Poker Terminology for Beginners

If you’ve decided that you want to learn how to play poker, you must familiarise yourself with the terminology used. Without understanding poker language, you’re unlikely to be able to master the game. You also need to work on your poker face, confidence and strategy, so before you take on real opponents, you should be spending time in the classroom, as it were. Here is a poker glossary to get you started.

Ante: You’ve likely heard the term “up the ante”; in poker, the ante is a small bet, and each player has to make it before the hand is dealt. It is similar to a blind, but the difference is everyone has to add the ante before the hand can commence.

Bluff: The whole point of poker is to bluff. When you bluff, you attempt to win the part by convincing your fellow players you have a more substantial hand and force them to fold.

Buy In: This refers to the amount of money it costs to enter a game. Generally, the figure is calculated at 20 times the big blind, so if you have a table of $5/$10, the buy-in cost will be $200.

Community Cards: The community cards are those placed in the middle of the table face up, and all players can use them when it comes to making a hand.

Dealer Button: The dealer button is a plastic disc used in live poker games and denotes who the dealer is. As the game progresses, it gets passed in a clockwise direction after every hand is played.

Fold: When you fold, you declare yourself the loser. You will only do this if you think the cards you hold in your hand are not strong enough to compete with the other players; this is where the poker bluff comes in because you need to try and avoid folding if at all possible. If you fold, you lose everything you have bet up to that point. If you want to signal that you have folded, you place your cards face down on the table.

Hand: Each hand of poker is made up of five cards; these can be the community cards and the players’ pocket cards.

Hole Cards: Two cards that get dealt face down to each player in the round, which, therefore, only the player can look at.

Lay Down: Another way to quit the round is to “lay down”, which means you give your hand and concede.

Muck: If you discard your hand or fold and refuse to show your cards to your opponents, this is known as muck.

Nuts: Having the best hand you possibly can is called nuts.

Position: Your position depends on where you are sitting at the table in relation to where the dealer button is at the time. Because the dealer button moves with every hand, your position also changes throughout the game.

Pot: As everyone places their bets, they are added to the pot, and these chips will be the winnings that get given to whoever wins the hand.

Raise: If you are feeling confident, you can raise. This means that you increase the size of the bet that has already been placed.

Rock: A somewhat cautious player who will only play with the best hands and only place bets when their confidence level is high that they have the best hand.

Set: Quite simply, a set is three of a kind.

Short Stack: Getting close to payday or not doing so well? A short stack is the terminology used if you have less than the average amount when it comes to chips on the table.

Short-Handed: Every poker table has an average number of players, and if you are shorthanded, this means that fewer players are at the table than expected.

Straight: A straight is a term used to refer to all five cards in sequence, so for example, 3-4-5-6-7

Suited: Not too tricky to work this one out; suited means that all of the cards in hand are of the same suit.

Tell: Hiding your tell is something you have to work on as a poker player. It is a subconscious thing that each player does, and the other players learn to recognize it as an indication of the strength of that hand. It is essential to try and figure out what your tells are and learn how to hide them.

Top Pair: The top pair is formed using the highest card on the board.

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Turn: This one could be a little confusing, a turn is not used to refer to your next go, but it is used to refer to the fourth community card.

Whale: If you happen to be enormously wealthy and are not bothered if you lose substantial cash at the poker table, you are known as a whale.

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