Poker Terms Explained: Shootout? Set-Mining? Semi-Bluff?

The poker world can often be a confusing one, even if you already know how to play poker. You can read as many poker strategy articles and books as you like, but it’s always an intimidating moment when you don’t quite understand the meaning of a certain word or phrase.

There are certainly many eclectic and confusing poker terms that make poker such an exciting game, and PokerNews is here to explain seven of them to you.

Poker Terms Explained: Stealing the Blinds? Click it Back? Hero Call?


A Shootout (or shoot-out) tournament is one where each table plays down to a winner before advancing to the next round. The most common tournament that uses this format is the Shootout event held at the World Series of Poker each year.

For example, 1,000 players may enter at 100 ten-handed tables. The 100 winners would then combine at ten more tables. The ten winners of that table would combine for one final table to determine a winner.

It is also used, although rarely, as a synonym for freezeout.

Short Stack

A short stack is usually the player at the table with the fewest chips. It can also be used to describe an unpleasant situation to find yourself in at the tables!

Example: “I moved all in as the short stack, and doubled up!”


Set-mining is a tactic used in poker when you are holding a pocket pair and hope to make a set on the flop.

Example: “I was set-mining when I called with pocket fives on the button hoping to see a flop.”

Side Bet

There are many different kinds of side bet in poker, but the meaning can be boiled down to any bet made outside of the pot. Often players may bet on what colour the flop might be, or whether a certain hand will win.

Players regularly make side bets with one another away from the tables on all manner of subjects!


It can be difficult to truly define a semi-bluff as it often depends on the situation. Usually it refers to a bet or a raise made with what may seem like a weak or inferior hand at the time, but could potentially improve.

Example: “My bet with only ace-high was a semi-bluff as I could still make a backdoor flush”

Smooth Call

Players who make a smooth call are usually doing so to disguise the strength of their hand. By calling when a raise would be the usual line, they can keep their opponent in the pot and hopefully win more money off them.

Example: “I flopped a set with pocket fives and just smooth called my opponents bet, hoping to get more from them on later streets.”

Suicide King

The Suicide King is the King of Hearts. It earned this nickname because on the cards he appears to be stabbing himself in the king.

This term forms part of the book ‘The Professor, the Banker and the Suicide King: Inside the Richest Poker Game of All Time‘ which chronicled the famous heads-up matches between Andy Beal and some of the best poker players around.

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