Reading Poker Shorthand

While there is plenty of helpful poker material available on message boards and websites, some of the authors may resort to “poker shorthand” when describing various game circumstances. You won’t get the full benefit of the information being presented unless you’re conversant with the jargon being used. Reading through the Poker Shorthand Primer will help you grasp what players are actually saying when they say, “YMTC, playing Kxs in LP”..

Poker has its own jargon and lingo all its own. Although the “beautiful ladies” or “hilton sisters” are common nicknames for pocket Queens, there is more to poker jargon than hand nicknames, as anybody who has seen an episode of the World Poker Tour can attest.

Knowing the lingo and how to interpret poker shorthand will allow you to gain access to the wealth of information available on the internet regarding poker strategy and guidance. First, let’s look at the shorthand that poker players use to describe the cards during a hand.

Below each listing of card rankings is a letter representing that suit. Kc represents the King of Clubs. The two of Hearts is written as 2h. There is a common convention of using the letter T to represent ten. A bad hand might be written as Ac 4d Th. A Club Ace, a Diamond 4, and a Heart 10.

The letter s denotes “suitable” when discussing starting hands. For instance, a starting hand with the Jack of Clubs and the Ten of Clubs is denoted as JTs. The letter o represents the unsuitable condition known as offsuit. The offsuit notation for Jack/Ten is JTo.

And the last of the card shorthand, x is used to describe a random tiny card in a starting hand. It is called “playing Axs” when a player’s preferred opening hand consists of an Ace and any other suited card. Any suit, ace.

The decision to play Axs or fold to a raise with KQo may be beneficial or unprofitable depending on the situation. Either way, the shorthand employed in discussing texas holdem helps cut down on the time it takes to describe the cards in play.

Conversation at the poker table goes beyond the cards. You will encounter the following shorthand on message boards as well. When discussing about position at the table, or pre-flop action the blinds are typically referred to as sb and bb for small and big blinds.

I bring this up because the term “big bets” (or “BB”) is commonly used when discussing the earnings of professional poker players. At a $3/$6 table, a player who can make 4 BB/hr is having $24/hr sessions. A lot like regular English, the meanings of poker terms change depending on the situation.

Other shorthands you will see are YMTC instead of You Make the Call, HH in place of Hand History, and MTT for Multi-table tournament.

It will be simpler to grasp descriptions of poker scenarios on the internet after reading this, however you’ll certainly discover other, more creative abbreviations out there.

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