Saturday, February 28, 2004

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the European Poker Tour?

The PokerStars European Poker Tour is a new series of major poker tournaments being conducted and televised throughout Europe. The EPT consists of events at some of the most beautiful casinos in some of Europe's most historic cities. Click here for a schedule.

How do I play on the European Poker Tour?

No matter where you live in the world, you still have an opportunity to play in the Grand Final event of the European Poker Tour in beautiful Monaco. Online satellite tournaments for the Grand Final event in Monaco will be played on Winners of those satellite events will receive their buy-in, hotel accomodations (where offered), and spending money which can be used for airfare and other travel incidentals. Players who wish to buy directly into an EPT event may do so, as well.

Where can I learn more about the EPT?

Click here for a FAQ about the EPT.

I'm playing on the EPT and want you to feature me on the blog.

Write an e-mail to Brad "Otis" Willis at and tell him about yourself. Once you arrive in the tournament area, ask someone where Brad is. Or ask them where Otis is. Or find the guy with the camera, notepad, and caffeine-brimming eyes. Then introduce yourself.

I want a chip-count. Now!

Many online players have become accustomed to clicking on the tournament lobby and finding immediate chip-count updates. However, until all chips are outfitted with radio transmitters, it's a little difficult (read: impossible) to have up-to-the-second chip counts for hundreds of players in a live tournament. Otis will strive to bring you updated chip counts as often and accurately as possible.

Who is Otis?

Brad "Otis" Willis is a long-time blogger and poker player. He spent nearly ten years as a broadcast journalist before taking on writing, blogging, and poker as full-time vocations. When he is not on the PokerStars' tournament circuit, you'll find him in such publications as 5th Street, ALL IN, and Casino Player.

Brad "Otis" Willis at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, January 2005

Brad "Otis" Willis at the World Poker Blogger Tour Holiday Classic, December 2004

Glossary of terms used on the EPT blog

While most of the readers of this blog have a fairly firm grasp on the poker jargon that slips so easily out of my fingers, I've come to realize there are folks out there who may not be as familiar with some of the poker terminology and slang. I've included here the definitions of some of the more commonly-used words and phrases. If you have a question or would like to suggest an entry, feel free to e-mail me at the link on the right.

Shorthand for some phrases will be in italics

All in--The process of betting all of ones' chips.

American Airlines--A nickname for two aces.

Ante--A small bet that all players are required to post before the dealer passes out the cards.

Bad beat--Losing a hand that one was favored to win.

Big blind (BB)--The player two to the left of the dealer button who is required to post a full blind bet before the hand begins. (see blinds)

Big Slick --An ace and a king, one of the strongest starting hands in Texas Hold'em.

Blinds--Forced bets made by the players one and two to the left of the dealer button. These bets insure action on every hand. In tournament play, the amount of the blinds increases throughout the game.

Board--The five community cards on the table, consisting of the flop, turn, and river.

Boat--Short for "full boat" or "full house."

Bubble--The last place one can finish in a tournament and not win money.

Bullets--A nickname for two aces.

Button (Dealer button)--Signifies which player serves as the dealer during a particular hand. This player is the last to act on all betting after the flop. Having the button is the most favorable position to have during a game. (see Position)

Call--To match a bet without raising it.

Calling the clock--When a player feels an opponent is taking too long to make a decision or stalling, he/she can "call the clock" on the opponent. At that point, the opponent has a pre-designated amount of time (usually 70 seconds) to make a decision. If the opponent fails to make a decision within the designated amount of time, his/her cards are considered dead.

Cash qualifier--A player who has qualified in a satellite tournament on PokerStars.

Check--The first player to act on a round of betting can defer to his opponents without betting. This is called "checking." (Chips are also sometimes referred to as "checks")

Check-raise--To defer to an opponent then raise after the opponent bets.

Chopped pot--A pot that is split between players who hold the same hands.

