When I started playing online poker I was perplexed with all the acronyms that I encountered. People were writing these weird letter combinations in the chat box, and I had no idea what they meant. I didn’t have much experience with online gaming, so most of the expressions were completely new to me.
You’re having a laugh
“LOL” was probably the first acronym that I was faced with. It was hugely popular and so common that it was impossible to ignore. I learned pretty fast that it was the same as “laughing out loud”.
At some point “lol” was so popular that people started using it also in live-poker games. Especially the Swedes. And there were loads of Swedes playing poker. They said it with that funny Swedish accent where it sounds more like “ljol.” So instead of actually laughing people were “ljolling.”
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“LOL” is not so popular anymore. And neither is “ROFL.” It means “rolling on the floor laughing” and it used to be quite common. Perhaps poker has become more serious since less people are “lolling” (or “ljolling”) and no-one is laughing on the floor anymore.
“WP,” on the other hand, is still a very common expression in poker. It stands for “well played.” It can be used sincerely but quite often it is used sarcastically (especially in low- and midstakes games). Like when someone calls a big bet with a very marginal hand and sucks out on the river. “Wp,” says the opponent, but of course he means the opposite.
“GB” and “GC” mean “good bet” and “good call.” From my experience these are used less sarcastically than “wp”. “Gb” and “gc” are more often genuine compliments. So is also “NH,” which stands for “nice hand.”
“GL” means “good luck.” It is often said at the end of a session to your opponent and sometimes players say it before a heads-up session starts. I never say it at the beginning of a session. I don’t wish my opponent to have good luck when he is playing against me. I want to have all the luck. I don’t mind wishing him good luck after I leave the table–preferably with the money.
“M8” used to be popular, too. There is not many “mates” around these days. People used to say “wpm8” or “tym8,” but that’s not the case anymore. It is just “wp” or “ty.”
“GG” stands for “good game.” It is customary to say “gg” when you finish playing to inform the other players that you are quitting and not coming back. Usually people say “gg” when they quit no matter if they are winning or losing. And other players usually reply by saying “gg” also.
I have played some online sessions against Phil Ivey, and I have also railed him playing against other guys. Funny thing is that he does not always say “gg” after the session. Sometimes the other player says “gg” and Ivey replies: “Thanks.”
I don’t know if Ivey reserves the comment “gg” only for those sessions he thinks are truly worth saying “good game” and otherwise he simply quits or says something random. But I guess when you are the best in the world your standards for a good game must be higher than for the rest.
“BRB” and “BB” mean “be right back” and “be back.” If you want to have a short break, you can say “brb 5,” meaning you will be back in five minutes. Or if you will be back in few hours you can say “bb in 2h.”
And the not so positive
“ZZZZZ” is an expression that is used to point out that someone is playing too slow. So if someone says “zzzz” to you in the chat box, he is requesting you to speed it up and play faster.
“OMG” is an expression that is used when something extraordinary or weird happens. Like when someone hits a miracle one outter on the river. “Oh My God!” I assume Phil Galfond found it funny because he chose his Full Tilt nickname as “OMGClayAiken.”
And finally few words about those lesser compliments that anyone playing poker will eventually see directed towards them. “FU” is pretty self-explanatory, and so are “SOB” and “MOFO.” I don’t use them at all myself. There’s really no reason to do so. If you truly feel angry or frustrated or if you are in a major tilt, why blame the other players for it? There’s an old saying that summarizes it well: “Don’t hate the player. Hate the game.”
Ville Wahlbeck is a former member of Team PokerStars ProBack to Top