled rooms, or high-stakes gamblers in luxurious settings.

There were, of course, already professional poker players and tournaments, like the WSOP, but they were relatively niche.

And then came the internet and online poker took on a life of its own.

So much so that a whole world of poker terminology, mostly unknown before the meteoric rise of the game, made its way into popular culture.

With the terminology comes the poker chat terms, which are a science all of their own.

So while abbreviating phrases and words for texts or chat boxes have become more popular in recent years, poker chat terms are far more specific.

New games and casino websites always pop up so we recommend that you check the new additions to the igaming world before you settle on a place to play.

But as soon as you do start playing, you will need to get to grips with the lingo.

Brush up on the shorthand, and soon you will be able to make the most of the poker talk at the table.

Poker Chat Rooms

Nearly all online poker rooms have a ‘chat’ facility. Players can use this to communicate with each other during a game.

However, before you rush off to make friends, use this facility sparingly.

In fact, I recommend that you actually do not engage in conversation but instead watch what others are saying.

This way, you won’t get distracted, but you may pick up on the odd tell from your opponents.

Chatty players can often slip up and give hints about their hand, and you can use this to your advantage!

As online poker action happens very quickly, most players use a kind of shorthand to speed things up.

Online poker acronyms can be very confusing to new players. So I’ve put together a list of the most common poker terms used online.

Poker Chat Terms

  • vnh – Very Nice Hand: sign of appreciation from other players for your hand.
  • gg – Good Game: If you leave a table sign out with GG.
  • nh – Nice Hand: same as VNH.
  • n1 – Nice One: sign of good play.
  • nfh – Nice F*cking Hand.
  • gh – Good Hand: like VNH.
  • gc – Good Call: Someone was bluffing, and you correctly called them.
  • bl – Better luck: sort of commiseration on getting beaten.
  • str8 – Straight.
  • zzz – This means someone at the table is taking too much time.
  • wtf – What The F*CK, as in, “I can’t believe you just beat me with that hand”
  • lol – Laugh Out Loud, amused by a play or joke.
  • ty, thx – Thank You: it’s always nice to be polite in victory.
  • brb – Be Right Back: if you leave a table for a short time.
  • ulb – You Lucky B@stard: another player gets a lucky card.
  • Nitroll – When a tight or conservative player takes an excessive amount of time to make a decision, often to the annoyance of other players.
  • 86 – When a player has been removed or banned.
  • bb – Big blind
  • Sharknado – A sudden influx of experienced and skilled players at a table or in a tournament.
  • NIT – A player who is extremely tight and only plays premium hands. Example: “He’s a total NIT, he only plays pocket pairs and Aces.”
  • River Rat – A player who consistently catches a lucky card on the river to win a hand.

How To Reference Your Cards

You may have noticed that I abbreviated using lowercase letters. There is a good reason for that.

As in most cases, if you use uppercase letters, it comes across like you are yelling.

The only real exception to this is when you are referring to a card such as Ace – A, King – K, Queen – Q, Jack – J, and Ten – T.

And speaking of referring to cards, you may often see them abbreviated in articles or on forums. Just remember that each of the suits is represented by their initial.

Clubs – c, Spades – s, Diamonds – d, Hearts – h.

The face value precedes this, so what you end up with looks like this: 9h for the 9 of hearts or 5s means the 5 of spades.

That applies to every card in the deck. Face value first, suits second.

If you haven’t played poker online before, I recommend starting with a casino that offers a beginner’s room. This way, you will play with opponents on a similar skill level.

The tables only use very small amounts of money, so while you may not win big, you won’t lose big either.

General Rules for Chat:

Like everything in life, there are acceptable social norms and behaviours that are not so acceptable.

Treat the game and the players at the table the same way would if they were friends.

1. Always treat other players with respect and avoid using derogatory language or making personal attacks.

2. Do not discuss hands or strategy with other players during the game. Collusion is strictly forbidden and can result in penalties or even being banned from a site.

3. Avoid using profanity or discussing topics that might be considered offensive or inappropriate.

4. Do not flood the chat with excessive messages or advertisements. It’s a quick way to get booted out of a game.

5. Keep your chat messages brief and to the point. Do not hold up the game by taking too long to type out your messages.

6. Be sure to read and follow the chat rules and guidelines provided by the online poker site you are playing on.

7. Online chat can be a distraction during a game, so try to limit your use of it and focus on the game.

8. Avoid giving out personal information in the chat, such as your full name or contact details.

By being a good sport, you can ensure a positive and enjoyable poker experience for yourself and other players.

Starting The Conversation

There are lots of benefits to online poker, but it’s widely recognised that it lacks the social interaction of a real-world table.

There’s no banter per se, and if you’re on your own, it can get a little too quiet.

So, if you want to start a bit of a conversation, then here are some good opening lines to use with your newfound fellow poker players…

Good Lines To Use To Get People Talking:

  • Anyone else think this table is on fire tonight?
  • What’s your strategy for this tournament?
  • Who’s the biggest shark at this table?
  • What’s the craziest hand you’ve ever played?
  • Anybody else on a hot streak?
  • What’s the worst bad beat you’ve ever experienced?
  • What’s your favourite poker variation and why?
  • What’s the biggest pot you’ve ever won?
  • What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made at the poker table?

Using these lines can help break the ice and encourage other players to join in the conversation.

Remember to be respectful and avoid discussing strategy or specific hands while the game progresses.