Quite a few poker terms are derived from names for animals. Some of the varieties might surprise and amuse you.
A bear commonly brings to mind the image of a powerful animal with great strength. However, it is the opposite in poker terms. The term bear describes a very conservative player, who places few wagers and plays in an overly cautious manner. The player may try to set different rules for the game, or ask for very low betting limits (also known as a drummer or a milker).
A dog is often called man’s best friend but that doesn’t apply in poker. It refers to a bad hand, or a bad card.
You can also find a duck in poker, only this duck doesn’t quack. A duck is simply another name for a deuce or a two.
Swimming along, we have the fish. This term is used to refer to an unskilled or new player, who would probably be better off playing Go Fish than Poker. A fish tends to bet wildly even when he can’t beat what’s showing, has little knowledge of the nuances of poker, and loses frequently.
Similar to the fish, the minnow tends jump into a game even though this player does not have enough money to compete. A minnow also bets beyond their means, and often loses.
You don’t want to be the monkey in poker. A monkey is a person who gets taken easily and either loses a lot of money to more savvy players, or they may be easily duped by a player who cheats.
Finally, we have the rabbit. The rabbit is a lot like the fish, only usually plays a bit more timidly or may ask too many questions (i.e. “Does this, beat that?”). Refined players have very little patience for fish and rabbits.
Hopefully, you won’t hear of yourself being referred to as any of these beasties around the table.