What is a ‘Widow’?
In community card poker, a ‘widow’ is a card shared by every player in their hand. The term can apply to one or more cards on the board, and also to the additional shared card which is dealt in stud poker if the deck runs short. The term also applies to an amount of money which is taken from the pot and used by the players for services.
If a poker player refers to a widow, they can mean one of two things. A widow is a card which is shared by all hands at the table. This applies to community card games like Texas Hold’Em, and also very rarely in stud games where there is a shared card in play. If the hand built by each player has one shared card or several shared cards involved, the card(s) in common are the widow or widows of the game. Poker players occasionally use the term widow to describe a situation where they held a queen but did not find the needed king. For example, if the player holds K-Q-Q and hoped for the second king but did not find it, the queen can be referred to as a widow.
In some casino games, widow is another phrase used for kitty. This is a portion of the pot which is taken from play with the agreement of everyone at the table. Players might add to the kitty separately from the pot, but often a small cut is made during each round, and these funds are available for everyone to spend. The widow pot is usually used to buy drinks and food from the bar or the restaurant, as well as paying any tips and service costs that might crop up during play, for example, when calling the table runners over for service.