Community cards--The five cards on the table that all players can use to make the best hand in combination with their hole cards.

Cutoff--The player to the right of the dealer button.

Direct buy-in--A player who entered the tournament by posting the full entry fee.

Doubling up--A player who wins a hand to double his/her number of chips has "doubled up" (also known as "doubling through").

Draw--A player on a draw still needs to see more cards to improve his/her hand (straight-draw, flush-draw, etc).

Drawing dead--When no cards in the deck can improve a player's hand into a winner, that player is drawing dead.

Hole cards--A player's two hidden cards used with the five community cards to make the best hand.

Flop--The first three community cards on the table.

Frequent Player Points (FPP)--PokerStars players use FPPs to enter qualifying tournaments for free. Players build up points on PokerStars based on the amount of time they play.

Gutter--Slang for "gutshot" (see below)

Gutshot--A phrase used to describe a player who has four cards to a straight but lacks one card in the middle (ex: A23x5). Only four cards in the deck will fill the straight, making it a less-than-likely possibility. This word is often used in the phrase "gutshot straight draw."

Heads-up--When only two players remain in a hand or only two players remain in a tournament.

Kicker--A kicker is an unpaired card in a player's hand that can determine whether his/her hand is better or worse than an opponent's. For instance, if both players had a pair of eights, but one player had an ace as a kicker and the other had a queen as a kicker, the player with the pair of eights and ace kicker would win.

Muck (noun)--The discarded cards on the table.

Muck (verb)--To fold one's hand.

Nuts--The best possible hand one can make when taking the five community cards into consideration, often used in terms of the "nut-flush" or "nut-straight."

Offsuit--Two hole cards of different suits, sometimes abbreviated as a lower case "o" (AKo, 23o, etc.).

Open-ended--A phrase used to decribe a player who has four cards to a straight and needs one of eight remaining cards in the deck to make his hand (ex: a player holding 9TJQ would need an eight or a king to make the straight).

Open-ender--See "Open-ended"

Orbit--The number of hands equal to the number of players at the table.

Outs--The number of cards presumed to be left in the deck that can improve a player's hand. Players often count their "outs" to determine whether to stay in a hand or fold.

Pocket pair--Any two hole cards that are the same (two aces, two fours, etc).

Position--A player's placement at the table relative to his/her opponents based on distance away from the dealer button. Position is often referred to in terms of early, middle, or late. Players face more favorable circumstances when sitting in later positions.

Pre-flop--The period of time in a hand before any of the community cards are placed on the table.

Rainbow--A collection of cards of different suits.

Raise--To increase a bet.

Read--When a player attempts to deduce what cards his/her opponent is holding.

Re-raise--To raise a bet that has already been raised.

River--The final community card on the table, also known as fifth street.

Runner-runner--When a player catches two cards he/she needs to win on the turn and river, it's described as runner-runner. For instance, if a player needed two spades to make a flush and the turn and river were both spades, one would say, "She caught her runner-runner flush."

Running--Similar to runner-runner, running cards are two like cards that come on the turn and river. For instance, if both the turn and river were kings, one would describe it as "running kings."

Set--Three of a kind, sometimes referred to as "trips."

Short-stack--A player who does not have many chips left. While there is no hard and fast definition for what makes up a short stack, it's often considered to be less than six times the big blind.

Small blind (SB)--The player one to the left of the dealer button who is required to post half of a blind bet before the hand begins. (See blinds)

Stack--A player's collection of chips.

Suited--Two hole cards of the same suit. Sometimes abbreviated as a lower-case "s" (AKs, 23s, etc).

Tank--A player "in the tank" is deep in thought and taking a long time to make a decision.

Top Pair Top Kicker (TPTK)--A player who holds the highest pair on the board with the best possible kicker.

Turn--The fourth community card on the table, also known as fourth street.

Under the gun (UTG)--The player immediately to the left of the blinds, first to act after the cards are dealt.