Three Must Know Master Poker Terms Simplified For A Novice

Master Poker Terms

Master Poker Terms: If you are new to poker, you might be confused by some of the terms that are used by the players and commentators. Poker has a rich and colorful vocabulary that reflects its history and culture. In this article, we will explain three common poker terms that you might hear at the table or on TV. Read, runner-runner, and rainbow.

Master Poker Terms: What is a Read in Poker?

Master Poker Terms: A read is a skillful observation or deduction that a player makes about their opponent’s hand. Based on their actions, betting patterns, body language, tells, and other clues. A good read can help a player make better decisions and gain an edge over their opponent.

For example, if a player notices that their opponent always bets big when they have a strong hand, and checks or folds when they have a weak hand, they can use this information to adjust their own strategy accordingly. This is an example of a simple read.

A more advanced read might involve noticing subtle changes in the opponent’s behavior. Such as their breathing, eye contact, voice tone, or hand movements. These are called tells, and they can reveal information about the opponent’s emotions, confidence level, and hand strength.

For example, if a player sees that their opponent’s hands are shaking when they make a bet, they might infer that the opponent is nervous or bluffing. This is an example of a tell-based read.

A read is not always accurate, however. Sometimes, the opponent might act in a way that is contrary to their actual hand strength, either intentionally or unintentionally. This is called deception, or reverse psychology. For example, a player might bet big with a weak hand to make it look like they have a strong hand. Or check with a strong hand to make it look like they have a weak hand. This is called bluffing or slow-playing, respectively.

A player who can read their opponent well can also use deception to their advantage, by acting in a way that misleads their opponent into making a mistake. This is called leveling or outplaying.

Master Poker Terms: What is Runner-Runner in Poker?

Runner-runner is a slang term that refers to a situation where a player needs two specific cards on the turn and the river to complete their hand. For example, if a player has 7-8 of spades and the flop is 9-10-J of different suits, they need any queen and any six to make a straight. This is called an open-ended straight draw.

However, if the turn card is an ace of spades, they now need only the king of spades to make a straight flush. This is called a runner-runner straight flush draw.

Runner-runner draws are very unlikely to hit. As they require two specific cards out of the remaining 46 cards in the deck. The odds of hitting a runner-runner straight flush are about 0.02%, or 1 in 5,000. The odds of hitting any runner-runner draw are about 0.08%, or 1 in 1,250.

Therefore, runner-runner draws are usually considered very lucky or unlucky. Depending on whether they help or hurt the player who has them. For example, if a player has A-K of hearts and the flop is Q-J-10 of different suits. They have the best possible hand at the moment: an ace-high straight. However, if the turn and river cards are both spades, giving their opponent a runner-runner flush with any two spades in their hand, they lose the pot. This is called a bad beat.

Master Poker Terms: What is a Rainbow in Poker?

Rainbow is a term that describes a board where all the cards are of different suits. For example, if the flop is 2-5-9 of clubs, hearts, and diamonds, respectively, this is called a rainbow flop.

Rainbow boards are usually considered dry or uncoordinated. Meaning that they do not offer many possibilities for drawing hands or strong hands. For example, on a rainbow flop, there are no flush draws or straight draws possible. Unless there are two cards of the same rank on the board.

Therefore, rainbow boards tend to favor players who have made hands already (such as pairs or sets) over players who have drawn hands (such as overcards or gutshots). For example, if a player has pocket jacks and the flop is 2-5-9 rainbow, they have an overpair (a pair higher than any card on the board) and are likely ahead of most other hands.

However, rainbow boards can also be deceptive or tricky. As they can hide some strong hands that are not obvious at first glance. For example, if a player has 6-7 of spades and the flop is 4-5-8 rainbow, they have flopped the nuts (the best possible hand): a nine-high straight. However, this hand might not look very strong to their opponents, who do not have any spades in their hand.

Therefore, rainbow boards can also offer opportunities for players who have hidden or disguised hands. A extract value from their opponents who have weaker or more obvious hands. For example, if a player has 6-7 of spades and the flop is 4-5-8 rainbow, they might bet or raise to make it look like they have a pair or a draw, and hope that their opponent calls or raises with a worse hand, such as top pair or two pair.


Master poker terms: Poker is a game of skill, luck and psychology, and it has a language of its own. In this article, we have explained three common poker terms that you might encounter at the table or on TV: read, runner-runner and rainbow.

We hope that this article has helped you understand these terms better and improve your poker knowledge and skills.

If you want to try live dealer poker for yourself, then you’ll find great poker games here!

Check out our article on the origins of the WSOP for a fascinating journey through time.

Master Poker Terms:
Author MaplePunter