Poker isn’t about making friends, smelling flowers and eating chocolates. It’s psychological warfare at the poker felt. This is evident if you watch players like Tony G, Mike Matusow and Jean Robert Bellande to name a few. There are lots of terms used in the poker world to express different things. Some are not nice but it might help you to know them. We’ll look at a few nasty poker terms that circulate so you are aware and ready if you hear them at the table.
The Poker Nit
A nit is a nasty term typically given to ultra conservative Texas Hold’em players. There’s a distinction here between playing tight and being a poker nit. One, is someone who is playing solid, carefully choosing what hands to invest. On the other hand, a nit is someone who is risk averse to the point of comedy. They will fold overpairs to players who are constantly bluffing and showing down weak hands. They’ll fold ace queen to a re-raise. If you hear this phrase used, you’ll know what it means. A nit is not something you want to be as it’s a poor strategy and won’t win you much money.
A River Rat
A river rat is someone that appears to be continuously getting lucky on the final round. Sometimes people will catch a lucky river but to continuously do it implies they are making bad calls and getting lucky. On the plus side, if you appear a river rat, it might help your bluffing chances. IF they think you’re always getting lucky, a bad and superstitious player may make bad decisions on the river as a result. An example of a river rat is someone who calls a pot bet on the turn with bottom pair and makes three of a kind on the river to beat their opponent’s top pair or better type hand.
This is probably the most commonly used nasty poker term. A fish is used all the time at casinos and in the live chat at poker tables. It is a generic term used to describe a bad, losing player. It’s a mean term as it casts doubt on your ability as a player and basically singles you out as the weak link at the table. I don’t know where the origin came from as there’s no easy link between fish and bad playing. It seems the poker world like to use animals as pejorative terms.
Donkey is used interchangeably with fish. It’s another tag given to poker players that are considered bad. Traditionally, a donkey is someone who makes lots of mistakes. These can be grouped into several categories; playing too many hands, making bad post flop calls, paying off their opponents lightly and making poorly sized bets. A donkey is also prone to doing silly things like moving all in for no reason or overplaying poor hands. The term donkey is often shortened to “donk”.